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Huckleberries Online

Archive for February 2011

Gonzaga defeats Cal State Bakersfield

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Gonzaga wrapped up the regular season with a 96-49 victory over Cal State Bakersfield. The Bulldogs (22-9,11-3 WCC) won their seventh straight game.

Robert Sacre and Sam Dower scored 16 points apiece as Gonzaga cruised to a 96-49 victory over Cal State Bakersfield on Monday night in its regular season finale.Mathis Monninghoff had 12 points for the Bulldogs (22-9) and Elias Harris added 10. Gonzaga's lone senior and leading scorer, Steven Gray, was held to nine points on senior night.Donavan Bragg led the Roadrunners (9-18) with 17 points, and Rashad Savage added 10. The Roadrunners shot just 25.9 percent in the second half and were held to 18 points/Associated Press. ESPN/AP game story and boxscore here.

Question: How will Gonzaga fare in the West Coast Conference tournament next weekend?

Wild Card/Monday — 2.28.11

Brad Iverson-Long and Dustin Hurst launched my week in a nice way this morning by noting that Twitter has named Huckleberries Online Twitter as one of the top political Twitter sites in Idaho to follow. Brad, Dustin, Idaho Reporter, Betsy Russell, John Foster, and the Idaho Education Association are among the others to follow. You can see a map of the lists for each state here and story here. And you thought I was simply a pretty blog face? Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.28.11

Travis Phillips, left, Robert Rackstraw, center, and A. J. MacVittie, all Navy ROTC cadets at the University of Idaho, run in their combat boots during the Fifth Annual Red Dress Run/Walk sponsored by Gritman Medical Center, outside the Palouse Mall, in Moscow. The run raised money from donations for scholarships to the GMC cardiac rehabilitation program. Phillips, 21, is a senior engineering and technology education major from La Conner, Wash. Rackstraw, 21, is a junior majoring in engineering and technology education, from Billings, Mont. MacVittie, 20, is a junior majoring in geology, from Missoula, Mont. (AP Photo/Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Dean Hare)

Cis: Enough Of All The Gadgets

The electronics that are coming out fast and furious is getting so out of hand for those of us over 60. Most of us held our heads high with the coming of computers. Even as they changed, we slowly came along with each one… but now? I don’t know.. I know my computer is far smarter than I am… and if some teen came in and
used it .. they could get it to stand up and sing, so to speak. But I-pods, I-pads, I-phones, Blackberry’s, Adroid or something like that, Kindles and Nooks instead of books. And there are so many other electronic things there that I don’t have a clue how to operate/Cis, From A Simple Mind. More here.

Question: Which type of electronic equipment intimidates you most?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.28.11

  • 5:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Feb. 27-28 here.
  • 5:39 p.m. A 12YO girl with black, shoulder-length hair in a red-and-black sweatshirt just ran away from apartment in 3700 block of 3rd/Post Falls.
  • 5:35 p.m. ISP officer notes that snow is making H95 south of CdA “slippery.”
  • 5:22 p.m. Mike reports that his galpal hasn't heard from her daughter in 2 months.
  • 5:06 p.m. CPD Blues are looking for 14YO runaway named Dustin who's 5-7 & 165 pounds.
  • 5:01 p.m. No one hurt in 4Runner rollover is reported on H95 @ M/P 418 (just north of Fighting Creek).
  • 4:29 p.m. A Worley woman who was assaulted by a man went to her mother's in Worley and now is planning to board a CityLink bus.
  • 3:59 p.m. Logging truck has hit a power pole knocking down lines at junction of H97 & 3.
  • More below

APhoto Of The Day — 2.28.11

Legendary snakeman Jackie Bibby, age, 61, right, sits in a plastic bath tub while handlers place 126 Western Diamondback rattlesnakes around him Saturday in Oglesby, Texas. Bibby was trying to set a world record during the annual rattlesnake hunt. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. “No, I said I wanted a big bowl of Frosted FLAKES!!!” — Idaho Dad.
  • 2. DFO almost breaks the record but makes the fatal mistake on snake number 126 as he mentions the White House Grill sign again — Cabbage Boy.
  • 3. (tie) Mike Kennedy kicks back @ opensewer.com — Fat Lady Sings; and: “Tough? You bet your sweet Bibby. And, if you think a few snakes rattle him, you don’t know Jack” — JohnA.
  • HM: Everyone else. (Nice job today)

Bond: The Miners’ Penance

What, exactly, is the price of a miner's penance? How much must a miner pay to cover the shame of being an American miner? (Let us leave alone for a moment the question of why an American miner should be made to feel ashamed of being an American miner by the United Snakes Government.) We have a working number and you should be sitting down for this. The United Snakes government's shame price, the price which an American miner must pay to ensure that he will not be further persecuted for producing metals that for millennia have been used as honest money, and additionally metals which enable cell-phones, Volvos and Prius cars, refrigerators, is: Seven hundred and thirty-one thousand and 667 dollars and some change — $731,666.66 to be precise. Per miner. Per Lucky Friday miner at Hecla's operations in northern Idaho. All in, $263.4 million: two-hundred sixty-three point four million dollars/David Bond, Wallace Street Journal. More here.

Question: Is the mining industry being punished too much for providing us with the metals which enable cell-phones, Volvos and Prius cars, refrigerators?

North Idaho Blogs — 2.28.11

“The last day of February is a vision of white caps on Lake Coeur d'Alene as high winds whip the falling snow near the boardwalk on the north shore,” posts Kerri Thoreson, More Main Street. “There seems to be little chance that March will come in like a lamb tomorrow.”

Hucks Online numbers (for week of Feb. 20-26): 51,721 page-views/32,032 unique views

Bar Report: Don’t Try This At Home

Friday, Feb. 18: 0034 hours (900 Block N 5th St – DUI) — “Officers responded to a call reference an unconscious female in the roadway. Upon arrival they contacted the female who admitted to jumping out of a moving vehicle (she thought the vehicle was moving slower than it actually was). The female was part of a group of intoxicated people driving two different vehicles. During the investigation of this incident, officers contacted and arrested a 23 year old male for DUI (BAC = .153). The male told officers he had been drinking at Crickets earlier in the evening.” (As you can see, it's time for another Downtown Coeur d'Alene Bar Report, for Feb. 18-23. Click here.)

Painful Rebound

Washington's Matthew Bryan-Amaning (11) looks on as Washington State's Abe Lodwick (31) grabs a rebound in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Sunday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

DFO: If a flagrant foul wasn't called on this play, it shoulda been. Ouch!

Tara: Teachers Made Me Who I Am

Everyone has a favorite teacher; that one person who went the extra mile and made a measurable difference in their lives. Sometimes it is someone who makes you really want to learn about a particular subject, sometimes it is someone who instills in you a desire to be the best at any certain thing, sometimes it is a coach. Regardless of who that teacher was for each of us, those people are under attack in this country, especially in Idaho where influence on policy is radiating from corporations not classrooms. For me, there isn't just one teacher who made a lasting impact on my life, there were a half dozen or so who are a large part of who I am today/Tara Rowe, Political Game. More here.

Question: Is there a teacher or teachers who had a major influence on your life?

Students Yell ‘Kill The Bill’, Get Boot

Boise Police Department and Idaho State Police officers ushered protesting students out of the state Capitol on Monday afternoon, after roughly 150 students demonstrating against school superintendent Tom Luna's education-reform proposals began chanting in the rotunda. With students on the three floors shouting “Kill the Bill,” the noise reached every corner of the Capitol. Officers escorted the students down the steps, out of the building and across Jefferson St. “It was just getting a little out of hand. It was distrubing and regular business could not proceed,” said ISP Capt. Brian Zimmerman. “They've been very cooperative. They've followed our directions. They can be anywhere they want in this public building, they just have to be a little bit more civil”/Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Did you take part in a demonstration, as a kid or young adult?

Labrador Meets Post Falls Soldier

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, (left) meets Spc. Matthew Hoefling (right), a Post Falls native, with B Company, 145th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade, Feb. 2 at Camp Victory in Baghdad. Labrador took time out of his schedule, assessing U.S. government spending in Iraq, to have dinner with Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers from his congressional district who are currently serving under United States Division Ð Center in Support of Operation New Dawn. http://www.dvidshub.net/news/66032/us-representative-visits-troops-baghdad. More here. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. April Davis, 116th Garrison Command, USD-C)

Dennis: Tea Partiers Double Crossed

A good friend of mine sent me an email in response to my recent post on the Senate State Affairs Committee's recent rejection of the “Nullification” Bill. Entitled “Seriously”, he asked me in the email if I REALLY supported the nullifying movement. My response to him was simple. Those State Senators who quietly led Tea Party members across Idaho (and specifically in their districts) to believe that they REALLY wanted the Tea Party support at election time, were ultimately disingenuous. Here's why: when THE vote of votes (Nullification) came up to allow the full Senate to cast a vote (up or down - but to go on record re the Tea Party's major project), they killed the bill - protecting other Senators from having to publicly vote on the issue. It's called “providing cover”… and it stinks/Dennis Mansfield. More here. And Idaho Conservative Blogger's viewpoint here.

Question: Will the state senators who voted to kill nullification in the Senate State Affairs Committee be road-kill when they face re-election in 2012?

Baseball Legend Duke Snider, 84, RIP

The 1955 Dodgers are the team the legend is built around: starting the season 22-2, coasting to the National League pennant and winning Brooklyn's only world championship. But centerfielder Duke Snider, who died Sunday at 84, believed that wasn't the best team the “Boys of Summer” ever fielded. That distinction, Snider said, went to the 1952 club that lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series in seven games. “I think the '52 team was the best team I played on,” Snider told USA TODAY in a 2008 interview. “We were solid at every position — Andy Pafko in the outfield, Billy Cox at third base. Outstanding pitching. … We were just solid all the way through”/Mike Dodd, USA Today. More here. (AP file photo of, from left, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Don Mueller)

  • Raymond Pert: (Duke Snider) managed the Spokane Indians in 1965 and so his death is of local, not only national, interest. Dad and I used to go to games at the Fairgrounds every summer.  I was 11 years old in the summer of '65 and seeing Duke Snider come out to home plate with the lineup card took my breath away.  I couldn't believe such a great player was right there in Spokane for all of us to lay our eyes on.

Question: Have you ever read Roger Kahn's “The Boys of Summer” re: the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers? Is there a better baseball book?

U.S. Sen. James McClure, 86, RIP

Jim McClure, a former chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and one of the most powerful Idahoans to ever serve in Congress, died Saturday at his home in Garden City, surrounded by his wife and three children. Known for his grasp of detail and common touch in a 24-year congressional career, the Republican was mourned by famous colleagues after the news broke Sunday afternoon. Howard Baker, a former Senate majority leader and chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan, told the Statesman, “He was steady, and when I got to positions where I could, I always depended on him for advice. He was special, and he certainly was my friend”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What do you recall most re: Idaho U.S. Sen. Jim McClure?

INW Headlines — 2.28.11

Idaho Reporter tweets: “High school students with anti-LunaPlan signs now lining the railings of the 2nd, 3rd & 4th floor Capitol rotunda.” A Berry Picker sent this photo to Huckleberries Online via Window Phone 7 four minutes ago.

High Noon: ‘Airbender’ Wins Razzy

Dev Patel plays Prince Zuko in a scene from M. Night Shyamalan's “The Last Airbender.” The film was nominated for nine Razzies, including worst picture (which it won), Patel for worst supporting actor and Shyamalan for worst director and screenplay. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Industrial Light & Magic, File)

Question: Which movie is the worst one that you saw last year?

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.28.11

  • 11:54 a.m. Brad, @ WalMart/Honeysuckle security, reports catching cooperative shoplifter.
  • 11:51 a.m. V. is on scene and has stolen ex's key, so he can't leave his home.
  • 11:33 a.m. Jack reports that someone has fraudulently closed his personal accounts.
  • 11:19 a.m. A male is walking along w/b I-90 b/n M/P 12 & 13 (4th Street/CdA).
  • 11:14 a.m. A semi truck has spun out on e/b I-90 @ M/P 27. ISP wants highway billboard activated to say “chains required” on Fourth of July Pass.
  • 11:10 a.m. 5 semis are now involved in blocking w/b I-90 on 4th of July Pass.
  • 11:07 a.m. 3 semis have spun out and possibly crashed, blocking w/b I-90 @ M/P 29 (4th of July Pass).
  • 10:58 a.m. Paul, from Orchard & Reed/Hayden, reports possible credit card fraud.
  • 10:40 a.m. Don, on Pinewood, reports a tractor-and-trailer knocked down his mailbox 3 minutes ago.
  • 10:24 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Tribal School canceling school, sending students home due to drifting snow, one school bus stuck in snow. (H/T: KXLY)
  • 10:23 a.m. Mother in Post Falls reports her 4YO is locked in running vehicle (didn't hear location).
  • 10:14 a.m. Caller, from 1800 block of 8th/CdA reports a juvenile in the home has run away.
  • 9:29 a.m. EMTs are responding to male w/breathing problems @ Flying J @ 5th & Idahline, PF.
  • 9:26 a.m. Dirne Clinic reports Steve missing for 4 days from Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive & Mullan/CdA.
  • 9:08 a.m. Michael's @ 221 E. Canfield/CdA reports customer suffering breathing problems.
  • 8:40 a.m. Glenda reports that her neighbor is taking photos of her property.
  • 8:33 a.m. John Brown Elementary/Rathdrum reports 40YO woman is suffering intense stomach pain.
  • 8:05 a.m. EMTs performing CPR on someone in 1600 block of Huntley/CdA. Individual later pronounced deat.

Hucks Poll: Not Too Many Bars

  • Weekend Poll: 98 of 187 respondents (52.4%) voted that there aren't too many bars in downtown Coeur d'Alene. 73 of 187 (39%) said there are too many bars in the central business district. 16 (8.6%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you agree w/Rep. Shannon McMillan that human health issues have been addressed & the EPA should leave the Silver Valley?

Idaho Repubs Still Pursue Nullification

A plan that would strengthen states’ ability to make targeted changes to the U.S. Constitution faces a vote in the Idaho Senate. The effort that its backer said could let states push back against the federal government was approved Monday by the same committee that snuffed out an effort to nullify the federal health care law. Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, said he’d prefer using the court system and a potential U.S. constitutional amendment to stop the health care reform rather than the legislation that would opt Idaho out of the program. He said one reason is the Idaho attorney general’s office’s opinion that states nullifying federal laws violates the U.S. and Idaho constitutions/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Should it be easier from protesting Legislatures, like the one in Idaho, to change the U.S. Constitution?

‘64 Hayden Lake Tragedy Lingers On

But it was worse than a missing boat. Much worse, as Peterson would soon find out. By breakfast, everyone at the lake thought they knew the story: Pete Peterson (pictured), out screwing around in his fancy boat, had killed two girls. “The next morning, Dad walks into the room and said, ‘Well, it looks like you killed two girls,’ ” Peterson said. “That was the hardest thing. I don’t think he meant it like that, but that’s what he said.” Two 16-year-old girls were missing: Barbara Horne and Carol Thornton. They were visiting the lake with their families from College Place, near Walla Walla. Wreckage of their boat, a simple 13-foot fiberglass outboard, was found floating on the lake. The mystery combined with Peterson’s reputation as a hellion to lead people to one conclusion – which would hang over his head for nearly two decades, making him feel guilty and ashamed, a persona non grata at clubby, well-to-do Hayden Lake/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Do you remember this tragedy?

Ex-Vik Wins National 174-Pound Title

North Idaho College's Jesse Nielson, right, locks on to Keithen Cast of Northwest College to win on points in the 174 lb. class Saturday at the Spokane Convention Center. Nielson, a former Coeur d'Alene High Vik won five matches and captured the national championship in his weight class by beating Keithin Cast of Northwest College 5-3 in the finals. He becomes the first national champion wrestler from Coeur d'Alene. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Statesman: Put Brakes On Luna Plans

Idaho public schools face a budget crisis, whether or not Tom Luna’s education overhaul plan becomes law. However, the state superintendent’s Students Come First plan does not provide a clear path forward. It instead complicates an already difficult situation. We urge the Legislature to put the brakes on a plan that has confused and divided Idahoans — not just the traditional education “stakeholders,” but the parents who send their children to school, and the taxpayers who finance the school system. This rushed plan represents a recipe for upheaval that cannot well serve the state’s 275,000 public school students. We do not arrive at this conclusion casually. On Jan. 16, we praised Luna for unveiling “a vision for education that deserves a close look, particularly in challenging times”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo, of Tom Luna)

Question: What do you make of this about-face on Tom Luna's education “reform”?

Student Walkout Protests Luna Plan

About 100 Boise High School students (pictured) are now gathered in the second-floor rotunda of the state capitol, where they're quietly doing their homework. It's part of walkouts at high schools across the state this morning in protest of the proposed school reform plan; the Associated Press reports that about 100 students walked out of classes at Meridian High School and more than 150 walked out at Nampa High. Students were also reported to have walked out of classes at other high schools in Boise, Caldwell and Pocatello/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (SR photo/Betsy Russell)
  

  • DFO: The 3 local school districts told Alison Boggs that they haven't heard of a walkout involving Kootenai County high school students.

Question: What impact will the student walkout have on legislative approval of Superintendent Tom Luna's education “reform”?

Oscars Have A New King

“The King’s Speech” was crowned best picture Sunday at an Academy Awards ceremony as precise as a state coronation, the monarchy drama leading as expected with four Oscars and predictable favorites claiming acting honors. Colin Firth, as stammering British ruler George VI in “The King’s Speech,” earned the best-actor prize, while Natalie Portman won best actress as a delusional ballerina in “Black Swan.” The boxing drama “The Fighter” claimed both supporting-acting honors, for Christian Bale as a boxer-turned-drug-abuser and Melissa Leo as a boxing clan’s domineering matriarch. “The King’s Speech” also won the directing prize for Tom Hooper and the original-screenplay Oscar for David Seidler, a boyhood stutterer himself/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo: Christian Bale, left, best supporting actor, Natalie Portman, best actress, second from left, Melissa Leo, second from right, best supporting actress, and Colin Firth, best actor.)

Question: I've seen 5 of the nominees for Best Picture at the 83rd annual Academy Awards, including the movie that won, “The King's Speech.” I plan to see “The Fighter” now. How many of the nominated movies have you seen. Which one of the remainders is at the top of your list to see?

Winter Attracts Worst In Local Drivers

Item: Getting There: Winter brings out the worst in local drivers/Mike Prager, SR

More Info: It’s not as if this bad driving is without consequence. Ask the hundreds of people who were caught in backups Wednesday on Interstate 90 in Spokane and Post Falls. If they were lucky, being delayed was the worst of it. Consider the little boy who lay injured in a wrecked vehicle for a period of time while firefighters and medics tended to him, Briggs said. Someone approaching the Division Street exit made an abrupt lane change, triggering the accident and causing a massive backup eastbound on Wednesday afternoon.

Question: Why are drivers in this region such lousy winter drivers?

INW Headlines — 2.28.11

Cassie Evans, 14, of Clackamas, Ore., competes in the floor exercise portion of the 2011 Great West Gym Fest held at the Coeur d'Alene Resort on Friday. Several hundred gymnasts are in town for the event that runs through Sunday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Silver Valley Rep: EPA’s Work Done

New state Rep. Shannon McMillan (pictured), R-Silverton, introduced her first bill last week, but it’s actually from her son, Wallace attorney James McMillan. She told the House State Affairs Committee, “I would like to yield my time to my son to explain this further,” to which Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, responded, “I think that would be appropriate.” It’s a nonbinding memorial to Congress demanding that the EPA be removed from Shoshone County, along with its Superfund designation, within five years. He said the EPA’s proposed multiyear cleanup plan “would have a devastating effect upon our mining industry.” James McMillan said human health concerns in the Bunker Hill cleanup already have been addressed. “Now they say that their focus is fish and wildlife,” he told the committee. “They keep changing the focus. … We need to tell them that this needs to stop”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think the EPA's work is done in the Silver Valley?

NIC’s Jones Supercharges Evening

There’s not much room for irony in wrestling – just you and the other guy, a mat, 7 minutes, will and fatigue. OK, not always 7 minutes. Sometimes 7 seconds. That’s all the time that elapsed from the moment Walker Clarke dared initiate the move he had to think might jump-start him toward a second national championship until he found himself on his back, immobilized, marooned without rescue, saddled with one of those oh-dammit flashbacks that may take a while to lose. It’s all the time Jamelle Jones required to turn a rather humdrum final round of the National Junior College Athletic Association wrestling championships into something electric, and borderline breathtaking/John Blanchette, SR. More here. (SR photo/Jesse Tinsley: Jamelle Jones of NIC wins national wrestling championship.)

Question: Which sports moment this winter has thrilled you most?

Popkey: Myopia Cost Teachers Union

Item: Myopia kept Idaho Education Association from seeing big picture/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman

More Info: Had the IEA paid attention to key Senate races, the outcome could well have been different. Two seats might have been saved — in Southeast Boise and Twin Falls. You might say, as IEA President Sherri Wood does, that a two-seat gain would have meant an 18-17 win for Luna. My read is a one-vote margin would mean both bills would still be in the Senate Education Committee, where Luna’s third bill is stuck because of a similarly sketchy majority. Close votes on huge policy changes make lawmakers nervous, especially since Luna revealed the plan just six weeks ago and public reaction has been largely negative.

Question: Do you agree with Dan Popkey's contention that the Idaho Education Association would have been better off concentrating money and effort in helping key senators win, rather than beating Luna?

Heller:

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

83rd Academy Awards

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Images from the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.

Weekend Wild Card — 2.26-27

 

As expected, Gonzaga beat San Diego to tie Saint Mary's for the West Coast Conference championship, the Zags record 11th one in a row. Only UCLA has won more consecutive championships than the Zags — 13 in a row in the old PAC-8. To make things even sweeter, Coeur d'Alene High won its second state championship in a row. And North Idaho College finished second to Clackamas Community College in the national community college wrestling championships in Spokane. I'll replay this Wild Card … and we can all glory in the quality sports that we enjoy in the Inland Northwest …

Gonzaga 68, San Diego 31

Gonzaga's Sam Dower, left, picks up a loose ball as San Diego's Chris Gabriel, center, and Gonzaga's Marquise Carter, right, look on in the first half of their NCAA college basketball game tonight in San Diego. Gonzaga and Saint Mary's both won Saturday night to tie for the WCC title with 11-3 records. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Elias Harris scored 17 points as Gonzaga won at least a share of its 11th consecutive West Coast Conference regular-season title with a 68-31 win over San Diego Saturday night.Gonzaga (21-9, 11-3) came into the game tied with Saint Mary's for the conference lead. The Gaels host Portland on Saturday night.The title puts the Bulldogs second on the NCAA's all-time list behind UCLA, which captured 13 straight Pac-8 or Pac-10 championships (1967-79)/Associated Press. More here.

Clackamas Edges NIC For Wrestling Title

Clackamas Community College won the team title with 109 points at the 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association national wrestling tournament in Spokane. Clackamas held the top spot since early in the competition Friday, Feb. 25. There was only a one-point spread between Clackamas and second-place North Idaho College at the end of the championship semi finals Saturday, Feb. 26. The lead expanded to a 13.5-point difference after the consolation semi finals. Clackamas clinched the tournament team title with 10.5 points over second-place North Idaho College. The tight team race ended with Rend Lake College in third place with 94 points and Iowa Central Community College in fourth place with 93 points/Stacy Hudson, NIC Press Room. More here. (NIC photo: NIC's Jamelle Jones pinned Walker Clarke of Labette Community College to win the national competition at 197 pounds and later be named the “Wrestler of the Year.”)

Vik Wrestlers Repeat As State Champions

There are no game-winning field goals in wrestling, no buzzer-beating jump shots nor walk-off home runs. But on Saturday afternoon at the Idaho Center, Coeur d’Alene senior Caleb Davis got a chance to be the hero. As he and Caldwell senior Tim Hartwig took the mat for their 189-pound final, each knew what was at stake: After more than 400 matches, the race for the 5A team championship had come down to this. “I knew,” Davis said. “I was just trying to stay calm.” Hartwig had the upper hand early, but Davis rallied for a second-round pin, setting off a wild Coeur d’Alene celebration. “I don’t even know how it happened,” Davis said. “I just smelled blood in the water and went for it.” Davis’ victory gave the Vikings 205 points, just enough to hold off Caldwell (1981/2)/Jordan Rodriguez, special to The Spokesman-Review. More here..

Gonzaga women defeat San Diego

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The 23rd-ranked Gonzaga women dispatched San Diego 80-58 Saturday afternoon, Feb. 26, 2011, as 6,000 fans paid homage to the most successful class in program history.

Nic: Not Much Besides Texas Roadhouse

Bekah and I are fans of Texas Roadhouse and have been for several years. We considered it good news when they announced they were opening a Coeur d'Alene location. So far, they've yet to disappoint. It is our favorite new restaurant. Coeur d'Alene's newest eatery is easily one of my favorites.That's got me thinking. Mid-priced dining options are limited around here. I'm tired of Applebees and I burnt out on Olive Garden years ago. MacKenzie River Pizza was great when they opened but the service leaves something to be desired and the quality of food has declined. What does that leave? Chili's? Red Lobster? (I don't like seafood so that second option is out.) Texas Roadhouse it is/Nic, Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts. More here.

Question: Nic goes on to list 5 restaurants he wished were located in the Coeur d'Alene area: 1. Old Chicago, 2. Camille's Sidwalk Cafe, 3. TGI Fridays, 4. Sanford's Grub & Pub, and 5. Hu Hot. What would you add to Nic's list?

Blowing Smoke

A woman smokes a cigar at a gala dinner closing the 13th annual Cigar Festival in Havana, Cuba, Friday. Cigar enthusiasts from around the world come to Cuba during the annual celebration to visit tobacco farms and factories and taste new cigar brands. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)

Question: Do you enjoy smoking cigars?

Murf: Harwood Has A Future In Comedy

It's nice to have a good laugh now and then - a real guffaw can change your outlook from gloomy to upbeat. Politicians use comedy to get the attention of voters, to relieve tension during legislative debate or to insult an opponent a la Don Rickles. Rep. Dick Harwood is no exception. The St. Maries uber Republican, fresh from the squaw-is-not-an-insult tour a few sessions ago, is taking his latest act to the people. He's currently appearing on a double bill with Tom Luna and his education reform review. And they're taking the Statehouse by storm. Harwood on Wednesday kicked-off his latest salute to common sense by introducing a bill that would effectively eliminate lawsuits against the state and its megaload policy/Murf Raquet, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Question: Which North Idaho legislator do you consider to be the most off the wall?

Michael: Dems Put Unions First

Who would have guessed that the New York City Sanitation Department union's work slowdown during the Great Blizzard of 2011 would set the high water mark for public sector union civic responsibility? Since then, public sector union behavior has only gone downhill. In Wisconsin, a state facing a yawning multibillion-dollar deficit, the governor and the state legislature have attacked the problem where it is, in the excessive compensation paid to state employees. The unions engaged in an illegal strike and behaved as though they were millions of years behind the rest of us on the evolutionary scale. In Wisconsin, as elsewhere in the United States, the partnership between public sector unions and the Democratic Party has bankrupted the treasury/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Has the public sector suffered as much as the private sector in terms of pay cuts, layoffs, and benefit reductions?

Marty: Hoffman Should Write A Check

Funny, isn't it, how some of the biggest fiscal tightwads have no difficulty spending your tax dollars when it's something they want. This time, it's Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Last year, Hoffman bemoaned the Democratic Congress back-filling almost half of the $128 million Idaho lawmakers cut from public schools. … It was Hoffman who said Idaho Public Television is nice enough, but it's not within the “proper role of government,” and ought to be cut. … And Hoffman championed depriving Idaho's retired public employees of a meager 1 percent cost-of-living increase because it cost too much. … Yet it is Hoffman above all others who wanted the state to burn through potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend his quixotic notion of nullification/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Why is it that Tea Party legislators and backers are quick to slash budgets and yet embrace a concept like “nullification” that could cost the state hundreds of thousands in fruitless litigation?

Some Want To Preserve Class Size

Idaho Republican senators are looking for ways to revise the centerpiece of Tom Luna’s education-reform package so class sizes can remain at their current level and local districts have more flexibility in spending their state dollars. Senate Bill 1113 passed out of the Senate Education Committee 5-4 earlier this month, but wavering support and a lack of votes in the Senate persuaded Republicans to consider changes, even as they passed the other two parts of school Superintendent Luna’s overhaul on Thursday — a pay-for-performance plan and a rewriting of the labor contracts between districts and teachers. The final piece of Luna’s plan, a move to fund more technology in the classroom and increase teacher pay by eliminating 770 teaching positions and increasing class size, has been the most controversial. Increasing class size has been the No. 1 complaint from citizens, lawmakers have said consistently/Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: How would an increase of only one or two students per classroom affect Idaho education?

NIC In Hunt For National Wrestling Title

There’s no place like home. Region 18 wrestlers discovered that on the first day of the National Junior College Athletic Association national championships being contested at the Spokane Convention Center. A sizeable crowd watched as North Idaho secured five All-Americans, four of them semifinalists, and is in a spirited multi-team title challenge led by Region 18 rival Clackamas Community College. “It’s a typical national tournament,” said NIC coach Pat Whitcomb. “It’s a meat grinder, and (Friday) is a long, long day for the kids. All this does is set you up. (Today) is a new day.” Clackamas has five semifinalists, the most after one day of competition, and 68 points to the Cardinals’ 66.5. Last year’s top two finishers, Harper College from Illinois (61) and Iowa Central (63), are right behind and, like NIC, have four semifinalists/Mike Vlahovich, SR. More here. (SR photo/Colin Mulvany: In the 165 weight class, North Idaho College’s Jake Mason (in back) beat Lincoln’s Rick Goerke.)

Question: Were you aware that North Idaho College has won several national wrestling championships and has had a very good wrestling team for a long time?

Anderson: High Price

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

TGIF Wild Card — 2.25.11

I noticed last night that my wood pile was beginning to run a little low. This, after I'd felt somewhat satisfied earlier in the week that I'd perfectly calculated the amount of wood I needed to get through the week. The unexpected snow storm and arctic chill that's hit us this week has turned things around. Oh well, I always have a back-up source that'll mean I'll contribute more than I want to help “struggling” Avista make it through the winter, too. Now, for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.25.11

Matt Keennon, program director at AeroVironment, demonstrates a tiny, drone aircraft known as the “nano-hummingbird,” during a briefing at the company's facility in Simi Valley, Calif., Friday. With a 6.5-inch wing span, the remote-controlled hummingbird plane weighs less than an AA battery and can fly at speeds of up to 11 mph, propelled only by the flapping of its two wings. It can climb and descend vertically, fly sideways, forward and backward, as well as rotate clockwise and counterclockwise, and hover. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
  

Charter School Waiting List Grows

It seems more and more Idaho families want their children to attend charter schools as an alternative to public schools. According to figures provided by the Idaho Department of Education, the waiting list for charter schools has experienced large growth in recent years.  In 2008, some 6,981 students awaited entry into charter schools, a number that increased to 7,500 in May of 2009.  The latest figure, from May of last year, shows 9,304 Gem State students waiting to be admitted to charter schools. The number might be elevated due to multiple entries of names, but the department isn’t sure how many duplicates may be on the list/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here. (SR file photo: Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy Principal Dan Nicklay is shown in 2008 after Newsweek named his school one of the top ones in the country.)

Question: Does your child attend charter school? And/or: Are you a fan of charter schools?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.25.11

  • 5:29 p.m. Water is “shooting everywhere” from a burst pipe at Albertson's on Ironwood/CdA.
  • 5:13 p.m. ISP officer is about to stop a red Ford Bronco w/o plates @ e/b I-90 & M/P 8 (Huetter).
  • 5:09 p.m. Caller reports vehicle burglary in 900 block of N. Finucane/Hayden.
  • 4:57 p.m. Caller reports some sort of hazard in roundabout @ Hanley & Cornwall/CdA.
  • 4:52 p.m. A water pipe has burst @ 911 A Street/CdA.
  • 4:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene police activities report for Feb. 24-25 here.
  • More below

INW/PM Headlines — 2.25.11

“On Saturday prep wrestlers were dueling it out on the mats at Lakeland High School for state berths when the unthinkable happened,” writes Kerri Thoreson in her weekly Main Street column. “A freak accident during a match left Coeur d'Alene High School junior E.G. Lunceford with a broken neck … a fracture and dislocation of the C4 and C5 vertebrae. On Monday night E.G.'s dad, Frank Lunceford was nothing if not grateful.” More here.

APhoto Of The Day — 2.25.11

To jeers of “Shame!” yelled by the Assembly Democrats, Assembly Republicans, foreground, immediately walk out of the chamber after cutting off debate and voting to pass the budget repair bill at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., early this morning. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/M.P. King, Wisconsin State Journal)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. In related news, the 14 runaway Wisconsin Democats were tossed out of an Illinois truckstop for taking 4 days to decide what to order…and then not having the money to pay for it anyway!/Formerly Sandpoint.
  • 2. Now, now, Children. You’ll still get your milk and cookie before bedtime — Cabbage Boy.
  • 3. It was so cold in Madison that Republicans were shockingly seen with their hands in their own pockets — JohnA.

North Idaho Blogs — 2.25.11

The blogmistress at Live, Love, Laugh, Hope has a tonic for everyone out there who's suffering cabin fever. She focus her comments and camera on looking for beauty during the recent gray days we've experienced. And found enough that she was sad to see one gray day end. You can read her thoughts and see a number of other terrific black and white photos here.

Hucks Numbers (for Thursday): 9773/6141; (for Wednesday): 10077/5974; for (Tuesday) 8999/5974.

Spring (Training) Has Sprung

Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Cole Gillespie grabs a line drive by San Francisco Giants' Mark DeRosa during the first inning of a spring training baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz. Friday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Question: Which Major League Baseball team is your favorite?

Why Ask Why?

Why does the Spokane International Airport has a state-of-the-art, full-body scanner but no free Wi-fi?

Idaho No. 2 Most Conservative State

Mississippi is the most conservative state in the nation, a new Gallup poll finds. According to the study, 50.5 percent of the state's residents identify themselves as holding conservative political beliefs, the first time that a state has gone over 50 percent and the highest overall number that Gallup has found in similar polls. Idaho clocked in at second with 48.5 percent identification, and Alabama third with 48.3. The top ten most conservative states all had conservative identification numbers of 45 percent or higher/Huffington Post. More here. (AP file photo of renovated Idaho capitol building)

Question: Are you surprised that Mississippi is ranked as more conservative than Idaho?

Hecla May Pay $263M For Pollution

Hecla Mining Co. has reached a tentative settlement with the federal government, Coeur d’Alene Tribe and state of Idaho over its role in turning the Coeur d’Alene Basin into a Superfund site, company officials said today. Under the proposal, Hecla would pay $263.4 million over the next four years to resolve the company’s financial liability for historic releases of heavy metals into the environment. By April 15, the parties must report on the status of their negotiations in U.S. District Court in Boise. “The opportunity to settlement this litigation is an important milestone for the company,” Phil Baker, Hecla’s chief executive officer, told financial analysts today during a conference call/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.

Question: Are you happy with this tentative agreement?

Marble Lake

On her As The Lake Churns, Pecky Cox provides this photo & others taken this morning on Priest Lake's Kalispell Bay. E-mails Pecky: “Windstorm two nights ago brought pieces of ice to this area.Cold temperatures froze the lake, again.” You can see more photos of “Marble Lake” on her blog site here.

Vickie’s Hunch: IEA Will Sue

On her blog today, Editor Vickie Holbrook of the Idaho Press-Tribune/Nampa raised an interesting question: “When Idaho Education Association President Sherri Wood visited with the Idaho Press-Tribune editorial board a couple of weeks ago, she dropped the words, “Idaho's constitutional duty” to provide education. Listen to the audio. She didn't say it, but I sensed that a lawsuit against the state of Idaho could be a last resort if Luna's plan got the green light.” You can reach more re: Vickie's hunch here.

Question: Does  the Idaho Education Association have good grounds to sue to stop implementation of Superintendent Tom Luna's education “reform” package, if it becomes law?

Judge Denies Steele Venue Change

A federal judge in Idaho has denied a request by defense lawyers to move a murder-for-hire trial to Wyoming. While Edgar Steele’s case has received media attention, lawyers Robert McAllister and Gary Amendola have not shown that the area is “saturated” with prejudicial publicity about the alleged crimes, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled today. If the court decides during voir dire that finding an impartial jury in North Idaho is impossible, the trial will be moved to Pocatello or Boise, Winmill said/Meghann Cuniff, SR. More here.

Question: Could you serve as an impartial juror in Steele murder-for-hire case?

Another Idaho Powerball Millionaire?

The Idaho Lottery has confirmed that one ticket from Wednesday's $154.8 million Powerball draw matched all five “white ball” numbers, but not the Powerball, and the player purchased the PowerPlay multiplier making it worth an automatic $1,000,000. The winning numbers are: 29, 32, 36, 39, 49 and the Powerball number was 29. The ticket was sold in Oneida County near the Idaho-Utah border/Idaho State Journal.

Question: Do you play the lottery?

AWOL Pistons, Ex-Zag Daye Miss Bus

A number of Detroit Pistons were rumored to be leaving the team around the trade deadline, but not like this. Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Chris Wilcox missed the team's shootaround Friday morning before that night's game against the Sixers in Philadelphia, and team sources told multiple media outlets that the players were staging a protest. Sources told the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News that the shootaround boycott was directed at second-year coach John Kuester, who has clashed with players in the past. Team spokesman Cletus Lewis said that McGrady had a headache, Prince an upset stomach and Hamilton and Wilcox missed the bus from the team hotel. Rodney Stuckey and Austin Daye also missed the bus, but they arrived toward the end of a media session, Lewis said/ESPN NBA. More here. (AP file photo of Austin Daye)

Question: Are we entering a new era of walkouts and demonstrations (a la 1960s) as a result of great divide in this country? And/or: Have you ever been involved in a sit-in, die-in, walkout, or any other protest?

High Noon: Worse Than ‘Dracula’?

On his Facebook wall, SR colleague Joe Butler drew attention to one of the arguments made this morning in the Senate State Affairs hearing about unilateral “nullification” of federal health care reform. According to Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise, pro-nullificaiton speaker Thomas Rogers of Nampa told the panel, “This is going to create a monster. It's going to be worse than Dracula.” He urged the senators to “drive a stake through its heart,” and said, “If the government will just get out of the way, we can do a better job.” As someone who has just read Bram Stoker's original “Dracula,” I understand what passionate Rogers is saying. He's horrified by so-called “Obamacare.”

Question (from Joe Butler): Are there things that are worse than Dracula?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.25.11

  • 11:44 a.m. Unconscious person reported @ Wyoming & Sundler/Hayden.
  • 11:02 a.m. Traffic light stuck on red in south turn lane of Greensferry onto Seltice Way/Post Falls.
  • 10:53 a.m. A 3-vehicle crash w/injuries is blocking NW Blvd in front of CDA Bank (Park).
  • 10:42 a.m. A semi is stuck trying to learn onto Grand Mill from Seltice Way/CdA.
  • 10:37 a.m. Caller in 2400 block of Ponderosa/PF sez he's receiving phone threats.
  • 10:36 a.m. Officer investigating 10:27 call reports: “He's deceased.”
  • 10:27 a.m. Woman from Kellogg reports that her mother phoned to say she can see a male w/a cord around his neck in house in 400 block of N. 19th/CdA.
  • 10:26 a.m. Caller reports an injury accident on I-90 & Chilco.
  • 9:55 a.m. Spokane County authorities report there may be a wanted person @ 1519 Sherman/CdA.
  • 9:33 a.m. An unconscious 9MO baby is reported in 9800 block of N. Maple/Hayden.
  • 9:32 a.m. Someone is suffering chest pains on Tree House Court/Rathdrum.
  • 9:28 a.m. A distressed female is asking workers to call cops @ one of Post Falls WalMarts.
  • 9:21 a.m. Arnold White, 85, who has been missing since 4, was located about two miles from his home @ Strahorn Rd and Skyview Lane/Hayden. White was found by a homeowner, who located him sitting in her car.  He was hypothermic and was transported to Kootenai Medical Center for treatment.
  • 9:07 a.m. Someone is suffering a seizure at the old federal courthouse on 4th/CdA.
  • 9:01 a.m. Caller reports registered sex offender sitting in car in 8600 block of Courselles/CdA.
  • 8:47 a.m. 2 vehicles have suffered extensive damage in crash @ I-90 & NW Blvd/CdA.
  • 8:19 a.m. A wanted person is reported at 451 N. Government Way/CdA.

White House Owner Meant No Harm

Raci Erdem called a few minutes ago to say that he meant absolutely nothing offense with the sign he posted to announce new Sunday hours for his White House/Post Falls restaurant: “Due to Boredom, Obama, Etc., we need your money.” Raci (pronounced Rah-gee) told Huckleberries that he would have published the same sign in an earlier time with the names of George Bush or Bill Clinton on it. He said he was disappointed that some people are upset, like the man who called him last night to say that he'd never dine at the White House again. Raci reiterated that he meant no offense, pointing out that he has used signs like “Gone fishing” in the past to let customers know that the business was shut for a period of time. Also, he said, he loves this country because you're allowed to express an opinion if you want. In his native Turkey, he said, he might be the target of a bomb for expressing an opinion. He was surprised that Your Huckleberry Hound had never eaten at his restaurant. (Photo courtesy of Kerri Thoreson Facebook page)

Rolling Out The Red Carpet

Workers from American Turf and Carpet roll out the red carpet at the Kadak Theatre in Los Angeles, Wednesday. James Franco and Anne Hathaway will host the 83rd annual Academy Awards Sunday. Story here.  (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Question: Who do you want to see win an Oscar — and for which category?

Hucks Poll: Unions Get Nod

  • Thursday Poll: 141 of 302 respondents (46.7%) said they are pro-union. 127 of 302 (42.1%) said they were anti-union. 19 respondents (9.6%) said they didn't care one way or the other. 5 were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Does downtown Coeur d'Alene have too many watering holes?

‘Obamacare’ Vote Disappoints Vick

State Sen. Steve Vick, R-Hayden Lake, tweets: “HB 117 Hearing, Opting out of Obamacare: I am terribly disappointed to tell you that the bill died on a voice vote in committee today. But I ask you today to remember the words of noted abolitionist Wendell Phillips, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” — Don't ever give up.”

Question: No North Idaho senators serve on the Senate State Affairs Committee, which heard this bill. How do you think the five of them would have voted, if the legislation had made it to the Senate floor.

‘Nullification’ Dies In Senate Panel

Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, moved to send HB 117, the health care nullification bill, to the full Senate with a recommendation that it “do pass.” “I do believe that we as the states do have this right,” Fulcher said. “I believe that we must act.” Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Meridian, seconded the motion, but it failed on a voice vote - only Fulcher and Winder voted in favor. That means the bill dies/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.

Question: Are you as surprised as I am that the push to unilaterally nullify federal health care reform didn't make it to the Idaho Senate floor?

J-Mac: Reunion With Sis Went Great

J-Mac: I just wanted to post a follow up a post I put some time ago. Back in late November, my half sister, whom I had not heard from or seen in 26 years found me online and we have been getting reacquainted ever since. Well, she and her family came up this past Friday and stayed through Tuesday. My wife’s baby shower was Saturday and she really wanted to make it up for that. I don’t really get nervous at all, but I was hugely nervous to meet her on Friday night as she got in around 7:00 pm. Long story short, it went as well as it could possibly have gone. She is beautiful, smart and very, very sweet and her husband and boys were just as great. I took the boys skiing, we did Wolf Lodge, they came to our church…it was just a remarkable weekend getting to know them.

Question: Have you ever reunited with someone that you hadn't seen in at least 5-10 years? How did it go?

Sunset Snow Drift

On her Idaho Scenic Images Facebook wall, talented Linda Lantzy provides this view of snow drifts on the Rathdrum Prairie from Thursday evening.

Kelcie: I Don’t Enjoy Being A Girl

Why is it that companies take advantage of essential materials for life? I don't want to sound whiny, but it seems especially targeted toward female products. Have you ever seen the price of a quality bra? And I could buy a whole meal at Applebee's for how much a pack of Venus razors costs. Maybe I should start taking the French approach. It would be a lot cheaper. Sorry boyfriend — no more shaving for me/Kelcie Moseley, UI Argonaut editor-in-chief. More Off The Cuff column here.

Question: Is it more expensive being a gal than a guy?

Student Sues For Not Making Team

Item: Student sues coaches, Lakeland: Senior claims he didn't have fair shot at making hoops team/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A Lakeland High senior has filed a tort claim against the Lakeland School District, claiming two boys' basketball coaches caused him “emotional distress” and didn't give him a fair chance at making the team. Wesley Bremer, 18, filed the claim seeking $1 million against coaches Trent Derrick and Greg Ward and alleging two separate incidents. Derrick is also the school's athletic director.

Question: What do you make of this lawsuit?

Marty: Jeers To Rep. Dick Harwood

JEERS … to Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St.Maries. Bet you expected public officials to look after your rights. Not so. Harwood would rather defend multinational oil companies. Case in point: the megaloads. There's every reason to question unprecedented large, wide, tall and heavy rolling roadblocks of oil and mining equipment bottling up segments of U.S. Highway 12. But Harwood would block megaload skeptics from petitioning their government for redress of grievances. He'd do it by pricing them right out of the courtroom. Introduced Wednesday, Harwood's bill says anyone who sues to block a megaload must post a bond equal to 5 percent of the shipment's value. If a megaload is worth $10 million, for example, that's $500,000. And if the lawsuit fails, the Idaho Transportation Department gets a payday. Rather a big gamble just to exercise your legal rights, don't you think?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Should private citizens have to post a bond of up to $500,000 to sue to stop ConocoPhillips megaloads?

AM Headlines — 2.25.11

Scott Menter, of Coeur d'Alene, gets a snowboard ride home through more than a foot of snow down 15th Street in Coeur d'Alene, on Thursday, courtesy of his dog Marley. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Jesse Tinsley)

Senate Hears ‘Nullification’ Arguments

The Senate State Affairs Committee has a substantial crowd in the Capitol Auditorium this morning for its hearing on HB 117, the health care nullification bill. Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, the bill's lead sponsor, asked the panel, “Are the state agencies responsible to the federal government or to the state of Idaho? This is not a nullification bill,” he said. “It merely directs state agencies to cease work,” on anything related to the new national health care reform law. “We ask them to stop implementing this onerous bill,” Barbieri said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Rep. Vito Barbieri claims that his legislation is not a 'nullification bill.' Do you have a better term for it?

Hagadone Announces Downtown Club

Item: Night club planned downtown: Hagadone Hospitality to open new entertainment venue near Tito's/Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Hagadone Hospitality has announced a new entertainment venue in downtown Coeur d'Alene. Located on Sherman Avenue next to Tito Macaroni's Restaurant, the new venue will be open seven nights a week, and will also tailor special events to corporate or individual requests.

Question: Does downtown Coeur d'Alene need a new watering hole?

Ramirez: Wisconsin Senate Seats

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

Gonzaga 89, Saint Mary’s 85 (OT)

Sam Dower scored 21 points, Elias Harris added 18 and Gonzaga moved into first-place tie in the West Coast Conference with an 89-85 overtime victory over Saint Mary's on Thursday night.The Bulldogs (20-9, 10-3) overcame a rowdy road crowd and held off the Gaels to keep alive their hopes of building on a decade of dominance in the conference. Gonzaga has won a share of the league's regular-season title each of the past 10 years, and can claim at least a portion of it again with a win against San Diego on Saturday.Matthew Dellavedova had 24 points and Rob Jones scored 21 for Saint Mary's (22-7, 10-3), which has lost two straight conference games and will need a win over Portland this weekend to settle for at least a share of the conference crown/Associated Press. Jim Meehan's SR story here. And: ESPN/AP game story here.

Wild Card/Thursday — 2.24.11

On his blog this afternoon, opinionator Kevin Richert of the Idaho Statesman posts 2 completely different quotes re: today's Senate votes in favor of Tom Luna's “radical” education reform plans: From GOP state superintendent Tom Luna, after two of his overhaul bills passed the Senate on identical 20-15 votes: “This is a great day for Idaho, and its children.” From Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello: “Today is a sad day for educators.” I side with Malepeai. Today will go down in Idaho history as the day that the Idaho Legislature sold out Idaho education. You can agree, disagree, or discuss any other subject with this Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.24.11

Marianne Love, of Slight Detour, writes: “We had a great time out Hope/Clark Fork way. We started at the drift yard, and this photo was taken there. While we were there, Scotsman Peak kept taking on different looks, thanks to the in-and-out actions of the sun and clouds.” More here.

Bill Would Allow Firms To Buy Bus Ads

A bill to allow corporate logos and other business advertisements to adorn black-and-yellow school buses that carry Idaho children to classes has moved to the Senate floor. The Senate Education Committee on Tuesday advanced the bill that was introduced earlier this month by Republican Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder of Boise. Lawmakers contend the ads are needed to offset the state budget deficit that will require nearly $92 million in cuts to Idaho agencies next year/Associated Press. More here. (AP file photo of Rexburg school bus, for illustrative purposes)

Question: Do you think corporations should be allowed to advertise on school buses?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.24.11

  • 5:28 p.m. Snowplow operator reports i/s of H41 & H53/Rathdrum is extemely slick.
  • 5:25 p.m. Kohls has caught a shoplifter who's being cooperative.
  • 5:08 p.m. Woman believes former boyfriend is hiding in her shed on Lamson Lane/Hayden.
  • 4:48 p.m. At least 2 vehicles are stuck in the driveway for the Post Falls post office.
  • 4:45 p.m. Kohls has apprehended a shoplifter who's being cooperative.
  • 4:09 p.m. Man involved in domestic dispute on Starling/Hayden left w/25.06, threatening suicide.
  • Much more below

PM Headlines — 2.24.11

“The Arctic chill and accompanying snow storm brought about 20 robins to seek shelter in the trees and shrubs around our Post Falls home on Thursday,” posts Kerri Thoreson on her Facebook page. “The sight of the birds made me wistful for springtime. More photos of our red-breasted visitors.” More photos of Kerri's robins here.

APhoto Of The Day — 2.24.11

A float depicting United States President Barack Obama with his hat topped off by a man masked as al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, and entitled 'Barack-Adabra' and the Great Circus of the Fleas' is shown at the traditional Viareggio Carnival parade in Viareggio, Italy, Sunday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Paolo Lazzeroni)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Italian float maker Alberto Tuscucinni was only slightly embarrassed when he realized he was given a photo of Sammy Davis Jr. to use as a reference for his float. Said Alberto – “Oh well, a black Jewish man with a Muslim extremist on his hat is still pretty damn funny” — Poolman.
  • 2. Beaten down by a grueling campaign, a shaggy Rahm Emanuel picks up the tools of the trade for his work in defending Obama’s Chicagoland — Ender.
  • 3. I can see Libya from here — Cabbage Boy.
  • HM: Formerly Sandpoint

And That’ll Be $2.85 Extra

I just dropped off IRS and state tax forms at the Coeur d'Alene Post Office. They were relatively simple forms in two different manilla envelopes — $1.05 postage each. Then, the helpful post officer clerk asked if I wanted to mail the envelopes with certified postage. I didn't know what that meant. So I asked. She responded: “Then, you'll have proof that you mailed the envelopes.” I thought to myself that the first-class mailing should be some sort of guarantee that the envelopes were going to get to Boise and Kansas City, right? I might have been OK with paying $2.85 total for the certification. But the cost was $2.85 apiece. Now I'm wondering what's the percentage of mailings to the IRS and Idaho Tax Commission that go missing because they weren't certified.

Question: When did you last lose something in the mail?

Butterfly: 10 Things Not Doing Today

On her blog site, A Butterfly Moment, a homebound kindergarten teacher today, offers “10 things I'm not doing today,” including:

  • Driving on icy roads.
  • Having a minor panic attack from driving on icy roads.
  • Changing out of my pjs.
  • Worrying about the weather.
  • Digging my car out of several inches of snow.
  • Enduring middle of the winter recess duty.
  • Wishing I was home…because I am.

Question: What's something you're not doing today?

Luna Gloats: ‘Great Day For Idaho’

 After the Idaho Senate passed two of his major education-reform bills, schools superintendent Tom Luna issued the following statement: “This is a great day for Idaho, and its children. With these two bills, we have reformed the way we pay teachers, and we have reformed the way school districts can operate by returning authority and flexibility to locally elected school boards. Next, we must reform Idaho's classrooms so all students learn in a 21st century classroom and are prepared to succeed in the world that awaits them”/Brian Murphy & Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Montana Guv: Tea Party Vision Goofy

This Jan. 12, 2010 file photo shows Montana Gov. Brian Scweitzer during a Bozeman City Commission meeting in Bozeman, Mont. Newly elected tea party enthusiasts in Montana are offering a vision of the future with a variety of new proposals. Their state would be a place where officials can ignore U.S. laws and FBI agents get a sheriff's OK before arresting anyone. But some residents, Gov. Schweitzer and even some Republican lawmakers say the bills are making Montana into a laughingstock. Associated Press story here. (AP Photo/Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Sean Sperry, File)

Question: Which state has a more extreme Legislature — Idaho or Montana?

Weather Cancels Winter Film Fest

Susan Drumheller, Idaho Conservation League representative in Bonner County, Facebooked me: “Winter weather has canceled tonight's Winter Wildlands Backcountry Film Fest! Gonzaga U is almost shutdown (except for a basketball game tonight), so that means curtains for the film festival — sponsored by Gonzaga Outdoors, Idaho Conservation League, Spokane Mountaineers and Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.”

Question: Do you know of any other cancellations out there today?

They Didn’t ‘Literally’ Go Through Hell

My Twitter friends are having fun with a quote from state Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, during the education “reform” debate this morning that “They have gone through literal hell to get to this point.” One Twitter buddy observes: “I get a kick out of the use of 'literal' when they actually mean 'figurative.' They didn't literally go through hell. Figuratively.”

Question: Which misuse of a word amuses you most?

Swirls In The Ice

On her Idaho Scenic Images Facebook wall, photographer Linda Lantzy posts this photo from last night of a Lake Coeur d'Alene scene, which she calls “Swirls in the Ice.” She writes: “I could have photographed for hours … but all light was gone in about 15 minutes.”

Quotable Quote — Brad Iverson-Long

“Has no one made the quip to ID Senators today that if they can read the  (Tom Luna plan) bills out loud, they should thank a teacher?” — Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter.

IEA Plans Candlelight Vigils Tonight

The Idaho Senate has passed Senate Bill 1108, the bill to gut teacher rights, on a 20-15 vote. Eight Republican lawmakers joined all seven Democrats in opposing the bill. It will now go to the House Education Committee. There will be candlelight vigils this evening (Thursday, Feb. 24) across Idaho to mark S 1108's passage and to stand in opposition to the continued efforts of Superintendent Tom Luna to railroad these bills through the Legislature. This list will be updated throughout the afternoon/Idaho Education Association. More here.

Reaction?

Otter Backs Wisconsin Governor

Public employee unions have virtually held elected officials “hostage” for too long, Gov. Butch Otter says, voicing his support for fellow GOP Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Otter has weighed in on the issue at a Republican Governors Association-sponsored website. Walker is pushing a bill to limit collective-bargaining rights of many public employees — a bill that has drawn the ire of unions, and has caused Democratic lawmakers to leave the state in an attempt to delay a vote and force negotiations/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you support Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin or the public unions opposing him?

How They Voted On SB 1108

How they voted on SB 1108, trimming teacher contract rights, which passed 20-15:

  • Yes votes (20): Bair, Brackett, Davis, Fulcher, Goedde, Hammond, Heider, Hill, Lodge, McGee, McKague, McKenzie, Mortimer, Nuxoll, Pearce, Siddoway, Smyser, Toryanski, Vick, Winder.
  • No votes (15): Andreason, Bilyeu, Bock, Broadsword, Cameron, Corder, Darrington, Keough, LeFavour, Malepeai, Schmidt, Stegner, Stennett, Tippets and Werk.

Question: You want to give a shoutout or a thumbs down to any particular senator for his/her vote?

Goedde Defends Unfunded Merit Pay

Sen. John Goedde, opening debate on SB 1110, the teacher performance pay bill, said it will reward teachers with bonuses for outstanding work, and let districts pay more to those in hard-to-fill positions. “Senators, we have an educator pay scale that's built in the 19th century,” Goedde said. “It doesn't work, it doesn't recognize excellence.” Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, said, “I'm having a hard time understanding how we're actually funding this. Where does the money actually come from?” Goedde said the cost would be $38 million starting in fiscal year 2013, and “there is no funding source attached to this”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: If you applied the merit pay principle to North Idaho solons, which ones would deserve raises or bonuses?

INW Headlines — 2.24.11

SR photographer Jesse Tinsley is pinch-hitting in the Coeur d'Alene office today, shooting snow scenes. Here, he's taken a photo this morning of Independence Point.

High Noon: Road To Cancer Recovery

Martha Zito knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed. When her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008, Zito became her caregiver. “I had to make all the appointments and take care of the details – the paperwork,” said Zito. “I was so busy, I felt like I didn’t have time to just love her.” Her mother died within a few months of the diagnosis. That experience left Zito longing to help others who were in a similar situation. When she heard about the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program, she immediately volunteered to help. Road to Recovery provides transportation to and from treatment for cancer patients who don’t have a ride or are unable to drive themselves/Cindy Hval, Washington Voices. More here.

Question: Do you volunteer anywhere?

Senate OKs 1st Of Luna’s Bills 20-15

Update: SB 1108 has passed the Senate on a rather close 20-15 vote, with bipartisan opposition. The Senate has now moved immediately to take up SB 1110, the teacher performance pay bill.

“I've received more email on this bill than any other bill in my years in the Legislature,” Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, told the Senate. “We need more time to look at this. … We need more time. What is the rush?”
Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, who repeatedly objected to debate that was offered by Democratic senators on the motion that Davis said was actually debate on the bill, said Bock's argument - great public interest - is a reason to vote on the bill now. “I urge you to vote against the motion,” he said. … The motion to delay debate of SB 1108 indefinitely then was defeated on a straight party-line vote/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you as surprised as I am that Hammond, a former school principal and erstwhile moderate, is embracing Tom Luna's radical plan?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.24.11

A form of summer transportation is covered winter snowfall in Coeur d'Alene Thursday after a 24-hour snowfall total of about a foot in the city by the lake. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

  • Noonish: Mike Perry/KHQ tweets: “The winds are so strong near Hwy 41 they are causing my news rig to fishtail on the slick roads as I drive 10mph in a straight line.”
  • 11:51 a.m. 11YO boy named Marshall (5-2, 75 pounds) has been missing for 90 minutes from day care at C Street & Harrison/CdA after leaving note that said: “I love you mom.” His father lives in Hayden. CityLink driver reports that no one matching that description was on bus to Hayden today.
  • 11:12 a.m. Officer recommends that Prairie, b/n H41 & Huetter, be shut. Visiblity 5 to 20 feet.
  • 11:08 a.m. Officer wonders if highway district is considering shutting Prairie b/c visibility poor.
  • 11:05 a.m. J. in WalMart accidentally hit one too many 1's and made 911 call.
  • 10:55 a.m. 2 accidents in I-90 @ Pleasantview area — one involving semi & passenger vehicle on an offramp, other involving passenger car and detour sign at stateline.
  • 10:46 a.m. Sheriff's deputy reports he's just been hit by a car on Prairie, east of Huetter, and asks for dispatch to send an ISP officer to investigate. No one is injured.
  • Much more below

Quotable Quote — JimmyMAC

Online classes are for the birds. I personally dropped both classes I attempted to take online. Just not my cup o tea — JimmyMAC.

Hucks Online: Concealed Weapons

  • Wednesday Poll: 110 of 177 respondents (62.2%) said they don't support legislation before the Idaho Legislature that would allow Idahoans to carry concealed weapons without permits. 66 of 177 (37.3%) support the bill. One person was undecided.
  • Edgar Steele Poll: 60 of 90 respondents (66.7%) believe that former Aryan Nations attorney Edgar Steele can get a fair trial in Kootenai County in his murder-for-hire case. 23 of 90 (25.5%) said he can't get a fair trial in this county. Seven (7.8%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: What do you think of unions?

Last Demo: Why So Anti-Union?

Pro-union demonstrators show signs to passing drivers outside the Comfort Suites in Urbana, Ill., Thursday. About 30 Democratic members of the Indiana House of Representatives are staying at the hotel after fleeing Indianapolis this week to avoid voting on labor- and education-related legislation they oppose. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

LastDemoInIdaho: What bothers me a bit more is the well-oiled, orchestrated effort by GOP governors and legislators (with the bucks from various billionaires available as needed) to finally kill sick and dormant labor unions. Our country’s middle class was built on effective labor unions that made sure my father’s family (and probably many of your families as well) could survive and grow. I was the first in my family to attend a university. Without a solid union job behind our family, I am sure I would have spent my adult life laboring in the same oil refinery as my father and uncles and cousins.

Question: Last Demo goes on to wonder why Republicans and many young people are so anti-union. Has a union made your life or the life of your family better?

John: Best Time To Overhaul McEuen

JohnA: I think MikeK is right to defer the question of cost until the plan is more firmly in place. That said, there clearly has never been a better time to build. Public works contracts I’ve seen lately are coming in well below engineer’s estimates, as hungry contractors are sharpening their pencils. Too, despite Gary’s concerns on urban renewal debt, financing costs have rarely been lower than they are now. Coupling the two factors of construction and financing costs shows that now is the time to move ahead if the city wishes to move ahead with McEuen at all. As a long time proponent of the upgrade, I’d advocate moving ahead sooner than later, as generations of users await the results.

Question: Some have argued that this is a poor time to be overhauling McEuen Field, due to the Great Recession. What do you think of John's argument that this might be the best time to do so?

Libya Rebellion Gooses Gas Prices

A local convenience store in Lawrence, Kan., had to improvise when fuel prices required more number two's than were on hand Thursday. Oil prices rose again Thursday as the rebellion in Libya appeared to have shut down even more oil production than previously estimated. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Question: How much higher do gas prices have to go before your driving habits are affected?

Spokane, Tacoma Struggle For No. 2

What do you give someone when you’ve already given them the greatest present they’ll ever know? I ask because I lost a bet and have to pay off. I didn’t really lose the bet myself as much as I lost it on behalf of all residents of Tacoma. If we had surpassed Spokane as the state’s second-most-populated city, I would be the one accepting the payoff. But you all dropped the ball in the procreation department. As reported Wednesday by the U.S. Census, Spokane retains the silver medal as runner-up to the mutually resented Seattle. It wasn’t even close, with Spokane building a 10,519 human advantage after leading by just 2,073 in 2000. I bet Doug Clark, a columnist for The Spokesman-Review/Peter Callaghan, Tacoma News Tribune. More here. (SR file photo of Spokane falls)

Question: I've always wondered why Spokane and Tacoma care so much re: which city is second most populated in Washington state. Neither will ever supplant Seattle as No. 1. Can anyone explain this to me?

Adam: Fear, Loathing In Ed Reform

The anti-education left has on its side, the powerful allies of fear and loathing of the unknown. Most voters know what a brick and mortar public school operating for a set number of periods with teachers in every classroom looks like. This whole online learning thing is unknown to a great percentage of voters. And there’s nothing easier for demogogues to make people scared of than the unknown. To make matters more difficult, out of staters will likely have some role in the software area, and most anyone who has extensive experience with this sort of system will be out of state. Other than the unknown, nothing can make people more scared than outsiders/Adam Graham, Adam's Blog. More here.

Question: State Sen. Steve Vick tweeted this morning that the Idaho Education Association appears to be the prime opponent to Tom Luna's education 'reform' plans. Others say that the entire state of Idaho is up in arms against the radical changes. Who do you think is right?

K-12 Speaker Backs Luna Plans

A man Newsweek once called America’s most influential baby boomer in education comes to the Idaho Statehouse Thursday to support online education and Idaho schools chief Tom Luna’s reform bills. Tom Vander Ark, pictured, who oversaw $3.5 billion in grants as head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, calls himself a “frustrated independent” unattached to a political party. He now works on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s “Digital Learning Now” project and is a partner in Learn Capital, a private equity investor concentrating on education innovation worldwide. He was invited by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank, lobbying group and news outlet, which paid travel expenses/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you expect the Idaho Senate to follow suit and OK Superintendent Tom Luna's education 'reform' package today?

AM Headlines — 2.24.11

Coeur d'Alene's Carli Rosenthal (24) tries to get aournd the defense of Lewiston's Savannah Blinn (21) during a State Girls 5A Basketball Championship game between Lewiston Bengals and Coeur d'Alene Vikings at the Idaho Center in Nampa on Saturday. The 6-foot-3 Rosenthal has committed to play college basketball at St. Mary's in Morago, Calif. Story here. (SR file photo)

Lowe Firing Costing $25K Per Month

The firing of former state Transportation Director Pam Lowe, and defending the resulting wrongful-termination lawsuit, is costing Idaho about $25,000 a month, the Idaho Statesman reports today, with the state's legal bills for the outside lawyers it's hired to handle the case now at $257,913 and counting. That's just for March through December. A trial in the case is scheduled for Aug. 8, and there are a lot big legal bills to come; last month, the state submitted a 5,400-page brief in the case/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (SR file photo of Pam Lowe)

Question: Could the Otter administration have handled the firing of former state Transportation Director more poorly?

Zags Face Gaels In WCC Showdown

A win over Saint Mary’s, which has lost only once at home, to Utah State last Saturday, and another over San Diego on Saturday would guarantee Gonzaga (19-9, 9-3) at least a share of title No. 11, trailing only UCLA’s 13-year run (1967-79, Pac-8/10) as the longest in D-I history. GU is tied with Connecticut (1951-60, Yankee) and UNLV (1983-92, Big West). “We’ve almost climbed out of the hole, but this last little bit, the last 10 meters of this hole is probably the steepest, darkest and toughest part,” Few said. “We’ll see if we’re up to the task”/Jim Meehan, SportsLink. More here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle, of Gonzaga's Robert Sacre and Saint Marys Michael Young at The Kennel Jan. 27.)

Question: Who will win? Why?

Blizzard Dumps 11 Inches Of Snow

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After nearly a foot of snow blanketed the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas, the National Weather Service has another treat in store. A blizzard warning is in effect until noon today for most of the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas as well as Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint, Davenport and Cheney. A temperature of 10 degrees was reported at 7 a.m. with a northeast wind of 16 mph. Wind today could gust to 32 mph. The National Weather Service said that 11 inches of snow was recorded at Spokane International Airport since Wednesday/Mike Prager, SR. More here. (AP illustration)

Question: Did you get caught in traffic or experience any close calls during the snow dump yesterday and this morning? Are you waiting out the storm and cold by huddling indoors?

Signe: Teacher Education

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Hump Day Wild Card — 2.23.11

I'd guess Councilman Ron Edinger is getting ready to run for re-election again, judging from the way he's been cozying up to the Reagan Republicans and OpenCDA crowd in the last few weeks. He's certainly making it harder for the aforementioned to run someone against him this week by coming out strongly in favor of a public vote on McEuen Field. But I wonder whether Mayor Sandi Bloem and others feel as though they've been thrown under the bus by the way Edinger has broken from them and taken his stand with opponents. You can discuss Edinger's positioning or anything else you'd like by using this Wild Card …

P.S. Jesus Statue Overlooks Whitefish

Lyle Burke of Alberta, Canada poses with a statue of Jesus Christ near the top of Chair 2 at Big Mountain Resort in Whitefish, Mont., on Sunday. Passers-by have visited and had their photos taken with the iconic statue since it was first installed in 1955 as a tribute to war veterans. Story here. (AP Photo/Missoulian, Linda Thompson)

Boisean Begins Luna Recall Drive

Some Idahoans are at the boiling point when it comes to education reform. But now an official petition calling for Idaho's school chief to step down is circulating. “Last night I scanned in the petition,” said Nancy Berto, petition organizer. “I started emailing it to people all over the state and this morning I've already got some messages on my email and so I'm hopeful.” Berto is hoping to collect enough signatures to recall Idaho superintendent Tom Luna. She'll need more than 150,000 signatures to do so/Jen Wahl, KBOI. More here.

Question: Would you support a recall effort against Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna?

Obama Drops Defense Of DOMA

President Obama has instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which has since 1996 banned federal recognition of same-sex unions. The announcement was made in a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to congressional leaders in relation to two lawsuits, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States, which challenge a section of DOMA that defines marriage for federal purposes as only between one man and one woman. Obama “has made the determination,” Holder wrote, that Section 3 “as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment”/ABC News. More here.

Question: Do you support the decision by the Obama administration to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans the recognition of same-sex unions?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.23.11

Here's the whiteout scene that KHQ's Mike Perry ran into as he drove south on H95 from Coeur d'Alene a few minutes ago.

  • 5:21 p.m. Java on Sherman reports an unwanted person in coffee shop.
  • 5:15 p.m. Vehicles on slick hill along Kathleen Avenue are stuck because they can't drive down.
  • 4:53 p.m. Officer reports w/b Seltice Way is backed up from H41 to Commerce Loop due to weather.
  • 4:47 p.m. NIC maintenance workers are locking buildings as weather closes night school.
  • 4:43 p.m. Whiteout conditions reported on H41 from M/P 8 to 18 (Diagonal to Spirit Lake).
  • 4:41 p.m. Snowplow operator tells buddy he's wasting his time by trying to plow city streets if “they look like the boulevard.” He adds: “Best thing we could do is get a helicopter to drop some sand.”
  • 4:29 p.m. Patrol officers is investigating 3-vehicle crash on Ramsey, north of Alps Street.
  • 4:15 p.m. 2 elderly women are sitting in vehicle that's spun wrong way on Ramsey & Honeysuckle.
  • 4:12 p.m. Caller reports suspicious subjects in 1300 block of Indiana/CdA.
  • 3:59 p.m. Skyway Elementary/CdA reports a student missing.
  • 3:56 p.m. Patrol officer is en route to Priest River crash in which school bus was rear-ended.
  • Much more traffic crash news below

Merit Pay Splits YouTube Star, IEA

On Monday, Jonny Saunders, a student at Timberline High School in Boise, unleashed a powerful speech against education reform plans proposed by Superintendent Tom Luna, an address that has become a local YouTube hit, garnering more than 18,000 views in less than 48 hours on the social media site. In the speech, Saunders labeled Luna as a crook, beholden to corporate interests, and said that the reform plans would lead to a poor education system in the Gem State. During one portion of his speech, Saunders vehemently argued against merit pay, saying that the plan would ultimately lead to educators to only teach to tests. What makes his merit pay presentation particularly interesting is that it came at a pro-education rally to protest Luna’s plan but one controversial element of the plan, merit pay, is supported by the largest teachers’ organization in the state/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here. (Photo courtesy Idaho Reporter)

Question: Does Jonny Saunders disagreement with the teachers union on merit pay take away from his passionate speech against Superintendent Tom Luna's education “reform” proposals?

Denney Cig Bill Angers Idaho Tribes

The Idaho Council on Indian Affairs is meeting in the state Capitol today, and its members expressed strong concerns about the introduction of legislation today regarding tobacco taxes on reservations without any consultation with the tribes. “Nobody's ever talked to us, approached us,” said Chief Allan, chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. “I'm a little disappointed again that all of our efforts, all of these tribal leaders around the table trying to bridge that gap with the state, we seem to be taking a step backwards again. That's not the way I envisioned this. I would hope we as two government bodies could sit around the table and work our differences out”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. And: Denney bill here.

Question: Shouldn't House Speaker Lawerence Denney have consulted with Idaho's five tribes before introducing legislation that significantly affects them?

Kids Say The Darndest Things

Toadman: Blame the snow on our three year old. Yesterday my wife said he stood at our window watching it try to snow, but not stick, and said: “HEY GOD! COULD YOU PLEASE LET IT SNOW ALL THE SNOW THERE IS?!” I may have to re-think my agnosticism. ;-)

Sea-Tac Area Cafe Bans TSA Agents

Fed up with what he views as crappy treatment from the TSA, the owner of a restaurant near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has decided to put all TSA agents on his No-Eat List. “We have posted signs on our doors basically saying that they aren't allowed to come into our business,” one employee tells travel journalist Christopher Elliott. “We have the right to refuse service to anyone.” She says that whenever a TSA agent attempts to dine at the restaurant, “we turn our backs and completely ignore them, and tell them to leave… Their kind aren't welcomed in our establishment”/Chris Morran, The Consumerist. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: How would you describe your treatment at the hands of airport security?

Steve: You Should Stay In Bed

When I was 5, I used to run with scissors. When I was 10, I sledded — with the sled pointing in the wrong direction — down Red Hill in Pocatello. When I was 15, I drove a Volkswagen Beetle whose floorboards had rusted away. Now, approaching 60, I’m reduced to checking my shoes for brown recluse spiders before I put them on in the morning — and remember, this is February in Idaho. And I drive much slower than I care to admit. Feet of Clay Syndrome, it’s called — the gradual realization that just about everything you’ve done all your life could kill you. And sooner than you think/Steve Crump, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.

Question: Are you as much of a risk taker today as you were 10 years ago?

Steele’s Lawyer Wants Trial Moved

Edgar Steele's lawyers want his murder-for-hire trial moved to Wyoming. A change of venue request filed by Robert McAllister and Gary Amendola cites “negative pre-trial publicity” that will hinder finding an impartial jury in North Idaho. The lawyers say ongoing news coverage, including the release of phone calls that are the basis for a witness tampering charge against Steele, was assisted by the U.S. government or Spokane County Jail officials. “There was no need for anyone to release evidence in a criminal case to the media other than to gain an unfair advantage,” according to the motion/Meghann Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels. More here.

Question: Can Edgar Steele get a fair trial in Kootenai County?

INW Headlines — 2.23.11

A tractor-trailer sits in the ditch at the scene of an accident on U.S. Highway 95 about three miles north of Moscow Tuesday, after a snowstorm hit the region. No one was injured in the accident. Scanner Traffic is picking up numerous crashes & rollovers in the region with the new storm this afternoon. (AP Photo/Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Geoff Crimmins)

High Noon: Lefse, Anyone?

On her Facebook wall, Taryn Hecker-Thompson writes that her mother-in-law will be teaching her how to make lefse this afternoon — and that she's frantically cleaning the house before the cleaning lady shows up because she doesn't want Phil's mom to see the current mess in the house. All of which prompted Beth Bollinger to respond: “My grandma always made lefse - a couple years, she mailed me lefse packets at Christmas time.”

Question: Do you have a cultural food for your nationality that you like best?

Raul Labrador’s Ritzy Meeting Flier

As you know, Congressman Raul Labrador is death on taxes and spending. Yet, as one Coeur d'Alene resident points out to Huckleberries Online, he used his franking privileges to send out an impressive flier inviting Coeur d'Alene area residents to his town hall in the Lake City Monday night.

Question: Does a ritzy flyer like the one mailed to Coeur d'Alene residents (above) undermine Congressman Labrador's message of fiscal conservatism?

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.23.11

  • 12:05 a.m. A child was injured at Harrison Elementary when he ran into the monkey bars.
  • 12:03 a.m. Roy @ 4855 Ohio Match reports someone purporting to be a Microsoft technician called to ask him turn on his business computer.
  • 11:51 a.m. An elderly woman suffered a possible concussion in a T-bone accident in the parking lot of the Mongolian Barbecue, 1901 Seltice Way/Post Falls.
  • 11:40 a.m. Caller reports that a friend is threatening suicide in 200 block of Indiana/CdA.
  • 10:32 a.m. Carolyn @ Morris & Miles/Hayden has caught 2 loose Husky dogs.
  • 9:44 a.m. Snowplow operator asks that blocking Chevy pickup be removed from H54 & Sylvan/Athol.
  • 9:42 a.m. Yuri reports his vehicle is missing from 3500 block of Hudlow Drive/Post Falls.
  • 9:14 a.m. Kimberly on Blueberry Circle/Hayden has lost her dog.
  • 8:58 a.m. S, @ Singer & H53/Rathdrum reports someone shot his dog 2 weeks ago.
  • 8:50 a.m. Employee at Owl Cafe on Government Way reports money missing from till. There's no evidence of a break-in.
  • 8:37 p.m. Caller reports that a registered sex offender is visiting someone in 8600 block of Courcelles Parkway, which is close to Skyway Elementary.
  • 8:36 p.m. PFPD Blue asks dispatch to tell highway crew that Poleline is extremely icy.
  • 8:26 p.m. A woman is trapped in a Toyota Highlander that rolled @ Meyer & Poleline/Post Falls.
  • 8:16 p.m. DMV on Government Way reports a wanted person sitting in waiting area.

DanG On McEuen: Show Me The $$$

Dan Gookin: Even so, the big nut in the McEuen fruitcake is the cost. The public has a right to know how much it will be paying, not only for the whole enchilada but (as Mr. Edinger mentioned over and over yesterday) the maintenance and operations for eternity. I find it sad that such information is unknown at this point. From my viewpoint, it’s predictable from a City Hall that is unwilling to be completely honest with the public regarding costs and impacts of something that will have a major impact to the city. I also find it highly questionable that such an ambitious project is taking place with such urgency in these economic times. Full post below.

Question: Do you think proposed changes to McEuen Field are affordable and sustainable?

An Egyptian Baby Named Facebook

A young man in his twenties wanted to express his gratitude about the victories the youth of 25th of January have achieved and chose to express it in the form of naming his firstborn girl “Facebook” Jamal Ibrahim (his name.) The girl's family, friends, and neighbors in the Ibrahimya region gathered around the new born to express their continuing support for the revolution that started on Facebook. “Facebook” received many gifts from the youth who were overjoyed by her arrival and the new name. A name [Facebook] that shocked the entire world/Gawker. More here. (AP photo for illustrative purposes) H/T: Cabbage Boy

Question: If you were to honor a high-tech device or social media for improving your life by naming a daughter or son after it, what name would you choose?

Poll: Taser Cop Didn’t Deserve Firing

  • Tuesday Poll: 90 of 163 respondents (55.2%) voted that former Post Falls police officer Ian Johnson shouldn't have been fired for pretending to use a Taser on a friend while on duty. 61 of 163 respondents (37.4%) support the firing. 12 were undecided.
  • Today's Question: Should Idahoans be allowed to carry concealed weapons without permits?

Lindsay Lohan Faces Theft Charge

Lindsay Lohan is surrounded by photographers as she leaves Los Angeles Superior Court on earlier today. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz told Lindsay Lohan on Wednesday he would sentence her to jail if she accepted a plea deal from prosecutors to avoid trial for allegedly stealing a $2,500 necklace from an upscale jewelry store. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Question: What advice would you give Lindsay Lohan, if she was your daughter?

Kerri: 5 Years Later … Life Is Good

Five years ago tomorrow I received two coronary arterial stents at Kootenai Heart Center. I was 53 years old. February is Heart Health Month but every month it's important to listen to your heart. Heart disease kills more women each year than all forms of cancer combined. Since Feb. 24, 2006 I've celebrated five more birthdays of my own and of my daughters and grandsons, viewed 1,770 sunsets, watched a grandson graduate from high school and just enjoyed every single day of the second chance at life I was blessed to receive. Life is good/Kerri Thoreson, Main Street, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you enjoy life more today as a result of overcoming a serious injury or illness?

Moscow Prepares For Hamptonfest

As the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival approaches, businesses in Moscow are preparing for the mass amount of people who will be in town. The University of Idaho ticket office is continuing to sell tickets and has almost sold out for Friday nights show. “Tickets have been on sale since the beginning of the semester and we have found that Friday is the most popular because the Manhattan Transfer is a band that is popular and people are familiar with,” said Samantha Purcell, UI ticket sales representative. Local restaurants, including Applebee's and Smoky Mountain have been ordering more products to prepare/Kayla Hermann, UI Argonaut. More here. (AP illustration of Lionel Hampton)

Question: Which jazz musician is your favorite?

Reed: Law Prohibits McEuen Vote

In a 9-page report presented to the General Services Committee Tuesday, attorney Scott Reed argues that state law prohibits the City Council for asking for a public vote on proposed McEuen Field changes. Writes Reed: “The McEuen Park Plan is an administrative action, not legislative, and cannot be under any circumstance or future revision be subject of a city election for a public vote.” You can read Scott's entire opinion here. After a public discussion on the matter Tuesday, Councilman Ron Edinger made a motion to hold a public vote on McEuen Field changes. The motion died for a lack of a second from Councilmen John Bruning and Mike Kennedy, who chaired the meeting.

Question: Do you agree with Scott Reed's opinion?

Dennis: Murdered For Sharing Bibles

As I read the reports of the four American citizens who were brutally shot and killed yesterday by Somali pirates, I had to stop and ask the question of myself in the title, above. What would I give my life for? These Christians gave their lives for the distribution of Bibles in war ravaged lands. For Bibles … Like the Bible that's sitting on my shelf…or your shelf? Often unused. More than a book, the Bible represents freedom. And to the four people who were killed by pirates, it represents eternal freedom/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Is there something that you would give your life for?

AM Headlines — 2.23.11

Only five years after opening a convention center expansion, the Spokane Public Facilities District is pressing ahead with another expansion. This one would cost $60 miiion. Jonathan Brunt SR story here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

NI Guitarist Has Stars In His Eyes

Caden Davis steps off the stage as the crowd cheers. The singer/guitarist, along with his band, are at the end of a particularly aggressive set: AC/DC, Ted Nugent, ZZ Top, plus an original or two thrown in for good measure.They've traveled to Smelterville to play a pre-Superbowl show at a small, smoky lounge. It's their first real gig together, the first time Caden and the band have traveled out of town and played a real show for a real audience.”Ugh,” he says, when asked about how he felt on stage. “Just … AHHHH! That's ugh.” The life of a rock star can be a lot to take in when you're 11/Tim Martin, KXLY. More here.

Question: Did you dream of being a rock star when you were young? Did you play in a high school band?

Marty: Luna Guilty Of Political Fraud

mid all the weekend revelations about Idaho schools Superintendent Tom Luna's effort to create a multimillion-dollar market for his friends in the online education industry is something hiding in plain sight: Luna didn't just concoct eliminating 770 teaching jobs, crowding more kids into smaller classes and steering some of the savings toward providers of online courses. That's simply not credible given how long Luna has been in bed with the people running that industry. All of which suggests Idaho's top educator is guilty of political fraud. When did you hear Luna talk about this massive reorganization of your tax dollars away from teacher salaries and into the pockets of his friends in the online education industry? Not during his re-election campaign/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Did Superintendent Tom Luna have a moral obligation to Idahoans to unveil has radical education reform proposals during his 2010 re-election campaign?

White House Grill Switches Sign

Raci at White House Grill would rather switch than fight. Now that he's received considerable publicity for posting the sign on his building that originally said: “Do to boredom, Obama, etc., we need your money,” he has changed his sign. You can see what it now sez above. Kerri Thoreson posted this on her Facebook wall Tuesday.

Question: What do you think of the “corrected” sign offering White House fare?

Kevin: The Year Of The Protest

There is, at least, one good thing about the contentious and difficult 2011 legislative session. On the issues that matter most, Idahoans are the most engaged. On Saturday, about 1,000 Idahoans gathered at the Statehouse to protest cuts to Medicaid, one of 17 rallies held across the state. On Presidents Day — a school holiday, but a working Monday for the Legislature — more than 1,000 people converged at the Capitol to protest state superintendent Tom Luna’s sweeping plan to overhaul public education. Again, similar events took place statewide. Democracy should work this way. Issues of statewide importance, and generational significance, ought to be debated on a statewide stage/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: When did you last attend a protest rally? What was it for? How did things turn out?

Harwood Targets Megaload Lawsuits

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, has introduced legislation requiring anyone who files a lawsuit against a transportation project on state highways to post a bond equal to 5 percent of the value of the items being hauled, and if the plaintiffs lose the lawsuit, the whole bond would go to the Idaho Transportation Department. Plus, the bill would authorize the court to award damages to the hauler in the amount of its loss for delays related to the lawsuit. Harwood said, “This has been brought because of the megaloads. Any time an individual group can stop our commerce from flowing, it's not a good thing, and that's what happened”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you support Rep. Dick Harwood's attempt to price megaloads protesters out of a judicial remedy in the fight over megaloads?

Signe: Knockout Punch

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Wild Card/Tuesday — 2.22.11

Idaho Reporter has been watching the views on that 10-minute YouTube video in which Timberline High student Jonny Sanders of Boise schools Superintendent Tom Luna on this education “reform” ideas. The video has received 8383 views and counting. You can see it here. Now, for your Wild Card …

Parting Shots — 2.22.11

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Here's a roundup of the top photos from the Associated Press wire …

‘Desperate Housewives’ Desperate

Oh, let me count the ways I used to be a fan of “Desperate Housewives.” That's right - past tense. After tonight's episode, I quit. I have watched every episode three or four times. I have bonded to Terry Hatcher, as Susan. I have related to her ever since she locked herself out of her house, stark naked. It’s something I would do. I have followed her every antic thinking how I would handle the same situation, and I have found myself thinking, when I’m in a predicament, “What would Susan do?” And, shazam! They made Susan go on dialysis - just like me! This has got to be good, I thought. BUT - Susan is NOT doing what I do and I would be embarrassed and mortified if I acted as she is/JeanieS, Nuts & Nonsense. More here.

Question: Which sitcom character do you most identify with?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.22.11

  • 5:39 p.m. Traffic lights on Hayden Avenue @ H41 aren't recycling.
  • 5:30 p.m. Rathdrum area woman named Barbara reports UPS truck almost ran her off road.
  • 5:13 p.m. Caller reports an injured animal on road @ 4th & Neider/CdA.
  • 4:53 p.m. German shepherd is chasing animals @ 3874 Chase/Post Falls.
  • 4:44 p.m. 2-vehicle blocking accident on H54 M/P 7 (Athol city limits).
  • 4:13 p.m. Triple Play/Hayden reports suspicious male on premises.
  • 4:05 p.m. Resident @ Finucane & Honeysuckle reports waking up to stranger in home.
  • 3:51 p.m. Resident @ Aspen & Cedar/Post Falls reports fire in dryer.
  • More below

APhoto Of The Day — 2.22.11

A woman in a fur coat watches a sexy mannequin at a flee market in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on an icecold Tuesday. Temperatures went down minus 5 degrees Celsius, the forecast predicts sunny but cold weather for the next days. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Dress code for public educators: Myth vs Reality.What the CDA Press assumes is displayed on the right while an actual teacher is seen on the left — Nic.
  • 2. “I’m wearing fur. What do you mean, what fur? It’s the coldest temps in recent mammory, that’s what fur” — JohnA.
  • 3. “Hey! My eyes are up here,” says the computer voice of a sexy mannequin in Gelsenkirchen, Germany — Gary D. Rhodes.
  • HM: Brent

Holiday Weekend

Unexpected
but quite merry -
sunny days in
 February!

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Elevator Baby

Patrick and Crystal Leming of Lecompton are pictured with their infant daughter Alyssa in their Lecompton, Kan., home on Monday. Alyssa was born in a Kansas hospital elevator Friday. (AP Photo/Journal-World, Nick Krug)

Question: Were you or your children born somewhere other than a hospital?

North Idaho Blogs — 2.22.11

Here's another of Raymond Pert's “faceless photography.” In his Kellogg Bloggin' post today, he has several black-and-white portraits under the heading: “Prayer.” More here.

Weekly Blog Numbers (for week of Feb. 13-19): 52,880 page-views/31,676 unique views

15 Inches Of Snow For Bonners Ferry

Heavy snow has been falling in portions of North Idaho today with up to 15 inches measured in the Bonners Ferry area through about 1 p.m. At the same time, winter storm warnings were issued for Wednesday and Thursday for Northeast Washington and North Idaho as a new storm system and arctic front arrive. The 15 inches were measured by a trained spotter just south of Bonners Ferry today, while another spotter six miles to the northeast had 12.5 inches as of early this afternoon. Heavy snow was also falling in Latah County and portions of the Washington Palouse. The Idaho State Police were asking drivers in Latah County to stay off the roads for the time being. Moscow had 6 inches of snow as of about 1:20 p.m., according to a trained spotter/Mike Prager, SR. More here.

Question: Anyone pulling his/her hair out today because we're not suppose to get this much snow in late February and minus-3 degrees awaits at week's end?

New Zealand Earthquake

The Christchurch, New Zealand, suburb of Bexley is flooded following an earthquake, earlier today. A powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday Tuesday, killing and trapping dozens in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP/ New Zealand Herald photo: Mark Mitchell)

Question: Have you ever experienced an earthquake? What was it like?

UI Poll: Ranchers Remain Popular

Item: Poll shows ranchers are getting more popular, not less/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman

More Info: The University of Idaho poll found that 89 percent of Idaho residents approve of livestock grazing as a legitimate practice on public lands, and 85 percent support it as an appropriate use along with hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing and hunting. Most important to the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission that sponsored the poll it shows that 86 percent of the 618 people chosen randomly want public lands grazing to continue.

Question: Does you family have ranching blood in its background?

Ladybug! Ladybug! Fly Away Home

A ladybug leaves a trail as it makes its way across a rain speckled window in Woolwich, Maine. With spring just around the corner, ladybugs are awakening and coming indoors. (AP file photo/Pat Wellenbach)

Question: I spotted a ladybug in my upstairs bathroom over the weekend. I hope it found shelter from the return of winter this week. How about you? Have you seen any ladybugs around the place?

Legislature Unfriending Lots Of Folks

If you're wealthy, straight, don't belong to a union and have no disabilities, the Idaho Legislature likes you. But if you take part in any social services, are gay or lesbian, have disabilities, belong to a union or live in the wrong area, most state lawmakers don't like you. Lawmakers certainly don't like teachers. If they did, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter wouldn't be singing the praises of public schools chief Tom Luna's plan to get rid of more than 700 teachers. The fact that even school board members and school administrators have called Luna's plan unacceptable means nothing. The idea of enlarging classroom sizes to pay for Luna's “reforms” indicates Idaho doesn't care about its children, either/Sandra Kelly, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Question: Would you un-Friend the 2011 Idaho Legislature based on its votes, actions, and comments so far this session?

Concealed Weapons Sans Permits?

Though no one appears to know when the first shot will be fired, law enforcement officials around the state are concerned about a looming proposal to change Idaho’s gun law. The proposal, which is supported by the National Rifle Association but has no lawmaker’s name attatched to it yet, would enable Idaho citizens to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. If the proposal passes, Idaho would join Alaska, Arizona and Vermont as the only states with so-called “concealed carry” laws/Idaho State Journal.

Question: Should Idahoans be allowed to carry concealed weapons without a special permit?

McEuen Field Public Vote Try Dies

Mike Kennedy, chairman of the General Services Committee, told Huckleberries after today's meeting that the public vote issue for McEuen Field is dead. He said he discussed the matter with the city attorney's office. Unless Councilman Ron Edinger can prove that the matter wasn't properly vetted at the GSC meeting, he can't bring it to the full board. Also, Kennedy said that the audience opposed the public vote by a count of 26-14. Read Alison Boggs meeting story here.

  • 1:29 p.m. Ron Edinger's motion for a public vote on McEuen Field changes dies for a lack of a second. (Mike Kennedy & John Bruning are other council members on subcommittee)
  • 1:17 p.m. Ron Edinger said the city can do whatever it wants with the area beyond the left field fence of American Legion park (to City Hall). But he wants AL park & boat launch left alone.
  • 1:13 p.m. Ron Edinger great respect for Scott Reed, but … great cost involved, against scarring of Tubbs Hill. Sez “I went thru hell to try and save that hill, the boat launch should stay.”
  • 1:10 p.m. Guy from post falls is pounding podium and vehemently defending boat launch but doesn't want a public vote.
  • 1:06 p.m. Gary Ingram supports public vote. Jack Riggs and Sandy Patano are opposed. Terry Harris of KEA is saying call for vote is premature
  • 1:02 p.m. More people opposed to public vote. Scott Reed is making a case against public vote. Nothing in Idaho constitution allows for public vote. Can't vote on administrative matters.
  • 1 p.m. Rita Sims-Snyder, of Friends of McEuen Field, reiterates support for public vote re: proposed changes to McEuen Field, stating its the wrong time to spend money in a sour economy.

Montana Guv: Nullification unAmerican

Gov. Brian Schweitzer, pictured, told fellow Democrats Monday that bills advancing in the Republican-controlled Legislature to “nullify” federal laws in Montana are “anti-American” and do nothing to solve problems faced by the state. Schweitzer, speaking to a meeting of House Democrats, said if Montanans and others disagree with federal polices, they can advocate for Congress to change them. “But a state like Montana saying, ‘We will pick and choose which laws we will enforce?' ” the governor said. “That's not the American way. … “Some of these (bills) are actually passing. … The nullifying bills are anti-American”/Mike Dennison, Missoulian. More here.  (AP file photo)

Question: Do you think “nullification” bills are un-American, as Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer does?

INW Headlines — 2.22.11

The next megaload to travel east from the Port of Lewiston on U.S. Highway 12, weather permitting, will be a test load for ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil, to see if one of these bright-blue steel refinery structures built for the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada, would be able to travel the highway through Idaho. Elaine Williams' story for Lewiston Tribune here. (Lewiston Tribune photo: Barry Kough)

Kennedy Panel Studies McEuen Vote

A Berry Picker tells Huckleberries that approximately 60 people are attending a General Services Committee meeting re: a possible public vote on proposed McEuen Field changes that began at noon at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. The three-member committee is chaired by Councilman Mike Kennedy. In a Coeur d'Alene Press article this morning, reporter Tom Hasslinger quoted Friends of McEuen member Rita Sims-Snyder as saying: “We want them to give us an agenda item at the City Council.” More here.

Question: Do you think Mayor Sandi Bloem and the City Council will opt for a public vote on McEuen Field changes?

Local Man Has George Washington Tie

Bob Asbury of Liberty Lake, is a descendant of George Washington's brother Samuel Washington pictured in the portrait on the wall. Mike Prager's SR story here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Question: Are you related to someone important?

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.22.11

  • 11:55 a.m. Jacob in security office reports drug pipe found in WalMart/Hayden parking lot.
  • 11:50 a.m. EMTs are checking out man w/medical problem parked near KMC resource office.
  • 11:34 a.m. 70YO man is unconscious after suffering heart problem @ doctor's office on Mullan/PF
  • 11:01 a.m. KCSO fields suicide threat from 2000 block of Candy Lane/Harrison.
  • 11 a.m. Business @ 10000 Government Way wants officer to pick up found wallet at front desk.
  • 10:32 a.m. Center Partners worker reports threats from ex-worker who was fired 6 months ago.
  • 10:25 a.m. Man in H41 trailer park reports his significant other threw baby formula at him.
  • 10:15 a.m. ISP advises truckers to chain up in the Bonners Ferry area and cautions motorists to be aware that trucks are chaining up alongside the highway. Visibility is a quarter mile there.
  • 9:51 a.m. Flames are showing in vehicle fire in WalMart parking lot on Honeysuckle/Hayden.
  • 9:24 a.m. An 84YO diabetic is unconscious in 3900 block of E. 16th/Post Falls.
  • 9:09 a.m. A parent in 600 block of W. Lacey/Hayden reports 16YO ran away last night.
  • 8:27 a.m. Officer responding to 8:15 call reports vehicle rolled over and is now abandoned.
  • 8:15 a.m. Bus driver reports that speeding white SUV crashed off Millsap near Carpenter Loop/PF.
  • 8:09 a.m. Patrol officer cautions that “three hours worth of backed up trucks” will be rolling through Coeur d'Alene area soon after long closure of 4th of July Pass early this morning.

House OKs Anti-Union Bills

The House has voted 55-14 in favor of SB 1006, to ban project labor agreements in public works construction contracts, a measure strongly opposed by union workers; the Senate-passed bill now moves to the governor's desk. Backers, including House sponsor Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, said the measure would level the playing field for union and non-union bids for public contracts, but opponents said it would do the opposite/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Would you describe yourself as pro-union or anti-union?

IACI Bankrolls Otter/Luna Phone Call

Thousands of Idahoans participated in a telephone town hall led by Gov. Butch Otter and other advocates of school reform. Monday night’s forum was paid for by the state’s largest business lobby, the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. Otter was joined by the author of the “Students Come First” plan, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and the two chairmen of the Legislature’s education committees, Sen. John Goedde and Rep. Bob Nonini, both Republicans from Coeur d’Alene. Otter invited recipients of the call to join the one-hour forum in a recorded message, and they could choose whether to participate in the live call. Participants were asked two questions, according to IACI President Alex LaBeau, basically: “Do you support education reform?” and “Do you support raising taxes or not?” The reform question did not specifically mention the Luna-Otter “Students Come First” plan/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Charlie Litchfield)

Question: What do you make of Idaho's largest business group bankrolling a telephone town hall, featuring Gov. Butch Otter, Superintendent Tom Luna, and the 2 education chairman pushing ed 'reform'?

Poll: Thinking Less Of Denney

  • Monday Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation thinks less of House Speaker Lawerence Denney for his role in (mis)handling ethics problems involving Rep. Phil Hart's tax and timber problems. 85 of 92 respondents (92.4%) said they think less of Denney now than before the various ethics complaints surfaced against Hart. Only 5 of 92 (5.4%) think more of Denney. 2 were undecided.
  • Education Poll: When asked “Who knows what's best for Idaho education,” 107 of 133 respondents (80.45%) said educators and 26 of 133 (19.55%) said Superintendent Tom Luna.
  • Today's Poll: Should Post Falls Officer Ian Johnson have been fired for pretending to Taser a friend while on duty?

Senate R’s To Mull Ed Bills In Private

“She's supposed to go to kindergarten in the fall,” said Olivia Rhodes' stepfather, Darren Thiesen, of Rathdrum, as Rhodes held her sign at the education rally in Coeur d'Alene on Monday. Hundreds gathered at Coeur d'Alene City Hall and marched to the Human Rights Education Institute to protest the school reform bill. Betsy Russell's report re: statewide rallies against Superintendent Tom Luna's plan here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Senate Republicans plan to go into a closed-door caucus at 11 a.m. today (10 a.m. PST), according to Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg; there's no word at this point what will happen with the education reform bills, but there could be after the caucus.

Question: Why are Senate Republicans meeting in private to discuss Tom Luna's education “reform” proposals?

Dennis: Luna Gets ‘F’ On PR Front

I have a feeling that the anti-reform teachers, parents and children are rising up and Tom Luna is losing the PR war. The incredible lack of countering the highly successful anti-reform earned media coverage is potentially devastating to the Supe's plan. His and his staff's PR silence is deafening. Tom Luna's political life is at stake, yet does his staff get it? Where are the pro-reform principals? Nowhere. Where are the pro-reform families? Nada. It's as if they think that the Senators and Reps are all that they need to pass this legislation. How terribly short-sighted/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Why hasn't Superintendent Tom Luna and his staff done a better job at trying to sell his education “reform” package?

Bill Bans Shackling Inmates In Labor

An Idaho lawmaker wants to prohibit the restraint of female prisoners during child birth to protect the state from potential litigation. Rep. Janice McGeachin, R-Idaho Falls, says a dozen other states are considering similar legislation this year in the wake of a 2009 ruling in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court sided with an Arkansas woman who sued the state prison system after she was shackled during labor, saying she suffered lasting hip and back injuries. Inmates have lawsuits pending in several states. Hannah Brass with the ACLU of Idaho told lawmakers Monday that 10 states have already banned the shackling of prisoners giving birth/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Should inmates in labor be shackled?

Rep Wants EPA Out Of Silver Valley

New Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, introduced her first bill today, but it’s actually from her son, Wallace attorney James McMillan. She told the House State Affairs Committee, “I would like to yield my time to my son to explain this further,” to which chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, responded, “I think that would be appropriate.” It’s a non-binding memorial to Congress demanding that the EPA be removed from Shoshone County, along with its Superfund designation, within five years. “I’m actually the ultimate author of this resolution and I am here on behalf of Rep. Shannon McMillan,” James McMillan told the committee. He said the EPA’s proposed multi-year cleanup plan “would have a devastating effect upon our mining industry”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think the EPA should get out of the Silver Valley?

AM: Pirates Kill Seattle Pair, 2 Others

The reported deaths of four Americans, including a Seattle couple, by pirates off Somalia is terrible news for friends at the Seattle Singles Yacht Club. Past commodore Joe Grande says Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay were “Great sailors, good people. They were doing what they wanted to do, but that's small comfort in the face of this.” More here. (AP/Courtesy photo)

Taser Incident Leads To Cop Firing

A Post Falls police officer has been fired for pulling a taser on one of his friends while he was on duty.Officer Ian Johnson was fired last month for what his chief termed “bad decision making.”Just before Christmas, Officer Johnson was wrapping up a call for service at River City Physical Therapy. Johnson is a patient there and familiar with the staff and when he saw one of his friends he took the cartridge off his taser and pretended like he was going to stun the employee. The memory chip in the taser shows it was energized for one second but the physical therapy employee was never tasered/Jeff Humphrey, KXLY. More here. (Photo courtesy KXLY)

Question: Should Officer Johnson have been fired, given his track record of outstanding service?

Liz: Public Ed No Good For My Family

Liz: My kids go to private schools. There is a reason for that. I also had very negative experiences growing up in public schools. There has been plenty written about public education and it’s shortcomings. Being as I have not chosen the public option, I have also figured I don’t have a whole lot to say in this one. However having been innundated with one public school teachers “rally the troops” updates continually via facebook, I do have to wonder if these kids are just repeating the rhetoric they have been hearing at school or if they have actually thought this stuff out to any degree. It does seem to me like public schools waste an awful lot of money and any way that kids can be efficiently educated by spending less money deserves to be looked at.

Question: Anyone else out there choosing an alternative to public education? Can you explain why?

RU: Luna’s Problems Deeper Than PR

Rational Universe: Luna’s problems go much deeper than just poor PR. He campaigned on “his” successes raising test scores in Idaho. Then he turns around, describes our schools as failing and places all the blame squarely in the laps of those who actually did the work to improve scores — the teachers. He sought no input from stakeholders in creating this plan. He states that he did, but that is simply not true. Everyone was blindsided by this plan. Luna charges the teachers’ Union with spreading dis-information. He is the master of dis-information. Luna continually states that only Idaho certified teachers will teach those online courses. What he doesn’t say is that that so-called Idaho teacher could be living in New Jersey and teaching through a for-profit online school based in Virginia.

Question: Do you expect a PR push by the Idaho Republican Party to try to sell Tom Luna's attempt to overhaul Idaho education, now that the theory has been put forth that it is losing PR battle?

Herb: Quit Whining, Tighten Belts

Herb Huseland: We are all going to have to tighten our belts. The gravy train is over. Tough times are ahead. Tough times that the last several generations have not had to face. Every faction that is affected by the income shortfall is in denial. We are going to have to do more with less, become more inventive and stop throwing spears at each other. Luna did not invent the budget he is faced with administrating. The legislature did. I suspect he is doing the best he can with very little help from the funding end.

Question: Do you think we're facing a long-term recession that will last up to a decade?

Wild Card/Monday — 2.21.11

We're facing another arctic blast this week that'll drive temperatures well down into the single digits. But I don't mind. At this point, winter's like the Big Bad Wolf, huffing and puffing at our brick houses, with March rapidly approaching. At this point, I'd like to give the Gonzaga Bulldogs a shoutout, as inconsistent as they've been, for helping me make it through another Inland Northwest winter. What would Thursday and Saturday nights be without 'em? Also, Washington State and Idaho deserve smaller hat tips for being more competitive this year. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.21.11

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AP photos taken from around world today …

Reagan Repubs Back Luna ‘Reform’

From Jeff Ward's Facebook page: “The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, in an unanimous vote of its Board of Directors, have whole-heartedly endorsed the “ Students Come First” plan proposed by Governor Butch Otter and Superintendent Tom Luna.”

Surprised?

ICB: Luna Losing PR Battle

I have been reluctant to venture out into Idaho State Superintendent Luna’s “Students Come First” initiative because I hate Politics and Education to mix but I guess there is no getting around it,  with so much money involved when it comes to state funded education, it’s all about politics. It appears to me Tom Luna is losing the PR battle.  News reports opposing Luna seem to outnumber the positive reports.   I’m not sure if he was prepared for the battle that awaited him.   I have met Tom Luna.  He is a smart man, articulate, and passionate about his job.  He must have known this battle was going to get ugly.  All I know about this issue is what I read in the paper, see on the news, or hear on talk radio.  Interesting ICB has not received one press release from the Luna camp stating his position/Idaho Conservative Blogger. More here.

Question: Is Superintendent Tom Luna's problem in trying to sell his education “reform” plan to the public, simply a matter of poor public relations? Or does it go much deeper than that?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.21.11

  • 5 p.m. Cornerstone station, 8100 Cornerstone/Hayden, reports gas drive-off involving green Explorer.
  • 4:52 p.m. Driver reports that a drunk woman walked in front of his vehicle @ Ramsey & Honeysuckle.
  • 4:46 p.m. A 10YO girl on Lacey/Hayden wants her father arrested for some reason.
  • 4:40 p.m. Mother and her son are involved in physical fight along Maine Street/Spirit Lake.
  • 4:35 p.m. Reckless driver s/b on H95 @ Bonner County line is leaning back in seat like he's sleeping.
  • 4:01 p.m. Taylor reports possible identity theft.
  • More below

PM Headlines — 2.21.11

Lake Pend Oreille Education Association prez Brian Smith speaks to the crowd of educators and supporters against Superintendent Tom Luna's education “reform” proposals moments ago at the Human Rights Education Institute, adjacent to Coeur d'Alene's City Park. (Photo courtesy of William Love)

Goedde May Pull Back Ed Reform Bills

Don Sausser snapped this photo 5 minutes ago as a group of 25 protesters cross entrance to Independence Point parking lot en route to Human Rights Education Institute for speeches. Educators and supporters are walking in groups of 25 because they don't have a parade permit. Don estimates there are 100 marching in total, commenting: “It's cold out there.” Terry Harris/KEA reports that numerous vehicles are honking in support of the march. William Love remarks that marchers are chanting: “Stop Luna's plan.”

The controversial school reform plan proposed by state schools Supt. Tom Luna could be pulled back to committee for changes, Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde said this afternoon. Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, met with representatives of three stakeholder groups today - the Idaho Education Association, the Idaho Association of School Administrators, and the Idaho School Boards Association - and the group came up with a long list of questions, problems and technical fixes for the package. “We went through each bill section by section,” Goedde said. “It's not too late. … We could have the bills that are out there right now returned to committee”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think Goedde and other legislators are coming to their senses re: Tom Luna's radical plans? Or is this window dressing?

NI Educators March In Downtown CdA

North Idaho educators and supporters are marching down Sherman Avenue in protest to Tom Luna's education “reform” plans as i post this. Here, Sandpoint High student Tyson Bird is talking to KHQ reporters about his objections to Luna's radical plan. (Photo courtesy of William Love)

Cops: Girls’ Spat Triggered Vandalism

Vandalism investigated as a possible religious hate crime was the result of a dispute between two teenage girls, Spokane police say. Detectives have identified a “potential suspect” and are continuing the investigation, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe. Police were called to the home in the 7000 block of North Cochran about 2 a.m. today, where they found swastikas and foul language had been written on the house, two cars, two trucks and two boats. There were disparaging remarks about Jesus and references to God hating the occupants. A Bible had been set on fire on the porch, according to police/Meghann Cuniff, SR. More here.

Reaction?

Larry Craig Lobbies Against Wolves

Former Idaho U.S. Sen. Larry Craig is working for a sportsmen's group that wants Congress to lift Endangered Species Act protections from wolves on grounds the prolific predators are hurting big game populations that are coveted by hunters in the region. Craig represents Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and was in Idaho's Capitol Monday, touting wolf delisting bills now in the U.S. House and Senate. Lawmakers, including Idaho U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, Craig's successor in Washington, D.C., seek to bypass the Endangered Species Act and lift 36-year-old protections for today's booming U.S. wolf population. Advocates who accompanied Craig say they have about 50 co-sponsors for federal legislation, including lawmakers from outside Rocky Mountain states, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan where most of the nation's wolves roam/John Miller, AP. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Is Larry Craig the right person to lobby against Endangered Species Act protection for wolves?

Erica Massages Pups & Pooches

In case you were wondering what former SReporter extraordinaire Erica Curless is doing now … Erik Loney of KXLY will bring you up to speed in this clip. (Hint: Erica's still operating her Dog & Pony massage business for pooches and horses.

Loertscher Blocks ‘Conscience’ Fixes

There are now three bills seeking to amend Idaho’s “conscience law” to protect patients’ living wills and advance care directives from being overridden by a caregiver as they’re dying, but one House committee chairman has buried all three in his desk drawer and refused to hold hearings on them. Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, said Monday, “Where we don’t want to go is we don’t want to compel the health care provider to assist somebody to commit suicide.” Asked if he was equating assisted suicide with living wills or advance care directives that call for disconnecting a dying patient’s artificial life supports, such as ventilators or feeding tubes, Loertscher said, “You could view it that way”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do ” conscience law” fixes supported by Idaho AARP and others deserve a hearing?

Idaho Needs Top-Two Primary

After mulling the increasingly Far Right ideology of lawmakers in the Idaho Legislature — and particularly the three representatives of House District 3 last weekend — I concluded that Idaho needs a top-two primary system, like the one used in Washington state. How else are you going to get past the entrenched foot soldiers who push forward and elect Far Right ideologues in Republican primaries and watch their candidates waltz to victory, unopposed or heavily favored, in the general elections? Under the Washington system, the two top candidates advance to the general election, even if they belonged to the same party. If this method was in effect last year, for example, Rep. Vito Barbieri of Dalton Gardens, who co-sponsored unconstitional nullification legislation, would have had to face Duane Rasmussen in a run-off. The rest below.

Question: Are you OK with our current primary system in Idaho?

17-Year-Old Kid Smacks Down Luna

17-year-old student Jonny Saunders of Timberline High School in Boise smacks down plans by Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna & Idaho's overwhelmingly Republican Legislature to “reform” public education in Idaho. H/T: Idaho Reporter

43rdSB: Popkey Connects Luna Dots

Popkey's promised story is published, fleshing out the details in the concerted effort, for most of a decade of private, profit driven corporations gradually taking over the public education system in Idaho. The article expands the cast of characters of wealthy ideologically right wing players, including, Fox magnate Rupert Murdoch, junk bond felon Michael Milkin, the hypocrite Bill Bennett, and the son of disgraced Idaho Congressman George Hansen. In so doing Popkey connects the dots from the money to Luna and his education deform package/Sisyphus, 43rd State Blues. More here.

Alaska Solon Refuses TSA Pat-Down

An Alaska state lawmaker is making her way back to the state Capitol after refusing a pat-down search at a Seattle airport, a spokeswoman said. Rep. Sharon Cissna underwent a body scan as she was preparing to leave Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Sunday and was then required to undergo the pat-down by Transportation Safety Administration officials, said Michelle Scannell, her chief of staff. Scannell said the TSA called for the pat-down because the scan showed Cissna had had a mastectomy. The TSA, on its website, says security officers “will need to see and touch your prosthetic device, cast or support brace as part of the screening process”/Becky Bohrer, Seattle Times. More here.

Question: What do you make of Rep. Cissna's decision to take a boat to Alaska rather than allow a TSA security worker to touch her prosthetic breast?

INW: Teen Dispute Incites Vandalism

Police are investigating a hate crime against a family living on North Cochran in Spokane. Early this morning, their house was vandalized with foul-laced language, including disparaging remarks about Jesus and references to God hating them. A Bible had been set on fire on the porch, according to police. Story here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Update (from Meghann Cuniff's Twitter): Just in from Spokane police: vandalism investigated as hate crime resulted from dispute between teenage girls.

High Noon: To Kindle Or Not To Kindle

Then came the Kindle, with its portable screen and easy-to-read formatting, and suddenly reading books became more cost-effective and much easier than ever before. So why would I resist buying one of these new electronic gadgets? To put it simply, I already have too many electronic gadgets already. Holy thudpuckers! I have one whole side of my rather huge desk dedicated to various electronics, including four computers on a raised platform, 1 flatbed scanner, two USB hubs, a 5 port ethernet hub, an 8 port wireless hub, two UPS devices and two external hard drives. Oh, and I forgot an electronic alarm system/David Laird, Community Comment. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Name the last 3 books that you've read? Did you read any of them on Kindle?

More Than 1000 Rally Vs. Luna Plans

More than a thousand people are closely packed into Capitol Park across from the state Capitol today for what was billed as a rally in favor of public education, and is decidedly a rally against state schools Supt. Tom Luna's school reform plan. Periodically, the crowd broke out into chants of “Kill the bills, kill the bills.” Longtime Boise School District trustee Rory Jones told the crowd, “This bill solves one problem and one problem only, and that is the lack of resolve to fund public schools”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. And: Idaho Statesman story here. (Idaho Statesman photo: Chris Butler)

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.21.11

  • Noonish: T. reports that someone poisoned his horse.
  • Noonish: J. reports getting threats from new girlfriend's old boyfriend.
  • 11:59 a.m. PFPD Blue is checking on boys loitering on golf course @ Stagecoach & Spokane.
  • 11:49 a.m. Craig wants to see an officer re: questions re: his neighbor's barking dogs.
  • 11:47 a.m. Brad, of WalMart/Honeysuckle security wants a panhandler trespassed from entrance.
  • 11:18 a.m. Texaco Mini-Mart worker reports that she was battered after refusing service to transient.
  • 10:33 a.m. Caller reports woman driver w/baby in back was playing loud music, hitting brakes, & swerving @ Greensferry & Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls.
  • 10:15 a.m. Kootenai County sheriff's weekly warrant roundup for Feb. 21-25 here.
  • 9:59 a.m. EMTs are responding to unknown medical emergency @ 2215 H53/Rathdrum.\
  • 9:23 a.m. Caller, from 6700 block of Stateline Road, reports 2 suspicious men in vehicle w/Colorado plates were asking questions re: husband's business, claiming they were working on legislation.
  • 8:36 a.m. Officer in traffic stop reports name of driver of stopped vehicle as “Presley, like in Elvis.”
  • 8:19 a.m. Officer reports suspicious red Chrysler Crossfire parked behind Hastings w/o license plates.
  • 8:19 a.m. Caller reports an auto burglary in 600 block of Compton/Post Falls.
  • 8:05 a.m. A three-legged, brown dog is running loose @ Ramsey & Caroline/Rathdrum.

Still Columnizing At 93

This undated photo shows Elizabeth Widel working on a typewriter at the The Omak-Okanogan County (Wash.) Chronicle. Widel, at age 93, has been writing her column, “Exploring the Okanogan,” for the Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle every week since May 9, 1957. Widel has no plans to give up the column, which is just a small part of what she's done in more than half of a century of working for the Omak newspaper. Story here. (AP Photo/The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle)

Question: At what age do you plan to quit drawing a paycheck?

Combining Grades In Idaho’s Future?

First-grader Bobby Best worked independently in the rural North Idaho classroom, diligently making her way through an activity book. A short distance away, teacher Sara Butler instructed a reading group in Priest Lake Elementary’s K-2 class. Other students sat at their desks and read to each other or went across the hall to help kindergartners with spelling. Priest Lake Elementary is the only school in the West Bonner School District with combined grade-level classrooms. In addition to K-2, grades 3-4 and 5-6 are combined classes. Mixing primary grades is unusual in Inland Northwest school districts – Coeur d’Alene School District doesn’t have any such classes, and Spokane Public Schools has 35 mixed classes in its 34 elementary schools/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR. More here. (SR photo/Kathy Plonka: Priest Lake Elementary teacher Sara Butler smiles during class Tuesday. She teaches kindergarten through second grade at the school.)

Question: I began first grade in a two-room rural school house in which 4 grades were in each room. How about you? Did you ever go to school where more than one grade was taught in a classroom?

Aylward: Transformed By Desire

A puddle of sweat covers the concrete floor below Tom Aylward’s indoor training bike. But his trainer, Shawn Burke, doesn’t give Aylward much slack. As soon as the warm-up is complete, Aylward hits the ground for push-ups and squat thrusts, jumps laterally against a resistance band, then pulls almost 300 pounds, arm-over-arm, across the gym with a heavy rope. This pace would not have been possible 18 months ago when Aylward first approached Burke and asked for help training to participate in the Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene. The 62-year-old man was more than 100 pounds overweight and had never biked, swum or run any distances, let alone completed one of the nation’s most challenging endurance races/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.

Question: Has the Ironman Coeur d'Alene race inspired you to get fitter?

Poll: Girls Shouldn’t Wrestle Boys

  • Weekend Poll: 99 of 176 respondents (56.2%) voted that girls shouldn't be allowed to compete against boys in high school wrestling. This, after a top-ranked boy refused to wrestle in girl in Iowa state high school competition. 70 of 176 (39.8%) said girls should be allowed to wrestle. 7 were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you respect House Speaker Lawerence Denney more/less as a result of the way he handled Rep. Phil Hart's tax and timber problems?

APhoto Of The Day — 2.21.11

Since I've gotten no bites on the Blake Griffin dunk at NBA All-Star game, how about this one: “Member of the “Optimalist” health club takes a dip in the icy water of a canal near the village of Viazynka, some 40 km (25 miles) northwest of Minsk, Sunday. The club promotes a healthy lifestyle. The temperatures in Belarus plunged to -12 Celsius. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Yoke’s Bagger No. 2 Nationally

Jessica Lewis, a 19-year-old Spokane resident, recently won $5,000 by placing second in a national grocery bagging competition sponsored by ConAgra Foods. A North Central High School graduate, Lewis attends Spokane Community College and works at Yoke’s Fresh Market on North Foothills Drive. In a Q-and-A, Jessica told the SR that she began bagging competitively three years ago. Last year, she won the top Yoke's bagger contest and that enabled her to go on and win the top prize in Olympia. More here. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

Question: Do you prefer plastic or paper bags for your groceries? Why?

Stebbi: Aryan Pickets Are Harassers

Stebbijo: To openly picket at a mexican food stand is not free speech — it is a form of harrassment for racial purposes only. These guys are NOT picketing the hot dog or barbeque foodstands which we also have in CDA. They are pretty obvious when they wave their KKK flag - that they are protesting races that they do not approve. The police force —next time they show up at a legal mexican food stand needs to move in and arrest them. Period.

Question: Stebbijo raises a good point. Local supremacists are harassing a legitimate business with their intimidating pickets. Why isn't that malicious harassment instead of an example of free speech?

Marty: Denney Covers Up After Hart

Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune, takes House Speaker Lawerence Denney to task today for not only failing to properly punish state Rep. Phil Hart for his tax dodging/timber stealing ways but also for allowing the ethics process to be closed from the public in the future. Trillhaase writes: “Denney's impotence is the one constant in this mess. Denney had it within his prerogatives to strip the timber-stealing tax scofflaw of all committee assignments - letting him cool his heels on the House floor - until Hart paid his taxes and settled up with the state for the timber.”

Question: Have you changed your view of House Speaker Lawerence Denney as a result of his handling of Rep. Phil Hart's several missteps?

AM: Rathrum Man 4th At Bassmasters

Brandon Palaniuk, 23, of Rathdrum, fishes in Lake Cataouatche during the final round in Jefferson Parish, La., Sunday. Palaniuk finished fourth in the Bassmaster Classic after the final weigh-in Sunday for the three-day “super bowl” of bass fishing. Palaniuk, 23, was the youngest of the 50 anglers to qualify for the competition. He also was the only angler from the West.  Rich Landers/Outdoors blog tells you all about it here. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Question: How often do you fish? Are you good at it?

Spokane Vandalism Likely Hate Crime

Spokane Police are treating a case of malicious mischief in North Spokane as a hate crime after finding a burned bible and swastikas painted on multiple vehicles and a house.The crime was called in to police around 2 a.m. Monday in the 7000 block of North Cochran.Officers found two SUVs, two trucks and two boats had been covered in toilet paper and written on with paint pens. A nearby home had also been vandalized/KXLY. More here.

Question: Anyone still naive enough to think that Inland Northwest racism is just a North Idaho problem?

Capone’s Huddle Left $$$ On Table

It’s not every day that someone turns down $5.3 million over a coupla brewskies at Capone’s in Midtown Coeur d’Alene. But ex-NFL QB Jake Plummer did just that – in summer 2007, while quaffing $3 Molsons served by Tom Capone’s servers. Writer Chris Ballard provides the details in a nine-page feature story in the Feb. 14 issue of Sports Illustrated. The offer to Plummer, who now coaches Sandpoint High football, was made by then-coach Jon Gruden and GM Bruce Allen of Tampa Bay. Ballard writes: “Gruden leaned in and started selling. Join us in Tampa Bay, he said, and with our defense and your leadership we’ll have a shot at the Big One. Come to Florida, he said, and you’ll be the hero you could never be in Denver in the shadow of John Elway.” Plummer told the Tampa Bay jumbos that their offer was “sweet.” But not sweeter than the freedom he’d found in retirement/DFO, Huckleberries, SR. More here.

Question: Which Capone dish is your favorite?

President’s Day Celebration Today

Mary Wiseman, left, portraying Mary Washington, listens as Dean Malissa, portraying America's first president, Gen. George Washington, is asked “Where is Molly Pitcher?” (a legendary woman thought to have fought in Revolutionary War) by Megan Schuh, and her sister Jenna Schuh, right, at Mount Vernon, Washington's historic home in Mt. Vernon, Va. Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011. Monday the nation celebrates the president's 279th birthday. Three days of events over the President's Day weekend are taking place on the estate, which is located on the banks of the Potomac River, just south of the nation's capital. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Question: The Kootenai County Courthouse must be closed today because there were no cars in the parking lot as I passed by. That probably means the schools and City Hall are closed, too. Should President's Day be a national holiday for everyone — or just government employees?

Aryan Defends Picket, Free Speech

AryanWomen88 (Re: Vandals, bigots target struggling stand): I just returned from N gov way & Sherman ave at the Cda park (where supremacists were picketing Saturday afternoon), and had the chance to speak with imperial wizard Shaun Winkler, he is more racist than even i am, It doesnt matter if you agree or disagree with the kkk , you should all take a opportuinty to go down and talk with him to hear thier reasoning to why they are out there its not just about the food, he says they will be at one of the taco stands every friday at lunch. so go down and talk with him or protest him or whatever, afterall he says he believes in everones right to free speach. … I dont believe they should be able to set up taco trucks where every they please and have them on all street corners, why dont they purchase or lease buildings that are vacant to run a legitement restaurant? Putting a taco cart on every corner makes our town look like trash!

DFO: I know this post is unsettling. It was posted by a person involved in the local racist protest against the three Mexican food stands in Coeur d'Alene. I view this as an opportunity to let the supremacists what you think of their protests.

Luna, Online Ed Firms Go Way Back

In October 2009, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna held a re-election fundraiser in the Capitol Hill offices of Dutko Worldwide, one of America’s top lobbying firms. Sponsors included two leading voices in the Republican education re-form movement: former U.S. Education secretaries William Bennett and Rod Paige. The event marked an important moment in Luna’s re-election bid, as he won support from education technology companies interested in changing state policy to boost their business. If Luna’s “Students Come First” proposal passes the Legislature, online education will be mandated in Idaho and a laptop will be available to every high school student. That means 115 school districts, with 82,000 high school students, will be in the market for computers, software and online courses/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Does Luna's ties with online education companies cause you to question his education reform plans that rely heavily on computers?

Signe: When Teachers Blog

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Weekend Wild Card — 2.19-20.11

We'll see if the Gonzaga Bulldogs can rebound from those 3 straight losses halfway through the WCC season to take sole possession of 2nd place when they face USF today. A win against the Dons and another one against first-place St. Mary's Thursday will put the Zags back in first. Meanwhile, the Coeur d'Alene Viks take aim at their fourth straight state basketball title tonight when they face northern Idaho nemesis Lewiston. Whichever team wins, northern Idaho will claim its fifth straight girls basketball championship. However, you don't need to talk sports to play this Wild Card …

Lewiston Stops CdA For 5A Girls Title

Lewiston's Karlee Wilson (2) strips the ball away from Coeur d' Alene's Kyeli Parker (12) during the first half in the 5A Girls State Championship high school basketball game tonight in Nampa. The Bengals are state champions for the first time since 1976. Last year, Lewiston returned to the state tournament for the first time since 1989 and lost to Coeur d'Alene in the final. Coeur d'Alene's attempt to win a fourth state tournament fell short, leaving Meridian (1980-83) as the only program that has accomplished that feat in girls basketball/Jesse Zentz, Idaho Statesman. Complete tournament results here. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)

Motorcyclist Hurt In NW Blvd Crash

A Spokane man was injured today after rear-ending another driver and being thrown from his motorcycle about 2:30 p.m. in Coeur d’Alene today. Police said Anthony Yeaw, 23, was riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle when he sped through traffic and rear ended Wayne Bullington, 43, of Rathdrum, at 1500 Northwest Blvd. The collision threw him from the motorcycle. He was taken to Kootenai Medical Center, where he was treated and released. Bullington, who was driving a Ford van, was not injured. Yeaw was cited for inattentive driving/Spokesman-Review. (ISP report below.)

Gonzaga 70, San Francisco 53

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Steven Gray scored 19 points and Marquise Carter had 16 of his 18 points in the second half as Gonzaga pulled away from San Francisco for a 70-53 WCC win on Saturday. Gonzaga (19-9, 9-3) won its sixth straight conference game. The Zags moved ahead of USF (14-13, 8-4) into solo second place in the standings. Michael Williams paced the Dons with 13 points. ESPN game story & boxscore here.

Spokane Shock first practice

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The Spokane Shock held their first training-camp practice on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011.

Albertson Heir Cashes In On Online Ed

Since 2007, Joseph B. Scott’s investment company, Alscott Inc., has brought in more than $15 million by selling part of its stake in Virginia-based K12 Inc., which sells online courses and other services to public schools. Meanwhile, his family’s tax-exempt foundation has helped K12 tap Idaho taxpayer dollars and now is supporting state schools chief Tom Luna’s plan to require every high school student in the state to take online classes. For nearly a decade, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has chipped in millions toward Idaho’s online public education system. One of those online schools, the Idaho Virtual Academy, has, in turn, directed tens of millions of public dollars into K12’s company coffers, for services ranging from curriculum to administration. … With debate over expanding Idaho’s Internet-based education system now dominating the 2011 Legislature, Scott, who is Joe Albertson’s grandson, and an avid skier with his own helicopter, isn’t staying on the sidelines, either/John Miller, Associated Press. More here.

Question: In a speech Friday, Luna denied that his radical plans for education reform were influenced by thousands of dollars in contribution from online education sources, like K12. What do you think?

Hump Day Comes On Friday

Nine-year-old Kody Vaughn, of Liberty Lake visited Camille, a six-month-old Bactrian camel at the Post Falls Professional Center on Friday. “Camille in the Community,” was a fundraiser for the uninsured patient fund at Diversified Social Services, Inc, and Dirne Community Health Center. Story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: I've ridden an elephant but I've never ridden a camel. How about you?

Vandals, Bigots Target Struggling Stand

A Coeur d’Alene taco stand that was picketed by white supremacists recently has been hit by vandals. The owner of Tacos Los Panchos says the vandals did $1,500 in damage to his stand.The stand, in the 2100 block of Fourth Street, was hit sometime overnight last Thursday. Owner Ignacio Sanabria says someone came behind the trailer and clipped the power, heating and propane lines.For Sanabria, the stand is a dream come true. He’s there seven days a week to support a family of five. “I get all recipes from my grandma, nobody around have marinara pork in town,” Sanabria said, boasting his family recipes.It’s only been eight months since he opened and the last two months have been hard/Sally Showman, KXLY. More here.

Question: Have you visited one of the 3 Mexican food stands in town to show your support for them in the face of harassment by white supremacists and now vandalism?

Bill Targets Public-Sector Negotiations

Idaho Sen. Shirley McKague of Meridian, pictured, introduced a bill Friday that would prohibit collective bargaining by all public-sector employees. The prohibition would apply to public school teachers, firefighters and other public employees at all levels of state and local government. McKague made it clear she wanted the bill introduced for discussion purposes. However, she held out the possibility it would be brought back next session. … McKague's bill indicates public employees would be free to join labor organizations, but it prohibits collective bargaining for rates of pay, hours of employment, work conditions or other employment matters. It would also be illegal to go out on strike/William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Should Idaho pass McKague's law to ban public-sector employees from collective bargaining?

MikeK: Teaching Kids To Respect Tribe

Mike Kennedy (re: “Marc: Tribe police have other options”): If the good people of Benewah County want to cast their lot with the likes of Dick Harwood and Larry Spencer, they are free to do so and theoretically I do wish them the best. But I know that decision won’t end well for them. It never does. I, for one, will continue to engage with and work with the people of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, who have after generations of abuse and scorn, pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and built a real future in a tough and unforgiving terrain. My kids are being raised with a respect and appreciation for the legacy of hundreds of years of history of North Idaho. History of their grandparents who raised a family as loggers and history of the Coeur d’Alenes who were the original owners of all of this land we love so much. Mike's entire comment here.

Question: Do you teach your children to respect the tribes in your areas of the Inland Northwest?

Viks Seek 4th Straight Girls State Title

Lewiston (21-3) will play three-time reigning champion Coeur d’Alene (20-5) — a 56-36 winner against Highland — in a rematch of last year’s championship game at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Idaho Center. “Every year, you expect to reach the state tournament, and it takes a lot of work to get there,” Coeur d’Alene coach Dale Poffenroth said. “Once you get there, if you don’t win, it’s a big letdown because you know how much work it took.” This will mark the fifth consecutive year a team from northern Idaho will claim the title. Centennial won in 2006, but Lake City won in 2007 and Coeur d’Alene has dominated ever since. “We’ve got a good team, but we’ll see what happens,” said Lewiston coach Pat Teichmer, whose team has beaten Coeur d’Alene twice this season. “We’ve asked our kids to jump one hurdle at a time and we have one more big one in front of us”/Jesse Zentz, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: When did you last see a high school girls basketball game?

Signe: After Ed ‘Reform’ Takes Hold

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Meghan Gets In Last Word Vs. Press

Meghan Ridley, pictured, the Lakeland School District special education instructor who was slimed by Coeur d'Alene Press online trolls, has written an op-ed piece that is now online at the Press: “I personally fell victim to an ugly misuse of words myself lately.  Following a picture of me on the cover of the February 13th issue of The Press, bloggers proceeded to write the most disgustingly horrible things I’ve ever heard about myself.  They took their offense with my attire as an opportunity to offend both my person and profession.  They accused me of selling sex in my classroom.  They insinuated that my appearance is how I “hook” my special education students.  They told me I should keep the flirting for after hours.  They even compared me to the notorious pedophile, Mary Kay Letourneau.  Wow!  Words sure are powerful sometimes.  I guess they didn’t realize I was a well-respected educator and member of the community, who when not in my classroom, spends time coaching the Special Olympics and pursuing my PhD at Gonzaga.” Full post here.

Question: Do you think the Press has learned its lesson?

TGIF Wild Card — 2.18.11

I used to California dream on winter days in late February. But for some reason I'm Florida dreamin' today. I don't like walking carefully across a parking lot because it's slick this time of the year. Been there. Done that for 4 months. But the sun seems like it's trying to poke through. So that's a plus in our Winter Wonderland. The flu shot I received early this winter worked to keep away flu and sinus infections. Now, they need to develop a shot for cabin fever. Now, for your Wild Card …

P.S. Local Fisher #11 @ Bassmaster

Kevin VanDam, left, and Aaron Martens, right, fish nearby one another during the first day of competition of the Bassmaster Classic today on the Louisiana Delta new Westwego, La. Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum is in 11th place out of 50 anglers today after the first day of fishing at the Bassmaster Classic near New Orleans . The three-day “Super Bowl” of bass fishing runs through Sunday at the Louisiana Delta. Rich Landers Outdoors story here. (AP Photo/The Times-Picayune, Brett Duke)

ISP Corporal Fired Fatal Shots

An Idaho State Police report confirms that Cpl. Dan Howard fired the shots that killed one person and injured another after two Montana fugitives rammed his patrol car on Feb. 7. Mark Marion Maykopet, 24, of Butte, was treated at Kootenai Medical Center then jailed on a $1.5 million bond. His passenger, Christie O’Leary Little, 40, also known as Christie Ann Little, was killed. Following the incident, detectives found two guns on the floor of the Jeep Cherokee driven by Maykopet, the report said. A fully automatic 9 mm was found behind the rear seat with an empty 32-round magazine. A .25 caliber pistol was found under the passenger seat toward the rear with an eight-round magazine, but the chamber was not loaded/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.18.11

  • 5:24 p.m. A CityLink passenger has hurt his knee in fall from bus @ Coeur d'Alene Casino.
  • 5:03 p.m. Unconscious person is not breathing behind Crickets, 424 Sherman/CdA. CPR is under way.
  • 4:42 p.m. Perfection Tire workers caught an individual trying to steal tires by taking his vehicle to another tire store. Man was asked to follow them back to store but he turned off @ Sunset Bowling.
  • 4:31 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Casino security wants a county unit to assist in arrest of nontribal member w/drug paraphernalia. No unit is available.
  • 4:28 p.m. Disorderly male is reported in 3900 block of N. 15th/CdA.
  • 4:12 p.m. Caller reports people may be trying to “squat” on grandparents property in Bayview.
  • Much more below

PM: Ridgway Admits 49th Murder

Green River Killer Gary Ridgway stands to be escorted out following his arraignment on charges of murder in the 1982 death of Rebecca “Becky” Marrero at the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent., Wash., today. Ridgway already confessed to killing Marrero as part of a 2003 plea deal that spared him the death penalty. Story here. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Question: Can the state of Washington ever execute a person again when Gary Ridgway killed at least 49 people without being put down?

Photo Of The Day — 2.18.11

DFO and his daughter-in-law, Sweet Stephanie, meet “Bull Alligator” outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida during DFO's recent vacay to Gainesville. You write the cutline.

Top Cutline:

  • 1. Mary Souza’s heart stopped when she received this postcard from Florida, with nothing written on the back except the note: “You’re next!” — Moscow Minidoka.
  • 2. On DFO’s recent visit to Florida. He found himself in the market for a pair of alligator boots. Being the manly man, he decided to craft them himself but needed an alligator. His problem was solved when he was able to sweet talk Stephanie in to acting as bait — Dennis.
  • 3. Sweat Stephanie quickly learns it is not easy being an Oliveria — Jack.
  • HM: Formerly Sandpoint

Man Discovers Knife Lodged In Skull

A doctor shows a 4-inch (10-centimeter) knife which has been removed from the skull of Li Fuyan against the x-ray scan at the People's Hospital in Yuxi in southwest China's Yunnan province. Surgeons in southern China successfully removed a rusty, 4-inch (10-centimeter) knife from the skull of a man who said it had been stuck in there for four years, the hospital said Friday. (AP Photo)

Question: Wouldn't you suspect that something's wrong if you had a 4-inch knife blade in your head?

First Lady Defends Luna Ed ‘Reform’

Whether you have been at the head of the classroom or in a desk on the other end, you know the importance of quality teaching. It makes all the difference. With the help of a great teacher, a struggling student can excel. Under an ineffective teacher, that student may never catch up. We know this from our own school experiences, as well as extensive research. The teacher is and always will be the most important factor in student success. If we truly want to put students first, we have to make sure we invest in Idaho’s teachers.  That’s exactly what the Students Come First plan does. As a former teacher, I am excited about the possibilities this plan provides for great teachers now and in the future. Some have claimed this plan “devalues teachers.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the only option that actually invests in teachers/Lori Otter, Office of the First Lady. More here. (AP file photo of Gov. Otter and Miss Lori)

Question: Why do you think proponents are rolling out the heavy hitters like First Lady Lori Otter to defend Tom Luna's radical education “reform” plans? After all, they're winning the legislative battle.

NIdaho Blogs: IEG Now 4 Years Old

At Kellogg Bloggin', Raymond Pert explains that he & Inland Empire Girl, who just celebrated her 4th blogiversary (see below) are experimenting with faceless portraits, like the one above. See more here.

Hucks Online numbers for Thursday (10,991/6369), Wednesday (9722/5697), and Tuesday (9199/5351)

‘Einstein’ Watches For Winter’s End

A stuffed figure of Albert Einstein starts to sink as ice begins to melt on Webster Lake in Webster, Mass., Temperatures were forecast to be in the 50's in some parts of Massachusetts today. The Einstein figure is part of a contest for residents to guess when ice will be melted from the lake. (AP Photo/The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Rick Cinclair)

Question: How do you know when winter is officially over?

Carlson: A Mormon Primary?

The internet website Politico has dubbed it the “Mormon primary” – the possibility of two articulate, intelligent, conservative-to-moderate former governors, who also are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), will be slugging it out along with other contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. It is an intriguing possibility, one that contrary to conventional wisdom may actually be a welcomed development by the presumptive front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the first serious Mormon candidate since his father, former Michigan Governor George Romney, ran in 1968. The possible entry of former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., who resigned his seat a few months after winning re-election with 78 percent of the vote to become U.S. Ambassador to China, is causing GOP aspirants, as well as the incumbent, to redo their political calculations/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question: Would you have any problem voting for a Mormon to be president?

Narnia Producer Moore Found Dead

Perry Moore, the executive producer of the 'Chronicles of Narnia' trilogy, was found dead in his New York apartment, the New York Daily News is reporting. He was 39. Sources told the newspaper that Moore was found unconscious by his partner, Hunter Hill, in the bathroom of their Soho home on Thursday after an apparent overdose of OxyContin. He was pronounced dead soon after responders arrived. “We're in shock,” Moore's father, Bill, told the Daily News. He added that when he spoke to his son just the night before, he was in a “great, great mood”/Huffington Post. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Are you a fan of the “Narnia” movie trilogy or C.S. Lewis' books?

Rednecks Target Tribe Bill Backer

Betsy Russell of the Spokesman Review reported that (Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, pictured) “said he’s received hundreds of calls and e-mails threatening him and questioning his integrity for backing the bill. “I’ve had threats I’d better never go into the county again,” he said. “I’ve been called all kinds of sundry names.” Opponents raised fears, ranging from the tribe taking away the guns of non-Indians who have concealed weapons permits and pass through the reservation to provisions of tribal code being used to impose civil penalties on non-Indians – something that already can occur today on the reservation. “This doesn’t change anything about that,” Wills said. Instead, it addressed criminal violations – saying tribal police officers could enforce state law against non-tribal members, but they’d have to be cited under state law and into state court”/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.

Question: What role did racism play in the 35-34 defeat of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe police bill?

INW Headlines — 2.18.11

Niki Zupanic, public policy director for ACLU Montana, speaks on behalf of HB514 in front of the House Judiciary Committee in the Montana state capitol building earlier today in Helena, Mont. Gay rights advocates want the Legislature to expand discrimination protection statewide _ while conservative religious groups want the lawmakers to repeal Missoula's local ordinance establishing extra protections for gays and others. Story here. (AP Photo/The Independent Record, Eliza Wiley)

High Noon: Morrison No. 1 Bust?

In this October 2008 AP file photo, Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick (7) drives around Charlotte Bobcats forward Adam Morrison (35) during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Orlando. The Bobcats drafted the former Gonzaga Bulldog third overall in the 2006 NBA draft. Now, a list published in RealClearSports ranks Morrison as the No. 1 NBA basketball bust of all time. Story here. (AP Photo/John Raoux) H/T: SWX.

Question: Why do such former Gonzaga Stars like Morrison and Dan Dichau have such a hard time making it in the NBA?

Was Luna Swayed By Donations?

Apparently, Idaho Statesman political sleuth extraordinaire Dan Popkey is preparing an article that suggests Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna may have been influenced by political contributions in trying to “reform” Idaho education. Randy Stapilus offered a follow-the-money scenario that might provide a background on the skewp by Popkey. Luna added some credence to a possible story by telling the Club At Boise earlier today that “political donations didn't sway him to propose “Students Come First” legislation to overhaul Idaho schools.

Idaho Dems Rip Anti-Everything R’s

Idaho hasn’t seen an unemployment rate this high for more than a decade. In 2011, the Republican-controlled Legislature has made much ado about being anti-healthcare reform, anti-assisted suicide, anti-education funding, anti-urban renewal, anti-labor, and the list goes on. Idaho Republicans only listen to the GOP talking points sent from Washington, D.C., and they refuse to address what is most important to everyday Idahoans —jobs!/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Is it fair to characterize the current Idaho Republican Legislature as “anti-everything”?

Huckleberries Hears …

… that State Controller Donna Jones sidestepped a tough question from Ron Johnson while speaking at a Republican Women's event in the Shore Lounge of the Coeur d'Alene Resort about an hour ago, according to a Berry Picker. Johnson asked Jones whether “Phil Hart's wages as a legislator are being garnished by the Federal government.” Jones responded: “If I knew I could not tell you.”

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.18.11

  • Noonish: A dirty, blue Ford Bronco is traveling 15 mph on w/b I-90 & H41, almost causing wrecks.
  • 11:58 a.m. J. @ Davenport & Deer Haven/Dalton Gardens reports 2 suspicious males tried to sell her something. And returned to her door twice after she refused to buy.
  • 11:47 a.m. Caller wonders if semi traveling on 17th/Dalton Gardens is over weight limit.
  • 11:05 a.m. EMTs are responding to unknown medical emergency @ Ramsey & Ohio Match/Rathdrum.
  • 10:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Feb. 17-18 here.
  • 10:11 a.m. Ronald, @ H41 & Arizona/Rathdrum, has questions about livestock.
  • 9:58 a.m. A vehicle w/an elderly couple in it is smoking on Herborn (& Seltice Way)/Post Falls.
  • 9:56 a.m. A woman has lost consciousness @ Coeur d'Alene Casino, H95/Worley.
  • 9:48 a.m. Crossing arms are stuck down after train passes @ H53 & Pleasantview/Post Falls.
  • 9:45 a.m. A woman reportedly is slumped over her wheel on I-90 @ M/P 11 (Northwest Blvd).
  • 9:42 a.m. EMTs are responding to someone w/uncontrolled bleeding in 1400 block of 7th/CdA.
  • 9:39 a.m. A suspicious person is hanging out in 800 block of W. Woodlawn/Harrison.
  • 9:34 a.m. A CPD Blue is checking on an unknown traffic hazard @ Ramsey & Golf Course Road.
  • 9:21 a.m. EMTs are responding to an unknown medical emergency at 1655 E. Hanley/CdA.
  • 8:54 a.m. A parking problem is reported @ 6th & Randall/CdA.
  • 8:07 a.m. A man who was test-driving a vehicle slid into 2 parked vehicles at Viking Construction on W. Hayden Avenue.

Cindy: What To Do With A Stray Cat?

On her Facebook wall, Cindy tells of possibly inheriting a cat that followed son Sam home last night — and now, of course, won't leave. She even called Spokanimal to check out the situation because she was concerned that the cat might belong to somebody. Spokanimal came. The cat hid. Spokanimal left. Then, the cat reappeared on Cindy's porch. Cindy, of course, has her own cat, Milo, who doubles for her as a co-author and editor. What should she do?

Question: Have you ever kept an animal that followed you or one of your kids home? How did that work out?

Poll: Dick Harwood? Definitely Not

  • Thursday Poll: 90 of 105 respondents (85.7%) voted no when asked if they'd want state Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, representing them in the state Legislature. Harwood, who is known for fighting against Coeur d'Alene Tribe interests, argued successfully against the cross-deputization bill that lost by one vote in the House Thursday. 67 of 105 respondents added emphasis to their vote by voting “hell no.” Only 10 of 105 (9.5%) said they'd like to be represented by Harwood. 5 were undecided.
  • Today's Poll Question: Should girls be allowed to join a high school boys' wrestling team?

Kevin: Barbieri Said … What?!

Some nullification supporters tried their best to sound level-headed Wednesday. They tried to paint their effort as something straightforward: a bill simply directing state agencies to do nothing to implement federal health care reform. “It does no more, no less,” said House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. “It is a policy decision.” Now, consider this over-the-top comment from the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Vito Barbieri, pictured, who goaded his colleagues to stand up to Uncle Sam. “This issue was resolved during the Nuremberg trials. The idea that we are directed from on high, that orders are orders, was found to be no defense. But, rather, our conscience is our duty.” Barbieri represents a portion of Kootenai County, an area with a long history with neo-Nazi fringe groups. I wonder how Barbieri’s constituents feel about his choice of analogy/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What do you make of state Rep. Vito Barbieri, who represents a House district with long ties to the Aryan Nations, using the Nuremberg trials analogy to defend nullification?

See-Through And Thou

Kerry Taylor poses for photographs next to a see-through dress modeled by Kate Middleton, the fiancee of Britain's Prince William, in a university charity fashion show in 2002, in London. A see-through dress that some believe played a key role in bringing Kate Middleton and Prince William together will be auctioned off in London next month. Middleton wore the transparent dress over black lingerie at a 2002 charity fashion show at the University of St. Andrews when the two students were just friends. The piece of royal history is expected to sell for more than 8,000 pounds ($12,800) (AP Photo/Akira Suemori)

Question: How interested are you in the royal wedding between Prince William & Kate Middleton?

Prosecutors: Steele ♥ Ukrainian

A North Idaho lawyer accused of hiring a hit man to kill his wife was involved with another woman who received a letter from him after his arrest, federal prosecutors allege. Edgar J. Steele, 65, wanted his wife murdered because he “had been establishing a relationship with a young woman who lives outside of the United States,” according to documents filed this week in U.S. District Court in Coeur d’Alene. Ukrainian officials interviewed the woman and say she provided them with a letter she received from Steele after his arrest last June. Prosecutors say they plan to show jurors other letters and evidence outlining steps Steele took to meet the woman/Meghann Cuniff, SR. More here.

Question: Do you think it's time for Cyndi Steele to kick this guy down the road?

CdA Resort Builds Wedding Facility

Duane Hagadone likes to make big, bold, glitzy statements, and his latest development in Coeur d’Alene won’t stray from that pattern. The man behind the Coeur d’Alene Resort and its posh golf course, as well as luxurious homes on the lake and in Palm Desert, Calif., is now building a first-class wedding and event center on the lakefront. The 11,700-square-foot facility, set to open at the end of June, already has 11 weddings booked for later this year, said Jerry Jaeger, president and co-owner of Hagadone Hospitality. The first event won’t be a wedding, however. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter will host the Western Governor’s Conference there June 30/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (SR photo/Kathy Plonka: Groundwork continued in preparation for the construction of the Hagadone Events Center near the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course last week.)

Question: Would you like your son or daughter to get married at the Coeur d'Alene Resort wedding facility on the viewtiful resort golf course?

Bookstores Feeling The Squeeze

Item: Is this the final chapter? Future of bookstores in doubt with e-books gaining in popularity/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Bookstores are feeling a squeeze these days. With the barrage of alternatives like online bookselling, downloading electronic books, and shopping at warehouse stores, independent bookstores could seem obsolete. And with Borders declaring bankruptcy this week, it begs the question: If the big guys can't make it, what is the future of the small bookstore?

Question: Will small bookstores soon be obsolete?

AM: Saddle Up’s Back In Business

“This is just great,” said Howard White, owner of Saddle Up Grill Steakhouse in Athol. The restaurant reopened Thursdayafter spending two years rebuilding after a devastating fire. Mike Prager's SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Escapee: No Girls On Boys’ Teams

Escapee: If a woman wants to play baseball, hockey, football, whatever, then womens’ leagues should be formed. It’s not really an honest-to-goodness competition if one sex is pitted against the other. Plus, if a guy beats a woman handily, he ‘bullied’ her, and if he doesn’t want to compete, then he’s a sissy, wimp, whatever. That’s an awkward position to be put in, and the lad who decided not to take on a female wrestler absolutely did the right thing. There’s a psychological side to this too. Many young men are advised all their lives by their parents to treat women like ladies. How difficult, then, would it be for that young man to all of a sudden be in the position of body-slamming a female?

Question: Should high school boys be allowed to play on girls' volleyball teams (since boys don't have an equivalent team)?

Marc: Tribe Police Have Other Options

Marc Stewart: All of the Tribal Police Department has been to Idaho Peace Officers and Standards and Training and graduated. They are in good standing and you could verify this easily by talking to the Idaho POST. As a result, they are able to enforce state laws in Kootenai County. You can also confirm that with Rocky Watson. The Tribe’s first choice was a cross deputization agreement with Benewah County. That failed numerous times after Benewah County backed out of two deals, including one in December. You can confirm that with Rep. Rich Wills. The Tribe’s second choice was the state law. Since that failed today, the tribe will seriously consider going the federal route. It’s not saber rattling. It’s not being a bully. It’s just a fact of life that people should prepare themselves for.

Question: Should the Coeur d'Alene Tribe look to a federal solution to protect its citizens with law enforcement on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation?

FLS: Laptop In Every Locker? C’mon

Fat Lady Sings: Laptops for every student? Really? What happens when students (who lack supervision and/or the presence of positive role models or who trip on a rock) damage, destroy or pawn their laptops? How is the laptop replaced? What is the turn around time? What happens if the student misses a test as a result of not having access to their laptop? Who will provide IT services for the students? What happens if the student’s parent/s lose a job and cannot afford the internet connection and the service is shut off by the provider? And a 100 other what-if questions that are not even far fetched … what then? It’s an administrative and financial nightmare. (Full comment below)

Question: What do you think of Tom Luna's plan to provide a laptop to every high school freshman — and then expect that freshman to learn and take care of that laptop?

Gonzaga 86, Santa Clara 76

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Junior guard Marquise Carter scored 13 of his career-high 20 points in the second half and David Stockton provided a couple of momentum-turning plays as Gonzaga defeated Santa Clara 85-76 on Thursday at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The victory keeps Gonzaga (18-9, 8-3 WCC) in a second-place tie with San Francisco, which defeated Portland 82-73 at the Chiles Center. The Dons visit GU on Saturday. Kevin Foster made 5 of 5 3s en route to 18 first-half points, but he cooled off in the second half. He finished 8 of 22 from the field and scored 27 points. Santa Clara dropped to 16-12, 6-5/Jim Meehan, SportsLink. More here. And: ESPN boxscore here.

Wild Card/Thursday — 2.17.11

I didn't think the sunshine, liquid and otherwise, that Mrs. O & I found in north-central Florida that week was all that warm. We experienced temperatures between 60 and 70 during our week with Junior & Miss Stephanie in the Gainesville area. Now, watching the small snow flakes swirl outside my window on NW Boulevard, I realize that I was living large among All-Things-Gator last week. As you see, I'm not quite out of vacay mode yet. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.17.11

A post from Kerri Thoreson's Facebook page about a controversial White House Grill sign received numerous comments on her wall and her at Hucks Online earlier today. Kerri responded to some criticism for a sign that took a swipe at President Obama, stating that restaurant owner Raci's signs are known to take on both sides of the political spectrum. The one above is typical of Raci, says Kerri. You can see more of Raci's signs here.

Vandals Hit CdA Mexican Food Stand

A Coeur d’Alene taco stand that employees said has been picketed recently by white supremacists was vandalized last week. The owner of Tacos Los Panchos, 2102 N. Fourth St., discovered the vandalism when the trailer opened for business on Feb. 11, said Sgt. Christie Wood, a Coeur d’Alene Police Department spokeswoman. When the employees left, they said the trailer was secure and nothing had been damaged, Wood said. In the morning, they noticed that someone cut the power, propane and heater lines to the trailer — a total of $1,500 worth of damage, Wood said/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.

Reaction?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.17.11

  • 5:54 p.m. Caller reports a disorderly man in 600 block of Front Avenue/CdA.
  • 5:52 p.m. M. has questions re: driver's license suspension for DUI.
  • 5:32 p.m. Post Falls police are looking for 13YO runaway named Cody (5-4, 100 pounds).
  • 5:27 p.m. A baby is locked in a vehicle in 2700 block of Lookout/CdA.
  • 5:04 p.m. ITD workers report H41 is “sheet of ice” through Spirit Lake and from M/P 10-20, north of Rathdrum. A large slide-off was reported near Seasons Road at 4:52 p.m.
  • 4:59 p.m. Caller reports teen runaway from 115 Anton/CdA.
  • 4:32 p.m. Caller reports littering at 9649 Gleason Road/Hayden.
  • 4:15 p.m. B., on Ramsey Road, reports finding KKK flyers in her front yard.
  • 4:14 p.m. Caller reports man who's walking through Riverstone toward KMC has made a suicide threat. She said he has a history of such threats and believes he's seeking attention.
  • 4:10 p.m. Patrol officer reports a half-inch of snow @ Ramsey & Appleway & malfunctioning traffic light.
  • More below

PM Headlines — 2.17.11

Grover G. Norquist President of Americans for Tax Reform, speaks at an any tax rally on the steps of the Idaho Statehouse Thursday in Boise. About 100 people came out for the noon rally. (Idaho Statesman/AP photo: Chris Butler)

APhoto Of The Day — 2.17.11

Kudan Elementary School children touch a cheek of Japan's robot teacher Saya following a special class by the robot that can express six basic emotions, developed by Tokyo University of Science Professor Hiroshi Kobayashi, in Tokyo. Japan's space agency JAXA announced Monday that it is considering putting a talking humanoid robot on the International Space Station in 2013 to watch the mission while astronauts are asleep, monitor their health and stress levels and communicate to Earth through the microblogging site Twitter. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, FILE)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Tom Luna’s perfect woman, the robot teacher, the brain of “Watson” but no cleavage — Phaedrus.
  • 2. (tie) Tom Luna’s latest plan for education “reform” in Idaho — Moscow Minidoka, and: This is how it begins. John Conner warned us and we failed to listen — Nic.
  • 3. The U.S. has had this technology on display for the last twenty years. We call it Al Gore! — Formerly Sandpoint.
  • HM: Brent Andrews

Ed Board Suspends Faculty Senate

The Idaho State Board of Education has voted to suspend the Faculty Senate at Idaho  State University, after the senate voted “no confidence” in ISU President Art Vailas, in whom the state board had just voted its full confidence. In a news release, the board said the move was “the most reasonable action to take at this time”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Reaction?

Hammer Attack Victim Hurt Again

L. Yvonne Wallis was found on the floor of her home by son, Michael Heath just prior to noon today. Michael doesn't know whether she fainted, or stumbled and hit her head. EMT's from Timberlake and Northern Lakes responded and transported her to Kootenai Hospital. Just prior to Christmas, Yvonne, along with daughter-in-law Patty Heath and son Michael were attacked by a allegedly deranged man living next door, Larry Cragun. Gragun is currently residing in the Kootenai County Jail awaiting trial for murder, aggrevated assault and other related charges/Herb Huseland, Bay Views. More here.

Andreason: 90% Against Ed Overhaul

Sen. John Andreason, R-Boise, asked state schools Supt. Tom Luna, “Is it your opinion that we now have a finished product?” Or, he said, with all the changes, is there a need to go back and work over the plan with all the stakeholders? Luna responded that he's asking the committee to pass the three bills today. “There are some things that have to happen immediately,” he said. Among them: Addressing the current funding crisis, and giving school districts “the ability to manage” personnel and labor decisions. Said Luna, “This is the product that has to move forward.” Andreason said, “Mr. Chairman, I've received over 1,400 emails - 90 percent were against this plan. I'm trying to save the plan”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

  • Idaho Reporter Twitter: “Sen. Malepeai received 1500 e-mails on #LunaPlan “A resounding number of folks from all walks of life a problem or another”

Question: Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune noted yesterday that the Legislature can't do anything, no matter how small, without appointing a task force to study it. How can that same group of timid individuals by pushing ahead a radical overhaul of the state's education system without careful study?

Nampa Mayor Rips Anti-URA Bills

Nampa Mayor Tom Dale, pictured, Wednesday sharply criticized Idaho lawmakers for trying to limit the work of city urban renewal agencies with new legislation. Dale said lawmakers have a “disconnect” with city officials and city residents about urban renewal. He also said legislators lack trust in local governments and the voters who elect local officials. But Rep. Gary Collins, R-Nampa, who voted for legislation that limits urban renewal Wednesday, disagrees. Collins sits on the committee that considered the bills. He said lawmakers do listen to city officials. “But we’re also listening to the voters of our districts,” Collins said, “those who feel disenfranchised by urban renewal districts”/Mike Butts, Idaho Press Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you think the Idaho Legislature has a 'disconnect' with city officials and city residents regarding urban renewal?

Hot Dog Logo Upsets Spokane Some

A new restaurant in downtown Spokane, specializing in gourmet hot dogs, is getting heat for its logo.”I'm surprised people are talking about it and it's creating the controversy that it is,” said Serena Belsby, co-owner of Wild Dawgs. Esteban Vallejo, also owns the restaurant and designed the logo himself. The logo features a female comic book character eating a hot dog. The “W” in Wild Dawgs appears to have a double meaning. “And yeah , she has breasts, breasts are beautiful, it's part of being a woman ,” said Belsby.” It wasn't any intention to be naughty or to be offensive against people it was just trying to be fun,” said Vallejo. Some however believe the logo is very intentional/Annie Bishop, KXLY. More here.

Question: Do you find this advertising offensive?

Jumping For Joy

Fans run onto the court as San Diego's Devin Ginty celebrates during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Saint Mary's Wednesday in San Diego. Cellar-dwelling San Diego upset the first-place Gaels 74-66. Story here. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Question: When is the last time you were so excited that you literally jumped for joy (as the fan in the photo)?

Riverstone Installing Infrastructure

The final public improvements could be complete within the next few months at Riverstone, a 160-acre residential and commercial project along the Spokane River in Coeur d’Alene. “We will have all of our infrastructure completed, and all of our lots will be available and ready to go with this last piece, so that feels pretty good,” said Development Manager Mike Craven, of SRM Development. “We’ll have more lots available and more choices.” Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, the Lake City Development Corp., recently approved $1.5 million in tax-increment financing, which helps the developer extend a road to the complex’s final 11 lots. That brings the total of tax-increment financing used for the development since 2000 to $9.68 million/Alison Boggs, SR. More here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Question: How often do you visit Riverstone, to do business, see a movie, shop, eat, or drink?

25K Protest Anti-Union Wisconsin Bill

Authorities say an estimated 25,000 people are protesting anti-union legislation at the Wisconsin state Capitol, and nine demonstrators have been arrested. On the third day of protests, the Statehouse was completely jammed with protesters opposed to a bill that would strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights. The crowd filled the building's hallways, sat cross-legged across the floor and chanted slogans. For the moment, a group of Democratic senators have blocked the bill by refusing to attend a midday vote and leaving the Capitol. The sergeant at arms was looking for them/Associated Press. More here.

Question: What do you suppose the residents of Wisconsin would do with the union bashing and anti-union voting that goes on fairly unchecked in the Idaho Legislature?

Pajama Person, Other Fashion Plates

This is a first and most likely a last. This is a column about fashion – something I am woefully unqualified to write about. But since when have I let qualifications or expertise get in the way of a column? Seriously, my fashion goal consists of getting out of the door each morning wearing matching shoes. If I remember socks or pantyhose, it’s a bonus. I haven’t paid attention to fashion trends since I started receiving parenting magazines instead of Prada catalogues in my mailbox. In fact, I’m so untrendy, I thought Crocs was an abbreviation for crocodiles and Ugg was something you said when you got slugged in the stomach. But no more. While waiting for a haircut, I picked up a fashion magazine and my eyes were opened. I read “Winter is no match for the hyper colors, crazy prints and ysl-isms we saw on the runways”/Cindy Hval, Washington Voices. More here.

Question: Have you seen any of the above fashions in your area? Or do you wear pajamas in public or leave your baseball cap on your head?

Nez Perce, Sheriff Work On Pact

Nez Perce County and the Nez Perce Tribe are in discussions on an agreement that would give law officers arrest power over tribal and nontribal members. The agreement, similar to a bill debated in the Idaho Legislature, would give county sheriff's deputies and tribal police the ability to interact with tribal and nontribal members within county and reservation boundaries. “If you look at this under the umbrella of public safety, this agreement is long overdue,” Nez Perce County Sheriff Dale Buttrey told commissioners during a meeting Tuesday/Brad W. Gary, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: How come Kootenai and Nez Perce counties can negotiate in good faith with nearby tribes re: cross deputization but Benewah County can't?

INW Headlines — 2.17.11

Arnold Schwarzennger takes some time to autograph a few posters for Artist Ralph Crawford's family members during his visit Wednesday in Lewiston. A 9-foot-tall statue depicting Schwarzenegger at the height of his bodybuilding career has received a final critique by the former Mr. Universe before being sent for bronzing. The former California governor visited Lewiston to suggest a few modifications to the clay sculpture. It's destined to stand outside his childhood home, which is now a museum in Thal, Austria. Jennifer Bauer story for Lewiston Tribune here. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune, Kyle Mills)

Indian Policing Bill Dies By 1 Vote

After debate finally was cut off by a two-thirds vote to move the previous question, a parliamentary maneuver designed to cut off debate, the House has voted 34-35 against HB 111, the tribal policing bill; it fails by one vote. The debate stretched through the lunch hour to 1 p.m./Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. (All Betsy's coverage this morning of the Indian policing issue here)

How they voted (complete vote here): In favor — Reps. Anderson, Chadderdon, Henderson, Nonini, and Sims; against — Reps. Barbieri, Eskridge, Hart, and Harwood, and McMillan.

DFO: I'm not surprised that Barbieri, Hart, and McMillan sided with Harwood. But I'm stunned that Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, did. Eskridge has always struck me as a bit more enlightened than this.

Question: Did your representative vote according to your wishes on this measure?

High Noon: When Hair Turns Green

It’s every woman’s nightmare. Anyone who has been through it knows the anguish and despair of turning green. The hue of dark green with baby poop green highlights gives your hair the essence of  a perpetual Halloween gone bad without intention. It just is - what it is: scary and bloodcurdling. Yes, it happened to me. However, I was optimistic as I sat for about 40 minutes with the light green tint saturating my locks of dyed gold and blonder combination of streaks with a natural two inch portion of fairly dark brown hair with minimal and barely noticeable fine gray. All I wanted was a natural blend but the blond could not be matched to my natural hairline so she says, “Well, it’s going to be dark, but it will fade”/Stebbijo, Stebbijo's Place. More here. (2010 SR file photo for illustrative purposes of Spokane Interstate Fair judge who donned a green wig for fun.)

Question: Can you describe a disastrous trip you've had to a barber or hair salon?

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.17.11

  • 11:35 a.m. David, in Lake City area, cancels missing person report. His son has returned.
  • 11:22 a.m. 60ish woman is unconscious & barely breathing on Limekiln Road/Bayview.
  • 11:14 a.m. ISP officer reports a large quantity of unknown debris is on w/b I-90 & H3/Rose Lake.
  • 11:10 a.m. Woman driver has suffered back injuries in crash on Kathleen (didn't get cross street).
  • 10:51 a.m. Someone has injured a hip in a fall at Creekside, 240 Kathleen/CdA.\
  • 10:38 a.m. A woman who was trespassed from both Lakeland Junior High and Betty Kiefer Elementary sped out of Kiefer parking lot in red Ford Explorer on Nagel Road/Rathdrum.
  • 10:31 a.m. Harrison EMTs are responding to unknown medical at senior center on Frederick.
  • 10:23 a.m. County resident reports confused 60ish man w/dog & newspaper showed up at door step thinking he was at his house.
  • 10:01 a.m. Holiday gas station, @ 312 Haycraft/CdA, reports gas drive-off.
  • 9:59 a.m. Woman reports her ex is stealing her stuff and selling it.
  • 9:54 a.m. Animal control is en route to find loose pitbull on e/b I-90 & 4th of July Pass.
  • 9:45 a.m. Voice: If you don't have room to pick up body (possibly in Bosanko area), put it on the sidewalk until you have time to pick it up later. (Let's hope it's an animal carcass.)
  • 9:32 a.m. A hazmat team is being sent to noninjury crash @ Spirit Lake Cutoff & Edidiah.
  • 8:26 a.m. Caller reports man in older Toyota Corolla is swerving & hit curb @ H95 & Government Way.
  • 8:25 a.m. Someone is suffering cardiac problems in 9000 block of Starr Loop/Hayden.

Favored Wrestler Defaults To Girl

Cedar Falls' Cassy Herkelman, right, and her opponent Joel Northrup, of Linn-Mar High of Marion, stand at the scorers table waiting for their leg bands prior to their Class 3A 112 pound first-round match at the Iowa State Wrestling tournament on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa. Northrup of Linn-Mar High, defaulted the match to Herkelman who was one of the first girls to have a match at the state tournament. (AP Photo/Steve Pope)

Question: What do you make of Joel Northrup's decision to default to a girl wrestler in the state tournament?

Harwood Claims ‘Heavy Heart’

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, told the House, “I stand here with a heavy heart today to debate this bill.” He said some have accused people from his county of being racist. “I'll tell you that's nothing more than hate speech and that is not true, it is definitely not true. It's highly offensive to me and to the people of my county,” he said.  He told the House, “It's hard for me to debate this bill because both the county members and the tribal members are my constituents. And the very reason that we're here is because the tribal council wants us to be here.” Harwood said he opposes HB 111, the tribal policing bill, because, “This bill will give the power to an entity that is not accountable to the people that it has the power over. That flies right in the face of everything this country's about, doesn't it? It sure seems like it to me”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Does anyone out there seriously think that Rep. Dick Harwood gives a rip about his constituents in the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe?

White House Grill Sign Causes Stir

Raci, at the popular White House Grill, 712 Spokane St./Post Falls, has caused jaws to flap with this sign that he recently posted to advertise that his business is now open Sundays. Kerri Thoreson posted this photo on her Facebook wall … and now has 49 comments — and counting. One commenter said he would no longer frequent the business. Another said Raci is a clever marketer in fire-engine-red political country. Kerri commented: “The business names are The White House and The Oval Office. Raci for YEARS has had banners and readerboards with clever takes on elections/the White House/the economy/presidents (yes, including Bush) because of the business name. I guess I'm incredibly surprised that this sign's mention of Obama has generated such an interpretation.” What do you think?

Question: Are you more/less inclined to eat at the White House after seeing this banner?

GOP Still Beats Dead Horse Minnick

The National Republican Congressional Committee has issued a statement on the two-year anniversary of the stimulus package passage, ripping … (pause for effect) ex-congressman Walt Minnick. Kevin Richert/Statesman points out the two reasons why the following statement is weird: “Today marks two years since the stimulus package was signed into law, riding on a wave of support from Walt Minnick and his former Democrat colleagues. Unfortunately, during the past two years, the $814 billion stimulus effort has failed to produce the jobs and economic recovery that had been promised. Today, as Minnick considers a run for his old seat, his former House Democrat allies are united under President Obama’s budget plan which proposes even more of the stimulus-style spending that will continue to add to our national debt and bring more uncertainty to small businesses trying to create jobs.” More here.

Question: Seriously?

Poll: Back NPR, Public Broadcasting

  • Wednesday Poll: 108 of 202 respondents (53.4%) support continued federal support for NPR and public broadcasting (which U.S. House Republicans are trying to kill). 90 of 202 (44.6%) oppose continued federal funding for public broadcasting. 4 respondents were undecided.
  • Divorce counseling (secondary poll): Two-thirds (78 of 117) responded that couples seeking divorce shouldn't be required to seek counseling (a bill being considered by Montana Legislature). 33 of 117 (28.2%) said they should be required to get counseling. 6 were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Would you want Rep. Dick Harwood representing you, if you were a Coeur d'Alene Tribe member?

SWABs Honor CHS Vik Girls Coach

Dale Poffenroth, longtime basketball coach and current Coeur d'Alene girls coach, listens to speakers at the annual Inland Northwest Sports Awards banquet on Wednesday at the Spokane Convention Center. Poffenroth was chosen as the junior female team coach of the year. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Landers: Photo Of 8 Cougars Legit

A Wenatchee hunter has a right to be proud for his photo showing a pride of mountain lions on the Douglas County ranch where he has permission to hunt. The black and white trail-cam image, which shows EIGHT cougars in one spot (web readers click on “photos” above), has gone viral in Northwest websites and e-mail lists since he first released it to acquaintances on Christmas Day. (Complete Outdoors post & photos from Rich Landers here)

  • Wildlife enthusiasts were in awe of the scene, which few people will see in their lifetimes.
  • Alarmists were ready to take up arms against the lion onslaught on the Central Washington deer population.
  • Skeptics assumed it was just another Internet hoax – at best just a hungry pen of cougars in a zoo.
  • But a Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologist who received a CD of this photo and all of the hunter’s remote camera cougar images raised his eyebrows and called it, “a magnificent one-time observation; not unheard of, but it’s very rare.”

Question: Which category are you in re: photo? Wildlife enthusiast? Alarmist? Skeptic?

New College Trustee Bill Introduced

The House State Affairs Committee has introduced a new version of Rep. Frank Henderson's bill to require community college trustees to run by district, rather than at large. Henderson said the new version corrects an error, plus makes a series of mostly minor changes requested by the College of Western Idaho. One more substantive change: Deleting a new requirement for community college trustees to file campaign finance reports. Henderson noted that legislation already has been introduced in the Senate to make that requirement, and it's moving forward separately. Henderson wants to make sure outlying areas of counties, not just population centers, are represented on community college boards/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Should trustee candidates for community college boards be required to file campaign finance reports?

Meghan Weighs In On Press Trolls

Meghan Ridley, the target of the attack by Press trolls, e-mailed Hucks Online this morning, with permission to use her message: “By last night their blog on my story was up to 72 comments.  This morning it was 47.  The majority of the defamatory comments had been removed, but so was one that provided a definition of libel, which I thought was pretty convenient.  They’ve also deleted all of my responses.  When they asked me yesterday if I wanted them to do this, I had declined.  Honestly, I felt it was too late and the damage had been done. A couple interesting sidenotes: on Thursday or Friday of last week, the front page of The Press had a picture of a high school student with a sign that read “Please Don’t Replace My Sexy Teacher With a Laptop” (or something to that effect).  It caused quite a stir on the front page that week.  Then, they put me on the front page Sunday … which I find rather interesting, especially since the article had no quotes from me.  And yesterday, their front page had coverage of a cleavage-free prom…I believe the headline was “Hear Ye, Hear Ye…No Cleavage.”  Their sequence of cover stories seems to be antagonizing a sensitive issue, clearly creating controversy. I’ve basically come to two conclusions with this:  either they don’t monitor their blogs, which is extremely negligent given the heated nature of their photographs and cover stories, or they do monitor their blogs, and saw nothing wrong with the commentary until this morning. 

Question: Do you think the Press ran the sequence of stories in the Press that focused on sexy teachers and cleavage?

Kevin: Luna, Et Al, Hold Your Horses

Let’s start where we can agree. Slashing tires and spray painting a pickup truck are flat out wrong. That also goes for planning to confront the elderly mother of an elected official. Here’s where you might not agree with me. I’m not prepared to conclude that these unacceptable acts of vandalism and goonery are all related to politics. And I’m dismayed at those who have rushed to that judgment, for political gain. Amidst a bitter fight over his education reform plan, state schools superintendent Tom Luna has reported both of the above incidents to Nampa police. Now, let’s let the police do their jobs. Meanwhile, I’m going to be sympathetic, but open-minded. Luna is right. Family and personal property should be off-limits, even in heated debate. If these incidents were motivated by politics, then it embodies politics at its ugliest. But we’re still in “if-then” mode/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Kevin that Luna, Gov. Butch Otter, and other education “reform” allies should let the cops do their work in this vandalism case before blaming the IEA for inciting the act?

AM: SWABs Honor Gomez, Poffenroth

Kinsey Gomez, a top cross country runner from Coeur d'Alene, poses with her award for the Junior Female Athlete of the Year at the annual Inland Northwest Awards Awards banquet on Wednesday at the Spokane Convention Center. Gomez and Coeur d'Alene High girls basketball coach Dale Poffenroth were among the star athletes, coaches and teams honored at the annual Inland Northwest Sportswriters & Broadcasters (SWABs) awards. Greg Lee SR story here.

Fangio: Give Me My Scanner Traffic

Fangio28: Please either teach your (blogging) daughter how to use the traffic scanner or DON’T take any more vacations. I suffer withdrawal without my daily dose of “traffic”. Thanks, Huckleberry “Hound.”

DFO: Cindy, who does a superb job subbing for me at Hucks Online HQ, doesn't have access to my scanners. Also, she doesn't get paid for a full-time gig in my absence. Monitoring the scanners is full time. I appreciate your fondness of Scanner Traffic.

Question: Are you a fan of Scanner Traffic?

Cindy: Press Trolls Went Too Far

Cindy (re: “Press trolls slime Lakeland teacher): Oh. My. God. Really? Its a good thing we live in Amercia where women don’t have to dress as men dictate. Even though all we all know how little self control men/boys have and how seeing cleavage might make them have bad, nasty thoughts! Thoughts they are NOT responsible for. I made it through half of the comments at the Press site before I saw RED and threw up in my mouth a little. I’m a professional woman and think Ms. Ridley dress is entirely appropriate. I’m also the mother of four sons and wouldn’t be SHOCKED or apalled if any of their female teachers wore a similar outift. It is beyond disgusting to me that the Press site allowed such outrageous, sexist comments. Grow up, already.

Question: Should the Coeur d'Alene Press monitor its online comments more closely?

Michael: Thanks For Shoutout

Michael Haynes, owner of Kootenai Cafe: I must say thank you for the blog. Even though i am not the legal owner of the restaurant i have taken bride in trying to recreate the magic that our customer base gave the Pantry. Now six months in the time has come to redevelope the menu and make that next step in becoming Coeur d’ Alene’s Affordable Community restaurant. It is our intent to give this wonderful town it’s 24 hour hang out. I am very proud of our servers and the care that they have taken in serving our patrons that we have developed a relationship with.

Question: Do you agree with Michael Haynes that the local community needs a 24-hour hangout?

Signe: GOP Cost Cutting

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

CdA Woman In Intensive Care After Crash

A 47-year-old woman who'd been arrested by Coeur d'Alene police Tuesday for driving with a suspended license is in intensive care tonight after being injured in a T-bone accident at Boekel & Atlas early this afternoon. According to a sheriff's press release, Kathryn D. Adkins was southbound on Atlas, driving a Buick Park Avenue, when she allegedly failed to yield from a stop sign and pulled out in front of James R. Hervall, 30, driving a Nissan Pathfinder.  Hervall attempted evasive actions but was unable to avoid colliding with Adkins. Adkins underwent emergency surgery at Kootenai Medical Center. Hervall was evaluated at the scene and released.

Hucks At 8 Wild Card — 2.16.11

Huckleberries Online has reached another milestone today — it's 8th blogiversary. Dunno how many of you have been here for the long haul. But I've certainly seen changes to the posts, blog ware, and, of course, commenter & North Idaho blog mix featured here. I had no way of knowing when I started this blog that it would turn into a full-time gig — and that it would attract as much attention as it does. It's been a great run. And it's not over. I'm still having fun. Which is crucial for me. Thanks for hanging out here. Now, for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.16.11

Arnold Schwarzenegger goes over every detail as he gets the first in-person-look at the larger than life clay sculpture artist Ralph Crawford is sculpting for him today in Lewiston. Once complete the statue will be bronzed and sent to Austria to be displayed in Schwarzenegger's home town.(AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune, Kyle Mills)

This Woman Prefers Black Hair

Some think black hair is exotic in women. And women seem drawn to men with black hair as well. Myself, I love black hair men. My father has black hair, wonder, if that makes a difference in our preference? Also the King use to have black hair. I have even as a teen and in my adult life been always drawn to black