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Huckleberries Online

Archive for January 2011

Wild Card/Monday — 1.31.11

Doesn't the sunshine and the date on the calendar this morning, Jan. 31, make you want to smile? We may be going through a cold snap during the first part of the week. But February is just around the corner. Old Man Winter is losing his steam in this part of the country (although he seems to be tearing up a chunk of the eastern part). Soon, we'll be talking about gardens and bracing ourselves against an infestation of tourists. Winter, for all its drawbacks, does a pretty good job of chasing tourists outtahere. Now, for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.31.11

A sled dog howls as a tourist looks on during a tour run by Outdoor Adventures in the Soo Valley north of Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, on Monday. An organization that fights animal abuse is calling the slaughter of 100 sled dogs by an outdoor adventure company in British Columbia a bloodbath and police are investigating. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

Is Cursive Going Way Of Dinosaur?

What these kids are learning seems familiar to most of us; but, they're learning something fewer and fewer kids across the country will ever learn. Districts across the country are making the switch from handwriting lessons to keyboarding classes, leaving cursive in the dust. Spokane Public Schools and Central Valley Schools still have cursive writing in their curricula, beginning in the 2nd grade. But, a move to change that in districts across the country has some teachers and parents concerned/Marissa Luck, KXLY. More here.

Question: Should schools still teach children cursive? And/or: Do you have decent handwriting?

Thank An Architect If You Like Trail

The next time you ride along the Centennial Trail, or take your family out to enjoy one of Spokane’s scenic parks, thank a landscape architect. And if you know Coeur d’Alene’s Jon Mueller, be sure to thank him too. For 27 years, Mueller has been involved in efforts to beautify many parts of the Inland Northwest, including the Idaho portion of the Centennial Trail and Sky Prairie Park in north Spokane. Born and raised in Coeur d’ Alene, Mueller has witnessed great growth throughout the region. “As a child I watched Interstate 90 being built through the city and the initial development of Coeur d’Alene’s McEuen Field,” he said/Cindy Hval, Spokesman Homes.com. More here.

Question: Which part of the Centennial Trail, either side of the state line, is your favorite?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.31.11

  • 5:57 p.m. Wife reports that her husband has shot himself in home office @ Duce & Walking Horse/Athol. She reports that there's a lot of blood and that her husband's still breathing.
  • 5:55 p.m. State Line WalMart has apprehended a cooperative shoplifter.
  • 5:45 p.m. A male at a group home in 1800 block of Chehalis/Post Falls.
  • 5:37 p.m. CityLink bus driver reports 5 males & 2 females are fighting at Riverstone stop.
  • 5:28 p.m. An old pickup is blocking the w/b lane of Prairie, east of H41/Rathdrum.
  • 5:24 p.m. 3-vehicle crash is partly blocking H95 & Hanley, in front of Tri-State Outfitters/CdA. Hazmat team responding to report of radiator leakage.
  • 4:06 p.m. 2 men in a gray pickup took a photo of a house and then yelled at the neighbor when she opened her blinds to see what they were doing. They're now leaving on Teton toward Idaho/PF.
  • 4:05 p.m. Woman, in 20800 block of H53, sez that her ex-girlfriend refuses to give back her property.
  • More below

PM Headlines — 1.31.11

“I've been doing this kindergarten,” said Aric Fortin, a 4th grader at Sorensen Magnet School of the Arts and Humanities, on Monday, January 31, 2011. The school, in Coeur d'Alene will have jugglers Matt Baker and Aaron Gregg as artists in residence all week. The jugglers along with a group of Sorensen students will give a performance, free and open to the public at Boswell Hall, North Idaho College on Thursday from 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Chris: Chiludo’s Burrito … To Die For

Chris Beck: I stopped by El Chiludo's on Saturday and tried a marinated chicken burrito and a chile relleno. Two thumbs up for the huge and tasty burrito. Four other customers passed through while I was there. Next stop - Taco Works.

DFO: Whenever one of you eats at El Chiludo's or Taco Works (the two places picketed by local neo-Nazis), please post a comment telling us about it, along with a review of the food. If the Aryans are picketing in the general area, let us know about that, too. A photo of them will be worth bonus points.

APhoto Of The Day — 1.31.11

Lynn Kriengkrairut, top, and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt, bottom, fall as they perform during the free dance program in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Upon sneezing, Logan tried to console her by saying Gesundheit, but it came out Kriengkrairut instead, and threw them both off — JeanieS.
  • 2. Two members of the Tea Party demonstrate what Obamacare does to the country during an interperative figure skating routine over the weekend. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann said, “I am not sure where that girl is from or what country she was born in, but here in America, we don't need the government to make us fall on our butts” — Joker.
  • 3. An innocent game of Twister goes tragically wrong — Gary D. Rhodes.\
  • HM: Cindy, Cabbage, & Eddie

Bar Report: DUI Left Holding Wheel?

A guy who'd lost his designated driver is among the latest arrests made as a result of downtown Coeur d'Alene drinking. On a recent Saturday, CPD Blues arrested a 25YO male in the Coeur d'Alene Resort parking lot after responding to a hit-and-run report. The drunk claims he'd been drinking at the Shore Lounge and that his designated driver hit a parked vehicle and fled the scene before security arrived. After the “friend” left him, the drunk said he moved into the driver's seat, started to drive, and was detained by security. According to the police report, the suspect “did not have a lot of information about his designated driver / accident causing friend and was arrested on DUI charges.” And now for two more episodes of Downtown Coeur d'Alene Bar report: Jan. 15-16, and: Jan. 20-26.

North Idaho Blogs — 1.31.11

Marianne Love/Slight Detour snapped a series of photos around her acreage in Bonner County of the snow, waterways, and one of her dogs.

Hucks Online numbers (for week of Jan. 13-19): 50,297/30,687

We All Fall Down

A model falls on the catwalk during Tony Ward's Spring-Summer 2011 collection during the AltaRoma fashion week, in Rome, Monday. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Question: Have you taken a hard fall this winter?

Vet Regrets Improper ‘Guns’ Remark

Military veteran Sherman Randolph has had second thoughts about an inappropriate comment he made during a meeting between the American Legion and city officials re: McEuen Field. At the time (shortly after the Tucson shootings, he said that regular citizens are going to have to start bringing their guns to meetings with city officials. In a letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press Sunday, Randolph wrote: “I am 60-plus years old and have strong, sometimes passionate, feelings. I believe in the order of law and until a law is changed, we are bound by God and man to obey them. Family, friends and associates, know me to be an honest, reliable, patriotic, God-fearing man. They also know that I am outspoken, opinionated and rarely politically correct. When Mr. Hasslinger asked me if I regretted my comment, I don't remember my exact response. In light of what has transpired as a result of this comment and his article, I have a number of regrets.” More here.

Question: When did you last make a public statement that you immediately regretted?

Otis: Lady Looks Like A Dude

On his Facebook wall, Otis G tells of a close encounter in the Spokane Valley Costco food court involving a store worker recently. As the worker handed him a sausage, Otis said: “Thanks, brother!” Only to have the dude huff at him. Otis wasn't sure why he got that treatment in return, until he saw the dude's name tag, identifying him as a her. At that point, he didn't know whether to apologize or leave. So he opted for the latter. Otis: “I felt terrible about it when I got back to work, and it made for quite a discussion. It was universally voted that in a situation like that, you don't try to explain or apologize. You just make a hasty exit.”

Question: Did Otis make the right call by beating a retreat in a situation like this?

Mary & Ron Edinger Now BFFs

It wasn't that long ago, if memory serves me correctly, that Mary Souza & her OpenCDA.com playmates weren't that complimentary of Councilman Ron Edinger. Now that Ron has come out in favor of a public vote on McEuen Field, things have changed. In civil terms in her latest newsletter, Mary tells of her close encounter with Ron at the Reagan Republicans luncheon at Fedora's Thursday. Mary writes of her BFF Ron that “He wants Tubbs to be left alone, he wants the boat launch to stay and the American Legion ball field as well.” Then, she writes, that Ron said, “Yes, I would,” when asked directly if he would support a public vote on whatever the final plan might be. Mary continues: ” We all gave him a big round of applause.” We'll see if all that goodwill translates into support for Ron this fall during the city elections. Full column here.

Question: Will the city be forced by public outcry to have a vote of some sorts on McEuen Field revitalization?

‘Unsinkable Molly B’ Survives Again

A cow makes a dash onto 8th Avenue South in Great Falls, Mont. while running from law enforcement officers on Jan. 5, 2006. Five years after a cow dubbed the “Unsinkable Molly B” leapt a slaughterhouse gate and swam across the Missouri River in an escape that brought international acclaim, the heifer has again eluded fate, surviving the collapse of the animal sanctuary where she was meant to retire. Molly B is among an estimated 1,200 animals removed from the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary and Rescue northwest of Missoula in recent weeks as part of a massive effort to bail out its overwhelmed owners. (AP Photo/Great Falls Tribune,Robin Loznak)

Question: Have you ever milked a cow by hand?

Loertscher May Kill Conscience Bill

House State Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, says he hasn't decided whether or not to allow a hearing on legislation from Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls, to amend Idaho's “conscience law” to ensure that patients' living wills and advanced care directives are followed - but he's  leaning against it. “I'm prone not to,” Loertscher told Eye on Boise. “It's only been in effect for six months or less. Let's see how it goes for a while.” Loertscher also said, however, that he hasn't yet had a chance to read the bill, and he might decide to allow a hearing. As the chairman of the committee where the bill's been assigned, Loertscher can kill it simply by sticking it in his desk drawer and never scheduling a hearing on it/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Should there even be a question that this bill needs to move forward?

Judge: Health Care Reform Illegal

In a big loss for the Obama administration, a federal judge has thrown out the entire health care reform law. Judge Roger Vinson in Florida found today that the requirement in the law that all Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine “exceeds Congress’ power” under the Commerce Clause. Vinson rules that the rest of the health care law cannot stand on its own. A judge in Virginia last month came to a similar conclusion about the individual mandate. But today's ruling goes further; the Virginia ruling allowed the rest of the law to stand while the individual mandate was challenged/Ariane de Vogue, ABC News. More here.

Question: What happens now?

How Free Is ‘Free Panda Thursday’?

On his wall, Facebook Friend Joe Butler writes re: a “Free Panda (Express) Thursday”: “And by free, we've learned that this means 'at participating restaurants,' and sometimes you have to buy other stuff, and try to get there prior to noon before the overworked lunch staff gets all surly.” Any Spokane folks wanting to get in on this, let me know.” I thought I'd be more enthused about Panda Express when the one opened at 4th & Appleway. But I've only eaten there 2 or 3 times. Too expensive for small portions. I prefer Safeway deli on Neider, if I want fast food Chinese.

Question: Are you a Panda Express fan?

High Noon: Out, Out, Damn Ringtone

Steve Crump, columnist/editorial writer for the Twin Falls Times-News, is one of many who appreciate the decline of annoying ringtones for cell phones. In a weekend column, Steve notes that the sale of ringtones in this country peaked at $714 million in 2007. They then dropped $160 million in a single year because, in part, customers have learned how to create their own ringtones, and because people are sick of them, writes Steve, adding: “Call me old-fashioned, but when my phone rings I like to hear it ring — not play snippets from Pink Floyd’s 'The Wall' or the first eight bars of Iron Butterfly’s 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita.' Full column here.

Question: What music is played on your ringtone? Or do you still have a ringtone?

INW: WSU Delirious After UW Win

Washington State players Dré Winston, Jr.(left to right), Brock Motum, Faisal Aden, Abe Lodwick, DeAngelo Casto, Steven Bjornstad and Will DiIorio rush onto the court after defeating Washington 87-80 in an NCAA college basketball game Sunday in Pullman. See Jim Moore/PI column below. (AP Photo/Dean Hare)

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.31.11

  • Noonish: Silent holdup alarm has sounded from cooler at Appleby's/CdA.
  • 11:27 a.m. 18YO man driving red Toyota toward Idaho/PF, may have baseball bat en route to a fight.
  • 11:08 a.m. Man chased from Radio Shack may now be @ Peterson's/liquor store on Sherman, panhandling.
  • 10:38 a.m. Bonner County deputies have stopped 2 vehicles involved in a rolling domestic on Spirit Lake Cut-Across Road. A son in a pickup pulling a Blazer & his father in a gray Olds following him.
  • 10:29 a.m. 17YO who is on probation is breaking plates in rage @ Loire Drive/CdA home.
  • 10:16 a.m. Woman in Loch Have apartments (200 block) reports backpack w/ammo left in driveway.
  • 10:03 a.m. A manhole cover is lying vertical in middle of hole on I-90/Spokane w/b offramp/PF.
  • 10:01 a.m. Radio Shack, near Hastings on Appleway, wants a person evicted from premises.
  • 9:44 a.m. A street sign is down @ 13th & Stiner/CdA.
  • 9:26 a.m. Caller reports a possible drunken driver @ 13th & Davis/CdA.
  • 9:11 a.m. A possible chimney fire is reported @ Madison & Wind Swept/Post Falls.
  • 9:08 a.m. A Bonner County man reports his daughter called to say B.L. broke into her apartment.
  • 9 a.m. J. reports that his neighbor has erected signs on his property slandering him.
  • 8:46 a.m. Grandfather explains that he called 911 to show granddaughter how to do so.
  • 8:41 a.m. Mark wants to see an officer re: a possible fraudulent business.

Have Ukulele, Will Travel

I'm taking our Family Ukulele (yes, we have one … ) to my son this week. We're meeting up in LA for him to participate at the Ronald Reagan Centennial Events. (BTW, he WON'T be playing it…just receiving it from me.) In preparation, Colin, a Plebe at West Point (read: tough guy) asked me to bring the Ukulele (read: not a tough guy instrument) and it just seemd at odds with EVERYTHING he has been learning at the School for Soldiers on the Hudson/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Do you enjoy ukulele music?

Hucks Poll: Raise Taxes

  • Weekend Poll: Hucks Nation supports raising taxes to protect essential services, like Medicaid and public education. 111 of 208 respondents (53.4%) support a tax increase to protect services. 92 of 208 (43.2%) oppose raising taxes. 5 (2.4%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Should Idaho's anti-discrimination law be expanded to add sexual orientation to its protected classes?

Rescuers Save Ex-TV Anchor Wilde

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office says the driver of a SUV had been drinking before driving her car into a Latah Valley creek Sunday afternoon.Deputies were called out to Hangman Valley Road in the Latah Valley area just after one p.m. on reports that a female drive had crashed into the creek that runs along Hangman Road. When deputies got on scene they found the woman, later identified as former Spokane TV and radio anchor Debra Wilde, trapped in her SUV and the water inside her vehicle had reached the windows.Divers were able to get Wilde out of the car before it became dislodged and started moving down the creek/KXLY. More here.

Reaction?

Bill Hall: Humans Fight Like Buffalos

Many among our kind are built like a buffalo, and I don't mean because they eat too much fast food. The sacrificial urge is in our genes, whether we all heed the urge or not. We are designed to rush to the rescue of strangers, to save fellow humans, those who are part of our pack. Just like a buffalo, we aren't built to do nothing. Consider the recent reminder in Arizona. When a distorted man started shooting people, the most common reaction of bystanders was to run to the rescue  They threw themselves on top of others almost instinctively, using their own bodies as shields. Among those who sacrificed themselves was a federal judge, John Role. He decided in an almost irresistible impulse to impose himself between flying bullets and another defenseless human being. That cost him his life/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Any idea what you might do in a situation like the one that Judge Role and others faced when crazed shooter Jared Loughner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others?

SpoCOOL Reviews Chiludo’s, Aryans

Mark Salmon, of SpoCOOL, checked out El Chiludo's at 3000 Government Way, to see why the Mexican food stand was giving picketing local neo-Nazis such heartburn: “The result of our research: They were, in fact, neo-Nazi-Jackasses. I suppose the Jackass-signs they were carrying around had already given them away, though it's probably transparent that we just wanted to try Chiludo's tacos. In that sense the Jackass-picketing backfired, seeing how it's now bringing Chiludo's—a truck we weren't aware of—customers. Which they deserve. This is not a bad little taco truck. Their lengua—beef tongues—might be the best in the region, in fact. They're nicely tender, great texture, and have a good flavor to them, with some nice subtle seasoning. Definitely a hit.” (Courtesy photo: Stebbijo's Place)

Question: Has the picketing by neo-Nazis of the two Mexican food stands off Appleway (Taco Works is at Best & 6th, next to Lyle's) backfired? It seems as though the pickets are bringing customers to the stands.

AM: Megaloads To Roll Tuesday

A little rain didn't stop people walking through the Port of Lewiston with picket signs Saturday in Lewiston. People gathered to protest the Mega Loads that are being prepared to be shipped to Montana on Tuesday. The megaloads will begin rolling Tuesday. Story here. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune, Kyle Mills)

Deanna: A Little Disappointed w/Ron

Deanna Goodlander: I disagree with Ron on the public vote. this is a planning process, not written in stone, and frankly I am a little disapointed that Ron would make such a big deal about being left off the planning group. I also asked to a be a part of that group, since my father was so involved in the group that saved McEuen from becoming a shopping plaza. I remember him going to meetings and working on plans. In fact I have one of the original drawings that shows a stage on Tubbs Hill for concerts and events. We all have our responsibilites to the Council and liason to different departments. Mine is Library and Arts Commission and Building department. I know Ron has streets and fire and police. John Bruning is Park and Rec. It was appropriate since he was liason that he be part of the group.

Question: Do you believe most Coeur d'Alene residents want some change for McEuen Field?

Anti-Union Bill Gets Repub Backing

After an hour of legal arguments about complicated legal problems with the bill, the Senate State Affairs Committee has voted 7-2, along party lines, to approve SB 1007, legislation targeting labor unions by prohibiting them from subsidizing wages to aid contractors in winning bids. “The reason we brought this bill is to level the playing field,” declared Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, who is co-sponsoring the bill with Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, and nine other GOP lawmakers. “This bill is about freedom, it's about freedom to protect our workers and our workforce. This simply adds to and enables us to enforce Right to Work”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are unions such a factor in Idaho that Republicans need to pass a legally questionable bill to shore up the Right to Work law?

Huckleberries: Idaho Last In Pol Clout

Idaho doesn’t fare well in that “United States of Shame” chart making the rounds in the blogosphere. The chart, provided by the Pleated Jeans blog, offers a theory that every state ranks last on some list. Someone, for example, has ranked Idaho last in terms of congressional delegation clout. But the Gem State fares better than other nearby states. Somewhere out there is a list that sez North Dakota has the ugliest residents. Montana allegedly has the most drunken drivers. Utah, believe it or not, rates last in online wholesomeness, leading the states on one list in rate of Web porn subscriptions. And Washington? The Evergreen State ranks worst for bestiality, leading the country in the number of human-animal hookup cases in 2010, with four. We Idahoans, I suppose, should be pleased that our failure involves politics rather than unwholesome affection for critters/DFO, Huckleberries, SR. More here.

Question: Now that the Republicans are in power in the House, do you think Idaho's political delegation still ranks last in terms of clout?

Hart Fundraiser Attracts 40

Item: Hart fundraiser in Cd'A attracts about 40/Nick Rotunno, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Surrounded by historic firearms and old guitars, Rep. Phil Hart welcomed friends and supporters to a fundraiser at Northwest Pony Express on Saturday night. Owned by Joe Ellithorpe, the shop at U.S. 95 and Canfield Avenue hosted close to 40 people. “Joe and I have been friends for about a year,” said Hart, who represents District 3 and lives in Athol. “We share some of the same views on things. I've got some extra expenses lately. He said, 'Hey, let me help you out.'”

Question: Isn't it unusual for a legislator to raise money while the Legislature is in session?

WSU Cougars 87, Washington 80

Washington guard Terrence Ross (31) drives against Washington State guard Klay Thompson (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday in Pullman. Washington State won 87-80. Thompson scored 25 points to lead the Cougars to an upset win over conference leading Washington. ESPN story and boxscore here. (AP Photo/Dean Hare)

Weekend Wild Card — 1.29-30

We have a weekend of high temperatures in the mid-to-upper 30s before things get cold but sunny again, with 20 degrees forecast as highs for Monday through Wednesday. My wife had to remind me Friday night that it's still winter when I complained about the frigid temperatures moving in again. Oh well, the promise of a decent Super Bowl between Green Bay and Pittsburgh will get us through next week to Super Bowl Sunday. Then, we can keep our fingers crossed that the groundhog calls off winter when he pokes his head out of his hole Wednesday. Now for your Wild Card …

Gonzaga 86, San Diego 53

Gonzaga's David Stockton tries to slip between San Diego's Chris Gabriel and Darian Norris (right) for a steal in Spokane tonight. Reserve Sam Dower scored 27 points to lead Gonzaga to an 86-53 win over San Diego. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

2 CdA Residents Hurt In H95 Crash

Two Coeur d'Alene residents were injured this afternoon in a crash at Cougar Gulch on Highway 95, south of Coeur d'Alene. John M. Shepard, 57, was northbound on the highway at 12:55 p.m. when his 2009 Jeep Patriot crossed the center line and hit a 2008 Ford Edge, driven by Diana Andrews, 62. Both drivers were taken to Kootenai Medical Center. ISP officers at the scene decided that alcohol was not a factor. The accident remains under investigation.

Inmate Finds Fake Bomb At KCSD

A member of the bomb squad approaches a suspicious device earlier today, outside the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office in Coeur d'Alene after a robot was used to take a closer look.  The device, apparently a cell phone, a battery and a road flare, was not an explosive device. (SR photo: Carolyn Lamberson)

Authorities say a suspicious device found outside the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office this morning was made to look like a bomb but was harmless. It was a road flare with a battery tucked inside it, attached to a phone, investigators said. The Spokane bomb squad investigated the object, found by an inmate on a work crew along North Government Way about 9:15 a.m. It was found at the southwest corner of the campus that includes the county jail, said sheriff’s Maj. Ben Wolfinger/Spokesman-Review. More here.

Question: Are we starting to over-react to suspicious packages and devices? Or does the potentially lethal bomb found in the backpack along the MLK Day parade route justify caution?

 

Letter: Spokane Is A Racist Town

Spokane is a racist town – Anglocentric, de facto segregated and unrepentant. Upon our moving back from the South in 1974, a family friend and local Realtor responded to an observation that there were few blacks here by saying, “Yep, and that’s why I like it here.” Two of 17 U.S. domestic terrorist events from 1990 to 1996 happened in Spokane, i.e., bombings by the white supremacist Phinneas Brotherhood. Before and since, cross burnings and other racial incidents have occurred. Those in Spokane’s streets and neighborhoods tell of routine disrespect and abuse by local law enforcement, a timeless legacy of this town/David A. Brookbank Jr., Spokane Valley, letter to the editor. More here.

Question: Do you agree with David Brookbank's letter to the editor in today's SR that Spokane is a racist town? North Idaho lives with that rap, but Spokane … ?

WSU Coach Urges Students To Be Classy

Washington State head coach Ken Bone, right, argues with referee Greg Nixon about a possession call during the first half of the Cougars' 78-61 win over Arizon State Jan. 20 in Pullman. Now, Bone has written a letter to the Daily Evergreen urging students to be passionate when Washington visits Pullman today to play the Cougars. Bone may be fearing a repeat of the post-Apple Cup snowball frenzy last fall. Also, WSU students will be aware that one of the UW players is being investigated for sexual misconduct. You can read about the coach's letter here. (AP Photo/Dean Hare)

Question: Do raucous students add or detract from your enjoyment of a college sporting event?

Marianne: Winter Dragging Along

On her Facebook wall, Marianne Love writes: “Three more days; then Feburary. I'm ready. January has a way of being long, long, long — no matter what. About the 15th, I think we're on the downhill run, then all those days from the 20th start draaaaaaagggging by.” In my mind, I consider Groundhog's Day as the first step toward spring, no matter what Punxatawney Phil sees when he emerges from his hole. This year, however, I've already seen one of the sure signs of spring — a fire-engine-yellow yard sign tacked to a telephone pole on Government Way. How about you?

Question: Have you seen any signs of spring yet?

Idaho College Sets Boxing Smoker

Three minutes isn't very long. But for bodies trained to survive eight seconds, it's an eternity. A number of College of Southern Idaho rodeo team members, as well as rodeo cowboys and cowgirls from other regional universities and some members of the general public, will duke it out on Saturday in CSI's 34th annual boxing smoker event held at the Eldon Evans Expo Center. Between 12 and 16 bouts are expected for Saturday's festivities, with each bout consisting of three one-minute rounds. The final bout list will be set after weigh-ins the morning of the event/David Bashore, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.

Question: Should an Idaho college encourage a sport like boxing?

Edinger Favors Public McEuen Vote

Item: Edinger supports public vote on McEuen Field: City Council president 'disappointed' he was not appointed to committee that helped design plan/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Mayor Sandi Bloem couldn't be reached for comment on Friday, but said in previous interviews with The Press and at meetings discussing McEuen that she favors allowing the City Council to have the final decision on whatever conceptual plan is put before it for adoption. On Friday council members Al Hassell and John Bruning agreed. … Councilman Woody McEvers agreed the plan was a long way from being completed, but should the topic of a public vote arise, it could be prudent for the City Council to consider.

Question: Would it be political suicide for the Bloem administration and the City Council to make significant changes to McEuen Field without a public vote?

Nullification Authors Defend Stand

We have proposed a simple, well-reasoned solution that is rooted in America’s history. We propose recognizing the national health care plan for what it is – a vast overreach of federal power. To stop it, we invoke our right to opt-out of the program, to interpose the state between the federal government and its Idaho’s citizens. House Bill 59 is a capsulation of that effort. Our bill simply says that our state government will not recognize the onerous provisions of the health care plan. Under our bill, state agencies and state employees will be forbidden from writing new agency rules, creating new programs or entering into any agreements that further the federal plan/Reps. Vito Barbieri and Judy Boyle, and Sens. Monty Pearce, Steve Vick and Sheryl Nuxoll, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: Two of the three signers of this article are new legislators from House District 3. The third House District 3 repr is Phil Hart. How does the trio's political ideology reflect on House District 3?

Hart Fund-Raiser At Pony Express Tonite

Item: Hart holding fundraiser tonight: Owner of facility did not know purpose of event/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: It doesn't specify what the event is raising funds for, though the federal government has filed $300,000 in tax liens against Hart, after he refused to pay income tax for several years. A district court also recently dismissed Hart's appeal of more than $50,000 the Idaho Tax Commission ordered him to pay in back state income taxes, penalties and interest.

Question: Why do you think supporters are holding a fund-raiser for Rep. Phil Hart?

Ramirez: State Of Union, Blah, Blah, Blah

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

TGIF Wild Card — 1.28.11

The Zags have fallen (after a run of 10 consecutive West Coast Conference titles). Long live the Gaels. I'd encourage Zag fans in Hucks Online cyberspace not to jump off any cliffs just yet. Gonzaga is capable of winning the WCC tournament to win an automatic NCAA tournament bid. On the other hand, a year playing in the NIT tournament isn't the end of the world. The Zags will be back next year to battle the Gaels — and WCC newby Brigham Young. If that isn't enough, we're about to enter February. Which means spring is nearer. Now, for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.28.11

Guest speakers find the seats onstage at the start of a special event held in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger’s launch and celebration of Christa’s life and legacy at the McAulife-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, N.H., today. Christa McAuliffe story here. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
  

JS: Collecting Dorothy Dean Recipes

JeanieS: I just noticed the ad celebrating 75 years (I think, now it's gone - kind of like my mind) of Dorothy Dean recipes. I have been collecting the leaflets from the 30s and 40s. I went to an estate sale early last spring at a farmhouse in the Palouse - and this woman had a room FULL of cookbooks (what else do they do in the prairie?). Including a HUGE 8-inch 3-ring binder of Dorothy Dean recipes.

Question: Do you collect cook books or recipes?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.28.11

  • 5:29 p.m. Someone is having difficulty breathing after being unconscious at Fred's Appliance in 500 block of Appleway.
  • 4:29 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activity report for Jan. 27-28 here
  • 3:54 p.m. Someone is unconscious & not breathing in 24000 block of Bluebird Lane/Bayview.
  • 3:49 p.m. Caller reports a green, plastic garbage can fully engulfed in fire by the concession stand at Coeur d'Alene's Memorial Field on Mullan, across from City Park.
  • 3:47 p.m. Caller reports goats are loose along Hayloft Road/Athol.
  • 3:18 p.m. A man slurring his speech has left the state liquor store in Rathdrum and driven east on H53. The man had been in the store to buy liquor 2 hours previously, too.
  • More below

PM: Rocker Sixx Has Idaho Roots

Did you know that Nikki Sixx is an Idaho native? Not only does columnis Steve Crump of the Twin Falls Times-News report that Motley Crew rocker grew up as Frank Ferrana in the Magic Valley, but he also has a new line of high-end men's and women's clothing. Writes Crump, of the Royal Underground brand: “How high-end is Royal Underground? A men’s military-style leather jacket will set you back $1,245. A gray T-shirt emblazoned with crosses and fleur-de-lis goes for $115, and there’s a women’s linen trench coat for $895. And my personal favorite: a pair of straight-legged jeans with — quoting here, “light distressing” — priced to move at $335.” You can read Crump's column here.

Question: Which heavy-metal band is your favorite?

OOST: How To Respond To Pickets?

Stebbijo @ Stebbijo's Place offers another photo of the neo-Nazi picketers at Chiludo's Mexican Food (about 3000 block of Government Way, north of Les Schwab's Tires). You can also find a photo of a decent line of customers frequenting the Mexican stand on Stebbijo's site here.

Out Of Stater Tater: Can we organize a campaign that will buy one taco for every minute the thugs picket a taco stand? I think the Human Rights Education Institute did something like this years back when Butler & Co. had a parade down Sherman. Donors lined up to donate a dollar or more for every minute the parade lasted. So if the parade lasted 30 minutes and 30 people pledged $1 a minute toward HREI, the result was $900 in donations to a great cause - an outcome exactly the opposite of what the Aryans wanted. I've always thought this was a great idea. The longer the thugs picket, the more they do to line the pockets of the very people they're picketing.

Question: Any other suggestions re: how this community can turn the lemons that neo-Nazis have provided with their pickets into lemonade?

Dustin Treads Off To HBO Graveyard

Dustin Hurst: I was talking with a Democratic operative today in the Capitol and he told me that my commentary on issues is really hurting IR's image and credibility around the state. I guess that it should have been been obvious to me that might be the case, but I didn't realize it. Phaedrus, I hate to admit it, but you were and are right on this issue. I don't care if people question me or my own credibility, but when that begins to rub off on my organization due to my actions, something has to change. That being said, I am now taking my place in the HBO graveyard. You will no longer see my posts here, even if I could post solely news stuff. I will be reborn as with a new handle in a few days.

Question: Any parting words for Dustin?

Year-Round Skinny Dipping? Brrr

Gimlet-eyed OrangeTV spotted this advertisement in the Nickel's Worth and posted it on his Get Out! North Idaho Facebook wall. I immediately thought of the Sun Meadow nudist resort near Worley. Bingo. I hope they have heated polls because there might be some, ahem, significant shrinkage if someone tried to skinny dip during a North Idaho winter.

Question: Have you ever skinny-dipped? Do you want to tell us about it?

Neo-Nazis Picket Mexican Stand Again

Don't look now, but the neo-Nazis are picketing Chiludo's again. That's the Mexican food stand north of Les Schwab Tires on Government Way (the strip mall behind the tire place that used to house the Long Ear). A Berry Picker saw a handful of pickets near the Mexican stand. Better yet, she said, Chiludo's had a long line of customers waiting for food. And, she added re: the racists: “Why aren't these guys at work?” One of the signs said: “Honk, if you want a white Idaho.” Tony Stewart, a co-founder of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, would tell you to make sure you purchase lunch from one of the stands picketed by the neo-Nazis — the other is Taco Works @ 5th & Appleway — to show that you support the business owners. (Photo: Idaho Dad)

Wrapup: 100s Decry Medicaid Cuts

Close to a thousand people flocked to Idaho’s state Capitol on Friday to plead with lawmakers not to cut services to disabled Idahoans, from their children to their clients to themselves. “I’ve been in two group homes and I know for a fact that it’s not very fun,” Jack Hansen of Boise, a young man with developmental disabilities, told lawmakers. “You guys are my only hope. … If you make these cuts, I swear you’ll be making a huge mistake.” Denise Wetzel of Coeur d’Alene, mother of a 10-year-old son with disabilities, said she’s grateful that the youngster has been able to attend his local public school and receive the developmental therapy that he needs/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: How will the new format that allows public testimony affect the outcome of the Medicaid budget?

Idawa: Going Back To School Older

Idawa: I went back to school because I was bored with what I was doing, and thanks to bad timing managed to graduate into the worst labor market for lawyers in history. However, I was lucky, I had manged to graduate very high in my class and landed a decent job. … As for going back to school older, I was 31 when I graduated. Sometimes age is a plus, it gives you a level of maturity that clients can recognize. But, big firms definitely look down upon older grads unless you have something stellar in your background to offer - they like them young and compliant so that they can be abused for years before they burn them out. Full post below.

Question: Did you go to college right out of high school? Or do you go college after being out in the workforce for awhile? How did you have the same experience as Idawa?

High Noon: Disabled Vehicle

I've been at the North Idaho Museum parking lot for the last hour, trying to jump-start my wife's dead Honda Accord. No luck. What looked like an easy fix has become something that needs a tow. The battery didn't turn over. Instead, there was a small puff of smoke alongside the battery when my wife turned her key. I figure it must be a short. And needs a tow to our fix-it guy at 15th & Sherman. I consider myself fortunate that the vehicle is parked in a lot rather than alongside a freeway somewhere.

Question: When did you last need a tow?

Steeler Fans From Birth

Newborn infants are lined up in the ward for newborns at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh, Friday. Seven babies, all one or two-days old, are wrapped in the Pittsburgh Steelers fan favorite “Terrible Towel” in the ward. The Steelers will be facing the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Question: Do your kid(s) root for the same professional teams that you do?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.28.11

  • 11:55 a.m. Caller reports that a baby has been left unattended in a white Hyundai in parking lot of Hayden Library.
  • 11:08 a.m. Patrol officer wants to know process DMV goes through to prepare a driver's license, because he has a license that appears to be fraudulent.
  • 11:05 a.m. Resident of 1600 block of Melrose/CdA reports a theft.
  • 10:47 a.m. A resident of Spruce Street/CdA is in CPD Blue lobby to report a theft.
  • 10:15 a.m. Caller reports that a gray or white 2003 Dodge Ram pickup is speeding and passed him on the shoulder of Hayden Avenue.
  • 9:14 a.m. A garbage can & debris are in the roadway on I-90 @ M/P 12 (Government Way).
  • 8:51 a.m. An ISP officer has a contained Springer spaniel in his vehicle after a traffic stop. He wants an animal control officer to pick up the animal.
  • 8:24 a.m. Caller reports finding suspicious items on McEuen Field.

Denney Sidelines Internet Sales Tax

Even as dozens of Idahoans are testifying to JFAC that Idaho should look to more revenue - including, many have suggested, possibly taxing Internet sales - rather than cutting services to the disabled, House Speaker Lawerence Denney has single-handedly sidelined a bill that was moving along to open the door to future online taxes/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Should Internet sales be taxed to raise revenue for cash-strapped Idaho?

Hucks Online: No To Nullification

  • Thursday Poll: 89 of 149 respondents (59.7 percent) oppose the attempt by state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, to nullify federal health care reforms by passing state legislation. They deem his co-sponsored legislation as unconstitutional. 55 of 149 respondents (36.9%) support the legislation. 5 respondents were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Should Idaho raise taxes to maintain essential services, like schools & Medicaid?

Edinger Supports McEuen Vote, Too?

  • Update: Councilman Edinger verified most of the OpenCDA.com post. See my comment below.

OpenCDA.com has posted an item in which the author (Dan Gookin?) reports on a speech by Mary Souza at the Reagan Republicans Thursday afternoon. Souza maintained that the public should have a vote on any significant changes proposed for McEuen Field. No surprise there. But the post goes on to say that Councilman Ron Edinger in the audience agreed with her. Quoth: “During the meeting, Ron spoke for the need of a public vote. Like other big issues in town, such as the hydroplane races or Hagadone’s memorial garden, the McEuen project affects almost everyone. The public should have a say, a vote.” Then: “After the meeting, Ron pulled me aside. He told me that he sincerely wanted to be on Team McEuen, but was turned down. Ron explained that he’d been told he wouldn’t be a good mix.” You can read the entire post here.

Question: Do you think a public vote would doom chances for any change to McEuen Field?

Taco Bell Launches Ad Campaign

a Taco Bell restaurant opens with a person in a taco sauce outfit outside in Mountain View, Calif. Taco Bell is launching an advertising campaign today to fight back against a lawsuit charging its taco filling isn't beef. A class-action lawsuit was filed late last week in federal court in California. It claimed Taco Bell falsely advertised its products as “beef.” The suit alleges that the fast-food chain actually uses a meat mixture in its burritos and tacos that contains binders and extenders and does not meet requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled beef. Story here. (AP file photo/Paul Sakuma)

Question: How often do you eat Mexican food?

Bleacher Report: Enderle For Real

Cam Newton has the mobility. Ryan Mallett has the arm. Blaine Gabbert has the size. Jake Locker has the grit. Jerrod Johnson makes a Pop Warner quarterback think he could succeed as a college quarterback. What if I told you there's a quarterback who could wind up being better than all of them? From the great state of Idaho that brings you potatoes and, uh, potatoes, comes University of Idaho Vandal quarterback Nathan Enderle. Those who choose to just look at statistics may write him off, but upon further inspection, there is a lot to like/Alex Kozora, Bleacher Report. More here. (AP file report)

Question: Are you optimistic that Idaho Vandal QB Nathan Enderle will make an NFL roster in 2011?

KXLY: Chef In The Forest Reopens

A popular North Idaho restaurant has reopened after the owners spent the past year rebuilding from a devastating fire.”It was so exciting,” said Debbie Mustered, owner of Chef in the Forest as she talked about the grand reopening.In December of 2009, an electrical short caused Chef in the Forest, on the edge of Hauser Lake to burn to the ground. “And the fire chief said 'I'm sorry, it's too hot we can't do anything except watch it burn,'” said Mustered. “Mom and I just hugged each other and stood there and cried. It was just like all of our dreams were going up in smoke,” she said/KXLY. More here.

Question: When did you last dine at Chef in the Forest?

Trillhaase: Disloyalty

Jeers … to the 15 Republican members of the Idaho House State Affairs Committee who trashed their oath of office Wednesday. Led by freshman state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Coeur d'Alene, they voted to introduce a bill that would have Idaho refuse to obey the national health care reform package Congress passed last year. No legislature in the United States has that kind of authority. The Constitution makes the national government supreme. So says Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's office. So say constitutional scholars. So says American history, which saw nullification - and its ultimate outcome, secession - obliterated in four bloody years of Civil War. Barbieri and his renegade colleagues think they know best. But how did they miss their own oath of office?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do Reps. Vito Barbieri and Phil Hart of House District 3 support only laws that they agree with?

Joe: Lawyers Are Better Than Us?

Joe Butler (re: “Masses overrate Gonzaga Law School”): Several years ago I attended a friend's graduation from GU's law school. The speaker essentially told the grads that they were better than everyone else in the room at that moment because they struggled so hard for 3 years. I'm sure it was inspiring to the folks in the chairs, and it really does seem to be a great program, but the message was a little strange to the rest of us schmoes in the stands, many who more than likely have had their own professional challenges and accomplishments, or parents/spouses who faciliated the grads being able to do what they did.

Question: Do you ever wish that you'd become a lawyer?

AM: Homeless Connects Aids NI Poor

Sabestian Carter, 3, listens as his mother, Andrea Carter, talks with a volunteer from North Idaho Project Homeless Connect at the Idaho National Guard Armory in Post Falls on Thursday. “We're living with friends right now,” she said. Homeless Connect brings a wide range of services to the poor including medical and mental health screening, donations of clothes and food, employment services, even veterinary care. Kevin Graman's SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Medicaid 13,740 Petitions Back Hike

Katherine Hansen of Boise presented lawmakers with 13,740 petitions signed by Idahoans calling for lawmakers to consider a tax increase rather than cut home and community-based services for people with disabilities. The signers, she said, are “13,740 Idahoans from every county and every city in this great state. … The people who signed these petitions urge you to approach the current budget crisis in the same way they approach their budget crisis - everything needs to be on the table”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Would you support a state tax increase to maintain essential services such as Medicaid and schools?

Challenger Exploded 25 Years Ago

In this Jan. 28, 1986, file photo, the space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Seven astronauts died when Challenger was destroyed just after liftoff. It was NASA's first in-flight calamity, and it dealt an especially severe blow to the millions of teachers and students watching on TV to see Christa McAuliffe, a civilian high school teacher from New Hampshire, become NASA's first Teacher in Space. More here. (AP Photo/Bruce Weaver, File)

Question: I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news re: the Challenger explosion — in the 3rd Street parking lot en route to a Upbeat Breakfast event at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. Do you remember what you were doing when you heard the news?

AmyY: Volunteers Don’t Cut It

AmyY (re: “Political Game: The least able”): I have a child with a developmental disability and I spend every waking (and sleeping) moment trying to figure out how to support him in the most appropriate way. My days are filled with managing therapeutic care, education plans, medical care, recreational opportunities, managing breakdowns and behaviors, providing “learning opportunities”, researching, implementing, observing, documenting and analyzing everything. Oh - and let's not forget about the thoughts about what will happen to him when I die. Now I'm supposed to manage a cadre of community volunteers to assist me and my child? Volunteers who are not trained or experienced and who may in fact do more harm than good? Full post below.

Question: You still believe that having volunteers from families, friends, and church make up the difference in services provided by the cash-strapped state is a good idea?

Local Family Depends On Medicaid

Nic's wife, Rebekah, penned the following for today's Medicaid hearing before the legislative budget committee in Boise. It's a must read for understanding the importance of state Medicaid funding:

Christian is six years old. He was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s. He is in kindergarten and he loves school. He is extremely smart and excels in math. His special interests are dinosaurs, animals, and art. He wants to be a Scientist that helps animals when he grows up. Christian can achieve his dreams without a doubt, but not if he does not learn how to cope with the challenges that Asperger’s brings. He currently receives IBI therapy and counseling services. He is making great progress. I am learning so much about how to parent him and help him become a contributing member of our society. Without these interventions I would not have the skills, knowledge, or supports that I need to help him grow into the person he is capable of being/Rebekah Casey, Rants, Raves, & Random Things. More here.

Question: Do you know people who depend on state Medicaid funds?

Chasing One Bad Idea After Another

Let’s start with the good news from the Idaho Legislature. Lawmakers have apparently abandoned the misguided notion of pursuing an Arizona-style immigration law. Here’s the bad news. Lawmakers haven’t given up on this kind of time-wasting windmill tilting because they have had some sort of good-government epiphany. Instead, they are dropping immigration from the agenda in favor of an idea that is just about as bad. Full speed ahead, and in defiance of two centuries of precedent, lawmakers insist upon pursuing the legal non-starter of “nullification,” looking to unilaterally void the federal health care reform law. A nullification bill was introduced in a House committee Wednesday on a party-line vote, with Republicans backing the measure and Democrats opposing it/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Why are Idaho lawmakers prone to chase one unconstitutional windmill after another?

Anderson: Rebuttals

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Saint Mary’s 73, Gonzaga 71

Saint Mary's Mickey McConnell hits the winning shot over Robert Sacre to beat Gonzaga 73-71 in Spokane. Saint Mary's improves to 6-0 in West Coast Conference play, while Gonzaga drops to 3-3. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Boxscores

Wild Card/Thursday — 1.27.11

The legislators from House District 3 are taking center stage in this cyber circus today, with plans afoot to raise money for Artful Tax Dodger Phil Hart on Saturday and newby Vito Barbieri leading the charge of the light brigade into the federal government cannons with his nullification bill. Both should provide plenty of fodder for what we do here. And you can provide your own fodder by using this Wild Card to introduce your own thread …

Parting Shot — 1.27.11

Kindergartner Brynn Johnson, 6, right, painted her face blue on Wednesday for the birthday of Mr. Blue, a puppet who lives in a pillowcase at the school in Coeur d'Alene. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Masses Overrate Gonzaga Law School

Here's a riddle for you: What do you get when you crowdsource law school rankings? A highly suspect list. Now, what do you get when you compare that list against the US News peer poll — wherein schools are rated by professors and law professionals and people who have a good chance of knowing what they're talking about? Schadenfreude. When you put the numbers side-by-side, our very own Gonzaga School of Law is the 6th most over-rated law school in America. Ranked 87th-best by the hoi polloi, their peers put them closer to 108th. Almost as over-rated as their men's basketball team was at the beginning of the season/Luke Baumgarten, Inlander. More here. (Inlander photo)

Question: Do you think Gonzaga's law school is overrated?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.27.11

  • 5:42 p.m. A Jeep Cherokee is driving down center of two lanes on I-90 @ H41 i/s, after weaving all over the highway, according to caller.
  • 5:19 p.m. Caller reports a batter of some sort @ Government Way & Ironwood/CdA.
  • 5:15 p.m. Woman reports that a local gang member has threatened to harm her.
  • 4:36 p.m. PFPD Blue is en route to arrest a contained shoplifter @ Super 1.
  • 4:32 p.m. Caller reports a white rope is stretched across Centennial Trail, east of Huetter.
  • 4:03 p.m. Caller complains re: loud music in 2000 block of Shannon Lane/Post Falls.
  • 3:52 p.m. A Hayden Meadows student reports he's intimidated by man on Hillview who glares at him when he walks past on his way home.

PM Headlines — 1.27.11

Horses gather around hay dropped from a helicopter hauling hay to horses on the former Leachman Cattle Company ranch east of Billings earlier today. The Billings Gazette reports that the Northern International Livestock Exposition had collected $10,000 in cash donations and about 250 tons of hay by Thursday. Five dead horses have been found on the ranch. A Montana veterinarian had warned that others would start dying off in droves if they did not receive food soon. The horses belong to James H. Leachman, who has filed for bankruptcy. Leachman is scheduled to appear Friday on multiple charges of animal cruelty. (AP Photo/Billings Gazette, Larry Mayer)

Emanuel Wins Spot Back On Ballot

The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that Rahm Emanuel, pictured in AP photo, is eligible to run for mayor of Chicago and ordered him to stay on the ballot. Earlier this week, an Illinois appellate court declared that the former White House chief of staff did not meet Chicago's requirement that candidates for mayor have to “reside” in the city for a year before seeking the office. The court ruling is here. The seven-member Supreme Court unanimously agreed that the appellate court's basis for declaring Emanuel ineligible was “without any foundation in Illinois law”/USA Today. More here.

Question: Will Emanuel pick up sympathy vote as a result of this attempt to keep him off the ballot?

NI Blogs: Sunny Lands Dream Job

Sunny, @ Bent's Beer Garden, announces excitedly that she was offered her dream job: lead farmer at her local Community Supported Agriculture. You can read all about it here.

Hucks Online numbers (for Wednesday, Jan. 26): 8575/5230

Question: What would your “dream job” be?

Tijuana: Shadow Of Its Former Self

I read recently that the town of Tijuana is a shell of its’ former self. That most of the buildings are boarded up. The sleezy bars of yesterday and may other types of tourist attractions are gone. All of this because the drug cartels have used it for a battle ground, and tourist don’t feel safe with bodies laying in the streets at night.
Which made me think of the days, years and years ago, that I spent in the little town of Tijuana. Mostly going over with my ex-sister-in-laws while they got their hair done or went to the dentist. Both costing only a small percentage of what they were done in the USA/Cis, From A Simple Mind. More here.

Question: Which place in Mexico do you enjoy visiting? Do you still feel safe in going to Mexico for a vacation?

Sid Rosen, Human Rights Spark, RIP

Marshall Mend, of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, holds a picture of the first documented hate crime in Hayden — the cowardly attack on Sid Rosen's restaurant that stood at the corner of Government Way & Miles. The attack prompted the creation of the task force. Rosen, a respected chef who was targeted by local racists because he was Jewish, died on Monday at age 90. A graveside service was held for him today and then a memorial at Nosworthy's to commemorate a productive life that wasn't stopped by the hatemongers. You can read Sid's obituary here. And you can read the role that Rosen and his restaurant played in the local human rights movement here. You can also read an editorial that I wrote in February 2001 about the local human rights movement and the role Sid Rosen played in it in the drop-down box below.

Question: Have you attended an event sponsored by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations?

Food Porn?

On her Facebook page, Cindy posts this photo of her lunch and writes: “How to know you're procrastinating instead of working: You take a picture of your lunch and post it on facebook.” I need OrangeTV's help here. Is this Food Porn? Or something less?

Question: How do you rate your lunch today against Cindy's?

Political Game: The Least Able

In his recent testimony to JFAC, Health & Welfare director Dick Armstrong said that the disabled will have to turn to their families, friends and churches as state funding for many services declines or outright disappears. Armstrong noted that in the 1950s and 1960s, many volunteers performed the services that the state now offers through its Medicaid programs. In response to Armstrong's testimony, Eye On Boise reported that Rep. George Eskridge (R-Dover) commented, “I think there's some merit there. We all have an obligation to help our fellow citizens - it's not all a state responsibility. I'm intrigued by his comment and hope there'll be some ways we're able to pursue that”/Political Game. More here.

DFO: Political Game brings up an intriguing question. At our little church, we are becoming increasingly involved in helping individuals make ends meet with power bills, phones, rent payments. The amount of money we provide in benevolence has been increasing for last half year.

Question: What role can families, friends, and churches play in helping individuals in need?

ICB: Just Say No To MTV

I have a teenage son who now watches MTV just like I did when I was his age but the content on the channel has taken a huge step down the wrong path.  The new program called “Skins” has been in a firestorm of controversy.  This show debuted with 3.3 million of our children watching it.  Skins is full of scenes of teenagers engaging in sex and drugs and been accused of child pornography.  According to the New York Times Viacom asked MTV to tone it down concerned about an upcoming episode showing a nude 17 year old boy.  Under intense pressure Taco Bell pulled its sponsorship of the program.  The parents Television Council has asked the Justice Department and the U.S. Senate and House to investigate the program for violations of the law/Idaho Conservative Blogger. More here.

Question: Did you know about the MTV show, “Skins,” before Idaho Conservative Blogger mentioned it above? And/or: Do you let your kids watch MTV?

Simpson Bill Would Abolish IRS

Third time's the charm? Rep. Mike Simpson is pushing a bill that would abolish the Internal Revenue Code and force Congress to come up with a replacement. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson is an original cosponsor of H.R. 462, the Tax Code Termination Act. This legislation would abolish the Internal Revenue Code and call on Congress to fundamentally reform the federal tax system. “A new tax code should provide tax relief for working Americans, protect the rights of taxpayers, reduce tax collection abuses, and eliminate disincentives for savings and investment,” said Simpson in a news release. A GOP-controlled House has passed similar bills, in 1998 and 2000/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you support Congressman Simpson's bill to abolish the IRS and reform the federal tax system?

INW: Gonzaga Ready For Saint Mary’s

Gonzaga University student Madison Wood, 19, of Federal Way, Wash., writes a text message to her mother Wednesday telling her how cold her stay in the tent will be as she waits with other students for tonight's basketball gameagainst Saint Mary's. Students line up early for the best seats in the student section. The tent city, now numbering more than 80 dwellings, started formingTuesday afternoon near the McCarthey Athletic Center.Wood said her mother is OK with her camping out. “She says it is a good college experience,” Wood said. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Question: Have you ever waited overnight to see a band, a person, or to be first in line to buy something?

High Noon: Coffee & Keyboards

On her Facebook wall, Cindy writes that she hit the ground running Wednesday — and the ground hit back. For example, she said that she spilled an entire cup of coffee all over her new wireless keyboard. Writes Cindy: “Is that spray duster can suppose to get freezing cold? And my toolbar disappeared.”

Question: Have you ever dumped coffee, soda, water, or some other liquid on your computer keyboard? How did things turn out?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.27.11

  • 11:34 a.m. A Ford Ranger and a red pickup are driving 10 mph & honking at each other on Government Way, north of Honeysuckle/Hayden, causing a traffic hazard.
  • 11:31 a.m. A sheriff's deputy is dealing with a panhandler at Hayden WalMart on Honeysuckle.
  • 11:30 a.m. Janet, from Louisiana Pacific, reports a dog is lying in a snow bank in front of the company, possibly after being hit by a passing vehicle.
  • 11:14 a.m. Woman on Plummer's C Street is threatening to kill herself if she doesn't get help.
  • 10:38 a.m. Emma needs a jump start for her white Ford Escort in NIC lot near Dike Road.
  • 9:48 a.m. A boxer and its owner from Athol have been reunited.
  • 9:27 a.m. Caller, from 12000 Nunn/Athol, reports neighbor's cows are in her field.
  • 9:26 a.m. A woman, @ Lacey & Jannel/Hayden, who's on probation is being harassed by phone calls from her ex-boyfriend.
  • 9:19 a.m. Landlord, @ Orchard & Maple, is concerned about welfare of dog owned by tenant who was arrested last night.
  • 9:15 a.m. Someone is in Coeur d'Alene police lobby to report possible lewd & lacivious crime.
  • 8:43 a.m. A loose dog is causing a traffic hazard on w/b I-90 @ Fourth Street/CdA.
  • 8:26 a.m. Thomas reports a suspicious van @ 16th & Best/CdA.

Helping Owners Deal With Pet Deaths

Dmitri Zaslavsky of Family Pet Memorial Crematory and Cemetery in Colbert takes time to adjust a display of flowers left by a family at their pets' graves Friday. The Zaslavsky family has operated the business since 1967. Pia Hallenberg reports on the pet cemetery in Colbert here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Question: How do you dispose of a beloved pet's remains?

Hucks Poll: Obama Performed Well

  • Wednesday Poll: A majority of Hucks Nation voted that President Barack Obama scored at least a double, in baseball terms, with his State of the Union speech Tuesday night. 25 of 132 (18.94%) said he hit a home run; 20 (15.15%) gave him a triple; and 24 (18.18%) said he doubled. However, 42 of 132 (31.8%) said the president struck out with his speech, and 21 (15.91%) gave him a single.
  • Today's Poll: What do you make of Rep. Vito Barbieri's attempt to pass law nullifying health care reform?

Ex-Mariner Walks Away From $12M

Okay, Gil Meche hasn't been great since signing a big contract with the Kansas City Royals. But not many players would feel so badly about their performance that they would walk away from a guaranteed $12 million. Meche announced last week he will retire, giving up the payday due on the last year of his deal. Meche has always been known for his integrity, according to The New York Times, but this move left the baseball world stunned. Meche said he just didn't like the idea of not earning his keep/Greg Wilson, NBC Washington. More here. (AP file photo) H/T: Bent

Question: Could you walk away from $12 million, if you were unable to perform to earn it?

UI Student Sues To Store Firearms

The right to bear arms has become the fodder for a lawsuit on the University of Idaho campus, where a law student is suing the university for the right to store firearms in his on-campus apartment. Right now the university requires students living on campus to store their weapons in an on-campus lock-up at a police substation that can only be accessed by local police.Second-year law student Aaron Tribble keeps a pistol and shotgun in the lock-up, but he isn’t a fan of the regulations. Keeping his wife and two kids safe is why Tribble is taking on the university for the right to store his guns at home/Tania Dall, KXLY. More here.

Question: Should there be some restrictions of guns (i.e., a limit on the amount of rounds that a gun can fire)?

Report Scrutinizes Kempthorne Travel

Dirk Kempthorne was among a number of top Bush administration officials who used the ruse of official business to campaign at taxpayer expense for Republican congressional candidates in 2006, according to a report by an independent federal agency. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel says the practice resulted “in the expenditure of untold amounts of U.S. Treasury funds that had been appropriated to accomplish (each) agency’s mission — not to ‘get Republicans elected.’” The 118-page report, which says the agency doesn’t plan to pursue action against the officials, details two Kempthorne trips. Kempthorne, now CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers in Washington, D.C., was too busy Wednesday to comment, according to ACLI spokesman Jack Dolan/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo, from March 16, 2006: Bush announces that Kempthorne is the new Secretary of the Interior)

Question: Is this a case of “everybody does it, so why not”?

School Reform: Obama, Idaho Style

President Obama has challenged the nation to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the next decade. Idaho schools superintendent Tom Luna’s education reform plan hinges upon cutting 770 teaching jobs over two years. I was struck by the contrast. And as the Legislature prepares for a defining debate over the future of its schools, I was struck by Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, and the time and focus the president devoted to education issues. Obama’s education agenda isn’t far removed from Idaho’s agenda. Obama touted his “Race to the Top” grant program; Luna sought money for Idaho, unsuccessfully/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Would you rather have Barack Obama's style of school reform, or Tom Luna's?

Marti: Nullification Doctrine Unlawful

The U.S. Constitution gives small states - notably Idaho - such an oversized voice about choices they don't like, it's a wonder anything gets done in this country. But when the people of this land overcome obstacles that states such as Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska and Montana place in their path, they have a right to expect citizens will yield to the national will. Idaho has been content to do so. Now it's flirting with a dangerous doctrine. Rather than asking the federal courts to declare national health care reform unconstitutional, Idaho's renegade lawmakers want to make that declaration on their own. Some would call that an insurrection. Others, such as Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter and Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, label it nullification/Marti Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Does anyone out there seriously think that Idaho can pass a law ignoring the will of the land re: health care reform and get away with it?

AM: KYRO Rebuilding Ice Rink

Matthew Beam, manager of KYRO, talks about the construction of the new ice arena during a tour on Tuesday in Coeur d'Alene. An August opening is planned. Alison Boggs provides the SR story here.

Question: When did you last ice skate?

Phil Hart Fundraiser Set Saturday

State Rep. Phil Hart's friends are throwing a fund-raiser for him at the Northwest Pony Express, 402 W. Canfield, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The small print above reads: “As a member of the Idaho Legislature, Phil has been under attack from the liberals who want to stop the conservaqtive momentum of the last few years as we try to stop the encroachment of higher taxes, more government and socialism in America.” Hart will make remarks at 6:45 p.m. Everyone who attends will receive either an autographed copy of Hart's book, “Constitutional Income” or a beta copy of Hart's new DVD with the same title. Admission is $25 per person.

  • A Facebook Friend points out that The Pony Express Web site describes the business as A Trading Post for Antique & Modern Firearms, New and Used Guns, Vintage Guitars, Mandolins, Banjos, Traditional Archery, Western Art and  Americana.”

Question: Do you have a good excuse why you won't be attending the fund-raiser for Phil Hart?

Bill Would Expand Anti-Bias Law

Idaho’s state Human Rights Commission has endorsed legislation adding sexual orientation to the state’s anti-discrimination law. Just two years ago, the commission opposed such legislation and lawmakers refused to introduce it. This year, the legislation already has been introduced, and Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, pictured, says he’s hopeful lawmakers will consider it, especially now that the Human Rights Commission has voted 7-2 in favor of it. … At least 20 states, including Washington, ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But Idaho lawmakers have rejected the idea repeatedly over the past decade, most recently in 2009. That year, the commission voted 5-4 against backing it/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Will the 2011 Legislature expand the anti-discrimination law to include sexual orientation and gender identity?

Solons Eye Urban Renewal Limits

Some Idaho lawmakers are looking to put new limits on urban renewal districts, which are special taxing areas that divert some property tax dollars from traditional areas such as schools and local government to fund development and business projects. Several lawmakers got a dose about the potential problems of urban renewal at a presentation by Randall O’Toole with the Cato Institute that was sponsored by the Idaho Freedom Foundation.  O’Toole said he doesn’t think urban renewal is necessary and can harm cities efforts to grow/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Is urban renewal important to help Idaho cities develop?

Signe: True Grit, Et Cetera

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Hump Day Wild Card — 1.26.11

This is the tomorrow that President Obama talked about last night, when congressmen sat side-by-side in a kumbaya gathering to hear his annual State of the Union speech. The House of Representatives has voted to repeal his health care reform of 2010. And newby Dalton Gardens frosh has introducted a nullification bill for health care reform at the Idaho Statehouse. Seems like business as usual. And the debt keeps mounting. With that happy thought, I'll post today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.26.11

Desi Borgese of Los Gatos, Calif., stretches with her coach Justin Howell during a training session at the Karolyi Ranch earlier today in Huntsville, Texas. The Karolyi Ranch, which is approximately 60 miles north of Houston and has been the training home of the women's gymnastics team since 2001, was officially designated by the U.S. Olympic Committee today as a U.S. Olympic training site for women's gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling and acrobatics. Hilton Worldwide also announced Wednesday that it will become a corporate sponsor of USA Gymnastics.(AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool )

Riggs: Geezers Hazardous To Health

Riggs: An older generation of people grew up with no one on the roads and their cars were just rolling sofas to watch the world go by. You see it in check out lines too, where its social hour. As the line goes longer and longer, the yammering continues. OOPS! No debit card! Fiddle fiddle fiddle. DARN! I forgot my PIN number. Lets write a check. Scribble scribble scribble. I forgot to balance this! Oh dear lets use cash. Rustle rustle rustle. Now where is that coin purse full of pennies for exact change? jingle jingle jingle…………By this time I have a beard longer than the guys in ZZ Top!

Question: Does it bug you when Seasoned Citizens slow you down, on the roadways, in the stores, or anywhere else, for that matter?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.26.11

  • 5:46 p.m. KREM reports (re: 5:17 post): “CDA Police say the suspicious backpack is nothing to worry about. Inside was some shoes, a guitar pick, and some marijuana.”
  • 5:17 p.m. Shopko employee has found a suspicious back pack under vehicle.
  • 5:09 p.m. PFPD Blues arrest a man (who was previously trespassed) and a woman at gunpoint in parking lot of WalMart/State Line.
  • 4:51 p.m. An injury accident is reported @ 2555 H53 in front of Charlie's Acres/Rathdrum.
  • 4:41 p.m. Cancer Center reports a man is asking employees to buy him a beer.
  • 4:31 p.m. Man in light-blue Subaru, e/b on Prairie/Hayden, blew through stop sign on Ramsey.
  • 4:06 p.m. A deputy or animal control officer frees deer before F&G arrives (3:41 p.m. post).
  • 4:01 p.m. Rachel, @ Post Falls shelter, wants to visit her dog which has been quarantined.
  • More below

PM Headlines — 1.26.11

“Rich Anstine set an impressive record with his 300th donation of platelets at the Inland Northwest Blood Center in Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday afternoon,” writes Kerri Thoresen/More Main Street. “Rich's story is in this week's Main Street column HERE.”

APhoto Of The Day — 1.25.11

Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., delivers her response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday. Bachmann founded the congressional Tea Party caucus. You write the cutline. Story here. (AP Photo)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Michelle BACHMANN, who some in the Tea Party think is a real head-TURNER discusses why government spending has to be shifted out of OVERDRIVE. Said Bachmann, the Republicans are “Taking Care of Business”, and if President Obama can't “Take it Like a Man”, then he can “Roll on Down the Highway” — Eddie Torreal.
  • 2. After becoming aware of fundamental misunderstanding of basic American government and the constitution, Republicans in congress tapped Michelle Bachman to translate the president's SOTU into teabonics for their constituents. Unfortunately they exhausted their supply of Nazi and Marxist analogies — Sisyphus.
  • 3. Tired of being relegated to a “fantasy football widow” each Sunday, Michelle unveils the first ever “fantasy politicians league” to rave reviews. She scored the neat charts from Ross Perot on E-bay — Formerly Sandpoint.
  • HM: Otis G

Stapilus: A Nullity

Randy Stapilus of Ridenbaugh Press offers food for thought re: Thomas Woods' “Nullification,” the book handed out by Idaho Freedom Foundation to the House State Affairs Committee this morning. Committee members found the book on their desks before when they arrived to discuss legislation by Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, and Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, to overthrow the federal health care reform in Idaho. Of author Woods, National Public Radio reports: “As a college student in 1994, Woods helped found the League of the South, an Alabama group the Southern Poverty Law Center says has become a 'neo-Confederate group' seeking a second Southern secession. Woods told the AP last week he thinks states have a right of secession, but he doesn’t support the Confederacy’s return. He’s no longer a member.” You can read Randy's complete post here. And: Woods explains what “Nullification” means to him here. And more on nullification from S.F. Chronicle here.

Question: Should Idaho legislators be embracing the questionable philosophy of “Nullfication”?

Wasden, Otter Support N-Shipments

A recent agreement with the federal government could put Idaho at the forefront of a “resurgence” in nuclear reactor research, Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today. In a joint guest opinion, Otter and Wasden defend a decision that allows the Department of Energy to ship limited quantities of used nuclear reactor fuel to Idaho for research. They say the deal, announced Jan. 6, does not compromise a 1995 nuclear waste cleanup agreement forged by former Gov. Phil Batt/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Does this send a message that Idaho has changed its mind re: being a repository for nuclear waste?

Gun Raffled For Cop Shot In Face

You've been invited to a benefit concert to raise money for an officer shot in the line of duty. The Nampa Police officer was shot in the face while serving a warrant on Dec. 16.  He's expected to fully recover. Organizers say the money raised will help off-set unexpected costs.  The plan is to eventually set up a fund for public servants injured in the line of duty. One thing that caught our eye in looking at the flyer promoting the event is the raffling off of a handgun to help someone who was shot/Scott Evans, KTVB. More here. (SR file photo of glock, like one to be raffled, for illustrative purposes) H/T: Sisyphus.

Question: Nampa police apparently have no problem with a gun being raffled off as a fund-raiser to help one of their members that was shot in the face before Christmas. Do you?

D’s: Nullification Bill ‘Dangerous Stunt’

The House minority leadership has issued a strongly worded statement on the newly introduced “nullification” bill today, headed, “Majority Lawmakers Waste Taxpayer Dollars and Time on Nullification.” In the statement, Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said, “Though we often see meaningless grandstanding in the Statehouse, this current stunt is particularly dangerous in that such action simply cannot be reconciled with our sworn obligation to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the Idaho Constitution”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you agree with minority statement that Vito Barbieri's nullification bill is a “waste of taxpayer dollars and time”?

Dogwalk: Time To Put Tucson Behind

I am deeply sorry for the tradgedy that befell Gabrielle Giffords.  I couldn't be more pleased that her recovery thus far seems remarkable.  Other than that I'm getting tired of hearing about it as if she were some sort of fallen diety. She is not.  She's a Congresswoman from Arizona who, before the shooting, few, outside Congress and her state, were even aware of who she was.  It's time to move on. One of her fellow Democrats, Loretta Sanchez, D CA, even went so far as to suggest she should be removed from the Armed Services Committee until (and if) she recovers from her injuries. It seems some were outraged at the suggestion, saying it was bad for morale while she was recovering. Why?/Dogwalk Musings. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Do you agree with Dogwalk Musings that it's time to move on from Tucson tragedy? Or is it still too soon?

HBO To Revisit Jim West Saga

Ryan Oelrich stands by one of his balloon sculptures at his home in Spokane Tuesday. His experience of being wooed via the internet by former mayor Jim West will be part of a documentary project on HBO. Columnist Shawn Vestal visits with the man who didn't sleep with the late former mayor here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Question: Are you cautious re: online liaisons, for yourself and your children?

Facebook Advertisers To Use ‘Likes’

Facebook users who check in to a store or “like” a brand may soon find those actions re-transmitted on their friends' pages as a “Sponsored Story” paid for by advertisers. Currently there is no way for users to decline this feature. Facebook says this lets advertisers promote word-of-mouth recommendations that people already made on the site. The new, promoted posts would keep the same privacy setting that the original posting had. But involving users in advertisements without their consent has been a thorny for Facebook/Associated Press. More here. (AP file photo of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg) H-T: Trish Gannon

Question: Will this new Facebook intrusion prevent you from clicking 'like' now?

Milton Levine, Ant Farm Creator, RIP

The creation of a toy that would become an American classic was triggered in 1956 by a Fourth of July parade of ants at a Studio City picnic. While gazing at the industrious insects, novelty-toy entrepreneur Milton Levine was transported back to childhood and his uncle's farm, where he collected ants in jars and watched them “cavort,” Levine told The Times in 2002. “We should make an antarium,” he recalled announcing. With his brother-in-law, Levine soon devised what was eventually named Uncle Milton's Ant Farm, which was an instant hit in the fad-crazy 1950s/Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times. More here.

Question: Did you ever own an ant farm?

Crump: Left Lanes & Old Drivers

They come roaring up from behind, pull over into the left lane next to your rear fender — and stay there. For miles. Mostly, they drive venerable full-size cars — Impalas or Crown Victorias — or pickups with camper shells, nearly all bearing bumper stickers that read “We’re spending our children’s inheritance.” They’re from Payette County or Boise County or Washington County, they drive squinting through the windshield with their noses up over their steering wheels — and just can’t quite make themselves go faster than 75 mph. So they don’t, and traffic backs up behind them. And on those rare occasions when these motorists do manage to get past you, they cut you off and force you to slam on your brakes/Steve Crump, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.

Question: Do you regularly encounter drivers who clog up the passing lane on freeways by going to slowly?

INorthwest Headlines — 1.26.11

Dan Eisenbarth, 53, of Mead, looks at the damage to the front end of a Suburban that sheared off a power pole at the corner of Ninth Avenueand Monroe Street on Tuesday. The GMC pickup Eisenbarth was driving collided with the SUV, causing it to hit the pole and cutting service to some 400 Avista customers. There were no injuries. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

High Noon: Betty White Hearts AARP

AARP today announced that it will begin working with actress and pop culture darling Betty White in 2011. The announcement was made via video message by Ms. White herself earlier today in front of more than 2,000 AARP employees at an AARP all-staff meeting in Washington, DC.  “Some of you may be wondering why I’ve signed on to work with AARP. Mostly, it’s because I’ve been promised a giant membership card. No, no – I’m just kidding,” said White. “It’s really because it took over 500,000 people on FaceBook to get me on SNL. Imagine what I’m gonna be able to do with the millions of AARP members!”/AARP Press Center. More here.

Question: I've never signed up for AARP. Don't take senior discounts in most instances, either. Can anyone tell me what the benefits are re: being a member of AARP?

High And Dry

Freelance photographer Karla Murray of New York photographs a grand piano that recently appeared on a sandbar in Biscayne Bay, Miami, this morning. Whoever put the piano there placed it at the highest point of the sandbar so that it’s not underwater during high tide. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) Hat Tip: Sisyphus

Question: Any guesses re: what this is all about?

Restrain Pets In Vehicles?

There's been some chatter in Idaho about the inane idea that pets should be restrained in your vehicle. According to our local legislators, this is not on their radar. But Oregon is. … In Oregon, lawmakers will vote in the next few months on a bill that proposes a $90 fine for people who drive with an animal on their lap. A similar law made it to the governor's desk in California in 2008, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to sign it, saying it was not a high priority. Experts say people who care about their animals will restrain their pets so they are not injured in a crash and so they can't distract their owners who are driving/Vickie Holbrook, Idaho Press-Tribune. More here. (AP file photo: Robin Loznak)

Question: Should Idaho pass a law that requires pet owners to restrain their animals in a vehicle?

Priscilla Bell Makes NIC Presentation

North Idaho College President Priscilla Bell tells legislative budget writers on Wednesday that NIC's enrollment has soared, but state support for the college would drop down to 2001 levels under the governorÕs proposed budget for 2012, which calls for a further 1.7 percent cut on top of earlier decreases. That forces the college to rely more on local property taxes and student tuition and fees, Bell said. At left is NIC board members Christie Wood and Ken Howard. (SR photo: Betsy Russell)

Hucks Poll: Merrill Wasted Money

  • Tuesday Poll: Mary Souza and the OpenCDA crowd may support the $11,000 expense incurred by the state Parks & Rec department to warn boaters about possible 3rd Street boat launch closure — but Hucks Nation doesn't. A supermajority — 46 of 157 respondents (68.15%) said the state agency shouldn't have spent the money for the mailing. 46 of 157 (29.3%) supported the action. 4 were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: How would you rate President Obama's State of the Union speech, in baseball terms?

Mary: P&R Director Deserves Thanks

Mary Souza, of OpenCDA.com, sees no problem with the Idaho Parks & Recreation Department spending $11,000 to warn boaters in 42 states that Coeur d'Alene has proposed to close the 3rd Street boat launch. In fact, the usually fiscally conservative Souza uses the expense in her latest newsletter to jab at her favorite pincushion, Lake City Development Corp. Then, she harangued state Sen. John Goedde, “who is cozy with City Hall,” for launching a “Senate inquisition” of P&R Director Nancy Merrill this week. “What, is he looking for heads to roll on this?” wonders Mary. Ultimately, Mary says that Merrill “deserves a thank you, not a grilling,” for sticking up for boaters.

Question: Does P&R Director Nancy Merrill deserve a 'thank you' or 'a grilling' for spending $11,000 to send out 36,000 letters to boaters in 42 states re: possible closure of the 3rd Street dock?

Jimmy Buffett Hurt During Show

Jimmy Buffett performs in Gulf Shores, Ala., in this July 2010 file photo. Buffett fell off a stage at the end of a concert in Sydney earlier today, and was rushed to the hospital. Australia's Daily Telegraph reports that audience members saw the 64-year-old fall face first off the stage and hit his head — and may have been unconscious for 10 to 15 minutes. More here. (AP Photo/Chip English, file)

Question: Are you a Jimmy Buffett fan?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.26.11

  • Noonish: PFPD Blue wants dispatch to call Knudtsen's and ask about the two booms he's heard coming from a parking lot where people are standing around. (It turns out that someone is shooting off a 10-gauge Civil War era cannon.)
  • Noonish: Tyler, from Sunnyside & Ponderosa/CdA, believes his dog was poisoned.
  • 11:48 a.m. Caller, from 3500 block of Spaulding Lane/CdA, reports a trespass.
  • 11:28 a.m. Official from Anchor House, 1609 Government Way/CdA, reports a juvenile problem.
  • 11:17 a.m. A horse is loose in closed range on Warren b/n Seasons & Bruner/Twin Lakes.
  • 10:54 a.m. Someone has been hurt in a fall at Fresh Start, 1524 Sherman/CdA.
  • 9:52 a.m. Caller reports items missing from his vehicle @ Pinto & Miles/Hayden.
  • 9:43 p.m. Caller, from Black Rock Road, reports possible CraigsList fraud.
  • 9:36 a.m. Rob, from Government Way & Dakota/Hayden, reports items taken from boat.
  • 9:30 a.m. Woman, on Grand Tour/Hayden, reports containing a loose beagle.
  • 9:19 a.m. Robert reports that a vehicle has been abandoned on his property.
  • 9:06 a.m. Jeffrey, at Loch Haven & Village/Hayden, reports an animal bite.
  • 8:18 a.m. Someone was knocked unconscious in a fall on ice @ Government Way & Harrison/CdA.

Sightem

A Berry Picker at the state capitol tells Huckleberries: “Larry Spencer was spotted in the Capitol today sporting a green name tag commonly associated with the lobby corp. Rumor is that he and Jeff Altus have suited up and hired on to represent tobacco stores on the Stateline in the possible debate on increased tobacco taxes. I did not have time to call the SOS to verify registration but did spot Larry sporting his green tag and lurking around the halls.” Betsy Russell tells Huckleberries: “I ran into Jeff Alltus yesterday, and he told me he was lobbying for convenience stores against cigarette tax increase. He was not wearing a green tag (at least yet).”

Cindy: Sam Takes On Bullies

On her Facebook wall, Cindy tells of her son coming to the rescue of another kid who was being bullied: “Yesterday on the way home from school Sam said, “Well. I did it. I saved the day. My friends were picking on Matt in the lunchroom. They were taking his lunchbox and calling him loser, so I went over and told the lunch lady and she yelled at them. But when she asked them if they were calling Matt 'loser' they all said NO. I get sick … of that.”

Question: Has your child made you proud by coming to the aid of a less-fortunate child?

Barbieri Launches Nullification Bill

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, told the House State Affairs Committee this morning, “The federal health care laws recently passed by the U.S. Congress have invaded the traditional sovereign powers of the state. This bill declares that this intrusion by the federal government is … null and void.” Committee members had lots of questions for Barbieri. “Are you … aware that no court in the history of the United States has ever upheld a state effort to nullify a federal law?” Rep. Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, asked Barbieri. He responded, “I do believe no federal court has done that. The difficulty is that the federal courts are an arm of the federal government, so it would be very difficult to imagine an arm of the federal government ruling against itself”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: What do you make of freshman legislator Vito Barbieri proposing a state law that cannot pass constitutional muster?

Time: Obama Charts Path Forward

For two years, Barack Obama has been talking about lifting the U.S. out of a financial hole. In his second State of the Union, buoyed by recent legislative successes, his successful speech in Tucson and a brightening economic forecast, he began charting a path forward. That's not to say the address harked back to the soaring oratory of his campaign speeches, or even the Tucson address. It was light on applause lines and suffused with a grim subtext: our competitors are gaining on us. Obama's task was to acknowledge the status anxiety sweeping across the U.S., identify the problems causing it, and map out a plan to solidify America's place in the world/Alex Altman, Time. More here.

Question: In baseball terms, how would you rank Obama's State of the Union Tuesday night — strikeout, single, double, triple, or home run? Why?

AM Headlines — 1.25.11

Don Sausser snapped this photo of fog-enshrouded Coeur d'Alene Resort this morning. Don reports that the upper levels of the resort alternatively disappeared and reappeared in the fog.

Bell: Soaring Enrollment, Falling $$$

Priscilla Bell, president of North Idaho College, is making her budget presentation to JFAC this morning, and her news is dramatic: Student enrollment, measured by total head count, has soared from about 3,500 when she started at the college in 2007, to some 6,700 this spring. “We've almost doubled our head-count in the four years I've been here,” Bell said. But at the same time, state funding for NIC has been dropping. Under the governor's proposed budget, “By fiscal year 2012 it will be at 2001 levels.” Because NIC is funded by local property taxes as well as student tuition and fees and state funds, the falling state support will impact both property taxes and student fees, on which, Bell said, “We have to rely more and more”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: How important is North Idaho College to you?

Gazette Raps SR For Police Stand

Under this year’s version of the proposed legislation, tribal cops would not be accountable to the sheriff n or any other elected official. Which is why the Spokane newspaper’s endorsement of this proposal is so mind-boggling. One would think the people who write editorials at the region’s dominant newspaper would understand better than anyone how critical it is that cops be accountable to voters. Cops and their misdeeds (perceived or real) have been the dominant story of the last five years in Spokane County/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette Record. More here.

Question: What do you think of the point made by Publisher Dan Hammes of the St. Maries newspaper that tribal police must be accountable to someone under a cross-deputization program?

Car Crashes, Then Internet Crashes

Item: Car crashes … so does Internet: Some service restored by Tuesday evening/Nick Rotunno, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: At 4:20 a.m., thousands of North Idaho and eastern Washington customers lost Internet service when a Toyota Corolla struck a utility pole in Otis Orchards, Wash., according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Department. The collision knocked over a pole at the intersection of Starr Road and Wellesley Avenue, and ripped apart an aerial fiber optic cable.

Question: Did you lose Internet service Monday? How did you cope?

Anderson: What freeze?

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Tuesday — 1.25.11

I just got word from the front desk at the Coeur d'Alene office that our Internet service is lost for as much as a day plus. So I'm patting myself on the back for my decision to post from home. However, I need to go back to the office to get the scanner. What is Hucks Online without all the zaniness provided by the office scanner. I hope the drunk — er, alleged drunk — who hit that power pole in Otis Orchards this morning to knock out service is happy for the inconvenience s/he's caused people. Oh well, such is life. Here's your Wild Card again …

P.S. State Of The Union Speech @ 6 PM

President Barack Obama strides from the Oval Office along the Colonnade at the White House in Washington earlier today, after being prepped for his State of the Union speech, which will begin at 6 p.m. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

DFO: Feel free to use this post to share your thoughts about tonight's State of the Union speech.

Cindy: Hit Up By A Panhandler

On her Facebook wall, Cindy writes: “This kid (who doesn't belong to me) comes up to me in the Fred Meyer parking lot and asks if I have a dollar or two, so he can buy gas.. And I gave it to him. I didn't even lecture him. What is the matter with me?

Question: When did you last give money to a panhandler?

Scanner Traffic — 1.25.11

  • 5:37 p.m. A physical fight is occurring in the street in front of 2080 W. Fairway/CdA.
  • 5:19 p.m. A utility pole is blocking both lanes of Atlas @ Abbey/CdA, after a hit-and-run driver crashed into it and then drove off.
  • 5:18 p.m. A Post Falls mother reports that someone jumped from behind a bush to scare her 12YO daughter who was walking home from school. The male didn't touch the girl.
  • 4:23 p.m. An alarm sounding at Horizon store ATM on Hanley/CdA proves to be a false alarm.
  • 4:05 p.m. An unattended death is reported in 2700 block of N 11th St/CdA.
  • 4:04 p.m. Caller reports a friend told him her boyfriend beat her & won't let her call Post Falls police.
  • 3:42 p.m. Caller reports a male is kicking a dog in front yard in 10800 block of Magic Court/Hayden.
  • More below

PM Headlines — 1.25.11

Lt. Gov. Brad Little reported to the Senate Transportation Committee today on the findings of the governor's transportation funding task force, which concluded that Idaho's roads and bridges need $543 million worth of work, but that no funding increases should be proposed now in the midst of an economic downturn. Betsy Russell's Eye On Boise story here.

APhoto Of The Day — 1.25.11

John Stone of Chicago wears a Green Bay Packers tie. Stone was fired from his job as a car salesman at an Oak Lawn, Ill., dealership Monday after refusing to remove the tie after the Packers beat the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game. He said he wore the tie to honor his late grandmother, who was a big Green Bay fan. His boss said Stone was offered five chances to take off the tie and refused to do it.  You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Chicago Sun-Times, Jean Lachat)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. John Stone explained his decision to wear a Packers' necktie by saying, “I would have worn by Chicago tie, but when I do, it chokes a little, just like the Bears” — Eddie Torreal.
  • 2. Ironically, Rahm Immanuel was wearing this identical tie when he was tossed out of the race for Chicago mayor!!! — Formerly Sandpoint.
  • 3, Why didn't somebody tell me checks don't go with stripes! — Charlie.
  • HM: Gary D. Rhodes

AG: Idaho Can’t Stop Health Care Reform

Brian Kane, an assistant chief deputy in the Idaho attorney general's office, offered a four-page opinion on the validity of nullification. (Click here to read the opinion.) He concludes that “there is no right to pick and choose which federal laws a State will allow.” Some Republican lawmakers are pushing a nullification bill that would stop state departments and agencies from implementing aspects of the federal health care reform. The proposal is expected to be introduced into the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday/Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Anyone surprised that Idaho can't unilaterally ignore federal health care reform?

Press Queries Task Force Transparency

I've been trying to figure out the “news peg” to that Coeur d'Alene Press story this morning re: the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. Tim Hunt, who is described as a retired director of the nonprofit management program at Northern Arizona University (but not as a Press columnist) is quoted as questioning the transparency of the prominent task force. Quoth Hunt from the article: “I fully support everything they're doing. That's why this is so hard. I've been a watchdog of nonprofits for the last at least 40 years, and particularly the ones whose goals I agree with, I like to see them operating within the parameters set down by the state of Idaho and the IRS.” Task force co-founder Tony Stewart said his group eschews nonprofit statuse because it would hinder its advocacy work and efforts to fight hate groups. But I'm still curious re: what prompted this article. Did someone on the task force tweak the nose of a Press/Hagadone big shot? Or is the Press trying its hand at investigative journalism? Inquiring minds want to know?

Question: Am I the only one curious about this strange article?

Pullman Vanity Plate

On its Facebook wall, Washington State University offers this photo of a vanity plate that encompasses the best of both worlds — “Star Wars” and Washington State. It was seen in the Pullman area today.

Question: Do you own or no one someone who owns a clever vanity plate? What does it say?

Suit Targets Taco Bell Beef Claims

Item: Lawsuit claims Taco Bell not using real beef/Fox News Latino

More Info: Where's the beef? Apparently not in Taco Bell beef chimichangas, according to a recent lawsuit. A group of attorneys in California claim the “Yo Quiero Taco Bell!” chain is using false advertising when it uses “seasoned beef” in its food. The lawsuit says they had Taco Bell's meat mixture tested and it contained less than 35 percent beef.

Question: Does this story make you think twice re: patronizing Taco Bell?

Gordon: Who Will Have Better Year?

On his Facebook wall, Gordon Crow, a former state senator from Coeur d'Alene who's running a chamber of commerce in Wyoming, asks: “Who/what will have a better year … ”

  • 1. Tiger Woods?
  • 2. Keith Olbermann?
  • 3. The Detroit Lions?
  • 4. President Obama?
  • 5. Fox News?
  • 6. Socialism?
  • 7. “American Idol”
  • 8. The polar ice cap?
  • 9. Wal*Mart?

Question: Well? (please explain your answer)

Shoo, Snow Bird

This morning, Virginia Sheridan, of New York, tries on an iced encased bikini displayed in New York's Times Square to lure visitors to “Defrost Their Swimsuits” and enjoy the warm Greater Fort Lauderdale sunshine. Find Your Sunny (www.sunny.org/findyoursunny) is ofering a chance to win a trip to south Florida.  (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Greater Fort Lauderdale)

On her Facebook wall, Cindy writes to “returning vacationers” that she simply wants them to respond, “Yes, I did,” when she asks, “Hope you had a good time.” Nothing more. She doesn't want you to tell her that you've been floating on tropical seas off three different beaches in 82-degree water under an 85-degree sky.” Why? Sez Cindy: “It makes me want to go back to bed and stay until spring.”

Question: Do snow birds bug you?

Polls: Idaho, Montana (Heart) Megaloads

“Drive Our Economy,” a business group in Idaho and Montana that backs megaload shipments on U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho, released a poll today that it says shows Idahoans back the megaloads too, including those who live near the route. “A similar poll was done in Montana that achieved similar results,” said Alex LaBeau, president of the Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry and co-chairman of the “Drive Our Economy” coalition. “This is a well thought-out plan in moving these shipments from the Port of Lewiston up through Montana. The public supports this. This is about driving the economy”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: How do you explain these results?

Elvis Impersonator Due In Idaho Court

Justin K. Shandor, 26, of Salem, Ore., was ticketed earlier this month on charges of providing false information to police after sheriff's deputies allege he lied about smoking marijuana before his performance at the Clearwater River Casino east of Lewiston. Shandor, who performed as Elvis at the casino's event center Jan. 16, was ticketed by officers after the show, according to misdemeanor charges filed in Nez Perce County Magistrate Court. Sheriff's deputies responded after reports two men walked to a Volkswagen and were allegedly seen passing a joint prior to the performance/Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Can you do a good singing impression of Elvis?

Goedde Wants To Honor Medal Winners

If legislation backed by Coeur d'Alene Sen. John Goedde is enacted, Idaho would rename the stretch of state Highway 3 from I-90 south through St. Maries and to its junction with Highway 12 between Orofino and Lewiston as the “North Idaho Medal of Honor Highway.” Goedde, a sixth-term Republican, said, “I was approached by a couple of veterans groups prior to the passing of Vernon Baker, to acknowledge Idaho's Medal of Honor winners. There are still two or three living Medal of Honor winners in North Idaho - it seemed appropriate. We've done that kind of thing before, and there'll be no expense to the state if veterans organizations want to put up signage”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (SR file photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Question: Would it be better to simply name the roadway Vernon Baker Highway?

INorthwest Headlines — 1.25.11

 A man rides his bicycle to school near  Boise State University this morning in Boise.  Fog and ice greeted morning commuters slowing traffic.   (AP photo, Idaho Statesman/Darin Oswald)

High Noon: Wither Goest Idaho, WAC?

Powder Farmer: Utah State is looking like an MWC invitee with SJSU possibly waiting in the wings. That would be a death blow to the WAC. I don't really see Idaho as a viable independent. If the above happens Idaho may not have a choice but to go back to the Big Sky. If the football program really feels that it can sustain as an independent on the FBS level then for sports other than football the Big Sky should really be considered. The travel budget in the newly configured WAC is going to bleed them dry.

Question: With everyone abandoning ship in the Western Athletic Conference is it time for Idaho to consider dropping a division and going back to the Big Sky Conference?

State of the Union Tonight

President Obama's advisers, from left, David Axelrod, David Plouffe, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and Valerie Jarrett, walk along the Colonnade at the White House in Washington on Tuesday after working with Obama on the day of his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Question: What do you want to hear President Obama address tonight?

Every State At Bottom Of Some List

Nic (Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts) sends along a link from the “United States of Shame” post by the Pleated Jeans blog that illustrates how every state is at the bottom of some list. The chart (that you'll find on the link below) shows that Idaho is at the bottom of the list in terms of congressional clout (which is a bit surprising since Congressman Mike Simpson of the 2nd Congressional District has become one of the more powerful reps in the U.S. House since the R's took over). However, Idaho's worst-of still is better that North Dakota's, which made the list for ugliest people. You Washington residents shouldn't chuckle. Your state makes the list for most cases of bestiality reported in 2010. Ouch!. You can see the entire list here.

Question: Which list wouldn't you want your state on?

Agency Boat Launch Warning Costs $11K

Item: Boat launch goes nationwide: Dept. of Parks and Recreation sends letters to 42 different states/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Those votes could come from 42 of the other 49 states in the union, after the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation sent out roughly 32,000 letters to registered Kootenai County boaters notifying them of the potential plan to reshape McEuen Field and its boat launch. Of the 32,000, nearly 13,000 were sent out of state, while 6,183 had Coeur d'Alene addresses. … City officials were aware, but the letters' reach - which cost $11,000 in postage and supplies - caught the parks department off guard.

Question: Did the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation spend wisely by paying $11,000 to send 32,000 letters off to warn registered boaters of a possible closure of Coeur d'Alene's 3rd Street boat launch?

Hucks Poll: Lahti Has Right To Privacy

  • Monday Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation voted that it's “bothered that the media are digging into the background of Mega Millions winner Holly Lahti of Rathdrum.” 181 of 207 respondents (87.44%) said the jackpot winner has a right to privacy. Only 21 of 207 (10.14%) said they want to know more information about her. 5 were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Should Idaho's Parks & Rec have spent $11,000 for a mailing to warn boaters of possible closure of CdA's 3rd Street boat launch?

Eman: Some Wear Improper For Church

Eman: while I have seen ball caps at Mass I'm more dismayed by some of the clothes the ladies wear. So yeah, I was speaking in terms of overall clothing at Church services in general and how sometimes it is inappropriate. To the point of, what were they thinking! Usually it's young girls but boys don't get odff the hook when they look like Bums either. Nothing against Bums as they are welcome indeed but I think you get what I'm trying to say.

Question: What is proper wear for church in the Inland Northwest?

Aryan Nations Denounce Bombing Try

The Aryan Nations sent out a video press release this weekend that states the organization had nothing to do with the attempted bombing in Downtown Spokane last week.Pastor Morris Gullet, who says he’s the World Leader of The Aryan Nations, speaks in the nearly six minute video and denies the organization’s involvement in the attempted bombing.“We condemn that, we do not condone it, any of our members who are known to be caught up in this type of activity will no longer be members of The Aryan Nations,” Gullet said. He went on to say that Martin Luther King was a sexual degenerate, a liar and plagiarist.The website says the racist organization is now based in Calhoun, Louisiana/Erik Loney, KXLY. More here.

  • Phaedrus: “I'm disappointed that you are playing into the Aryan's ploy of spreading their propaganda via your website under the guise of news reporting. Report his offensive denunciation, but don';t give him free media.”

Question: Our good friend Phaedrus is disappointed that I've made the KXLY video available here? What do you think?

AM Headlines — 1.25.11

 In a light rain, a pair of hawks perch on one of The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church steeple crosses on Monday in Spokane. (AP Photo/SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

‘King’s Speech’ Leads Oscar Nominations

 Actress Mo'Nique and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announce the Best Actor nominations for The 83rd Annual Academy Awards on Tuesday in Beverly Hills, Calif. The 83rd Annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 27,  at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. The British monarchy saga “The King's Speech” reigns at the Academy Awards with 12 nominations, including acting honors for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush and positioning itself to challenge “The Social Network” for best picture. More here. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Question: Which movie to you consider to be the best of 2010?

Idaho Ranks Last In Per Capita Doctors

Idaho ranks last in the nation for the number of physicians per capita, Dr. Ted Epperly told JFAC this morning, and is tied for last in the number of primary-care physicians. That's part of the reason the state sponsors programs like the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, whose budget Epperly presented to lawmakers this morning; the state also has an ISU family medicine residency; an internal medicine residency; and cooperative programs with both the University of Utah and the University of Washington for doctor training. Idaho has no medical school. The residency programs are aimed at bringing new doctors to Idaho to serve their residencies, in hopes they'll stay; while the cooperative program allows 28 Idaho students per year to go to medical school in Washington or Utah/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: When Idaho emerges from these hard times, should the state seriously consider opening a medical school to help address the doctor shortage?

Rep. Hart Appeals Court Setback

Item: Hart responds to court dismissal of tax appeal/Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A state legislator from Athol filed a response Monday to a district court's dismissal of his appeal of the state denying him business tax deductions. Rep. Phil Hart's legal representative Starr Kelso filed the reply, challenging Judge John Mitchell's December order stating that the court didn't have jurisdiction over Hart's appeal. The reply calls the court's decision premature and based on inaccurate information from the Idaho Board of Tax Appeals, including incorrect records concerning when Hart submitted his appeal and bonds for the appeal.

Question: What do you make of Hart's latest court action in his continuing fight over tardy income taxes?

Day 24: DirecTV, KAYU At Impasse

Item: Looking for numbers: How much should DirecTV pay KAYU for programs?/Tom Sowa, Office Hours

More Info: Day 24 of the KAYU DIRECTV blackout, with no sign that the impasse will end soon. We asked both sides by e-mail if movement was likely today. We learned neither side seems optimistic. DIRECTV said, simply, they saw nothing new to resolve the long dispute — which centers on how much DIRECTV will pay, per household, for the ability to deliver KAYU's Fox Network Spokane-based programs to viewers in the region.

Question: Has the ongoing impasse between DirecTV and KAYU prompted you to look for another cable provider?

Christie: Bullet Points Aren’t Discussion

Christie Wood (re: Frank: I did too contact NIC): Frank (Henderson) and I have a different defintion of what is a discussion. I made my post on Wed. during the day responding to the on-line story. John told the Board that night at the board meeting that he had been provided with some bullet points he would share with us. I am not sure who he got them from, but bullet points are not my idea of a conversation. It is a good starting point though. The media in southern Idaho had already done a story on his ideas before our board was aware of his proposal. I would have preferred Frank mentioned his ideas to us at the legislative reception we hosted for our local legislators in November. That was the perfect opportunity to tell us his thoughts and obtain feedback. Nevertheless we will study his proposal and provide him with our thoughts and input. I will be in Boise later this week and hope to run into him to discuss this further. (See: Henderson's bill would create trustee districts)

Question: Should Rep. Frank Henderson move ahead with his proposal to split college districts into subdistricts without a long conversation with the North Idaho College Board of Trustees?

River Launch Site Isn’t Good Year Round

We have two Idaho registered vessels and one which is documented (that's a US Coast Guard form of registration). We live within walking distance of 3rd Street Boat Ramp. I have no recollection of receiving the letter in question. My 2 cents worth: I believe Federal and/or State grants went to fund the 3rd Street Launch. I say it's fine to remove the boat ramp, WHEN AND ONLY WHEN an equal or superior launch is in place. And since the Fed$ or $tate have paid for the present ramp, The City should pay for the replacement. And, just for the record, no launch on the Spokane River could possibly be equal to 3rd Street:

  • 1. The river would not be a year round ramp, the water's way to shallow much of the year.
  • 2. There's major current in the river a huge obstacle to launching and a major safety concern for boaters.
  • 3. The river could not support large vessels, in other words it could not be a deep water ramp.

Question: Would you support keeping the boat launch at 3rd Street — and moving the boat trailer parking somewhere else to open green-space on the waterfront?

Marianne: Australia Dreamin’

Why did that Oprah have to take us to Australia this past week anyway? I did not watch every episode of her trip Down Under, which included hundreds of her ultimate fans, but I did watch enough to wish I could magically shut my eyes and open them a second later,  leaning on some remote Australian ranch fence, admiring horses. So far, I have to do that in my dreams.  Annie's been to Australia.  She and one of my former students and good friends, Kelsi, visited there at the same time on separate trips.  They hooked up with each other on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, and they've been good friends ever since. I've written about Australians for the Appaloosa Journal, and that story, published more than a decade ago,  about a mounted Search and Rescue team in South Australia's wine country,  will bring me even closer to the culture I've longed to experience most of my adult life/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here. (AP file photo of koala bears, for illustrative purposes)

Question: Have you been to Australia or New Zealand? Would you recommend the trip to others?

Heller: Seat Mate

Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Monday — 1.24.11

I have the privilege of sharing an office with a die-hard Pittsburgh Steeler fan and a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan. I'm having fun this morning listening to them trash-talking each other re: the Super Bowl matchup in two weeks. The next two weeks will be interesting in the office. And the Monday after the Super Bowl will be fun, as one celebrates a coveted NFL championship while the other licks his/her wounds. Any other Steeler or Packers fans out there? You can use this Wild Card to trash talk or start a thread of your choosing …

Parting Shot — 1.24.11

Pronghorns were herded by helicopter in Nevada on Jan. 15 before being netted and captured for transfer to Washington, where 99 of the prairie speedsters were released on the Yakama Indian Reservation. SR story by Rich Landers here. (AP file photo/Deseret Morning News, Tom Smart)

Dealing With Office Parking Scofflaws

Every morning, with reliable and predictable lack of precision, there will be at least one vehicle (if not more) parked in what I call “pretend spots” when I will pull into my office's parking lot. This isn't an issue of the parking lot being full and the employee is late so they steer into a fire lane and call it good. This is people parking in nonexistent parking spots while the parking lot is half empty because the fire lanes are closer to the entrance. This failure in parking is the first thing to greet me as I prepare my day, and as a “rule person” that means I generally start my day on a sour note. If I take the effort to find a real parking spot every day, why can't the people I work with extend the same courtesy?/Nic, Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts. More here.

Question: Nic goes on to say that he has an exaggerated sense of justice — and nurses the idea of ramming the poorly parked vehicle of a co-worker. What would you suggest that he do about this annoyance?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.24.11

  • 5:12 p.m. Caller reports that man in a gray Trailblazer was honking, cutting vehicles off, and flipping the bird at other motorists, @ H95 & Prairie/Hayden.
  • 4:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activity report for Jan. 23-24 here.
  • 4:13 p.m. PFPD Blue is dealing with an extremely drunk man who fell and hurt himself on bridge @ Seltice Way & 4th/Post Falls.
  • 4:07 p.m. Boy @ Rathdrum's Burger Haven wants help in getting his bike back from another male.
  • More below

PM Headlines — 1.24.11

The entire Eagles team rides on trailers during a parade down Main Ave. to River Park Square in downtown Spokane Saturday for the Eastern Washington University Eagles to celebrate their Jan. 7 FCS football championship in Frisco, Texas. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

APhoto Of The Day — 1.24.11

Chicago Bears fans are seen before the NFC Championship NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday in Chicago. Green Bay won the game 21-14 to advance to the Super Bowl against Pittsburgh. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. In a ghastly turn of events, a loyal Chicago Bears fan swallows Rahm Emmanuel in an effort to sneak him into the Mayor's office — Eddie Torreal.
  • 2. Bears?? I'm here for the Beers — Tumblewords.
  • 3. If “innies” and “outies” can get along why can't democrats and republicans do the same? — Powder Farmer.
  • HM: JohnA

Merrill Ripped For Boat-Launch Letters

Idaho lawmakers called their state parks director on the carpet Monday over letters that were sent to 32,000 boaters about the possible closure of the 3rd Street boat launch in Coeur d’Alene. State Parks Director Nancy Merrill told the Senate Resources Committee she was just doing her job as required by state law: Standing up for boater access on state waters. But Coeur d’Alene city officials say the city always planned to replace the launch with another one just as good, if it removes the downtown launch as part of a big renovation of McEuen Field into a waterfront park - and that message got lost. “I appreciate that they are looking out for boater access - we are doing the same thing,” said Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandy Bloem/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here(SR file photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Would you be more open to an alternative boat launch for the current 3rd Street one, if state funds were available to help build it?

North Idaho Blogs — 1.24.11

On Idaho Scenic Images Face book page, photographer Linda Lantzy writes of this shot (posted earlier this month): “I went out on a little assignment of sorts last night. I always knew those lights on top of my jeep would come in handy one day. I used them to help illuminate the little red chapel at Fort Sherman.”

Hucks Online numbers (for Jan. 16-22): 51,297/32,599

UI Students Sues Over Gun Rights

The University of Idaho is being sued by one of its law students who claims he should have the right to keep firearms in his on-campus apartment. Aaron Tribble, a second-year law student at the UI, is representing himself in the suit, which he filed last Tuesday in Latah County Second District Court. Tribble, 36, and his family live in one of the university’s South Hill Vista apartments for married students and students with children. He claims the UI’s policy banning firearms from campus — and by extension, his current place of residence — is a violation of his Second Amendment right to bear arms and his 14th Amendment right to due process/Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (AP file photo, for illustrative purposes)

Question: Would you want your child going to the University of Idaho, if students are allowed to keep arms in their campus rooms?

Toad Man: Pearly Whites Indeed

On his Facebook wall, Toad Man comments re: a pending dentist appointment today: “I've never had a cavity or a filling. My teeth are stock straight and perfectly spaced. I've had one root canal because of an accident during a junior high football game. My teeth are essentially perfect, according to dentists. I'm seeing the dentist this morning for a cleaning, I expect the same pronouncement. It's the only thing I'm really good at without even trying. It's not much, but it's something, right?”

Question: What's something you're really good at without trying? And/or: Are you blessed with perfect teeth?

Another Specialty Plate: ‘Fly Idaho’

Idaho already has more than 75 options for special license plates, from breast cancer awareness to snow skier to historic preservation to “Support Our Troops.” Today, legislation was introduced to add another one, to benefit the Idaho Aviation Foundation. Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, who is a pilot, said the foundation works to improve access at backcountry airstrips in Idaho, which in many cases are the only way to access big swaths of the state other than hiking in on foot or riding in on horseback. Among the group's efforts have been bringing disabled veterans to the backcountry by flying them in to the airstrips. The plates, as envisioned, would include the slogan “Fly Idaho,” and may also add the slogan, “Pilot's Paradise”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: What kind of specialty plate do you have?

Tucson Suspect Pleads Innocent

In this artist rendering, Jared Lee Loughner, right, makes a court appearance with his lawyer, Judy Clarke, at the Sandra Day O'Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix, Ariz., this morning. Loughner pled not guilty to charges he tried to kill U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz, in a shooting rampage that left six people dead. Clarke has represented Joseph Edward Duncan in the Groene-McKinzie murders and kidnappings and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Story here. (AP Photo/Bill Robles)

Whitefish Woman Wins $1M Ring

Item: Contest prize a sparkling million-dollar ring: Whitefish woman part of world's 'Most Romantic Couple'/Matt Baldwin, Daily Inter Lake

More Info: Cameron and Shariyah Morris officially are the World’s Most Romantic Couple — and they have a shiny rock the size of a walnut to prove it. By winning New Zealand jeweler Michael Hill’s online contest, “The Ultimate Engagement Ring,” last month, the Morrises received a 22-carat princess-cut diamond ring estimated to cost more than $1 million. Socialite Kim Kardashian presented them with the ring before Christmas in New York City.

Question: Would you and your mate be considered a romantic couple?

SR: Give Tribe Power To Enforce Law

Idaho lawmakers and the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe gave negotiation a shot, hoping that compromise and reason would resolve the dilemma over law enforcement on Coeur d’Alene Reservation lands in Benewah County. Negotiation failed. Now, in the name of public safety, it’s time for the Legislature to revive the bill it was on the verge of passing last year to achieve cross-deputization of tribal police officers, who are fully certified and meet the same professional qualification standards as county deputies. In short, the measure would empower tribal police officers to enforce traffic infractions and crimes on the reservation, even against nontribal members/Spokesman Review Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Do you think the Legislature will pass a law this year that mandates cross-deputization on the Benewah County part of the Coeur d'Alene Reservation, if Benewah County officials object again?

Enviros Disappointed In Obama

Item: Enviro Group: Obama’s no George W. Bush, but he’s no Teddy Roosevelt, either: Report card on the president's first two years in office gives Obama a C-minus/New West editor

More Info: In a report card released today, the Center for Biological Diversity gave President Obama a grade of C- for his two-year environmental record. The report card chronicles positive and negative policies on endangered species, climate, energy, public lands and oceans. “Barack Obama is no George Bush, but he’s no Theodore Roosevelt either,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the center. “His environment record is pretty dismal, considering all the promised hope and change.”

Question: Are you disappointed in President Barack Obama's environmental record? Or lack thereof?

INW Headlines — 1.24.11

Bison from Yellowstone National Park are herded down the Yellowstone River valley toward Cutler Meadow in the Gallatin National Forest in Montana last week. The bison are the first in more than a century to be allowed into the area north of the park, rather than being captured and slaughtered in the name of disease prevention. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

Panel To Examine 3rd Street

The Senate Resources Committee will hear from state Parks Director Nancy Merrill today about the 3rd Street Boat Launch in Coeur d'Alene, which has been a target for possible closure. “We just want to know what's going on,” said Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, the committee's chairman, who noted that Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, asked the panel to review the issue. “We want to get the real facts out,” Pearce said. “There've been some ugly accusations made”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.

Question: Do you want the Idaho Legislature sticking its nose in possible closure of 3rd Street boat launch?

High Noon: Wall Calendars

Liz Arakelian, a Facebook Friend and North Idaho blogger, said that she felt like a celebrity because she'd received a free calendar from nail polish company OPI. Seems OPI had solicited quotes from Facebook fans, praising their product. And the company had used the quote provided by my Facebook friend. Now, Liz'll use the company's calendar for 2011. Moi? My main wall calendar this year features the Seattle Mariners. I picked that one over a calendar highlighting the “Phantom of the Opera” movie. Now you know some of my far-flung interests. How about you?

Question What is the theme of your main wall calendar?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.24.11

  • Noonish: Dispatcher reports that a civil deputy hasn't responded to calls since finding a door kicked in when he arrived at a residence to check on an eviction.
  • 11:43 a.m. Woman in 2007 Lexus SUV is afraid to get out of vehicle after sliding off Old Creek & West Riverview/Post Falls because she is too close to a cliff. She is uninjured.
  • 11:28 a.m. Caller reports smell of electric odor from bathroom fan @ 3600 Poleline/Post Falls.
  • 10:53 a.m. Caller (from 10:42 a.m.) reports dog was able to exit Hauser Lake.
  • 10:43 a.m. A male has been hurt in a fall down back stairs @ Lynx Trail & Cougar Gulch/CdA.
  • 10:42 a.m. Caller reports a black Lab has fallen through ice on Hauser Lake, off Cliffhouse/Hauser.
  • 9:57 a.m. Joseph reports that someone broke into his storage units.
  • 9:18 a.m. Caller reports someone in a white pickup is burglarizing barn @ Maxwell and Grand Tour/Hayden. But dispatch later discovers that individual is a neighbor w/permission to be on site.
  • 8:49 a.m. Caller reports a man in Jeep Cherokee at back of Hayden WalMart is acting suspiciously. He appears to be pouring kerosene into a lantern. But stopped when caller drove by.
  • 8:29 a.m. Caller reports that her son may be involved in an extortion attempt.

Court Boots Emanuel From Ballot

Former President Bill Clinton appears at a rally for Chicago mayoral candidate and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel last week in Chicago. Emanuel was trying to succeed the retiring Mayor Richard Daley. But a state appeals court ruled today that Emanuel can't run for mayor because he wasn't a resident of Chicago for a full year. The election is Feb. 22. Story here. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Reaction?

If I said …

… that the Coen brothers remake of 'True Grit' (w/Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, & Hailee Steinfeld), was not only better than the original (w/John Wayne, Glen Campbell, & Kim Darby), but may be the best western movie of all time, would you agree with me?

Poll: Legalize Medical Marijuana

  • Weekend Poll: A supermajority of Hucks Online readers support legislation by Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, to legalize medical marijuana in Idaho. 201 of 297 respondents (67.68%) voted for legalized marijuana. Only 85 of 297 (28.62%) voted against. 11 were undecided.
  • Today's Question: Are you bothered that the media are digging into the background of Mega Millions winner Holly Lahti of Rathdrum?

Poll: 55% Support Obama

President Obama hit his highest approval rating since fall of 2009, in a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday. Fifty-five percent of Americans said they approve of the way Obama is handling his job, according to a poll conducted over the weekend, the first time he's hit such a high number in that same poll since November of 2009. Fourty-four percent of U.S. adults said they disapprove of the way Obama's handling his job, down from a high of 54 percent in September of 2010/Michael O'Brien, The Hill's Blog Briefing Room. More here.

Question: Why is President Obama experiencing a Renaissance? Is this a sign that national Democrats are bouncing back, too?

UI: Short Term Cuts ‘Not Sustainable’

The University of Idaho implemented a “strategic hiring freeze” in fiscal year 2009. It's now down 44 regular faculty and 36 staff positions, not including changes in part-timers; the total reduction in full-time equivalent employees from the general education budget is 136. Add in 73 cut from the Ag Research and Extension Services, and the total cut is 203 positions. All non-essential travel has been cut. The UI also has furloughed most of its employees. “The freeze on hiring and the reduction in travel have been important management tools, but these are short-term cuts and they're not sustainable,” Nellis told lawmakers/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Cindy: Take That Dang Ballcap Off

On her Facebook wall, Cindy asks, “Am I hopelessly out of touch? Having dinner at the Rusty Moose in Airway Heights — not fine dining but not fast food — and I'm wondering why grown men think it's okay to eat dinner with their baseball caps on? My boys know better.

Question: Is it OK to eat dinner at a restaurant with a ballcap on?

Clark: Tucker Right In Creach Case

So the verdict is finally in. Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker will NOT charge the sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed an elderly Spokane Valley pastor last August. Is it just me, or was Tucker’s Friday announcement the least surprising local news development since the street department’s admission that Spokane has a pothole problem? Seriously. Did anyone actually think that Tucker would ever take this cop case to a jury? I’ll tell you what is positively shocking, though. Now, I’ve shared my rather low regard for Tucker more than a time or two. (Insert golf-obsessed prosecutor joke here.) That said … I believe Tucker made the unavoidable and legally correct conclusion/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Clark that Prosecutor Steve Tucker made the right call in deciding not to prosecute Deputy Brian Hirzel of Hayden in the shooting of Pastor Wayne Scott Creach?

Is Jackpot Winner Entitled To Privacy?

RE: Mystery surrounds Idaho winner of $190 million/Nicholas Geranios, Associated Press

JThompson: The story is compelling because of its rags to riches angle, her troubled past, and the fact that her ex may have legal rights to half of her winnings. News reporters aren't going to back away from such a juicy story. They will flush her out eventually. In addition, she could have provided them with a better photograph but she apparently chose not to so the press is left with a mug shot.

Question: An Associated Press story about local Mega Millions winner Holly Lahti that includes old booking photos of her estranged husband and her upset some commenters when I posted it over the weekend. They believe Holly Lahti has a right to her privacy despite her recent good fortune. What do you think?

Frank: I Did Too Contact NIC

Rep. Frank Henderson sent the following e-mail to Hucks Online re: a recent comment by Trustee Christie Wood here that he hadn't sought NIC input for a proposal to split community college districts into subdistricts: “Christie Wood's comment that I haven't contacted NIC reveals a breakdown in NIC internal communications.  I don't know the exact date but about two weeks ago after talking with NIC's paid lobbiest in the capitol on the subject, I sent John Martin an email message containing all the criteria under consideration for establishing Trustee Districts.  My message also told John the information could be shared with NIC trustees and others who would be interested.  I sent the same information to the College of Western Idaho and to the College of Southern Idaho. Since that time I have had frequent inputs from both the other colleges — but I haven't received anything from NIC/” More below.

Question: Should community college districts be split into subdistricts to ensure that rural areas have a chance to be represented by someone who lives nearby?

Jack LaLanne, 96, Fitness Guru, RIP

Fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne flexes his muscles in this AP file photo. LaLanne, the fitness guru who inspired television viewers to trim down and pump iron for decades before exercise became a national obsession, died Sunday. He was 96. Story here. (AP Photo/Ariel Hankin, File)

Question: Do you lift weights as part of a fitness routine?

Racists Remind Of Task Force Need

White supremacists made pests of themselves in Coeur d’Alene during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. First, they picketed two Mexican food stands in Coeur d’Alene – Chiludo’s Mexican Food (3000 Government Way) and Taco Works (Fifth and Appleway). Then, the neo-nutsies followed up with a protest near the Human Rights Education Institute on Monday. Sgt. Christie Wood, the Coeur d’Alene police spokeswoman and VP of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, was in a happy place until she saw the racists at Northwest Boulevard and Mullan (near City Park). She was on her way to drop off food for the task force’s Martin Luther King gala event. She told Huckleberries: “I reminded myself that our unfortunate history is why I joined the task force two years ago – to help victims of hate, to help promote human rights and equality for all, and work with our community to celebrate diversity.” Christie responded better than a recent transplant from Portland/DFO, Huckleberries, SR. More here.

Question: A commenter over the weekend groused that Tony Stewart and the task force have hurt the community by bringing national attention to the local white supremacists. What do you think?

Dean: Nursing Is Healthy Career Pick

Item: WSU associate dean says nursing can be healthy career choice/Spokesman-Review.

More Info: Today’s nursing school graduates continue to find good jobs even as the economy stumbles along and the uncertainty of health care reform looms. Anne Hirsch, senior associate dean of the WSU College of Nursing and a director of the Washington Center for Nursing, says the types of jobs are changing and colleges are struggling to turn out enough graduates to fill the open jobs across the state.

Question: There are two nurses in my family — my daughter-in-law and a niece. How about you? Any nurses in your family?

2nd McEuen Field Meeting Set Feb. 3

Item: McEuen Park proposal to be held Feb. 3: Encore presentation will be at Woodland Middle School/Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: An encore presentation and open house for the proposed McEuen Park Project will be held Thursday, Feb. 3, at 6 p.m., at Woodland Middle School. Elements of the plan presented in earlier meetings will be shared again in the larger, more accommodating setting provided by the middle school, located at 2101 St. Michelle Avenue.

Question: Will city leaders listen to input and change portions of the Team McEuen plan, or are is the final plan already decided and these meetings simply an exercise to placate?

Heller: Obamacare Repealed

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Weekend Wild Card — 1/22-23/11

All three Division 1 college basketball teams lost Saturday — in overtime (Gonzaga), by two points (Washington State) and by 3 points (Idaho to Boise State). But the sun shined all day. So I'll call it a draw. Now, I'll replay the Wild Card, so you can start your own threads …

Abortion Protesters Parade Downtown

“On a brisk but sunny Saturday morning,” writes Don Sausser, from his perch above downtown Coeur d'Alene, “anti-abortion demonstrators work Sherman Avenue.”

Zags Fall To S.F. Dons In OT 96-91

This game will long be remembered for two things: Gonzaga’s inability to hit free throws in crunch time and the NCAA’s point of emphasis this season on elbows to the head. A back-and-forth tussle finally seemed to be leaning Gonzaga’s way when center Robert Sacre secured a rebound with 24.5 seconds left and the Bulldogs leading by one point. Before Sacre could make an outlet pass in traffic, San Francisco’s Angelo Caloiaro closed in and Sacre unintentionally caught Caloiaro on the chin with an elbow. Referees watched a replay on a courtside TV monitor and called Sacre for an intentional foul. Caloiaro made both free throws and USF retained possession, which led to two more free throws by Rashad Green. Gonzaga fought back to force overtime on Demetri Goodson’s clutch 3-pointer, but the Dons used a pair of three-point plays in the extra session to defeat the Bulldogs 96-91 in front of 4,195 Saturday at War Memorial Gym/Jim Meehan, SR. More here.

Boxscores:

Mystery Surrounds Jackpot Winner Lahti

Holly Lahti burst into the spotlight a week ago in a feel-good story about a single mother who won a $190 million Mega Millions jackpot. Then came the mugshot: a thin young woman with disheveled brown hair, sporting a black eye and cuts and bruises on her face and neck. It turned out she was separated from a man who court records indicated had abused her, and now has a possible claim to some of the money through a quirk in Idaho law. Lahti, 29, went underground with her two daughters immediately after learning she had won half of a $380 million jackpot in the Jan. 4 drawing. She has not been seen or heard in public since, though she has posted a message to her suddenly large group of Facebook followers/Associated Press. More here. (Booking photo of Holly Lahti's estranged husband, Josh)

DFO: Several of the commenters objected to the booking photo of a beaten Holly Lahti being shown on the front page here. So I've substituted a booking photo of her husband, Josh Lahti. Holly Lahti's photo can be seen with the AP story that I linked to.

Question: What do you make of the mystery surrounding Holly Lahti since she won her Mega Million fortune?

Olbermann, MSNBC Part Ways

After eight years together, MSNBC and Keith Olbermann are parting ways. A statement from NBC Universal revealed the move late Friday. “MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract,” it read. “The last broadcast of 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors.” More here.  (AP file photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Question: Are you a Keith Olbermann fan?

Idahoan Encounters Ex-Iranian Hostages

Yesterday, 30 years later to the day, these former (Iranian) hostages returned to West Point and were greeted by the entire corps of cadets. As I am currently a Plebe (read: freshman) at West Point I was among those in attendance. Although the event was brief, it was powerful. As each former hostage exited their transportation bus and made their way through the tunnel of cadets, glimpses of memories flashed through their eyes. Their smiles were wide and the celebration of their freedom, which reflects our freedom, was loud and joyous. I guess that's really what this event spoke to me about: freedom. Freedom is something I know I take for granted every day, and in many ways it's something that I can't fully appreciate until it is taken away. These former hostages had experienced that lack of freedom, in a big way/Colin Mansfield on Dennis Mansfield's blog. More here. (AP photo/Hans Pennink: Former Iranian hostage Bruce Laingen stops to talk with cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., on Friday)

Question: What do you call re: the Iranian hostage crisis (if you are old enough to remember it)? And/or: Have you ever lost your freedom, even temporarily?

Bubble: Questions For Labrador?

Bubblehead: I'm going to Rep. Labrador's Town Hall Meeting in Meridian this afternoon. Anyone have any questions for him? I'm thinking of “Do you believe the 2nd Amendment contains the right to violently overthrow the government, including shooting law enforcement officers and Soldiers”, “How exactly would a return to the Gold Standard work when the Chinese could just cash in their T-Bills and take all our gold?”[,] or “Given that nullification has been repeatedly shot down by the Supreme Court to the point that it's now settled law, do you support the Idaho Legislature continuing to tilt at the particular windmill?”

Question: Do you have a question that you'd like Bubblehead to ask Congressman Raul Labrador in his first public meeting in Idaho since being sworn in?

Popkey: JFAC Budget Hearing Hits Mark

It may have taken 92 years, but the Idaho Legislature got something very, very right Friday. For the first time since the House-Senate budget-writing committee formed in 1919, it heard testimony from ordinary Idahoans. It was a smash hit. More than 500 people showed up to voice their views on K-12 education. Nearly 80 had three minutes to look committee members in the eye and speak. Most focused on the sweeping reform plan authored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and backed by Gov. Butch Otter. Thanks to streaming, another 600 watched online, as many as viewed Otter’s State of the State address/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Will Idaho legislators and the budget committee have second thoughts about Superintendent Tom Luna's radical education reform proposals in view of all the opposition voiced by the public Friday?

Kootenai County D’s Try To Rebound

Item: Democrats seeking support for party: New officers plan to focus on networking/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: With newly elected officers this month, the group plans to focus on networking and providing education to boost awareness of democratic perspectives. The chief goal for now, Kohles said, is finding more Democrats to run for office. “Democrats don't have any current elected (local) officials. Dan English was our lone holdout, and Dan was defeated in the last election,” Kohles said, referring to the county's former clerk.

Question: Is the Kootenai County Democrats going in the right direction by focusing “on networking and providing education to boost awareness of democratic perspectives?

Ramirez: Obamacare

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

TGIF Wild Card — 1.21.11

We've survived another week of winter in the viewtiful Inland Northwest — and are now headed toward Groundhog's Day, which, in my mind is the beginning of the end for Old Man Winter. If winter approaches in three steps — Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (notice the Oxford comma?) — then it departs in three steps: Groundhog's Day, spring training, and daylight-saving time. And each day shines a little longer. Now, for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.21.11

Zoe Scheve, 16, wears four high school rings, her own, her mothers, her grandmothers and her great-grandfathers, at her home in Waukee, Iowa, recently. Scheve purchased a class ring this fall to show her pride in Waukee High School. As it turns out, purple runs deep in the 16-year-old's veins. The sophomore represents the fourth generation of her family to own a Warrior ring, with the oldest piece dating back to 1913. (AP Photo/The Register, Lisa Fernandez)

Question: Do you still have your high school ring? Which high school did you graduate from?

Idaho 10th Best State For Retirement

Here are all 10 best states for retirement according to Money-Rates.com:
 
1. New Hampshire
2. Hawaii
3. South Dakota
4. North Dakota
5. Iowa
6. Virginia
7. Utah
8. Connecticut
9. Vermont
10. Idaho
Wondering which states to avoid? Check out the 10 worst states for retirement.

Question: Do you plan to retire in Idaho/Inland Northwest?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.21.11

  • 6 p.m. Dispatcher reports that e/b I-90 over 4th of July Pass should be open in 25 minutes.
  • 5:59 p.m. Anonymous caller reports blue Buick is driving recklessly w/doors open in WalMart East/Post Falls parking lot. Vehicle is registered to a Rathdrum man.
  • 5:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activity report for Jan. 20-21 here.
  • 5:08 p.m. ISP announcement: ISP is out with multiple spun-out semi trucks and stuck vehicles on Lookout Pass on I90 at the Idaho/Montana line. The pass is being shut down eastbound.
  • 4:48 p.m. Hayden WalMart reports catching a shoplifter who's being cooperative.
  • 4:42 p.m. A school bus stopped after hitting a dog at Orchard & Ramsey/Hayden.
  • 4:17 p.m. Caller reports that mustachioed man in red pickup that's e/b on Whispering Pines may have put a body wrapped in white tarp in pickup bed.
  • 3:59 p.m. Bennett Bay Inn clerk is having trouble with a guest who refuses to pay bill.
  • More below

PM Headlines — 1.21.11

Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Luna, center, listens to testimony on Friday before the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee at the Idaho Statehouse in Boise. Luna has proposed sweeping changes to Idaho's schools. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, (Chris Butler)

North Idaho Blogs — 1.21.11

One her Facebook wall, Cindy posts this photo with the comment: “When my kids whine about wanting cake, I tell them: 'For gosh sakes eat all this fricking bread!' I'm all about tough love.”

Hucks Online numbers (for Thursday, Jan. 20): 9724/5994, (for Wednesday, Jan. 19) 10,163/6057, and (for Tuesday, Jan. 18) 10,924/7356.

Question: What do you tell your kids when they want something sweet to eat?

Manson Follower Denied Parole

Former Manson family member and convicted murderer Patricia Krenwinkel listens to the ruling denying her parole, at a hearing at the California Institution for Women in Corona, Calif., on Thursday. Story here. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Question: Should Charles Manson or any of his followers ever be released from prison for their role in the Tate-LaBiancha murders?

3 Hurt In 2-Car Crash On Freeway

An 11-month-old baby was the only person in a two-car crash on I-90, east of Coeur d'Alene, who wasn't injured when a car driven by Kayla Edmonson, 23, of Cataldo, hit the median, swerved, and was hit by a vehicle in the other lane. The accident occurred at 10:59 this morning in the eastbound lanes of the freeway at M/P 32 (4th of July Creek bridge). Edmonson was injured as were the occupants of the second vehicle — driver Gretchen Thomas, 36, of Post Falls, and passenger David Rodgers, no age given, also of Post Falls.
  

Vet: H97 Llama Herd In Good Shape

In early December, Hucks Online reprinted a KEA Blog post that expressed concern that a herd of 15 llamas at Arrow Ranch, off Highway 97, on Lake Coeur d'Alene, were struggling to survive the winter. The KEA Blog post tells of a community effort to provide more hay to the animals beyond the 40 to 50 pounds that the owner said she provided every two to three days. On Thursday, Sharon Jolly Rogers provided Huckleberries Online with a clean bill of health for her llamas in the form of a invoice statement from veterinarian Annie Bowes of Aspen Veterinary Service in Post Falls. Dr. Bowes said that the “llamas are in good weight, with a few younger ones in the herd a little leaners than the adults. The pasture is healthy, and not overgrazed. And there is a round bale available for feed, and a salt block. All llamas appear well cared for, health and social. No evidence of communicable diseases or illness.” (AP file photo of llamas for illustrative purposes)

Citizens Respond To McEuen Proposal

Councilman Mike Kennedy has compiled a number of reactions to proposed changes to McEuen Field, including this one that reads in part: “I think funding is very crucial to this and I believe it should be part of the discussion now. That is so no one is concerned that their taxes will go up at on account of the construction. I think this is very crucial as I noted above. I don't think it is too soon to reveal the sources of the funding, including the bonding authority of LCDC, its 12-year remaining life, and also the other sources of funding (i.e. the Parking Fund reserve, any Water and Wastewater funds that will be used for those improvements, street funds for reconstructing Front Avenue (including impact fees), parks impact fees, and any others I may not have considered. The plan will gain momentum if people actually think (as I know) that there are funds available to make much of it happen.” You can read the many other responses here.

Question: Have you bothered to fill out the online questionnaire re: your response to proposed changes to McEuen Field that were revealed earlier this month by Team McEuen?

Most Testify Against Luna Budget Plan

Kaitlin Howell, a student at Capital High School, testifies on Friday before the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee at the Idaho Stateshouse in Boise. By Betsy Russell's count, public speakers opposed Superintendent Tom Luna's radical plan to overhaul Idaho's public education by a 6-to-1 margin. Story here. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Chris Butler)

Question: When did you last testify at a public hearing? What was it about?

Task Force Urges Support Of Stands

Human-rights leader Tony Stewart (pictured in SR file photo) of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations today visited the two Mexican food stands that were picketed by white supremacists before the Martin Luther King holiday this month. In a phone interview, Tony told Huckleberries that he told the vendors (of Chiludo's, at 3000 Government Way, and Taco Works, at 5th & Appleway) that the racist protesters don't represent Coeur d'Alene values — and promised to tell his friends and acquaintances to frequent the business in a show of support. Tony and task force VP Christie Wood were en route to Spokane for a 3 o'clock meeting with Mayor Mary Verner and others to recommend how to respond to the attempted bombing that appears to have targeted the MLK Day parade this week. Also, Tony said he talked to CNN reporters three different times Thursday, to explain Coeur d'Alene's response to racist activity in the past and also to the Wall Street Journal and the Missoulian.

Question: Have you considered buying a meal from the two Mexican food stands to show your support for them, after the supremacist protest?

Joggers At Risk In Grizzly Country

Item: Bear biologist: Trail runners new at-risk group in grizzly habitat/Rob Chaney, Missoulian

More Info: Of all the possible threats to grizzly bear survival, long-distance joggers on mountain trails aren't high on the list. But the reverse isn't true, according to Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee adviser Chris Servheen. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's grizzly bear recovery coordinator said trail runners are approaching photographers as the backcountry group most likely to get badly hurt in an animal encounter.

Question: Do you engage in any activity in bear country that might cause you to become a griz chew toy?

Lahti Wants Jackpot In Lump Sum

Lottery officials say a 29-year-old northern Idaho woman has decided to collect her half of a $380 million Mega Millions jackpot in a lump sum payment. The Idaho Lottery announced Friday that Holly Lahti, from the small town of Rathdrum, had elected to take the $120 million lump sum instead of collecting her cash in annual payments over 25 years. The federal government would take $30 million in taxes, while the Idaho State Tax Commission would take a $9.3 million slice, leaving Lahti with about $80.6 million/Associated Press. More here.

Question: If you won a lottery worth $190M, would you take the money in a lump sum or spread out?

INW: No Charges In Pastor Shooting

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker has decided not to file criminal charges against the deputy who shot 74-year-old pastor Wayne Scott Creach during a confrontation last August in Spokane Valley. Tucker, who previously indicated he probably would not charge Deputy Brian Hirzel, said he made his decision based on analysis by several deputy prosecutors, including Chief Deputy Criminal Prosecutor Jack Driscoll. Read Thomas Clouse's SR story here.

Question: Are you surprised by Prosecutor Steve Tucker's decision not to file charges against Deputy Brian Hirzel in the fatal shooting of Pastor Wayne Scott Creach?

High Noon: How Tall Is Tall?

On her Facebook wall, Cindy wonders whether it's okay to begin “worrying about Hug a Tall Person Day on Feb. 11. How tall does one have to be to qualify? Do I have to hug every tall person I see? Or just tall people I know? What about tall people I know and don't like? And do short people have their own day?

Question: How tall does a person have to be before you consider him or her tall? What height do you consider short?

Columnist Declares February Palin Free

In this Oct. 18 file photo, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks to the crowd during the kickoff of the nationwide Tea Party Express bus tour in Reno, Nev. In a column today, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post admits that he's obsessed with Palin, having written 42 columns that mentioned her since John McCain made her his running mate in the 2008 presidential elections. Quote: “But today is the first day of the rest of my life. And so, I hereby pledge that, beginning on Feb 1, 2011, I will not mention Sarah Palin - in print, online or on television - for one month. Furthermore, I call on others in the news media to join me in this pledge of a Palin-free February.” More here. H/T: Thom George.

Question: Will you join columnist Dana Milbank's crusade to make February Palin-free?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.21.11

  • 11:39 a.m. A man has his 4-ways going as he and others try to help a dog that was struck by a vehicle on Harrison, b/n 5th & 6th/CdA.
  • 11:14 a.m. A non-injury crash b/n Ford Explorer & passenger car is blocking H41 & H53/Rathdrum.
  • 11 a.m. A mother and a baby are injured in a rollover on e/b I-90 @ M/P 32 (Rose Lake area) that may also involve a semi and another vehicle.
  • 10:28 a.m. Timothy reports loss of two black Labradors from Kelso Road/Spirit Lake.
  • 10:12 a.m. A structure fire is reported at 4463 Highway 3.
  • 9:57 a.m. Caller reports that 4 males in Bradley & Poleline/Post Falls area told him when confronted that they represent Liberty Tax.
  • 9:30 a.m. Lorraine wants to see an officer re: possible credit card fraud.
  • 9:13 p.m. Caller from 3300 block of E. Harrison reports that a vehicle pulled into her driveway Thursday night, a change of driver occurred, and an alcohol bottle left behind.
  • 8:42 a.m. Woman reports that a neighbor with a new-contact order against him videos her husband and her as they leave for work in the morning.
  • 8:29 a.m. Coeur d'Alene street work reports that Walnut b/n Government Way & Lincoln Way needs more sand because its very icy.
  • 8:13 a.m. Caller reports a house boat is sinking at Silver Beach Marina, east of CdA.

65-to-14 Testify Against Luna’s Plan

You've been a very gracious and a very patient audience,” Rep. Maxine Bell said as today's unprecedented public hearing on school funding concluded — at noon, after four full hours. Overall, nearly 80 people testified. By my count, only 14 spoke in favor of state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna's far-reaching school reform plan … Nearly all of the others testifying today — 65 people by my count, from all over the state — spoke in strong opposition to the plan; that's nearly a six-to-one margin against/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Quotable Quote

“Saying you can replace a teacher with a computer is insulting” — Wade Coldiron of Priest River (via Idaho Reporter Twitter).

Hucks Poll: No To Ed Corridor Launch

  • Thursday Poll: 80 of 148 respondents (54%) were against constructing a boat launch in the North Idaho College Education Corridor to replace the popular one at the end of 3rd Street. 62 of 148 supported the project. 6 respondents were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you support the legalization of medical marijuana in Idaho?

Idaho Medical Marijuana Bill Surfaces

Item: Idaho lawmaker introduces medical marijuana bill/KBOI

More Info: A northern Idaho lawmaker has introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state. Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, sponsored the Idaho Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act earlier this week to establish a system for patients to legally obtain and use marijuana.

Question: Do you support the legalization for medical marijuana in Idaho?

Giffords Leaves Hospital For Rehab

The ambulance carrying Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., leaves University Medical Center behind a police escort in Tucson, Ariz., this morning. Giffords is being moved Houston for further rehabilitation. It's the first time Giffords left the Tucson hospital since she was brought there with a gunshot wound to the head. Story here. (AP Photo/Greg Bryan, Pool)

Reaction?

Katrina: In Praise Of Oxford Comma

Katrina: I LOVE the Oxford comma! I spend a lot of my day adding them to documents written by the rest of the office staff.  … An Oxford comma is the comma between the last two items in a series of three or more items. It comes right before the conjunction. For example: I went to the store to buy butter, eggs, bread, and shotgun shells. Anti-comma-ites (heh) would prefer it to read: I went to the store to buy butter, eggs, bread and shotgun shells. Both sides argue that their use/non-use of the comma makes communication clearer, and there are examples to support both positions. But my position is the right one, clearly.

Question: Do you use the Oxford comma?

EWU Eagles Parade Will Go On

Less than a week after a bomb was found along the route of the annual march commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., police are planning for another walk through downtown by hundreds of people. A parade celebrating the Eastern Washington University football team’s national championship will start at noon Saturday at Main Avenue and Washington Street – near where the bomb was found on Monday. “We don’t want to let what happened on Monday ruin what we hope to do for Eastern,” said Elizabeth Mills, marketing director for River Park Square, which is sponsoring the parade. “We want to bring Eastern Washington University to the forefront and bring them to Spokane so Spokane can celebrate with them”/Jonathan Brunt, SR. More here.

Question: Are you more cautious now re: the way you live life, in wake of the Tucson shootings, the Spokane bombing attempt, and the random violence that haunts American society?

Post Falls Woman Backs Luna’s Plan

Lorna Finman of Post Falls told lawmakers, “I am here today to wholeheartedly support Supt. Tom Luna's plan for students come first in Idaho. … We need to adapt and increase our level of education quality like never before if we are to adapt.”  Finman, who's been active in promoting technology programs including robotics for school kids in North Idaho, shared the story of a formerly homeless North Idaho student who was given a laptop computer, and became a successful programmer and went on to attend MIT/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

AM Headlines — 1.21.11

KC-135 tankers line the southeast end of Spokane International Airport as a Southwest commercial jet lands Wednesday January 19, 2011. Fairchild has deployed tankers to Moses Lake and Spokane International while repair work is done on their runway. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

NJCAA: NIC To Forfeit Last 2 Years

Item: NIC can play in postsason but must forfeit wins: NJCAA concluded player was ineligible/SMX

More Info: The National Junior College Athletic Association reversed some sanctions against North Idaho College's basketball program on Thursday, allowing the Cardinals to participate in the postseason if they make it that far. NIC was originally sanctioned by the NJCAA for allowing an international player, Guy-Marc Michel, to play during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. The 7-foot-1 center from Sainte Marie, Martinique transferred to Indiana University in 2010 and was ruled ineligible by the NCAA in December.

Question: Has the NJCAA gone too far in their investigation of Guy Marc-Michel's eligibility by requiring North Idaho College to forfeit all its basketball wins for the last two seasons?

Proposed Plan For Ed Corridor Launch

One of my many Berry Pickers nabbed a site schematic of the possible boat launch proposed by the city of Coeur d'Alene at the new Education Corridor, to possibly replace the Third Street boat launch. To get perspective, the buildings on the northern part of this plan comprise the wastewater treatment plant. The launch is proposed to take up 3 acres of the 17 acres in the Education Corridor.

Question: What do you think?

J-Mac: How To Survive TV Spat

JimmyMAC: Here is some good info (re: getting Channel 28 while DirecTV and KAYU battle over a contract renewal). You can call directv and request channel 399, or the west coast lineup. It costs $2.50 per month and you can cancel if they settle with the local affiliate if they reach an agreement. They will tell you it can take up to 45 days to have the channel programmed in but I have heard it has actually been taking very little time to get dialed in.

Question: I mentioned to my wife that we can get Channel 28 by paying an extra $2.50 per month, and she said, no way. We're not paying any more for something we should be getting. How about you? Is it worth an extra $2.50 to get the service you were getting before the contract impasse?

City Files Charges In 2009 Shooting

Item: Alleged shooter faces misdemeanor charge: Charge stems from shots fired during downtown incident/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A 26-year-old Coeur d'Alene man has now been charged with a misdemeanor related to a shooting incident that occurred one year ago. Felony charges against Adam M. Johnson from the downtown Coeur d'Alene shooting were dismissed in January 2010. On Thursday, Johnson appeared at the Kootenai County Courthouse briefly on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence, which is a misdemeanor. Johnson was the alleged shooter from a December 2009 confrontation that sent two Moses Lake, Wash., men to the hospital.

Question: What do you make of this charge — a misdemeanor one — being filed one year after the fact?

Survey: Big Support For McEuen Plan

Item: Survey says … Team McEuen releases numbers, seeks more feedback/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The written surveys say 75 percent of its 133 responders approve of the project, and 17 percent disagree with 8 percent no response. Online reaction is slightly lower, but still positive, the team said. From the first 358 online responders, 66 percent overall agree with the plan, and 29 disagree, with 5 percent no response.

Question: The survey results seem to fly in the face of online polls and comments. Is it possible that there's wide-spread community support to overhaul McEuen Field?

Heller: New Zodiac Sign?

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Santa Clara 85, Gonzaga 71

Kevin Foster hit four 3-pointers in the last 5:12 and finished with 36 points as Santa Clara upset Gonzaga 85-71 on Thursday at the Leavey Center. The Broncos (11-9, 2-2) hadn’t beaten GU on their home floor since February 2001. The victory ended GU’s nine-game winning streak in the series. Foster made 11 of 20 shots, 6 of 14 3s and 8 of 10 free throws en route to his career high. Steven Gray led GU with 17 points (he made 3 of 9 FGs) and Robert Sacre had 16/Jim Meehan, SR. And: ESPN boxscore here.

Wild Card/Thursday — 1.21.11

“Stopped into a church/I passed along the way/well, I got down on my knees/and I pretend to pray/you know the preacher likes the cold he knows I'm gonna stay/California Dreamin'/on such a winter's day.” Your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.20.11

While I had my nose to the grind stone, finishing another productive day at Huckleberries Online, Don Sausser had his head in the clouds, shooting another fantastic Inland Northwest winter sunset.

Aging Foster Care Teens Get Help

Eighteen can be an exciting age. Many young people anticipate attending college, while others plan to work or join the military. And most are eager to move out from under their parents’ wings and try to fly on their own. But for teens aging out of the foster care system, turning 18 can be frightening. Bridget Cannon, director of youth services at Volunteers of America, said, “Statistically, the majority end up homeless”/Cindy Hval, Washington Voices. More here. (SR photo/Christopher Anderson: Mark Casteel stops for a portrait en route to one of his classes at EWU on Tuesday. Casteel is a teen who has been helped by Safety Net after his foster care support ended at 18.)

Question: How old were you when you left home?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.20.11

  • 5:47 p.m. A woman returned home @ Parkview & Park/Post Falls to find a man taking items from the house. The man threatened her before leaving in a tan car. The woman is very upset.
  • 5:45 p.m. Officer finds an unoccupied vehicle crashed into a utility pole @ Huetter & Boekel/Rathdrum. Guy wires are down.
  • 5:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activity report for Jan. 19-20 here.
  • 5:17 p.m. Intersection @ Greenwich & Staples/Northshire subdivision is so slick that vehicles are sliding into neighborhood yards.
  • 5:02 p.m. Traffic lights aren't recycling @ e/b Dalton and Government Way, causing traffic to back up to George Gee's dealership on H95.
  • 4:55 p.m. Caller reports a speeding blue KIA passed 3 cars on shoulder of e/b I-90 @ Spokane/PF.
  • 4:53 p.m. Caller from Coeur d'Alene Indian reservation reports theft of firewood.
  • 4:51 p.m. R, in Ironwood apartments, reports neighbor woman tried to kick door down.
  • 4:21 p.m. Department of Labor reports possible suicidal man in 1700 block of Gilbert/CdA.
  • More below

INW/PM Headlines — 1.20.11

Coeur d’Alene senior post Carli Rosenthal is averaging 13.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and three assists per game. Greg Lee reports on the Vik senior's attempt to lead Coeur d'Alene High to a fourth straight state basketball championship here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

APhoto Of The Day — 1.20.11

An Atlantic bottlenose dolphin named Tanner, foreground, imitates the behavior of another dolphin, Kibby, rear, at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Fla. During the study Tanner, who wore eyecups to block his vision, was able to copy the behavior of the other dolphin without the use of vision. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Tanner the Dolphin: “Hey, Kibby Why are dolphins more clever humans?”Kibby: “Why?” Tanner: “Because, within 3 hours they can train a man to stand at the side of a pool and feed them fish!” — Kage Mann.
  • 2. Hoping to duplicate the project's success, President Obama had the eyecups added to his National Health Care Plan and rushed to every Republican in America — Formerly Sandpoint.
  • 3. “Dude! These new contacts are great! I can see Alaska from here!” — JeanieS.
  • HM: Kevin Taylor

‘Conscience’ Law Exemption Proposed

End-of-life decisions are often made well before the end comes. Legislation introduced Wednesday by Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls, would keep those decisions in the hands of those facing this question:If I enter a vegetative state, do I want to die or continue on life support? Smith’s bill, if passed, would amend a law passed by the Legislature last year that gave health care professionals the right to opt out of providing any care they object to based on religious, moral or ethical principles. … The 2010 legislation, known as the “conscience law,” prompted concerns that a comatose patient’s end-of-life wishes could be pre-empted by health professionals who cite the new law and refuse to pull the plug on life support/Ben Botkin & Laura Lundquist, Twin Falls Times-News. More here. Also: Idaho AARP reacts to bill with thumb's up here.

Question: Do you support this legislation?

Barbieri Seeks To Block Obamacare

Republican Reps. Judy Boyle, of Midvale, and Rep. Vito Barbieri, of Dalton Gardens, will be the House co-sponsors of a bill aimed at nullifying federal health care reform in Idaho. I wrote about this issue in Thursday's Idaho Statesman. The bill will start in the House State Affairs Committee on Monday, said Barbieri, an attorney in his first term from Kootenai County. The Idaho bill will not include jail time or fines. Texas' bill includes jail time and fines for federal or state officials who try to enact provisions of the Affordable Care Act/Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What do support the attempt by Reps. Boyle and Barbieri to block implementation of federal health care reform in the state of Idaho?

Group Opposes Tubbs Hill Changes

The Tubbs Hill Foundation sent a letter re: plans to upgrade McEuen Field to Mayor Sandi Bloem, the City Council, and City Administrator Wendy Gabriel, which reads in part: “We would be opposed to construction of trailheads featuring artificial fountains or streams, other manmade features such as a sledding course on the periphery of the hill, or any structural elements such as a proposed observation platform on the hill. The proposed features are inconsistent with the City's Tubbs Hill Management Plan, which state that “Tubbs Hill, a city park, sholl be managed to provide for people's use and enjoyment while maintaining the natural setting that provides this outdoor experience.” The foundation also opposed any paving of the Tubbs Hill trails. The letter was signed by foundation president Peter C. Luttropp. You can read the letter in its entirety here. (SR file photo: Kathy Plonka)

Reaction?

Caroline Kennedy Attends Ceremony

Caroline Kennedy, right, talks with Luci Baines Johnson Turpin on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C., today, at a reception following a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

Question: Can you explain what Camelot meant during the JFK years, to the younger generations?

Kage Mann: Changes Mind On JFK

Kage Mann: When I was growing up, I used to believe that JFK was a good president. When I started reading about his presidency, it became apparent that his youthful inexperience and indecisiveness plaqued his presidency. From the 'Bay of Pigs' invasion, to the 'Cuban Missile crisis' he almost had us headed towards a nuclear war. And he paid off Castro, so we could get back the prisoners, from the BOP invasion. His mistake cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Question: Have you ever changed your mind about a president?

Stickman: Hands Off Tubbs Hill

Stickman: There is a Response to the McEuen Field Plan by the Tubbs Hill Foundation that just came out yesterday. I'm not sure where you can get a copy, but it explains the Foundations feelings about some of the things you mentioned that might affect Tubbs Hill. They don't want anything to happen to Tubbs Hill at all, and I agree wholeheartedly. If you can obtain a copy of that response, it explains it better than I ever could. I do like it though.

Question: Would you like to see the entrances to Tubbs Hill improved — or the trail made easier to access for handicapped individuals?

‘09 Law Raises Forest Safety Worries

Two years ago, Idaho legislators passed a law that exempts anyone under age 16 from having to have a driver's license to operate an off-highway vehicle, ATV or motorbike on national forest roads. Now, the Forest Service is doing a review of safety issues on its roads in light of the change. “Previously, Idaho law prohibited use of OHVs by unlicensed riders on roads open to passenger vehicle traffic,” said Intermountain Regional Forester Harv Forsgren. “While responsible OHV recreation is welcome on National Forest System roads, safe operation of motor vehicles on National Forest roads is compromised because unlicensed and untrained drivers are now sharing roads designed and maintained for passenger cars and commercial truck traffic”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (SR file photo of rider in national forest near Kellogg)

Question: Should youth under 16 be required to have a driver's license to operate an off-highway vehicle, ATV, or motorbike on national forest roads?

High Noon: Cost, Benefits Of Aging

Last Sunday, 11-year-old Sam and I cuddled on the couch perusing the newspaper. The morning sunlight streamed through the window behind us. Sam sat up, stretched and craned his neck looking at the back of my head. He frowned. “Uh oh,” he said. “Gray hair – lots of it.” He proceeded to yank out a strand and lay it on the sofa pillow next to me. Sam was wrong. It wasn’t a gray hair. Instead, it shone snow white against its burgundy backdrop. I shrugged. “So I’ve got a white hair. It’s no big deal.” My son then proceeded to yank out more than a dozen of those snowy beauties, carefully arranging the evidence on the pillow in front of me/Cindy Hval, Washington Voices. More here.

Question: When did you start getting gray hair? And/or: Do you wash the gray away?

Poll: Computers Are Indispensible

  • Wednesday Poll: Easily, Hucks Online readers dubbed their laptops and personal computers as their most indispensible electronics gadgets. 71 of 151 respondents (47%) said laptops and PCs were indispensible for them. 44 of 151 (29.1%) put cell phones/smart phones in that category. 21 of 151 (13.9%) said they couldn't do without their entertainment center (TV, DVD, stereo, video game). 3 respondents each favored their Kindle/electronic reader or GPS. 9 favored “other.”
  • Today's Question: Would a boat launch on NIC Education Corridor property be a good alternative to the one now at 3rd Street?

Sargent Shriver, 95, Peace Corps, RIP

This Oct. 7, 2003, file photo shows Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, right, being joined by in-laws Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, left, and Sargent Shriver following his victory in the California gubernatorial recall election in Los Angeles. Shriver, the exuberant public servant and Kennedy in-law whose singular career included directing the Peace Corps, fighting the “War on Poverty” and, less successfully, running for office, died Tuesday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

Question: Which Kennedy in-law is/was your favorite? Why?

Gookin Opposes Ed Corridor Launch

At OpenCDA.com, Dan Gookin has taken aim at the proposal presented to the North Idaho College Board of Trustees last night to move the Third Street boat launch to the Education Corridor. Gookin asks: “is the Education Corridor about education or launching boats and parking trailers?” He goes on to say: “If such evaluations were made, then someone who actually boats would tell you how difficult it is for most people to put a boat on a trailer in the water. Now take that person who is having trouble, and put their boat in the Spokane River by the Education Corridor: The river has a current, which means that anything left bobbing in the water slowly drifts in a downstream direction. So if an Education Corridor boat launch is created, it needs a jetty or some other marine feature that prevents boats from drifting to Post Falls when they should be docking into their trailers.” Also, he wonders whether the Army Corps of Engineers would allow a jetty on the river. More here.

Question: Frankly, I think the Education Corridor property would be a swell place to relocate the 3rd Street boat launch, providing a buffer between education buildings and the sewer plant. How about you?

Headline: Police Search For Moron

Police are searching for a man who they say has a history of violence and has attacked his wife in the past. Police say 35-year-old Joseph Moron has a permanent restraining order against him and two active felony warrants. They say he's wanted for investigation of stalking, second-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault, first-degree burglary and numerous counts of violating a restraining order/Dan Boniface, 9NEWS.com (Denver). More here. H/T: Thom George (via Facebook)

Question: Have you ever read a better headline on a crime story?

Never Use 2 Spaces After A Period

CanI let you in on a secret? Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong. And yet people who use two spaces are everywhere, their ugly error crossing every social boundary of class, education, and taste.* You'd expect, for instance, that anyone savvy enough to read Slate would know the proper rules of typing, but you'd be wrong; every third e-mail I get from readers includes the two-space error. (In editing letters for “Dear Farhad,” my occasional tech-advice column, I've removed enough extra spaces to fill my forthcoming volume of melancholy epic poetry, The Emptiness Within.) The public relations profession is similarly ignorant; I've received press releases and correspondence from the biggest companies in the world that are riddled with extra spaces/Farhad Manjoo, Slate. More here. H/T: Arpie.

Question: Do you use two spaces after a period in a sentence? And/or: Which punctuation mistake bugs you most?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.20.11

State troopers guard the scene of a collision in the median near the Idaho state line Thursday on I-90. Snow was falling heavily in North Idaho and eastern Spokane Valley this morning. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

  • 12:07 p.m. Caller reports a man named Clifford is threatening her at Tesoro station, 2001 Sherman.
  • 11:50 p.m. A flood watcher is concerned that there's a foot of water in front of a woman's home on Doyle/Cataldo — and he can't contact her by phone.
  • 11:23 p.m. No one was injured in one-vehicle rollover on H5 @ M/P 5 (near Conkling Park/Worley).
  • 11:19 p.m. Caller reports 2 males in a pickup with a rifle sticking out passenger window, s/b on H95 through Plummer.
  • 11:17 p.m. PFPD Blue is responding from Greensferry & Mullan to call of 56YO male who slipped on ice in Post Falls and is now talking incoherently.
  • 11:09 p.m. Woman wants to speak to animal control officer re: her sister abusing dogs.
  • 10:58 a.m. A heavy-set, red-haired female and a 40ish male in a multi-colored jacket are arguing and causing a scene at Shell station, 15th & Sherman/CdA.
  • 9:59 a.m. A Dodge Durango has slide down a bank off n/b H95 @ M/P 447 (Parks Road).
  • 9:49 a.m. Caller reports that a speeding semi is blinding other drivers by kicking up snow as it passes on n/b H95 @ M/P 447 (Menser Road, near Bonner County line).
  • 9:30 a.m. Caller reports a teen who appears to be 12YO is in Hastings on Appleway after spinning brodies w/an orange Jeep Renegade in the parking lot.
  • 9:28 a.m. Officer reports traffic lights are malfunctioning @ H95 & Kathleen/CdA.
  • 9:11 a.m. Caller reports a float house has broken loose from Silver Beach Marina and is now drifting toward Tony's restaurant.
  • 8:44 a.m. Highway patrolmen are handling accidents on w/b I-90 on both sides of stateline. A five-car crash may have occurred on Idaho side.
  • 8:15 a.m. A large stack of wood is burning behind Home Builders Supply @ H41 & Boekel/Rathdrum.

KEA: Don’t Cave To McEuen Naysayers

Although we have serious concerns with the proposal’s approach to parking, and we have serious concerns with the proposal’s approach to Tubbs Hill, we are in general agreement that McEuen Park is a location with great potential, and that placemaking is an appropriate design approach for this important location. The fact than nearly 600 people turned out on a cold January night to consider plans for a city park, shows the value to the community. The details are extremely important, and costs are very much a concern, but the opportunity should not be lost to the nattering of naysayers and defenders of the status quo/Terry Harris, KEA Blog. More here. (SR file photo/Kathy Plonka, of McEuen Field recreation play)

Question: Is there more momentum for change to McEuen Field today than more than a decade ago when Duane Hagadone proposed to build his memorial garden on it?

JFK Inspired Nation 50 Years Ago

50 years ago today President John F. Kennedy was sworn into office. JFK's Inaugural address was pressed into the memories of millions of American citizens…often in brief sound bites or through aging black and white photos. … His message of raw force and muscular defense seems odd today, juxtaposed against the current Democratic Administration. He alludes to nations that truly no longer are even in existence now. I wonder what nations will no longer be here 50 years hence … John Kennedy knows that truth today, for though he died a short 1,000 days from when he delivered this Inaugural Address, he is alive in eternity today and his message 50 years later, were he allowed to present it, would provide even more hope and even more kindness and even more brutal honesty than what he so eloquently spoke on January 20th, 1961/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Would you rather have John F. Kennedy or Barack Obama serving as president today?

New York Arrests 100-Plus Mobsters

In this frame grab taken from Associated Press Television News video, a suspect sits handcuffed earlier today in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Federal agents dealt another major blow to New York's five Mafia crime families by arresting more than 100 suspected mobsters throughout the Northeast on charges including murder, extortion and narcotics trafficking. Story here. (AP Photo/APTN, Pool)

Question: Which mobster movie/television show is your favorite? Why?

ISU Prof Researches Vampire Culture

Idaho State University Assistant Professor of social work D.J. Williams is devoted to researching “self-identified vampires” and the vampire sub-culture and educating mainstream culture about them. “My interests involve how self-identified vampires understand themselves and their practices, and how they are interpreted by others, based on existing social processes and available social discourses,” Williams said. “I am one of the few scholars who has worked directly with the vampire community.”  Williams has published on this topic in peer-reviewed academic journals Leisure Sciences and Leisure/Loisir, and has acted as a consultant for the FBI regarding understanding vampire identities, issues and practices. He has also been approached as an expert for a proposed television documentary on these topics/Idaho State Journal. More here.

Question: Which scares you most — vampires, werewolves, or zombies?

IFF Study: Idaho Higher Ed Gets ‘F’

A new study says Idaho is failing its students at public universities and colleges by increasing tuition, not requiring a broad range of coursework, and limiting the free exchange of ideas. The report card from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) and Idaho Freedom Foundation has several prescriptions for schools.  It recommends that four-year public institutions require students to take seven courses it calls a core curriculum: English composition, literature, foreign language, math, economics, science, and U.S. government or history.  The study also suggests that schools reduce administrative spending rather than money going to student instruction/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Should the Idaho Legislature also get an F for cutting higher education funding 22 percent over the last three years?

Tribe Police Bill Back Before Solons

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is back before Idaho lawmakers this year, after Benewah County reneged on a deal last spring that prompted the tribe to drop legislation on policing that lawmakers were on the verge of passing. “Obviously we were extremely disappointed,” said Helo Hancock, legislative director for the tribe. “We felt like we'd been deceived in a lot of ways, that it was just an act to get out of getting a law passed.” This time, the tribe has dropped proposals calling for a six-month window to reach a collaborative cross-deputization agreement with a county, and just written a bill modeled after other states' laws clarifying that tribal police with all required training and legal indemnification can enforce state laws/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Can the Benewah County commissioners, prosecutor, and sheriff be counted on again to negotiate in good faith with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe on this matter?

AM Headlines — 1.20.11

Disabled Bob Chambers, who couldn't reach the phone when a fire broke out in his home, was saved after asking his online gaming friends on Facebook to call 911. A friend in Indiana was routed to the Spokane County dispatchers, leading to the man's rescue. Meghann M. Cuniff tells the rest of the SR story here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

IReporter: $117K For Charter Exec?

At a committee meeting at the Capitol in Boise Thursday, State Board of Education President Richard Westerburg said the organization is requesting $117,000 in state dollars to fund a new full-time employee to carry the additional load caused by new charter schools in the Gem State. The budget figured provided by the board would include salary and benefits/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Do you think the state needs a $117,000-per-year administrator for the charter school commission?

NIC To Host New Boat Launch?

In the Coeur d'Alene Press this morning, reporter Maureen Dolan tells of a proposal to use three of the 17 acres in the Education Corridor owned by North Idaho College for a new boat launch. Parks Director Doug Eastwood presented the plan to the Board of Trustees Wednesday. He was asking for conceptual approval, so planners go develop a plan to possibly replace the Third Street boat launch. In a proposal unveiled earlier this month to upgrade McEuen Field, Team McEuen planned to close the Third Street launch to expand green space. To do so, city leaders would need to find an alternative site that could handle the strong boat traffic that now uses the popular downtown Coeur d'Alene launch.

Question: What do you think of the idea of moving the boat launch to the Education Corridor site?

FBI Eyes Racists As Bomb Planters

Item: Downtown bomb linked to hate crimes: Police chief praises sergeants for keeping marchers from harm/Thomas Clouse, SR

More Info: Frank Harrill, the special agent in charge of the Spokane office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed late Wednesday that two recent protests by white supremacists in Coeur d’Alene will be part of the effort to identify those responsible for leaving the bomb on the northeast corner of Washington Street and Main Avenue.

Question: Do you think the bomb that was planted along the Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane was the work of white supremacists?

Anderson: Entitlement

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Hump Day Wild Card — 1.19.11

For all the bellyaching a coupla of you did re: that Coeur d'Alene Casino pop-up ad that was bugging you at the bottom of the page … none of you have mentioned that the problem has been fixed. It's gone. Now, if I get booted from Hucks HQ because this online watering hole isn't bringing in enough revenue, you'll know what happened. Lecture over. I'll repost the Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.19.11

Three-year-old Sarah Spudlich of Bemerton, Wash., touches the fur of the Mariner Moose during a visit to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, Wash., today. In addition to Moose, players Doug Fisher and Josh Wilson as well as broadcaster Dave Sims went room-to-room giving autographs and Mariners backpacks to young patients. (AP Photo/The News Tribune, Peter Haley)

NIdaho Racist: We Didn’t Plant Bomb

Shaun Winkler is the leader of the small white supremacist group in North Idaho and says there are just a handful of them and he knows exactly who is who and who does what. Winkler says whenever anything directed towards race happens people always are quick to point the finger at them because they are the easy targets. He says planting a bomb at a public event is just something they would never consider doing. “Planting a bomb from our end would not benefit us at all,” said Shaun Winkler, Imperial Wizard of White Knights/Mike Perry, KHQ. More here. (SR file photo/Brian Plonka: Richard Butler and Aryan Nation member Shaun Winkler leave the U.S. Courthouse on Jan. 30, 2001, after Butler's hearing to delay the Aryan bankruptcy sale.)

Question: Were you here in 1986 when members of the Aryan Nations bombed three Coeur d'Alene locations and later Father Bill Wassmuth's house?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.19.11

  • 5:15 p.m. Good Samaritan said she stopped to assist a Washington woman in a Suburban station wagon @ H95 & Hayden, only to be punched by her.
  • 5:06 p.m. A Holiday (Cornerstone & Prairie) gas station worker reports a customer became angry & yelled because he thought the station was keeping his gas cap.
  • 4:57 p.m. Woman on Midway/Post Falls reports a battery to her son that occurred last summer, possibly at the hands of her ex-husband.
  • 4:25 p.m. Hidden Valley resident reports finding 3 Spokesman-Review paper boxes on hill side.
  • 4:14 p.m. Caller, from Edwards & Emporia/Rathdrum, reports he's being harassed by a couple whom he sold property in Garwood to.
  • 4:01 p.m. Responder who was running code reports he caused a two-vehicle crash @ Government Way & Kathleen. He wasn't involved in the crash.

PM Headlines — 1.19.11

In a press conference today, Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick credits two officers, including Eric Olson, left, with making a decision to steer the MLK Jr. parade away from what was determined to be an explosive device in downtown Spokane. Story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

APhoto Of The Day — 1.19.11

26 Members of the Pilobolus Dance Co. break a world record for people fit in a BMW Mini at the EMC Guinness Record Record Breaking Event at the Equitable Center on Tuesday in New York. You write the cutline. (Matt Peyton/AP Images for EMC)

Top Cutlines

  • 1. Proving we don't need to throw money at every problem, CAVErs introduce the new layover Citylink buses at Riverstone in CdA. And look… they're delighted!! — Lizard People.
  • 2. In another cost-cutting move, Governor Butch Otter and Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna unveil the new standard Idaho school bus, which comfortably seats 26 students. Not only will it save the State millions, it serves as a learning tool as all are equipped with pithy math equations on the door panels — Eddie Torreal.
  • 3. Cd'A City Counsel seek the closest available shelter after Sherman Randolph enters the room — Nic.
  • HM: Gary D. Rhodes

Obama Welcomes China’s Hu

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome China's President Hu Jintao to the North Portico of the White House in Washington earlier today for the State Dinner. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Question: Should we be honoring a top official of the nation of China, which is notorious for its human-rights violations?

Idaho Among Most Intolerant States

The Daily Beast has ranked the states in terms of most tolerant (Wisconsin) to least tolerant (Wyoming). Idaho finished 45th of 50 states — or as the sixth least tolerant state in The Daily Beast rankings. You can see Boise Weekly's story about the rankings here.

  • 41. Kentucky
  • 42. North Dakota
  • 43. Arizona
  • 44. Utah
  • 45. Idaho
  • 46. Ohio
  • 47. Nebraska
  • 48. Kansas
  • 49. Arkansas
  • 50. Wyoming

Question: Are you surprised that Idaho finished below all southern states but Arkansas?

House Repeals Health Care Reform

From Idaho Reporter via Twitter: (Raul) Labrador, (Mike) Simpson vote yes on “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” Passes 245-189. 3 Dems voted yes. USA Today story here.

U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson: “I strongly believe the best thing we could do is to repeal the bill in its entirety and start the process over by passing smaller bills that enjoy bipartisan support and focus on bringing down costs for American healthcare consumers.” More on Kevin Richert's blog here.

Question: Did Idaho's U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch vote according to your wishes?

What Is The Stash Box

On his Get Out! North Idaho Facebook wall, OrangeTV posted this photo of a new business in Midtown, called the Stash Box. Orange tried but couldn't find any information re: the business? What services will be sold or goods offered. You can read OTV's comment here.

Top Hucks Commenters, Nos. 36-68

On Tuesday, Ive published the Top 35 commenters at Huckleberries Online since mid-December 2008. Now, for the remainder of the Top 68 (as culled from the Top 100 commenters on our SR.com Web site):

36. Arpie, 978
37. LarrySpencer, 978
38. poolman, 961
39. JeanC, 956
40. sue, 924
41. Don Sausser, 924
42. Digger, 918
43. Sam, 908
44. Cis, 890
45. keithincda, 859
46. JBelle, 755
47. Charles_Dixon, 737
48. MikeK, 726
49. wheels, 716
50. florined, 708

More below

FBI: Spokane Bomb ‘Sophisticated’

A bomb left along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade was sophisticated, with a remote detonator and the ability to cause many casualties, an official familiar with the case said Wednesday. The bomb, which was defused without incident on Monday, was the most potentially destructive he had ever seen, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release information about the investigation. “They haven't seen anything like this in this country,” the official said. “This was the worst device, and most intentional device, I've ever seen”/Nicholas K. Geranios, AP. More here.

Question: Is it right to guess about the individual or ideology behind the placement of the potentially lethal bomb in the backpack along the Martin Luther King parade route?

Marriage License Fee Hike Proposed

Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Daniel Eismann told lawmakers that the state court system is meeting its obligations to citizens, though court dockets are packed and the state has reduced funding to courts due to economic conditions. “We appreciate the outstanding working relationship we have with the other branches of government,” Eismann said in his closing statement to the Senate. Eismann proposed raising the cost of marriage license by $20 to $33.  That fee increase would raise $280,000, which he said could be used for legal assistance in civil court cases involving families and children/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Do you remember how much you paid for a marriage license?

Christie: Frank Acting Without Input

NIC Trustee Christie Wood re: “Henderson wants to split community college districts”): This is not the first time Frank has attempted to create districts for CC trustees but it is the http://media.spokesman.com/photos/2011/01/19/woodweb_r60x60.jpgsecond time he has done it without discussing any of his ideas with the trustees in his district. He might have talked casually to one trustee about this, but he has made no formal presentation to the Board or asked for our ideas or input. I like the idea of trustees representing all of Kootenai County (as well as the other 4 northern counties that have students enrolled) rather than focus on the desires of the one district they would represent. All of us are available to answer concerns from citizens and receive comments.

Question: Why do you think Rep. Frank Henderson failed to get input from the North Idaho College Board of Trustees before moving ahead with this idea?

INorthwest Headlines — 1.19.11

Spokane's P-Jammers marching band join in the Martin Luther King Day Unity Parade as over 1,000 people took to the streets after a rally at the INB Performing Arts Center in Spokane. Now, the FBI is saying that a sophisticated bomb planted in a backpack along the route was targeted at the parade and was capable of injuring or killing people. Story below.  (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, J. Bart Rayniak)

High Noon: Rice Or Noodles?

A lot of people prefer rice in their stir-fry, but I’ve always liked noodles better. One of my favorite treats is pho, a Vietnamese dish pronounced “fuh.” It features rice noodles, and usually beef, seafood or chicken. You can’t get pho anywhere around here, but every time I go to Spokane or Tacoma, I make sure to get somewhere I can order it at least once/Jeanne DePaul, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Rice or noodles, for your stir fry?

Payette’s Killebrew Battles Cancer

Former Minnesota Twins baseball player Harmon Killebrew poses with a statue of him unveiled near Target Field in Minneapolis in this April 3, 2010, file photo. Killebrew, a native of Payette, Idaho, played major league baseball for 22 years and was the American MVP in 1969 and lead the Twins to the World Series in 1965. The Hall of Famer issued a statement today re: his battle with esophageal cancer. More here. (AP Photo/Andy King)

Question: Who is the greatest athlete to come from Idaho?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.19.11

  • 11:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activity report for Jan. 18-19 here.
  • 11:29 a.m. Woman reports her Dad's trying to hook hose to tailpipe to kill himself via carbon monoxide poisoning in 1700 block of 12/CdA.
  • 11:25 a.m. Mother reports her 11MO baby may be poisoned by eating too many vitamins.
  • 11:13 a.m. Caller reports 3 kittens stayed in a locked car all night @ Tanager & Marabou/Hayden.
  • 10:52 a.m. Woman on Sheridan & Reed/Hayden reports threatening text messages from ex-husband's wife. Also, she has questions re: a protection order.
  • 10:51 a.m. Resident has questions re: noise neighbor is making by target practicing.
  • 10:44 a.m. Caller reports suspicious activity between man in black pickup w/cigarette behind his ear and a man who walked up to him in Walgreen's parking lot, 700 block of E. Seltice Way/Post Falls.
  • 10:42 a.m. NIC worker reports minor crash near Boswell Hall. Now, drivers are yelling at each other.
  • 10:18 a.m. Dispatcher hears a woman yelling at a man re: their water bill over open 911 line.
  • 10:14 a.m. Resident reports suspicious activity at a park along Atlas Road/CdA.
  • 9:23 a.m. A 48YO woman suffered a seizure and is unconscious at Alpha Lab, 700 E. Ironwood/CdA.
  • 8:58 a.m. Man reports getting a text from his live-in gal pal, stating that she was destroying their house.
  • 8:52 a.m. Caller reports an unconscious person in 8500 block of Cloverleaf/Hayden.
  • 8:26 a.m. Someone has been injured in a fall in 3800 block of E. Tobler/Hayden.

Kellogg Reports Cross Burning

The Police Chief in Kellogg, Idaho tells KHQ that on MLK day fire crews responded to cross burning on Elder Ave. which is in the northeast part of Kellogg. The cross was wrapped in burlap and was about three and a half feet tall. The cross was placed on city property and police do not believe it was targeted at any one person/KHQ. More here.

Question: Why are local supremacists becoming more active in last week to 10 days? Martin Luther King Day observance have them fired up?

6 More States Join Health Care Fight

Idaho and 19 other states are suing the federal government over a provision of the health care reforms passed last year that requires individuals to purchase private health insurance or face a penalty. It looks like the states already involved are going to get some additional help with the suit. MacIver News Service out of Wisconsin is reporting that six states – Wisconsin, Wyoming, Iowa, Maine, Kansas, and Ohio – are requesting to join the lawsuit, which would bring the number up to 26.  The suit began shortly after reforms were passed in March of 2010, and only 14 states joined the initial challenge/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Do you support the effort by a majority of the states to roll back health care reform?

Semanko: Idaho D’s Left Of Obama

In a statement issued in defense of Superintendent Tom Luna's reform plan for public education, state GOP chairman Norm Semanko wrote, in part: “On Friday, the Idaho Democratic Party came out against Governor Otter and Superintendent Luna’s plan asking, “why should any parent, student or voter put the slightest faith in any idea proffered by the architect of such failure?” and saying the plan may include “ ’new’ ideas but they certainly are not good ideas.” Sherri Wood, the head of the teacher’s union, called the plan “draconian.” Sadly, the Idaho Democratic Party, which once succeeded in electing individuals to statewide office, has withered away into a wholly owned subsidiary of the teacher’s union. The party is so out of touch, and so beholden to the teacher’s union bosses, that it now sits well to the left of President Barack Obama on education issues. More here. H/T: Kevin Richert.

Question: Do you think the Idaho Democratic Party “sits well to the left of President Barack Obama on education issues”?

Lieberman Won’t Seek Re-election

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., introduced by his wife, Hadassah, right, acknowledges a gathering before he announced that he has decided to retire and not seek a fifth term in 2012 in Stamford, Conn., Wednesday. At center is Maddy Wisse, Lieberman's granddaughter, and Rebecca Liberman-Wisse, one of his daughters. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Question: How will Lieberman be remembered for his years of service in the U.S. Senate?

Hucks Poll: Save Legion Field

  • Tuesday Poll: 80 of 159 respondents (50.3%) voted that they want the American Legion baseball field to stay at McEuen Field. 67 of 159 (42.1%) said the field should be moved elsewhere. 12 of 159 (7.6%) were undecided.
  • Today's Question (from Lewiston Tribune): What is the most indispensable electronic device in your life?

Litterer Arrested For Excessive DUI

A 29-year-old man who was first stopped for littering by Coeur d'Alene police was later arrested for excessive DUI (for blood-alcohol content of .228). The man admitted being drunk when he was stopped by officers at 301 Sherman Avenue at 3 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8. When officers asked how he was getting home that evening, he told them by taxi. However, after the officers left, the male jumped in his vehicle and attempted to drive. He was
arrested. He had been drinking at the Icon that evening. All of which means … it's time for another Downtown Coeur d'Alene Bar Report. Click here.

Fit After 50 … Er, 65 … Er 90

Esther Robinson, 93, left, and DeEtte Sauer, 69, pose at an athletic club in Houston. Sauer is a medal-winning senior swimmer and Robinson likes to hit the gym for the weights, but also enjoys dancing. Read Leann Litale's story re: these two remarkably fit women here. (AP Photo/David Phillip)

Question: Do you consider yourself fit for your age?

Woman Can’t Save Neglected Dog

Item: 'This is Auschwitz': Woman tries, but can't save neglected dog/Bill Buley, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The tumor was the size of a cantaloupe that could have taken months to grow. The dog's teeth were rotted. Its nails on front and back legs were 2 inches long, curling, making it painful to walk. Its ribs were showing, indicating it had little food. In Dr. Bodkin's Hayden Avenue office, a body condition chart for dogs reads normal is 5. This dog was a 1. It was, Bodkin would say later, “neglect at its finest. It's one of the worst cases I've seen.” “This is Auschwitz,” Bodkin said. “No doubt about it.”

Question: What do you do when you see possible animal abuse?

Henderson Wants To Split CC Districts

An Idaho state representative may introduce a bill in the Legislature this year that would split community college districts into subdistricts, and College of Western Idaho trustees discussed the impact that could have locally at their board meeting Tuesday. Trustees had information from Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, on a planned bill that would divide the districts for Idaho’s community colleges into subdistricts, much like public school districts. The plan would split the CWI district, which covers Canyon and Ada counties, into five subdistricts. Each of the five trustees would live in a different subdistrict, although current trustees would retain their seats until they expire/Tabitha Simenc, Idaho Press-Tribune. More here.

Question: Should college districts be split into subdistricts, with trustees required to live in and run from an individual subdistrict?

Teachers Denied Leave For Hearing

Boise school teachers won’t be able to get paid time off to attend a state hearing Friday on schools spending using a special leave despite a request from the Boise Education Association (BEA). The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC), which writes the state budget, will listen to public testimony from individuals on the schools budget during its Friday meeting.  Speakers are limited to three minutes of testimony.  The hearing will likely revolve around an education reform plan backed by state schools superintendent Tom Luna that has come under fire from the Idaho Education Association (IEA). The BEA sent an e-mail to some of its members on Jan. 13 urging them to attend the meeting/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Should Boise teachers be able to use special leave to attend the JFAC meeting that will discuss Superintendent Tom Luna's proposed public education reform?

AM: Flood Waters Receding

“It was worse two years ago,” said 13-year-old Rikki Baysinger, front, as she and her brother Donavin Baysinger,12, check the flood damage near their home in Cataldo on Tuesday. Rising groundwater from the Coeur d'Alene River surrounded their neighborhood. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Why do people live in areas along waterways like Cataldo that flood almost every year?

Mental Health Services Faces Cuts

The economic downturn has left deep scars on Idaho's public services for the mentally ill, including efforts to help some of the state's most-vulnerable children. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter's recommended budget for the Department of Health and Welfare's mental health services division for fiscal year 2012 is $32.4 million, down 4.6 percent from 2011 and a full 19 percent less than in 2008. The division has laid off or left unfilled 35 full time positions to assist adults with mental health problems, and another 14 positions to help kids/Associated Press via Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Is this a good time to be cutting mental health services?

Vet’s Reference To Gun Falls Flat

Item: Veteran says gun comment was a joke: City officials not amused after Tucson incident/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A Coeur d'Alene man's reference to bringing guns to a meeting with city officials shouldn't be taken seriously, he said Tuesday. The gun reference came during a meeting Monday between city officials and the American Legion on the proposed McEuen Field redevelopment plan. Sherman Randolph said Tuesday that his remarks were inappropriate in light of the shooting tragedy in Tucson, Ariz., but Coeur d'Alene city officials shouldn't take the comment as a literal threat. He refused to apologize.

Question: What do you make of Sherman Randolph's remark?

CdA Schools Fail Transparency Test

Item: District gets 'F' on public access: Cd'A schools criticized by statewide group for not putting contract online/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A watchdog group has given the Coeur d'Alene School District a failing grade when it comes to taxpayers' ability to easily access and review the district's contract with the local teachers union. Coeur d'Alene was one of 34 Idaho local public education agencies to flunk a master agreement transparency test, according to a report released Tuesday by the Idaho Freedom Foundation. … The Lakeland School District received an “A” rating. That district's master agreement was posted online, and the Post Falls District received a “B” because it provided an electronic copy following a telephone request.

Question: Are you concerned that the Coeur d'Alene School District failed the transparency test of the Idaho Freedom Foundation?

Wild Card/Tuesday — 1.18.11

I missed the protest of the white supremacists on Northwest Boulevard Monday, as a result of having the day off for the Martin Luther King Day holiday. But it sounds as though OrangeTV, DanG, Christie wood, and others spotted the neo-nutsies and provided all the coverage that was needed for Huckleberries Online. Christie nailed things in a comment should made here last night by saying that the racists can protest but they have trouble coagulating because they don't have a compound now that allows them to hang out together in one place and hate. With that happy thought, I'll post today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.18.11

“I was taking a group shot today of a musician and two belly dancers for my newspaper,” writes Colin Mulvany/Snaps & Frames. “When dancer Nicole Richardson arched her back, I quickly reframed away from the two other subjects and made this photo. My photo creativity is often triggered by me seeing body language in my subjects.” More here.