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Archive for March 2011

Wild Card/Thursday — 3.31.11

Major League Baseball has started again, with the New York Yankees hosting the Detroit Tigers on ESPN — the last official sign, for me, that spring has begun. All is well with the world again. So I'll post the Wild Card and watch the game over my shoulder …

Parting Shot — 3.31.11

Johnnie Alexander, of Gainesville, Fla., center, climbs on his bike along with other cyclists involved in Ride 2 Recovery as they leave Waco Veterans Medical Center earlier today in Waco, Texas. Alexander, who lost his legs as a U.S. Army Sergeant in the Vietnam War, is riding with 200 other veterans making their way from San Antonio to Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Jerry Larson)

HMO: Let Parents Teach Kids To Drive

HMOffsuite: What ever happened to having your mom or dad, or even brother or sister teach you how to drive? A little home schooling here would save some bucks or put it to a better use. I think States and school districts ought to get out of the driver training involvement and let private companies provide the training if there is no one else to provide it. A lot of those involved in these type programs are double dippers. Taxpayers are paying them twice, in those cases.

Question: Who taught you to drive?

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.31.11

  • 5:41 p.m. Caller in 2100 block of 15th reports her bloodied neighbor pounded on the door and said “life isn't worth living any more.”
  • 5:19 p.m. Hayden homeowner is chasing two males in silver-and-brown Jeep Grand Cherokee who may be involved in burglary attempt @ his house @ Lancaster & Meadowwood Lane.
  • 5:06 p.m. A woman from a disabled yellow vehicle on I-90 & the stateline is walking toward exit.
  • 5:01 p.m. Kootenai County sheriff's warrant roundup March 28-April 1here.
  • 4:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 30-31 here.
  • 4:01 p.m. Resident @ Hastings & 12th/CdA reports someone shot out car window.
  • 3:59 p.m. Juveniles in Coeur d'Alene apartment complex are tossing cigarette butts out the window.
  • More below

PM: Kelly Graves Staying At Gonzaga

Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves applauds his team during practice in the first round of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, in Spokane, Wash. After a brief discussion about the head coaching job at Washington, Graves has decided to remain at Gonzaga, he said today. See Dave Trimmer's story here. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Question: Can Kelly Graves make the Lady Zags into a long-term quality program like Mark Few has done with the men's basketball team?

APhoto Of The Day — 3.31.11

Female anti-government protestors display their hands during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, earlier today. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Hands across the sea holds a convention in Yemen, where hand art trumps political unrest. Applause for rebellion was spontaneous — Herb.
  • 2. Regretting that he asked the crowd for a hand, Ali Abdullah Saleh turns to his always agreeable aides, who in Sanaa are called ‘Yay men’ — JohnA.
  • 3. oh crud!! i didn’t realize the yemen history test was today! — JDanMike
  • HM: Charlie

‘Horrible Bosses’: The Movie

Jason Sudeikis, a cast member in the upcoming film “Horrible Bosses,” arrives at CinemaCon 2011 earlier today in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Question: Describe the worst boss that you ever worked for?

Californians Still Headed Here

If you think a bunch of folks are moving to Kootenai County from California, you're right. A map provided by Forbes, via Terry Harris/KEA Blog Twitter, shows this area gets a heavy influx of immigrants from the Golden State, particularly Southern California. We also have incoming from Arizona and Nevada. Meanwhile, people leaving Kootenai County tend to make short hops to nearby Inland Northwest communities. Check it out here.

Question: Did you ever live in California?

Idaho ‘Honcho’ Sues For Booze Right

A man from southeastern Idaho who fancies himself as the “Head Honcho” of the Ethereal Enigmantic Euphoric Movement Toward Civilized Hedonism is suing Idaho for allowing individual towns to ban sale of liquor in bars. This, according to the Herald Journal. Philip H. Mockli, of Preston, claims his First Amendment freedoms are being violated by the city of Preston's decision to allow only beer to be sold in bars. Mockli told the Herald Journal that he believes Franklin County Republicans are pushing “their conservative agenda on the community by allowing only beer sales in Preston's taverns.” More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes) H/T: Orbusmax

Question: Should Idahoans have a right to drink liquor in any Gem State town?

NIdaho Blogs — 3.31.11

“As we head into  April,” posts Sunny of Bent's Beer Garden, “I decided I should probably take a seedling inventory and decide what other seeds need to be sown. So far, this is what we have and it doesn't include seeds sown and not yet germinated…that's another post.” More here.

Hucks Online numbers: (for Monday) 7157/4152, (for Tuesday) 7998/4796, and (for Wednesday) 8331/5077

AAA Rips Try To Cut Driver’s Ed Funds

The AAA of Idaho is decrying HB 314, which it describes as “last-minute legislation introduced just last Friday,” that the motorists' group says would “double the cost for the ten thousand families who opt to send their teens to driver training through public schools.” The bill emerged from the House Education Committee this morning on a 14-3 vote and headed for consideration in the full House; it's sponsored by Rep. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. And: Idaho Reporter's story here.

Question: Should the Idaho Legislature pass more of the costs for driver's education onto Idaho families?

Conservatives ♥ Tea Party

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. gets a hug from a supporter during a Tea Party “Continuing Revolution Rally” on Capitol Hill in Washington earlier today. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

As Democrats accuse Republican congressional leaders of being co-opted by the Tea Party in the federal budget negotiations, a new survey shows that half of all conservative voters ardently support the movement. The University of Washington poll suggests that the popularity of the Tea Party movement is wider than many political strategists have estimated. And it bolsters perceptions of Democrats and others that Tea Party supporters are as conservative about social and policy issues as they are about the Tea Party's fiscal principles/Corey Dade, NPR. More here.

Question: Do you now think that the Tea Party is here to stay — and is refashioning the Republican Party into its image?

Dems Proclaim Tom Foolery Day

As chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party, I hereby designate April 1, 2011 as Tomfoolery Day, in honor of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna for his leadership in increasing class sizes in our schools, cutting the number of classroom teachers, and imposing unfunded mandates on local school districts regarding technology Larry Grant, chairman of Idaho Democratic Party. More here.

Law Allows 16YOs To Give Blood

One unit of blood has the potential to impact three lives, according to American Red Cross officials. Thanks to a bill that was signed into law last week, Idahoans as young as 16 will soon be able to change those lives — allowed to give blood with parental permission. “We want to introduce youth to our programs because they are healthy, young adults,” said Debbi Mahler, Red Cross donor recruitment representative. “It’s a good opportunity for them and it is proven that if they donate in high school, they’ll come back and be lifelong donors”/Amy Huddleston, Twin Falls Times-News. More here. (SR file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: When did you last give blood?

Megs: How Old Is ‘Elderly’

On her Twitter account, young colleague Meghann Cuniff wonders: “When do you become elderly? I lean toward 75 and up. What about a couple in their 60s?” At 61, I definitely want to fudge toward the higher end of Meghann's scale. I've seen some spry 75YOs. And my mother is still going strong at 85. On the other hand, if Meghann wants to combine ages for a couple, I'm okay, too. My wife is 6 years younger. Then, when I'm 66, she'll be 60 — and Meghann will toss us both under the Old Folks bus.

Question: At what age do you consider someone “elderly”?

High Noon: Figaro, Figaro …

If you think opera involves highbrow harmonies sung in Italian by temperamental tenors, Spokane’s newest opera company would like you to think again. At a recent rehearsal, members of Northwest Opera Works practiced a lighthearted Gilbert and Sullivan tune. “We are dainty, little fairies … “ chorus members sang. But these fairies weren’t supposed to act delicately or sprightly. “Think clunky!” instructed stage director Tim Campbell. And the singers obliged, stomping through the comic number with gusto/Cindy Hval, Washington Voices. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Have you ever listened to, attended, or performed opera?

Testing Your Political IQ

To test your knowledge of prominent people and major events in the news, (the Pew Research Center Interactive) invites you to take (its) short 11-question quiz. Then see how you did in comparison with 1,004 randomly sampled adults asked the same questions in a national survey conducted Mar. 17-20 by the Pew Research Center. Take the quiz.

Question: How did you do? Which question(s) did you miss?

INW: Runoff Flowing To The Sea

The spring runoff is all downhill now with mountain snow melt accumulating in ever-increasing streams, like this creek above Orofino, adding to one another until is all reaches the Clearwater River and eventually the ocean in North Central Idaho. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune, Barry Kough)

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.31.11

  • 11:56 a.m. Someone has suffered traumatic injury in fight w/18YO woman @ apartments in 2800 block of Julia/CdA. Police are looking for suspect female — 5-7, 195, in black hoodie.
  • 11:52 a.m. Caller reports some sort of road hazard @ i/s of Walnut & Lincoln Way/CdA.
  • 11:40 a.m. Caller from Westside Mobile Home Park/Hauser reports stray cat going trailer to trailer.
  • 11:36 a.m. Two men are drinking and loitering but not belligerent @ 1509 Sherman/CdA.
  • 11:29 a.m. A Post Falls police search for a 7YO boy missing from the 900 block of  Warm Springs for 15 minutes ended quickly when the boy was found asleep inside a neighbor's house.
  • 11:28 a.m. A n/b pickup is passing on double-yellow and turn lanes on H95 @ M/P 465 (Dufort Road)
  • 10:54 a.m. A silver pickup is being driven at various speeds, swerving, and almost hit several vehicles e/b on I-90 @ 4th Street/CdA.
  • 9:59 a.m. Caller reports 2 men are drinking, smoking, and littering @ 1515 Front/CdA.
  • 9:31 a.m. Driver reports a motorcyclist is riding recklessly, passing b/n vehicles @ I-90 & NW Blvd.
  • 9:25 a.m. Someone is suffering an allergic reaction in 600 block of Stephanie/Post Falls.
  • 9:21 a.m. Someone has been injured in a fall at Lake Villa apartments on end of Sherman/CdA.\
  • 8:25 a.m. Raymond wants to see an officer re: neighbor's chickens regularly trespassing.

Making Waves

Don Sausser reports: “These interesting surface patterns occur frequently when volumes of water with differing in temperatures meet.” Don snapped the photo of the north shore, b/n the Coeur d'Alene Resort and City Beach, on Saturday.

Fuming R’s Oppose Adoption As Policy

“In the spat that's become the Idaho House, Democrats and Republicans are still going at each other in a style that befits siblings in the family car's backseat,” the AP reports today. “Thursday morning's hearing in the chamber's State Affairs Committee was another good example. Democratic Rep. Phylis King of Boise was pushing a resolution to promote adoption as a state policy. When her party mate Rep. Elfreda Higgins of Boise moved to send the measure to the House floor, however, Republicans refused — though most GOP lawmakers support promoting alternatives to possible abortions/Associated Press. More here.

Question: You be the school yard monitor. What would you do with the feuding legislators?

Catching The Wedding Bouquet

Canadian pop star Michael Buble, left watches his bride Argentine TV actress Luisana Lopilato toss her bouquet of purple orchids into a crowd of fans after their civil wedding ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday. They plan a full ceremony with 300 guests next month at a mansion outside Buenos Aires, followed by another wedding in Vancouver in April. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Question: Has anyone out there ever caught the bridal bouquet? Or garter thrown by the groom? Did you get married next?

Poll: 24% Worked For Hagadone

  • Wednesday Poll: Almost a quarter of Hucks Nation has worked for Duane Hagadone. 38 of 160 respondents (23.75%) said they have worked for one of Hagadone's various properties, including your Huckleberry Hound (Kalispell Daily Inter Lake, 1977-82). 122 of 160 (76.25%) haven't worked for him.
  • Spring Flowers: In a tight race involving 77 voters, 24 (31.17%) said tulips are their favorite spring flower; 20 (25.97%) said daffodils; 19 (24.68%) said crocuses; 9 (11.69%) said irises; 1 (1.3%) said primroses; and 4 (5.19%) voted for “other.”
  • Today's Poll: Do you agree with the decision by the budget committee to pay Idaho GOP $100,000 for attorney fees in closed-primary case?

Hammond Defends Field Burning

Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, debating in favor of HB 210, the right-to-farm expansion, recalled the field-burning smoke issue on the Rathdrum Prairie. “In fact, the same folks who were fussing about the smoke didn't realize the irony of getting rid of that smoke and getting rid of the agriculture actually resulted in more pollution,” when that land instead was developed, he said. “We don't grow crops any more, we just grow houses,” he said. “We have not the right to move in next to an agriculture operation and then complain of noise or smoke or dust. You want to live out in the country, it's a different lifestyle, you just need to live with it. But you have no right to take away somebody's way of life and the way that they make their living because you find it a nuisance”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.

Question: Would you rather have the field burning of old on the Rathdrum Prairie or the subdivisions that are rapidly replacing the grass-seed fields?

Economy Spurs Switch To Hat Making

Millions of people lost their jobs when the recession hit, and while banks and car manufacturers were bailed out, most people in the country were left to fend for themselves.Life in Pend Oreille County has always been a struggle. For the last century the economy has been tied to logging and mining, both industries decimated by the recession. Right now the unemployment rate is at 14 percent, whereas this time last year it was at 17.4-percent.Two of the individuals who are no longer in the unemployment column are Heather and Andy Holland. They were drywallers for more than decade. A year and a half ago the Holland’s drywall business dried up with the economy/Tori Brunetti, KXLY. More here.

Question: Have you changed job paths since the recession began?

WSU’s Thompson Considers NBA

Though no one is saying anything on the record, other than coach Ken Bone repeating this week he feels it’s 50-50 (Klay) Thompson and/or DeAngelo Casto will return, the consensus around the program is Thompson will announce sometime soon he will test the NBA draft waters. But, due to the uncertainty of the league’s labor situation – like the NFL, the NBA could be facing a lockout in the offseason – Thompson probably will not sign with an agent. That gives him between April 28 and the NCAA’s mandated May 8 deadline to workout with teams, judge his worth, evaluate the labor troubles and decide whether to stay or go/Vince Grippi, SR. More here. (SR file photo of Thompson, left, and Casto grabbing rebound against Northwestern)

Question: Should talented athletes like WSU's Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Thompson be required to play basketball until they're eligible to graduate from a college?

M’s Finalize Roster For Opening Day

In the waning days of spring, any summons into the manager's office is a heart-stopper. Hanging in the balance in the next few moments, depending on the words uttered, are exhilaration or agony. “My heart kind of dropped, but (Eric) Wedge had a big smile on his face,” said reliever Josh Lueke of his office call earlier this week. “I was like, 'Sweet.' ” Lueke was one of those Mariners bubble-dwellers who got the welcome news he had made the team. Wedge has been thrilled to deliver those messages to the likes of Lueke, Tom Wilhelmsen and Jamey Wright — but he dreads the flip-side/Larry Stone, Seattle Times. More here. (AP 2010 file photo, of Ichiro Suzuki sliding into home)

Question: Does anyone out there expect the Mariners to finish in any place other than the American League West basement this year?

House OKs Public Records Bill

A bill to tighten Idaho’s public records bill has passed the Idaho House and now heads to the Senate for consideration. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Gayle Batt, R-Wilder, cleared on a 67-0 vote. The bill would require that government entities providing records give requesters an itemized list of all charges that might be associated with requests, including labor and supplies.  It would also prevent governments from charging for the first 100 pages of requests or the first two hours of labor/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Are you satisfied that public records laws in Idaho are adequate?

AM: Nils Battles Squatter Turkeys

Coeur d'Alene resident Nils Rosdahl talks Wednesday about the turkeys that roost in the trees on his property. Some 80 to 100 turkeys have taken roost in the trees surrounding Rosdahl's property at the base of Canfield Mountain. He considers them a nuisance. More here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: How would you handle Nils' wild turkey problem?

Japanese N-Workers Willing To Die

Workers at the disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan say they expect to die from radiation sickness as a result of their efforts to bring the reactors under control, the mother of one of the men tells Fox News. The so-called Fukushima 50, the team of brave plant workers struggling to prevent a meltdown to four reactors critically damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, are being repeatedly exposed to dangerously high radioactive levels as they attempt to bring vital cooling systems back online. Speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker said: “My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation/Fox News. More here. (AP file photo, of damaged Unit 3 of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamachi)

Question: Do you think American nuclear energy workers would be willing to make the same sacrifice under similar conditions?

Doug Clark: KPBXXX Has Nice Ring

Spokane Public Radio employees were in a red-faced dither last week when a link to a sexually explicit website somehow turned up on the KPBX Facebook page. I’m sorry. But embarrassment and removing the link were the wrong reactions. The station should have been celebrating its good fortune. That’s right, celebrating. What some see as a scandal is what I call a “happy accident.” You know, the way a piece of moldy bread left in a lab gave way to today’s giant, greed-driven pharmaceutical corporations. What I’m saying is that this Internet link could lead to the end of public radio’s funding fears. Oh, I’ll just say it. Porn will put the profit into public radio/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: What do you make of Clark's suggestion that KPBX might benefit by embracing porn?

Edit: Women’s Sports Get Respect

March Madness is over for Gonzaga University – for 2011, at least. Even in defeat, however, the extraordinary women’s basketball team with the superlative point guard earned every speck of admiration a grateful community had to dish out. But there is more to ponder this week than the home team’s accomplishments, historic as they were. By extension, women’s sports programs in general can claim a share of public honor. It’s not quite 40 years since Title IX codified women’s equal opportunity in the athletic programs of the nation’s colleges and universities – at least those that rely in some part on government support. And how times have changed. The advances in skill and athleticism are conspicuous. Fan interest has soared/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here. (SR file photo)

Question: Has Title IX helped your family?

Heller: Ever Deeper Potholes

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Hump Day Wild Card — 3.30.11

In the end, the Cougs, Lady Zags, and men Zags all lost in blowouts to cap nice seasons. (I wonder if WSU Cougars got the number of that truck from Wichita that ran over them at Madison Square Garden last night. Unfortunately, postseason, one-and-done basketball is designed to break almost every fan's heart. But Inland Northwest sports fans should appreciate that our college teams brought us through the winter and to the eve of the Major League Baseball season. Now we can begin wringing our hands about the Seattle Mariners. With that happy thought, I'll post today's Wild Card …

P.S. Turkey Trot

“After trying to shoot a turkey picture early Wednesday morning (on Nils Rosdahl's property),” writes SR photographer Kathy Plonka in “Behind the Frame” blog, “I got frustrated and went back to the office. When I decided to give it another try I was greeted by these turkeys right near my car (on Milwaukie). Kind of funny and scary all at the same time.” (You can read the story involving Nils here.) Also: This is probably the same batch of gobblers snapped by Dan Gookin in Fortgrounds today. Kathy told Huckleberries that the birds crossed Northwest Boulevard into Fortgrounds later.

Paris Hilton: ‘Nothing Like Me’

Paris Hilton, the woman who perfected the art of being famous for being famous, says she has met all of her professional goals. The heiress-turned-TV star, who was in Mexico on Tuesday to promote a new line of shoes, says she doesn't fear being overshadowed by Kim Kardashian or any other reality show rival with her own fragrance, B-movies, sex tape and autobiography, all by age 30. “There's so many people out there who try to imitate what I do but I am the original,” Hilton said in an interview with The Associated Press. “There is nothing like me”/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo of Paris Hilton)

Question: What would you consider your greatest accomplishment before age 30?

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.30.11

  • 5:21 p.m. Someone has been hurt in a fall at water park in Triple Play, on E. Orchard/Hayden.
  • 5:18 p.m. Taj quick stop, @ 1003 15th Street/CdA, reports problems with juveniles at store.
  • 5:02 p.m. Coeur d'Alene officer reports trespassing a woman from Budget Saver on Sherman/CdA.
  • 4:36 p.m. A red passenger car hit a telephone pole at Park & Military/CdA & drove off on NW Blvd.
  • 4:28 p.m. Daniel, on Brigger/Post Falls, reports juveniles in area have been messing w/his property.
  • 4:25 p.m. Someone has been hurt in a fall in 2800 block of Masters/CdA.
  • 4:13 p.m. Caller reports that an e/b U-Haul truck is swerving on I-90 @ M/P 6 (near Spokane/PF).
  • 4:01 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 29-30 here.
  • More below

APhoto Of The Day — 3.30.11

Fans take photographs of  Rafael Nadal, of Spain, as he changes his shirt following his 6-3, 6-3 victory over Feliciano Lopez, of Spain, at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. While British girls get all cheeky, Richard Simmons excitedly takes pictures and is heard to exclaim “Go Raphael, Nadal men are as hot as you, big boy” — JohnA.
  • 2. Seconds later a crazed cougar with lust in her eyes launched over the perimeter, tackled Mr. Nadal and demanded he put on a fireman’s hat — Sisyphus.
  • 3. In an ironic about face, the women in the crowd stared, while the guys took the pictures. Cindy was not apparently present for the occasion — Herb.
  • HM: Rhodetrip

The Day I Stopped The Presses

James Brady, the press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, and his son Scott, right, visit the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room on the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan today. Huffington Post story here. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

DFO: I remember exactly what I did when I heard that someone had tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan 30 years ago today. I learned about the shooting a little after noon (Mountain Time), shortly after the presses of the Kalispell, Mont., Daily Inter Lake began to roll. I, as managing editor, immediately walked back to the press room — and for the first of only two times in my career ordered the presses to stop. We replated the front page with the news. And the presses began to roll a half hour later.

Question: Do you remember what you were doing when you learned of the assassination attempt against President Reagan?

Idaho Legislators ♥ Idaho Food

Some of you may think, as I do, that the 2011 Idaho Legislature was just wasting this session and all of its energy on ire elevating topics like education changes, guns in college, end of life decisions and so on. But that simply isn't true. Take Idaho Senate concurrent resolution #SCR103, for example. Puh-leez. Not only does the resolution encourage the “production, distribution, and consumption” of Idaho grown food in the state of Idaho, but it also declares Sept. 5 to be “The Day of Idaho Food” in this “The Year of Idaho Food.” Quoth the resolution: “ … every citizen of the state be encouraged to enjoy the products of our state's soils and waters and extend appreciation to our farmers, large and small, by eating at least one food that is grown in Idaho and learning the significance of that food to our families, communities and the state of Idaho, in celebration of our proud food and agricultural heritage.” Full text here. (AP file photo)

Question: Now a Legislature that likes farmers and Idaho food can't be all bad, right?

Remember The Roxy: Fred’s Diner

On his Remember the Roxy Facebook page, OrangeTV posts this 1950s photo of Fred's Diner and challenges readers to identify the building today. Be my guest …

Clerk’s Office Touts More Changes

“Customer service improvements continue in the County Clerk’s office.  Training on the roles & responsibilities associated with election consolidation has been delivered to 20 representatives from taxing districts, in preparation for May 17 elections of commissioners and trustees for fire, highway, library & school districts. Representatives from five title companies met with Clerk Cliff Hayes and staff in the Recorder’s department to share their ideas for better service.  (The Recorder’s office is now open Saturdays 9AM to 2PM to handle marriage licenses, passport applications and to allow for research.  No real estate recordings are done on Saturdays.)”/County Clerk's Office news release. More here.

Question: What do you think of the changes being made at the Kootenai County Clerk's Office?

Scanner Traffic, Palouse Style

On Twitter, Kelsey Husky of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (which was called the Idahonian back in the day) reports something she heard on the scanner about an hour ago: “A male has a female tied to a tree with climbing rope in a rural area SW of Moscow. Both said it was consensual.” Later, according to Kelsey, the responding officer clarified that both parties were, in fact, fully clothed.

Question: Can anyone provide possible context?

Task Force Rips Stossel Comments

Tony Stewart, of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, sent the following letter to Fox News President Roger Ailes re: reporter John Stossel's comments about American Indians: “It is with deep disappointment and sadness that we viewed the Fox and Friends commentary featuring John Stossel regarding his biased and hurtful comments regarding Native Americans. Mr. Stossel’s failure to understand and appreciate the tragic history suffered by the truly first Americans, the American Indians, demonstrates a lack of knowledge or support to remedy the wrongs of the past. We suggest that Mr. Stossel inform himself regarding the millions of acres taken from the American Indians, the U.S. military forcibly removing Indians from those lands, and the slaughtering of the men, women and children of the tribes.” (AP file photo, of John Stossel)

Legislative Showdown Continues

It's an Idaho Statehouse showdown: Despite spending practically the entire morning House session reading one bill, House Speaker Lawerence Denney says he's still not inclined to allow hearings on two bills that minority Democrats want heard, a cigarette tax hike and an advisory vote on school reform. “I don't think I'd say 'under no circumstances,' but I don't see any value right now,” Denney said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. Also: Rusche: 'A perversion of the process'

Question: What do you think of Idaho Dems trying to get a hearing for 2 bills important to them by forcing a full reading of bills, as the Legislature moves toward adjournment?

Bloomin’ In The Rain

This Harmony Dwarf Iris was blooming through the morning rain in Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday. Area rain will continue until Friday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Carlson: Strategizing Against Luna

There is a path out of the wilderness of despair surrounding the deplorable state of Idaho’s public school education and higher education. The pieces are falling into place; the ingredients are at hand. The recipe includes the state’s teachers, many of whom have been passive observers as Republican governors and legislators have gutted public education during the last couple of sessions; the parents, finally being stirred from their lethargy as they realize Idaho’s support per pupil is the lowest in the nation; and test scores showing our children falling further behind. Additionally, businesses are stumbling to the realization that the educated workforce required to be competitive in a world-wide market place is not coming from our woefully underfunded system/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question: On a scale of 1 (deplorable) to 10 (superb), how would you rate public education in Idaho?

Idaho Newspapers Form 1 Association

After more than two decades of separation, Idaho’s daily and weekly newspapers have formed the Newspaper Association of Idaho with 39 charter members from all corners of the state. Officers for the new association were elected Friday, March 25. They are: Roger Plothow, Idaho Falls Post Register, president and treasurer; Nathan Alford, Lewiston Tribune and Moscow-Pullman Daily News, vice president; Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette-Record, secretary. Other board members are: Andy McNab, Idaho County Free Press; Mi-Ai Parrish, Idaho Statesman; and Brett Crompton, Power County Press and Aberdeen Times/St. Maries Gazette-Record. More here.

Question: Do Idaho newspapers have more/less clout today than they did a decade ago?

High Noon: Embarrassing Your Kids

A post by Super Sub Cindy on her Facebook wall brought back memories. She writes: “Though, I miss him tons. My Dad was NOT perfect. For instance, when I was in college I landed the role of Madge in Picnic. Dad came to opening night. During the highly emotional farewell scene Madge and Hal share a passionate kiss. The full house was silent until Dad said loudly, 'Well that's just about enough of that!'” My daughter's first kiss happened on stage when she played “Titania,” queen of the fairies, in the Lake City High production of “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” and had to plant one on Oberon, king of the fairies. I saw the play several times — and never liked that part.

Question: Have you ever embarrassed one of your children in a public setting?

INW: Radio Shack: No Free Guns

Steve Strand, who has owned the Radio Shack in Hamilton, Mont., for seven years, poses in front of his store Tuesday. Strand said he is going to fight any effort to stop his sales promotion that allows customers with a clean record to get a free gun when they sign up for new Dish Network service. Radio Shack has ordered Strand to stop the free-gun promotion. Missoulian story here. (AP Photo/Ravalli Republic, David Erickson)

Question: What do you make of Steve Strand's promotion that provides a free gun to customers who sign up for new Dish Network service?

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.30.11

  • 11:59 a.m. Spokane deputies want Coeur d'Alene tribal police to check on horses that are running loose along H58 & M/P 1-2 (Rock Creek Bridge).
  • 11:17 a.m. A parked, black-and-white car has blocked view @ Miles & Camp/Hayden for 2 weeks.
  • 11:09 a.m. Lewiston police are searching for 2 men in a white '92 Cadillac with Washington plates who are suspects in a shooting early this morning. They're considered armed and dangerous. More here.
  • 10:59 a.m. Leon reports a dispute with a contractor in 12000 block of N. Church/Rathdrum.
  • 10:45 a.m. Caller reports graffiti in parking lot behind Dollar Store, 406 W. Neider/CdA.
  • 10:14 a.m. EMTs are responding to unknown medical emergency @ 2309 Wolf Lodge Creek Road.
  • 10:05 a.m. 2 Post Falls officers are responding to woman's report that neighbor wants to beat her up.
  • 9:28 a.m. Two Lakes Motel manager reports looking through window and seeing an unconscious man in a room that has been trashed.
  • 9:20 a.m. Construction foreman asks ITD to turn on highway sign on I-90 @ M/P 11 (H95) to warn motorists to pull over into left lane to avoid road work.
  • 8:05 a.m. Transportation Department crew responding to 4th of July Pass (I-90 & M/P 31), where giant rock has fallen onto road.

Wild Turkeys Visit Fortgrounds

Dan Gookin snapped these 10 good-sized wild turkeys wandering through the Fortgrounds this morning. Emails Dan: “The cat was going nuts, but they were big birds. I remember seeing turkeys a lot when I lived in the county. The birds were headed to the Fort Grounds Grille, obviously looking to make lunch … ”

Idaho R’s Claim Spoils Of Victory

When a public entity loses in court, it’s not uncommon for the victorious private entity to collect reimbursement for legal fees. That’s only fair. And it has populist appeal — the aggrieved underdog taking a bite out of the deep-pocketed bad guys from the government. But when the aggrieved party is the Idaho Republican Party, well, this has a certain they’ve-got-to-be-kidding feel to it. On Monday, Republicans on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee recommended siphoning $100,000 from a cash-challenged state budget to reimburse legal fees for the Republicans’ successful lawsuit challenging open primaries. If you fall into the they’ve-got-to-be-kidding camp, you will take little comfort in the claim that the GOP’s is only seeking a portion of its $143,900 in legal fees. What a bargain. I know $100,000 is a nice round number. The same can be said for zero/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you belong to the “you've-got-to-be-kidding-me” camp when it comes to the Idaho Republican Party seeking to be reimbursed for primary lawsuit?

Dems Bring Legislature To Standstill

Action in the Idaho House has come to a standstill, as House Democrats made good on their threat yesterday to use whatever means they have available to slow down the session in protest until majority Republicans allow hearings on two bills the Democrats want heard: A $1.25 per pack increase in the cigarette tax, and a measure calling for an advisory vote of the people on state schools Supt. Tom Luna's school reform package. House Assistant Minority Leader Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, said, “It is an outrage that the Legislature refuses to listen to the people. The people of Idaho have clearly voiced their support for a tobacco tax increase and their unrelenting opposition to the education bills. We are prepared to fight to get these bills heard”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Would you like to see an advisory vote on Tom Luna's public education “reform” placed on the ballot?

Tribe: Stossel Keeps Up Stereotypes

Marc Stewart, Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe spokesman (re: “Coeur d'Alene Tribe demands Stossel apology”): The argument that treaties and executive orders happened “so long ago” and there for should be forgotten or that the Indians should just “get over it” and be “assimilated” is sadly part of the national political dialogue. It’s paramount to remember that Native Americans were recognized as United States Citizens in 1924. Indians weren’t allowed to vote in Idaho until 1950, others states didn’t allow Indians to vote until 1965. If you put that into context of Native Americans giving up their lives to defend America in wars, you can understand why Indians take offense at those who seek to marginalize them by using loaded words like “handouts” and “lazy” and “freeloaders.”

Question: Do you understand the culture and sovereignty status of American Indians?

Poll: Pullman Cops Too Aggressive

  • Tuesday Poll: 69 of 125 respondents (55.2%) said that Pullman police are too aggressive in making misdemeanor arrests for marijuana possession. 45 of 125 (36%) said they aren't overly aggressive. 11 respondents (8.8%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Have you ever worked for a company owned by Duane Hagadone?

‘11 Legislature Spreads Misery Around

I've been thinking about the groups that the Idaho Legislature has offended this year by walking in lock step behind Gov. Butch Otter, Superintendent Tom Luna, and Far Right ideologues. They've ticked off teachers and public education supporters enough to prompt a possible referendum petition in response to Luna's education reform that takes money for teachers salaries to put a computer-in-every-freshman backpack. They've angered AARP with their end-of-life 'conscience' bill that allows a physician rather than a dying patient make the call on health care. They miffed the poor and disabled by slashing the state Medicaid budget (while increasing dollars for the prison system). The Idaho House amazed a lot of parents with college students by passing the guns-on-campus bill. Fiscal conservatives have to wonder about unconstitutional attempts to pass health care nullification, which will only cost the state money fighting a fruitless cause. The dominant right wing of the Idaho Republican Party thumbed its collective nose at Independents by pushing successfully for closed primaries. Which will mean that the flood of ever-more-conservative politicians will crowd out moderate Republican legislators. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is upset that the Legislature refused to force Benewah County to embrace cross deputizaiton. All that remains now is to see whether voters remember the steady drumbeat of over-the-top 2011 legislative at the polls in 2012 — DFO.

Question: Which 2011 bill has angered you most?

Cindy: April Fool’s Day Is Every Day

Cindy's boys apparently were test-driving some April Fool's pranks this week. She's shown documenting the “old rubber hand” gag coming out of a bathroom cabinet. Posts Cindy: “Whoopie cushions and the fake vomit are sure to follow. Honestly, when you live with boys every day is April Fools”

Question: Can you recall the best April Fool's prank that you pulled or that was pulled on you?

Panel OKs 20-Week Limit On Abortion

The House State Affairs Committee has voted along party lines to pass SB 1165, the 20-week abortion ban, sending it to the House with a recommendation that it “do pass.” Rep. Carlos Bilbao, R-Emmett, said, “Anyone, anyone who denies the existence of life at the beginning is wrong in mind. And when it comes to a standard that the courts say, my standard is life, my standard is what God gave me to make a right choice, and I'll make the right choice today”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: According to a tweet from S.L. Fisher (who was listening to State Affairs discussion), lawsuits filed against unconstitutional anti-abortion legislation has cost Idaho $4.1M. Should Idaho pass legislation simply to make a statement re: its stand on abortion?

Vestal: Bullying Launches Gay Project

These days, (Terry Miller, left) – along with his famous partner, the writer Dan Savage (right) – is trying to give gay and lesbian kids a more reassuring message: It gets better. You’ve probably heard of the It Gets Better project, which started in September with a video that Miller and Savage made and exploded into a project with 10,000 videos, including one from President Barack Obama, and now a book. The idea is to show kids who may have no support or positive vision of a future that there can be a joyful light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a powerful and moving vision, a landmark in the effort to move beyond our inability to move beyond this. In an interview at Kirkus Reviews, Savage – a well-known sex columnist and activist – said that Miller’s story was key to making the first video. Since then, he has reviewed and edited videos and helped edit the book/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever seen someone bullied because she or he was gay?

Trillhaase: GOP Moderates Surrender

Anyone who's seen the picture of General Douglas MacArthur lording over the defeated Japanese on the deck of the USS Missouri at the close of World War II can appreciate the plight of Idaho's moderate Republicans. The moderates are the guys seated at the table, signing surrender terms. The terms may be generous in the short term. The long term, however, beckons the slow but certain strangulation of the pragmatic, centrist-oriented wing of Idaho's dominant political party. Already under siege from the ideological faction that gave you bills to nullify the U.S. Constitution and put a gun in every college student's hand, Idaho's moderate Republicans lost the war earlier this month. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said the party apparatchiks could close the state's GOP primary to all but card-carrying Republican voters/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Are there any moderate GOP legislators remaining in North Idaho?

Closed Primaries Upset Independents

Update: Closed primary/party registration plan passes Sen. State Affairs on party-line vote, with Dems opposing — Idaho Reporter Twitter.

Gary Allen, attorney for a group of independent voters, told the Senate State Affairs Committee, “I'm here on my 50th birthday, and I can't think of any better way to spend it than talking about democracy.” He said he and his clients disagree with the federal court ruling overturning Idaho's current system, and are appealing it. Independents don't want to publicly declare affiliation with one party or another, he said. “In our view, this is an unnecessary intrusion on voters' privacy,” Allen said. “Frankly, our clients do not want to do this, and we've seen no evidence that other independents in Idaho want to do this either. At a time when Republican Party identification in Idaho is falling like a stone … I would not think that the Republican Party would want to poke independent voters in the eye”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you consider yourself a truly Independent voter who doesn't want to be affiliated with either major political party?

AM: Casino Upgrade To Open In May

This is an artist's sketch of plans for the new steakhouse at the Coeur d'Alene Casino, which is set to open in May. Lori Hutson SR story here. (Courtesy of the Coeur d'Alene Casino)

Kootenai Healthy, Shoshone Not

A study out of the University of Wisconsin that ranks Idaho’s counties according to factors that determine health shows that Kootenai County residents live long and prosper compared to much of the state and, in particular, to residents of Shoshone County. Shoshone County ranked second to last in the state for how long its residents live and how good they feel. It ranked last for factors that affect overall health, such as smoking, drinking, obesity, sexually transmitted diseases and the number of children living in poverty. The report, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ranks health environments for nearly every county in the nation/Cynthia Taggart, Panhandle Health District. More here. And: Coeur d'Alene Press story here.

DFO: Latah County ranks No. 2 in state; Ada, No. 5; Kootenai No. 7; Bonner, No. 12; and Shoshone No. 41 (of 42). View rankings of all Idaho counties here.

Question: Do you live a healthy lifestyle?

Sam: We’re Bound By Our Treaties

Sam: It seems to me that arguments about what Native American tribes receive from the government comes down to jealousy or racism. There seems to be a group of white Americans who just can’t for the life of them fathom having to simply say “we did something bad” because it happened a long time ago, they don’t want to take blame. Yet those same people spout off about our “Founding Fathers” and the way they would have done it. You can’t start trying to cite the founding fathers and then say we should wipe our hands of everything they did back then, it’s absolutely hypocritical.

Question: Should this country be bound by treaties made with American Indians so long ago?

Jimmy: Hagadone Gig Helped Me

J-Mac: I worked for Duane. I knew how much I was going to be paid and had the opportunity to take it or leave it. That’s the thing people … no one is holding a gun to anyone’s head to do any job or work for anyone. What a bunch of cry babies. It gave me the ability to build up a great network of friends and associates, many of which are integral to my business today. I have yet to see anyone prove to me where the Resort’s pay is so far off from any other hospitality gigs, particularly when comparing like markets. Do you think the owner’s of Four Season’s, Hilton, Mandarin Oriental, Fairmont are not filthy rich people as well? My tips while working for Duane did me just fine. No school loans to prove it.

Question: Have you ever worked in one of Duane Hagadone's various enterprises? Did you prosper?

Wild Card/Tuesday — 3.29.11

You could have made a bundle of money if you'd bet that Washington State would be the last Inland Northwest team playing basketball this spring. The Cougs have taken us all the way to the Major League Baseball season that begins Thursday, doobies and all. Can't ask much more of a team than that — other than to suggest that DeAngelo Casto put some curtains on his window. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 3.29.11

At the Lillie Belle Photography Facebook page, photographer Lillie Neff spotted this old dock along the Coeur d'Alene Beach. You can see more of Lillie's work here.

Marianne: Time To Give Dog A Bath

It's supposed to be in the 50s-plus tomorrow through Friday, so some of my animals around here–-stinky dogs and itchy horses–are gonna get some baths in that warm weather.  When stinky dogs stink at least 50 feet away, it's time to do something.  Even if they roll in the mud afterward, the basic skin will be clean for a while.  And, maybe they won't stink. I'm thinking Lefty, my itchy horse, could use a medicated bath for his sensitive hide/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.

Question: When do you know that it's time to give your dog a bath?

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.29.11

  • 5:21 p.m. Caller reports another driver tossed pen from white Olds, hitting his car @ H95 & Hayden.
  • 4:43 p.m. Jifi Stop Exxon @ 2501 N. 4th/CdA wants to see an officer re: shoplifting.
  • 4:25 p.m. Hail reportedly has caused a driver to slide off H95 @ M/P 395 (Johnson) & hit a tree.
  • 4:02 p.m. Idaho Liquor Store employee reports unwanted person @ Government & Appleway.
  • 4:01 p.m. Owner of cell phone found by NIC janitor @ library is en route to pick it up.
  • More below

PM: EWU Introduces New Cage Coach

Jim Hayford is introduced as the new EWU Head Basketball Coach during a press conference at the Spokane Club in downtown Spokane, Wash. Tuesday March 29, 2011. The former Whitworth University coach has won nearly 80% of his games over 10 season at Whitworth. Story here. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

APhoto Of The Day — 3.29.11

One seagull attempts to eat a starfish as another gull looks on the docks at Granville Island in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Wednesday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

Top Cutlines

  • 1. Kevin Taylor rendition of “Swinging on a Star”
  • 2. I don’t care what you saw next to the starfish, buddy, I’m not eating a sponge — Dan Gookin.
  • 3. Thats a starfish, not Starkist! — Charlie.]
  • HM: CoeurGenX

Only 1 Urban Renewal Bill Still Alive

Idaho lawmakers considered 10 different pieces of reforms to urban renewal agencies this year, but so far just one plan that passed the Senate Tuesday has a chance to become law if signed by the governor and if changes are approved by the House. The legislation puts some additional limits and transparency requirements on urban renewal planning, though some plans left on the table went further. … The legislation approved by the Senate mostly adds limits to new URAs, not existing agencies. They would have a 20-year lifespan for issuing bonds on collected tax dollars. It also limits districts to expanding in size just once, with the new land being connected to the rest of the district and no more than a 10 percent size increase/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Are you surprised only one piece of anti-urban renewal agency legislation appears to have survived the legislative process?

Senate OKs ‘Conscience’ Law 21-13

The Senate has voted 21-13 in favor of HB 187, the “narrow fix” to Idaho's “conscience” law to address living wills. The conscience law allows any health care provider to refuse to provide any type of treatment that violates the provider's conscience, if it has to do with abortion, emergency contraception, stem-cell research or end-of-life care. Seniors throughout the state and the AARP have raised strong objections to the inclusion of “end of life care” in that bill, saying it interferes with patients' legal rights to state in a living will what type of care they want to receive, and not receive, as they're dying. HB 187 says physicians must follow the living will law, but doesn't mention other health care providers/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: What do you make of the Idaho Legislature ignoring the wishes of AARP and many Idaho seniors re: end-of-life care?

CdA Tribe Demands Stossel Apology

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe is demanding Fox News employee John Stossel apologize for his on-air remarks regarding Native Americans and why the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs exists. Coeur d’Alene Tribe Chairman Chief Allan sent a letter to Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes that addresses Stossel’s ignorant and insensitive comments he made during a March 24 broadcast on Fox and Friends/Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe news release. Read Chairman Allan's letter here.

Question: Should John Stossel of Fox News apologize to the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe and other Native Americans for his comments about them?

Golfer Loses $2665 In Clubs, Bag

A Coeur d'Alene Public Golf Course player learned a lesson about leaving his clubs lying around where someone could walk off with them. Dale Foss, 59, of Coeur d'Alene, lost $2665 worth of clubs, including a $400 driver and bag full of irons when he left them near the front door of the course clubhouse for about 2 hours after a round of golf. He left the bag at 2:30 p.m. Saturday while he practiced at the shooting range and putting green. At 4:20 p.m., he looked for the bag of clubs because he was concerned that they might get wet in the rain. He told police he had no idea who might have taken them.

Question: Has someone ever stolen sporting equipment from you?

Robb Report: Ultimate Home

Although the Robb Report doesn't name names of the individuals who own the “Ultimate 2009 Home,” it isn't too hard for North Idahoans to guess who they might be. The home occupies 32,000 square feet on a hilltop site above Palm Desert, Calif. And the owners are described as “a couple in their 70s who divide their time between Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and California's Coachella Valley.” The husband told the reporter that he wanted to so blend the mega-home into the desert hilltop that he would have to point it out to his friends while golfing below. You can view the 20-page article, complete with photos and details of Duane & Lola's southern California getaway here. And: spring 2008 report on Hagadone's Casco Bay digs here

Idaho-Bred Cartoonist Has New Book

Twin Falls-bred cartoonist Brian Crane, creator of the Pickles comic strip that appears in 700 newspapers including the Times-News, has a new book out, writes Steve Crump of the Twin Falls Times-News. It’s the fifth compilation of cartoons from the 20-year-old strip, called How Come I Always Get Blamed for the Things I Do? (Baobab Press, $13.95). The title, of course, comes from a lament by long-suffering seasoned citizen Earl Pickles. More here.

Question: Which current comic strip is your favorite?

Study: Pain, Heartache Tied Together

Like a jab in the arm with a red-hot poker, social rejection hurts. Literally. A new study finds that our brains make little distinction between the sting of being rebuffed by peers — or by a lover, boss or family member — and the physical pain that arises from disease or injury. The new findings are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers from the University of Michigan, Columbia University and the University of Colorado put 40 individuals who were brokenhearted by a recent breakup into a brain scanner and watched as each dumpee gazed upon a photo of his or her dumper and pondered the hurt he or she felt at having been spurned/Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times. More here. (SR file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Have you ever suffered a broken heart?

Wal-Mart Sex Bias Suit Important

On Tuesday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, the largest employment discrimination class-action suit in American history. In 2001, Betty Dukes sued Wal-Mart for sex discrimination in a lawsuit filed on behalf of every woman who worked for the company since 1998—roughly 1.5 million women. The only question now before the court is “class certification”: whether it makes sense for all 1.5 million women to sue together as a group. But even though the legal issue is a narrow one, Dukes v. Wal-Mart may be the most important case the court will decide this term. At stake is the continuing viability of one of the most important means of enforcing laws against discrimination/Richard Thompson Ford, Slate. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Is wage discrimination against women becoming a thing of the past? Or do we still have a long way to go in this country before the wage scales are balanced?

INW: Vandersloot Wins Honors

Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga comes off the floor for the last time to a standing ovation and hugs from her teammates. Gonzaga lost to Stanford on Monday 83-60 to end their run in the NCAA Tournament at the Elite Eight. Vandersloot has been named to the AP All-America second team for college women's basketball here. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

High Noon: Will Burp ABCs For Work

In the bi-weekly Off The Cuff column in the UIdaho Argonaut, Copy Desk Chief Kelli Hadley writes: “Someone please hire me in May. I work really well on very few hours of sleep, and sometimes people tell me I’m smart. Also, I can burp the ABCs. Not many people can do that.” More here.

Question: Do you have an unusual quality, like burping the ABCs, that would empress a job recruiter?

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.29.11

  • 11:57 a.m. Driver reports a piece of material flew from semi & trailer, hitting his vehicle & causing hood to pop off on w/b H53 @ M/P 2.5 (Hollister Drive).
  • 11:51 a.m. Tubbs Hill hiker reports finding quantity of beer cans, a broken necklace, & a Rewards card.
  • 11:31 a.m. An angry, combative man is making suicide threats @ Dirne Clinic on Lincoln Way/CdA.
  • 11:29 a.m. ISP Report: 2 young women & 61YO Coeur d'Alene driver hurt when 16YO Rathdrum driver allegedly runs stoplight and hits another vehicle @ H41 & Hayden Monday PM here.
  • 11:22 a.m. A two-vehicle crash is partially blocking Northwest Boulevard & H95/CdA.
  • 11:12 a.m. Caller reports a woman in blue van n/b in s/b lanes of H95 & Kathleen/CdA.
  • 10:41 a.m. A pedestrian was slightly injured when he was brushed by a vehicle near Duncan's Pet Shop on Government Way/CdA.
  • 9:59 a.m. A woman in pajama bottoms appears to be drunk as she walks n/b @ Meyer & Boekel.
  • 9:57 a.m. Caller from Hidden Valley/Rathdrum reports capturing a loose horse.
  • 9:22 a.m. Unattended death reported in 2800 block of W. Rosebud/CdA.
  • 8:54 a.m. Super 1 Foods/Hayden reports catching an uncooperative shoplifter.
  • 8:51 a.m. Caller reports woman who's all wet from either walking in rain or falling in Twin Lakes is suffering psychological problems in 24000 block of Teal Way.
  • 8:12 a.m. Caller reports an unconscious person in 2200 block of W. Caroline Drive/Rathdrum.

AP All-America List w/o Vandersloot

The 2010-11 AP Women's All-America college basketball team consists of, from left, Texas A&M's Danielle Adams, Stanford's Jeanette Pohlen, Ohio State's Jantel Lavender, Connecticut's Maya Moore and Baylor's Brittney Griner. Story here. (AP Photo/File)

Question: Why do you suppose Courtney Vandersloot isn't on the list, in the place of Stanford's Jeanette Pohlen?

Butterfly: 10 Things RE: Potty Training

  • 1. I've done it three times.
  • 2. Each time was very different.
  • 3. It's not easy or fun.
  • 4. It's the first thing parents have to actually teach their children. Eating, rolling, crawling, walking, talking all seem to come naturally. Pottying in the potty? Not so much.
  • 5. M-n-Ms are as valuable as gold. As are stickers with Jules. And the promise of Chuck E. Cheese's.
  • More from A Butterfly Moment here

Question: Who handled the potty training in your family?

Porn Site Hacks KPBX Facebook Page

Spokane Public Radio station KPBX last week discovered that its Facebook page had attracted the wrong kind of friend. In the middle of its spring pledge drive, station staff on Friday spent several hours scrambling to remove a Facebook link to a sexually explicit website using the name “Spokane public radio.” The link to the porn site included a thumbnail-size image of a couple engaged in sexual activity. That link and photo appeared as the second result if someone searched on Facebook for “Spokane Public Radio.” KPBX board Chairman J. Scott Miller may have been one of the first to see the offending material, around 9 a.m. on Friday. Unable to find a customer service number for Facebook, Miller  called station managers and asked them to remove the link, which apparently went to a New Zealand site/Tom Sowa, SR. More here.

Question: Was KPBX helped or hurt by the porn site hack job?

North Shore By Flashlight

“So,” posts Linda Lantzy/Idaho Scenic Images, “I went back (Sunday night), with a working flashlight and allowed myself more time. I like this much better, but if I'd have used the flashlight to do some light painting on those rocks during the two minute exposure, it could have been better. Sigh …”

Idaho Dems Rip $100K Suit Payment

Democratic Party leaders are unhappy with legislative budget writers' decision this week to pay the state Republican Party $100,000 for attorney fees after the state lost a GOP-led lawsuit in federal court over Idaho's open primary. In early March, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill ruled that Idaho's 38-year-old open primary was unconstitutional. Republicans brought the lawsuit, arguing that allowing voters to choose from the parties' ballots was causing crossover voting, resulting in GOP candidates who didn't really follow Republican principles/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Should legislative Republicans have approved a $100,000 reimbursement to the Idaho GOP for its lawsuit that overturned the state's long-standing open primary?

Hucks Poll: Most To Sign Up Repub

  • Monday Poll: Predictably, a plurality of Hucks Nation will register as Republicans if forced to do so in the 2012 spring primaries. 82 of 175 respondents (46.86%) said they'd register as Republicans, if the Idaho Legislature, as expected, changes the law to require registration. 44 of 175 (25.14%) will register as Democrats. 32 of 175 (18.29%) said they'd remain Independents and not vote (unless they're allowed to do so without joining one of the parties). 17 of 175 (9.71%) aren't sure what they will do.
  • Today's Poll: Are Pullman police too aggressive in making misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests?

Pullman Drug Arrests Unusually High

Item: Pot arrests disproportionately high in Pullman/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR

More Info: Last year, Pullman police arrested 104 people for misdemeanor marijuana possession; the city’s population is about 29,800. In Spokane, a city of 208,916 people, 221 were arrested on the same charge. According to the 2000 census, 50 percent of Pullman’s population is 18-24 years old, while only 11 percent of Spokane’s fell into that age group, despite the presence of a handful of colleges and universities.

Question: Is the Pullman Police Department too aggressive in arrested people for misdemeanor marijuana possession?

Dynamic Hucks Duo?

Sometimes, I wonder how readers view the Huckleberry Hound and Super Sub Cindy. Now I no longer do so. On her Facebook wall, Trish Gannon of the River Journal provided the answer. Ah, I think I'm on the left and Cindy's on the right.

Opinion: Don’t Blame God For Tsunami

The tragedies of the earthquake in Japan March 11 were, to most people, unimaginable. Yet with images of the disaster flooding in, disbelief was able to turn into compassion, and compassion into action. Simultaneously, Russian Orthodox priest Alexandr Shumsky published an article title “The end of the Japanese Miracle” March 14. In this, he wrote the earthquake and tsunami were God’s way of punishing Japan for offending Russia because some protesters had recently burned Russian flags and destroyed portraits of Russian president Dmitry Medvedev/Bethany Breeze, UIdaho Argonaut. More here.

Question: Is God to blame for widespread human tragedy like the devastation to Japan caused by earthquakes and tsunami?

Opinion: F’shame On WSU Cougars

Even if the search proves to be illegal, Casto's attorney, Tim Esser, admitted Pullman Police Department found a small amount of the illegal drug in Casto's apartment, and that should be a clear violation of team rules. When the report first came across, WSU coach Ken Bone suspended Casto for a game - just as he suspended Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson earlier in the season when they were cited for marijuana possession. Before the suspension was lifted the basketball/pot situation at WSU was already embarrassing. To have three players cited for misdemeanor drug possession in the span of two months doesn't say much about a program struggling to get back into the national picture. But to have one of those players reinstated on big-game day, that's deplorable/Sandra Kelly, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (AP file photo: DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson fight for a rebound against Northwestern)

Question: Have you followed the Cougars run to the NIT semi-finals? Or have you been turned off by the drug arrests involving starters Reggie Moore, Klay Thompson, and DeAngelo Casto?

Costello: Harwood Targets Suit Pests

Idaho Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, has introduced a bill that would require pestocrats seeking to block megaloads in court to post a bond that they would forfeit should they lose. The bond is big enough that they would have trouble raising it in the first place and would sting if they lost it. Up until now, only the plaintiffs has suffered any tangible harm from pestocrat lawsuits. This would level the playing field. In reality, this principle should be applied to all lawsuits, in which those initiating the lawsuit should bear some level of responsibility for wasting the court's time and peoples' money. Too many people look at the courts as a form of lottery, hoping that they will become the next person striking it rich after spilling hot coffee on themselves/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Should there be a bond required for filing most lawsuits, as Costello suggests?

AM Headlines — 3.29.11

Jimmy Cooper, 14, of Nampa, launches off a ramp while riding with a group of friends on Monday in Nampa. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Charlie Litchfield)

Labrador Questions Libya Action

After applauding President Barack Obama for “quite eloquently” explaining his reasons for intervening in Libya, Congressman Raúl R. Labrador said in a statement: “I wish he had communicated much earlier with Congress, as well as the American people. … Still, my concerns remain the same as before the President spoke.  What is our exit strategy?  What is the definition of ultimate success?  Most importantly, what is the real world limitation on these new guiding principles he has expressed?  As we witness new and more violent uprisings throughout the Arab world, what will prevent us from further engagements in the region?”

Question: Do you also have mixed emotions re: the reasons President Obama gave for intervening in Libya?

Brothers Get Probation In Hate Crime

Item: Judge: No prison for two Tankovich brothers: John Luster sentences men to two years of supervised probation/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Two Coeur d'Alene brothers, convicted of a hate crime in which they shouted racial slurs and maliciously harassed a Hispanic man in front of his home, likely won't have to serve any time in prison for the crime. First District Court Judge John Luster on Monday sentenced William M. Tankovich Jr., 50, and Frank J. Tankovich, 47, to two years of supervised probation. Luster suspended the brothers' five-year sentence, four years of which would have been fixed.

Question: Was the final result — two years of supervised probation — worth all the effort that the Prosecutor's Office put into this case?

Potential Jurors Bail On Cassia County

Not enough people are responding to jury summonses in Cassia County. That's left officials to consider different ways to expand their jury pools. Options include sending more a strongly worded summons and to use additional databases to collect potential juror lists. The Twin Falls Times-News reports the issue arose because the sheriff's office has had to deliver more summonses because people have failed to respond to the court's initial letter. Jury Commissioner Elizabeth Kenner says the court has been pulling 1,000 candidates every three months, and each time about 600 are disqualified/Associated Press. More here.

Question: When did you last serve on a jury?

Luna Again Defends Techology Plan

State schools Supt. Tom Luna told the House Education Committee this morning that the school budget set by JFAC yesterday shows the need for his reform bill, SB 1184. “Here we are facing a third year of funding cuts in our public schools,” he said. “It's clear this is the new normal in our economy. … we have to give our schools the tools they need to do more with less, and technology is the key to making that happen.” The bill shifts funds from teacher salaries to purchasing technology. The 24-page bill also makes a series of changes in how Idaho's schools are funded and brings in a new focus on online learning, while phasing in a plan to have one “mobile computing device” for every high school student in Idaho/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you looking forward to the day your children receive their new state-provided computers and begin to learn online?

Ramirez: March Madness

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

Gonzaga women vs. Stanford

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Top-seeded Stanford pulled away from 11th-seeded Gonzaga in the second half 83-60 in the Spokane Regional final Monday in front of 11,646 at the Arena, ending the most successful season in the Bulldogs’ history. Greg Lee's SR story here. And: ESPN boxscore here.

Wild Card/Monday — 3.28.11

I'm outtahere a little earlier this evening than usual, to catch the beginning of that Gonzaga-Stanford tipoff at the Spokane Arena on the boob tube. Wouldn't it be nice if there's another Virginia Commonwealth in the making on the women's side of the bracket? I'll post photos from out talented SR photographers + game story + ESPN boxscore, as it becomes available later this evening. Now to replay the Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 3.28.11

“As a photojournalist,” posts SR colleague Colin Mulvany, of Snaps & Frames, “I’m constantly presented with impossible lighting situations. Dark basketball gyms, dim living rooms, etc. I try, in most cases, to leave the strobe in my trunk. Adding artificial light, too me, takes the reality out of a documentary photograph.” More here.

Do Online Comments Bug You?

A doctor’s group is warning that teens who obsess over the online social network site, Facebook, may suffer from a specific type of depression. You can read the Associated Press story about it here. I assume it’s much worse for teens, but reading online nastiness can affect all of us. In my years working at the Tribune, I’ve been on the receiving end of quite a few nastygrams and anonymous phone calls and taking a dip into reading the comments on the Tribune’s online news stories can make me want to grab a jumbo can of disinfectant. What might have sent me into a tailspin in my teens makes me shrug and shake my head now/Jeanne DePaul, Virtual Deadlines. More here.

Question: Do online posts or comments bother you or are you pretty good at letting them slide?

Obama Defends US Action In Libya

Item: Obama strongly defends US military action in Libya/Ben Feller, Associated Press

More Info: Defending the first war launched on his watch, President Barack Obama declared Monday night the United States intervened in Libya to prevent a slaughter of civilians that would have stained the world's conscience and “been a betrayal of who we are.” Yet he ruled out targeting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, warning that trying to oust him militarily would be a costly mistake. Obama announced that NATO would take command over the entire Libya operation on Wednesday, keeping his pledge to get the U.S. out of the lead but offering no estimate on when the conflict might end. (AP photo)

Question: Sorry, but I think Obama's intervention in Libya is over-the-top when we're still involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. And we're bleeding revenue. Anyone disagree with me?

PM: WSU Prepares For Wichita State

Men's college basketball coaches Gregg Marshall, left, of Wichita State, and Ken Bone, of Washington State, talk during a news conference for the NIT Championships in New York earlier today. Washington State will play Wichita State in one semi-final game Tuesday to earn the right to face the winner of the Alabama-Colorado game in the NIT finals. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

APhoto Of The Day — 3.28.11

A Twin Falls Firefighter walks past a large industrial crane that tipped over Thursday at the new St. Luke's hospital construction site in Twin Falls. The crane tipped while hanging a building-mounted sign on the north side of the new St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center . You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Times-News, Ashley Smith)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Dick Harwood was so excited about megaloads he decided to to move a Twin Falls hospital building to St. Maries. Unfortunately, Dick forgot that he failed high school physics and things went horribly wrong — Joker.
  • 2. Watch out, the right front break grabs! — Charlie.
  • 3. This is what happens when you don’t tip the valet — CoeurGenX.
  • HM: Cabbage Boy

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.28.11

  • 5:11 p.m. Caller reports a suspicious vehicle can be found @ 115 Anton/CdA.
  • 5:01 p.m. 14YO Harrison girl who almost overdosed this AM being brought for psychological exam.
  • 4:40 p.m. Caller, from Dollar Tree, reports 2 males in baggy pants tried to take his bike, hitting him w/handlebars in the proces. The two turned on Gem Stone from Cecil/Post Falls.
  • 4:37 p.m. Caller reports finding a 3YO boy in fleece jacket walking alone @ 18th & Idaho/Post Falls.
  • Much more below

Quotable Quote — Dean Cameron

“I wonder how laptops will accomplish this important attribute of a teacher,” posts state Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, (co-chairman of the budget committee) on his Facebook wall after this quote from Dan Rather: “The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth.'”

Slight Detour: Birthday Runs

Three birthdays on Facebook today and one later at lunch.  Thus, begins the string of days when it seems to be all things birthday with family and close friends. I'm sure every family has the same story.  So and so, so and so and so and so, all born the same week. My brother's birthday is tomorrow.   I discovered this morning, one more family member's birthday is today, and he's a cousin in Chicago.  That reminds me that my cousin in Northern California has a birthday Wednesday. The next day is my dear friend and former student Chad's, then Willie's, then Bill's, then a break, then my sister, then,  the triplets and then remembering my dad/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.

Question: The birthday run for my family happens in the 3rd week of January, when three brothers-in-law, my wife, my daughter, my brother, a niece, and probably other relatives celebrate. Do you have a birthday run in your family? Also, do you like/dislike the birthday reminder feature on Facebook?

NIdaho Blogs — 3.28.11

“In the market place in front of the Herborn, Germany Mayorhouse a new distance sign featuring Post Falls has been added,” posts Kerri Thoreson/More Main Street. “Herborn is Post Falls' Associate City and the birthplace of town founder Frederick Post. Erwin and Kathi Gabriel of Herborn shared this photograph.”

Hucks Online numbers (for week of March 20-26): 46,379 page-views/28,404 unique views

Finish This Sentence …

On the Lewiston Tribune Facebook wall, the poster offers 2 suggestions to fill out the sentence 'It's annoying when …

  • You're reading a magazine and all those annoying subscription cards keep falling out.
  • Someone says, “well, to make a long story short” and then they go on telling it for another 15 minutes.

Question: Finish this sentence: It's annoying when …

Lake City 5th-Grader Wins NI Bee

Rebekah Pinkerton, a home-schooled fifth grader from Coeur d'Alene, spelled the previously misspelled word “inselberg” and followed it up with the correct spelling of “bezoar” Saturday to out-spell 44 North Idaho fourth through eighth graders to be crowned the champion in the eighth annual North Idaho College Regional Spelling Bee/News Bonners Ferry. She'll be traveling on an all-expenses paid trip to the preliminary round of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee June 1-2 in National Harbor, Maryland/News Bonners Ferry. More here.

Question: Without looking, can you define either 'inselberg' or 'bezoar'?

Jimmer, Nolan Lead All-Americans

The 2010-11 AP All-America college basketball team consists of (from left): BYU's Jimmer Fredette, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Duke's Nolan Smith, Connecticut's Kemba Walker and Purdue's JaJuan Johnson. Story here. (AP file photos)

Question: Anyone argue with AP's version of the 5 best basketball players in the country?

New Firefox Sets Download Record

Since its release, Firefox 4 has set an unofficial record for downloads in a day, while Internet Explorer 9 hasn't exactly burned up the wires. As a result, Firefox 4 market share is rocketing, while IE9's is on a gentler growth curve. Sound like bad news for Internet Explorer. But does it really mean anything? On the second day of Firefox 4's launch, it set an unofficial record for downloads – a whopping 8.75 million according to Mozilla. Since its release last week on March 22, Firefox 4 has quickly leaped to a 3.7% market share by yesterday/Preston Gralla, Computerworld. More here.

Question: Have you downloaded the Firefox 4 yet? Impression?

MikeK: Spring ‘Break’ Really Isn’t

On his Twitter page, Councilman Mike Kennedy offers this bit of wisdom: “Spring Break should be renamed. It doesn't feel like Spring here yet and the kids still don't give us a break.” At last count, Mike's lovely wife had a half dozen or so kids under foot during spring breaks. Which seems to slip past me because my two urchins are raised and out of the house on opposite coasts making their way in the world.

Question: Anyone have a trick or two re: how do keep kids occupied — and your sanity intact — during spring breaks?

Missoula Duo Sets World Tennis Mark

Their bodies were still willing, but their minds delirious from sleep deprivation. Still, teenagers Sam Angel and Katie Martens set the Guinness World Record - unofficially, anyway - for the longest singles tennis match ever around 10 p.m. on Sunday night at the Peak Wellness Center. Cogent comments from the Hellgate High School seniors were not possible late Sunday as the two took their final five-minute rest break shortly before passing over the 55-hour, 55-minute and 55-second mark, the current world record. Angel, 18, could only offer, “I'm tired, I'm tired, I'm tired, I'm really tired, I'm tired,” before retreating to the men's bathroom at the fitness center, where the two held their record-breaking match/Jamie Kelly, Missoulian. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: I last played tennis at the courts that once graced McEuen Field, which shows how long it's been since I've knocked a tennis ball around. When did you last play tennis?

INW Headlines — 3.28.11

Gonzaga cheerleaders take to the floor during a timeout against Louisville. The Zags won 76-69 Saturday in the Spokane Arena. The Zags play No. 1 seed Stanford at 6 o'clock today, with the winner advancing to the Final Four of the NCAA women's tournament. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

High Noon: Awful Candy

Sidekick Cindy, who kept things hopping here while I was enjoying a mini-vacay in Portland from Thursday through Sunday, emails that she “had to find Sam some of those awful Circus Peanuts candy for a school project. A discussion has emerged about awful candy. So far Peeps, Circus Peanuts and spice drops top the list.”

Question: Which candy do you consider to be the absolute worst?

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.28.11

  • 11:51 a.m. Department of Motor Vehicles, Government Way, reports wanted person in office.
  • 11:49 a.m. Landlady reports that previous tenants have removed refrigerator from rental.
  • 11:39 a.m. A driver whose pickup was swerving on Atlas & Nezperce/CdA appears to have crashed into his own garage on Lancaster/CdA.
  • 11:04 a.m. Department of Motor Vehicles, Government Way, reports wanted person in office.
  • 10:38 a.m. Jennifer has questions re: a wild cat on Howard/CdA.
  • 10:34 a.m. Motorist reports a moose on Canfield, west of H95, w/people watching w/in 10 feet.
  • 10:33 p.m. A vehicle has crashed with a garbage truck somewhere in Hayden, noninjury.
  • 10:19 a.m. Tracy, in 1200 block of W. Wyoming/Hayden, reports containing a vicious dog.
  • 10:13 p.m. A disabled vehicle is causing a traffic hazard on Seltice Way/Post Falls near Pizza Hut.
  • 9:56 p.m. Motorist reports some sort of traffic hazard at Government Way & Neider/CdA.
  • 9:30 a.m. Caretaker reports finding a body in 400 block of W. Waterside Drive/CdA
  • 9:21 a.m. Elmer reports money stolen at Coeur d'Alene Casino/Worley.
  • 9:13 a.m. Paul reports that a neighbor may have pointed a gun at him when he drove past today.
  • 9:04 a.m. Caller reports a theft in 3100 block of W. Kathy Loop/CdA.\
  • 8:47 a.m. Caller reports 2 boys riding bikes w/o adults supervision in 8500 block of Cloverleaf/Hayden.
  • 8:14 a.m. A fire report in residence next to Body by Scotty's on 3rd Avenue/Post Falls turns out to be flames caused by father stoking fireplace.
  • 8:02 a.m. An ISP officer reports a large piece of carpet lying on I-90 @ M/P 13 (9th Street/CdA).

Legislative R’s Slash Medicaid Budget

Update: The Senate has voted 27-8 in favor of HB 260, the Medicaid cuts bill, sending it to the governor's desk. All seven Democrats and Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, voted against the bill.

The Senate has begun debating HB 260, the House-passed bill to cut $108 million out of the state's Medicaid program, including $35 million in state general funds. “Suggestions were received and heard, adjustments were made,” Senate Health & Welfare Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, told the Senate in her opening debate. “Our choices were few - the elimination of entire programs, or, with a sharp scalpel, trimming programs. … Our choice was the latter - trimming services”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Hucks Poll: Megaloads? No Problemo

  • Weekend Poll: A majority of Hucks Nation isn't concerned or only a little concerned about the ConocoPhillips megaloads that may be detoured north on Highway 95 & then across the panhandle on I-90. 123 of 323 respondents (38.08%) said they weren't concerned at all about the possible detour. Another 58 of 123 (17.96%) were only a little concerned. Meanwhile, 100 of 323 respondents (39.96%) said they were very concerned about the prospect of the detour, and 37 of 323 (11.46%) were somewhat concerned. 5 were undecided.
  • Today's Question: How will you register for the 2012 Idaho primaries — Republican or Democrat? Or as an Independent who won't vote?

Bonner R’s Question Luna-Gates Tie

Following is a letter to the editor from Anne Wilder Chamberlain, Bonner County Republican Central Committee secretary: “Attached is a resolution that passed Tuesday March 22 at the Bonner County Republican Central Committee. It is essential we investigate the ties between Supt. Tom Luna and Bill and Melinda Gates to see why he is pushing this education agenda so hard even though it won't save Idaho any money, all the players oppose it, and it will actually cause education costs to go up at the local level.”

Question: What do you make of this request from area Republicans asking for an investigation into Superintendent Tom Luna's ties with “globalist” Bill Gates?

Inlander: Vigil Best TV Anchorperson

TV anchors have long been parodied as snobby, arrogant, and aloof. But no one, according to KHQ director Neal Boling, says that about Stephanie Vigil. She’s accessible. She’s friendly. She’s self-deprecating. She’s still shaking hands at community events. And don’t worry about her fleeing to a larger market. This year, Vigil’s proud to say, she signed a contract to stay with KHQ (and presumably, win Best Of) for many years to come. (DW) 2nd PLACE: Nadine Woodward, KXLY; 3rd PLACE: Robyn Nance, KXLY.

Question: Do you agree w/Inlander Best Of poll that KHQ's Stephanie Vigil is the best Spokane TV anchor person?

A View From Tubbs

“View from south Tubbs,” posts Linda Lantzy, Idaho Scenic Images. “It was a beautiful calm evening, and everything is green and mossy. Many of the early wildflowers are just starting to bloom in the sunnier spots.”

Question: How often do you hike Tubbs Hill each year?

Get Out! Review: Lean Bean

I am greeted at the window by Kendall, who has been working at the Lean Bean off and on since she was just a sassy little teenager. I no longer have to outline the specifics of my usual order for the veteran staff but for the benefit of the reader it is a 16 oz iced quad soy latte with ½ the normal amount of caramel sauce. (told you I was picky). I'm famished also, so I decide to add the infamous Cali Bagel (Your choice of bagel flavor, cream cheese, tomato, avocado, and black pepper) with bacon (.50 extra), on a whole wheat bagel. About 3 minutes later, after enjoying some delightful chatter with the staff, I am handed my green re-usable BPA-free plastic thermo cup now full of delicious drink and a small paper bag containing a fantastic smelling sandwich. Not bad for just under $8/Jesi Gaboury, Lean Bean Coffee Facebook page (via Get Out! North Idaho). More here.

Question: Which coffee shop do you prefer for a caffeine drink (the way you want it) and a snack?

Hall: Bow? Hug? That’s The Question

A National Public Radio report on Japan's multiple cataclysms told the story of a desperate daughter traveling by train, taxi and on foot before finding her parents alive in front of the family home. Whereupon, she did what many of you huggy people will consider strange and repressed: “There's no hugging or kissing,” the NPR report said, “just gasps of surprise and shock as she stands and bows to her parents. They bow too - the emotion of the moment palpable, even though nobody touches anyone else.” My family was like that. We didn't bow, but we didn't hug much either. Most families didn't hug much in the Idaho of the mid-20th century/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you come from an affectionate family?

AM Headlines — 3.28.11

Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot races upcourt against Louisville as Katelan Redmon follows in the second half of an NCAA women's college basketball tournament regional semifinal Saturday in Spokane. Gonzaga won 76-69 and now will face No. 1 seed Stanford tonight at 6. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Blanchette: Spokane The Perfect Host

By late Sunday afternoon, fewer than 100 of the 11,691 saleable seats remained for the game, and those were mostly “obstructed view,” meaning you pay $22.50 to look through tubas, cheerleaders, the Stanford Tree and the backboard stanchion from a 10-degree angle off the floor. That’s like watching a drive-in movie from the back seat of a Karmann Ghia. On Saturday evening, 10,717 paid their way in to see Gonzaga’s leap through the Sweet 16 looking glass. Compare this to other regionals in Philadelphia (5,734) and Dayton (8,867), the two of them together less than two-thirds full/John Blanchette, SR. More here.

Question: Whether or not the Lady Zags are in the NCAA tournament, Spokane seems to be a great venue to host the regional women's games. Why does Spokane pack seats for women's tournament games when other venues don't?

Geraldine Ferraro, 75, politician, RIP

This 1984 file picture shows Geraldine Ferraro. The first woman to run for U.S. vice president on a major party ticket has died. Geraldine Ferraro was 75. A family friend said Ferraro, who was diagnosed with blood cancer in 1998, died Saturday at Massachusetts General Hospital. Story here. (AP Photo/File)

Question: Amy Sullivan of Time wonders whether Geraldine Ferraro was a trailblazer or a novelty. What do you think?

Obama To Discuss US Role In Libya

Item: Five target audiences for Obama’s Libya war speech/Chris Stirewalt, Fox News

More Info: After eight baffling days, President Obama will address the American public about his decision to enter the Libyan civil war on the side of rebel forces. Perhaps never in the television era has a president waited so long after launching a war or even military strikes to address the nation.

Question: What must the president say to persuade you that the U.S. should be taking part in the civil war in Libya?

Spencer Pushes For Ballot Change

Item: Spencer pushes changes to judicial ballot/Associated Press

More Info: Northern Idaho Republican activist Larry Spencer failed to convince the 2011 Legislature to change how Idaho's nonpartisan judges candidates are listed on ballots. Now, he's pushing a fledgling citizen initiative to get the issue before voters in 2012 — on grounds that the existing practice of telling voters which candidate is the incumbent gives the officeholder an advantage - largely because voters who are unfamiliar with the race may default to the person who already holds the post. Last week, the House declined to approve an amendment to an Idaho elections bill to mandate simply listing the candidates' names, not incumbency. After that setback, Spencer has begun trying to collect about 45,000 signatures to put the matter to a vote.

Question: Is Spencer right this time — that judges have an unfair advantage if their incumbency is listed on the ballot?

Vick Proud Solons Didn’t Raise Taxes

On his Twitter account, state Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, seems proud of himself and fellow legislators that they didn't raise taxes this session. This, despite the gaping budget holes they filled by slashing spending, including cutting public education by $62 million and taking another $35 million from Medicaid. You can read the Idaho Statesman story here.

Question: Should Vick and fellow legislators be proud that they didn't raise taxes this year? Or ashamed of themselves that they balance the budget by slashing spending for public education and Medicaid?

Joe Heller: Where Is Our Sanity?

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Weekend Wildcard 3.26-3.27

Welcome to the Weekend Wild Card. I suppose there will be some basketball games going on. Some rainfall. Some household chores or yardwork.
We will be celebrating my mom's 80th birthday this weekend with lots of relatives from out of town to dropping in for the festivities.

As Jesse Eisenberg said in The Social Network “You have the minimum amount of my attention.” But feel free to post your weekend reflections, sports scores or breaking news on on this Wild Card. And behave. You don't want DFO to get a bad report on Monday. That just makes him cranky.

Gonzaga women head to Elite Eight

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Gonzaga women defeat Louisville 76-69 to move on to the Elite Eight on Saturday, March 26, 2011, in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament regional semifinal in Spokane, Wash. Game story here. Gonzaga will face No. 1 seed Stanford at the Spokane Arena Monday with a trip to the Final Four on the line. Stanford beat North Carolina 72-65 in Spokane Saturday night. Stanford-North Carolina game story here.

Parting Shot: Riding against the wind

Early-spring cycling. Lauri Costello fights a stiff breeze as she rides her bike on a trail that follows the old Ben Burr railroad line en route to Tower Mountain on Thursday. Chris Anderson, SR

May the wind be at your back and the sun shine on your shoulders this weekend :-)

More bang for your buck

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - A southwestern Montana Radio Shack is offering would-be satellite television customers a bit more bang for their buck.

The Ravalli Republic reports customers who sign up for some Dish Network packages at Radio Shack in Hamilton will be rewarded with a pistol or shotgun. Pacifists can pick a $50 Pizza Hut gift card.

Store owner Steve Strand says it took some haggling to get Dish Network to go along with the promotion, but he says it has tripled his business since it started last October.

The sign outside the business reads: “Protect yourself with Dish Network. Sign up now, get free gun.”

The promotion includes a coupon for a gun and the required background check.

Strand says he plans to start the same promotion next month with DIRECTV packages. 


Jesuits settle abuse claims

Alberta Sena, far left, and Dorothea Skalicky, far right, listen as Leander James, center, describes the settlement in the legal case against the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province on Friday March 25, 2011, at a press conference in Spokane, Wash. Both of the women were victims of clergy sex abuse in Lapwai, Idaho.

In one of the largest settlements of the ongoing sex abuse scandal of the Roman Catholic Church, the Jesuit order of the Northwest will pay about $166 million to more than 500 survivors, most of whom are Alaska Native or American Indian.

Under the proposed settlement The Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, also will apologize and provide pertinent records of the approximately 140 priests and brothers accused over the span of 30 years from the 1950s to the 1980s.

In many cases, accused priests were reassigned by the order in Portland to Alaska Native villages and Indian reservations in Montana, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Oregon, according to abuse survivors and their attorneys.

“Problem priests were put on reservations,” said Dorothy Skalicky, 42, who said she was abused as a girl by a priest growing up on the Nez Perce Reservation. More here. Kevin Graman, SR


TGIF Wildcard 3.25.11

For some reason rainy Fridays are far worse than rainy Mondays. But onward. I opened my email this morning to find a note reminding me that my youngest son starts soccer Monday, so it has to be spring, right?

Yesterday, I learned that Hucksters wish we'd never discuss fireman, Obama's birth certificate, politics, Westboro Baptists etc. again. So, of course I'll try to find plenty of material on those topics to post out front. Kidding! (Kind of).

Use this Wild Card to discuss anything but the afore mentioned topics.

Just Lindsay

Move over, Madonna, and make way for Lindsay.

Lindsay Lohan has decided to forgo her surname, the starlet's mother, Dina, told

“Lindsay is dropping the Lohan and just going by Lindsay,” Dina Lohan said, adding that “me and [Lindsay's sister] Ali will be officially changing our last names back to my maiden name, Sullivan.”

The troubled actress' mom made no mention of whether her other two children, sons Michael and Cody, will also be changing their names. More here. NYDaily News

This will make it much easier for her to sign her name on all those legal documents.

Free checking? Yeah, right.

We've grown accustomed to free checking accounts. The thought of paying anything for checking feels like highway robbery, even though research shows accounts cost banks up to $300 annually to maintain. Checking accounts have become like soft drinks and peanuts on an airline flight: Even if it's a service that costs businesses money, we expect to get it for free. Why? Because it's always been free. No other reason.

That's starting to change. Big banks from Bank of America (NYSE: BAC - News) to JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM - News) to Citigroup (NYSE: C - News) have either raised, or are proposing to raise, fees on checking accounts. Basic checking? That'll cost you. Want a paper statement? That's extra. Talk to a teller? There's a fee. Bounce a check? Lose a firstborn.

The response has been predictable: Consumers are angry. And not just angry, but confused. Why are banks — those bloodsuckers that took a shower in federal bailout money — now nickel-and-diming the life out of us? Some thanks.

But the truth is banks have to begin charging more. They're justified to. A slew of new regulations are about to begin curbing the ways banks made money off checking accounts in the past. Motely  Read more.

My husband already moved our joint checking account to our credit union. I'm hanging on to my business account at Chase because I'm all about convenience, and Chase is my grocery store. Are you shopping around for a bank or credit union that offers free checking?

GOP pushes for photo ID

RALEIGH, N.C. – Empowered by last year's elections, Republican leaders in about half the states are pushing to require voters to show photo ID at the polls despite little evidence of fraud and already-substantial punishments for those who vote illegally.

Democrats claim the moves will disenfranchise poor and minority voters — many of whom traditionally vote for their candidates. The measures will also increase spending and oversight in some states even as Republicans are focused on cutting budgets and decreasing regulations.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a Republican, said he believes his state's proposed photo ID law will increase citizen confidence in the process and combat fraud that could be going undetected.

“I can't figure out who it would disenfranchise,” Hargett said. “The only people I can think it disenfranchises is those people who might be voting illegally.” Mike Baker, AP

I vote by mail. Nobody asks for my ID. Photo ID at the polls good idea/bad idea?

Kerri’s Heroes

Vernon Baker, Thomas Norris

On facebook Kerri Rankin Thoreson writes, “I've been honored to work with local veterans through the years and those whom I consider heroes rarely see themselves as such. Two incredible men I met a few years back are the late Vernon Baker and Thomas Norris. Each received the highest honor given in the military—  the US Congressional Medal of Honor. Today is the 148th anniversary of the first CMH being presented. Thank you ALL veterans and those who serve today.”

If you could award a medal to someone, who would you choose to honor?

Trouble brewing in Coffee Party

The Coffee Party, which launched last year to mild public curiosity in reaction to the Tea Party wave, has receded from public view — in part because of a schism between its centrist leadership and some left-leaning grassroots.

The movement, co-founded by filmmaker named Annabel Park, was initially seen as a progressive alternative to the Tea Party.

As Newsweek reported of an early meeting, members “were angry. They hated the Tea Party, and the Republican Party. They wanted to get even.”

Park, however, says she intended the group to be centrist and non-partisan. She at one point weighed legal action to prevent the left-leaning faction from using their copyrighted logo after Darrell Bouldin, a Tennessee-based activist, started an offshoot called “Coffee Party Progressives.”  Read more here. Ben Smith,

If you started a political party, what would you call it?

Chess Boxing

It's called chess boxing and it's like it sounds. We start in a ring. There are screaming fans. The first round is 4 minutes of chess, followed by 3 minutes of boxing, then chess, then boxing, for 11 rounds. You win by knocking out your opponent or checkmating him, either way. When there's a draw, judges decide. It's a brain/brawn sport like nothing I've ever seen, blood, knights, queens, and speed combined. Robert Krulwich, NPR Full Story.

Does anyone else think this sounds like fun?

Front and center Plato, MO

Andy Justice walks to a pile of rocks on land he farms east of Plato, Mo., on Thursday. The rocks were placed there by a government survey crew to mark the population center of the United States.

PLATO, Mo. – In a nation of nearly 310 million people, America’s new population center rests not in a Midwestern skyline of St. Louis or Chicago, but in a tiny Missouri village named after an ancient Greek philosopher.

The Census Bureau announced Thursday what the 109 residents of Plato had suspected for weeks: Shifting population patterns and geographical chance converged to make this town on the edge of Mark Twain National Forest the center of the U.S. population distribution based on 2010 census data.

The announcement also signifies larger trends – America’s population is marching westward from the Midwest, pulled by migration to the Sun Belt. And in a surprising show of growth, Hispanics now account for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade.

That doesn’t mean locals aren’t downright thrilled with the recognition and a chance to be noticed. AP

I had never heard of Plato,MO or Mark Twain National Forest until this morning. Had you?

Supplier’s conviction sparks concern

Aaron Hale smiles as a car honks in support of medical marijuana. Marijuana advocates protested outside of the federal courthouse in Spokane on Thursday. The group says they would like the city to reduce marijuana enforcement to its lowest priority.

Marijuana advocates still reeling from last week’s conviction of a medicinal pot supplier in Spokane are stepping up the pressure.

Nearly three dozen demonstrators gathered Thursday outside of the federal courthouse in downtown Spokane, urging the removal of marijuana from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of drugs considered to have no medicinal value.

They also are circulating petitions asking Spokane Mayor Mary Verner to declare the sale of medical marijuana to doctor-approved users to be the lowest law enforcement priority in the city. Supporters say they’ve already gathered more than 1,000 signatures and hope to present them Monday night to the Spokane City Council. Full story.  Meghann  Cuniff, SR

How high a priority should marijuana enforcement be?

High Noon: Heaven

After a burst appendix nearly cost 4-year-old Colton Burpo his life in 2003, his parents were thankful just to have him alive and well. But when he opened up about his brush with death a few months later, they were shocked when he described a very vivid trip to heaven, and spoke of matters about which he had no apparent way of knowing.

During an automobile trip, when Sonja Burpo asked him about his memories of being in the hospital, little Colton replied: “Yes, Mommy, I remember — that’s where the angels sang to me.” A sweet answer, to be sure — but then Colton made his parents’ jaws drop when he told them about sitting in Jesus’ lap, watching his parents while he lay seemingly near death, and meeting his great-grandfather.

But most poignantly, Colton described meeting a sibling in heaven — even though he had no way of knowing that his mother had miscarried two years before he was born, since his parents had never told him. Michael Inbar, More here.

Have you or anyone you know had a near-death experience?

Senate shoots down guns-on-campus bill

Members of the Senate State Affairs Committee listen to testimony on HB 222 on Friday morning, the bill to permit guns on campus at Idaho colleges and universities. The bill earlier passed the House.

BOISE - Idaho senators killed the guns-on-campus bill Friday, after a two-hour hearing in which proponents of the measure said students who have concealed weapons permits aren’t “drunken frat boys who would stumble about campus firing indiscriminately.”

On the Senate State Affairs Committee, hearing the testimony, was Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, whose 23-year-old son was shot to death at a college keg party after a beer-splashing clash with fellow student who had a concealed weapons permit.

Davis told University of Idaho law student Jonathan Sawmiller, who was speaking in favor of HB 222, “My 23-year-old son was shot eight years ago last week by a concealed weapon permit holder. Both BSU students. Off campus, at a college environment. I know for you, that you served our country nobly, I thank you for it. I trust you. But there are others that I have concerns about. This is not an intellectual exercise for me and my family. To you and your successors who speak here today, please be sensitive in couching your remarks.” Betsy Russell, SR



Shore Lounge to close

Hagadone Hospitality will open a new entertainment bar in the Resort Plaza Shops along Sherman Avenue in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

Due to open in June, the new bar’s name hasn’t been chosen, according to a news release. It will be open seven nights a week and include indoor and outdoor seating.

The business next door, Tito Macaroni restaurant, 210 E. Sherman, will have a remodeled interior as part of the total project, the release said.

Once the new facility opens, the Shore Lounge, inside The Coeur d’Alene Resort, will close. It will be converted into meeting, reception and banquet space. Bert Caldwell, SR

When was the last time you visited the Shore Lounge?

In praise of dithering

Five years ago a young politician who seemed wise beyond his years was asked by Tim Russert what makes a great president. It was the kind of question that Russert, who could prompt more news in a single interview than entire cable operations do in a year, was so good at.

The politician took a thought breath before proceeding: “Obviously, most of the time it seems that the president has maybe 10 percent of his agenda set by himself, and 90 percent of it set by circumstance.”

Barack Obama: meet your 90 percent. The senator who so accurately predicted how events make the leader now finds himself a president trying to lead through those events.

In the process, despite a largely incoherent chorus of second-guessers, Obama has settled into a groove of reflective dithering before making his decisions. For the most part, it has served him well. Full story. Timothy Egan, NY Times

Do you dither?

Post Falls man killed in I-90 crash

A Post Falls man died this morning following a collision involving another driver going the wrong way on Interstate 90 at Barker Road. The freeway was closed for several hours while Washington State Patrol troopers conducted their investigation.

Kenneth J. Hardin, 27, died at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center following the 3:10 a.m. crash in the eastbound lanes beneath the Barker Road overpass.

Traffic was rerouted along the off ramp at Barker and back onto the freeway on ramp. All lanes reopened prior to 8. More here. Mike Prager, SR

Buy the label?

So the other day I bought this wine just because I loved the label. Turns out it was a fairly decent white table wine.

Have you ever bought something just because you liked the label?

Catholic university to offer partner benefits

The Associated Press


Marquette University in Milwaukee will begin offering domestic partner benefits to its employees beginning next year.

The move by the Catholic, Jesuit university comes about a year after the school rescinded a job offer to a lesbian and scholar at Seattle University. Marquette officials said at the time, rescinding the job offer to Jodi O'Brien had nothing to do with her sexual orientation. But, it triggered heated debate on campus over the issue.

Recently, the University Academic Senate and the Marquette University Student Government voted to urge Marquette to offer benefits to domestic partners.

The Journal Sentinel says medical, dental and vision benefits will be offered to same-gender couples who live together and register their partnership with the local county clerk.


The Bard:You Go Girl!

Kelly Bowen of Gonzaga takes control of a defensive rebound as the Zags beat Iowa.

Sound the trumpets
and fly the flags:
Sweet Sixteen, meet
the Lady Zags!

Are you following the lady Zags?

OMG! It’s in the dictionary!

LONDON – OMG! The exclamatory online abbreviation has won the approval of the Oxford English Dictionary.

The term — short for “Oh my God” or “Oh my gosh” — is one of dozens of new entries in the authoritative reference book's latest online update.

Other Internet-inspired expressions given the stamp of approval include LOL, “laughing out loud”; IMHO, “in my humble opinion”; and BFF, “best friends forever.”

Dictionary compilers said that although the terms are associated with modern electronic communications, some are surprisingly old. The first confirmed use of “OMG” was in a letter in 1917.

“Things people think are new words normally have a longer history,” Graeme Diamond, the dictionary's principal editor for new words, said Friday. Read more.

Other surprising entries include the word “heart” as a verb, which will greatly please DFO, and “muffin top” which I doubt will please anyone, much. How often do you use terms like LOL, IMHO or BFF?

Bubblehead: Sizism last acceptable “hatred of the other”

Yesterday on the airline thread re: special seating for large passengers and people traveling with kids Bubblehead said, “Sizism is the last acceptable 'hatred of the other' left in America.”

Agree or disagree?

Move to ammend guns on campus bill fails

Joel Teuber of the Fraternal Order of Police answers questions from the Senate State Affairs Committee on Friday after testifying in favor of HB 222, the bill to permit guns on Idaho's state college campuses.

Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, moved to send HB 222 to the Senate's 14th Order for amendment, saying he's concerned about venues like football stadiums. He said, “I think I know the issue somewhat coming in, and I hear and get exposed to thoughts and comments by people who've come from different vantage points, and I think it underscores the value of the comments by people who've come from different vantage points. I think it underscores the value of the process that we incur.”

Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, who said she's been in high-security situations and had to give up rights, seconded the motion, and said, “I think we can make this a better bill by just a few amendments, and I want to ask those sponsors in the House to work with Sen. Fulcher on those. It's not too late in the session to make sure that we do this right.” More here. Betsy Russell, EOB



Casto attorney rips police actions

DeAngelo Casto, center, controls a rebound against Northwestern forward Drew Crawford, left.

PULLMAN – The war of words over Washington State basketball player DeAngelo Casto’s misdemeanor marijuana citation escalated Thursday, with Pullman police Chief Gary Jenkins releasing more information concerning the incident at Casto’s residence and Casto’s attorney firing back.

Jenkins confirmed that the police report of the incident indicates Casto was holding a child on his lap when a police officer looked through a window early Tuesday morning and observed Casto at a table with marijuana and rolling papers.

The detail didn’t sit well with Casto’s attorney, Timothy Esser, who already has submitted a motion to suppress evidence collected that night.

“Allegedly there was marijuana in the house,” Esser said in a phone interview. “OK, how many millions of houses have marijuana in them, how many millions of houses do children live there? More here. Vince Grippi, SR

Do you think millions of homes have marijuana in them or is Esser using hyperbole to make a point?


NATO takes over no-fly zone but…

Libyan rebels take a rest at a checkpoint on the frontline near Zwitina, south of Benghazi, eastern Libya, on Thursday.

WASHINGTON – The United States welcomed a partial handover for the Libyan air campaign to NATO on Thursday, but the allies apparently balked at assuming full control and the U.S. military was left in charge of the brunt of combat.

NATO agreed to take over command of the newly established no-fly zone over Libya, protective flights meant to deter Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from putting warplanes in the air. That leaves the U.S. with responsibility for attacks on Gadhafi’s ground forces and other targets, which are the toughest and most controversial portion of the operation.

The U.S had hoped the alliance would reach a consensus Thursday for NATO to take full control of the military operation authorized by the United Nations, including the protection of Libyan civilians and supporting humanitarian aid efforts on the ground. It was not immediately clear when the allies could reach agreement on the matter. Robert Burns, AP

Does anyone think the U.S. involvement in Libya is a good thing?

Wildcats win in upset

Arizona's Derrick Williams, left, is fouled by Duke's Miles Plumlee on a dunk try.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Derrick Williams carried Arizona in the first half, keeping the Wildcats in the game against Duke. His teammates returned the favor in the final 20 minutes with an offensive barrage that stunned the defending national champions.

Williams scored 25 of his career-high 32 points in the first half of Arizona’s 93-77 victory Thursday night, helping the Wildcats reach the final eight for the first time since 2005.

“As a team, we came together and willed ourselves to win,” said Lamont Jones, who added 16 points. “Derrick is a great player, but we all contribute.” Beth Harris, AP

I'm thinking this game probably messed up a few brackets. How are yours?

Senate passes school reform bill

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, debates against SB 1184, the school reform bill, in the Senate on Thursday. She asked, “If teachers are laid off to buy laptops, which is what this bill does, who will be in the classroom with them?”

BOISE - The Idaho Senate has voted 20-15 in favor SB 1184, the third bill in state schools Supt. Tom Luna’s “Students Come First” school reform package.

The seven Senate Democrats were joined in opposing the bill by eight Republicans, Sens. Andreason, Broadsword, Cameron, Corder, Darrington, Davis, Keough, and Stegner; the bill now moves to the House, where it’s virtually assured of passage.

“This is landmark legislation,” Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, told the Senate as he opened debate; he’s the bill’s lead legislative sponsor. “SB 1184 sets the new normal in public education funds. It is a policy bill.” He said, “We wish we were working under different circumstances. … We have to do things differently, and we do not have more money right now.” So, he said, the state must spend its existing school funds differently. “We must adapt or we risk becoming irrelevant.” Betsy Russell, SR More here.


Thursday Wild Card 3.24.11

My how time flies. Seems like it was only last month DFO was vacationing with Junior in Florida. Wait! It was last month. Oh well, blog-wrangling can take a lot out of a fella. Here's to four-day weekends whenever you can get 'em.

Yesterday, my attempt to do nothing all day was a miserable failure. Indolence is a lot harder than it looks. So, today I might as well blogsit, write an article about a new opera company, transport my kids to various locations, interview of few folks, answer a couple dozen  emails, file some photo requests, have lunch with a friend, and admire my new manicure.

It's a hard-luck life. Here's your Wild Card. You do know what to do with it, don't you?

Idaho to let novices hunt before taking safety course

LaFawn Sutton, 12, bagged this record-book whitetail buck in velvet during the September early bowhunting season near her Mount Spokane area home.

HUNTING — Idaho is joining the bandwagon of states allowing potential new hunters accompanied by a mentor to try the sport before they pass a state-certified hunter education course.

On Tuesday, Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed into law House Bill 85, making Idaho the 31st state to pass Families Afield legislation since the programs inception in 2004.

Montana is the only state in the Northwest that has not adopted Families Afield legislation.

This allows the Fish and Game Commission to establish a program under which newcomers could try hunting under the watchful eye of an experienced mentor prior to the completion of a hunter education course. Rich Landers, Outdoors Blog

Good idea/Bad idea?

Set up

 Brian Ang is interviewed by Toni Seidel at the Spokane Christian Singles Speed Dating at Cafe Donna in Spokane.

There's no upside to setting people up. At best, you're stuck writing a speech for a wedding; at worst, you find out your friends cry during sex. When I found out you could get paid to set people up, however, I got a lot more interested. I asked Barbie Adler, CEO of Selective Search, to let me spend a day setting up men who pay her a minimum of $20,000 a year to set them up on dates with women who want to be set up with men who pay $20,000 a year to be set up on dates. This was the kind of love I could deliver.

I got to Barbie's office in Chicago, where I was the only man employed. All the women who interview her clients were attractive and had posters and sculptures about love in their office. This was not the tone I was going to set with my clients. Joel Stein,  Read more.

Fun read. Have you ever been set up on a date? How'd it turn out?
H/T Beth B.


Sandy Martinson pleads not guilty

A former Kootenai County deputy clerk accused of embezzling $139,000 from her employer over a 10-year period has pleaded not guilty to a grand theft charge.

Sandy Martinson, 62, entered the plea Monday in 1st District Court. Her attorney, Frederick Loats, estimated in court documents that a trial would last three days.

Grand theft is punishable by up to 14 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

County officials said that when Martinson retired in November, a routine review of records revealed irregularities that led the county to suspect embezzlement.

Due to Martinson’s more than three-decade career with Kootenai County, Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall is handling the case. Alison Boggs, SR



Chicken Revolution

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — After months of debate the Spokane Valley City Council made changes to the city's chicken regulations.Those changes make it possible for people who live with in the city limits to own chickens on small residential pieces of property.

Craig Goodwin has four chickens in his backyard right next to his children's swing set. “They have names, yeah, Eagle, Chrysanthemum, Daisy and Honolulu,” Goodwin, a self-proclaimed chicken person, said.

Goodwin says his four chickens produce two dozen eggs a week, but that is the only source of food they supply for his family of four. “I think the general rule is, if you name your chickens, you don't eat them,” he More here.

What do you think about the urban chicken trend? Do you have chickens in your backyard?

Kid-free, fat-free section, please

It's not that Ian Burford hates children. But the founder of the Facebook page “Airlines should have kid-free flights!” would prefer not to have a wailing tot nearby when he flies.

“I'm 6-4, so seating is always an issue,” says Burford, who launched his page a year ago. “But when you're uncomfortable anyway, and then you have some young child screaming or kicking the back of your chair, it just puts you in a bad position, because there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. It's not a case of not liking kids. It's a case of not wanting them sitting next to you or behind you when you travel.”

Across the skies, there's a growing debate over whether airlines should do more to segregate the seating of passengers — with designated areas for kids, for example. At a time when increasingly crowded jets have helped to make flying less pleasant for many passengers and social media allow them to instantly tweet their frustrations to the world, a comfortable perch on the plane — and some tranquility around it — has become ever more precious. Charisse Jones, USA Today  Full story.

Should airlines create separate sections for kids or larger fliers?

Harwood: “…personal opinion overrides the right thing to do.”

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, is presenting his pro-megaloads bill, HB 193a, to the Senate Transportation Committee, and he's getting lots of questions; the bill would require a huge cash bond before anyone could file a lawsuit to block a transportation project on Idaho highways. Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, noted that Harwood spoke repeatedly of “frivolous lawsuits” and talked about the lawsuit that was filed in north-central Idaho against the proposed megaloads on Highway 12, but noted, “It's not my impression that the lawsuit that was brought in the megaloads case was considered to be frivolous by either the hearing officer or the judge.” Harwood responded, “I just used that term because sometimes that's how I feel they are.”

When Werk asked Harwood about his contention that people can find judges who'll rule any way they want, Harwood said, “Certain judges do lean in different directions. A lot of times maybe their … personal opinon, and I know in my case often my own personal opinion overrides the right thing to do.”   Betsy Russell, EOB

Do you believe judges allow personal opinion to sway court rulings?

More here.

Pattison Inline Racing Team

On a recent afternoon, members of Pattison Inline Racing team prepared for an upcoming competition. Clad in snazzy red and black uniforms, they hit the hardwood at Pattison’s North, and skated by in a blur. As they picked up speed and leaned low in the turns, the wheels of their skates created a buzz that echoed across the rink.

Their coach, rink owner Shaun Pattison, is a two-time Northwest Coach of the Year and offers 25 years of skating expertise. He grinned and said, “I was born wearing skates.”

Actually, he donned his first pair at nine months, but no one is going to quibble about the wealth of experience he brings to the sport. His parents own Pattison’s West in Federal Way, Wash., and Shaun and his wife Jericho purchased Pattison’s North from his aunt and uncle in 2006. Cindy Hval, SR Full story.

When was the last time you strapped on a pair of skates?

Fill in the blank

The topic I would like to NEVER see on Hucks Online again is _________

Coffee prices on the rise

Steve Matott, head coffee roaster at Cravens Coffee Co., empties a batch of Italian roast coffee beans into the cooling tray at offices in Spokane.

Spokane coffee roasters are losing sleep, and it’s not the caffeine.

Supplies of high-quality Arabica beans are tight. Prices have doubled in the last year.

Last week, Starbucks announced it would raise the price on its packaged coffees an average 12 percent, in line with increases by other major brands.

Simon Thompson, owner of Cravens Coffee Co., said he has raised prices twice in recent months, but the total seven percent boost amounts to less than $1 per pound. Bert Caldwell, SR

Will rising prices make you cut back on your coffee consumption? How much is too much for a cup of coffee?

High Noon: Hell

When Chad Holtz lost his old belief in hell, he also lost his job.

The pastor of a rural United Methodist church in North Carolina wrote a note on his Facebook page supporting a new book by Rob Bell, a prominent young evangelical pastor and critic of the traditional view of hell as a place of eternal torment for billions of damned souls.

Two days later, Holtz was told complaints from church members prompted his dismissal from Marrow's Chapel in Henderson. Full story Tom Breen, AP

Do you believe in hell?

Senate Okays higher ed cuts

BOISE - The Idaho Senate has voted along party lines to approve a budget for the state’s colleges and universities for next year that includes further state funding cuts, pushing the schools to rely more on student tuition and fees.

The budget bill, SB 1181, drew fiery debate after minority Democrats spoke out against it.

Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, said, since 2009, colleges and universities have been cut by $75 million in state funds, a 26.4 percent reduction. “It is the budget that has taken the biggest hit of any budget that we pass,” he said, “and this is our economic development engine that we are starving for resources.” More here. Betsy Russell, SR


Gas hike end in sight?

POST FALLS - If gas prices haven't topped off yet, AAA expects them to before hitting $4 a gallon.

While prices continue to climb about a dime a week - they averaged $3.43 a gallon in Coeur d'Alene on Wednesday and a nickel more in Post Falls - the end is likely in sight, said Dave Carlson, AAA Idaho spokesman.

“Given what we're seeing at the moment, it's consistent with AAA's earlier predictions that U.S. pump prices should top out in the neighborhood of $3.75, barring unforeseen events,” Carlson said. Read more. Brian Walker, Cda Press

How much does it cost you to fill up your tank these days?

Women have more romantic regrets

Newly wedded couple Sergiy, left, and Irina kiss as they cross the Bridge of Love in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Jan. 21, 2011.

When you look at the couch and the stomach-scratching blob lying there, do you occasionally wish you’d committed to sharing your life with someone else?

When it comes to regrets — particularly among women — romance is the most common source of that nagging anxiety, according to a new study by a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Some 370 adults across the United States — ranging in age from 20 to 80 — were asked in a telephone survey to list their biggest regrets, and the most frequently mentioned issue had to do with romance, said the study’s author, Neil Roese, a professor of marketing at Northwestern.

About 44 percent of the women interviewed listed romance, while only 19 percent of the men mentioned it, Roese said. Stefano Esposito, Sun Times More here.

Do you have any regrets, romantic or otherwise?

School bus ads

The House Education Committee has voted to send SB 1111, the bill to permit advertising on school buses, to the House's amending order with a series of amendments attached, designed to address concerns  raised by opponents in an earlier House debate. The concerns were so widespread that House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, pulled the bill back to committee for more work, rather than see it killed.

The measure was proposed by the Meridian School District, which estimates it could make hundreds of thousands for schools by selling the bus ads. Betsy Russell, EOB Read more.

What do you think about the idea to place ads on school buses?

Love story of global proportion

Bill and Jay Warren recently celebrated their 61st anniversary. They met on a blind date in college, soon after Bill returned from Germany at the end of World War II. They’ve dedicated their busy lives to serving others. In the early 1960s, Bill was recruited as a trainer in the Peace Corps. They spent two years in the Philippines and one year in Nepal with six young children. Then they signed up for another aid organization and spent an additional three years in Kenya with seven children ages 1 to 14.

Bill and Jay Warren arrived in Spokane in 2007, via New Jersey, Texas, the Philippines, Nepal and points in between. The couple met on a blind date in 1946.

Bill had served two years in the Army after being drafted at age 18. “I shipped out to Europe,” he recalled. “We were replacement troops for those lost in the Battle of the Bulge.”

He doesn’t gloss over his combat experience. “A lot of it was horrible – nothing to glorify war.”

The young soldier was part of an ammunition and pioneer platoon engaged in a fierce struggle along the Siegfried Line. “Because we were a munitions group, we were sent out at night,” he said.

One night he fell into an exhausted sleep under a table. “They were looking for me to go out on patrol, but they couldn’t find me,” Bill said. He paused and glanced down at his hands. “Out of the 12 men who went out that night, only one came back.” Cindy Hval, SR More here

Can you imagine moving to the Philippines and Nepal with 6 kids under 10? Bill and Jay Warren did. Have you ever lived abroad?

How did the wrestler cross the road?

In the 165 weight class, North Idaho College's Jake Mason (in back) beat Lincoln's Rick Goerke in the NJCAA Wrestling Championship first round.

Who can cross a busy road better, a varsity wrestler or a psychology major? That question, which seems to beg for a punch line, actually provided the motivation for an unusual and rather beguiling new experiment in which student athletes were pitted against regular collegians in a test of traffic-dodging skill. The results were revelatory.

For the study, published last week in The Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recruited 36 male and female students, ages 18 to 22. Half were varsity athletes at the university, a Division I school, and they represented a wide variety of sports…

The rest of the volunteers were healthy young collegians but not athletes, from a variety of academic departments. New York Times, Full Story

…The student athletes completed more successful crossings than the nonathletes, by a significant margin, a result that might be expected of those in peak physical condition. But what was surprising — and thought-provoking — was that their success was not a result of their being quicker or more athletic.

Interesting article especially in light of the rash of car/pedestrian accidents in the Gonzaga area. Do you believe participation in sports is important or adds to the college experience?

Teen on track against the odds

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Born addicted to crack and raised in a meth house, a North Idaho teen faced an uncertain future. But today, Samantha Jernstrom is proving that despite the odds she has what it takes to succeed.

“It's definitely been a tough road. My mind frame that I'm set in is just do it. Make something of myself,” Jernstrom said, while waiting for a class to start at North Idaho College on Wednesday.

 Twice a week, she carts around a heavy backpack filled with books on the Coeur d'Alene college campus. At first glance, the 17-year-old looks like your typical student.”My first semester I can honestly tell you was so hard. I took chemistry, walking in blindfolded is how I can describe it,” she joked about her decision to take college classes as a high school junior as part of NIC's dual degree program. KXLY  Full Story.

Why do some kids with rough backgrounds beat the odds and succeed while others with far more advantages flounder?

H/T Sam Crawford

Patty Duke Selling Sweet ‘40 Chrysler

“A week or so ago,” emails HMOffsuite, “I got a call from Patty Duke’s husband, Mike, regarding a car they wanted to sell. They have a fully restored 1940 Chrysler they have owned for some time. It's a 4-door restored by Glenn Vaughn, in Post Falls, one of the best in the Country. The car has collector value, but not as popular as Fords or Chevys, and would have a narrow market. As opposed to selling a Mustang or Corvette, for which there would be more buyers. But, it may be of interest to a buyer anywhere in the world, if a guy is into the very best of the 1940 Chryslers. My recommendation for a very fine, low demand car would be Ebay. So, the car will be going on Thursday, and is available for purchase, folks.”

Question: Do you own a vintage car?

Smoking banned at low income apartments

Kellie Aronson, a low-income renter at the Valley 206 apartment complex in Spokane Valley, smokes a cigarette on her back porch Tuesday. Spokane Housing Authority will now ban smoking in apartment units and public spaces.

The Spokane Housing Authority, one of the Spokane area’s biggest landlords to the poor, is banning smoking in individual apartments and common spaces at all its residential properties.

The no-smoking policy will become effective May 1, according to a letter tenants began receiving this week from the housing authority’s director of assets, Lucy Lepinski.

The policy, which includes the smoking of medical marijuana or burning incense and sage, was greeted with mixed reviews by tenants. Kevin Graman, SR

Smoking ban in Spokane Housing Authority apartments: Good idea/Bad idea?

Health Care Reform: one year later

WASHINGTON – Wednesday marked the anniversary of the health care law that its advocates said would change so much. In one very real sense, they were right. The political landscape one year later is radically altered, strewn with the fallen congressional careers of many of its supporters.

The emotional debate over the bill arguably gave rise to the “tea party” movement. Republicans now control the House and aren’t far from seizing the Senate. Potential candidates for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination need only say one word, “Obamacare,” to get a rise from a crowd. And the president himself has struggled at times to ensure that his first term isn’t defined by the legislation.

Public attitudes toward the law, however, have not shifted much at all. The Affordable Care Act remains almost as equally loathed and celebrated as it was 12 months ago, despite the best efforts of Democrats to praise it and Republicans to bury it. Even worse for both sides, a majority of Americans remain confused about what the law actually accomplishes. (emphasis mine) Read more.

Are you confused about what the health care law actually accomplishes?

Update: Woodland Middle School stabbing

Coeur d'Alene police officers gather in the halls of Woodland Middle School in Coeur d'Alene on Friday, March 11, 2011, after a stabbing incIdent .

The student who allegedly stabbed another at Woodland Middle School two weeks ago is no longer enrolled in the Coeur d’Alene School District.

On March 11, one eighth-grade boy stabbed another multiple times with a pocketknife. The boy was treated at Kootenai Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.

The school was locked down for 15 minutes following the stabbing while police searched for the boy with the pocketknife. He was found a short distance away from the school and booked into Kootenai County Juvenile Detention Center on a charge of aggravated battery, police said.

The Spokesman-Review generally does not publish the names of juveniles accused of crimes, but the newspaper obtained the name of the student and confirmed with the district that he is no longer enrolled.

Citing federal privacy laws, district spokeswoman Laura Rumpler declined to disclose specifics of disciplinary actions.

Lead levels spike in Lake Cda

This home is one of many that got caught in the flooding in Cataldo, Idaho, on Jan. 18. At peak flow on that day, water samples taken at Harrison had the highest lead reading since February 1996.

An estimated 352,000 pounds of lead washed into Lake Coeur d’Alene on Jan. 18 after flooding related to a rain-on-snow event.

That’s the weight equivalent of 70 Dodge Ram 1500 pickups – and the highest volume of lead recorded in a 24-hour period since major flooding in February 1996.

Greg Clark, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist, attributed high lead concentrations to a rapid rise in the Coeur d’Alene River caused by pounding rains and melting snow. At Harrison, where the river empties into Lake Coeur d’Alene, the Jan. 18 flows averaged 19,000 cubic feet per second. Becky Kramer, SR

How worried are you about high lead concentration in Lke Coeur d' Alene?

Horsey: On Libya

Horsey: Strategy

WSU 69, Northwestern 66 (OT) In NIT

Washington State guard Klay Thompson, left, controls a rebound from teammate DeAngelo Casto during the first half against Northwestern in a college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the NIT tonight in Pullman. Thompson and Casto, who've both had brushes with the law on pot charges this month, led the Cougars to a 69-66 overtime win over Northwestern in the quarterfinals of the NIT. The victory earns the Cougs a trip to the final four in the NIT at Madison Square Garden in New York. They'll face Wichita State in a semi-final game. ESPN boxscore here. (AP Photo/Dean Hare)

Hump Day Wild Card — 3.23.11

I'm going to hand over controls of Huckleberries Central to Cindy for the next view days while I enjoy the rainshine in the Inland Northwest and gear up for the final days of cuh-razy legislating by the Larrys, Moes, and Curleys dominating the 2011 Legislature. I'm way behind on my pruning and sundry other duties that keep getting pushed back this week. So I'm going to take a four-day weekend. But we still have today. So I'll post this Wild Card and go in search of more fodder to fill the insatiable maw of Huckleberries Online …

Parting Shot — 3.23.11

“I love this sunshine,” said Gabrielle Lewis as she and fellow North Idaho College student, Tim Workman, enjoy the 50 degree weather at NIC Beach in Coeur d'Alene earlier today. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Favorite Eatery Of Bygone Days

On Tuesday, a Facebook idea from OrangeTV launched a nice thread here re: the worst place in town to eat. Today, on his Get Out! North Idaho Facebook wall, OTV is offering a different approach: “What was your favorite North Idaho restaurant or bar which ceased to exist at least 5 years ago. Think 70s, 80s, 90s, places that are now long gone.

DFO: Off the top of my head, I'd say the old Bonanza restaurant (current site of Tomato Street), which offered decent steak and food at modest prices.

Question: What's your favorite bygone eatery or bar in the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls/North Idaho area?

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.23.11

  • 5:17 p.m. Spirit Lake Community Center reports an unknown medical emergency.
  • 5:02 p.m. Shopko security has caught a shoplifter who's being cooperative.
  • 4:36 p.m. Motorist reports large truck-tire thread lying on I-90 @ M/P 14 (15th Street/CdA).
  • 4:07 p.m. Caller reports from Traybur & Black Lake Road that 14YO boy tried to run her over.
  • 4:06 p.m. 6YO boy outside Post Falls Library felt threatened by someone w/a baseball bat.
  • 3:50 p.m. A bald man assaulted 3 females outside an apartment complex on Howard/CdA.
  • More below

PM: Bomb Suspect Pleads Innocent

Kevin W. Harpham pleaded not guilty today to charges that he left a bomb that investigators say could have caused multiple casualties along the planned route of a Unity March to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Story below. (SR sketch: Molly Quinn)

APhoto Of The Day — 3.23.11

BYU Dave Rose kisses his wife Cheryl Rose after defeating Gonzaga 89-67 in a Southeast regional third round NCAA tournament college basketball game, Saturday, in Denver. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. The BYU Cougars layed a smack-down on the Zags, both on and off the court — TalkJoc
  • 2. Is that a Jimmer in your front pocket or are you just happy to see me — Joker.
  • 3. The fans clap to recognize some PDA… It’s the closest they come to seeing any action — CoeurGenX.
  • HM: Rhodetrip

Update: Oil Firm Covets CdA Route

The Idaho Transportation Department has issued a news release saying ExxonMobil submitted plans to it detailing how it now plans to move 60 giant megaloads of oil equipment from Lewiston up Highway 95 to Coeur d'Alene, then east on I-90 to Montana. “The largest shipment proposed is 24 feet wide, 15-feet-10-inches-tall and 207 feet in length, including the transport truck and trailer,” ITD reports. “The heaviest load proposed weighs 165,347 pounds, not including the transport truck and trailer. Each shipment would move between 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m., and take three nights. Traffic delays would be limited to 15 minutes”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Any of you wondering, like I am, whether this was the intent of ConocoPhillips/ITD/Otter administration all along — take a trial run along Clearwater River and then steer the monster loads up H95 through CdA & Shoshone County once the hubbub died down?

WSU Reinstates Casto For NIT Game

Washington State University athletic director Bill Moos lifted DeAngelo Casto’s suspension today, and the junior will be allowed to play against Northwestern this evening. “There has been a great deal of discussion regarding DeAngelo and his situation over the past 24 hours,” Moos said in a media release. “There are unique circumstances involving this matter and I feel the appropriate avenue to take is to allow the legal system to run its course before we consider further action”/Vince Grippi, SR. More here.

Question: Should DeAngelo Casto be allowed to play the NIT quarterfinal game against Northwestern at Pullman tonight?

A Scene From Schweitzer

On her Idaho Scenic Images Facebook wall, Linda Lantzy writes (in this post 2 hours ago): “I climbed a huge snowberm to take this shot, hoping I wouldn't sink to oblivion. Then waited for over an hour for the light to do something dramatic which it never did. So, to the hundred-plus people that drove by … this is what that crazy lady was doing on Schweitzer Mountain road.

Looking For Free Wifi Spots In Town

Linda Lantzy, the talented photograper behind Idaho Scenic Images, enjoys that McDonalds provides free wifi service — but discovered this week that Mickey D's doesn't relish customers who bring in food from other venues to use the Internet hookup. Linda was frowned upon for bringing in a rice bowl from Jack in the Box along with a home-made mocha. Linda had intended to try the wifi at Jack in the Box when she bought the rice bowl. But discovered too late that Jack in the Box doesn't offer free wifi. So she wouldn't mind scouting out some other wifi spots in town.

Question: Which places to you frequent to access free wifi in the local area?

Bigots Target Elizabeth Taylor Funeral

The Westboro Baptist Church, which is best known for its extreme and often controversial negative opinions about homosexuality, will be protesting at the funeral of recently deceased Elizabeth Taylor. On Wednesday, Taylor passed away at the age of 79 from congestive heart failure. That same day, Margie Phelps, daughter of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps, posted the following messages on her Twitter account: “Hello rebels! RIP Elizabeth Taylor is in hell as sure as you're reading this & getting mad as a wet hen. She should've obeyed God. Too late!”/WooEB News. More here. (AP file photo of Westboro Baptist Church)


Jimmer Gets Ready For Florida

BYU's Jimmer Fredette shoots during a practice session for their NCAA Southeast Regional college basketball semifinal game Wednesday in New Orleans. BYU plays Florida on Thursday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Question: Will Florida figure out how to stop Jimmer Fredette? Or will the star basketball player lead BYU into the Elite 8 this weekend?

County Presses BNSF On Depot Rules

The railroad corporation BNSF, which operates a controversial refueling station in Hauser, over the Rathdrum Prairie aquifer, has taken Kootenai County to court over tighter aquifer protection measures. The County wants to make the new measures part of a permit renewal for the facility. After agreeing to a set of conditions in its original negotiated permit some ten years ago, BNSF is now opposed to any new conditions and is claiming that the County has no jurisdiction at all over railroad operations. … As part of its current permit, BNSF has been responsible for funding a monitoring program with Idaho DEQ.  The monitoring program was scheduled to sunset after 10 years, but as part of the permit renewal, Kootenai County wants to make the monitoring permanent. However, BNSF no longer wants to pay for monitoring/Terry Harris, KEA Blog. More here. (KEA Blogs photo)

Question: Has BNSF been a good neighbor for Kootenai County, to this point?

Harwood: Enviro Concerns ‘Frivolous’

What Harwood wants to do is redefine “frivolous lawsuit” to mean “pretty much any lawsuit.” A majority of the House agreed, passing the bill Monday. “My reason for bringing it is we can’t let groups tie up commerce in this state,” Harwood said Monday. “It costs the state of Idaho a lot of money to fight these lawsuits.” Well, it cost the Catholic Church a lot of money to fight lawsuits, too. That doesn’t mean you start charging people to sue. I give Harwood some credit for calling me up and debating this. He’s a timber-country guy, and his monochromatic view of lawsuits come from his long history of seeing timber sale after timber sale tied up by lawsuits, he said. Yet he seems unwilling to grant the possibility that a person with an environmental opinion might be a citizen. With rights/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: How would you define 'frivolous lawsuit'?

Crump: Beware ‘The Giggle Loop’

Betcha can’t NOT  laugh. There was a British sitcom a few years ago called Coupling that depicted the adventures of six thirtysomethings — sort of like Friends, only better-written and better-acted. One of the characters in the series was named Jeff Murdock, a weird Welshman with some novel ideas about life. One of Jeff’s theories was called “The Giggle Loop,” which he defined as the increasing urge to laugh during a moment of solemnity. He compared it to stacking drinking glasses in a tower; eventually the stack will fall — with disastrous consequences at a particularly inappropriate time. “To know about The Giggle Loop, is to become part of The Giggle Loop,” he explained/Steve Crump, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.

Question: Have you ever busted out laughing at an inappropriate time?

INW Headlines — 3.23.11

Spc. Jeremy Morlock, of Wasilla, Alaska, is shown today standing at left-center as he faces Military Judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks, upper right, during a court martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. Morlock pleaded guilty to three counts of murder Wednesday in connection with the killings of three unarmed Afghan men in Kandahar province in 2010. Story here. (AP Photo/Lois Silver)

High Noon: High Heels & Rollovers

Commenting on a mutual friend's Facebook wall re: the recent Kootenai County Lincoln Day Dinner, mutual FBF Denise Durflinger remembers a side trip she made en route to a Lincoln Day Dinner past. She comments: “Last time I did a Lincoln Day dinner (shooting it for the Press), I ended up at a one-car rollover @ Chase and Prairie … in a cocktail-type dress and high heels. The cop on scene said it was a first for him … LOL!!!”

Question: Have you ever rolled your vehicle?

Bachmann, 2 Others Test GOP Waters

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks at a rally by home school advocates at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. More than 1,000 home school advocates rallied on the steps of the Iowa Statehouse, cheered on by three potential Republican presidential candidates who joined their cause. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Question: Which potential presidential candidate would you like to see emerge to oppose the re-election bid of President Barack Obama?

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.23.11

  • 11:48 a.m. A Florida woman reports her Rathdrum boyfriend called, said, “sorry,” and then she heard a gun shot. However, later, he answered phone when she called back.
  • 11:28 a.m. Parent reports a runaway child from 2500 block of Clairborne/CdA.
  • 11:07 a.m. A lawn chair is lying in righthand lane of e/b I-90 near the stateline.
  • 11:05 a.m. Caller wants to speak to an officer re: problems she's having with neighbor's sheep.
  • 11:03 a.m. Caller reports that her neighbor's 3 loose dogs charged the postman and her @ W. Caroline & Ramsey/Rathdrum. Dog routinely run loose.
  • 10:28 a.m. A horse with a saddle on it are running loose @ Ramsey & Brookside/Hayden.
  • 9:23 a.m. Robert has questions for an officer re: living in this area.
  • 9:21 a.m. Caller is concerned that man in brown-and-black Lexus is driving w/o hands on wheel.
  • 9:08 a.m. Caller from Caroline/Rathdrum has contained a German shepherd puppy.
  • 8:21 a.m. Bonnie, on Hauser Lake Road, reports the possible theft of 4 goats.
  • 8:19 a.m. Post Falls officer and Post Falls SD worker are looking for truants.
  • 8:08 a.m. EMTs are responding to 2-vehicle crash that's blocking H41, north of Poleline/PF.
  • 8:05 a.m. Jody has questions for an officer re: her daughter's school.

Idaho Senate Votes To Limit Abortions

The Senate has voted 24-10 in favor of SB 1165, Sen. Chuck Winder's bill to ban all abortions after 20 weeks on grounds of fetal pain, unless it's to save the mother's life or physical health. The measure includes no exception for cases of rape or incest, or for severe fetal anomalies, and passed after an emotional and at times heated debate. The bill now moves to the House/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.

Question: Do you support/oppose this legislation?

EOB: NI Solons Unhappy w/Airlines

Southwest Airlines won’t be getting happy passenger testimonials from 15 North Idaho legislators, reports S-R reporter Tom Sowa. Those 15 senators and representatives’ change in travel arrangements, set in motion by Southwest’s recent elimination of one nonstop flight from Boise to Spokane, is forcing the Idaho Legislature to convene an hour earlier on Fridays. North Idaho lawmakers used to catch a 2:35 p.m. flight to Spokane on Fridays, but now the only Boise-to-Spokane flights on Southwest are at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m./Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Casto Contests Marijuana Charge

Item: Casto contesting marijuana charge/Vince Grippi, SR

TDub: Is it customary in Pullman for police officers to have so much time on their hands to be peering into windows of private citizens without due cause? Where I live, when people do that, I believe it is called a peeping Tom occurrence. Say what you will about the stupidity of leaving yourself open to getting trouble for your behavior, it would appear to me that the Pullman police appear to derive a great deal of pleasure in targeting, and in this case, stalking students for indescretions by peering through windows. Last I heard of this sort of “enforcement” technique, I believe it was East Berlin in the 60s.

Question: Are Pullman police targetting Washington State players, as TDub contends, are are Cougar basketballers flaunting the law when they should be concentrating on important games?

Hucks Poll: Sign Me Up

  • Tuesday Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Online readers say they're prepared to sign petitions seeking to overturn Tom Luna's education “reform” legislation. 379 of 463 respondents (81.9%) said they'd sign the petitions, if the Idaho Education Association follows through with plans to circulate them. 82 of 463 respondents (17.7%) said they wouldn't. 2 Hucksters were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: How concerned are you that Idaho officials may detour megaloads through Coeur d'Alene and Shoshone County?

Exposed On Slopes

A group of Croatian fans ski down a slope wearing swimming suits at Mt. Sljeme near Zagreb, to celebrate the victory of Ivica Kostelic, Tuesday. Kostelic of Croatia has taken the World Cup slalom title and won the overall alpine skiing World Cup title. (AP Photo)

DFO: Cindy's going to pinch hit for me Thursday and Friday. So I thought I'd help her get into the proper mood to take over controls of Hucks Central with some eye candy. I know, I know. They're not firemen, but …

Man-In-Waiting ♥ Legislative Direction

Asked if there are any bills so far this session that he would veto - the lieutenant governor is acting governor when the governor is out of state, and gets to sign or veto bills - Lt. Gov. Brad Little said, “Actually I have written a few notes on a couple bills,” and he said he's seen a draft of a letter on one bill that Gov. Butch Otter may let become law without his signature. But, Little said, “There's nothing I've seen yet that I would veto. But it's no different than serving in the Legislature. There's a lot of bills that you vote on that you wish you had 'none of the above' as an option, but it's action that has to take place. It's just like these incredibly complex education series of bills. There's little bits and pieces of it that I don't like, but the total direction of it I think is absolutely essential”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you glad/concerned that Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who's likely to become Idaho governor, after Butch Otter retires to his ranch in Eagle, supports the direction taken by the 2011 Legislature?

Son Of Luna Sneakier Than Original

So now we have Son of Luna. Poised for another showdown in the Senate, this latest version looks different. No longer is there talk of cutting teaching jobs. It delays technology in the classroom until a task force of educators, tech experts and business people take a look. It assigns the State Board of Education with deciding the pace and scope of online instruction. To say the changes are cosmetic is being generous, however. Son of Luna isn't just a sequel. It's a clone, albeit one that conceals its intent and assigns the fault to others. Beginning next year, Son of Luna pulls $20 million from the account Idaho uses to pay teacher salaries. That comes on top of the $60 million legislators are preparing to cut from the public school budget/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Marty Trillhaase goes on to say that Luna 3, which was passed by Coeur d'Alene Sen. John Goedde's Education Committee Tuesday, will suck $420M from teacher pay in 6 years. Are you still persuaded that Luna's “reform” legislation is good for Idaho school children?

Megaloads Coming To Coeur d’Alene?

The controversial, oversized loads of oil refinery equipment destined for a project in Alberta, Canada, may be detoured north through Kootenai and Shoshone counties. The Idaho Transportation Department is reviewing a proposal from Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil to reduce the size of 33 megaloads at the Port of Lewiston so they can be shipped up U.S. Highway 95 to Interstate 90. The loads – up to 66 of them – would likely go through Moscow. A crew of around 100 is at work on the megaloads, although it was not clear Tuesday exactly how much they would be reduced in length, width or height/Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Do you support a route change that would bring up to 66 megaloads up Highway 95 and across the panhandle on I-90?

AM Headlines — 3.23.11

“It's pretty sad because this is such a beautiful place,” said Linda Fournier, of Hayden as she walked wih her husband, Moe, near the Hayden Lake boat launch at Honeysuckle Beach on Friday. A woman drove her car into the lake on Thursday, March 17, and died at the scene. There have been 12 deaths at the Hayden Lake boat launch since 1995. Chelsea Bannach SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Panel Torpedoes Barbieri Attorney Bill

A lawmaker's effort to get the Idaho Legislature to stop consulting the state attorney general's office and get its own lawyers has failed. Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri, of Dalton Gardens, wanted the Legislature to hire two attorneys for a new “Office of Legislative Counsel.” But the bill was killed Wednesday by the House State Affairs Committee at Barbieri's request, after drawing lawmaker criticism. Priest Lake Republican Rep. Eric Anderson called the bill “a very bad piece of legislation,” saying he was glad Barbieri saved him the trouble of arguing against it/Associated Press. More here. And: Betsy Russell's story here.

Question: Isn't it nice to know that Barbieri is too radical even for the Idaho Legislature?

Trump Testing GOP Prez Waters

Republican officials say Donald Trump will address the party's Lincoln Day dinner as part of his first foray into Iowa as a possible presidential contender. The New York billionaire and reality TV figure has already announced plans to visit New Hampshire in June. Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn says Trump will speak June 10 in Des Moines. Strawn says the Iowa party invited Trump so he could introduce himself to Iowa Republicans. He noted Trump's success as an “entrepreneur and job creator.” Trump has said he will decide by June whether to seek the Republican presidential nomination/Associated Press.

Question: Would anyone out there seriously consider voting for Donald Trump to be president?

Actress Elizabeth Taylor, 79, RIP

One of Hollywood's most legendary beauties, Elizabeth Taylor, died on Wednesday (March 23) at the age of 79 after spending two months in a Los Angeles hospital for treatment of congestive heart failure. One of the brightest stars in the history of the American movie business, Taylor starred in a string of hit movies in the 1950s and 60s, including “Giant,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Cleopatra,” while becoming an international sex symbol and object of tabloid fascination for her string of love affairs with leading men/MTV. More here.

Question: Which Elizabeth Taylor role was your favorite?

Signe: Messed Up Priorities

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Jimmy-Mac Wild Card — 3.22.11

Let's start today by congratulating Jimmy-Mac & Mrs. Mac in welcoming their first-born into the world at 2:02 p.m. Monday — Grace Belle. Reports Jimmy: “She is incredibly health and equally stunning, just like her mommy.” Grace checked in at 8 pounds 10 ounces, measuring 21.5 inches. Which could launch a mini-thread within this Wild Card re: how much you weighed at birth. Moi? 9 pounds, 6 ounces. And I wasn't the biggest baby among us six siblings. My kids, by contrast, were 7-pounders. You can congratulate Jimmy, brag about birth weight, or use this Wild Card to launch other topics …

Parting Shot — 3.22.11

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, right, and shortstop Marco Scutaro dash from the dugout as they head out onto the field for a spring training baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Fort Myers, Fla., earlier today. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Question: Are you ready for the MLB games to officially begin?

Report: Sex, Exercise Hikes ♥ Attacks

Item: Heart-attack risk spikes after sex, exercise, researchers say/Nicole Ostrow, Bloomberg News

More Info: Sexual activity may double a person's chances of having a heart attack immediately or within two hours, Tufts University researchers reported Tuesday. A session of physical exercise may be even more hazardous, tripling the odds of a heart attack within two hours, the scientists said in the Journal of the American Medical Association after analyzing the results of 14 studies. The risks were smaller for people “with high levels of habitual physical activity,” according to the report.

Question: Worth the risk?

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.22.11

  • 5:39 p.m. Figpickles, 312 Sherman/CdA, reports a shoplifter on premises.
  • 5:38 p.m. Caller reports that a man punched another one @ 125 H95/Plummer.
  • 5:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 21-22 here.
  • 4:55 p.m. Caller from Lena Louie/Worley reports neighbor's son is throwing firecrackers over fence into his yard, where his daughter is playing. Two families have protective orders against each other.
  • 4:50 p.m. Small girl tells neighbor on Lilac/Post Falls that mom is being hurt badly by dad.
  • 4:38 p.m. Riverstone business on Main Street reports shoplifting by 60YO man.
  • 4:37 p.m. Police are looking for man on foot who was distraught by federal courthouse proceedings.
  • 4:31 p.m. Caller reports seeing man strike and kick 2YO girl several times before throwing her in pickup @ Ranch Valley Road & H53/Rathdrum.
  • More below

PM Headlines — 3.22.11

Washington State forward DeAngelo Casto (23) grabs a rebound in front of Southern California forward Nikola Vucevic (5) as Faisal Aden, right to left, Garrett Jackson and Klay Thompson watch during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game March 3 in Pullman, Wash. Hours after the game, forward Klay Thompson was arrested on a drug charge and was suspended for one game. Now, Casto, who scored 24 points against USC, has been suspended after a rules violation for the Cougs' NIT quarterfinal game. See below. (AP Photo/Dean Hare)

APhoto Of The Day — 3.22.11

Cyclists ride during the World Naked Bike Ride in Portland, Ore. Nudist advocates on Monday testified against a bill that would ask voters to change free-speech protections in the state constitution to let communities keep strip clubs out of neighborhoods. But, nudists warn, that might unintentionally allow cities to outlaw nude recreation. You write the cutline. (AP File Photo/The Oregonian, Torsten Kjellstrand)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Biff’s bottom bracket bore the bouncing bravely but his gear-grinding caused his rear cluster to give out prematurely — CindyH.
  • 2. ‘Tis all very well for the children to hear/Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere;/But why should my name be quite forgot,/Who rode as boldly and well, Got wot?/Why should I ask? The reason not fair/For he was clothed and I was bare! — Formerly Sandpoint.]
  • 3. Covering the race for the Portland press, Bob wished later he hadn’t dangled his participle, which resulted in an Oregon transplant — JohnA.
  • HM: Cabbage Boy (and almost everyone else … excellent job today)

Casto Suspended For NIT Game

In the “What are these knotheads thinking” department, WSU's Cougars announced moments ago that DeAngelo Casto has been suspended for tomorrow's NIT game for “violation of team rules.” WSU will be playing its biggest game in years at 8 p.m. Wednesday against Northwestern with a bid to the NIT final four on the line. And Casto suffers a brain cramp that's big enough to get him booted for the game. As you recall, star forward Klay Thompson was arrested on a drug charge March 3 hours after the Cougars had beat USC to keep them in contention for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Vince Grippi's SR story here. (AP file photo of DeAngelo Casto against Kansas State Dec. 3)

Question: Sometimes I wonder if I should waste my time following college athletes who are this stupid. What do you think?

Longo-Nabbed Dealer Gets 14 Years

A Coeur d'Alene methamphetamine dealer arrested at gunpoint by the city's police chief was sentenced Monday to 14 years in federal prison.  Daniel W. Bisher, 36, was arrested in a sweeping methamphetamine investigation that has resulted in prison sentences for several North Idaho residents. He pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to distribute meth, distribution of meth and unlawful possession of a firearm. Bisher, who has previous felony convictions, will serve 168 month in prison, be on probation for five years, forfeit two firearms and perform 100 hours of community service, U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge ruled Monday/Meghann Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels. More here.

Goedde, Ed Panel OKs Luna 3

Update: The Senate Education Committee has voted 6-3 in favor of SB 1184, the school reform bill, which now goes to the full Senate with a recommendation that it “do pass.” Those voting in favor of the bill were Sens. Toryanski, Winder, Fulcher, Mortimer, Goedde, and Pearce. Those voting against were Sens. Andreason, McWilliam, and LeFavour.

The superintendents and school board chairmen of the state's two largest school districts, Boise and Meridian, have sent a letter to their local lawmakers urging them to oppose SB 1184, because they estimate the districts will lose millions of dollars in state funding under the bill. “SB 1184 would have an ongoing, cumulative negative impact on the general fund budgets of the Meridian and Boise districts,” the letter says/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: On its Twitter account, the Idaho Education Association comments: “First two stakeholder groups have poked a gaping hole in (3rd Tom Luna education reform bill). Will committee members pass it anyway? I tweeted: “Of course.” Does anyone disagree?

Island In the Mist

I picked this off Pecky Cox's Priest Lake Photography Facebook wall. That's Papoose Island on Priest Lake in the mist, I believe. You can find other terrific photos from Pecky & her Priest Lake friends here.

Cindy: I Even ♥ His Wedding Perm

On her Facebook wall, Sidekick Cindy has been celebrating her 25th anniversary with Derek for several days — at one point calling the decision to marry him was the best one she ever made. Today, she offers a somewhat different twist. You may not see it well, but Derek has a perm in the photo with this post. Writes Cindy: “About the hair: In his besotted state Derek agreed to get a perm before the wedding. It was his first. And last. And he traces his eventual loss of his hair to this selfless act of love. Though he does often point out that every ex-boyfriend of mine he's met, is now follicly-challenged. Then I point out that he hasn't met them all.”

Question: Would you get a perm for your true love? What have you done for love?

OTC: Don’t Pack Ammo At Airports

When traveling, it is important to search every possible pocket, pouch, slot — basically any opening in any bag — to make sure your luggage is TSA-approved. Apparently they are not impressed when you do not realize there is a rifle bullet in the end of your purse from winter break when you went shooting with your best friend, who, coincidentally, you are visiting for spring break. Oh, and hand lotion also sets off the wipe detector. Hello, full-body and luggage search. Awesome/Elizabeth, UI Argonaut. More Off The Wall here.

Question: Have you ever been embarrassed at airport security by something inadvertently packed in your carry-on bag?

Crapo: Not World’s Policeman

Libyans pose on the wreckage of a US F15 fighter jet after it crashed in an open field in the village of Bu Mariem, east of Benghazi, eastern Libya, earlier today, with both crew ejecting safely. The U.S. Africa Command said both crew members were safe after what was believed to be a mechanical failure of the Air Force F-15. The aircraft, based out of Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, was flying out of Italy's Aviano Air Base in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn.(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

The experience of long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are troubling, Crapo said. “We have not allowed our military to go in and in an effective, prompt way achieve their objectives. Instead, we’ve put ourselves in a position of nation building — of literally being in a position of having to rebuild two major nations. Not that I don’t have humanitarian concerns, but the United States cannot continue to be the world’s policeman and the source of economic development and reconstruction” — U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. More here.

Question: Should we be the world's policeman when dictators like Gadhafi are brutalizing their own citizens?

You Could Be Replaced By A Robot

Are humans becoming obsolete in the workforce? All signs point to “yes.” As IBM's Watson proved on Jeopardy, robots are becoming smarter than people. They also make fewer mistakes and they don't get bored. By 2013 there will be 1.2 million industrial robots working worldwide — that's one robot for every 5,000 people, according to Marshall Brain, founder of How Stuff Works and author of Robotic Nation. Robots are currently analyzing documents, filling prescriptions, and handling other tasks that were once exclusively done by humans/ Click here for list of jobs that could be replaced by a robot.  (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Could a robot do the job that you now do?

Do School Unies Level Playing Field?

Daniel Boyer looked down at his outfit and shrugged. His blue button-down shirt was tucked into khaki pants and a belt ran around his waist. He adjusted his coordinating blue tie and stood a little straighter. “I kind of like dressing like this better. It’s comfy.” Boyer paused and then flashed a smile. “It makes me look good.” Boyer, 17, likes wearing a uniform every day to North Valley Academy Charter School in Gooding, and he even wears a tie a couple times a week for good measure/Amy Huddleston, Twin Falls Times-News. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Did you ever wear a uniform for school? Did it bother you?

Johnson: Guns & Porn, Oh My

In times of severe economic turmoil like those faced in Idaho and most other states at the moment, I've noticed a curious legislative phenomenon. With limited ability for legislators to think big about new buildings or highways, they tend to find solutions to problems that may not really exist. The gun legislation, stoked by the National Rifle Association in Idaho, Texas and a dozen other states, seems to fall in that category. College administrators, the State Board of Education and law enforcement leaders - those closest to the vibe on a campus - are universally opposed to the gun legislation that has only come forward because, well, the NRA says its needed to protect our Second Amendment rights/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Question: Are Idaho legislators conjuring more whacky ideas than usual this session because there's little money to focus on big ideas and projects, so they're creating solutions for problems that don't exist?

INW Headlines — 3.22.11

In this Jan. 19 file photo, 99-year-old Brigadier Gen. Mayhew “Bo” Foster, in his dress blues, speaks to the AP at his nursing home in Missoula, Mont. Foster, a retired brigadier general of the Montana National Guard who flew captured Nazi leader Hermann Goering into Allied hands at the end of World War II, has died at 99. Missoulian story here. (AP Photo/Mike Albans, File)

OTV: All-Time Worst Local Eatery?

On his Get Out! North Idaho Facebook wall, OrangeTV notes that I Love CDA is asking readers to name their all-time favorite Coeur d'Alene restaurant. OTV, feeling a tad mischievous today, switched the question for his followers, stating: “What is your all-time least favorite, most hated restaurant in Coeur d'Alene and why? Gimme the dirt.”

Question: Is there a restaurant in town — current or past — that you simply loathed?

High Noon: Eau De Boy

In the comments section under the Smelly Sneakers thread below, Liz states: “I am not surprised the winner was a nine year old boy. I have a ten year old boy who could win this were he to enter. Absolutely vile.” Which prompted me to remember a boy who once inhabited my house whose room had a certain unsettling smell. I dubbed it “eau de boy.” The smell was a mix of unwashed socks, dirty sneakers, sweat, and mounds of stuff in various degrees of decay, including a small baby food bottle of toe nail clippings that were being saved for a friend's birthday. I'm happy to say that the boy married a young woman who keeps a clean house. Unlike his parents, she's been able to train him to pick up after himself.

Question: Can you think of a domestic smell that's worse than a boy or a boy's room?

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.22.11

  • 11:57 a.m. Resident reports house burglary in 4100 block of Appaloosa/Indian Meadows subdivision.
  • 11:11 a.m. A. reports that a man pointed his finger at her like it was a gun when he drove past her home this weekend. Today, she discovered a flat on her car. And wonders if incidents are related.
  • 11 a.m. Caller reports his neighbor in county is grading common dirt access road w/o his permission.
  • 10:48 a.m. EMTs are responding to unknown medical emergency in 3500 block of Estates/Athol.
  • 10:30 a.m. Alarm company reports possible intruder in home @ Walkers Bay & Bennett Bay/CdA.
  • 10:08 a.m. McGrane Center at Kootenai Medical Center reports patient has lost consciousness.
  • 9:14 a.m. Robert is still having a problem w/someone stealing his for-sale signs.
  • 8:37 a.m. Caller reports a dead deer on Coeur d'Alene Lake side of H95, near M/P 87 (Burma Road).
  • 8:17 a.m. Resident on Riverview/Post Falls reports several mailboxes scratched last night.
  • 8:11 a.m. A Coeur d'Alene woman reports finding a shoe print on her front door this morning.

Barbieri Defends Ousting AG Office

Lawmakers on the House State Affairs Committee had plenty of questions this morning about Rep. Vito Barbieri's bill to set up a separate “Office of Legislative Counsel” to provide legal opinions for the Legislature, sidestepping the state Attorney General's office — and cutting its budget and staff to fund the new office. Barbieri, who is a lawyer but is not licensed to practice in Idaho, said he sees an “inherent conflict of interest” in the attorney general providing opinions to the Legislature; asked for an example, he cited his health care nullification bill, which the attorney general advised was unconstitutional/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Would you rather have Republican Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's office offering legal opinions on questionable legislation or someone of Vito Barbieri's choosing?

Joker: How Idaho Dems Can Rebound

Last week, the regular Dems on the blog were asking for suggestions (tongue firmly planted in cheek) in coordinating their efforts with the IEA. Despite their cynical view of the Joker, I do have some ideas on how to help them:

  • 1. Build a coaltion. Get people from all walks of life and economic status on board with the cause. The goal should be 250,000 signatures.
  • 2. Let the Idaho Education Association take the lead. The Idaho Democrats should be there in a supporting role and available to execute the mission.
  • 3. The Dems should be sharing email lists, phone lists with the Idaho Education Association and vice versa.
  • Nos. 4-10 here

Question: Do you agree with Joker's suggestions re: the organization needed for Idaho Democrats to regain political ground lost to supermajority Republicans?

BF Protesters Greet Butch, Raul

“When Idaho Governor Butch Otter, Senator Mike Crapo and U.S. Congressman Raul Labrador arrived in Bonners Ferry Saturday morning, they weren't merely welcomed by the glad-hand crowd,” writes Mike Weland, publisher of the online News Bonners Ferry. “Instead, they had to pass a line of picketers on their way to the Kootenai River Inn … children, teachers, retirees, state workers … local people concerned about decisions our state legislators have made regarding such issues as jobs, education, Medicaid, worker's rights, guns on campus and more.” More here. (Photo Courtesy: News Bonners Ferry)

Question: Is there time for the Idaho Legislature to act this session to outlaw protesters of the governor, Tom Luna, Raul Labrador, and unpopular legislation?

Dennis: Raul-dos Around In Big Way

The other day a friend of mine asked me if I had kept up on newly-minted US Congressman Raul Labrador.  Kind of a “Where's Waldo” thing…only sans the elf hat and the rugby shirt. My friend knew that I had been Raul's Campaign spokesman in the GOP Primary last year (just around this time, actually) and was simply interested in finding out. I think, to some measure, my buddy was asking an honest question that so many folks ask once a freshman is sent back to DC to represent the “home team”/Dennis Mansfield. More here. (Wikipedia photo)

Question: Are you satisfied that new Congressman Raul Labrador is active in Washington, D.C., rather than getting lost in the system?

Hucks Poll: Rocky Gets Solid B

  • Monday Poll: At the midway point of his fourth term, Sheriff Rocky Watson remains popular in Kootenai County. 60.5% of respondents awarded Rocky A's or B's for his performance over almost 17 years in office — 56 of 152 (36.4%) B's and 36 of 152 (23.7%) A's. Another 34 of 152 (22.4%) gave him C's, while 13 each awarded D's and F's.
  • BSU-BYU Poll: 46 of 70 respondents (65.7%) would prefer to see the Idaho Vandals football team play Boise State next year instead of Brigham Young. 24 of 70 (34.3%) voted the opposite. In 2011, BYU will fill the spot on UI's schedule vacated by BSU, which jumped to the Mountain West Conference.
  • Today's Poll: Would you sign a petition in an attempt to overturn Tom Luna's education reform legislation?

Eau de Rotten Sneakers

Judge Rachel Herz smells a rotten sneaker in the annual Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest on Tuesday in Montpelier, Vt. The competitors had their sneakers judged on the conditions of the sole, tongue, heel, toe, laces, eyelets and odor. Thw winner was Sterling Brinkerhoff, 9, from Benjamin, Utah. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Question: Do you or anyone else in your family have sneakers worthy of this contest?

Vick Wants Guns-On-Campus Action

On his Twitter account, Idaho state Sen. Steve Vick, R, Dalton Gardens is worried that Gov. Butch Otter will scuttle Rep. Erik Simpson's proposal to allow guns on Idaho college campuses. Vick tweets: “Contact the Governor and urge him to support our 2nd Amendment rights: Otter scuttled last guns-on-campus push.” Vick then provides a link to a newspaper story in which the SR's Betsy Russell mentions Otter's misgivings about similar legislation three years ago here.

Question: If college students have a constitutional right to bare guns on campus, shouldn't high schoolers, at least those 18 years old and older, have the same right to bear arms on school grounds, too?

Drive To Repeal Luna ‘Reform’ Begins

Item: Teachers union takes first step to repeal education bills/Nishi Gupta, KTVB

More Info: The day after two education reform bills were signed into law, the state teachers union filed petitions to repeal them. The actions of the Idaho Education Association could prevent those laws from ever being implemented. The IEA filed two petitions- one for each reform bill. It's likely a third petition will also be submitted if the third education reform bill, which is up for discussion for tomorrow, also becomes law.

Question: Will you sign a petition to repeal Tom Luna's education “reform” legislation?

Doug Clark: The End Is Near?!

It should be obvious to everyone by now that the world is going to end on May 21 or next year on Dec. 21 or sometime pretty darned soon, anyway. So today I must ask: Have you given any thought to what you’re going to wear or what to pack when it all comes down? Probably not. I’m guessing that you, like me, are a procrastinator when it comes to those tedious details of life, like doing taxes or preparing an end-of-the-world exit strategy. Part of the problem is that there are so many doomsdays looming. Right now, for example, there are religious folks traveling around the country on a mission. And that is to warn everyone that the world will begin to biblically unravel on May 21/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Do you expect a biblical doomsday within your lifetime — or even the Mayan calendar 2012 meltdown?

AM Headlines — 3.22.11

Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot celebrates their 89-75 win over UCLA with teammate Carter Schick at the end of the second-round NCAA tournament women's college basketball game on Monday in Spokane. See story below. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

State Affairs Against Assisted Suicide

The House State Affairs Committee has voted unanimously in favor of SB 1070a, the bill to ban assisted suicide and make it a felony. Jason Herring, head of Right to Life of Idaho, told the committee, “All this belongs to God, all this is under His control.” He said anyone assisting with a suicide is “usurping the authority of God and robbing the deathbed of all that is precious and holy in His eyes.” He said,  “We believe the state of Idaho has a vested interest in promoting and maintaining what is righteous and just in the eyes of God”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Does your faith tradition support or oppose assisted suicide?

U.S. Fighter Jet Crashes In Libya

Item: U.S. fighter jet crashes in Libya: U.S. military blames crash on mechanical failure as pilots are forced to eject during mission over northeastern Libya/Aljazeera

More Info: Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, onboard the USS Kearsarge, a US Navy vessel stationed off Libya's coast, which was involved in the recovery of the crew, said two aircraft were involved in the rescue operation. “The two pilots are in good condition. They are expected to be heading possibly to this ship which has excellent medical facilities on board.

Question: Do you understand what our mission is in Libya?

Otter Less Inclined To Talk To Media

Idaho’s governors have met with the Idaho Press Club during the annual legislative session since the tradition began with Cecil Andrus in the early 1970s. They did it because they honored the media’s duty to inform. But this year, Gov. Butch Otter begged off. On Feb. 25, spokesman Jon Hanian told a club organizer Otter would end the streak “due to scheduling constraints.” On Monday, Hanian dispensed with the niceties. “The governor said, ‘Look, I’m not going to do it this year.’” Lt. Gov. Brad Little has agreed to fill in Wednesday. Otter declined my requests for comment. Otter’s clamming up seems more common now that he faces lame-duckhood/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Is Otter obligated to talk to the media?

Signe: Fingers In Too Many Dikes

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Wild Card/Monday — 3.21.11

If Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are the three milestones in the long walk toward winter, can we say that Groundhog's Day, the beginning of MLB spring training, and daylight-saving time are the three steps toward spring — for every place in U.S. but Inland Northwest? Can you suggest three other milestones in the march toward spring? While you're considering the possibilities, I'll post the Wild Card …

WSU 74, Oklahoma State 64

Washington State guard Klay Thompson, right, drives around Olkahoma State guark Markel Brown in the first half of an NIC Tournament basketball game tonight at Jack Friel Court in Pullman. WSU stopped Oklahoma State 74-64 to earn the right to host a quarterfinal game in the National Invitational Tournament against Northwestern at 8 p.m. Wednesday. ESPN boxscore here. And: WSU athletic department photo gallery here. (AP Photo/Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Geoff Crimmins)

The Washington State Cougars took another step toward New York on Monday night, and they didn’t have to leave Beasley Coliseum. And they won’t have to. The Cougars’ 74-64 National Invitation Tournament victory over Oklahoma State came in front of more than 5,000 and left WSU (21-12) just one win away from the semifinals at Madison Square Garden. They face their final hurdle Wednesday night when Northwestern comes to Pullman for a quarterfinal contest. The Cougars moved on thanks to the 21 points of Klay Thompson, another 17 from Brock Motum and timely contributions from just about everyone else/Vince Grippi, SR. More here.

Lady Zags 89, UCLA 75

Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot (21) is chased by UCLA's Markel Walker (23) and Christina Nzekwe (4) as she races upcourt during the first half of their second-round game of the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament Monday in Spokane. Vandersloot scored 29 points and dished out 17 assists en route to becoming the first woman and man in Division I history to score more than 2000 points and hand out 1000 assists, in leading the Lady Zags to an upset 89-75 victory over UCLA. The win sends the Lady Zags to the Sweet 16 round for the second straight year. Associated Press story here. And: ESPN boxscore here. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

For a second straight year, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are headed to the Sweet 16. Behind senior point guard Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga rallied past the eighth-ranked UCLA Bruins, pulling away to an 89-75 win in an NCAA women’s basketball tournament game Monday before a sold-out, raucous crowd at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga (30-4) will take on the Xavier/Louisville winner across town at the Spokane Arena on Saturday. Xavier and Louisville play Tuesday/Spokesman-Review. More here.

DFO: If you didn't see tonight's game — and have never seen Courtney Vandersloot handle the ball — set aside time in the Sweet 16 round and do so. You can thank me later.

Parting Shot: Lovely First Ladies

First Lady Michelle Obama and Chilean First Lady Cecilia Morel walk past the troops during an arrival ceremony at La Moneda Palace in Santiago, Chile, today. Reportedly, Chile President Sebastian Pinera engaged in personal chitchat with President Barack Obama. “I think the first lady of the U.S. is very good-looking,” Pinera declared during a joint news conference with Obama in Santiago midway through Obama's Latin American tour. According to Pinera, the sentiment was mutual. “President Obama has said the same about the first lady of Chile.” More here. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Question: What do you make of the exchange between Obama and the Chilean president re: the beauty of each other's wife?

Oh Goody, Another War

Let's make this one short,
instead of eternal,
and let's make damn sure
we blow up the Colonel.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Harwood Tells 3 Megaload Whoppers

There were a few whoppers told on the House floor today in the debate over HB 193a, the bill to block citizen lawsuits over giant megaloads on Idaho roads. First, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, pictured, repeatedly said the companies shipping megaloads will post a $250 million bond to cover damage; the bond is actually $10 million. Secondly, Harwood told the House repeatedly that the giant loads are only  permitted to travel from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., and said, “They only travel from 11 at night 'til 4 o'clock in the morning, and I'm not sure there's a lot of scenic people out running around from 11 at night 'til 4 in the morning looking at scenery.” Actually, the giant loads are permitted to travel from 10 p.m. until 5:30 a.m./Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: How many whoppers should an Idaho legislator be able to tell before his nose starts growing?

PM Headlines — 3.21.11

Anneliese Walser, 6, and older sister Gretta Walser, 9, Boise, help get a kite ready for flight on a windy first day of Spring with their parents Chris Walser and Ashley Davis at Camel's Back Park in Boise Sunday. The National Weather Service in Boise reported wind gusts up to 48 mph Sunday which downed trees, power lines and blocked some residential streets. (AP Photo/Statesman: Darin Oswald)

Aphoto Of The Day — 3.21.11

Three fans reach out for a ball, but not before San Francisco Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa, right, can make the catch for an out on a ball hit by Chicago Cubs' Alfonso Soriano in the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Sunday at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, Ariz. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. visitors fight over the last toupee toss into the crowd at Fan Appreciation day for bald men — CoeurGenX.
  • 2. the follicly challenged miss the foul ball by a hair! — JDanMike.
  • 3. The brothers Grimbaldy get an airball when they thought it was a hairballin — Charlie.
  • HM: Herb Huseland (who's celebrating birthday No. 73 this week)

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.21.11

  • 5:36 p.m. CPD Blue stopping @ Auto Zone near Govt Way & Appleway to check large pothole.
  • 5:32 p.m. 30ish woman is unconscious after overdose @ Westminster & Pacific/CdA.
  • 4:40 p.m. Caller reports that a man in a green Pathfinder, with a female passenger, pulled a knife on him during road rage incident & then drove off w/b on Prairie from Carolwood Court/PF.
  • 4:35 p.m. Frank reports he's meeting bounty hunter at entrance of North Idaho Centennial Trail to take wanted person into custody.
  • 4:08 p.m. Non-injury accident involving 2 vehicles is blocking 5th & Locust/CdA.
  • 3:54 p.m. Dispatcher says: “I don't want to look at that because it's depressing. And I don't want to be depressed.”
  • More below

Where Was George & Eric?

The paragraphs that conclude Cameron Rasmusson's (Bonner Daily Bee) report on the Bonner County Lincoln Day Dinner Friday are interesting: “Finally, local legislators took their turns at the mic. Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, and Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens outlined their support for the strategy of nullification. Keough, Bonner County’s only legislator present, emphasized party unity. 'At the end of the day, we’re all Republicans,' she said. 'We’re all after the same thing.' ” It's noteworthy that Hart & Barbieri from House District 3 (northern Kootenai County) spoke when District 2 Rep's George Eskridge & Eric Anderson weren't even present. Mebbe the latter two got snagged in Boise. (Photo: Eric Anderson, R, Priest Lake)

Question: What do you make of the absence of Anderson and Eskridge and the presence of Hart and Barbieri at the Bonner County Lincoln Day event?

Joker Proposes Whacky Pol Brackets

“Since my NCAA bracket is busted,” posts Joker in the Wild Card thread “I think we should have some fun at the Legislators’ expense. How about a March Madness Tournament for whackiest politician in Idaho.
(Make your picks):

  • Teabagger Region: 1. Phil Hart, 2. Bob Nonini, 3. Shannon McMillan, and 4. Steve Vick
  • Dumber and Dumber Region: 1. Dick Harwood, 2. Lawerence Denney, 3. Rex Rammell, & 4. Frank Henderson.
  • Constitutional Hypocrites Region: 1. Vito Barbieri, 2. Erik Simpson, 3. Butch Otter, & 4. John Goedde.
  • We got elected because We’re Republican Region: 1. Tom Luna, 2. Thomas F. Loertscher, 3. Kathy Sims, & 4. Joyce Broadsword

Question: Who would win this competition? Who would be the Cinderella story? Can you think of a way to improve Joker's brackets?

NIdaho Blogs — 3.21.11

Kama Griffitts, the former Coeur d'Alene High star who led NIC's Lady Cards to the national NJCAA women's basketball championship in Salinas, Kan., Saturday, is all smiles as she returns home. You can see more photos of the homecoming by Kerri Thoreson/More Main Street here.

Hucks Online numbers (for week of March 13-19): 47,906/29,148

CSI Wins National Championship, Too

College of Southern Idaho celebrates after the Eagles won the NJCAA men's basketball national championship game 72-64 over Midland College, Saturday, at the Sport Arena in Hutchinson, Kan.  Stories here and here. (APhoto/The Hutchinson News, Travis Morisse)

Question: With the NIC Cardinal Lady Cardinals winning the women's NJCAA title in Salinas, Kan., can we now declare Idaho to be the junior basketball capital of the nation?

HubieN75: Take Yer Hat Off

HubieN75: In the comment thread re: the High Noon topic about wearing hats, HubieN75 brings up an interesting point when he writes: “I was always taught to remove my hat indoors. But that bit of etiquette seems to have slipped into obscurity.” As I type this post, I'm wearing my green-and-tan Huckleberry Hound baseball cap, for protection against the glare from neon lights overhead. But there are times that I'll keep my ballcap on while dining at a local restaurant. I'll remove my Indiana Jones hat, as I was taught as a kid. But the ballcap seems to be a tweener to me.

Question: Should you remove a baseball cap while eating in a restaurant? And/or (for those who answered yes to the first question): Should you remove a baseball cap while eating at a fast-food place like McDonalds or Taco Bell?

Oopsy: Rocky Now In 4th Term

There's an error in the poll to the right in which I ask for a grade for Sheriff Rocky Watson's tenure at the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. I mention two-plus terms. It should be three-plus terms, 17 years in all so far. You can read Alison Boggs' story about Watson's plans to retire here.

Vandals To Play BYU, Not Boise State

The Vandals will open the 2011 season with a rematch against Bowling Green at home and two tough, nonconference road trips to Texas A&M (Sept. 17) and Virginia (Oct. 1). The Vandals released their schedule today. For the first time in years, the lineup doesn’t include a game against in-state rival Boise State due to the Broncos’ move … to the MWC. The nonconference schedule also includes BYU Nov. 12/Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.'

Question: Would you rather see the Vandal footballers play Boise State or Brigham Young?

Otis: Doesn’t Idaho ♥ Girl Scouts?

Otis Experience: Here’s a story problem for you: I’ve been selling Girl Scout cookies. In Washington, they’re $4.00 a box. In Idaho, they’re $4.25 a box. Now… “liberal” Washington has no sales tax on food, so that’s why they’re only $4.00. In “conservative” Idaho, food is taxed. Therefore, the same box of cookies is $4.25. Now… I’m confused. Shouldn’t ultra-Republican Idaho be the one where you can buy Girl Scout cookies… tax-free? And that doesn’t even factor in Idaho’s income tax …

Question: Let's forget for a moment that Girl Scouts in Idaho are forced to charge more for their cookies that those in Washington. Which Girl Scout cookie do you order?

Children’s Ride Ends In Tragedy

Rescue workers look over the scene of an accident after a children's train ride at Cleveland Park derailed in Spartanburg, S.C. , Saturday. A state inspector falsified a safety report and never tested the children's train ride that crashed over the weekend, killing a boy and injuring dozens, officials said Monday, March 21. (AP Photo/Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Alex C. Hicks Jr.)

Question: How certain are you that the rides you enjoy at the carnival or theme park are safe?

Crump: To Band-Aid Or Not?

I had some very minor surgery on my face last week, but it left me with a very major Band-Aid. Basically, it’s like a neon sign. It’s hard to finesse what befalls your mug. “What happened to you?” a co-worker asked. “Oh, I had a thing taken off my face,” I explained. “Then why do you have a bandage the size of Delaware?” It’s a fair question. I’m the kind of person who hates to draw attention to himself, but I look like the Other Guy on WWE Raw. Worse, I have a moon face and the bandage is on my cheek. It’s impossible not to stare. So here’s my dilemma: Do I let people behold the bandage or the wound underneath?/Steve Crump, Twin Falls Times-News. More here. (SR file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: What would you do — wear a Band-Aid and invited questions? Or show up to work sans Band-Aid?

April Fool’s Day For Adjournment?

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, told the full Senate that it will begin meeting on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in an attempt to complete its work by April 1. Davis said it would be possible to adjourn by that date “only if all the stars align perfectly on getting a few things done.” Davis did point out that the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee “still has some important work ahead of them,” including setting the public K-12 education budget/Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Can you think of a better day for the 2011 Legislature to adjourn than April 1?

Southern Idaho Seniors Strut Stuff

At 71, Jeanne Meyer still works as a hairstylist. The Twin Falls woman celebrated her 70 birthday by going skydiving. She writes cowboy poetry and has more energy than many 20-somethings. On March 11, she and two other women — Linda Johnson, 64, of Wendell and Karen Taylor, 76, of Burley — competed in the Ms. Idaho Senior America competition at Twin Falls’ senior center. They wore evening gowns, showed off talents and blushed at compliments about their looks as they competed to advance to state competition in Coeur d’Alene. In the audience were more smartly dressed women, most of whom were 50 and older. The message of the event: It doesn’t matter how old you are. It matters how old you feel/Melissa Davlin, Twin Falls Times-News. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Do you think you'll embrace old age … or give in to ailments?

INW Headlines — 3.21.11

Post Falls police Officer J.D. Putnam returns to his car after a traffic stop on Friday. The department uses Coban in-car cameras to record every stop officers make. Story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

High Noon: The Hat Is Back

I used to think it old fashioned that my dad always wore a hat. He had a gray one, a brown one, I think, and I vaguely remember a dapper looking summertime straw hat. I never remember seeing him in a cap, but hardly ever remember him not wearing a hat. Dad would be happy to know that hats are reportedly back in style and I find I'm now just as old fashioned with my hats as I once thought him to be with his. The new movie, The Adjustment Bureau, some say, is popular culture proof that the hat is back. Maybe. I think Matt Damon looks pretty good in a hat, but have been told his hat is better than the movie/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

DFO: Wore my brown hat to work today … and I wore a grey 1940s Dobbs hat to a spring '50s banquet at my church Friday. I like hats. Nice to see them back in fashion. Now if only my 'stache would return to fashion.

Question: Do you wear a hat?

Bonds Perjury Trial Finally Begins

Barry Bonds arrives at the federal courthouse in San Francisco on Monday. The Bonds perjury trial is finally scheduled to get under way, more than three years after baseball's all-time home run leader was charged with lying to a federal grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Question: Should Major League Baseball allow Barry Bonds home run records to stand, if he's found guilty of perjury for lying that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his playing days?

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.21.11

  • 11:39 a.m. Caller reports an unwanted person hanging around 1519 Sherman/CdA.
  • 11:24 a.m. Caller reports a blue pickup w/tan canopy w/b on Seltice Way ran NW Blvd light.
  • 11:18 a.m. A large, wooden pallet is lying on w/b I-90 @ M/P 4 (west of Spokane/PF).
  • 11:12 a.m. Someone is in Coeur d'Alene police lobby to turn in dated prescription drugs.
  • 11:09 a.m. Caller reports a suspicious backpack left next to fire hydrant @ 902 E. Mullan/CdA.
  • 11:08 a.m. Caller reports driver in red Durango almost rear-ended him @ Honeysuckle & Best/CdA and then got out of vehicle & banged on his trunk.
  • 11:06 a.m. CPD Blue reports that a disabled yellow Ford Mercury is blocking Ironwood & H95/CdA.
  • 10:49 a.m. Woman from Exxon station reports man hit her in 1300 block of Wallace/CdA. She told current boyfriend that ex-boyfriend beat her. Current BF called cops and is en route to scene.
  • 10:28 a.m. John, on Lake Coeur d'Alene, reports someone swiped his boat dock.
  • 10:21 a.m. A wanted person is in the Department of Motor Vehicles office.
  • 10:06 a.m. An 86YO woman has fallen near 3rd-floor elevator @ 575 Garden Plaza/Post Falls.
  • 9:18 a.m. Caller reports suspicious activity @ e/b I-90 offramp @ M/P 15 (Sherman Avenue).
  • 8:57 a.m. A wanted man reportedly is now on premises of 3113 Government Way office.
  • 8:14 a.m. Caller in 1000 block of Davis complains that neighbor starts chains to early in AM.

Barbieri Resurrects Nullification Bill

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, pictured, has a new bill up for introduction in the House Ways & Means Committee today that he said is “our last gasp before the session is over” to try to block implementation in Idaho of the federal health care reform law. Barbieri sponsored legislation that passed the House seeking to nullify the federal law; it was killed in a Senate committee. Under the new bill, he said, “We're again trying to direct the state agencies to wait until the Supreme Court decision on the … Florida case with (Judge) Vinson.” He said, “We just want to stop things in their tracks until the Supreme Court rules. We're hoping that may rush the process so that we can get a resolution in the Supreme Court”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think the full Senate should hear arguments on the nullification bill?

Forum: What Conservative Means

State Sens. Melinda Smyser and Russ Fulcher and Idaho Freedom Foundation founder Wayne Hoffman will speak at a Boise State University forum on Thursday re: “What Being Conservative Means to Me.”

Question: What does being conservative mean to you?

Highway District Candidates Released

Deputy Clerk Pat Raffee has released the list of candidates for local highway districts:

  • East Side Highway District: Zone 1 — Lorna Casey-Kaiser, David Dasher, Chris Fillios, Joseph B. Whipple; Zone 3 — Mark W. Addington, J.R. (Jimmie) Dorsey, Thomas Little

  • Lakes Highway District: Zone 2 — Chris Kraft, Weston E. (Monty) Montgomery, Howard “Corky” Witherwax; Zone 3 — Diane Fountain, J. Marvin Lekstrum, Daniel Malcolm

  • Post Falls Highway District: Zone 3 — Bryan D. Crabtree, Lynn Humphreys

Complete list of highway district and school district trustee candidates here.

Poll: Forget Fallout, Give Me Hawaii

  • Weekend Poll: 154 of 215 respondents (71.6%) said they aren't afraid of nuclear fallout from Japan disaster reaching Hawaii and would happily vacation in Hawaii 5-0 in near future. 51 of 215 (23.7%) would hold off vacation plans in Hawaii for awhile as a result of nuclear concerns. 10 were undecided.
  • 'Reckless' Butch: 85 of 126 respondents (67.5%) believe Gov. Butch Otter is being reckless in his governance of Idaho rather than “pushing the envelope.” 34 of 126 respondents voted that Otter is pushing the envelope this year with his support of Tom Luna's education reform and other controversial issues. 7 were undecided.
  • Split On Labrador: 85 of 174 respondents (48.85%) are happy with the performance of new Congressman Raul Labrador so far. 82 of 174 respondents (47.13%) are not. 7 were undecided. (Labrador was trailing in the poll until his office sent out an e-mail to supporters re: the poll)
  • Today's Poll: How would you rate Rocky Watson's performance as sheriff over his three-plus terms?

Wolfinger To Seek Rocky Watson Job

Announcement this morning via Twitter by Melissa Luck/KXLY: “Kootenai County Sheriff's Major (and, longtime media contact) Ben Wolfinger announced this morning he's running for sheriff.”

Question: Why do you think Ben Wolfinger is announcing his run for sheriff so early?

SR Columns: Zag Clock Hits Midnight

Senior Steven Gray leaves the court for the last time wearing a Gonzaga uniform after loosing to BYU at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

March is a bad time to turn the clock back to December. The happy roll the Gonzaga Bulldogs manufactured in the last month of the 2011 college basketball season rallied old believers and made new converts and even energized a program that perhaps needed some sort of psychic nudge or reinforcement, despite more than a decade’s worth of unparalleled achievement. The box-stepping and wheel-spinning that had defined these Zags early on? Washed away. Well, they washed back up Saturday afternoon/John Blanchette, SR. More here.

Question: Did the Gonzaga men's team to better/worse than you expected this year?

AM Headlines: Lady Zags Face UCLA

No. 11 Gonzaga's Janelle Bekkering, left, fights for a loose ball on the floor during first-half action Saturday. Gonzaga beat No. 6 Iowa in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament and now will face No. 3 seed UCLA tonight in the Kennel. See story below. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

Islam Militants Worry GOP Speaker

Item: Lincoln Day Dinner speaker warns about Islam militants/Nick Rotunno, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: According to Hadian, Islam is not a religion of peace. A large number of Muslims, led by groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, are bent on world domination, he said. “In Islam, peace is achieved when a country becomes predominately Muslim,” Hadian said. “Islam is not just a religion. Islam is a constitution. It is a political ideology.” He spoke of sharia law and jihad, and claimed some Islamic groups are actually fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood. If Muslims are allowed to impose their rules, “Sharia law will not be subservient. It will be parallel,” Hadian told the audience. “Please stop being politically correct.”

Question: What do you make of Shahram Hadian's remarks to the Lincoln Day Dinner crowd at the Coeur d'Alene Resort that Islam is not a religion of peace?

‘The Hobbit’ Begins Filming Today

The Hobbit is happening! When it was announced last month that cameras would begin rolling on the highly anticipated two-part Lord of the Rings prequel on March 21, naturally, there was a lot of “We'll believe it, when we see it” talk. After all, this is a production that has seen more than its share of setbacks thanks to such things as set fires, threats of union strikes and perforated ulcers. But, sure enough, principal photography did indeed start today at the Stone Street Studios in Wellington, New Zealand, with director Peter Jackson himself taking a moment to post pics to his Facebook page from the film's set/Peter Gicas, Entertainment Weekly. More here. (AP Photo/New Line Productions, Pierre Vinet: Ian McKellan as Gandalf in “Lord of the Rings”)

Question: What is your position on “The Hobbit” — Can't wait to see it? Can take it or leave it?

Twitter Celebrates 5th Birthday

Five short years since it started, Twitter has become part of the fabric of society for tens of millions of users who regularly tweet about their lives and experiences in no more than 140 characters. And it all started on 21 March 21, 2006 with the brief and banal tweet sent by co-founder Jack Dorsey. That first tweet simply read: “just setting up my twttr”. For the last 10 days, Mr Dorsey has been ploughing through his archives to re-send some of the tweets he first sent out. He has also shared some of the e-mails and instant messages that passed back and forth between him and his fellow co-founders, Biz Stone and Evan Williams/Maggie Shiels, BBC News. More here.

Question: Does anyone out there prefer Twitter to Facebook? Why? Why not?

CPD: Man Tries To Grab 2 Girls

Coeur d’Alene police are asking for help identifying a man who confronted two children who were riding their bicycles near their home just after noon Sunday. Two girls, 8 and 6, were playing near the northwest corner of 12th Street and Young Avenue when a male described as “older” with a thin build approached them. The man pointed at the girls as he exited his vehicle and yelled, “Hey, you two,” Sgt. Brandon McCormick wrote in a news release. The man then said, “Let’s go” as he grabbed for the younger girl. He then chased them a short distance on Young Avenue. The girls made it to their home, where their parents called police/Spokesman-Review. More here.

Question: Are the streets of Coeur d'Alene no longer safe for children?

Luna Allies: Back Ed Reform Or Else

The bare knuckles are out as Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, Gov. Butch Otter and their allies in the Legislature press for quick passage of Senate Bill 1184, which attempts to revive the dead K-12 technology mandate bill, S.B. 1113. Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, led weeks of negotiations to craft a bill “son of SB 1113” that could pass the Senate. The new measure was was introduced Friday. In a email late Friday, Idaho School Boards Association Executive Director Karen Karen Echeverria tells trustees “consequences” of defeating the bill could include forced consolidation of Idaho's 115 schools districts, lost funding for math and science and additional cuts for the state-run Idaho Digital Learning Academy/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Is this an idle threat?

Letter: SR Columnists Anti-Gun

This letter from Curtis E. Stone of Colville appeared in the letters to the editor page of the SR Sunday: The ultra-liberal, anti-gun Spokesman-Review and its columnists Doug Clark, Dave Oliveria and Gary Crooks (columns, March 13) are having a field day ridiculing “backwards” Idaho for proposing that college students be allowed to carry firearms on campus. While Idaho’s proposal is probably way over the top, self-defense is certainly no laughing matter. Indeed, our Founding Fathers gave us the Second Amendment for defense of self and nation. The 32 defenseless students, murdered at Virginia Tech, might have appreciated an armed person coming to their rescue. Ditto for the dozens of Chinese schoolchildren, and teachers, killed by knife-armed madmen last year. The bottom line is that the police are spread way too thin to protect all of us all of the time. More here. H/T: Joan Harman

Question: Are individuals who oppose guns-on-campus in Idaho automatically anti-gun?

Signe: America Honors Teachers?

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Weekend Wild Card — 3.19-20.11

OK, the Gonzaga men got Jimmered, as feared. But Coach Mark Few, senior Steven Gray, and the rest of the Zags deserve big props for turning in a 25-10 record after many had written them off — and helping us get through another Inland Northwest winter. Besides, North Idaho College's Lady Cardinals won the NJCAA national title in Salinas, Kansas, yesterday. And two other INW college teams are still playing basketball: the Lady Zags (who'll play UCLA Monday in the 2nd round of the NCAA women's tourney) and the WSU Cougars will be hosting Oklahoma State Monday in the 2nd round of the National Invitational Tournament. Now, to replay the Wild Card …

NJCAA Champs NIC Return Home @ 11

You can welcome the NJCAA national champion Lady Cards home their victory over Trinity Valley (Texas) in the finals, at 11 this morning at North Idaho College's Christianson gym. (Courtesy photo NIC athletic media)

Lady Cards Win National Cage Title

North Idaho College star Kama Griffitts scores two points against previously undefeated Pensacola earlier this weekend in the NJCAA national women's basketball tournament. Griffitts was named most valuable player as she led the Cardinals to the national NJCAA women's basketball tournament championship with a 90-81 win over Trinity Valley of Texas. (Photo: Max Iselin Photography, courtesy North Idaho College media athletics)

No. 5 seed NIC beat No. 3 Trinity Valley Community College of Texas in the championship game 90-81. Kama Griffitts, a 5-11 guard from Coeur d'Alene, led the Cardinals with 22 points. ShaKiana Edwards-Teasley, a 6-2 guard from Lapwai, added 17, and Tugce Canitez, a 6-2 forward/guard from Izmir, Turkey, finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. The NIC Lady Cardinals won each of their first three games (No. 12 Georgia Perimeter in the first round, No. 4 State Fair in Round 2, and top-ranked Pensacola in the semifinals) by double digits before the championship round March 19. NIC ends the season with a 32-3 record and a national championship on their third straight trip to the NJCAA national tournament. Three sophomores on the NIC women's team earned All-Tournament honors, Griffitts, Canitez, and Camille Reynolds, a 5-5 guard from Rathdrum/North Idaho College Press Room. More here.

BYU 89, Gonzaga 67 (Final)

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Jimmer Fredette scored 34 points and he had plenty of help from his teammates as Brigham Young crushed Gonzaga 89-67 on Saturday to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 30 years. The Cougars made nine 3s in the first half while building a 45-38 lead. BYU opened the second half with an 11-2 run to stretch its lead to 56-40. BYU finished with 14 of 28 on 3s. Forward Noah Hartsock hit 3 of 3 3-pointers in the second half. Gonzaga closed within 63-55 on Steven Gray’s 3-pointer with 12:18 left. But Gonzaga’s offense went cold for the next 4:15 and BYU rattled off 12 straight points. The Cougars (32-4) led by as many as 24. Elias Harris and Steven Gray each scored 18 points for Gonzaga. Robert Sacre added 17. Gonzaga finished with a 25-10 record. BYU will meet No. 2 Florida on Thursday in New Orleans/Jim Meehan, SR. More here. And: ESPN boxscore here.

Lady Zags 92, Iowa 86 …

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ESPN boxscore here.  (Spokesman-Review photos)

A defensive switch and career games from senior Courtney Vandersloot and junior Kayla Standish propelled the 11th-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs past the sixth-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes 92-86 in a wildly entertaining NCAA women’s basketball tournament game Saturday afternoon before a sold-out crowd at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Vandersloot, a Kent native, poured in 34 points, moving within 11 of 2,000 career points. Standish, an Ellensburg native, poured in 30 as she made 15 of 20 shots from the field. It was a switch from a 2-3 zone to man to man in the second half that also proved pivotal for the Zags. Gonzaga (29-4) will take on the UCLA/Montana winner on Monday. Tipoff is at 6:30 p.m./Greg Lee, SR. More here.

Question: Are you a Lady Zags fan, too?

APhoto Of The Weekend — 3.19-20.11

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, second from right in front row, and her daughter Sasha watch a Capoeira performance at Oca da Tribo restaurant in Brasilia, Brazil, this morning.  Michelle Obama and her two daughters Sasha and Malia attended a cultural performance with young Brazilians, many from disadvantaged backgrounds who have participated in a range of U.S. sponsored exchange and leadership development programs. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Barker: N-Community Comfy w/Risks

People ask me how can nuclear experts be so comfortable that after all of the meltdowns, reactor damage and high radiation around the four nuclear reactors that widespread public health and safety isn’t automatically threatened. These are people who have worked around radiation all their lives. They know the real threat it poses, both short term and long term. They tend to as a group dismiss some long term threats that other health officials worry about. But they know how quickly high doses of radiation can kill and how it can spread through the food chain. I have long compared radiation to grizzly bears. There is a reason to fear grizzly bears, They will eat you. But if you camp in Yellowstone and keep your food closed up and sanitize your camp the chance you will be threatened by bears is low. Still many people don’t sleep well in a tent overnight in Yellowstone/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo of Three Mile Island)

Question: Would you sleep better near a nuclear reactor or in grizzly bear country?

NIC Lady Cards To Play For National Title

Kama Griffitts scored a game-high 28 points to go along with eight rebounds, Tugce Canitez added 24 points and 11 boards and the fifth-seeded North Idaho College Cardinals dusted off previously unbeaten and top-seeded Pensacola State College 90-75 in a semifinals game at the NJCAA tournament Friday at the Bicentennial Center. Griffitts, a former Coeur d’Alene High standout, made 8 of her 10 free throws while Canitez missed just one of her 11 attempts. With the win, NIC (31-3) advances to face Trinity Valley (34-2) from Athens, Texas, in today’s championship game at 5 p.m. PST/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Rocky Watson Won’t Seek Re-election

Item: Hanging up his cuffs: Sheriff Rocky Watson will not seek re-election/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Sheriff Rocky Watson, who has held his title with the county for a collective 16 years, confirmed on Friday that he will not run for re-election. “I'm just going to retire,” Watson said. “I've been at this a long time.”

Question: How would you characterize Rocky Watson's performance as sheriff?

Otter, Luna Defend Approach In CdA

Item: Pushing the envelope: Idaho leader talks about issues, Luna addresses education reform in Coeur d'Alene visit/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: He's ready to lose the wolves, jump on unemployment and reject the new federal health care act. Don't accuse the governor of being wishy-washy on anything. Gov. Butch Otter discussed the state's biggest issues on Friday before an intimate group of elected officials and business representatives at a Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “Idaho, as much as any state, has pushed the envelope, and will continue to push the envelope,” said Otter, speaking at 315 Martinis and Tapas at the Greenbriar Inn.

Question: Is Butch Otter 'pushing the envelope' in his approach to governing? Or being reckless?

Blanchette: The Jimmering Of America

It’s good to hear at least one TV talking head who hasn’t quite caved in to the Jimmering of America, though the coup will undoubtedly be accomplished today should Brigham Young sneak by Gonzaga and into next week’s Sweet 16. He is the Frednomenon of college basketball, this Jimmer Fredette – not simply because he’s throwing in nearly 29 points per game, but for how he throws them in: no-conscience 30-footers, wrong-footed sideways flicks, silly scoops, delicate banks. That he’s managed to carve out his legend even as his games mostly have been exiled to the triple-digit channels on your dish is even more remarkable. He’s a mythic figure. The Jimmer. This year’s version of The ’Stache. As the Cougars and Zags won here Thursday, the collision of the Jimmer and Adam Morrison cults was inevitable/John Blanchette, SR. More here. (AP file photo of Jimmer Fredette vs. Wofford in NCAA tournament)

Question: Is BYU's Jimmer Fredette as good as Adam Morrison in his day with the Gonzaga Bulldogs?

Internet Porn To Get ‘.xxx’ Domain

You’ve heard of “.com” and “.org.” Joining them soon will be their bawdy cousin: “.xxx.” On Friday, the board of directors of the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the Internet’s naming system, approved the creation of a red-light district online for pornographic websites. It follows a decade-long battle over such a name. The uproar over the idea has brought together unlikely bedfellows. Religious groups argue that giving adult websites their own corner of the Internet legitimizes the content. Pornographers worry it will ghettoize their sites. Although it’s meant to be voluntary, they fear governments could try to mandate the domain’s use so that pornographic content is more easily blocked/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Do you think it's a good idea to have an “.xxx” designation for Internet pornography?

Heller: Nimbyism

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

TGIF Wild Card — 3.18.11

A hat tip to The Bard of Sherman Avenue for providing an ode to March Madness that brought a smile, despite all the myriad world crises — and the miserable performance of the 2011 Idaho Legislature. Never have so many Idaho politicians performed so miserably with so much at stake. But now I'm going to move on to my happy place, thinking about the dominant performance of the 2010-11 Gonzaga Bulldogs in the NCAAs last night. Ah, much better. Now I'll post today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 3.18.11

Montana players start their practice by lining-up for a group photo in the first round of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament Friday in Spokane, Wash. Montana plays UCLA Saturday. (AP Photo)

Question: Do you plan to follow the women's NCAA tournament games at Gonzaga this weekend, featuring the Lady Zags vs. Iowa and Montana (w/former Lake City star Katie Baker in the lineup) vs. UCLA?

Newt Rips Barack For Bracketology

In keeping with tradition for the start of the NCAA basketball tournaments, President Obama filled out  his bracket and the White House released it. Something new was added to the mix this year, however. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich criticized Obama for spending too much attention to basketball and not enough to other things going on in the world. So what do you think…should Obama have skipped bracketology this year to attend to Japan, Libya, the Middle East, Afghanistan, the economy, Iraq, Iran, Republicans in the House, jobs, health care or