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Archive for August 2012

Parting Shot: Tangled up in blue

Took this pic from our deck in May— was trying to get a Supermoon photo, but they all were bust. Tonight we are supposed to have a Blue Moon.

Of course the moon won't actually be blue. Darn.

Happy skygazing.

TGIF Wildcard 8.31.12

Looks like DFO found a way to stretch his vacation into Labor Day weekend. He's a smart guy. He may be a bit rusty when he comes back from his 98-day vacation. At least it seems like 98-days.

We enjoyed our annual jaunt to Pig Out in The Park. We sampled Indian food and Cuban food, but my youngest played it safe with a bacon-wrapped hot dog. Then we spread our blanket out under the Clocktower and enjoyed a fabulous concert by Peter Rivera. For. Free.

Good times. But now, back to work.

Here's your Wild Card.


Off road groups sue over N. Idaho forest plan

A pair of advocacy groups for off-road recreationists is suing the Clearwater National Forest for excluding snowmobiles and mountain bikes from a proposed wilderness area along the Idaho and Montana border.

The Idaho State Snowmobile Association and the Blue Ribbon Coalition are suing in U.S. District Court in Boise.

The lawsuit contends when forest officials updated the travel management plan for the proposed Great Burn Wilderness area, they decided before taking public comment to close off the area.

Sandra Mitchell from the snowmobile association told the Lewiston Tribune ( that decision was prejudicial and in violation of federal laws.

Motor vehicles and all-terrain vehicles are prohibited from federally designated wilderness areas.

Officials with the Clearwater National Forest did not immediately respond to messages left Friday by The Associated Press.


Read more here:

More Idaho parents turn to private schools

Thousands of Idaho parents have made their choice. For one reason or another—maybe a greater emphasis on math and science, or more focus on culture and the arts, possibly their child needs remedial help in basic skills—an increasing number of families are passing on their neighborhood public schools, quite literally, and steering their carpools toward charter or private schools.

Idaho lists 44 charter schools, educating more than 16,000 Gem State students.

“We definitely believe that school choice is critical,” said Melissa McGrath, Idaho State Department of Education's communications director. Full story. George Prentice, Boise Weekly

As I wrote early, I just enrolled my youngest son in a public middle school. His 3 older brothers attended private school K-8 and then transferred to a public high school.  Our decision came down to dollars and sense. It made financial sense for us to make the move now, rather than later. The middle school in our neighborhood isn't great, but we were able to get him into the public school of our choice. Tough choices to be sure.

How do/did you decide where to send your child to school?

Spokane Man scratches $200,000 prize

Joe Medina won $200,000 in the Washington Lottery this week.

A Spokane man has won a $200,000 prize in the Washington Lottery.

Joe Medina won the top possible prize in the Casino Nights scratch ticket game this week, the Washington Lottery announced today in a news release.

“I am trying to talk my wife into going to Hawaii for two weeks,” Medina said in the release. “It will be our first time, so hopefully it won’t be too difficult to convince her.”

The winning ticket was purchased at the Chevron station at 3602 E. Sprague Ave.

Do you buy lottery tickets? Why or Why not?

Kindle Fire sold out

NEW YORK – Inc. says it has sold out of its Kindle Fire tablet computer amid expectations of a new model for the holiday season.

The Internet retailer has a major press conference scheduled for next Thursday in Santa Monica, Calif. It’s widely expected to reveal a new model of the Fire there, so Thursday’s announcement that the first model is “sold out” suggests that Amazon halted production awhile ago to retool for a new model.

Amazon launched the $199 tablet last November. It was the first Kindle with a color screen and the ability to run third-party applications, placing it in competition with Apple Inc.’s iPad, at half the price of the cheapest iPad.

Amazon doesn’t say how many Fires it has sold, but says it captured 22 percent of U.S. tablet sales over nine months. That would make it the second-most popular tablet, after the iPad. Tom Mainelli at research firm IDC said that figure matches his estimate of 6.7 million Fires sold, all in the U.S.

My husband bought one. I'm still not impressed. I sure didn't see him floating around on the lake and reading, like I did with my good old-fashioned hard cover books. Do you have an E-reader? If not, do you want one?

The Slice: HONK!

From The Slice: Spokane used to have a reputation as a place where people were pretty polite when it came to using their car horns.

I'm not sure local drivers are quite so restrained these days. But how about you?

What does it take to get you to really blast your horn? (I am not referring here to the gentle tap on the horn when the driver ahead of you has gone 10 seconds without acknowledging that the light has turned green.)

A) I'll do it to prevent a collision. B) I'll do it to startle a cyclist. C) I'll do it to punish another driver for the slightest encroachment on what I consider to be my space. D) I'll do it to register my agreement or displeasure with a bumper sticker. E) I'll do it as a random brainless affirmation of virility or inebriation. F) Other. 


Friday Funnies

Tweets to tickle the funny bone. My mom says the only sense God gave me is a sense of humor. Check out my Front Porch column in the Spokesman Review.  

This week: Epic Adventues at Northern Quest and Pig Out in the Park, plus
North Idaho Cultural events and Things my son says.

Cindy Hval's Friday Funnies

The Portland Loo

PORTLAND – Pity the lowly public toilet, a redolent reminder of the failure of the best minds in urban planning to address the most fundamental of daily necessities.

Millions have been invested in the facilities for collective relief. Often, they have become targets for graffiti, trash can fires, furtive needle activity, commercial lovemaking, emergency baths, laundries for the homeless, and repositories of castoff diapers.

Go to any city in America and ask whether it has fixed the public toilet problem, and most any city in America will hold its nose.

Except Portland.

Here, where just about everything is greener, hipper and more carbon-neutral, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a sustainable urban toilet. It’s called the Portland Loo, and it may be the first toilet so popular it has its own Facebook page. Read more.

Sorry, I avoid public toilets at all costs. Double yuck. Where have you seen the best or worst public toilet?

Pardon my freak-out

Been a bit distracted today. My youngest son is making the transition from private elementary school to public middle school. But apparently there's been a bit of a snafu. The private school didn't return the public school's phone calls, so no records were exchanged and my son isn't registered ANYWHERE.

I think I finally got the 2 schools talking, but I'd really like my son to be able to take a walk through of his new school and at least figure out where things are and how to work the lockers and, oh yeah, where the bus will pick him up!

It's a kind of sensitive issue for me. I was a military brat and endured repeated school changes. I hated it.

I realize now, those experiences are the reason why I'm at ease in a variety of social situations. Still. I'd hoped to ease my son's transition.

Don't know if that's going to be possible.

Were you ever the “new kid”? How did/do you deal with school/job changes?

High Noon: Romney: We deserve better

TAMPA, Fla. – Mitt Romney on Thursday kicked off the final, crucial phase of his bid to become the country’s 45th president, accepting the Republican nomination and urging the nation to look closely at his resume, his vision and his remedies for the ailing economy.

“I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division,” Romney told a raucous crowd waving signs saying, “Believe” and “Mitt!”

“This isn’t something we have to accept,” he insisted. “Now is the moment when we can do something. And with your help we will do something.” Full story.

Well. Do we deserve better?

Tonight Troubles

LOS ANGELES – As the No. 1 late-night show for most of the past half-century, “The Tonight Show” has been vital to NBC’s fortunes. It was the network’s most profitable entertainment program during its 1990s peak, kicking an estimated $100 million to the bottom line annually.

And today? “Tonight” is in trouble. This month, the show saw wide layoffs for only the second time in its 58-year history, with about 20 people losing their jobs and host Jay Leno taking a pay cut that lopped off more than 10 percent from his estimated $26 million annual salary. Read more.

Haven't watched the Tonight Show in years. If we had cable, I'd watch Stephen Colbert. Do you watch any late night talk shows? Which one?

Howling mad

COEUR d'ALENE - Idaho's wolf management plan, said Dr. Catherine Feher-Elston, is not working.

That's because, she said, “it's not management.”

“It's killing, it's slaughter,” said Feher-Elston, a naturalist and wolf advocate who spoke at what was both a pro-wolf rally and protest of Idaho's year-round hunting season on wolves Thursday at City Park.

“We have to fight to stop this,” she said.

About 70 people attended the gathering that included speakers, songs, a dog that lost a leg to a trap, and a presentation of how to release pets from traps. There were signs that read “Stop the Slaughter” and “Wolves Belong,” while many wore shirts with pictures of wolves. Full story. Bill Buley, CdA Press


Wheels: Wealthy doesn’t = crook

wheels on Risch still rich on August 31 at 8:47 a.m.

Today’s economic condition has led the way for to many people to become consumed with anger instead of focusing on the good in life.Politicians or not, wealthy people (with the exception of ill gotten wealth) don’t owe anyone an explanation.The jealously and hate is pathetic.Not every wealthy person is a crook.

Agree or disagree?

A concrete question

COEUR d'ALENE - Still stuck on a problem.

The city of Coeur d'Alene hasn't quite solved the maintenance quagmire that popped up after the midtown reconstruction project was completed three years ago - more specifically how to keep the colored concrete just that, colored.

Parts of the maroon-painted slabs of sidewalk need a touch up, as they have every year since the roughly $3 million project was finished.

“At some point, it'll need to be spruced up,” said Jon Ingalls, deputy city administrator.Full story. Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press

What do you think of the midtown improvements?

Shooting in NJ

Officials investigate the scene of a shooting at a Pathmark grocery store in Old Bridge, N.J., Friday, Aug. 31, 2012

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey supermarket employee opened fire at the closed store early Friday as a dozen or more colleagues worked inside, killing two of them and himself, a prosecutor said.

The 23-year-old man left a Pathmark store in Old Bridge Township around 3:30 a.m. and returned a half-hour later with a handgun and an AK-47 assault rifle, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said.

There were 12 to 14 people in the store at the time, Kaplan said. The man fired the rifle at the first workers he saw, killing an 18-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man as other workers hid, he said. At least 16 rounds were fired, some breaking the front windows. More here.

Cda Music Festival

Jerad Finck headlines Friday’s Coeur d’Alene Music Festival.

While crowds will clamor around food booths and music stages in Riverfront Park for Pig Out in the Park, this Labor Day weekend offers extra helpings of festival feasts for the ears.

In addition to Pig Out, a slew of local bands are coming together for the inaugural Coeur d’Alene Music Festival and Gleason Gras West, inspired by former professional football player and Spokane native Steve Gleason’s fight with a terminal disease. More here. Isamu Jordan, SR

The first-ever Coeur d’Alene Music Festival runs four days with upwards of 40 bands.The festival, which began Thursday, offers on-site camping at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. Are you going to attend?


EWU manhandles Idaho 20-3

Eastern’s T.J. Lee III shoves Idaho’s Jahrie Level out of end zone to break up a pass.

MOSCOW, Idaho – It was the story of two high-profile transfer quarterbacks — Eastern Washington’s played and Idaho’s didn’t – but it was so much more than that.

The Eagles’ linebackers were swarming. Their secondary was in complete control. Their three talented receivers reeled in clutch catches all over the field.

In short, Eastern played like the higher-division team Thursday night in a 20-3 romp of the Vandals in front of 11,136 at the Kibbie Dome.

“There’s no point in playing if you think you’re going to lose,” said Kyle Padron, who made his debut at quarterback for the Eagles and helped a large red-clad contingent of fans celebrate afterward. Josh Wright, SR

“Idaho transfer QB Dominique Blackman did not play for an undisclosed off-the-field reason.”

I watched the Seahawks end a perfect pre-season. Much more satisfying.

Drive to funeral turns to tragedy

John C. Sanderson, 59, of Spokane died Aug. 24 from the injuries he suffered in a collision on U.S. Highway 2.

Liz Sanderson dreamed of a motorcycle on its side and a body under a truck. The dream spooked her enough not to join her husband, 59-year-old John C. Sanderson, on a motorcycle last Friday.

The Sandersons were heading to Newport to attend the funeral of John’s 81-year-old mother, Delores J. Sanderson. “I didn’t tell him that, because he loves riding his motorcycle,” Liz Sanderson said this week. “He loves riding his bike.”

She and several family members were about eight cars behind John as he rode his 1994 Honda Gold Wing. Then, brake lights.

“They were slowing down and I knew something was up,” she said. “I said, ‘Oh God, don’t let it be John,’ and it was. I saw the end of his motorcycle. They were just pulling him out from underneath the truck.” More here. Thomas Clouse, SR

Have you ever had a premonition or dream that came true?

Eastwood and the empty chair

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clint Eastwood earned plenty of bad reviews for his latest performance: a bizarre, rambling endorsement of Mitt Romney.

“Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic,” tweeted film critic Roger Ebert as Eastwood ad-libbed Thursday night to an audience of millions — and one empty chair — on stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. “He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.”

Eastwood carried on a kooky, long-winded conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama, telling him that he failed to deliver on his promises, and it’s time for Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, to take over.

“Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them? I mean, what do you say to people?” he said at one point to the empty chair. More.

Maybe Eastwood is a secret Dem operative. What did yo think of his, uh, performance?

Parting Shot: Wearing your huckleberry

His face dashed with the remnants of a huckleberry ice cream cone, Gavin Scoggin, 5, keeps an eye on his father Sean’s Fish Po’ Boy Sandwich as he finishes off a juice drink during Spokane Pig Out in the Park on Wednesday in Riverfront Park. Tyler Tjomsland, photo

By the time you read this I will be at the Park. Only one thing is certain, at some point I will be eating chocolate-dipped-cheesecake on-a-stick. Eating, hopefully not wearing. What's your favorite food indulgence?

Thursday Wild Card 8.30.12

DFO's vacation is winding down and my work week is picking up.

I'll be interviewing a veteran who has clocked over 40,000 volunteer hours at the Spokane Veteran's Hospital and a retired court reporter who took up quilting for a cause.

At least I won't have to cook dinner. We're letting the folks down at Pig Out at the Park take care of that.

Meanwhile there's always plenty to talk about here.

Here's your Wild Card.

Richert: IEA: Tuesday results, a thumb’s up for schools

Heading into a Nov. 6 ballot showdown on the Students Come First education overhaul, Idaho's teachers' union sees Tuesday's school levy elections as a rallying point.

Twenty school districts held levy and bond issue elections. Voters in 19 districts, including Nampa and Kuna, said yes to school proposals.

“Tuesday’s vote was a resounding thumbs up for public schools and for local control,” Idaho Education Association President Penny Cyr said in a news release this morning. “In every part of Idaho, voters clearly reject the top-down approaches promoted by Idaho Superintendent of Public Education Tom Luna and his friends in the Idaho Legislature. More here. Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman

Do you think Luna's laws will be overturned?

Read more here:

Risch still rich

A new financial disclosure report filed by Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, shows his net worth fell about $800,000 in 2011, as Risch made numerous transactions from stocks to money market and fixed asset funds.

Risch’s net worth was reported in a range between $18.5 million and $87.4 million, largely based on the value of farm and ranch land in Ada and Canyon counties. Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman Full story.

This isn't a partisan issue. Seems to me politicians on both sides of the aisle have more wealth than the average American.  Can you point me to a poor politician?

Read more here:

Idaho below middle for number of local governments

A new set of data out from the Census Bureau, the “2012 Census of Governments,” shows that it's not necessarily true that every bump on every log in Idaho is incorporated, or that because Idahoans hate government so much they have lots and lots of it, in the form of what seem to be a myriad of special local taxing districts. Actually, Idaho ranks slightly below the middle among the 50 states for the number of local government units it has - 1,161, ranking 28th. That's for 44 counties, 200 cities, 799 special districts and 118 independent school districts, according to the census data. Read more. Betsy Russell, EOB

What do you make of this finding?

World’s richest woman says poor should have less fun

Just in case you were beginning to think rich people were deeply misunderstood and that they feel the pain of those who are less fortunate, here's the world's wealthiest woman, Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, with some helpful advice.

“If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain,” she said in a magazine piece. “Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.”

Yeah, let them eat cake.

Rinehart made her money the old-fashioned way: She inherited it. Her family iron ore prospecting fortune of $30.1 billion makes her Australia's wealthiest person and the richest woman on the planet.

“There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire,” she said by way of encouragement. Full story. David Lazarus, LA Times

H/T Sam Crawford

She's Australian. What does she know. But still. Here in America anyone who works hard enough can become a millionaire. Agree or disagree?

Celebrating grandparents

Orchard Crest resident Joy Phinney gets a kiss from great-granddaughter Emmalee, 2, while great granddaughter Kimberlee, 3, watches. Cindy Hval, photo

More than 200 hundred residents call Spokane Valley’s Orchard Crest Retirement Community home. Many of those residents are grandparents, great-grandparents and even great-great-grandparents. That’s why activities director Tami Cheyney each year organizes a special celebration just for them

Although Grandparents Day is traditionally celebrated in September, Cheyney chooses to hold Orchard Crest’s event at the end of August. “We had it in September one year and it rained,” she said.

No rain clouds threatened on Saturday. Instead, brilliant sunshine and blue skies provided a fitting backdrop to the country fair theme.

Four generations of Ella Tils’ family joined her for hamburgers and hot dogs under a sprawling canopy. The youngest member, 2-week-old Kiona Bauer, slept peacefully through most of the festivities.

And Cheyney had a full day planned for the residents and their guests. Activities included pony rides, apple bobbing, cherry spitting, face painting, a clown making balloon creations and music by The Steven King Duo. More here. Cindy Hval, SR

Were/are you close to your grandparents?

Vandal QB Blackman fighting through

MOSCOW, Idaho – They were all buddies back in Los Angeles. Dominique Blackman, Brandon Wimberly and Ken McRoyal – three gifted athletes bonded by football and family.

Now just two of them remain, and Blackman – Idaho’s new starting quarterback – knows it could easily be just him.

One friend’s life was narrowly saved; the other didn’t make it.

Three months ago, Blackman and Wimberly – former teammates at L.A.’s Gardena High – were reunited to mourn the death of McRoyal, the Idaho receiver who was shot outside a Los Angeles party on May 13.

Blackman and McRoyal were second cousins and best friends. Wimberly, a receiver at Nevada, was also close to McRoyal – and he nearly died from a gunshot 11 months earlier.

Wimberly took a bullet in the abdomen in June 2011 in Reno, Nev.

He spent two weeks in a hospital and missed all of last season recuperating. Josh Wright, SR Full story.

Will you be following tonight's Vandals vs. Eagles game? My brother is a UofI grad and my husand is an EWU grad. So, I think I'll just watch the Seahawks vs. Raiders game.

Ruthie’s at the party

Christa Hazel writes, “Dr. Erin Elliott captured this snapshot and posted to Facebook. Seems Kootenai County GOP Grand Dame, Ruthie Johnson, 88, was seen last night during Republican Convention coverage.”

Have you spotted any other Idaho dignitaries at the GOP covention?

Daycare drug raid

A Spokane Valley daycare operator was arrested this morning for selling marijuana to several high school students.

Spokane County Sheriff’s detectives raided the unlicensed daycare at 7820 E. Buckeye Ave. just after 9 a.m. and arrested 35-year-old Tina M. Jones, a sheriff’s department spokesman said.

The case started through the work of the school resource officer at West Valley High School, spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

“Whenever he found kids with pot, they told him they were buying it here,” Chamberlin said, referring to Jones’ residence, which is about a half mile from the school.

“We were able to get a confidential informant and confirm she was running an unlicensed day care,” he said. Full story. Thomas Clouse, SR

Do/did you use daycare for your kids?

High Noon: Ryan takes the stage

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Seizing the campaign spotlight, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan accepted “the calling of my generation” to help lead the country in tough times Wednesday night and told roaring Republican National Convention delegates and a prime time TV audience that Mitt Romney and he will make the difficult decisions needed to repair the nation’s economy.

“After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney,” the 42-year-old Wisconsin lawmaker declared in what amounted to a debut on the national stage. However, the nation’s attention was divided: He spoke at a convention dogged by Tropical Storm Isaac, downgraded from a hurricane but still inflicting misery on millions along the nearby northern Gulf Coast.

“We will not duck the tough issues; we will lead,” Ryan said.

His speech was part attack on Democratic President Barack Obama and part spirited testimonial to Romney, all leavened by a loving tribute to Ryan’s own mother, Betty, 78, seated across the hall in a VIP box. “To this day, my mom is a role model,” he said while she beamed and exchanged smiles with one of his children as delegates cheered their approval. Full story.

I caught a little bit of this speech last night. His remarks about what's on his iPod earned a cheer from my teenager. Did you catch Ryan's speech?

Related Story: FACT CHECK: Coventions speakers stray from reality

CdA police investigate infant’s death

Coeur d’Alene Police are investigating the death Wednesday of a four-month-old baby boy.

The infant was found unconscious by his father at 2:55 p.m. at his home in the 1900 block of Appleway Avenue, Coeur d’Alene Police spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood said in a news release.

Medical personnel responded but were unsuccessful in efforts to resuscitate the baby.

Detectives have scheduled interviews today and an autopsy. Wood did not indicate whether the mother or any other family members would be part of the investigation.

”No further information will be released at this time,” she said in the release.

The department withheld the child’s name until all family members could be notified.

Photo of the Day: Caption this

Kerri Thoreson snapped this photo of Jody Moyer, who was riding her horse on Wilbur Ave. in Dalton Gardens on Wednesday afternoon.

I hope I always live in a place where seeing someone riding a horse in town doesn't necessarily mean there's a parade going on,” said Kerri.

Is it legal to talk and ride?

Fortboise says this pic is begging for a cutline cotest and I agree. Caption this :-)

CdA Police warn of new scam

COEUR d'ALENE - A Coeur d'Alene couple was conned out of nearly $500 when they were threatened with arrest over an alleged overdue loan payment.

According to a police report, a woman received a call last week from a man who said her husband was in default on a loan.

The caller said if they did not receive the balance immediately, both the husband and wife would have warrants issued for their arrests.

The caller “listed off a litany of crimes with which they would be charged. She said the caller had quite a lot of information and seemed legitimate. He was very threatening in his manner,” the police report said.

He said the woman needed to call and arrange payment, which she did, giving her credit card information and authorization to charge $445. More here. CdA Press

Would you ever, under any circumstances, give your credit card information over the phone? Why do you think people fall for these scams?

No floatie, no lake-y

Like many Spokane County residents, my summertime conversations are peppered with references to “the lake.” I’m usually referring to Diamond Lake, where my brother-in-law owns a home.

I love being on the lake.

I adore looking at the lake.

I just don’t like being in the lake.

My idea of swimming involves plenty of concrete, chlorine and NO fish or seaweed. My mother traces this aversion to when we lived on Guam. While my siblings enjoyed the white, sandy beaches, I refused to get off the blanket unless I was carried or wearing shoes. “It’s dirty!” I insisted.

So recently, when our family packed to spend a week at Diamond Lake, one purchase was absolutely essential – I needed a new floatie

A few summers ago the boys had popped my beloved aqua floatie with its comfy cushion, cutout for leg-dangling and built-in beverage holder. Read more. Cindy Hval, SR

When you talk about “the lake,” which lake are you referring to?

When good restaurants go bad

A berrypicker reports that his family had an unpleasant experience at the Breakfast Nook, Saturday.

The spot used to be a family-favorite for weekend breakfasts, but after several bad experiences they moved on.

On Saturday, they decided to give the Breakfast Nook, one more try. “We waited 25 minutes for our food,” said the berrypicker. “When I cut into my son's pancake it was runny and raw in the middle.”

The food was sent back. A hungry kid had to wait. After breakfast, he sent his family to the car and asked to speak to the owner. She apologized for the meal and offered several excuses. “Didn't change the fact that the food sucked,” said berrypicker.

Have you eaten at the Breakfast Nook recently? What do you do when you experience a bad meal at a restaurant?

Driver, 100, hits 11 near elementary school

Preston Carter, 100, talks with police officers after his car went onto a sidewalk and plowed into a group of parents and children outside an elementary school.

LOS ANGELES – A 100-year-old man backed his car on to a sidewalk and hit 11 people, including nine children, across from an elementary school in South Los Angeles just after classes had ended Wednesday, authorities said.

Four of the children were in critical condition when firefighters arrived but they were stabilized and were in serious condition at a hospital, city fire Capt. Jaime Moore said. Everyone was expected to survive, he said.

The powder blue Cadillac backed slowly into the group of parents and children buying snacks from a sidewalk vendor, and the crowd banged on his windows and screamed for him to stop, but not before some of the children were trapped under the car, witnesses said. More here.

There's an age-restriction on when you can get a driver's license. Should there be an age-restriction on how long you can keep it?

Commissioners postpone budget vote

COEUR d'ALENE - After absorbing two hours of earnest public comment at a budget hearing on Wednesday evening, the Kootenai County commissioners agreed to take another look at the proposed 2013 budget before voting on a final version next week.

The two commissioners at the meeting acknowledged passionate concerns from county staff and other citizens, some of whom requested cuts, others tax increases to meet employees' needs.

Commissioner Dan Green emphasized the difficulty of balancing such requests.

“If I were to put in a 3 percent tax increase right now, this room would be full, with a very different message,” he said, speaking in the meeting room of the county administration building.

Several of the 50 attending the hearing demanded changes to the proposed $79 million budget. Alecia Warren, CdA Press More here.


Condi slams Obama’s foreign policy

Condoleezza Rice never addressed President Obama by name, but the former secretary of state delivered a sharp rejection of his foreign policy tonight, charging that the White House had forsaken past and potential allies, leaving the world to wonder, “Where does America stand?”

“When our friends and our foes, alike, do not know the answer to that question,” she told the Republican National Convention, “the world is a chaotic and dangerous place.”

Rice picked up on a theme laid out earlier tonight by Sen. John McCain who warned that “if America doesn't lead, our adversaries will, and the world will grow darker, poorer and much more dangerous.” Rice criticized the president for taking a backseat to NATO during the battle for Libya and not doing more to stop the bloodshed in Syria. Read more.

Do you agree or disagree with Ms. Rice's thoughts on Obama's foreign policy?

“Personhood” amendment doesn’t make Colorado ballot

DENVER – The nation’s only pending ballot measure to ban abortion in all circumstances has failed to advance to voters in Colorado.

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced Wednesday that backers of the divisive “personhood” amendment fell about 3,900 valid signatures short of the some 86,000 needed.

The rejection was a major setback for abortion foes in the home state of Personhood USA, which said the Colorado proposal was the only measure pending for ballots this fall. Other initiatives are aimed for future years but not this fall, Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason said Wednesday.

Personhood proposals go further than other proposed abortion bans because they would give fertilized embryos all the rights of a born human. Full Story.

When do you believe life begins? Or when is a person a person?

Idaho, Montana seek out-of-staters

Weather, wolves, politics and the economy are slamming a quadruple whammy on the budgets of fish and game agencies in Idaho and Montana.

Nonresidents are no longer clamoring for the quota of permits the states offer for their fabled deer and elk hunts despite the standout hunting opportunities.

Nonresidents are cash cows for state budgets. Just as they boost university tuition revenues, nonresidents pay up to 15 times more than residents for the privilege to hunt elk.

While some locals welcome less competition in their favorite hunting areas, local economies are feeling the pain, too. Hardest hit are rural towns where nonresident hunters book motel rooms, eat at restaurants and support numerous other businesses with out-of-area dollars.

Losses are huge in license revenue alone. Rich Landers, SR

Do you regularly purchase fishing/hunting licenses?

CdA Blue sport new cameras

Officer Nick Knoll wearing the Vievu camera on the front of his uniform. Courtesy Cda Police

 Coeur d’Alene patrol officers have an addition to their uniforms.

Patrol personnel are now wearing recently purchased body cameras, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department announced Wednesday. Chief Wayne Longo requested $36,500 from the department’s current budget for the cameras. The department purchased more than 40 cameras at $875 each.

“It’s kind of the trend across the nation,” police Sgt. Christie Wood said of the use of body cameras. “I think all law enforcement are reviewing it to see how effective it can be and if it works for their agency. We feel that it does work for our agency.”  Chelsea Bannoc, SR Read more.



Parting Shot: Chips, the Bobcat Kitten

Betsy Russell reports: The bear cub with burned paws who was rescued from Idaho's Mustang Complex fire is not the only baby critter in that fix; fire crews rescued this baby bobcat, nicknamed “Chips,” from the Chips fire in California on Saturday. The tiny female kitten, about the size of a domestic kitten, had burns on all four paws and an eye infection, and is being treated at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, where she is expected to make a full recovery, and after being sheltered with other bobcats through the winter, will be released back into the wild. You can read more here.

I'd love to take Chip home, but I'm afraid Milo and Thor wouldn't approve.

Wednesday Wild Card 8.29.12

Special thanks to Christa for posting last night's election reports while I was out Resorting with my husband.

I'm glad to say Mr. H. enjoyed his first spa experience very much. In fact, I couldn't get him to leave! He further helped me in my research by sampling Bison Steak, Seared Scallops and  flaming Bannana's Foster.

Travel writing is a lot of work, but somebody's got to do it.

I'm still recovering from my research.

Here's your Wild Card.

Back to school at NIC

North Idaho College greeted hundreds of students back with the annual Day of Welcome event Wednesday, Aug. 29. Students had an opportunity to check out clubs and activities on campus while eating barbecue and playing games. Pictured are students Megan Rae Morris (left) and Chris Pendergast, both of Coeur d’Alene, racing to the finish line on the bouncy ball race to win a club-sponsored prize. Tom Greene, NIC


BBQ and bouncy balls? When I went to college they just took my money.

Churches can’t collect

OLYMPIA – Washington state’s campaign finance watchdog said Tuesday that the state’s Catholic churches can’t collect donations from their parishioners for the campaign seeking to overturn the state’s gay marriage law.

Last week, Yakima Bishop Joseph Tyson sent a letter to pastors in 41 parishes asking that they announce a special collection at upcoming services that would go to Preserve Marriage Washington, which is opposed to same-sex marriage. The group forced a November vote with Referendum 74, which asks voters to either approve or reject the law passed earlier this year that allows same-sex marriage in the state. More here.

Should churches be able to collect donations for political causes?

Juvenile offenders in Idaho may be shipped out

Boise Weekly reports: Officials in north-central Idaho, facing a nearly $500,000 deficit at a Lewiston juvenile detention center, are mulling the possibility of sending their juvenile offenders across the border to be housed in a Spokane-area facility.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that Nez Perce County commissioners have been presented an offer from operators in Washington's Martin Hall that would cost $301,000 vs. the current $1 million budget for the Region Two Juvenile Detention Center in Lewiston. The Lewiston location houses juvenile offenders from Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties.

But county officials are also concerned about keeping the juveniles closer to home. Commissioners are also considering a proposed rate hike to the surrounding counties to keep the Lewiston facility open.


Southwest cancels Spokane to Portland flights

KREM reports:

SPOKANE, Wash.— Southwest Airlines will no longer run nonstop service from Spokane to Portland.

This route will be cancelled starting in January 2013.

Southwest Airlines said Wednesday that it has to put its planes where they are going to be more profitable, meaning markets with high connecting opportunities. This includes cities like Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas.

Ever been to Portland?

Vestal: Flap over F-bomb misses the point

In recent weeks, the 2,000th American soldier died in Afghanistan.

And Michael Baumgartner used one expletive.

Which do you know more about? Which subject has gotten the state senator and quixotic candidate for U.S. Senate more attention? As the GOP holds its convention in Tampa, Fla., this week and the Democrats head toward their own shindig, should we brace ourselves for any discussion, any reckoning, from the politicians or the press, about the longest war in our country’s history, its human toll, its great cost, its apparent futility?


But Baumgartner’s rude dismissal of a reporter – now there’s something we can get our hands on. A curse word! An expletive! Unlike something serious and deadly like a war, the F-bomb was perfect for Gaffe Theater. In Gaffe Theater, we pounce lustily from one day’s stupid political quote to the next and pretend that’s a debate. More here. Shawn Vestal, SR

Do you understand Baumgartner's frustration over Afghanistan? Does his choice of words bother you?

Reward offered re: dog-fighting ring

The Humane Society of the United States and private citizens are offering a total $4,250 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people involved in a suspected dog-fighting ring in Spokane Valley.

Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service employees were called earlier this month to Trentwood Elementary School, 14701 E. Wellesley Ave., where a brown pit bull was found injured and tied to a garbage bin. The dog was covered in blood and eventually had to be euthanized because its injuries were so severe. Read more.

This makes me sick. What should be done to those who treat animals this way?

Straub supervised fiancee

The city’s nominee for police chief is engaged to a woman he supervised in his previous job as public safety director in Indianapolis, a relationship that wouldn’t be allowed under Spokane city policies.

Frank Straub confirmed his engagement to Amber Myers, the chief of Animal Care and Control for Indianapolis and the person he elevated to that position last November after her predecessor left, the Indianapolis Star newspaper reported in an article published Tuesday. Myers had been the agency’s deputy chief, and before that she was an attorney with the city legal office.

Straub could not be reached Tuesday for comment. Jim Camden, Thomas Clouse, SR Read more.

Thoughts about Spokane's new police chief?

This little piggie went…

100 free concerts

54 food vendors = 255 menu items = 37,000,000 calories (I'm estimating here)

3 adult beverage gardens

The best people watching of the year

You know what time it is, Spokane!

Click here for a list of menu items (Handy! But let's face it, there's nothing like the real thing to help you make up your mind. You look at this list and decide it's most definitely going to be the Andouille Dog for lunch. Then you walk past someone chowing on a Fry Bread Taco and you're all, like, conflicted. Confliction leads to indigestion. Indigestion is not good at a pig out. So, you know, don't be afraid to go with your {ever-expanding} gut.)

Pig Out in the Park takes over Riverfront starting TODAY at 10 and runs through Monday night. Get your pig on.

This event is a must for my little piggies. Great music and great food. Have you ever attended Pig Out in the Park?

High Noon: Ray Bradbury, communist?

NASA scientists named the Curiosity touch-down area Bradbury Landing after writer Ray Bradbury, seen on screen, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., on Wednesday.

Newser) – Ray Bradbury's criticism of the government got him investigated by the FBI in the 1960s as a suspected Communist sympathizer, according to FBI files obtained by the Huffington Post via a FOIA request. Bradbury was reported to the FBI by screenwriter Martin Berkeley, who years earlier had told the House Un-American Activities Committee he himself was a Communist and informed on 155 supposedly active Hollywood communists. Berkeley told the FBI that science fiction writers in particular were likely to be Communists. More here. 

The Illustrated Man was the first science fiction book I ever read. Still a great read. What's your favorite Ray Bradbury book, or are you not science fiction fan?

When smoke gets in your eyes

RATHDRUM - Annual field burning on the Rathdrum Prairie got off to a smokey start on Tuesday afternoon, but state officials were confident evening winds would carry away lingering smoke.

About 220 acres of Kentucky bluegrass in the area of Lancaster and Huetter roads were burned, leaving 150 registered acres on the prairie to be burned.

“It didn't go as well as we had hoped,” said Mark Boyle, air quality manager with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. “We had some surface smoke - something we try to avoid as much as possible. It leaves room for improvement.”

However, Boyle was optimistic that the predicted evening winds would clear off any remaining smoke.Full story. Brian Walker, CdA Press

Does the smoke from field burning bother you?

No Sweet Caroline at Penn State

Penn State football fans will no longer be singing “Sweet Caroline” while cheering on their Nittany Lions, according to university officials.

Neil Diamond's classic song, often sung at sporting events and particularly at Boston Red Sox baseball games, has been rotated out of the playlist for Beaver Stadium this year.

Chatter quickly began building on the State College campus and on social media platforms after the Altoona Mirror newspaper reported that officials were concerned about the lyrics to the song, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Full story.

H/T Christa Hazel

Seems that the administration felt the lyrics “touching me, touching you” would be inappropriate.  

Wonder what other songs shouldn't be played?

Boo Boo has a boo-boo

Idaho Department of Fish and Game veterinarian Mark Drew bandages the paws of “Boo Boo,” a bear cub that was found Sunday night by firefighters battling the Mustang Fire near Salmon, Idaho, at the Garden Valley U.S. Forest Ranger Station in Garden Valley, Idaho, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012.

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― State wildlife officials say a black bear cub rescued from a wildfire burning the backcountry in eastern Idaho will need daily medical care for burns on all four paws. The 25-pound bear nicknamed “Boo Boo” was discovered Sunday night all alone and clinging to a tree in an area recently scorched by fires associated with the Mustang Complex Fire. Efforts to find the mother were unsuccessful. Officials also say the cub likely had not eaten for at least four days. A veterinarian with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said Boo Boo has second-degree burns on each paw, needs daily bandage changes and six weeks to heal. Officials wanted to rehabilitate the bear at a wildlife sanctuary in McCall, but the extent of the burns requires more intensive care.

Hotel Hell-ish

Innkeeper John Hough, left, jokes with guests at breakfast last Thursday at the Roosevelt Inn in Coeur d'Alene.

What happens when a couple of Idaho innkeepers invite a British chef named Gordon Ramsay to come stay a few nights at their hotel?

All hell breaks loose.

Innkeepers John and Tina Hough weren’t entirely unaware of Ramsay’s penchant for profanity and confrontational demeanor, but let’s say they weren’t exactly fans. When John Hough filled out the application to subject himself and his wife to a week of filming and Ramsay’s rants, neither he nor Tina Hough had seen the celebrity chef’s shows, which include “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Master Chef.” Lorie Huston, SR  Full story.

You'll have to wait until next week to read my account of our Murder Mystery Dinner at the Roosevelt Inn during the taping of Hotel Hell. I take exeception to Tina Hough's comment: The guests were all pre-screened and Tina Hough is convinced they only picked people who said they were confrontational, critical and demanding. “They had some real doozies in here. If I would have been the Queen of Sheba and Julia Child and it wouldn’t have been good enough.”

Uh. I know at least a half dozen of the guests who visited the Inn during the taping and that's not the way I'd describe any of them. Have you ever dined at the Roosevelt Inn?

Honing skills

Todd Conery, left, explains the uses of a vertical mill to his son, Grant, as they tour the engineering design and automation department at the Kootenai Technical Education Campus on Tuesday on the Rathdrum Prairie. Grant is enrolled in the program.

Since she was in second grade, Krissy McCaughan has dreamed of becoming a nurse.

Grant Conery has long wanted to be a pilot and is exploring career opportunities in engineering.

The Coeur d’Alene High School juniors are among 500 Kootenai County high school students selected to attend the Kootenai Technical Education Campus, an $8 million school opening on the Rathdrum Prairie.

With teachers and curricula drawn from local industries, the professional-technical education center will give graduates a jump on technical careers from health care to welding to computer repair. Scott Maben, SR More here.

I studied Radio/Television broadcasting at Spokane Skills Center, my senior year of high school. It gave me my first taste of newswriting. Are you a fan of Tech Schools?

N. Idaho traffic accidents

First this:

Three people were injured in a head-on collision around 10 p.m. Tuesday on U.S. Highway 95 in Kootenai County.

Jedidiah Heath, 22 , of Spokane, was driving a 1996 Toyota 4 Runner south on the highway near Garwood Road when he crossed the center line and collided with a northbound 2012 Hyundai Genesis driven by Vanesa Fetrow, 41, of Harrisburg, Penn., the Idaho State Police reported.

Heath, his passenger, Del Turley of Careywood, and Fetrow all were injured and were taken to Kootenai Medical Center.

All were wearing seat belts and airbags were deployed in both vehicles, a news release said.

Then this:


One person was killed in a single-car accident early this morning in Post Falls.

The vehicle was speeding east on Poleline Avenue around 12:30 a.m., a news release from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said. The driver lost control at the intersection with Meyer Road. The car went off the road, hit a tree and rolled over.

Both occupants, who were not wearing seat belts, were thrown from the car. One was pronounced dead at the scene; the other was taken to Kootenai Medical Center and is in critical condition, the release said.

The Sheriff’s Office Traffic Team is investigating. It is not known if alcohol was a factor.

  Be careful out there! When is the last time you had a car accident?









Ann steals the show

TAMPA, Fla. – Mitt Romney officially gained a historic presidential nomination Tuesday night, as Republicans tried to steer national attention toward their storm-shortened convention and a tight fall race against President Barack Obama.

The former Massachusetts governor became the first Mormon to be nominated for president by either major party, a distinction that eluded his father, George Romney, an unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate in the 1960s. The milestone, assured months ago by Romney’s primary-season victories, ended a nomination journey of more than five years that initially met with his defeat in the 2008 contest.

Romney’s wife Ann and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were the prime-time attractions on a hastily reprogrammed opening night. Their appearances were designed to advance the convention’s dual purpose: giving voters a more intimate glimpse of the GOP nominee and amplifying Romney’s critique of Obama. Full story.

Afraid I was working too hard last night to catch any of Ann's speech, but I heard a few snippets. How important is the spouse of a presidential nominee to his/her campaign?

Clean up of CdA River Basin to begin

After nearly three decades of talking and planning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is set to begin cleaning up mining waste in the upper Coeur d’Alene River Basin next year.

The EPA on Tuesday released its final version of a $635 million, 30-year plan to remove heavy metals pollution from North Idaho’s Silver Valley, with possibly hundreds of jobs created in the process.

Dan Opalski, EPA Region 10 Superfund director, said cleanup work in the area – one of the nation’s largest Superfund sites – is under way as a result of other projects, but work under the basin cleanup plan could begin next spring or summer. Jennifer Pignolet, SR


Voters pass school bond

A $32.7 million bond measure to renovate some of the oldest schools in the Coeur d’Alene School District was embraced by voters tonight.

The measure, which requires a two-thirds supermajority to pass, received 71 percent yes votes.

“I’m very, very excited that this looks like it’s going to pass,” Superintendent Hazel Bauman said.

Elsewhere in Kootenai County, a Lakeland Joint School District maintenance levy easily passed, while the Kootenai Joint School District saw voters approve its $2 million bond measure to upgrade its wastewater system. More here. Scott Maben, SR

Good news for local schools don't you think?

PASSED! All Three School Tax Measures

The Kootenai County Elections Department has announced the following results with  over 96% of the total votes counted:

  • The Coeur d'Alene School District #271 has passed it's bond measure with 71.64% of the vote.  The district needed 66.66% to succeed.
  • The Lakeland School District has passed it's SPFL with 60.52% of the vote.  Lakeland needed 55% to succeed.
  • The Kootenai Joint School District #274 passed it's bond measure with 76.06% of the vote.  The district needed 66.66% to succeed.

Lakeland's vote followed a failed levy attempt last spring.  Both CdA SD#271 and Kootenai Joint #274 needed 66 and two-thirds approval (a super majority) to pass their bonds.  In this economy, are you surprised at the success for all three districts?  

School District Early Returns

Checking in from Midtown Meeting Center, which is full of CdA School District 271 folks.  Early returns show 46% of the entire county reporting.  At this time:

  • CdA SD 271 bond is passing with 70.13% yes
  • Lakeland SD is at 52 of the 55% needed to pass
  • Kootenai Joint  SD 274 is passing at 67%

Will post updates as they come in.

Parting Shot: Welcome Home

Derek Reese, of the Washington Air National Guard, holds his 3-year-old son, Ryan, and his wife, Michelle, after landing at Fairchild Air Force Base on Monday. Reese was deployed to Afghanistan for six months and was among some 30 airmen returning home. Tyler Tjomsland photo

Showers longer than three minutes. No dust. Not having to shave.

Those are things Senior Airman Chris Munro said he is looking forward to enjoying on American soil after he and 30 other members of the Washington Air National Guard returned from Afghanistan to Fairchild Air Force Base on Monday.

The members of the 141st Civil Engineer Squadron were dispersed throughout the war-torn country building and repairing infrastructure, including temporary shelters for military personnel. They completed jobs ranging from pouring concrete to installing electrical wiring.

Family members waited for their loved ones with homemade signs, waving flags and shedding more than a few tears. Jennifer Pignolet, SR

Do you have any family members serving in the military?

Tuesday Wild Card 8.28.12

I'm afraid duty calls. Expect light blogging this afternoon. 
I've been asked to write a feature for Alaska Airlines inflight magazine about what makes Spokane a great destination for a couple's getaway.

As part of the assignment my husband and I will partake of a couple's massage at a local resort followed by dinner at a AAA Four Diamond restaurant.

I know. The things I go through for work!

No worries, I'll post plenty to keep you busy. In the meantime, if you and your partner enjoy spending “quality” time in Spokane, where do you go?

Here's your Wild Card.

Can Twitter tell if you’re psycho

You probably have at least a few people on your Twitter or Facebook friends list that you'd consider “crazy,” and a new study by Florida Atlantic University and the Online Privacy Foundation says you might be right. According to the researcher's results, simply using certain words in your daily tweets may be enough to determine if you have psychopathic tendencies.

The study apparently tallies the frequency with which you use words like “bury,” “die,” and “kill,” and weighs that data against other, unspecified warning signs. After putting 3,000 volunteers through the filter — and then questioning each one individually — the researchers found that 1.4 percent of those who participated may be closet psychopaths. More.

I think it's time for these rumors to die. I mean, let's kill this story and bury it in the backyard. Know what I mean? Follow me @CindyHval :-)

The Slice: On football and bullfighting

Mike Leach, the former Texas Tech coach who brings an impressive resume and the notable “Air Raid” offense with him to Washington State, has his players’ attention in his first season in Pullman.

Paul Turner posted this on his Slice blog: “College football is a sport that bears the same relation to education that bullfighting does to agriculture.” — Elbert Hubbard

Are you a college football fan? Which schoo/team do you follow?

Mystery diner picks up the tab

An anonymous customer at a Denny's restaurant decided to voluntarily pay for the meals of all her fellow diners.

“People thought we were joking. She didn't want anybody to know she paid and then she left,” Carol Kronberger, a waitress at a location near Sacramento, Calif., told KCRA.

“It just put a smile on everyone's faces because we got to go to each individual table and tell them that some young lady just paid for all their meals.”

Manager Tom Klepac says the total bill was about $200 and that the Denny's staff agreed to keep the customer's identity a secret, only noting that she was a young woman.

Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindess?

Rally to honor the dead

COEUR d'ALENE - A rally honoring the 379 wolves killed in Idaho during the 2011-2012 wolf hunt is set for 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Fort Sherman at Coeur d'Alene City Park.

It will feature live music, guest speakers, refreshments and a trap-release workshop by Footloose Montana aimed at educating citizens how to identify traps/snares, and if necessary, how to release a pet.

The 2012-2013 wolf hunt on public lands in Idaho begins the same day of the rally. Full story. CdA Press

Rep. Erik Simpson: Wind energy tax big mistake

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, shown at an Idaho Wind Partners event in Bliss, Idaho, has touted Idaho as a magnet for alternative energy projects.

What a difference a few years make. In 2007, the Idaho Legislature unanimously passed and the governor approved House Bill 189 removing the property tax for wind projects, replacing it with a 3 percent production tax.

The legislation was a huge mistake, according to outgoing Rep. Erik Simpson, R-Idaho Falls. In fact, subsidized wind energy projects are now under fire in the state from a number of individuals and groups.

 Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, sponsored HB 189, telling the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee that it was a needed bill, citing that the cost of turbines over the last year had resulted in decreased incentives for the development of wind farms. Mitch Coffman, Idaho Reporter .Full story.

In related news Exergy sued over missed turbine payments.

A huge mistake? Agree or disagree?

New trial for Critchfield

COEUR d’ALENE — The Idaho Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a Coeur d’Alene man convicted in 2010 of fondling two young girls at his home.

The judges upheld a lower court decision awarding Robert Critchfield, 37, a new trial because the trial judge made an error by not letting an expert witness take the stand.

Critchfield was convicted by a jury of lewd conduct with a child and sexual abuse. Prosecutors claimed Critchfield fondled the girls, ranging in age from 9 to 14, at his home in 2008. Critchfield has long maintained his innocence. Read more.


Take the Quiz: Win EWU/WSU tickets

Hey football fans: The Mike Leach era is upon us, and to mark the occasion we're giving away four tickets to the EWU-WSU football game — plus a parking pass — on Sept. 8 in Pullman. Simply take this week's news quiz, and you'll be entered in a random drawing. Good luck!


How did you do?

High Noon: Bedtime

Daniel Woods sits atop a bedspread he made.

Had a  wild day yesterday what with deadlines, interviews and blogsitting. At 5 PM, I logged off the computer and was chatting with my kids when I realized I hadn't even made the bed.

Throughout our married life our rule has been the last one out of bed makes the bed. Guess who is almost always the last one out of bed?

When I was single I never cared if my bed was made or not, but I quickly learned my husband doesn't like unmade beds. He's perference has grown on me. There's something very nice about pulling back the bedspread at the end of a long day.

Who makes the bed at your house or do you care if it gets made?

CdA Press Poll: School bond may be in trouble

Moving this up to remind you there's still time to vote.
Christa will be posting the results as they come in tonight.

Coeur d'Alene School District officials and supporters are hoping many of the votes on this week's Press poll came from outside the district. On the eve of tomorrow's $32.7 million bond request to update and upgrade many of the district's schools, the poll showed less support than the 66 and two-thirds percent required for passage. Here's how Press online readers voted on the bond proposal:

• Yes, 628 votes (47 percent)

• No, 656 votes (49 percent)

• Undecided, 54 votes (4 percent)

Did you vote today? How was the turnout at your precint?

DirecTV suspends FOX 28

A contract fight has unplugged KAYU-TV’s programs from DirecTV subscribers in the Spokane and North Idaho region.

A blackout – which began Aug. 13 – leaves DirecTV customers in need of an antenna to watch FOX 28 shows.

The dispute is a rerun of what happened more than 19 months ago when DirecTV accused Northwest Broadcasting Inc. of demanding an exorbitant fee increase for KAYU FOX 28 programming

DirecTV accuses Northwest Broadcasting of trying to “extort a 300 percent increase in fees which we refuse to accept as we must keep our customers’ monthly bills as low as possible.” Read more.


Makes no difference to me. In 26 years of marriage, we've never had cable TV. How about you?

“Bigfoot” killed

KALISPELL- A man wearing a Sasquatch suit died after being struck by two cars Sunday evening on U.S. Highway 93 south of Kalispell.

The Flathead County Coroner has identified the victim as Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Schneider says friends of the victim said Tenley was wearing a military-style camouflage ghillie suit in hopes of creating a Bigfoot hoax. More here.

H/T Mention

Do you believe in Bigfoot?

NBC News Confuses ‘Harvest Moon’ Singer Neil Young With Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NBC News can claim bragging rights to breaking the sad news of the death of astronaut and Neil Armstrong. As the first man to walk on the moon, it is a big story for all national news media.

But they will also have to accept the shame of having initially confused American hero Armstrong with 66 year old Canadian crooner Neil Young who is very much alive and preparing to release a second 2012 album in October. More here.


Isaac reaches hurricane status

MIAMI (AP) — Isaac became a hurricane Tuesday that could flood the coasts of four states with storm surge and heavy rains on its way to New Orleans, where residents hunkered down behind levees fortified after Katrina struck seven years ago this week.

Shelters were open for those who chose to stay or missed the chance to get away before the outer bands of the large storm blow ashore ahead of a forecast landfall in southeast Louisiana on Tuesday night or early Wednesday. However, with the exception of some low-lying areas, officials had not ordered mass evacuations. More here.

Have you ever been in a hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster?

Grand Old Party begins

Delegates from Texas pray during an abbreviated session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.

TAMPA, Fla. – The convention hall had all the trappings: Excited delegates in patriotic attire. Journalists sticking cameras in their faces. Vertical signs identifying the states. Balloons suspended high above the arena floor. But the official first day of the 2012 Republican National Convention was over almost as soon as it began.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the convention to order at 2 p.m. Two minutes later, he dropped the gavel on the day, thus presiding over quite possibly the most abbreviated convention day ever. With a worrisome storm approaching the Gulf Coast, Republicans felt compelled to cancel the first day. The session took place only to satisfy the rules.

“We’re excited. We’re getting ready to gavel in and look forward to three days of fun-packed, patriotic excitement,” said Doyle Webb, chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party.

Well, are you looking forward to to 3 days of fun-packed, patriotic excitement?

Teen pot use linked to IQ decline

FILE - In an April 20, 2005 file photo, a University of Colorado freshman, who did not want to be identified, joins a crowd smoking marijuana during a “420” gathering at Farrand Field at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo.

NEW YORK – Teens who routinely smoke marijuana risk a long-term drop in their IQ, a new study suggests.

The researchers didn’t find the same IQ dip for people who became frequent users of pot after 18. Although experts said the new findings are not definitive, they do fit in with earlier signs that the drug is especially harmful to the developing brain.

“Parents should understand that their adolescents are particularly vulnerable,”’ said lead researcher Madeline Meier of Duke University.

Study participants from New Zealand were tested for IQ at age 13, likely before any significant marijuana use, and again at age 38. The mental decline between those two ages was seen only in those who started regularly smoking pot before age 18. More here.

Does this new study change your opinion about marijuana use? Why or why not?

Campaign funds used for Mariners tickets, Harvard tuition

OLYMPIA – With their excess campaign cash, politicians in Washington state often return money to donors, forward it to their political party, or donate it to charity.

Some, however, decide to use the funds for other things: alcohol, iPads or auto repairs.

Records show that since the beginning of 2007, Republican Rep. Mike Armstrong of Wenatchee has pulled $7,000 in campaign cash to buy clothing. Democratic State Auditor Brian Sonntag used the money to buy more than $1,000 in Mariners tickets, and Joe McDermott, a Democratic member of the King County Council, used $5,600 to pay for his tuition at Harvard.

The spending, which possibly tests the boundaries of state law, is conducted with little scrutiny through so-called surplus accounts that rarely get public examination. The Associated Press identified hundreds of questionable expenses – from Democrats and Republicans – during a computer analysis of more than 500,000 spending reports obtained under public disclosure laws. Full story.


Shake up at the racetrack

During a press conference Monday, Jeff Saunders, a race fan, and Sheri Tarr, who had subleased the oval track at Spokane County Raceway Park, have words with Craig Smith, who operates the Spokane County Raceway complex

Financial losses have triggered a management shake-up at Spokane County Raceway.

Craig Smith, manager of Raceway Investments, said the oval’s operator fell “significantly behind” on rent payments.

Money problems between the private businesses mounted after tight liquor rules prohibited the sale of beer inside the oval race area this season.

Full Blown Promotions, the mother-son business team of Sheri Tarr and Brycen Tarr, ran the oval and held their last race on Saturday. “We are a family that loves racing,” Sheri Tarr said on Monday. “I put a lot of money into it.” Mike Prager, SR Full story.

Are you a racing fan?

Parting Shot: Vote tomorrow

Christa Hazel sends this photo of Elections Dept worker Carrie Phillips, demonstrating how the two ballot counting machines will work tomorrow night.   The machines can read up to 300 ballots per minute. Once the test is completed, County Commissioner Dan Green will sign off and approve the testing session.

Those in attendance included Rep. Kathy Sims, Frank Orzell, Bill McCrory, and Rep. Bob Nonini plus representatives from the school districts.

Christa reports: “The CdA school district has a school election that will require a 2/3 majority to pass a $32.7 million dollar bond tomorrow. The Lakeland school district also has a school election for an SPFL levy tomorrow that requires 55% to pass.

The Kootenai Joint School District #274 also has a bond election that requires 2/3 majority to pass. Because of election consolidation, we now vote at our normal precincts. More info can be found on either the school district websites and the Kootenai County Elections Dept.”

In other words don't forget to vote tomorrow!

Monday Wildcard 8.27.12

Well. It's Monday. Or as I call it, Sit At Your Desk Until You Make Deadline Day.

Hope you got a chance to enjoy the gorgeous weekend weather. Saturday night was mother/son date night for my youngest and me. Dinner and a movie. We saw The Odd Life of Timothy Green. I think I enjoyed it more than Sam.

I've always made a point to spend time alone with each of my sons— especially during their 6th grade year— because I know their willingness to hang out with Mom will be soon be a thing of the past— at least for awhile.

But now, it's back to work time. Am I the only one who works in a deadline driven industry?

Here's your Wild Card.

Rand Paul: Audit the Pentagon

TAMPA—Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will use his prime-time speaking slot at the Republican National Convention to urge party members to be more open to scrutinizing military spending, a position that puts him in the minority within the GOP.

Paul made the remarks Sunday when he addressed thousands of supporters at a rally for his father, former Republican presidential candidate and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, at the University of South Florida.

“Because we've talked about audit the Fed so much, we're now talking about audit the Pentagon,” Paul told the crowd. “Now, because of Hurricane Isaac, it's not sure whether my message will get to the Republican National Convention, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able speak. And one of the messages that I will give to them is that Republicans need to acknowledge that not every dollar is well spent or sacred in the military and we have to look for ways to make every department accountable.” Chris Moody, Yahoo News.

Do you think an audit of the Pentagon is a good idea?

Soldiers linked to anarchist plot

LUDOWICI, Ga. — Four Army soldiers based in southeast Georgia killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect an anarchist militia group they formed that stockpiled assault weapons and plotted a range of anti-government attacks, prosecutors told a judge today.

Among the potential targets, authorities said, was an undisclosed dam in Washington state, and the state’s billion-dollar-a-year apple crop, which the group contemplated destroying with poison.

Prosecutors in rural Long County, near the sprawling Army post Fort Stewart, said the militia group composed of active duty and former U.S. military members spent at least $87,000 buying guns and bomb components and was serious enough to kill two people — former soldier Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York — by shooting them in the woods last December in order to keep its plans secret.

“This domestic terrorist organization did not simply plan and talk,” prosecutor Isabel Pauley told a Superior Court judge. “Prior to the murders in this case, the group took action. Evidence shows the group possessed the knowledge, means and motive to carry out their plans.” Read more.

My thoughts? Pretty horrifying. What say you?

WWII keepsakes to be auctioned

Tex and Nick Gaynos, seen here at their home in Post Falls, were married in 1943 in California. Kathy Plonka, photo.

The images came back this week; haunting, vivid, details slowed to an instant inside Nick Gaynos's mind like never before, and then it was all real again, every moment in a series of chaotic moments, like the relentless sound of splintering wood and the smell of it searing as the bullets pierced the ceiling of the boarded barracks.

And the image of the Japanese pilot waving to Gaynos from the cockpit of the bomber is as still as a picture in a picture frame.

He can see every crack around the pilot's smile.

He was 23 then, on the ground at Hickam Field at Pearl Harbor, and the bomb the pilot had dropped exploded near the young Army radio chief when the low-flying attacker, surveying his targets on the antenna field, locked eyes with Gaynos, raised his gloved hand and grinned.

“I missed you this time,” the grin said to Gaynos. “But I'll come back.”

Seventy years have passed, and some of those memories had been buried, but they started stirring again this wee. Full story here. Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press

Four of Gaynos's keepsakes will be auctioned at the Advending Auctions auction scheduled for noon Saturday, Sept. 22 at Templin's Red Lion hotel in Post Falls.

I met Gaynos and his lovely wife, Tex, when I interviewed them for this story.

Would you be interested in buying pieces of history?

ISU goes smoke-free

Idaho State University will ban smoking campus-wide starting in September, the Idaho State Journal reports, following a recommendation from student leaders, who passed a resolution nearly a year ago backing the move.

That means ISU will join Boise State in becoming a smoke-free campus; BSU enacted its ban in 2009. The University of Idaho has chosen not to go entirely smoke-free, instead enacting policies restricting smoking on campus but not banning it entirely. Other Idaho colleges banning smoking campus-wide include the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls and North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene. Read more. Betsy Russell, EOB

Do you think college campuses should be smoke-free?

Book hangover

Stayed up 'til 2 AM the other night/morning, reading Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. Gripping novel and obviously hard to put down! But boy did I pay for my late night the next day

What are you reading?


The kindest cut?

CHICAGO – The nation’s most influential pediatricians group says the health benefits of circumcision in newborn boys outweigh any risks, adding that insurance companies should pay for it.

In its latest policy statement on circumcision, a procedure that has been declining nationwide, the American Academy of Pediatrics moves closer to an endorsement but says the decision should be up to parents.

“It’s not a verdict from on high,” said policy co-author Dr. Andrew Freedman. “There’s not a one-size-fits-all-answer.” But from a medical standpoint, circumcision’s benefits in reducing risk of disease outweigh its small risks, said Freedman, a pediatric urologist in Los Angeles.Full story.

For parents of boys— did you you choose to have your sons circumsized? Why or why not?

Location, location, location

Boaters enjoy peaceful fishing at Sullivan Lake. Rich Landers

Location, location, location. That’s the key to a perfect Labor Day weekend camping destination.

Virtually any campground will do if you’re going to sit around a campfire all day and simply enjoy the food, family and being outdoors.

The Landers family has always looked at our campsite as a launching pad for active daytime activities. We call it a base camp.

The plan centers around getting to where the action is, making a car-camp with the comforts afforded by a cooler, camp stoves, lanterns, lawn chairs, tables, tarps and other gear, then heading out to gobble up some miles by hiking, biking or paddling. Rich Lander, SR

Where's your favorite camping spot?

Getting trashed

Justin Gilpatrick said he hadn't had a drink in years. But after a night out drinking with a friend in Portland. Ore., the 27-year-old decided he was too intoxicated to drive home. So, in a questionable move, Gilpatrick decided to sleep it off in a nearby dumpster.

Unfortunately for him, a night of getting trashed took a literal turn when the dumpster was picked up by a garbage truck, which promptly dumped Gilpatrick inside and twice attempted to compact the load of trash.

KGW reports that when the driver of the Waste Management truck parked at a nearby shopping mall, the driver heard Gilpatrick screaming from inside. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for minor injuries. More here.

The moral of the story is??

High Noon: Obituaries

Horizon Hospice worker Cyndy Stevenson talks to Meadow Ridge Elementary fifth- and sixth-graders about obituaries that appear in the newspaper and the importance of appreciating a life story that has been condensed into a single paragraph.

I don't usually read the obituaries with the exception of the Sunday paper. Then I take time to read them over. First I look for familiar names, then I check for ages. I always pause for a moment and read the obit of someone my own age, or my huband's age. And I always read the obituraries for those 21 and younger.

How about you? Do you read the obituaries in the newspaper? Why or why not?

Zipping Along

“Oh my God,” said Julia Jakaber, of Otis Orchards, as she zipped through the trees in Wallace on Aug. 16. She and her sisters booked the adventure with Silver Streak Zipline Tours as a birthday present for their father, Ted Wentz.

WALLACE – Ted Wentz came flying down the third zip line – a steep, 1,025-foot-long ride – in 20 seconds flat, a big smile frozen on his face.

“That was a kick in the butt,” the retired electrician from Otis Orchards said after landing on the wooden platform.

Spending the morning on this new zip line course on a rugged mountainside above Wallace was a birthday gift from his daughters, three of whom joined him for the adventure.

Silver Streak Zipline Tours opened June 1 with a six-line course just north of this historic Silver Valley mining town. About 1,200 customers – some from as far away as Italy and Belgium – have done the course so far, and the business is putting in a second course that will include a dual racing zip line stretching 1,800 feet down the mountain. Read More. Scott Maben, SR

We didn't have time to try the Zipline Tours during our maiden Wallace visit last month, but we've added it to our must try list for next summer.

Have you ever done a zipline? Would you like to?

Rape and pregnancy in Idaho

 In this Aug. 24, 2012, file photo Republican Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., talks to the media gathered in Chesterfield, Mo., and told them he will stay in the U.S. Senate race despite the uproar over his remarks about rape and pregnancy.

TWIN FALLS • If a rapist gets his victim pregnant in Idaho, does he have parental rights under Idaho law? What if the rapist was married to his victim? What happens if he hasn’t been convicted of rape?

Under Idaho statute, courts can terminate a rapist’s parental rights, denying the person any legal say or responsibility over the child. But while that provision exists in the code, questions such as burden of proof and child support cloud the issue.

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri, forced the issue of pregnancy through rape into the national spotlight with his controversial — and largely rejected — remarks that “legitimate rape”rarely results in pregnancy because the female reproductive system has ways of “shutting all that down.” Full story. Melissa Davlin, Twin Falls Times-News

Thoughts about Idaho's laws?

Buckle up, Fido

WASHINGTON – Fido can fetch, heel and stay. And if a New Jersey lawmaker has her way, it will be dog owners who have to obey a new law requiring them to buckle up their pets on car trips.

And no, the proposal was not inspired by the often-repeated story of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney strapping the family dog’s crate to the roof of the car during a 1983 vacation.

Rather, the legislation stems from concern that loose pets, such as dogs riding on motorists’ laps, can be “more of a distraction than a cell phone, especially if the animal is hopping from seat to seat, trying to sit on your lap, or worse, jump down by your feet,” said its sponsor, Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, a Democrat – and dog owner.

“I have a small dog and I know how distracting they can be when driving,” she said in a statement.

The issue of unrestrained pets in cars has made headlines before. A driver in South Dakota was pulled over for having 15 cats loose in her car after nearly backing into a police car. More here.

Do you take your pets with you in the car? Do you think this is reasonable legislation?

Barker: Otter on fire

A wildfire burns, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 near Featherville, Idaho. A burnout maneuver has so far been successful in reducing fuels between Featherville and the 187-square-mile wildfire that forced the central Idaho community's evacuation a week ago, officials said Saturday.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter told reporters last week, after touring the Trinity Ridge and Halstead fires by helicopter, that he backed federal firefighting commanders’ plans for protecting his state.

His support for the plans — putting resources in front of communities, while allowing the fires to burn into wilderness and where past fires have reduced fuels — shows that the West is evolving to accept the new realities of fire.

Like hundreds of others who own second homes in the forest communities along the South Fork of the Boise River, Otter had been up at his cabin in Pine the week before getting it ready for the fire at his door.

“It seems like it takes an incident like this to get people to do what they should have done before,” Otter said.Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman Full story.


Read more here:


Read more here:

CdA Mines employee dies in Mexico

An employee of a Coeur d’Alene Mines property in Mexico died late Sunday morning while doing maintenance work.

The employee was outside the underground mine and apparently fell while working on a piece of surface equipment at the company’s Palmarejo silver and gold mine.

Authorities have been notified and the incident is under investigation by the company and the local police, a news release from Coeur d’Alene Mines said.

Work in the underground portion of the mine has been suspended pending completion of the investigation. The open pit mine and milling facilities remain in operation.

The Palmarejo Mine is located 420 kilometers by road southwest of the state capital city of Chihuahua and 15 kilometers northwest of the town of Témoris. Palmarejo employs more than 900 people while contractor employment totals about 150, the release said.

GOP covention expected to dodge Isaac

TAMPA, Fla. – His Republican National Convention curtailed by a threatened hurricane, Mitt Romney conceded Sunday that fresh controversy over rape and abortion is harming his party and he accused Democrats of trying to exploit it for political gain.

“It really is sad, isn’t it, with all the issues that America faces, for the Obama campaign to continue to stoop to such a low level,” said Romney, struggling to sharpen the presidential election focus instead on a weak economy and 8.3 percent national unemployment.

His comments came as aides and party officials hurriedly rewrote the script for the convention, cut from four days to three because of the threat posed by approaching Tropical Storm Isaac. The storm is forecast to gain hurricane strength as it churns through the Gulf of Mexico but to pass well west of the convention city. More.

Will you be tuning in to the goings-on at the GOP convention?

Speaking of sheep…

Duane Rasmussen sends this photo of a kid taking a spill while “Mutton Busting” at the Kootenai County Fair.

One year my thirdborn came home with a wild tale of his Mutton Busting adventure while on a field trip with his 1st grade class at the Spokane Interstate Fair. “I held on for dear life,” he said, his blue eyes huge. “But that sheep hated me. He threw clear across the ring and I landed on my butt!”

This story concerned me because the permission slip clearly stated “No rides or activities that cost extra $$ will be allowed.”

When I asked his teacher for the scoop, she gently explained that my son obviously had a talent for fiction.

Have your kids ever participated in this er… sport?

Basque Country (Idaho)

Sheep, you may be surprised to learn, are not as dumb as they look. Some people might even describe them as shrewdly calculating, remarkably crafty animals with fierce independent streaks. Given the slightest opening, for example, they will quit a herd, striking out in small, enterprising bands for the high-desert plains — ungulate fugitives in a promised land of sagebrush and cactus — sometimes never to be seen again.

They’re good animals if you take care of them,” said Henry Etcheverry, as we bounced along a dusty two-track in the Minidoka desert near Rupert, Idaho, 160 miles southeast of Boise, tracking an errant herd. “But take my word for it: they’ll clean your clock if you don’t.”

Mr. Etcheverry is one of the last Basque sheepmen left in the American West, where there were once hundreds, if not thousands, like him. He learned the business from his father, Jean Pierre Etcheverry, who emigrated from the Basque Country, a region in the Pyrenees Mountains comprising parts of southern France and northern Spain, in 1929. Back then sheep outnumbered Idahoans seven to one, a peak that coincided with the tail end of Basque immigration to the western United States. NY Times, Full story.

H/T Christa Hazel

This is a great read. Anyone care to share their sheep experiences?

CdA Press: KTEC: Tribute to determination

Steve Wilson provided safe harbor and warm cookies at the Coeur d'Alene Inn.

A dozen or so smart people, passionate people with vision, were gathered around a conference table. Sometimes the talk got testy. Sometimes the struggle for momentary control or long-term influence was evident. Sometimes there were belly laughs all the way around that table.

But ultimately, all the talk didn't vaporize into nothingness like it usually does. Today there is a new school on the prairie, a metal, concrete and sweat testament to a great idea. It's not the answer to everyone's dreams, but the Kootenai Technical Education Campus - KTEC - will make a dramatic impact on this region for many years to come. Read More.

“KTEC - will make a dramatic impact on this region for many years to come.”  Agree or disagree?

His last small step

When Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon, on July 20, 1969, he uttered a phrase that has been carved in stone and quoted across the planet: “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”

The grainy black-and-white television images of him taking his first lunar stroll were watched by an estimated 600 million people worldwide – and firmly established him as one of the great heroes of the 20th century.

Armstrong, who had heart surgery in early August, died Saturday in Cincinnati at 82, said NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs. The cause was complications from cardiovascular procedures, his family announced.

I was 4 years-old and living with my family in Vandenburg AFB, in CA. I vaguely remember sitting on my mother's lap, in our rattan rocking chair and hearing my family cheer when Armstrong said his famous words. Do you remember when/where you watched this historic event?

Weekend Wildcard 8/25-8/26

Whew! That was a short but very intense week. Makes me wish this weekend would last a bit longer.

I'll be covering a Grandparents Celebration at a local retirement center and then hanging out with my sons in the sun. Very few days of summer left and I plan to savor them.

Enjoy your weekend.
I'll be back Monday since DFO will be continuing his oh, so rare vacation.

Parting Shot: Smooch for Pooch

Jesse Tinsley photo.

Hairy host: Lisa Donnelly, of Reno, Nev., gives Rohan a kiss before departing the Roosevelt Inn in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday with her motorcycling group. Rohan lives at the bed and breakfast, and many guests, like Donnelly, bond with the affectionate mascot by throwing a tennis ball in the yard.

Do you kiss your pets?

TGIF Wildcard 8.24.12

Drove home last night into the setting sun and drove to work this morning into the rising sun. I much prefer to witness the sun set.

As I drove east on 1-90 at 6:30 AM it appeared that the entire population of CDA and Post Falls was being emptied into Spokane County.

So, I'm wondering how many Hucksters live in Idaho but work in Spokane County?

And with that question, I'll play your Wild Card.

How ‘bout them Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throws a second-half touchdown pass to Tyrell Sutton on Saturday.

SEATTLE – Patience in the pocket can be considered a virtue for a quarterback.

It’s not the way coach Pete Carroll has approached rookie Russell Wilson’s NFL introduction, though.

The Seahawks’ coach never assumed the third-round pick would spend this season as an apprentice. That was apparent in May when Carroll declared Wilson part of the three-way quarterback competition. Wilson was the first-team quarterback on the team’s first practice with pads, and Carroll’s willingness to consider a rookie ready upon arrival is the reason Wilson will start Friday in Kansas City. Full story.

So, I may have to scoot out a bit early today. I know, I know, “It's just preseason,” but Wilson has been exciting to watch and he and Flynn may just be able to wash the bad memory of Travaris Jackson from my mind.

Do you watch preseason football?

Overheard at the Roxy

Took the kids to a movie at the quaint Roxy Theater in Newport, WA last week. At gentleman a few rows behind us said quite loudly, “Unless he's bleeding from the eyes, he's faking.”

We got the giggles.

Care to speculate on what his conversation was about?

Count Puppeteer Jerry Nelson dead

NPR reports Jerry Nelson, who voiced many characters on Sesame Street for more than 40 years, has died.

Nelson is perhaps best known because he brought Count von Count, the purple, friendly vampire, to life.

Madalit del Barco filed this obituary for our Newscast unit:

“For years on TV, he helped teach children about numbers.

“Nelson was born in Tulsa and grew up in D.C., where he first worked with the creator of the Muppets, Jim Henson. Nelson became the Count on TV's Sesame Street in the 1970's, a role he voiced to the end.

“He also originated such Muppet characters as Mr. Snuffleupagus, and Gobo Fraggle, the lead creature of Fraggle Rock.”  More here.

I have my two oldest sons on video with “blankie” capes on the shoulders singing and dancing to “The Batty Bat”.  Do you have a favorite Muppet?





Lt. Govenor Leadfoot

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The state's lieutenant governor was ticketed for speeding on U.S. Highway 95 in northern Idaho.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports state police ticketed Lt. Gov. Brad Little early Wednesday for speeding between Lewiston and Moscow.  Latah County court records show Little was found driving 76 mph when the speed limit was 65 mph.
He is among a list of Idaho elected officials who've been busted for driving too fast. More here.


Okay. I admit it. I like to drive fast, how about you? When did you last receive a speeding ticket?

Electoral College prediction model points to Romney win

Two University of Colorado professors, one from Boulder and one from Denver, have put together an Electoral College forecast model to predict who will win the 2012 presidential election and the result is bad news for Barack Obama.

The model points to a Mitt Romney victory in 2012. Ken Bickers from CU-Boulder and Michael Berry from CU-Denver, the two political science professors who devised the prediction model, say that it has correctly forecast every winner of the electoral race since 1980.

“Based on our forecasting model, it becomes clear that the president is in electoral trouble,” Bickers said in a press statement. Full story here.

How much faith do you have in election predictions and polls?

Lochnesse: Idaho wages self-defeating

LochNesse on August 24 at 10:26 a.m.

Wages are so low here in CDA they are self-defeating to all occupations and people who work hard for a living. When will the bussinessmen learn, or government intervene?

Agree or disagree. If you agree, what's to be done?

Obama Marshmallows?

Friday Funnies

Tweets to tickle the funny bone. My mom says the only sense God gave me is a sense of humor.

This week: Vacation wrap up, goats in the cabin, things my sons says and pulling to the right. Friday Funnies.


High Noon: My GPS made me do it

There are those who are ready to follow the GPS in their car to the ends of the Earth – literally.

A man intently following the instructions of his GPS after leaving a ferry early Thursday made a sharp right turn and drove into the harbor in Whittier, Alaska, submerging his car up to the antenna, police said.

The man, who was not seriously injured, was rescued by another ferry passenger and taken by ambulance to a hospital in Anchorage. “We’re aghast, actually,” harbor master Sue Miller told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s never happened before, let’s put it that way.” More.

While I've never followed my GPS directions into a harbor I have followed them against my better judgement and gotten hopelessly lost. Do you use a GPS? Do you always follow it's directions?

Tom Hamilton: My Turn

The Board of Trustees for the Coeur d'Alene School District has directed the Superintendent to run a $32.7 million school bond on Tuesday, Aug. 28 to provide major renovations to five of our most aging schools as well as security and technology upgrades across our district.

Supporting this bond was not an easy decision for me to come to but I can tell you in all truthfulness that I do, in fact, support it.

To understand the need, you have to understand the funding that is provided to the district and simply put, there is no money provided by the state for significant capital improvements or building projects. The logic behind this, as I understand it, is that if a community needs a new school or desires to improve the schools they have, the funding for those items should come from that community. Both sides of that argument are persuasive but regardless of which side you would choose, the reality is that the state does not provide funding so we as a community have to find it.Tom Hamilton, CdA Press, Read more. 

Are you surprised that Hamilton backs the bond?

Digger: Old enough to…

Digger on Another day, another political sex scandal on August 23 at 8:30 p.m.

16 should be the legal age of consent for relationships; 18 should be the legal age to vote and drink beer. Hell with this 21 crap.

Agree or disagree?

RIP Ivan

ATLANTA – A 50-year-old gorilla who became a beloved figure at Zoo Atlanta after spending several decades in a Washington state department store has died, zoo officials said Tuesday.

Ivan, a male western lowland gorilla, never regained consciousness after he was put under general anesthesia Monday for a diagnostic assessment, Zoo Atlanta said. The zoo says the geriatric ape had recently lost weight, seemed to lack an appetite and had a respiratory illness.

  …  Ivan had lived at Zoo Atlanta since 1994. He was born in the wild around 1962 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Wildlife traders sold him to the owners of a department store in Tacoma in 1964. Three years later, he was moved to an indoor enclosure at the store. Known as the “Shopping Mall Gorilla,” Ivan had thousands of fans and visitors.   More here.

For many years my youngest son asked for a monkey for his birthday which was better than asking for a baby brother, but he got neither. I'm not a fan of primates. Are you?

Idaho child reunited with dad in Mexico

BOISE – A young girl whose custody case was ultimately decided by the Idaho Supreme Court traveled to Mexico earlier this week to begin living with a father she had never met before.

Maria Ramirez, 3, flew to Mexico on Monday and was handed over to her father, Jesus Ramirez, to begin a new life with him and his family in Salamanca, a small town in central Mexico, according to officials with the Consulate of Mexico in Boise.

In April, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that a lower court erred in severing the man’s parental rights even though he had never met his daughter, initially came to the U.S. illegally and was barred from ever returning. The Idaho Department of Health and Human Services argued to have the father’s custody rights severed as the agency explored placement options for the child after officials removed the girl from the mother’s home.


bin Laden raid author ID’d

WASHINGTON – The Navy SEAL who wrote an account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden under a pseudonym was identified Thursday as Matt Bissonnette, who retired from the Navy last summer. Bissonnette was first identified by Fox News.

One current and one former U.S. military official confirmed the name. The book, “No Easy Day,” is scheduled to be released Sept. 11, with the author listed under the pseudonym of Mark Owen.

Penguin Group (USA)’s Dutton imprint, the publisher, asked news organizations Thursday to withhold his identity. “Sharing the true story of his personal experience in ‘No Easy Day’ is a courageous act in the face of obvious risks to his personal security,” Dutton spokeswoman Christine Ball said in a statement. “That personal security is the sole reason the book is being published under a pseudonym.” Read more.

Do you think it was right for Fox news to release this author's name? What about all the other news organizations (including this one) publishing it?

Ready for school to start?

Kina Aikau, 7, center, checks out the contents of the new backpack she received from the Spokane Salvation Army on Thursday.

Santana McCullough was quiet but deliberate as he pushed aside the red and blue backpacks for one in olive green during the Salvation Army’s Backpacks for Kids event.

The bashful 6-year-old unleashed a smile when he looked inside his new pack: “Oh! Scissors, markers, crayons and a box.” Still smiling, the 3-foot-tall Spokane boy headed for the door and slung the pack over his shoulder. “This is big,” he said.

Parents with kids in tow started lining up at 5 a.m. outside Spokane’s Salvation Army. When the doors opened at 8 a.m., the line wrapped around the entire city block. The charitable organization was prepared with 3,500 backpacks to distribute – the largest number since starting the school-supplies giveaway 10 years ago. Jody Lawrence Turner, SR

I've got a 7th grader and a 12 grader this year and so far all I've purchased is some spiral notebooks and pencils. I think I've got back-to-school denial syndrome. Are you and your kids ready for school to start?

Tasing in the Kootenai County courthouse

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A 21-year-old man who refused to turn off his video camera in the Kootenai County courthouse ended up running afoul of court officers and was tased, cuffed and booked into the jail.

His original crime? Riding his bicycle at night without a light.

On Monday, Robert Peterson walked into the courthouse for a hearing with his video camera on, rolling as he went through security, walked to the courtroom and sat down. In Idaho the law even requires the media to get permission before filming, something Patterson did not do when he showed up and started recording everything. Full story. KXLY

Did court personnel over-react or does Peterson have authority issues?

Armstrong finished fighting

AUSTIN, Texas — Lance Armstrong said Thursday night he is finished fighting a barrage of drug charges from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, putting his unprecedented string of seven Tour de France titles at risk along with his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists in history.

The decision sets up a likely lifetime ban from the sport and the possibility that Armstrong will be stripped of his signature achievement — the extraordinary run of Tour titles he won from 1999-2005.

Armstrong, who retired last year, declined to enter arbitration — his last option — because he said he was weary of fighting accusations that have dogged him for years. More here.

Do you believe Armstrong has used performance enhancing drugs or do you think he's been unfairly targeted?

Shooting at the Empire State Building

NEW YORK — New York City officials say at least four people have been shot outside the Empire State Building and that the gunman is dead. A witness says the gunman was firing indiscriminately.

City police say at least four people have been wounded in the shooting this morning.

A fire department spokesman says it received a call about the shooting just after 9 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) and that emergency units were on the scene within minutes.

Aliyah Imam tells Fox 5 News that she was standing at a red light when a woman standing next to her fell to the ground. She says the woman was hit in the hip. She says the gunman was “shooting indiscriminately at people.”

The shooting occurred at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Parting Shot: Swinging around

I get dizzy just looking at this photo Duane Rasmussen shot at the Kootenai County Fair.

Are you a “ride” person? If so, what's your favorite Fair or Amusement Park ride?

Wild Card Thursday 8.23.12

After a week at Diamond Lake with my family, I can barely remember how to work my phone— let alone run a blog. We were seriously off the grid. No Internet! And it was heavenly.

Re-entry is painful, indeed.

I miss drifting across the lake on my GIANT floatie that came with TWO cupholders AND an ice chest…

But  mama always told me if I played I'd have to pay, so I'll do my time with you guys. Do me a favor? Pretend to be stuck at your desks, too?

Here's your Wild Card.

School reform campaign launches, ads disputed

The campaign working to overturn Idaho's neducation reforms has launched a new radio advertisement calling a laptop program required under the plan an “unfunded mandate” that will require schools to spend millions of dollars they don't have, the AP reports, but the ad's claim that the laptops are unfunded conflicts with the $2.5 million lawmakers set aside to pay for the devices this fall when they'll go to every high school teacher.

Students will start getting the laptops in 2013 under the reforms by public schools chief Tom Luna.

Full story.

How much faith do you have in the veracity of political ads?

Beer Run

TMZ reports:

U.S. Olympic track star Nick Symmonds just ran a mile in 5:19 … which isn't very impressive … until you realize he chugged 4 BEERS along the way.

Symmonds was gunning for the world record in something called the “Beer Mile” … which requires athletes to chug an entire “full-sized” brewski at the beginning of the race … and another full can of suds at every quarter-mile mark along the way.

28-year-old Symmonds — who finished 5th in the 800m race at the Olympics in London — was hoping to break the world record, 5:09, set by Canadian marathon legend Jim Finlayson.

Read more:

What's the fastest you've run a mile? Was beer involved?


At least he’s clean

Thor loves to shower with me, but sometimes he falls asleep while waiting for me to turn on the water. It's a good thing he's cute because I wasn't very happy with him this morning.

Here's how my day started: Got  up early to get a jump start on the blog. Alas, I had NO Internet. Zero. Zip. Derek tinkered around. Nothing.
Then we remembered Qwest was putting new fiber optic cables in our 'hood today and we'd have no service.
I threw some clothes on, and ran out the door to head to my Valley offfice. Thor followed me.
The grass was wet.
Thor was fast.
And I was in flip flops.
I finally cornered him under the lilac bush.
I tore down Bigelow Gulch only to find that it was CLOSED past Argonne.
Oh well, I am here. I am clothed. I am online.But I lost my mind somewhere on I-90.

What do you do when you have a bad day?

Pickle’s in a pickle

This just in from Christa Hazel:

The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force (NIVCTF) is seeking information leadin
g to the apprehension of Sean Christopher Pickle.

Pickle is being sought based on a Kootenai County felony warrant charging Pickle with Robbery, Aggravated Battery, Burglary and Grand Theft. This is a $100,000 bond warrant with United States extradition.

Pickle is a white male, 28 years old, 5’9 tall, 200 lbs with brown eyes and brown hair. Pickle was last known to be living in Coeur d’Alene, ID.

Anyone with information regarding this subject or other fugitives being sought for violent crimes should call the NIVCTF at 208-665-4455. The identity of callers will remain confidential and reward money is available.
Have you ever spotted a fugitive?



Rammell gets his day in court

BOISE, Idaho — A legal dispute over then-Gov. Jim Risch's 2006 order for state wildlife agents to shoot Idaho elk rancher Rex Rammell's escaped animals has now reached the highest state court.

Supreme Court justices Wednesday heard arguments from Rammell's lawyer contending Idaho law doesn't permit domestic elk to be shot without a good reason.

Rammell's elk escape caused a furor in 2006, precipitating efforts in the next Legislature to more strictly regulate ranches offering high-priced hunts behind high fences for prized bucks.

Read more here.
Any predictions as to the outcome of this case?

FHB: Fair Rides a bust

Frum Helen Back on Scene From The Fair on August 23 at 10:42 a.m.

Took the grandkids to the fair on opening day. Kids look forward to the carnival. They may not anymore however. Finally at 2:30, instead of noon, four rides were going. By 5 o’clock there were three more. None of the kiddie rides were going. Hopefully the fair officials don’t let this company come back anymore.

Another berrypicker reports seeing officials examining an “electrical pole” and wonders if there's some kind of electrical problem at the Fairgrounds that caused the rides to be shut down.

Have you been to the Fair yet? Where the rides operational?

KXLY reports: Ambassador Ryan Crocker arrested

SPOKANE, Wash. - Ambassador Ryan Crocker, one of the most decorated State Department diplomats in the last half century, was arrested on August 14 by the Washington State Patrol for hit-and-run, DUI in Spokane Valley.

A Spokane native who lives in Spokane, Crocker, 63, was arrested at the intersection of Sprague Ave. and Pines Road at 2:05 p.m. on August 14 by a WSP trooper after Crocker reportedly hit a car while driving a 2009 Ford Mustang convertible. The driver of the other car was uninjured. More here.


High Noon: Penny Pinching

Yesterday, I spotted a shiny penny in the grocery store parking lot and picked it up. I tossed it in my change container when I got into my car.

Years ago, an email made the rounds telling the story of a wealthy man who always stopped to pick up coins because the words  “In God we trust” printed on our currency, reminded him to keep his trust in God— not in his wealth.

I think of that story every time I bend over and pick up a penny. So, last night at the dinner table, I asked my family if they stopped to pick up pennies. My husband and 17-year-old said, “Always.” My 12-year-old said, “Are you kidding? What good is a penny? You can't buy anything with it!”

What followed was a pretty deep conversation about faith— about values— about money.

What about you? Are you a penny-picker-upper?

Bad dad news

Men who become fathers later in life pass on more brand-new genetic mutations to their offspring, a study has found – probably contributing to disorders such as autism and schizophrenia in the next generation.

The finding, published online Wednesday in the journal Nature, buttresses earlier observations that rates of autism and some other disorders are more prevalent in children born of older fathers, sometimes by a factor of two or more, experts said. Although this has been observed for years from population studies, scientists had not known what lay behind it. More here.

How old were you when you fathered your children?

Obama’s re-election = Civil War?

That's what a Texas judge is afraid of. Judge Tom Head appeared on a local TV news program and said hiring extra deputies would be necessary if Obama is re-elected in November.

“He's going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens?,” Head asked. “I'm thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we're not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we're talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.”

Yesterday, Head asserted that his orginal remarks were taken out of context but added that as the county's emergency management director, he has to keep a “worse case scenario” in mind.

“I have some opinions what they're doing and what they're trying to do if they stay in power,” he said. “And I have to prepare for that.” Read the full story here.

Soooo… IF a civil war breaks out after the election, what side will Idaho be on?


Teresa Benedict, center, rehearses a number with other dancers at the Mead area home of hula instructor Ku’ulei Silva Johnson on Aug. 15.

The dancers shimmied and swayed, their graceful movements framed by a backdrop of palm trees and a fiery sun. Sweet sounds of ukulele music floated through the air. The only thing missing was white sand and a tropical breeze.

Ku’ulei Silva Johnson’s students had gathered in her backyard to demonstrate what they’ve been learning at her studio, Halau Hula O’ Ku’ulei.

Johnson left her native Hawaii in 1987 to follow her husband to the mainland. When they moved to Spokane she found a large community of homesick Hawaiians and decided to offer hula lessons in her North Side home. Her students range in age from 6 to 76.Cindy Hval, SR  Full story.


Have you ever taken any kind of dance lessons as a child or as an adult?

Quiz Time

You don't have to be a know-it-all to take home a prize from this week's news quiz, but
it can't hurt. All entrants are eligible to win free two movie tickets, and the overall
champ earns a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. You're 10 interactive questions from
being in the running.<>

Well. How did you do?


Dapper Dan at the Fair

It's not often that you find a picture of a candidate with his hand on a donkey's…on an ass's…

Oh nevermind.

Duane Rasmussen shot this photo of Dan English looking fit and fiesty in the Democrat booth at the Kootenai County Fari. English, a former county clerk, is currently running for State Representative.

Rasmussen reports there was only a handful of people in the booth and notes the Farris football looks “kinda squishy”.

Do you visit political booths at the Fair. Why or why not?

Couple dies trying to save dog

WESTFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts couple boating on a lake drowned after jumping into the water to rescue their dog, who survived.

Police say the small dog named Sadie jumped into Hampton Ponds in Westfield on Monday night, prompting 64-year-old Donald Cyr to follow his pet into the lake.

Police told The Westfield News that he became distressed and his wife, 61-year-old Patricia Cyr, tried to rescue him.

Their daughter, Miranda Landry, told The Boston Globe that her mother jumped into the water despite not being able to swim. More here.

The dog survived. Would you risk your life to save your pet?

SR endorses school bond

Voters should approve the $32.7 million bond measure proposed by the Coeur d’Alene School District.

Every child in the district will benefit, taxes will not increase and, if the experience of the Spokane School District is illustrative, the dollars raised could go much further than school officials expect.

Most of the money will be used to modernize the Borah, Bryan, Sorensen and Winton elementary schools and Canfield Middle School. Canfield, opened in 1975, is the newest of a group plagued by antiquated heating and ventilation systems. The oldest, Winton still has the single-pane windows installed when it was built in 1925. Read more.

Do you think newspaper endorsements hold any sway on issues like school bonds?

What the H E double hockey sticks?

In dumb school administrator news:

Kaitlin Nootbaar, the Oklahoma high school valedictorian who was denied her diploma after she used the word “hell” in her graduation speech, said on Wednesday she has no plans to apologize.

“I'm still not gonna issue an apology, because I'm not sorry for that,” Nootbaar said in an interview on the “Today” show. “I'm sorry for other things. I'm sorry for the problems that this has caused the school, especially the teachers. I've heard they've been getting calls from numerous people, and that would be nice if that would stop.”

Nootbaar graduated from Prague High School with a 4.0 grade point average, her father, David Nootbaar, told KFOR-TV. But school administrators told him that Kaitlin would have to submit a written apology in order to get her diploma.

“We went to the office and asked for the diploma and the principal said, 'Your diploma is right here but you ain't getting it. Close the door, we have a problem,'” David Nootbaar said. Full story.

What would you like to say to the school administrators?

Another day, another political sex scandal

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota Democrat who had a rest-stop sexual encounter with a 17-year-old boy dropped his re-election bid Wednesday, hours after declaring he would stay in the race in defiance of party leaders who wanted him out as they fight to regain control of the state Legislature.

Rep. Kerry Gauthier, 56, told The Associated Press the decision was his own after multiple conversations with Democratic leaders pressing him to withdraw. He said he had been going back and forth about running “every 20 minutes for a week.”

“I changed my mind,” he said. “Too much. It's just too much.” Full story.

H/t keithincda

So Gauthier, er, backs out, but Akin slogs onward. While Gauthier's actions are criminal in nature, Akin's are criminally stupid. Are these men really the best America has to offer the political arena?

A very costly firing

BOISE - The state of Idaho is paying $750,000 to former Transportation Director Pam Lowe to settle her wrongful-firing lawsuit, bringing the state’s total cost for the case to $1.34 million. (Emphasis mine)

“I tried to resolve this dispute early on, even as early as at the time of my termination, for much less money than what ITD is paying me now,” Lowe told The Spokesman-Review. “I’m certainly happy to put this behind me. … I’m proud of what I accomplished at ITD.”

ITD spokesman Jeff Stratten said in a statement, “The Idaho Transportation Board still believes it was appropriate and within its legal rights to fire Ms. Lowe, but concluded a settlement is the best course at this time. The board was prepared to take its case to trial, but the potential risks, time, expense, and possible appeals meant the costs of litigation would continue to escalate.”  Betsy Russell

Do you believe Lowe's firing was justified?

Parting Shot — 8.22.12

This is Hooligan P. Hazel, the newest addition to our family.  He vexes me every chance he gets by trying his best to live up to his name.  Peeing in the SR's CdA lobby while meeting DFO was just a little snippet of all that Hooligan has to offer.  His saving grace is that he is extremely friendly and he is cute.  So he's got that going for him.  Which is nice.  

Any training tips you can offer without mentioning that Cesar guy?  

Scene From The Fair

The North Idaho Fair has opened today through Sunday.  Kerri Thoreson posted this photo of her and her husband, Bert, on her Facebook page.  Look for them at the Lions Corn Booth.   Kerri encourages everyone to come eat some corn.  

Are you going to the Fair this week?  What are you looking forward to the most?

Prince Harry Shows Off Crown Jewels In Vegas

Prince Harry is in trouble for nude photos that have surfaced on a tabloid website.  I will post the link to CNN's site here for more info on this story but if you are like me, you've already seen the photos on  

CNN reports that Prince Harry, on holiday from military and Olympic duties, was photographed playing a rousing game of strip pool with lovely young ladies while staying in a high roller suite in Vegas.  One photo shows Harry, stark naked but for a wristwatch and a necklace. His hands cup his genitals. His face is turned toward the television set in the suite. And his body partially shields that of another person, also naked.  A second picture shows him hugging a woman from behind next to a pool table. Both are naked.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed that it is indeed Prince Harry buck naked in the photos.  ”Prince Harry has been on a private holiday before he resumes his military duties,” said the Buckingham official.  SR File photo.

What's the big deal?  You're 27, you're getting ready to go back to military duties, you've been working hard, you're in Vegas, you have the high roller suite, and – oh yeah – you're a prince.  Who wouldn't play some strip pool?  (PS - I like Prince Harry best.)

LTE: Encourages No Vote Based on Ignorance of the Law

Letter writer, Lagonda McDonald, is outraged about the upcoming school bond election on Aug. 28th and encourages a no vote in her letter published in the CdA Press today.  Her letter is based on misinformation.  Idaho Law prohibits school districts from saving money out of their budgets to put towards building improvements.  See full letter here.  She writes, 

Schools, like most of us, should be required to live within their budgets. It probably wouldn’t hurt to have someone who has no axe to grind to be allowed to go over every school’s budget, their income and definitely their expenses. There is no doubt in my mind that extra funds would be found.

If a school’s budget doesn’t include funds for infrastructure repairs and improvements why hasn’t some type of impound account been established for just this purpose? If funds were impounded every year, when repairs and improvements were needed, the funds would be there.

The powers that be know that schools wear out — but they don’t plan for it? Doesn’t sound like a good way to do business. But I forgot, just pass another bond and make a few pay for the many!

The suggestions posed in Ms. Lagonda's letter are not legal for the school district to pursue until the funding formulas are changed at the state level.  I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

KCres: Sr. Portrait Suggestions?

KCres asks on today's Wild Card thread about senior portraits here.  

Senior pictures, what’s that all about? Someone told us that they are used to send to friends and relatives in the hope of raising a bit of cash for college. Really? Now that might help if we had loads of family here who knew that. And had money.

What is a reasonable amount to spend? Is there such a thing as reasonable? But then again, why worry, it all pales into insignificance next year once we start paying for college. Damn you SD271, if only you hadn’t helped him score so well in his SAT and ACT. UI sounds really appealing to us, shame he’s set his heart on an out of state school.

Anyone have helpful tips? PS -  Costco prints great photos in the wallet size that would be perfect for announcements.  I've seen fabulous senior photos that are done by regular Joes and not a professional.  

BillB: Dishonorable To Work in Fast Food?

The appointment of Dominoes franchise owner and businessman, Jim Hightower, has generated discussion.  BillB posts the following 11:05 am question:

Is it dishonorable to work in fast food? I was always taught that work, however inconsequential to some, is a good thing. I guess I don’t understand all the bashing of people who work for a franchise. I do not see what it has to do with Mr. Hightower and his lack of skills necessary to be on a school board. I would imagine he will come up for re-election at some point in the relatively near future? At some point we are all going to have to reach a point where we decide it is a wonderful thing for a kid to be able to program a computer. However, we will also have to realize that is probably a good idea if they can tie their own shoes or have some moderate idea on how to write. Get off the fast food workers, it makes you all sound like elist snobs.

Read original comment thread here. PHOTO

I worked for minimum wage in restaurants and the service industry through most of high school and college, as have many folks.  And then I moved on.   But what about those adult, non-student folks that will not be “moving on” but rather, this is how they make their living?  Do you think this career choice is worthwhile?

Press: Anyone Up To The Challenge of NIC Board?

Today's Press editorial is lamenting that as of press time*, no one has officially declared a run for NIC Trustee.  The opinion reads:

As it stands now, the game is this: Nobody has announced her or his intentions to pursue seats held by Judy Meyer, Mic Armon and Ron Vieselmeyer. That probably shouldn't be alarming, but because the filing deadline is so close - Aug. 31, one week from Friday - we didn't want to assume the first horserace scenario. Those who decide to jump into the fray can anticipate spending a lot of time and perhaps even money trying to convince voters of their worthiness as candidates. And for the three who succeed, four years of meetings, intensive study, social functions and conflict resolution await. Oh, did we forget to mention that those who serve in this capacity are paid nothing?  

Read full editorial here.  

*BREAKING NEWS:  Just got off the phone with NIC Trustee Mic Armon.  “I am running,” he said.  Armon has been on the board for 12 years.  He stated that he believes consistency with a new incoming college president is important for a smooth transition and historical perspective.  He cited the college's involvement within our community and also the impact of KTEC opening this fall as priorities he will focus on as trustee.  Photo courtesy of NIC.

Hat tip to Mr. Armon for throwing his name in again.  Has anyone heard of another possible contender for the NIC Trustee elections?  What would be the benefit to not announcing until Aug. 31?  If you want the spot, why wait?

Wild Card - Wednesday 8.22.12

It's day three of DFO in exile for those of us at HBO Central.  Cindy Hval is doing warm-up stretches in the bull pen before taking the pitcher's mound starting Thursday.  In the meantime, I am blogging away while keeping an eye on the newest member of the family, Hooligan Hazel.  My new puppy is living up to his name (you may recall when he visited the SR CdA office, he promptly piddled in the lobby).  One quickly forgets how puppies are: energetic, needy and demanding.   Hooligan has required a man-to-man defense.  Sometimes I wish I could fast forward to the trained part because I'm struggling with the process.  Or that maybe we had named him a calmer name, like Zen, for him to live up to.  

Use this post to comment on anything that crosses your mind.  If you have something you would like to bring to my attention, post it here or email  

D’s Refuse To Reimburse City Overtime Costs

The town of Westport, Connecticut, has received word from the Democratic National Committee that it will not be reimbursed the $14,812 totaling police and fire protection overtime pay accrued during President Obama's visit earlier this month.   

The town requested the reimbursement from the DNC and the Obama campaign.  President Obama visited the Westport home of movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who hosted a $35,800 dinner benefitting the Obama campaign.  More here.  Pictured the Presidential motorcade on Aug. 6 driving to the home of Harvey Weinstein.  PHOTO Rueli

Can you imagine if this happened to the City of Coeur d'Alene?

Fischer: Real, Gen-U-Whine Rape Can Prevent Pregnancy

American Family Association's Bryan Fischer defends Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Missouri) weekend comments about “legitimate rape”.  Akin's comments have stirred naional outrage and condemenation including from his own party's rank and file.  

On his conservative radio show, Fisher attempts to clear up any confusion one may have had regarding the biology of a woman's body during a rape attack.  Fischer said:  

“… when you've got a real, genuine rape.  A case of forcible rape. A case of assault rape, where a woman has been violated against her will, through the use of physical force, where it's physically traumatic for her. He says in those circumstances, the woman's body because of the trauma that's been inflicted on her, it may interfere with the normal functioning processes of her body that lead to conception and pregnancy. There's a very delicate and complex mix of hormones that take place that are released in a woman's body.  And if that gets interfered with, it may make it impossible for her or difficult in that particular circumstance to conceive a child.  That's all Todd Akin is saying.  The brute force trauma of that event may inhibit her body's ability to have that act of rape result in conception.That's all he's saying and he's absolutely right about that.”

See the video of this broadcast and read more on the Huffington Post here.

/Sigh.  I can't stop shaking my head.  If you were in DFO's chair, what question would you pose here?  (PS - Is this guy suggesting that rapists better make sure the rape is traumatic enough or she might like it and accidentally make a baby?)

Pinehurst Trailhead: Woman Attacked

SHOSHONE COUNTY, Idaho — A woman holding her young child was attacked Monday afternoon while leaving a popular swimming hole on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s.

The woman was walking to her car just west of the Pine Creek Trail Head parking lot around 1:30 p.m. when she said a white man grabbed her from behind.

The woman was able to free herself and run to her car with her child. She left the area immediately and did not see where the suspect ran off.

Shoshone County Sheriff’s deputies could not find the attacker when they arrived to investigate.

The suspect is described as a white male, very tan, black greasy hair, black beard, black mustache, potbelly and approximately 5’8 to 6’0 inches tall.

Deputies believe the man is a transient who may be hitchhiking.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office.

Set To Record: Hotel Hell

In an article in today's CdA Press, the owners of the Roosevelt Inn, John and Tina Hough, are finally able to break their silence about their time filming reality show Hotel Hell with Chef Gordon Ramsay.  

The B&B became a television studio complete with cameras throughout thehotel.  The Houghs wore mics and dealt with cameras up close and personal 15 hours per day.   The famous and outrageous chef, Gordon Ramsay derided everything.  


The chef mocked everything, John said, naming things right and left as “completely, total, f-ing rubbish.” He dubbed John an “unfeeling husband” because his wife never takes vacations.

“That's his shtick,” John said, adding that the rain of abuse wasn't a surprise. “I was kind of his whipping boy.”  The episode will air Monday, Sept. 3  on Fox.  Read more here.  AP File Photo/Las Vegas

Would it be worth it to appear on a reality show?  I've heard some stories from those that were present during the filming.  It sounded like a terrible experience.  I'll be tuning in, though — out of morbid curiousity.  I've been wondering how this can be a good thing in the end.

In Katy’s Memory

The University of Idaho dedicated a memorial to slain student, Katy Benoit, a year after her death.  You may recall Benoit was shot and killed by former University of Idaho professor, Ernesto Bustamante.  Bustamante later committed suicide.  

The granite memorial is on the Administration Lawn.  It reads, “In memory of Katy's journey, her care for others, her willingness to speak up and her courage to make a difference.” 

See KXLY's full report here.  KXLY Photo.

Enderud To Be Interim PF Administrator

In last night's Post Falls city council  meeting, Shelley Enderud, was named the interim City Administrator until a replacement can be found.  She will be in this position for at least three months.  Enderud replaces outgoing administrator, Eric Keck, who is leaving the city of Post Falls for a position with local company, GroundForce Manufacturing at the end of this month.

“I believe this will provide the city with a smooth transition,” Mayor Clay Larkin said. “Shelly has been with the city for 15 years and has proven to be a capable, competent and committed professional. She is an effective leader and valuable department head. The city is fortunate to have people on staff, like Shelly, to fill this important position within our organization.”  Read more here.

Is this a good move for the City of Post Falls?

McEuen To Break Ground

Later this month, the contractor ACI Northwest, Inc., will begin to break ground at McEuen Park.  The contractor was awarded this initial contract, a small portion of the total work to be done, last night at the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting.  ACI Northwest's bid was significantly lower — approximately $440,000 less than the other bids.  Mayor Sandi Bloem split the council's tie vote, per usual.

ACI Northwest will put in a parking lot south of City Hall and will begin to excavate the park.  The remaining park upgrade work will be put out for bid at a later.  Read more here.  File photo.

Want to place bets we undergo another Dirt Gate at some point in this project?  Anyone glad to be finally be moving forward now that the Recall is done?

Evening Tidbit

Anyone get a chance to watch HBO Real Sports that aired an interview with former Coug and New Orleans Saints Steve Gleason tonight?  If you did, you may have recognized the lake and location of some of the interviews and footage.  Catch it on the west coast HBO channels at 9pm.  

Parting Shot — 8.21.12

Huckleberries Online received this photo of our SD 271's newest trustee, Dominoes franchise owner Jim Hightower.  Mr. Hightower will be representing Zone 5 after he is sworn in a the next meeting.  At last night's meeting, Mr. Hightower stated he would like to “affect the curriculum” in some way in order to emphasize “practical skills” for our young people.  Examples he listed were “to be able to read cursive, understand the value of credit, and be able to balance a checkbook.”  He also emphasized a person's integrity as the most valuable asset one can have.  

Wild Card - Tuesday 8.21.12

Woo hoo!  I get to fill in for Dave again today while he is on vacation.  Will try to keep things moving along as best I can.  Lots of potential topics will be popping up:  sentencing to be taking place for fomer Sen. John McGee and we will be on Akin-watch since his time to withdraw is later today from the Missouri Senate race.  I'm sure we will discuss further the appointment of Jim Hightower as our latest appointed school board trustee.   Plus, there's one week to go before we head to the election polls on the school bond issue facing voters which will require a 2/3 majority vote to pass.   If you have a suggestion for a topic, comments, suggestions, complaints, etc., you can email me directly at or post your thoughts to this Wild Card thread.

Fill in the blank:  On day 2 of his vacation, DFO spent the day _____________________________.


After two White House parties last year reportedly provided home brewed beer from the White House, transparency advocates are seeking the Presidential recipe under the Freedom of Information Act.   According to this blog post on Politico, a group of brew enthusiasts argue that “disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations of activities of the government.”

The FOIA request added: “If you could send me a copy autographed by the president, you'd be the coolest FOIA officer in the whole federal government.” (AP PHOTO/Jae C. Hong)

If you could market the Presidential home brew, what would you call it?  

New McGee Details Emerge

The circumstances surrounding former Sen. John McGee's disturbing the peace charge have remained unclear … until today.  Betsy Russell is reporting here that the issue involved a graphic proposition of a sexual nature in his office behind locked doors.

McGee told 4th District Magistrate Judge James Cawthon, “Your honor, on Feb. 7, I acted inappropriately and I used language that I should not have used, and I conducted myself in a way, your honor, that was offensive, and I'm guilty of this offense.” The charge against McGee was disturbing the peace of a person.

However, Prosecutor Jean Fisher described the details differently.  The victim was a 25-year-old woman who worked for the Senate in 2011, then returned for the 2012 session. “The job for her, as you can imagine, was very exciting, a unique opportunity,” Fisher said. “It was a great honor for her.” But when the woman returned for the 2012 session, she found McGee, who in the interim had been convicted of DUI in a bizarre Father's Day incident, “mercurial,” subject to “mood swings,” and “acting sexually inappropriately around her.” At one point, Fisher told the court, McGee “called her into his office, locked the door and demanded that she engage in graphic sexual conduct.” The woman escaped. She went home that day and told her mother.

Read more over on Betsy's blog, Eye On Boise.

It’s Fair Time!

Facing a wall of framed memories in the fairgrounds' photo exhibition, Kay Van Cleave conjured her own recollections from a lifetime of visiting the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo.

Parking that cost 15 cents in the '50s. Peeking through the fence to watch rodeos that, she admitted, just plain stunk decades ago.

Things have evolved on the fairgrounds, she said.

“When we were kids, the fair was just animal booths and tractors,” said Van Cleave, now superintendent of quilting at the annual fair. “Now it's a mixture of everything.”    More info plus fair details can be viewed here.

When I was a girl, we went through the North gate and ate chicken first, then worked our way through the buildings from west to east, ending in front of the pellet stoves where Dad parked himself while I rode rides.  Now we enter through the east gate, eat ribs, and decide where to go.  Do you have a routine approach when it comes to the fair? What is the “must do” on the list?

The RR’s Endorse 3 More R’s

The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans officially announced today their endorsement of three “Yes” votes on the Students Come First education reform referenda and for three candidates in addition to the candidates endorsed in the Republican Primary Election.  In a press release the Reagan Republicans stated, 

“We have a large and conservative Board of Directors” said Ron Lahr, President of KCRR, “and we unanimously endorsed these three gentlemen for election. We wholeheartedly agree with the Republican Primary voters that, if elected, they will be excellent officeholders in Boise and in the County Courthouse.”

Jeff Ward, President of the Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans is happy that KCRR is continuing its steadfast support of education reform in Idaho.  “KCRR took the lead in North Idaho in endorsing Superintendent Tom Luna’s Student Come First program when it was considered and passed by the Legislature. Now we stand firmly with maintaining those reforms and supporting our students with 'Yes' votes on the referenda.” Ward noted that the Reagan Republican Victory Fund is already raising funds for an independent expenditure campaign supporting the referenda against the expected attacks by the public employees unions.

The three general election candidates that picked up Reagan Republican endorsements are:  

  • State Representative, 2nd District, Seat A: Vito Barbieri 

  • State Representative, 3rd District, Seat A: Ron Mendive

  • County Sheriff: Ben Wolfinger

Previous endorsements can be found here but as you might guess, only the R's received endorsements.   


Dunder Mifflin to Close

According to a report here, The Office will end the series after the upcoming ninth season.   Producer Greg Daniels said Tuesday that the NBC comedy's final year will be exciting and memorable and will take creative chances. And it will reveal who's been making the mock documentary that has provided the show with its format.

Daniels says, “I think endings can be very powerful.”

My favorite line from The Office is, “That's what she said.”  Any memorable Office moments or lines for you?

EOB: Judge Exceeds McGee Recommendation

An Ada County judge today sent former Idaho Sen. John McGee straight to jail, revoking his withheld judgment for a 2011 DUI and imposing another six-month jail term for a disturbing the peace charge related to allegations that McGee sexually harassed a Senate staffer. Magistrate Judge James Cawthon  declined to follow a plea agreement worked out between prosecutors and McGee's attorney that would have required McGee to serve just five days of jail time; instead, McGee must serve 90 days, the first half of that with no option for work-release or community service.

When McGee's attorney, Scott McKay, asked the judge if his client could have seven days to say goodbye to his family and turn himself in to serve the sentence, the judge responded, “The court will order the execution of the sentence at this time.” McGee was taken into custody at the close of his sentencing hearing. His wife, Hanna, who along with his parents, brother and church pastor accompanied McGee to the hearing, left the courtroom in tears.

Cawthon also sentenced McGee to three years of supervised probation, counseling, restitution and court costs. “What the court's going to impose here I think sends a message in terms of general deterrence,” Cawthon told McGee. “I hope it reflects … the serious nature of the offense.”  More here. AP PHOTO/ Idaho Statesman

Well — are you deterred?  If so, what from?

EOB: Land Board Grim on Report of Fires

A grim Idaho state Land Board heard a report this morning from the state Department of Lands on the ongoing destructive wildfires in the state. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden noted that he saw the headlines in the newspaper this morning about concerns about hazards on the Steep Corner fire, in which 20-year-old Moscow firefighter Anne Veseth was killed, including questions about communications and coordination by the state Department of Lands on the fire. “I'm concerned for our own crews, making sure they have the communication, organization,” Wasden said. He asked state forester and fire official David Groeschl, “Do you feel satisfied with the communication, coordination, and organization that we have, that it would protect our firefighters?”

Groeschl responded, “We are very diligent.” He said crews receive extensive training and protective gear. “I am very proud and very confident in our folks and what they do out there,” Groeschl said. “The last thing we want to do is put them in harm's way, undue risk.” He noted that firefighting is risky. “We will continue to, as much as we can, ensure the safety of our firefighters.”  More from Eye on Boise here.  

Pictured:  State forester, David Groeschl, briefs the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday.  PHOTO Betsy Russell. 

FIre Danger Today Very High

The Coeur d'Alene Fire Department is issuing a red flag fire warning on it's FB Page through today.  Dry conditions and abundant lightning justify this Red Flag designation.  Keep an eye out for trouble!

Fire Crew Had Safety Concerns Before Death

The Idaho Statesman is reporting that an elite fire fighting unit complained of chaos and poor communication and refused to join in fighting the Steep Corner fire that killed a 20 year old Moscow femail firefighter.  The article states, 

The Montana-based Flathead Hotshots team refused to engage the blaze on Aug. 11 after encountering what it described as poor communication among Idaho-based firefighters, some of whom had no protective clothing or shelters. That’s according to a report on SAFENET, an anonymous federal reporting system for wildland firefighters to document their concerns.

The report, dated Aug. 14, describes a chaotic scene, with a “hodge-podge” of firefighters that included a crew of Idaho state prison inmates forced to dodge trees and rocks hurtling down a mountainside.

The next day, Anne Vesseth, died near Orofino, while fighting the fire after she was struck by a falling tree.  Read more here. (Photo KXLY)

Fire fighting is a dangerous job but this latest news adds a new dimenstion to an already tragic story.  

Read more here:

Akin: Asks for Forgiveness

U.S. Senate candidate, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri), apolgized yesterday in a video apology posted first on Politico yesterday.  He states in the video, “I used the wrong words in the wrong way” as he referred to his suggestion that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy.  

Rep. Todd Akin is under mounting pressure from conservatives to withdraw from the Senate race.  He could withdraw but the deadline is 5 pm today (CST).  Akin keeps vowing to stay in the race.  Read more and view the apology  here.

Also:  Controversial conservative columnist joins the list of conservatives pushing Akin to withdraw.  ”I won’t hate Todd Akin officially unless he refuses to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race. If he does withdraw, honorably sacrificing his personal interests to save the country, it will be time for all good men to rally around Akin as an American patriot,” she writes here.  (File Photo)

Well?  Should he withdraw?  Was the apology enough?  OR Do you agree with Ann Coulter?  Conservatives:  If Akin withdrew, could you rally around him as American patriot?  

Jim Hightower Selected for Zone 5

Thread originally posted last night.  Reposted/updated 8.22.12.

In a final 3-1 vote, the CdA School Board chose Jim Hightower to replace Sid Frederickson.  Mr. Hightower will be sworn in at the next board meeting in September.  

The CdA Press article here, reports Trustee Jim Purtee, who, like Hightower, is a restaurant industry veteran with decades of corporate experience, said he has a good understanding of what Hightower brings to the table.

“He knows the kids in the (employee) applicant pool, and if it's a fraction of what I experience, he'd be desperate to change the system, because something is broken,” Purtee said. “I think he has the budgetary experience that will also be helpful because we have some serious financial issues staring at us.”'

CH:  I was present at last night's meeting.  Mr. Hightower expressed his priorities if he were chosen to represent Zone 5 on the school board.  His first priority was to be pro-active regarding safety and security in our schools.  He stated he supported the Aug. 28 school bond and that he had toured our schools.  He also stated that another priority is to “affect the curriculum to introduce practical experience” that he sees missing as an employer.  He would like to see our children be able to “read cursive, understand the value of credit, and be able balance a checkbook.”   

Mr. Hightower has a steep learning curve in front of him.  What are issues that you see as a priority for this new board member to quickly understand?

KT: Wild Art

Yesterday, Kerri Thoreson posted the following update on FB: 

On a day when temperatures in Hell's Canyon reached 110+ last week we spotted this black bear (yes, I know he's brown in color but he's a black bear) climbing out of the Snake River after cooling off. It was very nice of him to pose and look right at the camera as I shot the photo. :)

My last dip was in Hayden Lake.   What watering hole did you last use?

Former Sen. John McGee to be Sentenced

Eye on Boise reports that former Idaho Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, will be sentenced today at 1:30 p.m. in 4th District Court in Ada County.   McGee is facing sentencing for a charge of disturbing the peace on Feb. 7, 2012, related to charges that he sexually harassed a Senate staffer.  He also violated his probation in connection with the same allegation. At the time, McGee was on probation for driving under the influence in June of 2011, for which he received a withheld judgment. An additional charge of driving/operating a vehicle without the owner's consent and causing more than $1,000 damage in the June 2011 incident was dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea on the DUI.

Court records show that McGee has completed 24 hours of community service; was fined $947; wrote a letter of apology to the victims in the driving case in July of 2011; was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation; and was assigned 24 hours of alcohol/DUI education class. He also was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 175 suspended and received work release.

McGee, the former Republican caucus chairman, resigned from the Senate after the sexual harassment allegation surfaced. Betsy Russell's complete report here.

Sometimes a guy comes around and you think, “Boy, I'm glad I'm not him today.”  Or am I the only one that thinks that?  

Parting Shot — 8.20.12

Photographer Duane Rasmussen provides HBO with this lovely shot taken out at the CdA Airport this last weekend.  Local physician Charles Graves and his wife Denise Graves came dressed in period clothing.  Charles Graves has a long running facination with military aircraft.

Wild Card Monday - 8.20.12

On this day in history, the Civil War in 1866, was officially declared to be over (even though fighting had stopped months earlier).  In 1967, the NY Times reported about a noise reduction system that was developed for audio recordings developed by R. and D.W. Dolby.  In 1998, the U.S. attacked a terrorist camp in Afghanistan and a chemical plant in the Sudan because of their connection to Osama Bin Laden.  Plus, this is also the day that both DFO and Cindy are on separate (not sure how equal) vacations, so I get to fill.  You will have me through Wednesday, then it will be Cindy for blog posts about cats and firemen.  If you have suggestions, tips, rants or raves in the next couple of days, you can email me at  Or post them on this Wild Card.  

Kan. Rep: Sorry for Skinny Dipping in Galilee

Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder of Kansas is apologizing for swimming naked in the Sea of Galilee while on a fact finding mission to Israel.  About 20 other congressmen and staffers also swam but Yoder was the only one that swam naked.  Swimming in the Sea of Galilee is allowed but public nudity is a crime.

“It's an embarrassing situation, and I regret it,” Yoder said during an interview on public radio station KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Mo. “I know that many constituents out there are sort of scratching their heads, saying, 'What is this guy up to? What was he doing? What was he thinking?'”  More here

Yeah - what was he thinking?  “I'm a Congressman.  Everyone else is swimming.  I wish I had brought my suit.  I guess I'll go in naked.  What could possibly go wrong?”  

Read more here: more here:

Phyllis Diller, 95, passes away

Comedian Phyllis Diller, known for her self-deprecating humor, died “peacefully in her sleep” at her Los Angeles home Monday morning, her manager told CNN. Diller was 95.

Her son, Perry, “found her with a smile on her face,” manager Milt Suchin said.

Diller's career as a stand-up comic, which she started at age 37, skyrocketed in the 1960s, partly because of her many appearances with Bob Hope on his television specials, USO tours and three movies.  More on her life here.

Tony Scott and now Phyllis Diller.  Is the law that these things happen in threes for real?

School Board Trustee Appointment Tonight

The CdA School District 271 Board of Trustees have scheduled 50 minutes in tonight's special meeting agendato find a replacement for the Zone 5 seat vacated by Sid Frederickson.  The five applicants are:

  • Realtor & PTA volunteer  Kathleen Tilman;  
  • business owner and Reagan Republican Jim Hightower; 
  • retired senior maintenance operator from the Kootenai County Jail, Shelley Woodard; 
  • licensed social worker, Tom Hearn; and
  • Marketing sales rep and Kootenai County GOP Precinct #53 Committeeman, Matt Robinson.

Tonight's meeting will take place at the Midtown Meeting Center at 5 pm.  The person appointed will be up for election in May 2012, along with 2 other recently appointed trustees.   Previous Press article here.

Perhaps an applicant would drop by HBO and introduce themselves here to the blogosphere.  In the meantime, any guesses as to who the remaining 4 trustees will choose to appoint? 

Pork Found at NYC Ramadan Festival

Muslims gathered in a New York City park this past weekend to celebrate the end of Ramadan.  Organizers found uncooked bacon scattered around, and police are investigating it as a potential hate crime.

“Muslims are prohibited from eating pork products. The New York chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations says pork is often used to offend or taunt Muslims. It says there have been similar taunts around the country,”  according to the report here.

What do you think:  Is this a hate crime?  

Dinner Party Discussion

Was at a friendly gathering this past weekend when the topic of our local GOP politics came up.  Some wondered if the Reagan Republicans vs. the Real Reagan Republicans issue had been resolved yet.  Others wondered about the Reasonable Republicans, the Reagan Republicans, the Rally Right group, and all the other splinter groups that have sprung up around town and what there real differences were.  Finally someone suggested starting the Reagan Democrats club — you know for all those so called RINOs shunned by the farther right OR for actual Reagan Democrats.  Then more wine was sipped while folks giggled.

Do you think there's room for Reagan Democrats in Kootenai County?  Do you have any ideas for other political group names?  (Pssstt — before anyone gets in a lather, this is for fun – I know of no actual Reagan Democrats group getting started.  Unless someone wants to volunteer in this thread.)

Tour de Fat Hits Boise

Tour de Fat rolled through Boise Saturday morning, bringing out tons of eclectically dressed cyclists.  The event, which touts itself as a “pro-bike celebration,” was created by New Belgium Brewing. The cycling festival is held in cities across the country to encourage residents to use their bicycles when traveling.   Read more here.  (PHOTO Idaho Statesman/Katherine Jones)

Confusing and intriguing:  these guys don't look like they should be riding in the Tour de Fat.  Anyone know where I can sign up?

HW 95 Road Construction Warning

U.S. 95 between Chilco and Silverwood will be paved beginning this week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., creating substantial delays for motorists wanting to use Chilco Road, the Idaho Transportation Department announced here.

The contractor will be doing test strips of asphalt until Thursday (Aug. 23), with paving on U.S. 95 to follow.

Motorists are encouraged to use alternative routes along U.S. 95. Delays of up to two hours are anticipated for those using Chilco Road during paving operations.  Motorists can expect intermittent delays at Chilco Road through Nov. 1.

Anyone have suggestions for alternative routes?

Director Tony Scott, RIP

Tony Scott, director of such Hollywood hits as “Top Gun,” “Days of Thunder” and “Beverly Hills Cop II,” died Sunday after jumping from a towering suspension bridge spanning Los Angeles harbor and leaving behind several notes to loved ones, authorities said.

The 68-year-old Scott's death was being investigated as a suicide, Los Angeles County Coroner's Lt. Joe Bale said.  Read more here.  (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Whenever we see Top Gun on the television guide, we tune in just to see which scene is playing.  What's your favorite Top Gun scene?  Do you remember who you saw Top Gun with for the first time? 

Rmore here:

Man Dies From Gondola Fall

A man riding on the Silver Mountain gondolas in Kellogg this weekend apparently fell to his death, authorities

said today.

The victim, identified only as 26-year-old, reportedly had climbed out a window of the gondola car he was in despite being warned repeatedly by a companion to get back inside, according to the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office. He fell about 85 feet into steep, rocky terrain about 8:30 p.m. Saturday.  More here.  (SR Photo/ Jesse Tinsley)

NPR Reports: Local Conservative Rift

Kootenai GOP politics hit NPR again with a report on the continuing local party in-fighting.  Local R Duane Rasmussen states,  “I visualized myself as more conservative than many.  And that’s what I thought until I was rudely awakened by some of these other people who started calling me a liberal.”

Bob Pederson helped form Rally Right and is considered to be the man who designed the local party takeover.  “The Republican Party has been losing power and that’s how Obama got elected because it won’t stand on its own values,” Pedersen says. “So instead of abandoning the Republican Party and going to a third party, we just believe, hey, it’s the conservative Republican Party, we’re taking it back. So we’re forcing them out.”

And here’s how he did it. Pedersen says he started with the most basic party office holder.

“Precinct committeemen are the core to all politics in the United States,” he explains.  Full story plus audio here.

It seems as though Kootenai County has 50 Shades of Conservative.  Not sure where I fit if Duane Rasmussen is considered “liberal.”  Have you noticed the rift in GOP politics?  

WWII History at the Airport

Flatlander posted here

My son and I went out and looked at the bombers. We took the inside tour of the B25 but the B17 was not open at the time. We asked if it was going to be opened up and the gentleman said not anymore today, but if we came back at 7 today he would be doing the preflight check and let my son on then. He was true to his word and more. He let my son climb in the pilot seat, open the bomb bay doors, climb on the wing and measure the fuel and even opened the ball turret to let him get a good look in there. Spent around an hour in and on the plane. He was one happy 8 year old.

Photo provided by Duane Rasmussen of unknown kid in the cockpit this weekend.

Anyone else get a chance this weekend to see the planes?

Editor: McEuen Changes Welcome

The CdA Press editorial this weekend embraced the changes already taking place with the McEuen improvement project.  ”The whole idea behind removing the tennis courts and now, the baseball fences from McEuen was to open the park to greater usage. The skeptics will say it was used enough; the cynics will say the changes bear the fingerprints of locals who have sold out to big business and more tourists at the expense of local taxpayers and park patrons.”  

The editorial opines further, “But ask those who live or work next to McEuen how much the park has been used this summer, and you'll consistently hear that even on gorgeous summer afternoons, patronage was paltry. Many of us are confident that the changes coming to McEuen will dramatically increase the park's popularity with locals, but the truth is, it would be difficult not to improve on its poor current usage. In our view, the sky's the limit with McEuen. Now perhaps it will become a field of dreams for many more North Idahoans.”  More here

McEuen seemed to be the park for locals who wanted to avoid City Park filled with all the tourists.  Sometimes I think that's what the fight was over — avoiding tourists and newly re-located residents.  

Warrant Roundup - 8.20.12

For this week's list of warrants, check out the CdA Press report here.

Am I the only one that checks the warrants to see who I know?

Ruby Ridge — 20 years later

20 years ago this week, the Ruby Ridge standoff took place and became a refererence point in American culture.  ”More than a deadly siege in North Idaho that claimed the lives of a mother, her son and a federal marshal, the standoff at Ruby Ridge became a rallying point for the extremist movement and made Randy Weaver, the white supremacist at the center of the event, a hero to those groups. It also changed the way federal law enforcement handles standoffs with fugitives,” writes Bill Morlin in Sunday's SR article here. (SR file photo).

Sara Weaver has found forgiveness in an article here.

What are the “take aways” from Ruby Ridge 20 years later?

Condi Makes Golf History

For the first time ever, Augusta National Golf Club has added two female members.  Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore will become the first women wearing the traditional green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October.  

The move likely ends a debate that intensified in 2002 when Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organizations urged the club to include women among its members. Former club chairman Hootie Johnson stood his ground, even at the cost of losing Masters television sponsors for two years, when he famously said Augusta National might one day have a woman in a green jacket, “but not at the point of a bayonet.”

“This is a joyous occasion,” Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said Monday.  More here. PHOTO Golf Digest/Robert Gallagher.

Good for Augusta National for accepting two outstanding women into the fold.  No bayonets needed.

Cornyn: Akin Should Consider Withdrawing

“Congressman Akin's statements were wrong, offensive, and indefensible,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), referring to the Missouri Senate candidate's comments that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” rarely become pregnant.

“I recognize that this is a difficult time for him, but over the next twenty-four hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service,” added Cornyn.  Read more here from the Huffington Post.  (AP PHOTO/Orlin Wagner)

Akin has until 5pm on Tuesday to withdraw.  The blogosphere is full of chatter on this topic.  So — will he or won't he?  Should he or shouldn't he? 

Weekend Wild Card — 7.18-19.12

The Lady Subs of Huckleberries Online will take center stage for the next two weeks because I'm on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. This is the time of year when I like to kick back and enjoy our viewtiful area. The dog days of summer have slowed things down here. So it's a good time to pull the plug for a couple of weeks. Things will start hopping after the fair when the candidates launch their fall campaigns. If nothing else, we have a president to elect. Which excites some people. I suppose. Now for your Weekend Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 8.17.12

This photo combination shows a house on a hillside above Bettas Road near Cle Elum, Wash., surrounded by flames on Tuesday, top, and on Wednesday, bottom. A spokesman for the Washington state Department of Natural Resources said the house survived the fire because of the defensible space around the structure with the placement of the driveway and the lack of trees and brush up against the house, preventing flames from reaching it. Firefighters are still working to control the Bridge Taylor Fire and said that it's 25 percent contained. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

TGIF Wild Card — 8.17.12

I have my two super-subs warming up in the bullpen to run HucksOnline over the next two weeks — Christa, next Monday through Wednesday, then Cindy & her cats next Thursday through Aug. 31. Yeah, yeah, I know — I spend too much time on vacation. As much as I ♥ you guys, however, I need occasional breaks to recharge my batteries. This'll be my last chance to do so before the fall election campaigns overrun HucksOnline. You and I will have to be at the top of our game to get through September and October. Now for your TGIF Wild Card …

Slight Detour: Forever Young

In a poignant post on her Slight Detour blog today, Marianne Love discusses an encounter with former Sandpoint High student Harvey Martin at Harvey's 1982 class reunion — a man she describes as a “jokester with a good heart.” Harvey is the father of soldier Ethan Martin, who was killed earlier this month in Afghanistan. She writes: “It was May.  We were both shopping at a local store.  We took time to do some catch-up on kids and life. Harvey was busting his buttons that day with the news that his daughter was graduating from the University of Idaho.  She would be a teacher. We also talked about his son Ethan. A proud father he was, for sure.  I walked away from that conversation so proud and happy for Harvey. None of us on this day can come close to comprehending the sadness the Martin family is feeling as they bring their hero home to his final resting place. I do know one thing, though.  Harvey and the family are being sustained by the outpouring of love extended by so many throughout the North Idaho community and through Facebook posts.” Complete post here.

Question: Is there a fallen soldier or Marine in your life who remains forever young?

PM Headlines — 8.17.12

Publisher Mike Weland of the online News Bonners Ferry describes the scene today as the body of fallen soldier Ethan Martin returned home to Bonners Ferry: “As the cortege passed through Bonners Ferry, chatter stopped. Hands went over hearts, solemn salutes were held as the white hearse bearing the body of 22-year-old Army Specialist Ethan Jacob Martin, made it's sad and slow way.” More here. (Photo: News Bonners Ferry)

That’s Gotta Hurt

This tomography scan released Thursday by the Miguel Couto hospital, shows the skull of 24-year-old construction worker Eduardo Leite pierced by a metal bar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Doctors say Leite survived after a 6-foot metal bar fell from above him and pierced his head. Luiz Essinger of Rio de Janeiro's Miguel Couto Hospital Friday told the Globo TV network that doctor's successfully withdrew the iron bar during a five-hour-long surgery. (AP Photo/Miguel Couto Hospital)

PM Scanner Traffic — 8.17.12

  • 5:35 p.m. 3 kids are unsecure in back seat of black Nssan Sentra e/b on I-90 @ Pleasantview/PF.
  • 5:32 p.m. Thick smoke but no fire seen from truck disabled @ 22000 H53/Rathdrum.
  • 5:04 p.m. Female (in 4:49 item) has blood on her face; says she wanted to see if gun worked.
  • 4:59 p.m. A large piece of metal is lying in passing lane of e/b I-90 @ M/P 11 (NW Blvd).
  • 4:57 p.m. Hazmat responder estimates that only 1/4 to 1/2 gallon of fuel spilled into lake (4:27 item).
  • 4:56 p.m. Aggressive magazine saleswoman bothering truckers @ Flying J Truck Stop/PF.
  • 4:49 p.m. Athol man reports wife just shot hole through bathdroom window. Doesn't know why.
  • 4:44 p.m. Suicidal 58YO male driving gray 2002 Hyundai last seen @ 1 p.m. in Post Falls.
  • 4:29 p.m. Bryant is in the KCSD lobby to report a vehicle theft.
  • 4:27 p.m. Fuel is leaking from pumps at Conkling Marina, 20 W. Jerry Lane/Worley, into lake.
  • 4:22 p.m. Caller complains that juveniles are shooting off fireworks at City Beach/CdA.
  • 4:05 p.m. Undisclosed theft reported in 10400 block of H41/Rathdrum.
  • 14 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Edit: Raul IDs Forest Problem, But …

Rep. Raul Labrador is absolutely right about the plight of our nation’s forests, and the plight of rural communities in Western timber country. A sustainable, well-managed timber harvest will reduce the risk of forest fire — and provide sustainable revenue for rural schools and local governments. Labrador’s priorities are sound. His prescription — a divisive piece of legislation — is flawed. Labrador’s Self-Sufficient Communities Lands Act would allow states to run pilot management plans on some U.S. Forest Service parcels. He knows his bill will go nowhere in a divided Congress. Its prospects hinge on Labrador’s fellow Republicans building on their control of the House by capturing the Senate and the White House. And that speaks volumes about Labrador’s approach/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.'

Question: Whose approach to national forest management do you support — Congressman Mike Simpson or Congressman Raul Labrador?

Read more here:

Trustee Seddon Leads Facilities Tour

Coeur d'Alene School Trustee Ann Seddon stands at Canfield Middle School earlier today after a workman put up the lettering on their school sign promoting the levy which would provided badly needed improvements to plant facilities. Seddon led half dozen Republican leaders on a tour of elementaries and Canfield Middle School scheduled for significant upgrades if school district patrons pass a $32.7 million bond Aug. 28.

DFO, Responding to a HucksOnline question, Christa Hazel comments: “As for Mr. Purtee and Ms. Seymour, I have personally heard direct statements from both supporting this bond within the last few weeks. At the last trustee meeting earlier this month, Mr. Purtee urged those at the meeting to use our computers, phones, etc. to connect with folks we know and get them to support this bond. Ms. Seymour toured Bryan Elementary last week and stated emphatically that we need to get this bond passed.”

Stebbi: Hillbilly Beans & Live Stream

At Stebbijo's Place, Stebbijo is cooking up a pot of beans — and hoping that the Idaho Supreme Court will live-stream arguments when it hears the long-running 2009 Coeur d'Alene municipal election case involving challenger Jim Brannon's 3-vote loss to incumbent Councilman Mike Kennedy. Writes Stebbijo: “I am doing up Hillbilly Beans today but this post is really about the latest news regarding our Idaho Supreme Court - I hope they live stream the Brannon case that will be heard Sept 19th here in Coeurd alene, Idaho! Also, I did not follow this recipe to the tee - I never do - and I did not bake them - stove top simmered them - but you get the idea. Consider this a public service announcement and cool beans!” Stebbi cut and pasted Betsy Russell's announcement re: the Idaho Supreme Court live-streaming. You can read it here.

Question: Would you watch if the Idaho Supreme Court live-streamed Brannon-Kennedy case arguments?

IFF Deplores Local Govt Spending

Is the economy suddenly so robust that taxpayers are just overflowing with money—such that local governments are again reaching back into our pockets for wads of falling cash? I’m just wondering because all across Idaho some of our government agencies are operating as if the good economic times have returned. It’s a wonder no one has proposed throwing a lavish GSA-style party in Las Vegas. I have three targets to share for the week, but I’m sure there are many others that deserve the scrutiny of a skeptical taxpaying public. … in Sandpoint … the city government, along with neighboring Ponderay, would like to put in place a local option sales tax. The tax would be somewhere between half a percent and 3 percent. No one really knows for sure. It just depends on how ambitious the local governments would like to be with their development plans. Those include plans for a parking lot, trail and park improvements, downtown revitalization (because apparently, urban renewal isn’t enough) and street improvements/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: Doesn't a local-option tax require voter approval? If Sandpoint and Ponderay residents want to tax themselves to provide certain amenities, why should anyone outside their city limits be concerned?

NIdaho Soldier’s Body Returns Home

KXLY provides this photo on its Facebook wall of the mourners along the road who greeted the return of fallen soldier Ethan Martin's body on its way back to Bonners Ferry this morning.

A North Idaho soldier killed in action in Afghanistan last week returned home Friday for the final time. Spc. Ethan Martin will be laid to rest Saturday at Paradise Valley Cemetery in Bonners Ferry. Spc. Martin's remains arrived in Sandpoint Friday on a charter plane from Dover Air Force Base. The Honorable Transfer ceremony marks the return of the soldier to his family. After the ceremony, Spc. Martin's body was brought to Bonners Ferry in a motorcade, with citizens lining the streets with flags to pay tribute. Spc. Martin's life will be celebrated with a public memorial service Saturday at 1:00 at Bonners Ferry High School. He'll then be laid to rest in a ceremony that is open to the public. 22-year old Martin joined the Army in 2009/KXLY. More here.


IBOE Gives Vandals Big Sky OK

The Idaho State Board of Education voted Friday to give the University of Idaho authority to become a Football Bowl Subdivision independent and negotiate and accept an invitation to the Big Sky. The board's motion also allows Idaho to join the Big Sky in football. The board voted 5-1 with the only no vote coming from State Board President Ken Edmunds. Edmunds wanted Idaho to have to return to the board if it chooses to place its football program in the Big Sky. Idaho President Duane Nellis and Athletic Director Rob Spear — who joined the meeting via telephone — argued that they needed flexibility in case they were not able to schedule FBS games. Spear said he was “quite confident we are able to do this (in regards to scheduling)”/Brian Murphy, Statesman. More here.

Question: AD Spear seems optimistic that Idaho can fill out a Football Bowl Subdivision schedule as an Independent in 2013 & 2014. What do you think?

Read more here:

Did SPLC’s Words Inflame Shooter?

A Facebook Friend writes: “We all have heard about the recent shooting at the Family Research Council in Washington D.C., which champions traditional family values, Man-Woman marriage, etc. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which rid North Idaho of the Aryan Nations and Richard Butler, has called FRC a hate group because of their beliefs. Another attack on religion and the first-amendment?


Russian Punk Singers Get 2 Years

Three women from the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in jail on Friday for their protest in a church against President Vladimir Putin, an outcome supporters described as the Kremlin leader's “personal revenge”. The group's backers burst into chants of “Shame” outside the Moscow courthouse and said the case showed Putin's refusal to tolerate dissent in his new six-year term as president. Dozens were detained as tensions rose and scuffles broke out. The United States and the European Union condemned the sentence as disproportionate and asked for it to be reviewed, although state prosecutors had demanded a three-year jail term and the maximum sentence possible was seven years/Reuters. More here. (AP photo: Feminist punk group Pussy Riot members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, Maria Alekhina, center, and Yekaterina Samutsevich sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia, today)

Question: So you really think Russian justice under President Vladimir Putin has come that far?

Life & Death In The Country

Since Cindy will be subbing for me midweek on next week, I thought I'd get a jump on her cat photos by posting this one from Oregon online bud Robin Loznak, who writes on his Facebook wall: “One of the cats killed a wild rabbit about half her size this morning. The chickens were very interested.”


AM Scanner Traffic — 8.17.12

  • 12:26 p.m. Undisclosed battery reported at Landings Park/CdA.
  • 12:16 p.m. Bicyclist hurt in crash w/vehicle @ Northwest Blvd & Lakewood/CdA.
  • 12:13 p.m. Possible illegal burn reported near Ramsey & H93/Rathdrum.
  • 11:38 a.m. Driver of black Washington Surburban flashing lights, tailgating @ H95 & Lancaster.
  • 11:37 a.m. Female wants deputy help b/c angry niece en route to pick up belongings.
  • 11:23 a.m. Man trying to extinguish fire in back of house @ 487 Dalton w/garden hose.
  • 11:03 a.m. Possible burglary reported in 1800 block of Burl Lane/CdA.
  • 10:55 a.m. 20-by-20-foot fire reported in northeast corner of I-90 & Ramsey Road intersection. Traffic control is requested to block e/b offramp onto Northwest Boulevard/CdA.
  • 13 more items below

Hammers Pounding In My Brain

On the Citizens for a Positive Coeur d'Alene Facebook wall, Nancy White posts today: “I am THANKFUL for the cacophony of construction noise outside my window that begins every morning at 7:00am because it means people have jobs, are going to work every day, and are a demonstration that our local economy is rebounding. Opening soon in Riverstone, Le Peep Café.”

Question: Do you agree with Nancy — that the sound of construction hammers never sounded so sweetly in Coeur d'Alene?

Teacher Fights Sex-With-Aide Firing

A Riverside High School teacher is fighting for his job after being dismissed for having sex on school grounds with a former student. Allen Martin thinks the school district is being too harsh. The district, however, contends the behavior raises too many concerns. School was not in session the day he and the 25-year-old woman, a former teacher’s aide in his class, had their encounter in Martin’s classroom, according to court documents. The former head football coach says he was forthcoming to district officials about the tryst. “We are in arbitration because Mr. Martin made a mistake in his personal life on his personal time and he thinks the district overreacted” by dismissing him, said Martin’s attorney, Kevan Montonya. “By all accounts he was an outstanding teacher who has never harmed or endangered a student”/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR. More here.

Question: Should Allen Martin get his job back?

Pachyderm SOS Backs $32.7M Bond

A Berry Picker has sent Huckleberries the following SOS note from Bob Brooke to Pachyderms: “Our new (conservative) School Board for District 271 is strongly behind the School Bond election to raise funds to repair and renovate the physical structures and design of some of our schools that are badly in need of attention. Years of neglect by the previous liberal school board makes these revisions very necessary. Tomorrow morning (Friday, 8-17-12) at 9:45 AM, Trustee Ann Seddon will conduct a tour of Canfield Middle School , located at  1800 East Dalton .  The purpose of the tour is to show community leaders why there is a need to pass the upcoming bond for additional school funds.  Meet at the parking lot. The entrance is around the back so people need to turn right on the street after the school and go to the back of the school. Please take a voting neighbor with you and see for yourself the need for these revisions. Remember to vote on August 28th. Your support is needed.”

DFO: I very much doubt that the previous “liberal” (code word for anyone who doesn't meet GOP hardliner purification critieria) school boards neglected those buildings. P'haps the now-engaged Hard Right voted “no” a little too much? Anyway, I appreciate that the Pachyderms are onboard with this bond.


AM: Grizzly Charging Horse Popular

Trail ride wrangler Erin Bolster and her famous steed, Tonk, were greeting fans at the Western Montana Fair in Missoula last week to celebrate the 1st anniversary of their heroic encounter with a grizzly bear near Glacier National Park. More from Rich Landers/SR here. (AP file photo)

Idaho, RI, DC Drop In Joblessness

Almost 20,000 more Idahoans had jobs this July compared to last. The Idaho Department of Labor reports July’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point from June to 7.5 percent.  That’s a three-year low, and it’s better than the national rate of 8.3 percent. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Idaho and Rhode Island were the only two states, to post a decline in the jobless rate from June to July.  The District of Columbia also saw a decrease. Idaho Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick says state analysts anticipated the jobless rate would remain flat, much like the national rate, but he adds Idaho has been on a downward trajectory for a year.  “This two-tenths drop is another indication we really are on a slide down, and there is real recovery underway in Idaho,” Fick says/Emilie Ritter Saunders, StateImpact. More here.

Question: Do you believe Idaho is on the way to full economic recovery?

Poll: Boys Easier To Rear

  • Thursday Poll: By an almost 3-to-1 margin, Hucks Nation said boys are easier to rear than girls. 53 of 121 respondents (43.8%) said boys are easier to bring up. Only 19 of 121 (15.7%) respondents said girls are easier to raise. 19 (15.7%) said both sexes are hard to rear. 15 (12.4%) said both are easy to raise. And 15 (12.4%) said they haven't raised children.
  • Today's Poll: Are you planning to vote for the $32.7M Coeur d'Alene School District bond?

Flipping Out

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews flips his hair before a preseason NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Thursday in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Question: Did you ever have long hair?

Wyoming Hardliners Target ‘RINOs’

Harlan J. Edmonds has harbored a major bugaboo against Wyoming RINOs (Republicans in name only) since he first came to the state in 1993 while working for the U.S. Department of Defense at F.E. Warren Air Force Base. He arrived with the expectation of finding “a conservative sanctuary,” he told Liberty’s Torch, a monthly Cheyenne newspaper. Instead, he was bitterly disappointed. “I found the state’s political system to be lousy with liberals and political opportunists.” Not to be confused with rhinos, RINOs, as Edmonds defines them, are counterfeit Republicans — liberal and moderate members of the party and even some closeted Democrats — who somehow have insidiously entrenched themselves in the Wyoming Republican Party’s “big tent.” Edmonds and the five-month-old political action committee he chairs, CROW (Conservative Republicans of Wyoming) want the flaps of the big tent closed to all but true red, white and blue conservatives/Laton McCartney, WyoFile. More here. (Wikipedia illustration)

Question: Izzit just me — or do a lot of self-described “conservative” individuals who are hellbent on purifying the GOP come from some place else?

UI Law School Boise Expansion OK’d

The University of Idaho's plan to seek state funding to expand its Boise law program won approval Thursday rom the Board of Education, but not without concerns from one trustee that the cart was getting ahead of the horse. The Moscow university is now offering third-year law courses in Boise and school officials ask the board at a meeting in Pocatello to request $400,000 from the state in 2013 to grow the program to include second-year classes. The expansion of the law program in the state capital has so far been “a great success,” said Don Burnett, the dean of the university's College of Law. Burnett noted that board members were convened in Pocatello exactly four years ago when giving the university permission to bring a portion of its law program to Boise/Jessie L. Bonner, AP. More here.

Question: Did someone in your family graduate with a law degree from University of Idaho?

Read more here:

Trib: Jeers To 3 Idaho Delegates

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Opinion Editor Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune jeered U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador and Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, all R-Idaho, for remaining silent when Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann slimed a loyal American diplomat. Marty: “Bachmann asserted Huma Abedin, a veteran aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 'has three family members — her late father, her mother and her brother - connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Her position affords her routine access to the secretary and to policy-making.'” Idaho Congressman Mike Simpon joined U.S. Sen. John McCain in criticizing the McCarthy-type attack. Marty again: “But when the Idaho Statesman's editorial board asked Labrador about it, he said: 'I think we would be foolish to think that people are not trying to infiltrate our government. … I would hope she's smart enough to have enough evidence to make a statement like that.' Crapo and Risch had even less to say. More here.

Question: Should Labrador, Risch and Crapo have spoken out against Bachmann's comments?

Fools, Huckleberry Bushes Don’t Mix

pulled into Dairy Queen on Appleway in Coeur d’Alene recently with a buddy for something cool … and instead ended up hot under the collar. There in the parking lot was a North Idaho pick-up truck, the bed piled with huckleberry bushes that had been sheared off in the forests for their prized fruit. The culprits and a car-load or two of friends were “picking” berries in the DQ parking lot, then taking them inside for an illegal huckleberry parfait. Shame on you! I wish I’d written down your license plates! You might think you’re making easy work for yourself, but you’re not only breaking the law, you’re giving a bad name to the rest of us who look forward to REAL huckleberry picking, AND you’re killing a truck-load of bushes that likely will never produce again, or at least won’t for decades/Bob Baker, Coeur d'Alene. More here.

Question: What would be a fitting penalty for this crime against huckleberries?

Developers Describe High-Rise Plans

Meet the neighbors. The Colorado developers proposing to build a 12-story retail and apartment complex in downtown Coeur d'Alene laid out the first wave of details behind the estimated $20 million project Thursday, saying they want to work with the surrounding neighborhood as much as possible as they turn the conceptual plan into a final design. “I don't consider myself a local by any stretch of the imagination,” said Greg Hills, principal of real estate development firm Austin Lawrence Partners, out of Aspen, Colo., which is pitching the project. “I'm not saying that I am … But our goal is to have a collaborative effort with the city on this building.” The company wants to break ground on a 125,000-square-foot, 60-unit luxury-apartment building at 201 N. First St., in the spring/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust Press photo: Denver architect Michael Noda describes the building style of the135-foot mixed use project proposed for 201 N. First Street)


Show Feats Vintage, Souped-Up Cars

Dennis Akers, of Post Falls, gives directions to the General Store to Mike and Jenise Lithgow, of Kila, Mont., after they had signed in, Thursday, at the Goodguys 11th Great Northwest Nationals at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. Some 1500 vehicles from 1972 and older are expected for the show Aug. 17-19. The Lithgows are driving an 800 horsepower 1930 Ford Model A with a 392 blown hemi. Akers' truck, at left, is '34 Ford with a 331 hemi engine. SR story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Describe the hottest car that you ever owned.

UI Stuck With Pie-In-The-Sky Notion

So do all those Idaho Vandals antenna flags flap in the breeze at half-staff from now on? Today in a meeting room in Boise, University of Idaho president Duane Nellis and athletic director Rob Spear schlep themselves in front of the State Board of Education to ask permission to crank the DeLorean up to 88 mph and run it past the clock tower in hopes of a lightning strike. Technically, the BOE is voting to give Marty and Doc merely the OK to explore a back-to-the-future reunion with the Big Sky Conference in basketball and the not-important sports, along with football oblivion … er, independence. Spear got on the Twitter horn Thursday to point out there’s to be “nothing official” regarding a move, though the agenda mentions accepting an invitation from the Sky. What’s official is this: There’s a lot of hard swallowing going on, all over the Vandal map/John Blanchette, SR. More here.

Question: Which conference game would you rather see: Idaho vs. Montana or Idaho vs. New Mexico State?

Wardell: Many Plusses For CSD Bond

In a guest opinion for the Coeur d'Alene Press, Finance Director Wendell Wardell of the Coeur d'Alene School District discusses the $32.7M bond election set for Aug. 28: “A school construction bond acts like a home mortgage for the school district. It has a principal and interest payment and, in this case, repayment is spread over 13 years. Another funding mechanism used to support buildings is a School Plant Facility (SPFL) which is a simple levy over a similar time frame. Of the two ways, the School Bond we are proposing is the most homeowner and community friendly. For the community, it's about jobs and putting an economic infusion of $32.7 million dollars into circulation relatively quickly. For the homeowner, the cost is spread over 13 years. The district seeks to lock in (within the bond market) the current $.42 per $1,000 of assessed property value. We can maintain this current tax rate because both the Lake City High School Bond and KTEC School Plant Facilities Levy are expiring this year.” More here.

Question: Why are/aren't you supporting the $32.7M school bond?

Signe: Cryin’ In Their Beer

Signe Wilkenson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Wild Card/Thursday — 8.16.12

I forgot to mention that I broke my swimming fast Sunday after my church's annual baptism at Ross Point Bible Camp. It was just too hot to hobnob under the trees. So I jumped into the Spokane River and frolicked with the kids for several hours. I'd forgotten how refreshing our lakes and rivers are during August heat. I even tried the slide and diving board. Can't wait to do it again. I should have plenty of opportunities during a two-week vacay that begins next week. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 8.16.12

At the Lovestead, Marianne Love/Slight Detour tells or her husband, Bill, and son, Willie, and others moving 150 bales of hay into their winter home in a bay “in the big shed at the end of the lane.” It took them about an hour to complete the work. Writes Marianne: “While they were dripping with sweat and dealing with uncomfortable chaff, I mowed a section of lawn, always looking to see how much the stack had diminished and thanking my lucky stars that I didn't have to be out there. Bucking bales in August is the most miserable of jobs, and I've made up my mind that my “bucking” list is complete for a lifetime–-bales and horses.” Full post here.

DFO: Marianne's right. Bucking bales is a miserable job. I spent the summers of my early teen years, 14 to 16, bucking bales in my Uncle Manuel's fields and barns — all day long in heat at or above 100 degrees in California's Sacramento Valley. I never looked back once I left the dairy at age 16.

Question: Have you ever earned money bucking bales of hay?

Googling Idaho’s Tendencies

Chris Cillizza of Washington Post's The Fix blog offers a map today that reveals how people generally stereotype every state in the union. Cillizza explains: “Today we happened upon an awesome map put together by Renee DiResta at her No Upside blog.  What DiResta did is simple but revealing. In Google she typed in “Why is [fill in the blank state] so…” and let Google’s autocomplete function, which tracks the most common words typed after “so”, do the rest. She mapped the top four auto-completes for each state.” The three words she uses to describe Idaho are: “so Republican, so conservative and so boring.” Washington: “So rainy, so cloudy, so liberal, so important.” You can see the whole map here.

Fill in the blank (in 3 or 4 words): Why is Idaho so …

PM Scanner Traffic — 8.16.12

  • 5:22 p.m. Driver of primed pickup w/loud muffler almost hit another vehicle head-on while passing recklessly @ Brunner & Diagonal/Rathdrum.
  • 4:47 p.m. Wanted female in custodial issue may be in 6600 block of Maplewood/PF.
  • 4:36 p.m. Caller reports people littering in Corbin Park on Spokane River/PF.
  • 4:28 p.m. Possible burglary in the 12000 block of N. Pinetree Road/Hayden.
  • 4:10 p.m. 2 suspicious vehicles @ Seltice Way & Atlas, including a white 1990 Plymouth.
  • 11 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 8.16.12

“Oh my God,” said Julia Jakaber, of Otis Orchards as she ziplined through the trees in Wallace earlier today. She and her sisters booked the adventure with Silver Streak Zipline Tours as a birthday present for their father Ted Wentz also of Otis Orchards. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

North Idaho Blogs Rdp — 8.16.12

Herb @ Bay Views is reporting that the hospitality industry at Bayview is going through a rebirth with Ralph's Coffee, Scenic Bay Marina and Captain's Wheel Resort leading the way. More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday): 9009/5417, and (for Tuesday): 9487/5467

Should Voters Be Forced To Show ID?

Challengers to Pennsylvania's tough new law requiring voters to show photo identification are appealing a judge's decision to let it take effect in the Nov. 6 presidential election. The lawyers for the people and rights groups suing filed the appeal Thursday afternoon. The paperwork was filed in the lower Commonwealth Court. The Supreme Court says it hasn't received it. But the lawyers are asking the high court for a speedy review, including oral arguments to be scheduled during the court's session in Philadelphia the week of Sept. 10. The law is the subject of a furious debate over voting rights/KXLY. More here.

Question: I had to show my ID when I voted absentee for Coeur d'Alene school bond. No. Big. Deal. What do you think?

A Kiss For The Ages

A 3,000-pound granite marker sits at the corner of Dorchester and 53rd Streets where President Barack Obama first kissed first lady Michele Obama Thursday in Chicago. The owners of a shopping center in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood installed the granite marker this week. The Obamas will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this October. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

DFO: For those keeping score at home, I still remember kissing my future wife for the first time. I rate that kiss at the top of all kisses in my life, sorta like Wesley's first kiss with Buttercup.

Question: Can you remember kissing your mate for the first time?

Fallen Bonner Ferry Hero Returning

The body of Army Specialist Ethan Martin, 22, killed in Afghanistan August 7, will be flown to the Sandpoint Airport from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on Friday, and escorted to Bonners Ferry with his family in a military cortege. Also accompanying the cortege will be the Patriot Riders, a motorcycle group comprised primarily of military veterans and their families whose mission is to honor all the fallen heroes in this nation's war on terror. A grass-roots effort is now underway by many in Bonners Ferry to show the family just how much this community respects and honors the terrible sacrifice they've laid on the alter of freedom/Mike Weland, News Bonners Ferry. More here.


Are Resort Guests Old, Rude, Mean?

Idawa: I just spoke to one of my co-workers who just spent the last couple days at the Cd’A Resort. While he had nice things to say about the resort and the town, he was, in his words, “disgusted” by the other guests at the resort. Generally, he observed that most of them were old, rude, mean to the staff, and just plain impolite (didn’t hold doors for his wife and kids, didn’t clap when performers were done performing for them, etc…). He just sensed a sort of obnoxious sense of entitlement from them. I told him that except for a one night stay at the resort on my honeymoon (I didn’t have a lot of interaction with the other guests except for one that night!), I didn’t have much experience with the Hagadone crowd growing up in Cd’A. So, does his perception hold up with everyone’s experience? (SR file photo)

Question: I interpret this as an observation re: the guests at the resort and not the quality of service and amenities offered there. I haven't spent a night at the resort. So I have no firsthand knowledge re: its customers. Anyone out there who does?

In Respect Of Our Anthem

A musician from Spokane's Ryan Larsen Band stands with hat over heart as the National Anthem is played at the Handshake Productions free Tuesday concert at Don Johnston's Sherman Park Square in downtown Coeur d'Alene. (Duane Rasmussen photo for Huckleberries Online)

This photo reminds me of an incident that occurred last Saturday at Precision Tire on Government Way. I was waiting for employees to install a new set of tires on my 4Runner when another man sat down nearby in the shop's waiting area. An awards ceremony for an American gold medalist was being aired on the wall television. At the start of the National Anthem, the other man stood up and put his hand over his heart. He remained that way throughout the ceremony. I was talking on the phone. So the situation wasn't as awkward as it could have been. I respect our flag and patriotism — and all. But I don't stand up every time I hear the national anthem on television.

Question: What you have joined the man in standing up for the National Anthem on TV?

News Quiz: No Hucksters On Board

Free movie tickets? A $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel? This week's news quiz is putting those prizes on the table, which means only one thing: You're 10 interactive questions away from being in the running. You can take the News Quiz test by clicking here.

  • Leaderboard: Believe it or not, no Merry Huckster is on the leaderboard so far this week.

UI Joins Big Sky In All But Football

Idaho plans to play as a Football Bowl Subdivision independent and join the Big Sky Conference in other sports, pending Idaho State Board of Education approval Friday. The state board will hold a special meeting Friday to vote on Idaho's athletic future. Idaho is the only agenda item and it is a “request for authorization for independent scheduling of football games and for the President to explore and accept an invitation to the Big Sky Athletic conference.” The Vandals are currently members of the Western Athletic Conference. The league has experienced a number of defections in recent years, leaving it with just four members and two football-playing members — including Idaho. Idaho told the state board about its plans during an executive session Wednesday/Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: I'd like to see the football program join the Big Sky, too. But this is a decent compromise. What do you think?

Read more here:

Spokane Valley Rep Blocks Media

Spokane Valley Rep. Matt Shea must be feeling pretty low about “the media.” Shea — the same guy who pulled a gun on another driver in an apparent road rage incident and took photos of himself standing in his opponent's driveway — has blocked multiple reporters from following his Twitter account. Arts Editor Mike Bookey and reporters Daniel Walters, Chris Stein and myself have all been shunned from following or communicating with Shea on Twitter. Seriously, what did @Bookeyblender ever do to Shea? But it's not just us. Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal also says he's been blocked — and that Shea posted correspondence with Vestal to the legislator's blog. The Twitter blocking is only the latest talk-to-the-hand by the conservative legislator. He hasn't responded to a request for comment by The Inlander on any story we've called him for in 2012. (Daniel Walters did, however, speak to him in person during a February Ron Paul event)/Joe O'Sullivan, Pacific Northwest Inlander. More here. (Phantom Photographer photo from Ron Paul rally in Spokane this winter: Phil Hart, Matt Shea, Paul staffer and Vito Barbieri)

Question: Do you think this guy would fit in well as a representative for Kootenai County's 2nd Legislative District (Hart, Barbieri & Vick)?

Tom: Wholeheartedly Support Bond

Chairman Tom Hamilton of the Coeur d'Alene School Board: One of the reasons I ran for the trustee position was that I felt that previous boards had not been judicious stewards of the taxpayers dollars. One of the more glaring examples of this was the mismanagement of the funds designated for Lakes Middle School in a previous bond package. Since that time, policy has changed to require more reporting to and oversight by the Board, more transparency with the public and most importantly, specifically prohibit “borrowing forward” (among other things) which was the issue that creating the problem with Lakes Middle School. A year ago I would have been very skeptical of this bond (which is the statement I made to this reporter). I’ve spent the last year trying to learn as much as I can about how the district functions, what the true needs are, where money can be saved, etc. Truthfully, the view does look different from the inside and I do wholeheartedly support this bond.

DFO: I'm very encouraged by this statement from Tom in the HucksOnline comments section, as well as his support for Superintendent Hazel Bauman and CSD finance director Wendell Wardell. BTW, I'm also hearing that Trustee Ann Seddon may be setting up a tour for Republican leaders of dilapidated school buildings tomorrow. This is the kind of leadership from the new trustees that will win community support.

Question: Do you support the $32.7M Coeur d'Alene school bond?

Mag Touts Lake City As Place To Visit

“Quaint” Coeur d'Alene earned a nice spread in the Diablo publication of East San Francisco Bay. Travel reporter Amelia Arvesen writes: “Unless you’re an Ironman triathlete or have golfed the world’s only floating green, you’ve probably never stopped in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. An outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, tourists are drawn to the cool waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene as temperatures rise, but a late summer visit means you escape warm weather crowds while days are still long enough to soak up the sun. Whether your idea of a vacation is pedaling to a picnic, wakeboarding the cool waters of the lake, or chowing down at eclectic restaurants, we’ve mapped out an itinerary for a weekend escape to the northern Idaho town. Pencil in a last summer vacation or save the date for a Labor Day getaway.” More here. (SR file photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Do the crowds on the waterfront bother you during the summer?

Another View Of Fenceless McEuen

Greg Lee, the veteran Inland Northwest prep writer for the SR and long-time umpire of Coeur d'Alene recreation softball, snapped this photo of fenceless McEuen Field moments ago. The upgrade has begun.

AM Scanner Traffic — 8.16.12

  • 12:21 p.m. Motorist reports trucker tried to side-swipe him on H41 @ Hayden/Rathdrum.
  • 11:49 a.m. Individual in midtown Coeur d'Alene reports child abuse in Dalton Gardens.
  • 11:26 a.m. Wood is lying on both sides of intersection of Seltice Way & Atlas Road/CdA.
  • 10:48 a.m. An e/b black semi w/out-of-state plates weaving recklessly @ I-90 & H41/PF.
  • 10:39 a.m. A vehicle has hit a building in the 2200 block of Ironwood Center Drive/CdA.
  • 10:15 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Casino/Worley security report a wanted male on premises.
  • 9:29 a.m. Police are asking for medical evaluation of female beaten in 9:07 incident.
  • 9:13 a.m. Undisclosed threat reported in mobile home court @ 1050 N21st/CdA.
  • 9:07 a.m. Female in 400 block of N. Crown/CdA reports being beaten by roommates in money dispute.
  • 8:53 a.m. 2 neighbors @ Potter & Hamaker (east of Fighting Creek Landfill) are in physical fight.
  • 8:28 a.m. Male is using brush to paint his pickup white in east end of Post Falls WalMart lot.
  • 8:25 a.m. CPD officers are seeking male in silver Mercedes who was involved in domestic fight with female and is driving without privileges.

City Removes McEuen Field Fences

At Citizens for a Positive Coeur d'Alene Facebook wall, Jennifer reports: “The fences have been removed! Open green space for all to use comes next. The positive progress continues… ”

Poll: Keep Rousting Panhandlers

  • Wednesday Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation supports the policy by Kootenai County police agencies to roust panhandlers. 84 of 111 respondents (75.68%) support the policy. Only 19 of 111 respondents (17.12%) oppose it. 8 were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Which gender is easier to rear as children — boys or girls?

Rebuilding Idaho Territorial Capitol

The building started its life around the year 1862 as a livery stable supply shop, became the Idaho Territorial Capitol but then died in obscurity as a neglected old icehouse sometime around 1915. Its ruin was observed with little ceremony, but Lewiston historian Steven Branting said the loss of the building that held the first two territorial Legislatures made a mark on the history of the city that lingered well after its death. Citizens tried to save it in 1914, Branting said, but efforts to move it to what is now Pioneer Park withered. Another group wanted to build a replica of the building in 1992, but that also failed. With the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Idaho Territory coming next year, the building that held its first lawmakers will return to Lewiston Friday with the construction of a replica at the corner of 12th and Main streets/Cody Bloomsburg, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (Barry Kough Lewiston Tribune photo of worker constructing base of capitol replica)

Question: Would you rather have the Idaho capitol in Boise or Lewiston?

Vigil Commemorates Elvis’ Death

Priscilla Presley, left, and Lisa Marie Presley speak to fans gathered at a candlelight vigil at Graceland, Elvis Presley's Memphis, Tenn. home, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Elvis Presley fans numbering in the thousands outside Graceland to mark the 35th anniversary of his death got quite the surprise Wednesday evening when the King's former wife and daughter — Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley — showed up for the annual candlelight vigil at the cultural icon's estate in Memphis, Tenn. Mother and daughter have largely avoided the hoopla surrounding the Aug. 16, 1977, death that has turned into an annual celebration of all things Elvis but remains a personal time of pain for them. This year's anniversary was different, however. “I've always avoided this because I felt that it would be too emotional, but I really felt it was important to come down here tonight,” Lisa Marie told the crowd, according to the Associated Press. “I love you very, very, very much”/Los Angeles Times. More here.

Question: Which Elvis Presley song do you consider is his best ever?

CST’s ‘Ragtime’ Opens Tonight

Harry Houdini makes an appearance. So does Henry Ford. J.P. Morgan, Emma Goldman. Admiral Robert Peary. Booker T. Washington. These real-life characters rub elbows with the well-heeled, the immigrants and the African-Americans who inhabit the world E.L. Doctorow created in his 1975 novel “Ragtime.” Local theatergoers will be transported back to 1906 America beginning tonight when Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre stages the Terrence McNally, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical adaption of the novel. In terms of plot summary, “Ragtime” seems simple enough. It’s the story of turn-of-the-20th-century America, as told through the eyes and experiences of three distinct social classes: a wealthy white family, a family of Jewish immigrants and an African-American musician. The real life characters from America’s history add to the tapestry as well/Carolyn Lamberson, SR. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s production of “Ragtime” includes, from left, Joann Coleman and John Devereaux)

Question (for Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre fans): Which CST production has been best so far this season?

Cindy: Watching Boys Become Men

It’s a biological fact that the human male determines the gender of his offspring, but I’ve often wondered if my innate attraction to the opposite sex conspired against me when I produced four sons. My mother traces this appreciation to infancy. She said, “You couldn’t have been more than 9-months-old. I was holding you in my arms and this GI came up and ‘Oh, what a pretty baby.’ You lowered your lashes, then flashed him your big blue eyes and said, ‘Hi, dere,’ clear as day.” Whatever the reason, I’ve always liked boys. I didn’t like roughhousing or frog-catching or getting sweaty, but I admired how whole-heartedly the boys in my world pursued those endeavors. Their otherness fascinated me. When I married I looked forward to being a mother. I pictured myself producing a slew of pretty princesses and one spoiled prince. Real-life squashed that fantasy but good/Cindy Hval. SR Front Porch. More here.

Question: Which gender is easier to raise — male or female?

Basking In Afterglow Of Perfection

Mariner Moose, the Seattle Mariners' mascot, holds a sign that reads “Perfect,” after Mariners' Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Wednesday, in Seattle. The Mariners won 1-0. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

DFO: I suffered whiplash yesterday as players from my two favorite teams — Seattle and San Francisco — made headlines — Felix, with his perfect game, and Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, for being suspended 50 games for taking performance enhancing drugs.

Question: Have you been turned off from following Major League Baseball by the game's cheaters?

Bubblehead: A Life Changer

In honor of his daughter's 25th anniversary, Bubbleheads Facebooks that he “believes that the birth of one's first child — even more than getting married — is the most life-changing event in one's adult life. Being completely responsible for another human being, and a helpless one at that, really brings perspective to the idea of 'what's really important.' A quarter century ago today, I went through that life-changing moment, when the first person whom I loved completely and unconditionally from the moment I saw her came into our lives.”

Question: What would you say was your most life-changing moment?

Train Derails Near Sandpoint

According to the Bonner County Sheriff's Office, emergency responders are at the scene of a train derailment near Sandpoint. The sheriff's office said it happened around 4 this morning. There is still no word on what the train was carrying, if there are any injuries or what the cause of the crash was.

5 Apply For Open CSD Trustee Post

Coeur d'Alene school board members have five candidates to consider as they seek a new trustee to appoint to the Zone 5 seat. The application period to apply for the position previously held by Sid Fredrickson closed at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Fredrickson resigned during the board's July 9 meeting. The appointee will complete the remainder of Fredrickson's term which ends June 30. Candidates, who must be registered voters residing in Zone 5, include Tom Hearn, Kathleen Tillman, Shelley Woodard, Jim Hightower and Matt Robinson.

Question: Anyone know who has the Reagan Republican/anti-IB crowd seal of approval, so we can skip the preliminaries and know who gets picked?

Another High-Rise For Downtown?

Item: Moving on up: Twelve-story building proposed at corner of Lakeside and First/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A Colorado company is proposing to build a 12-story retail and apartment building in the heart of downtown Coeur d'Alene, adjacent to some highrise apartments already there. Austin Lawrence Partners, a real estate development firm out of Aspen, Colo., hopes to break ground on the 125,000-square-foot, 60-unit luxury-apartment building, called One Lakeside at 201 N. First St., in the spring. The proposed mixed-use building would sell one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with “high-end finishes and appliances,” according to the company's website. A 12-unit apartment building, called Lakeside Apartments, currently sits on the 20,000-square-foot lot, which Austin Lawrence Partners purchased in April 2012. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)

Question: Is there room for another high-rise in downtown Coeur d'Alene?

Early Trustee Decisions Worry Some

Illustration of Coeur d'Alene School Board (from left, Terri Seymour, Ann Seddon, Tom Hamilton and James Purtee) by Pacific Northwest Inlander.

In the Inlander, Daniel Walters reports on the Coeur d'Alene School Board: It took an election, three resignations and a lawsuit. But now, after a little more than a year, the Coeur d’Alene school board has all new members. And to some observers, the changes have brought about a notable ideological shift. Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Dan Gookin says there’s at least a perception of a shift rightward, while the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans praise the board’s new fiscal conservativism. Amid the controversy, the fledgling school board has a challenge: Pass a school bond while assuring Coeur d’Alene its focus is on education âeuro;” not politics. “The teachers remain concerned about what this board’s going to do. We need to allow some time to pass,” board president Tom Hamilton says. “We’re not crazy, we’re not radical, we’re not out to shut down public education.” “I’ll be blunt,” Hamilton says about his first year on the school board, “We’d appreciate being able to put a lot of it behind us.” More here.

Question (for Chairman Tom Hamilton): Who say you support the $32.7M bond to fix local elementaries & Canfield MS. But you wouldn't support it if the old board was still running things. Can you explain what you mean?

Clark: Spokane’s Piranha Problem

Not that I’d ever want to push the public into a paranoid, mouth-foaming frenzy, but I’m warning all of you in the Spokane area to stay away from lakes, rivers and public pools for the next few days. Oh, and whatever else you do … DON’T SIT ON YOUR TOILETS!! Until we get this missing human-eating fish situation sorted out, everybody – and I mean, everybody – should do his or her business standing up. I don’t know why I always have to zero in on the crucial elements of the news, but I was aghast at what I found (or didn’t find) in our Wednesday front-page story, headlined: “Seizure nets pot, alligator, piranhas.” The article told of a recent bust on a lower South Hill apartment by state fish and game agents. (Do critter cops wear hunter-orange vests and Elmer Fudd hats?)/Doug Clark, SR. More here. (Courtesy photo: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife)

Question: Would you want to live in a place where aligators and piranha roamed wild?

Neighbors Unhappy w/Silverwood OK

Item: Ravenwood RV Resort approved: Facility intended to serve visitors to Silverwood/Alecia Warren, CdA Press

More Info: Despite hundreds of mailed-in notices opposed to the project, the Kootenai County commissioners voted 2-1 this week to approve a new RV resort intended to serve visitors to Silver-wood Theme Park. The officials added mitigating conditions to the seasonal Ravenwood RV Resort, however, like a reduced unit density and a required quiet time at night. … Although neighbors had written to the county with concerns like safety issues and noise, the elected officials agreed with the hearing examiner that the resort is an allowable use on the 17.2 acres on Pope Road, a mile south of Silverwood.

Question: Did the county make the right decision? Is the developer's right more important than the rights of complaining neighbors? Where do you draw the line?

Anderson: Weak Link

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Hump Day Wild Card — 8.15.12

Few things are as nice as listening to local talent play at the Handshake Productions concert on summer evenings at Don Johnston's Sherman Park Square, City Park, Hayden and Rathdrum. Throw in the Arts Commission-sponsored concerts at Riverstone Park on Thursday evenings — and you have plenty of venues for the summer. H/T to Chris Guggemos & the Arts Commission for making these things happen. If you've never been to one of the concerts, you're running out of time this year. Treat yourself. You can thank me later. Now for your daily Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 8.15.12

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws against the Tampa Bay Rays in the fourth inning of a baseball game this afternoon in Seattle. Hernandez tossed a perfect game in the Mariners 1-0 win. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Wine Cellar Takes It To Street Level

The Wine Cellar is taking it to the street level and beyond. After 20 years in its cozy, subterranean home, the restaurant has reopened next door at 317 E. Sherman Ave., where it stretches from the basement onto two additional floors, expanding the fun for oenophiles and music lovers. Connoisseurs of classic cocktails can enjoy drinks at one of two bars inside because the Wine Cellar now has a liquor license. “I think the community is really going to be surprised by what we’ve done with the building and how we’ve looked after the adults,” said Patricia Power, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Tom. “There are lots of places in downtown Coeur d’Alene for the younger crowd but this is all about us and what we’d like to do when we get away.” The Powers purchased the Wine Cellar from original owner Jim Duncan two years ago, after a dozen years as devoted patrons/Lori Hutson, SR. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: Superviser Krista French of The Wine Cellar talked about the popularity of the new Enomatic machine at the restaurant in Coeur d'Alene)

Question: Are you ready to check out the new Wine Cellar?

PM Scanner Traffic — 8.15.12

  • 5:37 p.m. Woman in Washington car w/kids swerves while texting on s/b H95 from Wyoming/Hayden.
  • 5:21 p.m. Shopko security on Ironwood/CdA reports catching a shoplifter.
  • 5:10 p.m. Undisclosed animal bite reported along Kidd Island Bay Road.
  • 4:55 p.m. Chevron station @ Govt Way & Kathleen/CdA reports male seemed drunk in store before driving off in gray Chevy Blazer & almost hitting another vehicle on way out of lot.
  • 4:53 p.m. Suspicious male reported on CityLink bus in 2300 block of Riverstone.
  • 4:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Aug. 14-15 here.
  • 4:16 p.m. Men are working on a disabled station wagon @ e/b I-90 & M/P 10 (west of NW Blvd).
  • 4:01 p.m. Patrol officer is stopping to remove debris from roadway @ Govt Way & Aqua/CdA.
  • 16 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 8.15.12

Eleven-year-old Jack DuCoeur, of Coeur d'Alene practiced his juggling act along with fellow members of Levity juggling group at Independence Point in Coeur d'Alene today. They will be performing during the fundraiser for Shared Harvest community garden on Saturday in Coeur d'Alene. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Huckleberry Hound Makes An Exit

The Phantom Photographer snapped this photo of Your Huckleberry Hound leaving the Ryan Larsen Band concert at Sherman Park Square Tuesday evening. Feel free to suggest a cutline.

Stebbijo: Health Jerk

I am so excited about my husband's new birthday present I gave him! I just could not wait to try it! :-) It's my day off so I am testing a batch of hamburger jerky. I guess it isjerky1 easier to chew, so thought I would experiment with about 2 lbs of 90% lean ground beef.  So far, this has been going for about a couple of hours, you rotate the trays, and it's done in about a day and a half - should be ready about midnight or sooner!  If it turns out I will post the recipe, right now you can just pretend to smell it!  I am going to do all sorts of stuff with this new dehydrator I got my dear husband! Update: It was about perfect at around 8:00 p.m. for me, but the hubby said just a bit longer, so it went into the wee hours of the morning (ooops) and turned into like a 'cracker' - he likes it, but I need some 'chew' to the jerky - no crunch. Anyway, you can adapt the hyperlinked recipe just about anyway you want/Stebbijo, Stebbijo's Place. More here.

Question; Have you ever made jerky? What kind of meat? Good stuff?

Marianne: Internet Departs Silently

I had a feeling it may be a while.  There’s just something pretty sneaky about the Internet feed. No bells and whistles sound off to let you know when it goes down. Take, this morning, for example.  I was scanning the Facebook feed when scrolling downward stalled. Well, that’s happened many times before with Facebook.  After all, a few million folks are using the site at any given time.  There’s bound to be a traffic jam.My patience for such cyber-snarls lasts almost a minute.  Then, I just flip to another of my favorites.That’s when I learned the Internet was down. It’s so silent when it goes/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.

Question: How often does your Internet service go down? How do you react when it does?

King Felix Throws Perfect Game

Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez is congratulated by teammate Justin Smoak, right, after throwing a perfect game to end the ninth inning of baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, today in Seattle. The Mariners won 1-0. ESPN boxscore here. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

If there were still any doubts about the prowess of Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, he put them all to rest Wednesday in the biggest way possible. “King Felix” has become the first pitcher in Mariners history to throw a perfect game. Twenty-seven batters up, 27 batters down. No walks. No hits. No errors. No base-runners. Nothing. Perfect. Hernandez threw 12 strikeouts in his masterpiece on the mound. In just the 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball history, Hernandez shut down the Tampa Bay Rays in a 1-0 victory at Safeco Field on Wednesday afternoon/Seattle Mariners Blog. More here.

Question: Who was playing the last time you watched the Mariners at Safeco Field?

KCSD To Make Hot Wheels History

Maj. Ben Wolfinger, with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department, displays two prototype Hot Wheels cars made with the department name and logo. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

Kootenai County has earned a place in Mattel Hot Wheels history. The sheriff's department's logo graces one of the toy company's 2012 productions - a 2010 Ford Mustang GT police car. “They partner with a local law enforcement agency and create a model based on the agency's cars,” said Major Ben Wolfinger. “It's their way of giving back, and to get sales up in the area.” The Kootenai County car is part of the Mattel Hot Wheels Main Street series of 10 cars featuring various city police and fire departments including Roanoke, Va.; Austin, Texas; Cranston, R.I.; and Kokomo, Ind. Mattel contacted the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department about 18 months ago and asked if it would be interested in a toy homage to the department/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Did you play with Mattel Hot Wheels toys — or buy them for your kids?

Cis: Which Teacher Would You Thank?

While in school.. good old ROGERS HIGH in Newport, R.I. we had a teacher, Mrs. Clarke… Marion Clarke, I believe. She was a no nonsense English teacher and she would be horrified at my blog and all the mistakes and etc. But I do remember, like it was yesterday, and it was 55 years ago…”Don't come back to this school years from now and tell me, I should have listened to you”. “Pay attention to me now!!!” “I don't want to hear it years from now.” She was a great teacher. Too bad I wasn't one of the ones who paid attention/Cis, From A Simple Mind. More here.

Question: Which teacher would you like to go back and thank?

Julia Child Would Have Been 100

In this Feb. 15, 2002, AP file photo, Julia Childs shows off her recently remodeled kitchen in her Montecito, Calif., home. Child, whose warbling, encouraging voice and able hands brought the intricacies of French cuisine to American home cooks through her television series and books, died Friday, Aug. 13, 2004.

The Eatocracy blog is celebrating Julia Child's 100th birthday by providing little known facts you may not have known.  

  • Julia was a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division of the OSS. While she never spent time in the field, she did have a high security clearance that allowed her to handle top secret documents.
  • With the OSS, Julia was stationed in Sri Lanka and China. While she was stationed overseas she met Paul Child, also an OSS officer. He is credited with teaching her to appreciate French cuisine.
  • 573 pounds of butter were used on her show “Baking with Julia.”
  • Child once attributed her longevity to “red meat and gin.” She died two days shy of her 92nd birthday.

More facts can be read here.

Question (from Christa Hazel): I remember my mother scoff at trying any of Julia's recipes.  She said she didn't have the time or the amount of butter needed to do that stuff.  I would like to make Coq au Vin but mainly just so I can say, “Coq au Vin.”  Have you or your mother ever tried any of Julia's recipes?  

Account Set Up For Soldier’s Funeral

An account has been set up to help the family of a soldier killed in Afghanistan with funeral expenses. Spc. Ethan J. Martin, 22, (pictured) died Aug. 7 in Koragay, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered enemy small-arms fire. He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank to the Ethan Martin Memorial Fund. Martin’s funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bonners Ferry High School. A ceremony with full military honors will follow at Paradise Valley CemeteryBonner County Bee. More here.

Richert: No Where To Go But Up

On his Facebook wall, opinionator Kevin Richert of the Idaho Statesman writes: “An angry caller just said I'm 'one of the worst editors in the country.' So, there's that. #NowhereToGoButUp” I don't deal with as many angry callers as I did in the, ahem, good ol' days (all 13 years of them) when I wrote for the SR's Editorial Page. However, I did get that anti-bicycler on Monday who wanted to vent. But didn't want to listen. I started tapping the brakes on our conversation when his cussing escalated. They don't pay me to listen to cads. How about you?

Question: Do you have to deal with angry people in your line of work? How do you handle them?

Idaho Hall Of Fame Inducts Buell

Jack Buell, a Benewah County Commissioner and local businessman, was formally inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame early Wednesday. Mr. Buell was named to the hall earlier this year after being nominated for the honor by Freeman Duncan, a former Idaho legislator. Mr. Duncan made the induction presentation at the Timber Plus meeting Wednesday. Mr. Buell owns Jack Buell Trucking with his wife, Eleanor. He joins Vernon Baker, a Medal of Honor recipient, and Ernie Stensgar, former chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, as the third local resident named to the Idaho Hall of Fame. The organization recognizes Idahoans who have made significant contributions to their community and state. Other notable members of the Hall from northern Idaho Duane Hagadone, Pappy Boyington, Harry Magnuson and Louise Shadduck/St. Maries Gazette Record.

Question: Do you agree with the induction of Benewah County Commissioner Jack Buell into the Idaho Hall of Fame?

Pre-Teen Girls Heroic At Athol Daze

Two pre-teen girls reacted better than some adults at Athol Daze when they realized that a male in a nearby porta-potty may be in distress. At Bay Views, Herb Huseland tells the story of the two, Briana and Bethany, contacted Darlene Peterson, mother of the Athol Daze queen, who assisted the girls in trying to open the porta-potty door: “They went back where Briana was able to pry the door open a crack where they observed a man crumpled up on the floor, unresponsive. Asking a group of three or four men to help they returned to the porta potty, ignored by the men. Help came from an unidentified American Legion woman's auxiliary member. Darlene Peterson was able to break into the unit where having difficulty pulling him out they got help from bystanders/ Darlene check for pulse and didn't get one. At that point, Trina LaRiviere got on her cell and dialed 911.” Unfortunately, the stricken man didn't survive. More here.

Question; Have you ever been involved in helping someone during a medical emergency?

Johnson: Sorry, Wrong Number

My Dad used to smile when telling his story about the young fellow who had just seen the classic 1962 World War II movie – The Longest Day – about the D-Day invasion of France in 1944 and was, in turn, telling his own father about the film. The old man listens patiently and then off-handedly tells his son, “I haven’t seen the movie, but I was there for the play.” In the same spirit as that old story, I have not seen the 1948 Barbara Stanwyck/Burt Lancaster movie – Sorry, Wrong Number – but I have definitely been living the play. My play is called: Trying to Reach Health and Welfare? Sorry, Wrong Number. There is nothing special or particularly unique about my telephone number except that the first seven digits of my number match the first seven digits of a toll-free, helpline number – Medicaid Automated Customer Service – managed by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Question: On average, do you answer get many “wrong number” calls?

Hawaii Or Bust

Cindy snapped this photo of little girls watching women practice a hula dance in a Spokane back yard Tuesday. The class is taught by Kuulei Silva Johnson, formerly of Hawaii, now Spokane. Cindy will turn a story about it sometime next week.

Question: How many times have you been to the Hawaiian Island. Anyone else like me who has never been there?

AM Scanner Traffic — 8.15.12

  • 12:06 a.m. EMTs are staging for suicide threat on Green Court/Rathdrum.
  • 11:53 a.m. Pedestrians in Post Falls reports that guy in vehicle threatened to kill them.
  • 11:41 a.m. Officer civil standby requested in 1400 block of E. Young/CdA.
  • 11:29 a.m. Female in tan Ford Escape parked at Rite Aid in Ironwood Square reports males tried to pull her out of vehicle before leaving on foot toward Wells Fargo Bank.
  • 11:12 a.m. Undisclosed sex offense reported in residential area near Avondale Lake.
  • 11:01 a.m. Sportsman's Warehouse on Govt Way/CdA reports vandalism to property.
  • 11 more items below

Poll: ‘Man Cave’ Tops Hucks Use

  • Tuesday Poll: HucksOnline readers regularly use “Man cave,” “bucket list” and “F-bomb” in their daily language — three new words added to the Merriam-Webster's dictionary. However, “man cave” was cited as the most popular of all with 49 of 182 respondents (26.92%) saying they use it in their speech. Close behind was “bucket list” (45 of 182, 24.73%) and “F-bomb” (42 of 182, 23.08%). Other new words used by Merry Hucksters are “brain cramp” (26 of 182, 14.29%) and “aha moment” (20 of 182, 10.99%).
  • Today's Poll: Should panhandling be allowed in the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls/Hayden areas?

3 NIC Trustees Face Election

The last day candidates can file declaration/petition of candidacy forms with the local clerk of the North Idaho College district for the three open positions on the NIC Board of Trustees is 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31. Individuals who miss this deadline will not be placed on the ballot. They may file as a declared write-in candidate if they file a declaration of intent no later than 5 p.m. on Sept. 21. NIC is governed by a five-member board of trustees elected at large from within Kootenai County for staggered terms. Seat A, Seat B, and Seat C currently held by Judy Meyer, Mic Armon, and Ron Vieselmeyer (pictured) respectively, will appear on this year’s general election ballot during Idaho’s general election on Nov. 6. All positions are four-year terms. More below.

Question: Do you expect a last-minute ticket of Republican hardliners to file in attempt to politicize yet another nonpartisan local government board?

Richert: Don’t Expect VP Bump

How excited is Rep. Raul Labrador to see one of his House GOP brethren, Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan, on the presidential ticket? Judge for yourself. “I think Mitt Romney just won the election on Saturday,” Labrador, R-Idaho, told the Statesman editorial board. If so, we’re going to see something that hasn’t happened in my lifetime. Or Labrador’s. Or Ryan’s, for that matter. The history just doesn’t suggest a running mate can win a presidential election. Or even lose one: In other words, I see your Sarah Palin and raise you Dan Quayle. History instead suggests that the buzz and the backlash over Ryan will fade into the background. Which means that another prediction about Romney’s selection will likely fall by the wayside as well: the motion that putting the chairman of the House Budget Committee on the ticket will elevate this campaign to a substantive and overdue debate about the debt and spending priorities. I hope it happens. It’s what our country needs/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo of Paul Ryan)

Question: Do you think Congressman Paul Ryan can hold his own against VP Joe Biden during this fall's debates?

Read more here:

Spiritual Justice Awaits Vandals

Vandals and thieves who’ve been prowling around the Canyon at night in recent weeks have more than sheriff’s deputies to worry about. They’re in trouble with the spirit world, too. Lance Morris, an Assiniboine Sioux from Wolf Point who moved to Coram two years ago, says vandals who tore apart the 15-foot diameter dreamcatcher he made for Native American veterans face special consequences. “They broke spiritual law,” he said. “I have pity on them instead of anger. Something bad will happen to them or their families. We can’t call it off. It’s up to the spirit world.” Morris said he came to Coram to get away from the rampant drugs, alcohol and crime in Wolf Point. Many of his relatives were already here — the “Canyon Clan.” “It was really nice here — until recently,” he said/Richard Hanners, Hungry Horse News. More here. (Wikipedia photo of a dreamcatcher)

Question: Do you believe in karma … what goes around comes around … sowing & reaping? In other words, will the thieves who vandalized the American Indian dreamcatcher get theirs?

AM Headlines — 8.15.12

This American Alligator was confiscated under a search warrant served on Christopher R. Harper for unlawful possession of a potentially dangerous animal. Piranhas offered for trade on Craigslist led state fish and game agents to seize several of the exotic, human-eating fish from an apartment on Spokane’s lower South Hill. Meghann Cuniff story here. (Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

Student: Thanks For Nothing, Trustees

I am writing in protest of the school board’s decision to end the International Baccalaureate program at Lake City High School. As a sophomore currently enrolled there, this affects me personally. When I transferred from Charter last year I was eager to cultivate my education and take new challenging classes such as Debate, Orchestra, Spanish, and IB courses. With block schedule I now had those opportunities. The end of the IB program reduces my choices in education and increases the chances to lose block schedule, since IB was the main obstacle for opponents of it. In district budget cuts I notice the first things to go are the advanced programs, yet, programs for the mediocre, falling behind, KTEC students, and athletes continue to thrive. In 2009 the budget for athletics alone was $1.47 million. That is more than we have spent on IB overall/Willow Smith, Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor. More here.

Question: Doesn't Willow know that the School Board has saved her from being indoctrinated by United Nations propaganda?

Louise Shadduck & Other Lionesses

In the 1990s, then governor Phil Batt presents Louise Shadduck with a bouquet of flowers after the announcement that the new Idaho Department of Lands building at the Coeur d'Alene Industrial park will be named after her. (SR file photo: Liz Kishimoto)

If the “lion of Idaho” was William E. Borah, Idaho’s most famous United States Senator, a strong case can be made that the “lioness of Idaho” has to be the late Louise Shadduck. Others will argue that the title should be bestowed on Verda Barnes. Or, if one believes that a prerequisite for such a designation is to have held public office then Gracie Pfost has to be a leading candidate. Louise who? Verda who? Gracie who? Therein lies the challenge. Only a few political junkies or academics know who these three talented women were, each of whom had a profound influence on Idaho’s political life. Each deserves a biography, yet thus far, only two are in the works. The case for Louise is the strongest. She was the first female executive assistant to any Idaho governor, but in her case because it was Idaho’s first post-war progressive governor, Dr. C.A. Robins (from St. Maries), Louise, by Doc Robins’ own admission, had a profound influence on the many progressive initiatives he undertook/Chris Carlson, The Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question: Do you remember Coeur d'Alene Republican Louise Shadduck?

Stebbi: IRS Will Come For You

Stebbijo (re: “Feds: Hart's plan 'not feasible') Today, I realized what a smart and rational man Phil Hart is and what a service he is to many of us - however, there are many who do not have the courage to say what they are thinking because they fear the government aka as the IRS. They go after dead dogs. Phil Hart’s plan is more than generous - he is cooperating to work with them and has volunteered a solution. The IRS is the most disgusting arm of harrassment we have - just wait till they come after you because you can’t pay health insurance that satisfies their demands. Believe me, you will get your turn - it happens to everyone. Right now you think you are safe, but you are not — it’s coming - count on it.

Question: Do you fear the IRS?

Vestal: Leave Panhandlers Alone

Are we really going to outlaw street-corner begging in Spokane and pretend it’s about safety? Or are the politicians who represent the homeless, the downtrodden, the drunk and disorderly, the mentally ill, the desperate, the unsavory – are the politicians who represent that population going to stick up for their right to simply stand in a public place in a free country and ask the rest of us for money? Never mind. As the City Council takes up a new ordinance meant to drive the riff-raff out of sight, an uncomfortable truth has popped up: If the riff-raff can’t panhandle from drivers, then neither can charitable organizations. This means, for example, that the Guilds’ School, a nonprofit organization that helps children with disabilities from birth to age 3, is threatened with losing its annual Penny Drive. The annual firefighters’ “Fill the Boot” campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association would be banned/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: I couldn't disagree more with SR colleague Shawn Vestal on this one. I'm glad that law enforcement agencies in Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Hayden aggressively crack down on panhandling. This resort area would be overrun with panhandlers otherwise a la Portland, Ore. What do you think?

CdA Wants $32.7M To Fix Schools

Some of the oldest, most outdated schools in Coeur d’Alene will be renovated over the next three years if voters in the Coeur d’Alene School District approve a $32.7 million bond measure this month. It’s one of three school measures on the Aug. 28 ballot in Kootenai County. Lakeland Joint School District is seeking voter approval of a five-year maintenance levy, and Kootenai Joint School District is proposing a $2 million bond measure to upgrade its wastewater system. The Coeur d’Alene district proposes major renovations of Borah, Bryan, Sorensen and Winton elementary schools and Canfield Middle School. More than $25 million would be spent modernizing these schools, including adding gymnasiums, removing portable classrooms and upgrading heating and ventilation systems/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (SR file photo: Janitor sweeps gym which doubles as a lunch room at Borah Elementary)

DFO: Yes, I did vote (absentee yesterday) for the $32.7M bond to renovate 4 Coeur d'Alene elementaries and Canfield Middle School.

Question: Should elections be held in August?

LCDC Budgets $12M For McEuen Work

Lake City Development Corp. expects to spend $18.6 million in 2013, triple the amount it did two years ago, in large part due to the urban renewal agency's commitment to fund a big chunk of the McEuen Field redevelopment project. The draft budget pencils in drawing $12 million from the $16.75 million line of credit the agency has with Washington Trust Bank to pay for upgrades to the downtown park's redesign - a project set to begin this month and one of the major reasons LCDC was formed in 1997. The agency estimates it will pay the bank back around $2 million off that borrowed sum in the fiscal year. “This is a conservative budgeting approach,” LCDC director Tony Berns wrote in a summary of the proposed budget, which is up for adoption today. “Given that the taxing entities … will most likely increase the levy rates to offset the valuation decreases for 2011, which will result in higher tax increment revenues”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Kathy Plonka 2011 SR file photo of girls playing extreme Frisbee on McEuen Field)

Question: Are you ready to break ground on McEuen Field?

Brett Backs CdA Baseball Concept

They call it the Field of Dreams, but backers of a proposed $2.7 million ballpark in east Coeur d’Alene hope to move it closer to reality in the next year. On Tuesday they pitched the concept to the city’s Parks Commission with an endorsement from Bobby Brett, owner of the Spokane Indians and Spokane Chiefs. “If you have nice facilities, people will go and spend their entertainment dollars there,” Brett told commissioners. Supporters want the city to build the facility at Cherry Hill Park using private donations, then own and operate it for baseball and other uses. Irv Zakheim, owner of the Spokane RiverHawks collegiate summer league club, wants to move his team to the new ballpark and resume play in the West Coast League for the 2014 wood-bat season. “Coeur d’Alene is a perfect city for the West Coast League,” Zakheim said. “Spokane’s too big of a town. It also has the Indians (that) we can’t compete with”/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (MillerStauffer Architects concept drawing of possible baseball diamond at Cherry Hill)

Question: What would be a good name for the proposed West Coast League team in Coeur d'Alene?

Proud To Be An American

A little girl attending the Ryan Larsen Band free concert at Sherman Park Square, near 4th & Sherman in downtown Coeur d'Alene Tuesday evening, checks out proper way to stand at attention during playing of National Anthem. Another good crowd was on hand to enjoy another concert put on by Chris Guggemos' Handshake Productions. (Duane Rasmussen photo for Huckleberries Online)

Dems: Don’t Talk Govt Change Now

Not this way, and not right now, the Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee is advising the county commissioners. The KCDCC is urging the commissioners to forego their resolution to put an alternative form of county government on the November ballot, according to a resolution presented by Dan English at the commissioners' business meeting on Tuesday. “Of all the variations you could come up with, I think this is one (form of government) that falls into the nuclear option, it's so drastic,” said English, the Democratic committee's precinct 5 chair, and former county clerk. “It would go off more like a dirty bomb, with discussion so hot, it would make discussion radioactive for years, so even good changes that could be presented in a rational way won't even be talked about.” The KCDCC's resolution states that the proposed form of government in the ballot measure would represent “the most substantial change in the history of Kootenai County governance”/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Should Kootenai County commissioners pull the resolution about government change from the November ballot?

MikeK: Baseball Fields Are Win-Win

MikeK: Cherry Hill was favored for the location. But it wasn’t going to get the money raised and built in time for 2013. So other options were pursued aggressively to take care of Legion baseball. Person Field needed more remediation than made sense to do, the Legion didn’t want to be on either high school field, and the schools wouldn’t give them schedule priority anyway (that’s another story), a great possible location along the river (Riverstone area) didn’t have traction to get it done financially effectively, etc etc. Other privately owned land was considered, discussed, even approached, but none made sense at the end of the day. Ramsey worked, and worked on the timeline, after negotiation and lots of number crunching. You could theoretically put the following uses on one field: NIC, Legion, Summer Minor League, even some high school uses. But the scheduling priorities are hard to juggle, and that field (15th) can’t get fundraised and built in time for the Legion spring season. Going this route allows Legion to have a home that is theirs (replacing McEuen). Cherry Hill will be an additional field (which is needed) and if there can be an “anchor tenant” that will fill a number of dates there that’s a win.

Question: Are you impressed/unimpressed that the city was able to reach compromises re: McEuen Field to be able to move ahead now with the makeover?

Heller: Positive Growth?

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Tuesday — 8.14.12

For those keeping score at home, I voted absentee at Kootenai County election HQ, for the $32M Coeur d'Alene School District levy. NIC Trustee Ken Howard and his wife were at the polls voting the same time that I did. 2 others came in to vote as I was leaving. Dunno how brisk the absentee votes are going. But it's easy. You can drop in at elections HQ, 1808 3rd St., to take care of this important civic duty. Now to replay the Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 8.14.12

From left, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber, members of the United States women's Olympic gymnastics gold medal-winning team, pretend to talk on telephones while posing for photos on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, today in New York. (AP Photo/Alex Katz)

Question: Are you going through Summer Olympics withdrawals yet?

Jeanie: Oh Happy/Sad Day

JeanieS: Today is one of the happiest days I have ever known. My two grandchildren were born this morning. Hunter (6.9 lbs) and Abigail (6.7 lbs). I am thrilled beyond words. It’s also one of the saddest days I have ever known - I won’t be able to see or hold them for a couple of days. Still recuperating from surgery to remove my kidneys. But even that is getting better.

Question (for grandparents): How special was the birth of your first grandchild?

Feds: Hart Plan ‘Not Feasible’

Federal prosecutors are calling for Idaho Rep. Phil Hart’s proposed bankruptcy plan to be dismissed, saying it’s improper, it wouldn’t appropriately satisfy his half-million-dollar federal income tax debt, and it relies on an income source that will disappear at the end of this year: His legislative salary. Hart, a tax protester and fourth-term state lawmaker, was defeated in the May GOP primary, so his legislative salary will end in December. “Hart’s plan is not feasible,” wrote U.S. Department of Justice attorney Adam Strait in court documents. Hart had proposed paying $200 a month for five years - a total of $12,000 - to get his entire debt of more than $600,000 discharged. Most of that debt is to the IRS; it also includes more than $50,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest, and $22,000 in credit card debt/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: Do you think the feds will ever get Hart to pay up?

PM Headlines — 8.14.12

“He looked a little too comfortable,” said Karin Roberts of Spokane as she shook the line that was attatched to her husband Jeff Roberts during their adventure with Coeur d'Alene Parasailing on Tuesday. The trip was a surprise 20th wedding anniversary present from her husband. SReporter Scott Maben interviews family has provided parasailing recreation on north shore since 2003. Click here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Have you been parasailing? What's the experience like?

PM Scanner Traffic — 8.14.12

  • 5:39 p.m. Dog left in hot vehicle @ Hayden WalMart parking lot.
  • 5:28 p.m. Vehicle theft reported in 1900 block of W. Appleway/CdA.
  • 5:18 p.m. Vehicle burglary reported in 3100 block of Kathy Loop/CdA.
  • 5:16 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Resort reports disorderly male in Plaza Shops who sez he's waiting for the president of the United States.
  • 4:59 p.m. A tarp is lying on s/b H95 @ M/P 428 (near E. Riverview/CdA), creating hazard.
  • 4:41 p.m. Officer requested to serve warrant on cooperative man @ Probation Office.
  • 4:39 p.m. Dead turkey hit by vehicle is still in road on w/b H53 @ M/P 7 (Greensferry).
  • 4:25 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Aug. 13-14 here.
  • 4:03 p.m. Domestic dispute reported at Budget Saver Motel, 1501 E. Sherman/CdA.
  • 15 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Farris: Cat Got Labrador’s Tongue?

Today 1st Congressional District candidate Jimmy Farris praised Congressman Mike Simpson for condemning Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s (pictured in AP photo) claim that the U.S. government has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Congressman Simpson spoke out against Bachmann’s claims Friday, calling them “outrageous” and “a bad reflection on all Republicans.” Farris commended Simpson for speaking out strongly against Bachmann’s claim, which dredges up the specter of McCarthyism. “I commend Congressman Simpson on his willingness to take such a strong stand against a fellow Republican for her disturbing and inflammatory statements,” said Farris. “I call on Congressman Labrador to do the same”/Jimmy Farris campaign news release. More here.

Question: Are you expecting Congressman Raul Labrador to criticize Michele Bachmann, too?

Just Another Bear At Priest Lake

Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns tells Huckleberries that bear sightings on Priest Lake have become routine this year. But this is carrying things a bit far. Michael Potesky snapped this photo of a bear that swam to Bishop's Marina, hopped on to the breakwater & then the breakwater fence. Hopped off and swam in to shore.” The photo is posted on Pecky's blog site here. Pecky emails Huckleberries: “Dave; we have had SO MANY bear sightings this year, people just keep sending photos.. as the lake churns is trying to remind them to be safe, away and alert.”

Yet Another Triathlon Swimmer Dies

Seems yet another individual has died during the swim portion of a triathlon this summer — this time a Boise doctor participating in the annual race at Emmett, Idaho. Matthew Sell, a doctor who treated newborn infants at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, died Saturday while swimming in a triathlon in Emmett. The Idaho Statesman reports: “Sell was about 50 yards from the finish of the 0.9-mile swim portion of the race, said Ken Runyan, director of the Emmett's Most Excellent Triathlon.” The Emmett triathlon wasn't as grueling as the Ironman triathlons this summer that claimed swimmers in Coeur d'Alene and on the Hudson River. More here. H/T: Kevin Richert

Question: Can it be that individuals are pushing themselves too hard to compete in grueling triathlons?

Read more here:

People Put Hospitality In Idaho

Idaho’s rugged mountain ranges, numerous lakes, rivers and streams, verdant forests, scenic deserts and abundant wildlife rival the beauty of any state, but for Karen Ballard, the Gem State’s exceptional citizens are what give its quality of life an edge over virtually anywhere else in the nation. Ballard, administrator of the Idaho Department of Commerce’s tourism division, says the hospitality and warmth of Idahoans are as much key factors in the success of attracting visitors to the state as are diverse, stunning geography and numerous recreational opportunities within its 82,413 square miles. Idaho’s $3.5 billion annual tourism industry has been and continues to be a crucial segment of the state’s economy. As of 2008, 26,000 Idaho jobs were in the tourism sector, representing nearly 4 percent of the state’s non-farm job employment/Mark Mendiola, Ridenbaugh Press. More here. (2009 SR file photo: Sailors enjoy a beautiful late September day at Lake Pend Oreille while racing in the Buttonhook Regatta on Idlewild Bay)

Question: If you had to live somewhere else in Idaho, where would it be? Why?

Welcome To Canada, Now Strip

When we last visited former Lakeland School District instructor Meghan Ridley, she was cutting her teeth as a writer for Dope Magazine in Seattle. A free spirit, Meghan resigned her teaching position after being a local union leader and teacher of the year, partly in protest to education reforms pushed by Idaho Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna. Meghan provides this update for Huckleberries Online: “Since I last talked with you, I was promoted to assistant editor and have had some interesting experiences to say the least My latest piece is entitled 'Crossing the Border, Crossing the Line' … It is a rather graphic first-hand account of a strip search I was put through when traveling (to Canada) earlier this summer.” Meghan means it when she said graphic. So if you proceed to read her account, you've been forewarned. Click here for “Crossing the Border, Crossing the Line.” (Coeur d'Alene Press file photo of Meghan Ridley during days as a Lakeland School District teacher)

Question: Did the Canadian border patrol go too far?

Visualizing A ‘Field Of Dreams’

Here's another design view of MillerStaffer Architects “Field of Dreams” ballpark for the Cherry Hill Park complex, along 15th Street, just north of the freeway.

Cindy: What To Do w/Text Messages

On her Facebook wall, Cindy asks: “How do you handle your text messages? Do you delete them as soon as you've replied? Do you let them just keep piling up telling your inboxes are jammed?” Moi? I delete all the texts, missed calls and phone messages a couple of times a week. How about you?

Question: What do you do with your text messages?

Marc: School Unies Don’t Save Money

On his Facebook wall, LCSC-CdA spokesman Marc Stewart posts: “Am I the only person who thinks school uniforms are a burden to the parents? They're costly and time consuming. We're paying $5 for every item of clothing that is required to have the school logo embroidered on it. That adds up quick if you're dealing with a little boy who grows like a weed. Can't we get back to letting the parents do their job of deciding what is appropriate for their children to wear? I realize that school uniforms are just the latest craze. They're not a cure all.”

Question: Do you support the concept of school uniforms in Kootenai County schools?

Trish: The Wheel In The Sky

My eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness outside as they focused on the faint flashes of light in the southern sky spread out above my back step. Lightning? I squinted, slowly noting the emerald green tinge to the light. Lightning’s not green, I thought, as the occasional flashes became interspersed with beams of green reflecting off cloud cover. Oh, cool! Northern Lights! But what are they doing in the southern sky? Either my eyes adjusted or the lights brightened noticeably and the action picked up. “Tyler!” I called to my grandson, unwilling to take my eyes from the sky. “Tyler!” The wretched child didn’t come. Probably fell asleep, I thought. It is after midnight. More and more lights filled the sky and I was torn between missing the show and wanting to share the sight with my grandson. Quickly I ran inside the house. “Tyler, come quick!”/Trish Gannon, River Journal. More here.( (AP file photo for illustrative purposes of Northern Lights above Norway in January)

Question: When did you last see the Northern Lights?

Ruminating On 2 Coeur d’Alenes

The Atmospheric Ruminations blogger returned to Coeur d'Alene this month for his Coeur d'Alene High reunion. He was impressed with many things he saw, puzzled by others. In a blog post about his adventure, written from the Bates Motel (where he wasn't stabbed in the shower), he summarized that there are two Coeur d'Alenes, including an underclass that doesn't enjoy our piece of paradise as much as many: “The people in the neighborhoods which surround the East End of Sherman are all working-class people, struggling every day to make ends meet; some with dingy homes that have fallen into disrepair, trying to grind out the American Dream, at service jobs, gas stations, grocery stores, manufacturing plants, driving local taxi-cabs, or reporting to work at 6am to slap them Sausage-Egg McMuffins together, trying to stay on the good side of ruthless bosses. Chances are those blue-collar workers won't be shopping at expensive downtown stores; they'll be buying used clothing at Goodwill or St. Vinnies, and trying to make their money go as far as possible by clipping coupons and hoping they have enough gas in the tank to get to Wal-Mart once in a while.” Full post & more photos here.

Question: Do you agree that there are two Coeur d'Alenes, one with money that enjoys the town to the max, and one without money that struggles to get by?

Noon: Babies, Cigs Don’t Mix

We went to a local small-town festival today. It was a ton of fun and the weather was perfect. Great, right? Well, first, some woman smoking a cigarette TOUCHED OUR NEWBORN DAUGHTER. While smoking. I don’t