ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Huckleberries Online

Archive for December 2012

Weekend Wild Card — 12.29-30.12

I saw “Les Miserables” during my Christmas vacay — and, yes, it's every bit as good as they say it is. I may take in “The Hobbit” and the latest Bond movie before returning to work on Wednesday. I appreciate the usual swell job that Cindy did in my absence over the last week. I should be able to report a record page-view year by the time we ring in the New Year's Tuesday morning. I'll be starting my 43rd year in the news biz when Tuesday rolls around. And we'll begin our 10th year here at Huckleberries Feb. 16. Here's hoping all of you celebrate a happy and safe New Year's Eve. Now for your weekend Wild Card …

Gonzaga 94, Baylor 87

Kevin Pangos made seven 3-pointers and scored 31 points to lead No. 13 Gonzaga past Baylor 94-87 on Friday night.Kelly Olynyk added 21 points, Elias Harris had 17 and Gary Bell Jr. added 12 for the Bulldogs (12-1), who shot 52 percent from the field (31 of 59). Pangos went 10 for 13 and finished two points shy of his career high.Pierre Jackson led Baylor (8-4) with 26 points, Isaiah Austin had 20 and Cory Jefferson added 13. The Bears also shot 52 percent, but attempted 21 fewer free throws than Gonzaga.Gonzaga didn't hold a lead until 4:53 remained in the first half but never trailed after halftime, leading by as many as 12/Associated Press. More here.

Parting Shot: Bird’s eye view

Cody Mooney, visiting from Loveland, Colo., tosses his 17-month-old daughter Willow in the air as snow geese take flight behind them Thursday in the Skagit Valley near La Conner, Wash. Bird watchers took advantage of a day without rain Thursday to gaze at some of the tens of thousands of snow geese that spend the winter near the mouth of the Skagit River.

Are you a bird watcher?

TGIF Wild Card 12.28.12

And so a short work week ends followed by a gloriously long weekend. I'm taking a page from DFO's book and will be taking a couple week's off from SR deadlines to finish my book War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation. It will be the first time in six years that a week will go by without a deadline. As a freelancer, if I don't file stories, I don't get paid, so even when I take vacation time I file my stories ahead of time.

This will be an unpaid advenure, but one I'm rather looking forward to! When is the last time you took a couple weeks off of work?

Here's your Wild Card.

Worst movies of 2012

Taylor Kitsch in “John Carter,” definitely Disney’s low moment of 2012

They could have fed a Third World nation, or poured money into cancer research, or tried saving those polar bears stuck on itty-bitty ice floes. But no-o-o-o-o, Hollywood had better things to do with its hundreds of millions of dollars, like letting Adam Sandler make “That’s My Boy,” and thinking we needed a remake of “Red Dawn.”

Sure, the film biz isn’t in it for the philanthropy, and it’s totally unfair to hold the expenditure of $250 million (“John Carter”) or even a paltry $102 million (“Cloud Atlas”) against actors, directors, and second grips engaged in earnest endeavors to create something memorable, or moving, or just fun.

After all, no one intentionally sets out to make 90 minutes or two hours or three hours of stupefying dreck, right? “Right?! RIGHT?!!” More here.

The Hobbit made the list. The only one of these I saw in the theater was The Strange Life of Timothy Green. While the movie had many flaws, I really enjoyed the story. Have you seen any of these ficks? What gets your vote for all-time worst movie?

Smile! You’re on drunk driver camera

Smile, you’re on drunk driver camera.

In an effort to increase accountability for those with a history of driving while intoxicated, all alcohol ignition interlocks in Washington will be equipped with a camera starting Jan. 1.

The camera will snap a photo every time the machine is used in order to verify the driver is the person taking the test.

The locks are mandatory on the vehicles of those who have been accused or convicted of driving while impaired. The car will not start without a breath sample below the legal limit of .08.

Washington State Patrol Lt. Rob Sharpe said impaired drivers have been known to ask passengers, even children, to blow into the machine for them to start the car. More here. Jennifer Pignolet, SR

Sounds like a good idea to me. What say you?

Viva Le Mis

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, left, and Anne Hathaway as Fantine in a scene from “Les Miserables.”

To transform the much-beloved “Les Miserables” from stage to screen, Director Tom Hooper had find a way to maintain and amplify the emotional power of the original words and music with the trappings of a big-screen production.

His efforts have created a beautiful and moving version of the stage production that’s loyal enough to its origins to appease Broadway musical fans, yet is theatrical enough to stand as a feature film release.

“Les Miserables,” the musical based on the book by Victor Hugo, is a story of love, devotion, dedication and betrayal set in the years following the French Revolution. Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) emerges from 19 years of hard labor in prison – sent there for stealing a loaf of bread – and begins a new life. His new world of wealth and power is threatened when he’s recognized by Javert (Russell Crowe), a man whose devotion to the letter of the law goes beyond the obsessive.

Looking forward to seeing this. I've heard good things about it. Do you plan to see Le Mis?

Crapo won’t fight DUI charge

WASHINGTON (AP) — A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo says he won’t fight charges of drunken driving when he appears in court in January.

That’s according to a spokesman, who says Crapo has consulted an attorney.

Crapo registered a higher blood alcohol level in a second, jailhouse test than the first test conducted by the officer who stopped him.

Police say Crapo registered a 0.11 percent blood on the scene after being pulled over in Alexandra, Va.

But a law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that another test performed at the jail — the one used in court — registered at 0.14, just under the level that mandates jail time. Virginia’s legal limit is 0.08.

The official isn’t authorized to release information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Gookin: McEuen improperly planned

In the comments section The Govenor asks Dan Gookin: I have one for Dan Gookin: Is the spending on the project to date under or over budget? The story really never addresses that point. I would like to know, is McEuen overbudget right now?

Gookin replies: If it were planned properly, I could answer that question. By proper planning, I mean that most government (and non-government) projects start with a budget. This one started with “dream big and forget about the cost.” The McEuen train seems to have never left that station.

Do you agree or disagree with Gookin?

Worst way to spend embezzled funds

A former secretary at a New York City high school is facing $9,000 in fines for inappropriately spending public dollars, mostly on fast food and “dozens of visits to McDonald's,” according to the New York Daily News.

Kappry Vera resigned from Manhattan's Urban Assembly School for Construction and Design in August 2011 when school officials started investigating her suspicious spending, according to the Daily News. The school's principal noticed “questionable purchases” on the city-funded credit card intended for school purchases.

The purchases totaled more than $3,000 in personal spending between August 2009 and May 2011. Vera dropped hundreds of dollars at joints like Subway and Burger King. Trips to McDonald's, up to four times a day, totaled $765. Read more.

McDonald's FOUR TIMES a day? Can you think of worse ways to spend embezzled funds?

Defying Ombacare will cost $1.3 million per day

WASHINGTON — An attorney for Hobby Lobby Stores said Thursday that the arts and crafts chain plans to defy a federal mandate requiring it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill, despite risking potential fines of up to $1.3 million per day.

Hobby Lobby and religious book-seller Mardel Inc., which are owned by the same conservative Christian family, are suing to block part of the federal health care law that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.

The companies claim the mandate violates the religious beliefs of their owners. They say the morning-after pill is tantamount to abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from becoming implanted in a woman's womb. Full story.

Do you admire people who adhere to their beliefs even if you disagree with them?

U.S. shuts embassy in Africa

WASHINGTON – The State Department has closed its embassy in the Central African Republic and ordered the ambassador and his diplomatic team to leave the country as rebels there continue to advance and violence escalates, U.S. officials said Thursday.

A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, said that at the State Department’s request, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had directed U.S. Africa Command to evacuate U.S. citizens and designated foreign nationals from the U.S. Embassy in Bangui “to safe havens in the region.”

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the U.S. Embassy had temporarily suspended operations, but not diplomatic relations with the country

Seems like a wise call in light of recent events. What do you think?

WA basic wage rises

The minimum wage in Washington will go up to $9.19 an hour on Jan. 1, keeping the state ahead of all others and nearly $2 above the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Idaho’s minimum wage will remain unchanged at $7.25 an hour, which is just over $15,000 a year for a full-time employee. It also falls within the federal definition of poverty for a two-person household.

The Washington wage, now $9.04, changes annually to keep pace with the rising cost of living. Voters in 1998 approved a ballot initiative that provides for the rate adjustments.

The wage bump will apply to an estimated 144,000 workers – many of them in retail, food service, hotel and health care jobs – providing them an extra $310 per year on average, according to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute. Another 20,000 will see a raise as pay scales are adjusted upward, the Washington, D.C.-based group estimates. More. Scott Maben, SR (emphasis mine)

Is it any wonder that so many folks from the Cda/Post Falls area work in Spokane?

The Sound of Music

The INB Performing Arts Center will once again come alive with the sound of music. And Inland Northwest fans are invited to sing along.

“The Sound of Music Sing-a-Long” returns to town at 7 p.m. Saturday, complete with a “Bag of Musical Moments” – props to use at certain points in the film – and a costume contest.

Not that you need to bring a costume. All you really need is a love of the classic 1965 movie musical, or at least a fondness for the Oscar-winning tale. More here.

Super excited for Saturday. My 3 siblings and I will be taking my Mom. What's your favorite song from The Sound of Music?

Consumers nervous

A woman rides the escalator past a giant holiday ornament at the CambridgeSide Galleria mall in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, Dec. 24, 2012. Although fresh data on the holiday shopping season is expected in coming days, early figures point to a ho-hum season for retailers despite last-ditch efforts to lure shoppers over the final weekend before Christmas.

WASHINGTON – Consumer confidence plunged sharply in December thanks to the political drama unfolding in the nation’s capital.

The falling confidence, reported Thursday in the Conference Board’s monthly index of consumer sentiment, is a clear sign that the ongoing partisan wrangling in Washington over the approaching fiscal cliff is having direct economic consequences.

But within the survey of consumer confidence, there are signs of an ongoing recovery, with fewer participants reporting worsening conditions and more citing improvement. Read more.

Did you spend more, less or about the same on Christmas this year?

Hospice of N. Idaho fined $50,000

HAYDEN - Hospice of North Idaho settled with the federal government and agreed to pay $50,000 because of a stolen laptop it lost containing patient information.

Hospice settled with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services'office of civil rights, which will receive the funds. Hospice reported the theft to the office as required by law, and conducted an internal investigation.

In a news release Thursday, Hospice said there is no evidence that patient information was accessed following the theft.

Amanda Miller, a Hospice spokeswoman, said employees bring laptops to patients' homes.

“In the summer of 2010, an employee's vehicle was broken into, and their laptop was stolen,” she said. “While the thief was apprehended, the laptop was never recovered, hence all the steps Hospice of North Idaho took in case of malicious activity.” Full story David Cole, Cda Press

Do you think the fine is too steep or appropriate?

Hospital accreditation at risk

Eastern State Hospital’s accreditation has been suspended after a patient strangled another patient last month.

The nation’s foremost medical accreditation organization, The Joint Commission, determined last week that the hospital for the mentally ill in Medical Lake allowed patients too much access to items that could be used for strangulation.

The hospital has since removed and secured the objects of concern and submitted a report back to the commission as part of an appeal to regain its accreditation, said Thomas Shapley, a spokesman for the state Department of Social and Health Services.

The commission’s report was the result of a regular review process, Shapley said, though the Nov. 20 homicide in Eastern’s forensic science unit, where the criminally insane are housed, was a factor.Jennifer Pignolet, SR

Do you believe the problems at Eastern State reflect a larger problem? Is the U.S. is facing a mental health care crisis?

A clean break-in

Chicago – A 26-year-old woman came home on Christmas night to find a man she had never seen before folding her laundry and cleaning her apartment in Chicago’s Irving Park neighborhood, police said.

A judge set bail at $125,000 Wednesday for Paul Edge. Edge, 58, a registered sex offender, was charged with violation of sex offender registration, a felony, and a misdemeanor count of criminal trespass, authorities said.

The woman told the Chicago Tribune she had been on Christmas holiday but returned home with her fiance to her home and found Edge sitting cross-legged in her living room folding her laundry and cleaning her apartment, police said.

“It was pretty scary,” she said.

The woman called police and officers got to the scene and interviewed Edge, who told them someone let him inside and asked him to clean the home, police said.

Okay. I know this is serious but still, wouldn't it be nice to have someone break into your house and clean it and fold your laundry? Mebbe it's just me…

Stormin’ Norman dies

In this Jan. 12, 1991 file photo, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf stands at ease with his tank troops during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who topped an illustrious military career by commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991 but kept a low public profile in controversies over the second Gulf War against Iraq, died Thursday. He was 78.

Schwarzkopf died in Tampa, Fla., where he had lived in retirement, according to a U.S. official, who was not authorized to release the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as “Stormin’ Norman” for a notoriously explosive temper.More here.

How will history remember Schwarzkopf?

McEuen plan grows- so does price

McEuen Field photographed from Parkside Towers on Feb. 4, 2011.

COEUR d'ALENE - The McEuen Park designers want the city to add previously cut amenities to the park design, saying the scaled-down version has lost the project's original focus: Creating a one-of-a-kind public destination.

The amenities include tennis courts that double as pickle ball courts, basketball courts, a built out pavilion that can seat up to 600 people, and an information center and restroom facility, dubbed the Harbor House, near the Third Street entrance to Tubbs Hill.

They're all amenities that were penned into the original conceptual plan two years ago but had been peeled away as the project was fine-tuned and costs and revenue sources were compared.

Adding them back in, of course, adds to the cost.Tom Hasslinger, Cda Press  More here.

Thoughts?

 

Woman killed by train in Sandpoint

A train struck and killed a 28-year-old woman walking along the railroad tracks in Sandpoint early Thursday morning, according to an Idaho State Police news release.

Police identified the woman as Erin M. Likkel of Huntsville, Ala. A Burlington Northern Sante Fe train employee spotted her body and luggage around 2:50 a.m. in the track’s right of way about 200 feet west of the Amtrak depot.

Sandpoint Police do not believe Likkel’s death was a suicide. She had an Amtrak train ticket purchased for North Dakota. They believe she had been visiting family in Idaho for the holidays and was trying to catch her train when she was struck.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said a Chicago-to-Seattle train hit Likkel. He described her as a trespasser since she was not in a pedestrian crossing.

Melonas said Amtrak contracts with the BNSF tracks and two passenger trains pass through the depot daily. One train departs the depot at 2:32 a.m., according to Amtrak’s website. Nicole Hensley, SR

Am I the only one who finds the BSNF spokesman's description of Likkel as a “trespasser” callous?

Coeur d’Alene Tribe elder dies

Coeur d'Alene Tribe elder Cliff SiJohn announced the arrival of Scotland's Royal Dornoch Golf Club during the opening ceremony of the Circling Raven/Royal Dornoch Challenge at the golf course in Worley in 2005.

Clifford J. SiJohn, a Coeur d’Alene Tribe elder active in preserving the tribe’s customs and cultural heritage, died Christmas Eve in Coeur d’Alene. He was 67.

His funeral mass will be at 10 a.m. today at the Rose Creek Longhouse in Worley, Idaho, and he will buried at the DeSmet Mission Cemetery.

SiJohn was a Vietnam War veteran, former police detective and cultural awareness director for the tribe. He also was emcee for the horse parade at Julyamsh, the annual powwow hosted by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in Post Falls.

“We are proud of Cliff. He was a great asset to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, our casino resort and the Northwest,” said Chief Allan, chairman of the tribe, based in Plummer. Full story. Scott Maben, SR

Sad loss for the Tribe and for the CdA community.

 

Party Shot: Icy

Kerri Thoreson writes: “I didn't have to travel further than my front walkway to find a beautiful winter photo op … branches encased in ice on a chilly December morning.”

We've got some talented amateur photogs among our Huck's Online commenters. Are you a good photographer?

Thursday Wild Card 12.27.12

Whew! I think I've got my blog legs beneath me and know what day of the week it is– maybe.

Hope your Christmas celebrations were wonderful. On Christmas day, in addition to our 4 sons and my mom, we welcomed a friend of our eldest— a 21-year-old young man who has aged out of the foster care system. He'd watched his faher die of a drug overdose and his mom is a meth addict. Needless to say, Christmas is hardly a cheery time for him, and we expected he'd turn down our invitation to Christmas dinner.

But he didn't.

We set an extra place at the table and shoved some Senor Froggy gift certificates in an envelope and placed it under the tree. Turns out that was the only Christmas gift he received this year.

When it was time to say goodbye, he held out his hand and said “Thank you,” but I wrapped my arms around him and held him close.

Everyone deserves a feeling of home and welcome at Christmas, don't you think?
  

Here's your Wild Card.

Gratuitous cat photo

Yes, that's my Thor, the Christmas cat. He was in heaven with the boxes bags and wrapping paper. After drinking most of the water out of the tree stand, he slept until Christmas dinner.

In related feline news, here's a story about a Crossing Guard Cat.

Idaho at the bottom

— The Idaho Department of Labor says the state ranks last in overall earnings by full- and part-time job holders.

The median annual wage in Idaho is $23,192. The department estimates a family of four needs $39,000 a year to sustain itself but only about a third of Idaho jobs last year paid that much.

Labor Department spokesman Bob Fick says that is due in part to higher job growth in the low-wage service sector than the production sector, where mining, logging and manufacturing jobs pay more.

H/T Sisyphus

Sis blames “right to work” KageMann says it's be because “there is not much logging or construction and mining is way down from 30 years ago.” What say you?


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/27/2393725/idaho-workers-overall-earnings.html#storylink=cpy

 

 


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/27/2393725/idaho-workers-overall-earnings.html#storylink=cpy

Condom dispensers in schools

KXLY reports: When students in Philadelphia head back to school after Christmas break, there will be a new feature: condom dispensers. The city is installing them in select schools because of a rising rate of STD's. In fact, of new HIV cases in Philadelphia, a quarter of those diagnosed are teenagers. The city says it's serving as a partner with parents in promoting safe sex; critics, though,say this crosses the line and should be the parents' responsibility.

What do you think? Condom dispensers in schools, yes or no?

Seahawk’s Sherman wins appeal

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman won his appeal of his drug suspension and will play the remainder of the season.

RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman won his appeal of a four-game suspension for use of performance enhancing substances on Thursday, making him eligible for the NFL playoffs.

Sherman posted “I won,” on his Twitter account Thursday morning, followed by teammates tweeting their congratulations. Sherman added, “Thank you (at)nfl for upholding the truth! To the 12s Thank you your faith is rewarded! Thank you lord.”

The decision was made by former NFL executive Bob Wallace. More here.

“Sherman’s appeal was based on errors in the chain of custody of his sample and that there were mistakes made by the tester.”

So. Did he or didn't he use Adderall?

Ending the year with a bang

RATHDRUM - Dave Spiker and Royce Driggs are going to end the year by lighting up the Rathdrum Prairie in honor of veterans. The local business owners are sponsoring a $5,000 fireworks show on Monday on New Year's Eve over George Thayer's field at Highway 41 and Lancaster on the south side of Rathdrum starting at 6:45 p.m.

“It will be a heck of a show,” said Spiker, CEO of MarketPad.com and a managing member of Golden Spike Estates. “We've been approved by the state to shoot the largest fireworks that you're allowed to do.”

“The main reasons we're doing it is to celebrate our veterans and wish everyone a happy new year.” More here. Brian Walker, Cda Press

How do you usually celebrate on New Year's Eve?

Woman posed as relative of Newtown victim

A woman who authorities say posed as an aunt of one of the 20 children killed in the attack on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and used a Facebook account to solicit money for a “funeral fund” has been arrested and charged with lying to federal agents.

“When contacted by FBI Special Agents investigating fundraising and charity scams related to the Newtown tragedy, Alba falsely stated that she did not post information related to Newtown on her Facebook account, solicit donations or recently access her PayPal account. Alba also falsely claimed to have immediately refunded any donations that she received.” Full story

Amazing that someone would stoop so low as to try to cash in on a tragedy. What is wrong with people like this?

Otter on education

Gov. Otter signaled his intent to avoid a clash over quick action on education reform, recommending that a task force he is creating return with recommendations for action in 2014.


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/27/2393930/idaho-gov-otter-asks-for-a-year.html#storylink=twt#storylink=cpy

Following the Nov. 6 defeat of the three Otter-backed Students Come First laws, both Otter and other GOP leaders had suggest they might seek to act as soon as the 2013 session. Otter said he'd seen polling that indicated Idahoans agreed with that approach.

But leaders of the repeal came out firmly against immediate action, saying that all stakeholders needed to be consulted before any new changes are proposed.

Otter adopted a similar approach in an article sent to Idaho newspapers Thursday, in which he outlined how he hopes members of the task force are selected and quoted the president of the Idaho teachers' union, among others. Idaho Statesman  Read more.

Is it just me, or is government the only entity that considers creating a task force taking action? Does this bode well for the future education in Idaho?

 


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/27/2393930/idaho-gov-otter-asks-for-a-year.html#storylink=twt#storylink=cpy

 


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/27/2393930/idaho-gov-otter-asks-for-a-year.html#storylink=twt#storylink=cpy

In idiot with a gun news

A woman is in critical condition after a man reportedly shot her in the head while showing off his handgun at a party, according to a Spokane Police Department news release.

The 20-year-old woman is not expected to survive, police officials said. Medics transported her to a local hospital before officers could arrive around 11:30 p.m. to the home near 1300 W. Newark Street.

Detectives believe a 20-year-old man allegedly fired a round by accident and shot the woman, the news release said. Alcohol appears to be a factor in the incident.

No arrests have been made, according to Spokane Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe. Detectives are investigating the shooting as negligent handling of a firearm. The handgun was seized as evidence.

You can't regulate or legislate stupidity. What a tragedy for two families.

High Noon: Throwing a stone

During curling practice at the Riverfront Park Ice Palace, Josh Engle throws a stone. Colin Mulvaney, SR photo

The Canadians are famous for it. The Norwegians did it in loud checkered pants. The Scots and the Dutch still argue about who invented it some 500 years ago, though the Scots usually win the argument.

It’s curling. It involves carefully sliding a 40-pound granite rock down the ice, sometimes with two teammates sweeping in front of it. And for the first time since the early ’80s, it’s possible for curling enthusiasts to get a fix in Spokane.

Every Sunday evening, the Lilac City Curling Club holds down the ice at Riverfront Park’s Ice Palace. Full story. Pia Hallenburg, SR

Have you ever tried curling?

Putin to sign anti-U.S. adoption bill

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he will sign a controversial bill barring Americans from adopting Russian children, as the Kremlin's children's rights advocate recommended extending the ban to the rest of the world.

The bill is part of the country's increasingly confrontational stance with the West and has angered some Russians who argue it victimizes kids to make a political point.

The law would block dozens of Russian children now in the process of being adopted by American families from leaving the country and cut off a major route out of often dismal orphanages. Russia is the single biggest source of adopted children in the U.S., with more than 60,000 Russian children being taken in by Americans over the past two decades. Read more.

One of my best friends adopted a little boy from Russia several years ago. What do you think about the proposed ban on U.S. adoptions?

Crapo’s vodka shots

This Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012 booking photo provided by the Alexandria, Va. Police Department shows Idaho U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo. Crapo was arrested early Sunday morning, Dec. 23, 2012 and charged with driving under the influence in a Washington, D.C., suburb, authorities said.

According to this story in The Huffington Post, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo told police that he drank several shots of vodka prior to his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.

The story says the arresting officer “described his (Crapo’s) eyes as ‘bloodshot and watery.’ Despite the fact that he drank vodka, the officer noted a smell of alcohol on his breath ‘which became stronger as he spoke.’”

Crapo was arrested in Alexandria, Va., on Dec. 23.

Not sure what's left to say here. I guess the relevant point is a non-drinker doesn't usually down vodka shots. Perhaps Crapo should have stuck with Miller Light or whatever Idahoans are drinking these days.

Poll: Coeur d’Alene Press Too Liberal

 

By a show of online hands, only 16 percent of readers think The Press is neither too conservative nor too liberal. The rest see it as one or the other, and the majority think it's too liberal. The most recent Press poll asked, “From a political bias viewpoint, how do you view The Press?” Here's how readers voted.

  • Too conservative: 399 votes (36 percent)
  • Too liberal: 529 votes (48 percent)
  • Just right: 176 votes (16 percent)

Question: Do you think the Coeur d'Alene Press is too liberal?

Colville boy meets Kansas City girl

Sol and Darlene Ferguson have been married 61 years.

When you hear about a boy from the Colville Indian Reservation who meets a girl from Kansas City, in Japan of all places, you know you’re in for an interesting story. And for Sol and Darlene Ferguson it’s a tale with a happy ending.

Sol’s father had been drafted in 1944, and when the Ferguson family left for Japan in 1947, they made the news. “I went over with eight siblings and came home with 11,” Sol said. “We were the largest family to be deployed at that time.”

Darlene came from an Army family as well. She arrived in Japan in 1949 and quickly spotted Sol playing pool with his brothers at the NCO Club. She asked her mom, “Do you think they’d let me play pool with them?” Her mom replied, “Go ask!”

So she did.Read more. Cindy Hval, SR

Can you imagine your 16-year-old daughter or 18-year-old son getting married?

Inmate dies after taser hit

A Spokane man imprisoned for killing three family members in a car crash near Post Falls seven years ago died Tuesday night after being shocked with a Taser at the Benton County Jail.

Authorities said Kevin T. Culp, 29, had an unknown medical problem on Dec. 17 and was placed in an isolation cell so jail nurses could watch him.

He later became combative and struggled with officers, including biting them. He was shocked with a Taser, which appeared to have little effect, according to reports.

Jailers then placed him in a restraint chair.

About 15 minutes later, staff discovered he was unresponsive and called for emergency medical help. He died eight days later – Christmas Day – at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.Full story.

Sweet Schweitzer snowpack

Snow falls on the village at Schweitzer Mountain Resort on Nov. 21, 2012

December snowfall at Schweitzer Mountain Resort is the heaviest in nearly 30 years, the Sandpoint-area ski resort reported Wednesday.

The ski hill has recorded 180 inches of new snow this month, leading to a thick blanket both at the ski village and summit areas.

Snowpack near the lodges stood at 77 inches on Wednesday with 109 inches on top of the mountain.

“To see 180 inches this early in the season is extraordinary,” said Dave Kulis, director of marketing and sales at Schweitzer. Read more.

Have you hit the slopes yet?

Debt limit just days away

WASHINGTON – The government will reach the $16.4 trillion debt limit Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders Wednesday, adding a new and possibly dramatic wrinkle to negotiations aimed at averting the “fiscal cliff.”

The news came as President Barack Obama and the Senate prepared to return to Washington today, and Republican leaders in the House of Representatives conferred by phone Wednesday to plot strategy.

If no alternatives are adopted, Bush-era income tax rates will expire at the end of the year and $109 billion in automatic spending cuts will take effect Jan. 2.

In his letter, Geithner said the Treasury “will shortly begin taking certain extraordinary measures authorized by law to temporarily postpone the date that the United States would otherwise default on its legal obligations.”  More

$16.4 trillion! So, what's at the bottom of the fiscal cliff?

It’s all fun and games until…

Nikki Moseanko and Dan Burrows, Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, load some of the 11 damaged park picnic tables to be repaired from the North Bank shelter area, Dec. 26, 2012 in Riverfront Park.

A phone call from work interrupted Dave Randolph’s Christmas morning.

The city’s labor foreman for Riverfront Park was about to watch his grandchildren open presents, only to learn that picnic-table vandals had struck again.

Putting a hold on family celebrations, Randolph and his crew arrived at Riverfront Park to find a pile of picnic tables cluttered with holiday decorations near the north shelter. He believes the structure collapsed sometime overnight.

“This one turned ugly,” Randolph said. “I hope to God nobody was on it when it came down.” Read more.

I admit, I think the work of the serial stackers is kind of cool, until I read stories like this. What do you think?

Sotomayor rejects birth control block request

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday denied a request to block part of the federal health care law that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.

Hobby Lobby Stores and a sister company, Mardel Inc., sued the government, claiming the mandate violates the religious beliefs of its owners.

In an opinion, Sotomayor said the stores failed to satisfy the demanding legal standard for blocking the requirement on an emergency basis. She said the companies may continue their challenge to the regulations in the lower courts.

Thoughts?

Bush in ICU

HOUSTON – Former President George H.W. Bush has been admitted to the intensive care unit at a Houston hospital “following a series of setbacks including a persistent fever,” but he is alert and talking to medical staff, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Jim McGrath, Bush’s spokesman in Houston, said in a brief email that Bush was admitted to the ICU at Methodist Hospital on Sunday.

He said doctors are cautiously optimistic about his treatment and that the former president “remains in guarded condition.”

No other details were released about his medical condition, but McGrath said Bush is surrounded by family. More here.

What do you remember most about Bush's presidency?

Boise man helps bury father he never knew

A plastic credit card provided the first major clue.
Investigators obtained the American Express card from a villager in the Asian country of Laos in 2007. It belonged to Boise resident Kevin Hocevar’s father, James “Monty” Johnstone, who disappeared in a plane crash there in 1966.
In 2009, searchers found the final piece of the war-torn puzzle: Johnstone’s left molar. Found at the site of the crash that killed Johnstone just a month after Hocevar was born, the tooth allowed the Department of Defense to formally identify Johnstone’s remains and give him a proper burial. Read more.  Meghann Cuniff, Idaho Statesman

Great story. Were you close to your dad?

Parting Shot: Sad Bouquet

Kerri Thoreson snapped this pic at Higgins Point yesterday and wrote, “A sweet sad bouquet at water's edge at Higgin's Point. Someone was being missed and loved on this Christmas morning.”

Is there someone special you were missing this Christmas?

Wild Card Wednesday 12.26.12

Yes, DFO needs to take a few days off to recover from having a few days off. Meanwhile, we mortals slave on. Are you taking the rest of the week off like Dave, or are you chained to a desk like me?

Lots of newsworthy things happened during our blog break. If there's a story I may have missed that you think merits discussion, feel free to send me an email: dchval@juno.com

Here's your Wild Card.

(Took until 12:38 for someone to point out I'd posted this as the MONDAY Wild Card)

UI institute focuses on transportation

Karen DenBraven, NIATT director at the University of Idaho, explains the research and development the program is doing to make 2-cycle snowmobiles more fuel economical and reduce air and noise pollution.

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho’s transportation institute is where research quite literally meets the road.

Since it was founded 20 years ago, the National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology has put a premium on turning its research into real-world applications that make getting from point A to point B safe, efficient and environmentally friendly.

One example is that gray metal box that sits next to nearly every traffic light in the country. The “smart” ones developed at the institute are interlinked and computer-controlled, and they help to ease congestion. Read more.

 

Eagle Watch Week

Okay, so I've never made the CdA eagle watching pilgrimage. But honestly, how many of you have?

From Rich Landers Outdoors blog:  WILDLIFE WATCHING — Carlene Hardt heard about the huge numbers of bald eagles congregating at Lake Coeur d'Alene and finally made time on Sunday to go out and see for herself.

“I was NOT disappointed,” she said in an email. “I saw LOTS of bald eagles! I have been out there a few times in the past but this is the first time I had the opportunity to see one eating in a tree right behind me! The eagle sure did eat the fish fast!

 

Thor and the stocking grab

On Christmas Eve we caught Thor trying to help himself to Milo's stocking. Catnip may have been involved.

Did you get your pet/s anything for Christmas?

Playing hooky

Kids are notorious for faking fevers to stay home from school. A new study suggests their parents aren’t much better.

Nearly half of the workers surveyed admitted to calling in sick when they weren’t. Adecco Group North America, the temporary staffing company that commissioned the survey, didn’t say how many of those employees faked a cough and used a raspy voice when they phoned their boss.

Perhaps bored with pretending to have the flu, some hooky-playing workers get creative. More.

Have you ever played hooky as an adult? If so, why?

He came home for Christmas

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Blind and alone in Alaska winter temperatures that dipped 40 degrees below zero, a lost 8-year-old Fairbanks dog wasn’t given much of a chance to make it home.

But after walking 10 miles to the edge of a local musher’s dog yard, Abby the brown-and-white mixed breed was found and returned to her owners, a family that includes two boys and one girl under the age of 10.

The dog that the family raised from an animal-shelter puppy went missing during a snowstorm on Dec. 13, and the family never expected to see her again, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. More here.

Have you ever lost a pet?

Updated: The gun owner next door

Sam Bishop, left, purchases a Springfield XD 40 handgun from salesman Nick Brown on Tuesday at Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop.

A New York newspaper is under criticism for publishing the names and addresses of local gun owners on Monday.

In a piece titled, “The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood,” the Journal News requested the names and adresses of local residents who are licensed to own handguns through Freedom of Information Law requests. The paper requested information from Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties. The paper was only given the names and addresses of those who have a license to own a handgun. The paper was denied its requests for the amount and type of guns owned by those who have licenses. Putnam County was still working on the request and has not yet released information to the Journal News.

The article includes an interactive map of Westchester and Rockland counties that allows readers to view those who have a license to own handguns around them. Read more.

Related Stories:  Newspaper's gun owner database draws criticism  

Blogger publishes Journal News publisher's adddress

What do you think about the Journal News decision to publish this information and the resulting backlash?

Cold & Flu myths

Colds are caused by cold weather.

No, they are caused by viruses. However, you might be more susceptible to colds in the winter months because you tend to go indoors in crowded environments where you are more likely to pick up other people’s viruses. Plus, there are some strains of cold viruses that thrive in the cold, and cold weather can dry out your sinuses, making them more vulnerable to infection.

You can catch a cold by going outside with wet hair or damp clothes.

No, but being wet can weaken your immune system, which makes it more likely that you can catch a cold.

It’s easy to spot a cold.

No, it can be challenging to diagnose because there’s a lot of overlap among upper respiratory infections. More here.

When is the last time you had a cold or flu?

Afghan boy getting along

Rahim checks out parts of his new prosthetic leg before being fitted at Kootenai Prosthetics & Orthotics in Post Falls in July.

A 12-year-old boy in southwest Afghanistan is attending school, playing soccer and helping around his home with the aid of a prosthetic leg he received this year during a three-month stay in the Inland Northwest.

Rahim – his full name and hometown are not revealed – was reunited with his family in late August after spending the summer with a Coeur d’Alene host family.

He met his new baby sister for the first time and surprised his mother and father with his energy and attitude. They had not seen him so carefree and active since Rahim’s left leg was amputated below the knee after he stepped on a land mine three years ago in the Helmand province. Scott Maben, SR  More here.

What a heartwarming story! Thoughts?

Deporting Morgan

Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for British CNN host Piers Morgan to be deported from the U.S. over his gun control views.

Morgan has taken an aggressive stand for tighter U.S. gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. Last week, he called a gun advocate appearing on his “Piers Morgan Tonight” show an “unbelievably stupid man.”

Now, gun rights activists are fighting back. A petition created Dec. 21 on the White House e-petition website by a user in Texas accuses Morgan of engaging in a “hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution” by targeting the Second Amendment. It demands he be deported immediately for “exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”

Would you like to deport Piers Morgan?

High Noon: Favorite gift

This little gem is my favorite Christmas gift this year. It features brilliant poems, like this one:

This is My Chair

This is my chair

This is my couch

This is my bed

This is my bench

This is my chaise

This is my settee

This is my footstool

These are my rugs

Everywhere is my place to sleep

Perhaps you should just get a hotel room

What was your favorite gift given or received this Christmas?

Call centers still humming along

James Finch, a service adviser for the US Bank Service Center, takes a call at the facility in Coeur d’Alene on Dec. 19.

For a room where hundreds may be on the phone at once, it’s surprisingly serene on the floor of the US Bank Service Center in Coeur d’Alene. Seated here in a labyrinth of beige cubicles are the people on the other end of the line when you call about that credit card balance.

The Inland Northwest is home to more than 20 call centers, with a total employment averaging about 3,000 this year in Kootenai and Spokane counties.

While that’s down from peak years, some of the fullest employee parking lots in the region can be found at these work sites, which have weathered the economic slump fairly well and provide stable employment.Scott Maben, SR

My oldest son worked at a call center in downtown Spokane for awhile. Have you ever worked at a call center?

Court rules for utility

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A divided Idaho Supreme Court has sided with the utility PacifiCorp in a tax fight the state has said could shift millions in assessments to others.

Justices issued a 3-2 ruling Monday, with the majority affirming a lower court decision in 2010 in favor of PacifiCorp. The justices found the utility's system for tax appraisal was not erroneous and was supported by competent evidence.

In September, Tax Commission officials said losing the case could mean property taxpayers face a combined bill of $11.6 million — to refund utilities' taxes. Full story.

Reaction?

RIP Charles Durning

 In this Saturday, March 3, 1984 file photo, from left, actors Charles Durning, Eliott Gould and Screen Actors Guild President Ed Asner take a break before the filming of the 50th Anniversary Special celebrating the guild.

LOS ANGELES – Charles Durning, the two-time Oscar nominee who was dubbed the king of the character actors for his skill in playing everything from a Nazi colonel to the pope, died Monday at his home in New York City. He was 89.

Durning’s longtime agent and friend, Judith Moss, told the Associated Press that he died of natural causes in his home in Manhattan.

Although he portrayed everyone from blustery public officials to comic foils to put-upon everymen, Durning may be best remembered by movie audiences for his Oscar-nominated, over-the-top role as a comically corrupt governor in 1982’s “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Read more.

Favorite Charles Durning role?

RIP Jack Klugman

LOS ANGELES – Jack Klugman, the prolific, craggy-faced character actor and regular guy who was loved by millions as the messy one in TV’s “The Odd Couple” and the crime-fighting coroner in “Quincy, M.E.,” died Monday, a son said.

Klugman, who lost his voice to throat cancer in the 1980s and trained himself to speak again, died with his wife, Peggy, at his side. He was 90.

I'm a bit too young to have enjoyed The Odd Couple on TV but I loved Qunicy M.E. What's your favorite Klugman role?

Both sides favor corporate tax cut

WASHINGTON – As President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans wrangle over tax increases and spending cuts, they can agree on something: They want to lower the corporate tax rate.

The U.S. has the highest overall rate of any of the world’s developed economies. It took the top spot in March after Japan reduced its rate, mimicking other countries that have lowered taxes to lure new businesses and keep existing companies from leaving. More here.

Are you in favor of lowering the corporate tax rate?

Take the News Quiz

Who wants to go to the movies? This week's news quiz is awarding two free tickets to a random entrant, and our overall champ will take home a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. You're 10 interactive questions from being in the running! Good luck to everyone!
 
Last week's winners: Kevin Hee of Spokane ($50 gift card) and Patricia Bart of Post Falls (EWU basketball tickets). See how you do here.

Firefighters gunned down

A house burns Monday in Webster, N.Y. A former convict set a house and car ablaze in his lakeside New York state neighborhood to lure firefighters then opened fire on them, killing two and engaging police in a shootout before killing himself.

WEBSTER, N.Y. – An ex-con gunned down two firefighters after luring them to his neighborhood by setting a car and a house ablaze early Monday, then took shots at police and committed suicide while several homes burned.

Authorities used an armored vehicle to help residents flee dozens of homes on the shore of Lake Ontario a day before Christmas. Police restricted access to the neighborhood, and officials said it was unclear whether there were other bodies in the seven houses left to burn.

The gunman’s sister, who lived with him, was unaccounted for. The gunman’s motive was unknown. More.

Any firefighters among your family/friends?

Simply irresistible?

I'm still fuming about this story that ran last week:

IOWA CITY, Iowa – A dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire employees they see as an “irresistible attraction,” even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

An attorney for Fort Dodge dentist James Knight said the decision, the first of its kind in Iowa, is a victory for family values because Knight fired Melissa Nelson in the interest of saving his marriage, not because she was a woman. Full story.

If you read the full story you'll see there was no affair— not even any flirting. I'm baffled by the court's ruling and can't decide if it's more demeaning to men or to women. What do you think?

LCSC CdA marks 30 years

COEUR d'ALENE - Nearly 30 years ago, Orville Dockter sat in the back of a classroom at Lewis-Clark State College in Coeur d'Alene and listened to a lecture. He didn't mind listening because his job was to drive his wife, Audreilee, back and forth to class from the Silver Valley - he hadn't planned on learning - but he did.

“It opened my eyes. I had these 'Ah-ha,' moments and it didn't take long before they had me signed up for classes,” Orville recalled. “I was working underground as a hoisting engineer. LCSC was great because I didn't have to miss one day of work.”

The Kingston couple, among the college's first students in Coeur d'Alene, earned their bachelor's degrees in 1983.

“LCSC helped us a lot to advance in our jobs,” Orville said. “I really enjoyed the classes and my wife kept going back to get refresher courses.”

Orville observed that 30 years ago most of the students worked full-time jobs and needed flexibility. There was a sense of excitement throughout North Idaho about the college offering classes. Marc Stewart, Special to the Cda Press  Full Story

 

Do you know anyone who has attended LCSC Cda?

Christmas Wild Card — 12/22-25/12

It's 12:20 Saturday morning, and I'm listening to fireworks go off in the distance. Is something going on at the Coeur d'Alene Resort? I imagine the neighbors don't like the snap, crackle and pop at this hour of the morning. We're shutting down posting here until next Wednesday because no one is going to be paying attention to Huckleberries on Christmas Eve day or Christmas Day. So I'll wish you the merriest of Christmases now. And post the Christmas weekend/holiday Wild Card …

Sen. Crapo Charged With DUI

Idaho U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence in a Washington, D.C., suburb, authorities said. Police in Alexandria, Va., said Sunday that the Idaho Republican was pulled over after his vehicle ran a red light. Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said Crapo failed field sobriety tests and was arrested at about 12:45 a.m. He was transported to the Alexandria jail and released on an unsecured $1,000 bond at about 5 a.m. “There was no refusal (to take sobriety tests), no accident, no injuries,” Donaldson said. “Just a traffic stop that resulted in a DUI.” … Authorities said he had a blood alcohol of 0.11 percent, which is above the 0.08 percent level set for drunken driving in Virginia/Associated Press. More here.

Question: How will this affect Crapo's political career?

Parting Shot — 12.21.12

Lucy Bodenhemier, 11, right, is comforted by her mother, Kathy as community members gather to sing “Silent Night? at the Winterhaven Festival of Lights in Tucson, Ariz., today, as a memorial for the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims. After the song the names of each victim was read aloud. (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Mamta Popat)

Doomsday Wild Card — 12.21.12

Such an incredibly sad week this last week, punctuated by today's moment of silence this morning for the 26 victims of the senseless massacre in Newtown a week ago. The reverberations of the shootings are felt in Kootenai County today, where 3 of the 4 school districts have called off school. The NRA's call for an armed cop in every school is another indication that the after shocks of this slaughter will be felt for a long time. This is one that we should never forget. Now for your last Wild Card of the work week …

Would You Post Under Real Name?

Since I started this blog, I've adamantly opposed resorting to real identities for the commenters on the various threads. I'm still against the idea. But not as adamantly. In fact, I'm curious how things would run here, if everyone commented under their real names. I can think of a dozen or so who wouldn't/couldn't continue, as a result of possible exposure to retaliators who are too numerous in the “City with a Heart.” I don't want to debate the merits of pseudonyms versus real identities again. But I do want to know this:

Question: Would you continue to post on Huckleberries, if you were required to use your real name?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.21.12

  • 5:46 p.m. PFPD is looking for red 1997 Ford Escape that was taken by 2 hitchhikers from Del Taco/H41 after the driver topped & entered restaurant. Hitchhikers described as 5-7 male w/short hair & very small female w/long brown hair, named Michael and Alecia.
  • 5:48 p.m. Hayden Super 1/Hayden Avenue reports capturing a cooperative shoplifter.
  • 5:18 p.m. CdA female who reported 2 female friends fighting is being accosted for calling police.
  • 5:07 p.m. CPD Blues are asked to stop red Oldsmobile w/light out on Sherman/CdA.
  • 4:43 p.m. Disabled vehicle is partly blocking n/b H95/Neider Avenue, CdA.
  • 4:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 20-21 here.
  • 4:15 p.m. Deputies are seeking 22YO male named Cody on burglary & witness intimidation counts.
  • 4:01 p.m. Caller from 4100 block of E. Evergreen/Hayden reports a trespasser.
  • 12 more items below

LCDC: Riverstone On A Roll

Spokesman Keith Erickson provides the following roundup of news from the Lake City Development Corp. meeting this week:

  • Riverstone rebound: Several news businesses have moved into the Riverstone development recently. The Main Street condominiums have sold out and there are plans under way for 150 new apartment units, plus a McDonald’s restaurant is on the way. Check out the LCDC December newsletter for details.
  • City Hall public parking: Both new parking lots near City Hall are open for business. The expanded, resurfaced and restriped lots created parking for 167 vehicles and 26 boat trailer spots. Lighting for the City Hall lots will be installed this winter, with trees and shrubs planted in the spring.
  • McEuen update:Leaders of the McEuen Park upgrade will present an update on the scheduled 2013 work during a meeting Thursday, December 27, at 7:30 a.m. at Park Terrace. The public is welcome.
  • Forging partnerships: The LCDC continues to work closely with the city, collaborating with new communications coordinator Kristina Lyman, and Riverstone spokeswoman Angela Wilson, to keep the community informed on our activities and events.
  • Join our newsletter list: Subscribe and stay informed by visiting lcdc.org.

Thoughts?

Nic’s Doomsday Playlist

Nic doesn't believe the world is coming to an end today (nor do most of you, for that matter):

But if you're one of those gullible people making rash decisions based on the assumption that there's no tomorrow, you might as well go out listening to some cool music. Here are my ten recommendations for the sounds of your last day on planet earth. Hopefully, my reasoning for these selections should be self explanatory - starting with the first song ever played on 107.7 The End. See Nic's whole doomsday playlist here.

Question: What 2 or 3 songs would be on your playlist if you were facing doomsday in 24 hours?

NIdaho/Friends Blogs — 12.21.12

Granted, they are not exactly those feet that prove you are laying out on a sandy beach somewhere in the Caribbean, but, you get the idea,” posts Stebbijo/Stebbijo's Place. “This is the holiday season with my feet up! I am pretty lucky and fortunate, that I am not spending my recovery days in a box outside or worse yet with no surgery at all for my fractured ankle or pain pills.” More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, Dec. 20): 9759/5372

And The Girls’ Teams Played On

It was a strange day for the Coeur d’Alene girls basketball team Thursday. And for Highland of Pocatello for that matter. The teams were scheduled to play tonight in a nonleague game. But CdA learned Thursday that school today was canceled because parents were concerned about rumors circulating about a possible shooting plot. By school district rules, all athletic events are canceled. CdA practiced for 2½ hours. Highland rode a bus for nearly 10 hours before arriving at CdA about 6. The coaches for both teams decided to play at 8:30. Somehow the third-ranked Vikings fought off fatigue from practice to hold off the No. 2-ranked Rams 42-38 in a nonleague game/Greg Lee, SR. More here.

Question: Did the girls basketball teams do the right thing by playing the game last night?

Keeping Tabs On Local Schools

Student Resource Officers/Detectives Jon Spranget, front and Andy Sterling of the Coeur d'Alene Police Department made a stop at Skyway Elementary, where a schools plus program was in session, during their rounds today. Schools were closed in the Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Lakeland school districts due to rumored threats. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Love At The Checkout Counter?

An express-lane cashier looked up and said “How are you two doing today?” Then, immediately, she realized the man and woman next in line were not together. Each had a shopping basket. No one was troubled, of course. But it would have been the perfect moment for the checker to ask, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” The woman in line could have said to the cashier, “Well, apparently I found this guy here — do you have a coupon I can use?”/Paul Turner, The Slice blog.

Question: What is the strangest thing that you've seen or heard in a checkout line?

Quotable Quote

“In my very humble opinion, Wayne LaPierre embarrassed himself and the NRA today. He had a chance to change the national opinion of the NRA and he simply threw red meat to the base. He had a week to come up with something meaningful and substantive and “armed guards” is his solution? Right” — former Democratic congressional candidate Jimmy Farris via Facebook.

Question: What will Jay Leno say about the NRA idea?

Man Faces Waterboarding Charges

A Jefferson County man was charged Thursday after authorities accused him of waterboarding at least two boys and injuring a woman who tried to stop him. William Albert Province, 42, also is suspected of making threats to a school, Child Protective Services officials and foster parents caring for his children. Authorities have not identified his alleged victims. Province made an initial appearance in Justice Court Thursday morning. He remains jailed in Boulder on $200,000 bail and was not available for comment, authorities said. Court officials did not have his paperwork, and it was not clear whether he had an attorney. He was arrested Tuesday night at the Helena airport when he returned from Alaska, Helena police Chief Troy McGee said/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Is there any cruelty that man does to man that surprises you any more?

Chief Allan Addresses ‘Fiscal Cliff”

Following is an opinion piece by Chief Allan, leader of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe, re: the fiscal cliff:

It’s time to buckle down and address one of the biggest budget issues this country has faced in decades, the “fiscal cliff” – a series of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts that are set to go into effect in January 2013 unless Congress acts. Both parties appear to be set in their ways. The “R’s” want to preserve tax cuts for everyone, and cut spending to nearly all government programs. Across the aisle, the “D’s” want to preserve tax cuts for all but the most wealthy and combine those tax cut expirations with smaller cuts to government programs. As with most difficult issues, most of us know the solution can be found somewhere in the middle. One common misconception people have is that Indians don’t pay taxes, so you may be asking yourself, “Why does Chief or the Tribe care about taxes or the fiscal cliff?” More here.

Thoughts?

Digger: But I’m Still Breathing

Digger: A little shocked to wake up and see my name in the obituaries. Only after rubbing my eyes and reading it again did I discover it said 'Harry D. Johnson.'”

Question: Have you ever had a similar experience to the one Digger describes above?

Protester Targets NRA Presser

Activist Medea Benjamin, of Code Pink, is led away by security as she protests during a statement by National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, left, during a news conference in response to the Connecticut school shooting on Friday in Washington. The nation's largest gun-rights lobby is calling for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer “waiting in the wings.” Wall Street Journal story here. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Question: Will the NRA lose/gain influence as a result of its response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings?

Orzell: We’ll Take Mayor Out In 2013

In the last week or so, Mayor Sandi Bloem referred to the attempt earlier this year to recall herself and three members of the City Council as a victory: once at the retirement event for Susan Weathers (retiring City Clerk) and again at her State of the City presentation at The Resort. What was not mentioned was the fact that there were more certified signatures in support of recall than were cast to put them into office in 2009. So, the victory was but a postponement while they continue to spend taxpayer dollars without regard for public opinion. Meanwhile, the election of November 2013 is approaching and the case for change is even more compelling/Frank Orzell, Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor. More here.

Question: Orzell (pictured), one of the organizers of the failed RecallCDA attempt earlier this year, seems to think that the replacement of Mayor Sandi Bloem and half the council in the 2013 election is a foregone conclusion. Do you?

Sandpoint Snowmen Honor Fallen Kids

Everyone deals with tragedy in their own way. For Sandpoint resident Randy Carne, the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy still weighs heavily on his mind as he and his loved ones as Christmas nears. However, the recent heavy snowfalls have given him a way to process those feelings. Anyone driving by a house on the corner of Oak Street and Florence Avenue can easily see the results in the form of 20 lovingly crafted snowmen — one for each child killed in the tragic shooting. “Everyone finds their own way of coping, especially during this time of year,” he said. The project began on Tuesday, when Carne had the idea to take advantage of the freshly-fallen snow and make some snowmen/Cameron Rasmusson, Bonner County Bee. More here.

Question: I appreciate this creative memorial by Randy Carne of Sandpoint. A bunch. But it brings up something that has bugged me since the horrific massacre. Why don't we equally honor the 6 adults who died in the rampage, including a couple who heroically tried to protect the children? Or do we?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.21.12

  • 11:17 a.m. Commercial fire alarm sounding @ Parkside condos, Front Avenue, CdA.
  • 11:14 a.m. Someone suffering possible stroke near boat launch @ Bayview Marina.
  • 11:09 a.m. DMV workers report wanted person in driver's license office/CdA.
  • 10:22 a.m. CPD Blue stopping to check security @ Winton Elementary.
  • 9:48 a.m. A strong smell of natural gas is reported I-90/4th Street, CdA.
  • 9:46 a.m. A Cadillac Escalade is disabled but not blocking @ e/b I-90/MP 22 (H97).
  • 9:02 a.m. Non-injury crash reported @ chain-up area of w/b I-90/MP 30 (4th of July pass).
  • 8:59 a.m. Coeur d'Alene father reports his daughter & her friend who stayed night have run away.
  • 8:29 a.m. CPD Blue checking vehicle that appears to have been in a crash, near Budget Saver.
  • 8:12 a.m. Firefighters call for evaluation of 2 residents of multi-family complex that experienced leaky furnace in basement. Unknown location.

Stocks Sink After GOP Cancels Vote

Investors sent Washington a reminder Friday that Wall Street is a power player in talks to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” Stocks fell sharply after House Republicans called off a vote on tax rates and left federal budget talks in disarray 10 days before sweeping tax increases and government spending cuts take effect. Just after noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 168 points at 13,143, a decline of more than 1 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 19 points at 1,424. The Nasdaq composite index fell 43 to 3,007. The House bill would have raised taxes on Americans making at least $1 million per year and locked in decade-old tax cuts for Americans making less. Taxes will rise for almost all Americans on Jan. 1 unless Congress acts/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo: Man checks stock market in Tokyo)

Thoughts?

AM Headlines — 12.21.12

Idaho's Robert Harris Jr. (1) drives the lane against Boise State's defense during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Thursday in Boise. Idaho, 4-6, led early and at half before faltering late to lose 86-76 to the Broncos, 8-2. SportsLink story here. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)

NRA: Put Armed Cops In Schools

The nation’s largest gun-rights lobby is calling for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer “waiting in the wings.” The National Rifle Association broke its silence today on last week’s shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead. The group’s top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at a Washington news conference that, quote, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”/Associated Press.

Question: Do you support this idea?

A Moment Of Silence For Sandy Hook

A woman, left, wipes tears off a man as they pay respects in front of a makeshift memorial before the couple joined fire officials for a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. (EST) today in Newtown, Conn. Officials say the gunman, Adam Lanza, killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their home before heading to the school. The chiming of bells reverberated throughout Newtown, commemorating one week since the crackle of gunfire in a schoolhouse killed 20 children and six adults in a massacre that has shaken the community and the nation. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Incessant rain and a dreary morning failed to keep onlookers away from a moment-of-silence memorial in Newtown, Conn., to pay their respects to the 26 people who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Officials scheduled the event to recognize victims of the massacre that began at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 14, when gunman Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook elementary and launched a shooting spree at the school, taking 26 lives, including 20 children, and then his own. Tents and plastic were used to protect the stuffed animals, candles, notes and pictures that mourners have set up in the town. Flags in Newtown, Conn., which encompasses the village of Sandy Hook, are flying at half-staff/ABC News. More here.

  • Alyssa Crawford/KXLY tweets: “I've been sad about the shooting, but haven't cried…until this AM's #momentforSandyHook. Hearing a bell for each beautiful face did me in.”

Question: How have you processed the events of a week ago at Sandy Hook Elementary?

Poll: No To School Employees w/Guns

  • Wednesday-Thursday Poll: A slight majority opposes a proposal unanimously approved by the Bonner County GOP Central Committee that would allow school employees to carry guns, on a voluntary basis. 157 of 305 respondents (51.48%) oppose the idea. 138 of 305 respondents (45.25%) support it. 10 (3.28%) were unsure.
  • Today's Question: Did school districts in Kootenai County make the right decision in closing schools due to rumors of violence?

Press: Peace On Earth?

Children massacred in Connecticut. Fiscal cliff drawing closer. Gun lobby loading up; anti-activists speaking up. And today, if you believe the ethereally deranged, all us sinners in the hands of an angry God will get what we've got coming to us. And no, it won't be good. Please. It's almost Christmas. At this peak of the holiday season, let's lay down our arms — cold steel and hot words alike — and join arms. Let's practice what He preached: Peace on Earth. Goodwill toward man/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: What does the angelic saying, “peace on earth, goodwill toward man,” mean to you?

Rumors Prompt School Closures

Rumors of a school shooting plot prompted three school districts to cancel classes today for about 20,000 students in Kootenai County. Although police have not verified a real threat of violence, the persistent rumors rattled many students and parents, and attendance has dropped all week, officials said. “The reason we’re canceling school is not because we think there is a credible threat but because the fear and the panic is just so palpable that we didn’t believe we could have a productive, calm day,” Coeur d’Alene Superintendent Hazel Bauman said. Nerves have been raw since the Connecticut school massacre one week ago, and doomsday scenarios based on the end of the Mayan calendar today have only fueled gossip and worries/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Did the school districts give in to fear?

The End Is Here

People take part in a ceremony at the Mayan archeological site of Iximche to mark the end of the 13th Oxlajuj B'aktun in Tecpan, Guatemala, early today. The end of the 13th Oxlajuj B'aktun marks a new period in the Mayan calendar, an event only comparable in recent times with the new millennium in 2000. While theMayan calendar cycle has prompted a wave of doomsday speculation across the globe, few in the Mayan heartland believe the world will end on Friday. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Question: If you truly believed that the end of the world would be today, say midnight today, how would you live today?

DOTC: Lake City, Here I Come

DanOfTheCommunity: I’m doing double duty as caretaker for Twin Lakes Friends Camp as well as my new position as Executive Director of North Idaho CASA. So far the light duties of my outgoing role as camp caretaker hasn’t had to rub too hard against my job at CASA. We are just closing on a home in Cd’A Place and will move into town in early March (although kind of a tough neighborhood—I understand Big Mike K. lives there in somebody’s basement that has a Canadian Flag themed Christmas tree out front—hey, it’s just what I heard). But this morning I was up at 0400 something to shovel a path to the detached garage so I could get to the snow blower so I could get out to the old camp plow truck and dig it out…and managed to only get it stuck once while plowing out our road.

Question:

Obama To Nominate John Kerry

President Obama will nominate John F. Kerry (pictured in AP photo), the five-term senator from Massachusetts, to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of State, White House sources confirmed, choosing a longtime political ally who shares much of his foreign policy worldview and is likely to sail through confirmation hearings. Obama settled on the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee shortly after the wrenching withdrawal of Susan Rice, his envoy to the United Nations, as the top candidate for the post. He delayed the announcement to avoid interfering with national mourning over the mass slaying at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn/Los Angeles Times. More here.

Question: Will you support this nomination?

County Toys w/Private Jail Idea

The Kootenai County commissioners are still pursuing the option of a new, privately funded jail, but are reconsidering partnering with the city of Coeur d'Alene on a new downtown parking garage. These were among several long-term plans the commissioners discussed on Thursday at a strategic planning meeting in the officials' boardroom. Commissioner Dan Green said he just gave Rocky Mountain Corrections the green light to conduct a feasibility study on funding a new county jail with private investments. He requested the firm provide more details on the pitch it gave this June, which he thought was vague in key areas/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: On the surface, do you think the idea of a private county jail is a good one?

Anderson: Concussion

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Thursday — 12.20.12

I've been doing so much walking outside this winter that the snow and cold haven't bugged me much. There's something about the beauty of North Idaho on a cold winter's day along the waterfront that takes your breath away. Sometimes literally. I haven't minded shoveling the driveway and sidewalks either. Three times, so far this year. Mebbe the best way to tackle North Idaho winters is to meet them head on? They're still not as tough as the ones I experienced for five years in Kalispell, Mont. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.20.12

A clerk peers out from a gun shop Wednesday in Seattle. The reaction to the Connecticut school shooting can be seen in gun stores and self-defense retailers across the nation: Anxious parents are fueling sales of armored backpacks for children while firearms enthusiasts are stocking up on assault rifles in anticipation of tighter gun control measures. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Question: Have you considered buying a gun sense the massacre in Newtown, Conn.?

CdA, PF, Lakeland Shut Schools Friday

  • Update: Lakeland School District financial officer Tom Taggart just told Scott Maben that schools in the Rathdrum area district have been canceled Friday, too.

All this week rumors of a planned school shooting swirled around schools in Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls. No one has been able to substantiate a threat, but officials today decided to cancel school anyway on Friday in North Idaho’s largest two districts. Superintendents in both districts made the decision on the advise of local law enforcement agencies, which have assisted school officials in trying to track down the source of the persistent rumors. The Coeur d’Alene School District made the decision first to call off K-12 classes for the final day before Christmas break, followed by the Post Falls School District. The closure includes before-school and after-school activities. More here.

Question: Do you agree with this move by the Coeur d'Alene School District?

Let ‘Em Shovel, Let ‘Em Shovel, Let …

Dave Chamberlain is one of many who agree with the Coeur d'Alene School District decision to close all schools Friday, in face of an unsubstantiated threat of violence. He comments:

The weather is going to be nasty too, so it is a good day to just hang out…. BUT WAIT!!! What a great teaching moment. Ok, so there is snow piling up, and I am sure a lot of elderly or people with heart or back conditions would LOVE to have some young energetic group of boys and girls shovel some snow and sing Carols … ok maybe just shovel. Then when they drag their little heiney back into the house all wet and tired, you can explain to them that they could be doing shoveling as a job for the rest of their lives. Or, they could get good grades, go to college and PAY someone to do that… Just sayin’

Question: Do you have plans re: how to keep your kids busy tomorrow and for the rest of the holidays?

PM: Man Admits Killing With Ice Pick

Investigators are shown outside a home where police say a North Idaho man stabbed to death his pregnant wife in Priest River. The Bonner County Daily Bee reports that Jeremy Keith Swanson, 27, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder Wednesday in magistrate court and is being held in the Bonner County Jail without bail. Alex Rozier/KHQ reports that Swanson admitted killing his wife with an ice pick. Story here. (AP Photo/Priest River Times, Nick Ivie)

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.20.12

  • 5:43 p.m. Traffic lights not cycling @ H95/Prairie, Hayden.
  • 5:35 p.m. Driver of Volvo directs ISP officer to possible DUI driver in gold Honda Accord w/Washington plates who was pulled over on e/b I-90 @ Huetter rest stop.
  • 5:19 p.m. Collette from Spirit Lake post office reports abandoned vehicle in parking lot.
  • 4:35 p.m. Vandalism to property reported at Coeur d'Alene Casino, H95/Worley area.
  • 4:24 p.m. Caller concerned re: recent break-ins & male in backpack near Social Security office.
  • 11 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Experiencing Winter In North Idaho

  • Chris Harrison of Hayden describes the quintessential Hayden snow shoveling experience: “You just finish digging out the berm left by the snow plow, move on to clear off the sidewalk and then watch in amazement as the plow comes by for one more round and creates a whole new berm … why, Hayden, why?” Has this happened to you?
  • Then, there's Shannon Forbes of Coeur d'Alene: “Well that sucked! I dug out our mailbox after the snowplow went by and all the mailman brought me was a bill :( ”
  • And this from Phil Corless of Coeur d'Alene: “My son just made $20 shoveling the neighbor's driveway. I hope it snows A LOT the next few weeks!”

Question: What do you consider to be the “quintessential” North Idaho winter experience?

NIdaho/Friends Blogs — 12.20.12

On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak posts: “A raindrop clings to the fruiting body of moss growing on an old wood fence along a ranch road near Elkton, Ore. on Monday.” You can see more of Robin's terrific outdoor photography here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday, Dec. 19): 9170 page-views/4789 unique views

CdA Mines Mulls Chicago Move

Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp., a North Idaho institution for more than eight decades, is considering moving its headquarters to Chicago, the company said today. Employees at the Coeur d’Alene office were informed of the possible move in a surprise announcement today. “Coeur d’Alene Mines continually evaluates its future needs and growth while also seeking to enhance its visibility among key U.S. and international stakeholders. With this in mind, we are in the process of evaluating the Chicago area as a possible location for our Company headquarters,” Stefany Bales, director of corporate communications, told The Spokesman-Review/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Surprised?

SR Blogs Rdp: A ‘Beach Boy’ Xmas

On his Slice blog, Paul Turner posts of the album above: “I owned it. Still might have it somewhere in a box that hasn't been opened in a long time. A case could be made that the group's soaring harmonies work on some of these songs. But I don't know. You make the call.”

Featured Blog: A letter to the editor today from a former SR colleague included her quoting a guy saying that to her. She had questioned him about his wearing a holstered pistol in a theater. It was my favorite line in a letter to the editor since a writer recently addressed herself to “My fellow Americans.” Anyway, I have made it my goal to say “Oh, grow up, lady” at least once to all of my female co-workers before the end of the year/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here.

Other SR.com blogs posts:

Question: Which Christmas song and/or album do you consider worst of all time?

Kris, Izzat You?

“Just call me Kris Kringle,” said Tim Shepperd as he cleared the snow from his driveway in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Eden: No School For Daughter Friday

EdeninCDA: “My daughter said, 'Please don’t make me go to school Friday. I don’t want to die.' She will not be going.”

Thoughts?

Labrador No. 4 On NRA Support List

As the National Rifle Association prepares to come out of its unprecendented media blackout for a press conference tomorrow, news organizations are digging into which politicians benefit most from the NRA's political contributions. And who's high up on the list? Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador. Labrador, who won his second term in November, got more NRA contributions last cycle that all but three of his colleagues, according to the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation/Joe O'Sullivan, Inlander. More here.

Question: Does this make you more/less likely to support Congressman Raul Labrador?

Front Avenue Plan Angers Biz Owner

During the public comments section of the City Council meeting Tuesday, John Montandon, 1010 Sherman Ave., introduced an unusual issue re: the Wiggett Marketplace building he owns @ 4th & Front, which will be affected by Front Avenue overhaul. Renata McLeod catches the debate in her rough draft minutes:

“According to the Front Avenue plan, his building will not be allowed a curb cut.  He expressed concern that the current curb cut has been there 40 years, and his renters need to be able to drive into the garage for furniture deliveries.  Mr. Montandan stated that if he does not get a curb cut he will lose his renter, and requested the Council allow a curb cut at this location. Carol Berry, 115 S. 4th Street, rents Mr. Montandan’s property for the Wigget Antique Market Place.  She likes their location and would like to stay there; however, needs the lower access for pickup and delivery of furniture.  The building is old and is very difficult, and sometimes impossible to move large pieces from downstairs to upstairs.” You can read the rest of the discussion and draft minutes here.

Thoughts?

Johnson: Guts & Guns

President Barack Obama stands with Vice President Joe Biden as he makes a statement Wednesday at the White House in Washington, about policies he will pursue following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Obama is tasking Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime gun control advocate, with spearheading the effort. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In 1963 when the young black activist, John Lewis, who later became the distinguished Congressman from Georgia, was nearly beaten to death during a civil rights march in Alabama, the cautious John F. Kennedy knew he could not fail to push forcefully for meaningful legislation that would attempt to bring blacks into the mainstream of American life. Bending the curve of the epidemic of gun violence in a gun deranged society presents Barack Obama with the same kind of challenge. It has been suggested that the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre will be Obama’s defining moment as president; more significant than being the first African-American president, more important than hunting down bin Laden or dealing with the worst economy since the Great Depression the aftermath of the awful school shooting will define Obama’s legacy/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Post. More here.

Question: Could President Obama's pursuit of gun control cost Democrats in future presidential and congressional elections?

Idaho Grows By 12,000 More

Nearly 12,000 people moved to Idaho between July 2011 and July 2012. That’s according to new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Idaho’s addition of 11,984 people is less than a percentage, .8, of growth over the last year. That ranks Idaho 24th among states. This is in contrast to the growth Idaho experienced over the first half of the last decade. Idaho’s population grew by more than 20 percent from 2000 to 2010. That more than doubles the national growth rate over the same time period/Emilie Ritter Saunders, StateImpact. More here.

Question: Are you glad Idaho's growth is slowing down?

Nampa SD To IEA: Get Lost

A day after the Idaho Education Association alleged that the Nampa School District was “acting illegally” when it re-worded teachers' contracts to include a provision under which the district could request voluntary furloughs, Nampa's legal counsel responded that it was none of the IEA's business. “The district is not required to discuss with the union (IEA) the acceptance of voluntary furlough days on behalf of certified leachers,” wrote Nampa School District attorney William Yost. “You are wrong in your conclusion and in your representation that teachers have been 'coerced.'” This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that Yost said there was “no legal authority” to support a position that the district can't amend contracts “on a voluntary basis”/George Prentice, Boise Weekly. More here.

Question: Is it the business of the Idaho Education Association that the Nampa School District is requesting voluntary furlough days?

Public Gun Attitude Changes Slightly

The public’s attitudes toward gun control have shown only modest change in the wake of last week’s deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Currently, 49% say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 42% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns. This marks the first time since Barack Obama took office that more Americans prioritize gun control than the right to own guns. Opinion was evenly divided in July, following a shooting at a Colorado movie theater. At that time, 47% said it was more important to control gun ownership, while 46% said it was more important to protect gun rights/PewResearchCenter. More here.

Question: Which side of the gun control issue will be dominant 10 years from now?

Teen Mom Of Twins Preps For Life

Senior year can be a hectic time for high school students. College applications must be mailed, senior project deadlines loom, plus there’s the daily grind of regular schoolwork. Imagine tackling all of that while raising 2-year-old twin boys. Megan Emery, 17, doesn’t have to imagine it – she’s doing it. A student at On Track Academy and NEWTECH Skills Center, the busy mom has already been accepted at Spokane Community College. Pretty amazing for a teen who admits, “I’ve always hated school”/Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (Tyler Tjomsland SR photo: Megan Emery smiles at her twin sons, Lucas, left, and Jesse, 2)

Question: Do you have twins in your family?

American Named Miss Universe

Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, center, smiles for the television camera as she is congratulated by other contestants after being crowned as Miss Universe during the Miss Universe competition, on Wednesday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Question: I can't recall the last time I watched a beauty pageant. But I still enjoy hearing who the winners are, especially in international competition. How about you?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.20.12

Survivalists Eye Benewah Walled City

The Benewah Valley has been selected as a potential site for a community, comprised of 3,000 to 5,000 families, based on gun manufacturing. Whether backers of the effort own anything more than a website is unclear. Efforts to contact organizers willing to discuss the proposed development were unsuccessful. There is little question the plans are ambitious. Proponents of The Citadel Project say the community will include schools, medical facilities, recreational facilities, retailers, a retirement community, a community armory among numerous other amenities. Plans call for the construction of a wall that would encompass one square mile to encircle the city. The proposal appeals to people who could be described as survivalists and are frustrated with the federal government/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette Record. More here.

Question: Swell, hunh?

A Bike Trail From CdA To Sandpoint?

The word that gets thrown around as often as a bicycle tire rotates is 'connectivity.' So if the goal of cities and cyclists alike is to make it easier for pedestrians to walk, jog or bike from place to place - that's to say connecting - then the newest piece of proposed trail should fit right into the ever expanding puzzle. Think Coeur d'Alene to Athol, and one day, to Sandpoint. And all by foot. The Idaho Transportation Department is considering building roughly 19 miles of Class 1 bicycle lanes along U.S. Highway 95 that would allow pedestrians to walk or bike from Appleway Avenue in Coeur d'Alene to Athol. After that, it could keep building the trail to Sandpoint. The offer comes with a condition: Once the state builds it, it's up to local entities to take care of it/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Anyone out there oppose a common-sense proposal like this one?

AM: Zags 11-1 At Xmas Break

Sam Dower (35) and Campbell's Reco McCarter (23) battle for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Spokane Wednesday. Gonzaga won the game 74-52 and will go on its Christmas break with an 11-1 record. See Jim Meehan story below. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

CSD Extends Person Field Timeline

From Acting City Clerk Renata McLeod's rough draft minutes of the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday:

“Mr. Gridley stated that the School District has extended the timeline for negotiations for the acquisition of Person Field to January 7, 2013.  He will present additional information at the January 2, 2013, City Council meeting.  Councilman Gookin thanked Mr. Gridley, Mr. Anthony, and Mr. Tymesen for the time they are putting into the acquisition of this property. ”

Question: Do you support the city's purchase of Person Field?

Iran Arrests Boise Pastor 2nd Time

A pastor from Boise is being held in prison in Iran for the second time in less than five years. His lawyer said it's because of his Christian beliefs. The American Center for Law and Justice is representing Saeed Abedini's family here in the United States. ACLJ is also launching a campaign to get the United Nations, US State Department, and Congress to demand Abedini's release. KTVB took video of Abedini and his family in 2009, when he got back from another incident in the Middle East. In 2009, he was held in Tehran for about two months and threatened with his life for helping Christians meet in underground churches/Stephanie Zepelin, KTVB. More here.

Thoughts?

North Idahoans Prep For Catastrophe

In North Idaho, not everyone who is learning to live off the grid is preparing for the end of the world. (Photo: Pacific Northwest Inlander)

Sean Statham isn’t one of those “preppers” you’ll see on television. He’s a business intelligence analyst for Coldwater Creek in Sandpoint, and he isn’t going to declare the end is nigh any time soon. He is, however, thinking about how to prepare for some sort of dire situation, which is part of the reason he relocated his family from comfortable, suburban Nampa to rural Bonner County, where they could learn to live more self-sufficiently. “I don’t see much point in preparing for the end of the world, per se,” says Statham. “But I can foresee events that could … bring about the end of the world as we know it, at least in certain geographic regions.” Statham isn’t the only person preparing to live without the conveniences, structure or protections afforded to us by modern society/Carrie Scozzaro, Inlander. More here.

Question: Have you made emergency preparations for end-of-the-world situation — or something a little less serious?

Atlanta Firm Buys NY Stock Exchange

The New York Stock Exchange called time on two centuries of independence on Thursday, agreeing to an $8.2bn takeover that will hand control of the icon of American capitalism to an Atlanta-based energy trader. The stock exchange's holding company, NYSE Euronext, has agreed to an offer of $33.12 a share in cash and stock from IntercontinentalExchange (ICE). ICE was founded in 2000, NYSE in 1817. The combined company would have headquarters in both ICE's home of Atlanta and in New York. The takeover comes amid a historic shift for Wall Street and stock exchanges around the world/Dominic Rushe, The Guardian. More here. (AP photo: Specialist Wingszi Chiang directs trading at the New York Stock Exchange Thursday)

Question: What's this mean to the average Joe?

Trib: Otter, Luna Hearing Voices

Maybe it's time to bring in an audiologist. Or even a psychiatrist. Either the people who gave you Idaho's all-time political snafu - affectionately dubbed the Luna laws - have lost their hearing. Or they are listening to voices. In their heads. They can't comprehend what the voters of Idaho said last month when they struck down schools Superintendent Tom Luna's punitive assault on teachers. To reiterate, it was: No! No to Proposition 1's attempt to break collective bargaining and teacher employment security. No to Proposition 2's plan to give standardized test scores - and in effect the socioeconomic status of the students - power over a teacher's compensation. No to Proposition 3's design to transfer money from the classroom to the manufacturers of laptop computers and providers of online instruction. Idaho's electorate didn't whisper/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: What are your thoughts re: noises from Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna that they may try to bring back parts of the resoundingly rejected Luna Laws?

Snow Brings Crashes, Shut Schools

Drivers were slipping on slick and snowy roads this morning as weather forecasters predicted more snow on the way. The city of Spokane was reporting that crews are plowing to clear off arterials before more snow arrives and that streets are largely wet or slushy in the core. The weather closed and delayed operations at several school districts, including closing the Mary Walker School District in Springdale, the Christian Heritage School in Edwall and Palisades Christian Academy in Spokane. Garfield-Palouse and Inchelium school districts were running two hours late. Accidents were piling up around Spokane and North Idaho/SR, AP. More here. (SR file photo: During a 2008 snow storm, two Coeur d'Alene 12-year-olds ski down sidewalks along Sherman Avenue)

Question: If you were superintendent of schools, what conditions would have to exist for you to declare a snow day?

Don’t Expect Weapons Ban Soon

As President Barack Obama set up a task force to recommend ways to prevent tragedies like the mass murders in Newtown, Conn., a progressive group in Washington joined the call Wednesday for a new ban on assault weapons. But anyone expecting quick, decisive action from Congress should realize the reluctance to discuss, let alone vote on, such a proposal is rooted in the last time one was passed and the election that followed. Anyone who doesn’t believe a member of Congress could pay a price for supporting a ban wasn’t in Washington state in 1994, when all eight Democrats in the House voted for the ban, and six lost their jobs. Among them was arguably the most powerful congressman of the time, House Speaker Tom Foley, who in short order went from 30 years of supporting and being supported by the National Rifle Association to being on the powerful lobbying organization’s target list/Jim Camden, SR. More here. (1994 SR file photo of then House Speaker Tom Foley)

Question: Would you vote for a congressman who supported a ban on assault weapons?

Bonner GOP Wants Teachers Armed

Danielle Ahrens, shown demonstrating against the Idaho health insurance exchanged endorsed by Gov. Otter on the Idaho Statehouse steps last week, is spearheading a Bonner County GOP push to arm teachers. (AP/Statesman file photo: Joe Jaszewski)

When it comes to school safety, local Republicans are endorsing the idea that a gun in the right hands can save lives. Bonner County Republican Central Committee voting members unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night that urges Bonner County school board members to train and arm employees of each school in the manner they see fit. The resolution comes as a response to the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut that left 28 dead, including 20 young children. Danielle Ahrens, the resolution's primary author, said she believes that if an individual at Sandy Hook had been armed, the death toll would have been greatly reduced. As a mother with children in the school system, she decided to craft a resolution that would address her concerns/Cameron Rasmusson, Bonner County Bee. More here.

Question: Do you want to see teachers in North Idaho trained to carry guns in their schools?

Police Track Down School Rumors

Rumors that a student is planning to bring a gun to school and shoot people on Friday, the same day the Mayan calendar predicts the world will end, are spreading rampantly among school-age children in Kootenai County and throughout the nation. School officials and law enforcement officers in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls say they have checked out numerous reports of threats of school violence this week and have found no evidence that students are in danger. The rumored threats come in the wake of last week's school shooting in Newtown, Conn. “We've run down every rumor, every Facebook posting. Right now, we have no valid threat,” said Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Thoughts?

Don’t Waste Memories On Killers

By the time you read this it will be almost a week since the horrific shootings in Newtown, Conn. Columnists, pundits and politicians will have opined, analyzed and commented. Graves will have been dug. Memorial services held. The initial shock and horror has faded, muted by holiday happenings. After all, life goes on and sorrow dims. As the reports unfolded Friday I sat stunned at my desk – each detail more heartbreaking than the last. Finally, I got up, put on my coat and headed out. I had Christmas shopping to do. I stopped to watch the children laughing and shrieking in the play area at NorthTown. Usually, I bypass the raucous place as quickly as possible, feeling profound gratitude that I no longer have to pause in my errands to let wiggly toddlers blow off steam. But on Friday the sight of their exuberant energy gladdened me/Cindy Hval, SR Front Porch. More here. (AP/Hockley family photo: Dylan Hockley, 6, one of the children killed in the Newtown massacre)

Question: Cindy asks a compelling question about halfway through her column: “Why do we remember the killers when the victims and their families deserve to be forever enshrined in our consciousness?” Anyone?

Anderson: All I Want For Christmas

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Hump Day Wild Card — 12.19.12

I (heart) summer days when the temperature hovers in the low 80s. But I also enjoy winter days after a snow when the sun shines. As it is today. The winter solstice occurs this week. Then we begin inching back toward spring and another summer. Meanwhile, enjoy the day and the season. Here's your Hump Day Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.19.12

On her Facebook wall, Linda Lantzy posted this Idaho Scenics photo and this message: “Snow is falling here in North Idaho. Here's hoping it will stick around for a white Christmas.” You still have time to pick up one of Linda's calendars of Idaho Scenics here.

Question: If you had your druthers … would you want a white Christmas? Or one in which the roadways weren't slick?

And Now A Word From …

My blog sidekick, Cindy, who Facebooks: “Will all the men who wear size 36/34 jeans please STOP buying them? My husband is in danger of going pants-less for Christmas!”

Question: Any of you guys out there dare to see what size jeans you wear?

Andrus: A Common-Sense Sportsman

Former Governor Cecil D. Andrus (pictured in SR file photo) said it best: I never met a deer armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He’s well known as a sportsman who gets his elk and deer annually for the family larder, and fills the edges of the freezer with pheasants, ducks, geese, wild turkeys and chukars, all of which he hunts annually. This past fall he nailed his six-point bull elk with one shot at 340 yards. He fundamentally supports the Second Amendment right of a citizen to keep and bear arms. He does not believe, as some interpreters of the Constitution do, that the right is meant just for a militia. That said he also believes common sense has to be applied. That means society can through Congress sanction reasonable curbs such as banning cop-killer bullets and imposing waiting periods before purchase/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question: Have your views on gun control changed at all in view of the shootings in Aurora, Newtown and assorted others this year?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.19.12

  • 5:48 p.m. Female w/child in vehicle has hit street sign off I-90/Spokane Street, PF. No injuries.
  • 5:33 p.m. Silent holdup alarm from Teller #3 @ Wells Fargo Bank, 301 E. Sherman, CdA.
  • 5:23 p.m. Resident worried cars going to fast for conditions on 15th b/n Best & Lunceford, CdA.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 18-19 here.
  • 4:34 p.m. Black SUV is w/b in e/b lanes of I-90 after entering freeway from H95/CdA.
  • 4:07 p.m. ITD vehicles blocking crossover lane @ I-90/MP 3 to block motorists stuck in traffic.
  • 4:05 p.m. Driver uninjured in pickup rollover on n/b H95/MP 406, mile north of CdA Casino.
  • 4:02 p.m. White SUV is facing into w/b I-90/MP 7 (H41) traffic after spinning around.
  • 3:52 p.m. Vehicles backed up 3 miles on e/b I-90 as result of crashes @ Spokane Street/PF.
  • 16 more items (including hazardous I-90 conditions) + AM Scanner Traffic below

PM Headlines — 12.19.12

This undated photo shows that after placing an electronic collar around the neck of a cow elk, biologists work to take other samples before the animal awakens during a recent elk capturing operation in the southern Bitterroot Valley in Montana. Biologists will begin fanning out across the region to begin gathering information about mountain lions as part of three year study. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish, Wildlife and Parks, via Ravalli Republic )

SR Blogs Rdp — 12.19.12

In The Slice blog, Paul Turner posts this advertisement from days gone by from  www.goodcomics.comicbookresources.com and asks: If it's advertised in a 1960s comic book, it has to be good — right? And if you are going to spend a whole dollar, why, you're practically assured of top quality. More here.

Other SR.com blog highlights:

Question (for ladies of HucksOnline): How often do you wear your hair in a ponytail?

NIdaho/Friends Blogs — 12.19.12

You think we have snow here in the Coeur d'Alene area? Try the view from Pecky Cox's vantage point at As The Lake Churns.

HucksOnline numbers (for Tuesday, Dec. 18): 10,210 page-views, 5281 unique views

Petrino Finishes Staff, Thinks Ahead

Petrino has finalized his staff, complete with two holdovers (Al Pupunu and Patrick Libey) and plenty of faces that are either familliar with Idaho, the Northwest or coaching with Petrino himself. “I wanted to have people that I felt comfortable with, people that had either worked with me before or worked with people I really trust,” he said. “So it’s kind of a family tree, and that’s how a lot of staffs are put together.” Petrino said he'll share playcalling duties with offensive coordinator Kris Cinkovich. The whole offensive staff will be involved in game-planning, he said, and Cinkovich will give his input during games/Josh Wright, SR. More here.

Question: Do you think Petrino did a good job selecting his staff for Idaho Vandals football?

The Happiest Places On Earth?

A girl looks through a wooden wall of her home in Embera Puru indigenous community on the outskirts of Panama City. A poll released Wednesday of nearly 150,000 people around the world says seven of the world's 10 countries with the most upbeat attitudes are in Latin America. Gallup Inc. asked about 1,000 people in each of 148 countries last year if they were well-rested, had been treated with respect, smiled or laughed a lot, learned or did something interesting and felt feelings of enjoyment. In Panama and Paraguay, 85 percent of those polled said yes to all five, putting those countries at the top of the list. List here. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco, File)

Question: Would you describe yourself as “happy” most of the time?

Mary Rallies Troops Vs. Obamacare

At OpenCDA.com, Mary Souza opposes Gov. Butch Otter's call for a state health exchange under the Obamacare law — and is urging her followers to contact three wavering local legislators:

“I know that all of the CdA, Post Falls and Hayden legislators are against the state exchanges EXCEPT these few:  Ed Morse is unsure. Luke Malek is still studying it, and John Goedde is an insurance guy who’s all in favor of them.  Please write to ALL of your legislators but be especially firm with these three.” More here.

Question: Do you plan to contact your legislator re: a health exchange and Obamacare?

Bond: The Greenies & Me

This is the first of a multi-part series by D.P. Bond/Wallace Street Journal, entitled, “The Greenies & Me”:

To be a Conservationist is a great thing. It means you respect the earth that nurtures you with the grain and flesh from its fields, the timber from its forests to the silver and lead hidden in its rocks. Think Theodore Roosevelt. Think Gifford Pinchot. Think Ed Pulaski. Conservationists are at their core tolerantly libertarian. As such they allowed a rotten sprig to sprout from their midst and become a secular religion, and its name is Environmentalism. The Environmentalist movement is, like most religions, a fraud and a sham and a cruel effort to, using fear, confuse, tax and enslave. It has nothing to do with being a Conservationist. More here.

Question: In terms of the environment, how would you describe yourself?

Gone Viral: 26 Acts Of Kindness

In this AP file photo, Dateline NBC co-anchor Ann Curry smiles as she answers an interviewer's questions.

As a response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, Ann Curry, pictured, had an idea. In an article she wrote for NBC News, Curry talked about her struggles reporting from Darfur in 2007, and how, as a response to dealing with that horror, she did something small and positive, in that case, giving photographs to people. This past weekend, Curry tweeted, “Imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for every one of those children killed in Newtown.” She originally tagged her remark #20Acts, but that’s now been bumped up to #26Acts, with some people doing 27 or 28/EW.com. More here.

Question: Would you be willing to do 26 acts of kindness in memory of the 20 first-graders & 6 adults who lost their lives in the senseless Newtown, Conn., massacre last week?

News Quiz: More EWU Tix, Certificate

We had 2 Coeur d'Alene winners in last week's News Quiz poll: Tamara Poelstra ($50 Davenport gift card) and D. Satterthwaite (tickets to Eastern Washington game). If you're caught up on current events — or even if you're not — you can win in this week's news quiz. All entrants are eligible to win four EWU basketball tickets, and the overall champ wins a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Give it a go, and good luck! Click here.

  • Leaderboard: A week after Coeur d'Alene readers won both prizes in the weekly News Quiz competition, only 2 Merry Hucksters are on the leaderboard: EddieTorreal & KCres.

Efforts To Form Front LID Continue

Among the actions taken by the Coeur d'Alene City Council last night (and reported by city spokeswoman Kristina Lyman in Coeur d'Alene Today was this one:

“Council authorized city staff to continue its efforts in forming a local improvement district along Front Avenue. It also set a public hearing on the issue for Jan. 2, at which time people will be able to comment on the LID. Any protests must be in written form and submitted at the hearing. The Council will consider those protests and other comments when it votes on whether to adopt the LID on Jan. 15. Improving Front Avenue between Second and Seventh streets is a $2.9 million project that would be partially funded by property owners (39 percent) and by the city (61 percent).” Kristina's full report here.

Thoughts?

Survey: More Police, Screenings

Americans believe that increasing the police presence at schools and upping federal spending on mental health screenings and services are more likely to deter mass shootings than banning the sale of assault weapons, according to a poll from Gallup released Wednesday. More than half of those surveyed said more police and mental health services would be “very effective,” with nearly nine in 10 saying doing so would be at least “somewhat effective” in preventing gun crime. Some 78 percent also said decreasing the depictions of violence on TV and in movies and video games would help to prevent mass shootings/Justin Sink, The Hill. More here.

Question: Do you agree with the findings of this survey?

Huckleberries Hears …

That the Coeur d'Alene School District circulated the following email to parents to high school and middle school students at 7:55 a.m. today to quell rumors that were circulating yesterday re: a possible threat later this week:

“Rumors are circulating through our students at the high school level that someone may bring a weapon to school on Friday and hurt people.  This is coming from both high schools and may also be trickling down to the middle school level.  Please know that administration is working closely with the CdA Police Department and following up on social media posts and interviewing students.  At this point, nothing is substantiated other than a horrible rumor.  Unfortunately in light of the tragic events from last week, even a rumor is striking fear in many of our students and parents.  The CdA Police Department and Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department are both committed in helping reassure our community.  You may see a heightened presence around our schools this week.  … More below:

Hop Jack’s Struts Its Stuff

For years, North Side residents languished in a gastronomical vacuum. With few exceptions, our dining out options revolved around the array of fast-food joints and Chinese eateries that dot Division Street. But things are looking up. The arrival of Wasabi, O’Doherty’s and McClain’s Pizzeria have enlarged our culinary options. The latest addition to the north Spokane dining scene is Hop Jack’s, a casual pub offering seating for both the adult crowd and folks with families. This is the first Hop Jack’s in Spokane and the sixth restaurant in the chain for owner Mark Eggen of Rock Solid Restaurants. With 14 burgers on the menu and several soups, salads and sandwiches, Hop Jack’s promises something to please every palate/Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (Colin Mulvany SR photo: Lorie Hutson)

Question: Where do you usually eat when you dine at Spokane?

Cutline Contest — 12.19.12

A security guard chases a fan during the second half of an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in Toronto. The Seahawks won 50-17. You write the cutline. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.19.12

  • 11:47 a.m. Female choking on food and coughing up blood on Rude Street/Hayden.
  • 11:43 a.m. Employee @ Goodwill/4th & Harrison/CdA reports disorderly male in store.
  • 11:39 a.m. Caller reports another driver yelling, cussing & kicking his vehicle door during road rage altercation at undisclosed Post Falls location
  • 11:29 a.m. 2 males in old orange pickup driving around suspiciously @ Huetter & Hayden.
  • 10:34 a.m. Samantha reports to PFPD that she has hit a fire hydrant. Unknown location.
  • 10:24 a.m. Residential burglary reported in 9500 block of Juno Street/Hayden.
  • 10:16 p.m. 54YO male may be suffering stroke @ Kimball Office, 1881 W. Seltice Way/PF.
  • 9:27 a.m. Female threatening suicide on Dolan Road/Rathdrum.
  • 9:19 a.m. Someone hurt in fall in 2800 block of Silver Beach Road/CdA.
  • 9:02 a.m. Vehicles swerving to avoid bale of hay laying on w/b I-90/MP 1 (Pleasantview area).
  • 8:14 a.m. 8-by-8 chicken coop fully engulfed in flames @ 9620 N. Hill Road/Hauser.

My 2 Cents: Let This Grievance Go

In spring 2011, there was a minor flap re: the post office box number for the campaign supporting Tom Hamilton and Terri Seymour for the Coeur d'Alene School Board. Inadvertently, the campaign had been given the same number as an old one that had been used by the Aryan Nations. That caught the attention of some, including the Spokesman-Review. We checked into the matter and discovered there was no connection between the two groups. We even wrote a story about it. Now that Hamilton and Seymour are part of the School Board, the only two duly elected of the five, they are still bringing the matter up. On Monday, Seymour, according to the Coeur d'Alene Press, asked Christa Hazel, an applicant for a vacant School Board trustee spot, if she'd said Hamilton and Seymour were members of the Aryan Nations. Quoth Seymour: “Do you realize the effect that it had on our personal and private lives?” Seymour said. “And it hasn't died. It is continuing to go on and on, and it has to do with this very group that you're involved in.” Hazel denied she'd ever made that statement. When Hazel asked Seymour to name the group she was referring to, Seymour said the new Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership. CEP is an education watchdog group made up of parents and citizens. Hazel said she isn't a member of the group. So why am I telling you all this? Hamilton and Hazel have discussed the old Aryan Nations address tempest more than once on this blog. The matter would be long forgotten if Hamilton and Seymour had quit bringing it up. I can't imagine anyone believing that a Coeur d'Alene School Board trustee would be part of that despicable, defunct hate group that was bankrupted out of existence years ago. Hamilton and Seymour need to quit beating this dead horse/DFO. Full story here.

Thoughts?

Montana Gun Leader: Arm Teachers

Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, has attracted much attention by recommending that the country allow willing teachers to bare arms in school. Here's a part of his inteview with the Missoulian of Missoula, Mont.:

As for arming teachers – and Marbut stressed that should be on a volunteer basis only – “if we believe that the potential for crazy people to shoot up schools is a genuine risk we need to address, then the rational way to do that … is to allow, through public policy, teachers who are willing to undertake the responsibility” to carry. Full story here.

Question: Would you support arming teachers, on a voluntary basis, as a means to stop a possible shooter at your children's school?

AM Headlines — 12.19.12

After eating a free dinner at the Central United Methodist Church in downtown Spokane, a group of homeless men and women gather behind the church Monday evening. They all said they support the proposed homeless tent city. As of now, they said, they spend their nights sleeping under local bridges and freeway viaducts. Story here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Judge Robert Bork, 85, RIP

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill. Robert Bork, whose failed Supreme Court nomination made history, has died. More here. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi)

Question: How might things have been different in this country had Bork's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court succeeded?

Trib: Idaho Gun Culture Unaffected

This time it's different. This time, the massacre of 20 first-graders, six of their teachers and the shooter's mother at Newtown, Conn., will break the national impasse on guns. Perhaps. But not here. Not in Idaho. What was the Gem State's reaction to the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, which killed 32 and wounded 17? A legislative debate about whether to arm students at its public campuses. Four years later when Jared Lee Loughner shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 more outside a Tucson, Ariz., area supermarket, killing six including a 9-year-old girl, Idaho quickly moved on. And last summer's mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 and injuring 58 others, faded into background noise/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Thoughts?

Shooting Debate: Where Was God?

What is to blame for the Connecticut school attack? In the wake of catastrophe, people want explanations, and as news spread of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, some religious conservatives were ready with an answer: the exclusion of God from public schools and the embrace of liberal social policies. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, pictured, who is ordained as a minister in the Southern Baptist Church, said Friday on Fox News that “we've systematically removed God from our schools.” “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?” he asked. Huckabee's comments drew criticism from progressive religious leaders, who accused him of suggesting that God wasn't there with the 26 victims at Sandy Hook/M. Alex Johnson, NBC News via KHQ. More here.

Question: Where do you think God was during the Newtown massacre?

CdA Schools Don’t Address Shootings

The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is sparking some debate nationwide about how to explain the situation to children. School administrators in Coeur d’Alene are choosing not to talk about the shooting in classrooms there. With winter break around the corner, administrators said the goal is to help students focus on their studies and create a sense of normalcy. Coeur d’Alene Public Schools Superintendent Hazel Bauman said parents sent a series of emails requesting normalcy, so teachers in all grades were asked not to discuss what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary or to watch any news coverage in class/Cole Heath, KREM. More here.

Question: Did the Coeur d'Alene School District take the right approach to the Sandy Hook shootings?

Study: Judges Harsher Before Elections

If you have to be hauled before a judge for sentencing, try to schedule it after an election. New research shows that Washington judges are more likely to throw the book at criminals in the weeks before they’re in an election, suggesting that they respond, consciously or not, to the public’s strong preference for tough sentences. The study examined criminal sentencings by Washington state Superior Court judges between 1995 and 2006 and found that sentences were about 10 percent longer when judges were nearing an election or crucial political cycle than afterward. The number of sentences above the standard range rose by 50 percent/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Do you think judges are affected by politics?

Buyers Rush To Firearms Dealers

Sam Bishop stood Tuesday at the counter of Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop. He was looking at a gun for home security while he felt he still could, he said. “I want to be just one step ahead of everybody else,” said Bishop, who was checking out the Spokane gun store’s selection of pistols. “I don’t want to come in here to get something left over that nobody wants.” Bishop isn’t the only buyer rushing to a nearby firearms dealer. Spokane gun stores are reporting increased sales since the Newtown, Conn., school massacre Friday, which has sparked talk in Congress of potential gun control legislation. Sales already appeared to be up in 2012 before the latest tragedy. The FBI, which operates the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, reports record gun background checks for the year/Kaitlin Gillespie, SR. More here. (Colin Mulvany SR photo: Sam Bishop, left, purchases a Springfield XD 40 handgun from salesman Nick Brown on Tuesday at Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop)

Thoughts?

Snow Shovel Season

Don McLachlan shovels out from a winter snow storm at Shelter Cover Resort and Marina on Willamette Pass after a snow storm descended on the area Monday. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Chris Pietsch)

Question: Do you use a shovel/blower/other to remove snow from your sidewalks, driveway?

Mom Who Left Kids Near I-90 To Plea

The mother who allegedly abandoned two children in the dark and rain near Interstate 90 and the Idaho-Washington state line is scheduled to plead guilty to a felony charge, her defense attorney said Tuesday. Shannon M. Duval, 28, of Spokane, was charged in Kootenai County with two counts of felony injury to children stemming from the late October incident. She is scheduled to plead guilty to a single count in exchange for a recommendation for probation from the Kootenai County prosecutor's office, defense attorney Larry Purviance said. He said that plea hearing is scheduled for next month. She currently is in custody, he said. Duval, who also uses the last name Germanton, waived her preliminary hearing in the case and was bound over to 1st District Court. Judge Benjamin Simpson was assigned the case. According to charging documents, Duval abandoned her 3- and 6-year-old sons/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Thoughts?

Bell-Ringing Loss Miffs SR Columnist

Spokesman Review columnist Doug Clark made no bones about it. If his recap about Coeur d'Alene's last minute victory Saturday in the Mayor vs. Mayor Ring Off wasn't a verbal lashing, it was at least a highly raised eyebrow questioning Lake City ethics. Shoddy math skills? Coeur d'Alene Christian soldiers hell-bent on winning? Clark thinks so, and wrote as much in his Tuesday column about the competition. Clark headed the Spokane team's effort to raise money for the Salvation Army in a one-day horse race to see which city, Lake or Lilac, could raise the most for the nonprofit. And victory, after the bells closed, seemed his -$4,718 to $4,390. But word came Monday evening that Coeur d'Alene added a $5,000 check to its total, giving the Idaho side a last-minute victory. That miffed Clark, who pounded out the print words to prove it/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

DFO: For those keeping score at home, I've known Clark since well before we both joined the Spokesman-Review in the early 1980s. He is having fun with this. Not miffed. But I'm still glad Coeur d'Alene won.

Thoughts?

City Retains Accounting Firm

The city of Coeur d'Alene agreed Tuesday to contract the same accounting firm, Magnuson, McHugh and Company, to perform its annual financial statement audit as it has done for the city since 1999. Whether the city takes a deeper look inside its finance department in light of the approximately $365,000 embezzlement uncovered this year will be decided after Feb. 5, 2013 - when the former employee who pleaded guilty to the crime is scheduled for sentencing. In the meantime, the city council said, Magnuson, McHugh and Company remains a reputable firm capable of continuing to handle the city's statutorily required financial statement audit. “That's real life in the outside world,” Councilman Woody McEvers said, on the city implementing several safeguards since learning of the six-year theft in the summer. “You get stronger and you get smarter … That's what growth and life is all about”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Did the city do the right thing by retaining the accounting firm of Magnuson, McHugh & Co.?

Bennett: The Defense

Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Wild Card/Tuesday — 12.18.12

The Spokesman-Review parking lot was iced over this morning when I arrived for work, probably as dangerous as I've seen it in years. I edged across after watching a women in high heels carefully walk from the courthouse parking lot to the courthouse moments before. I was expecting her to fall. But we both made it to work. I haven't heard much action on the scanner this morning. So drivers must be respecting the conditions. Be careful out there. Here's your Tuesday Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.18.12

Like most of us, Pecky Cox, As the Lake Churns blog, was feeling blue — even had tears in her eyes today and had decided not to put up ornaments today — when she spotted this Christmas card perfect scene along Highway 57 as she was headed back to her Priest Lake home. Emails Pecky: “Nature gave me this Christmas card … so healing.”

OtisG: For The Love Of Guns

Most of my friends growing up had guns. I lived in North Idaho, after all. I remember going to see buddies at Post Falls High School, and several of the trucks in the parking lot had hunting rifles in the back window. I even remember a teacher wanting to check one of the guns out, so he had the student bring it into the school. And the time someone brought their gun to class as part of a project they were working on. It was all so innocent.My Dad wasn't a hunter. He was a microbiologist. We didn't go tromping around in the woods, except to get firewood. And we didn't have guns. When I went to Marine Corps boot camp, people were amazed by the fact that I was from North Idaho — and had never shot a gun. It seemed like most of the guys there grew up hunting, and playing football. I played trombone in the pep band. Trust me, I often wondered how I ended up joining the Marines myself/Otis G, Otis G's Experience. More here.

Question: Did you grow up around guns?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.18.12

  • 4:42 p.m. Runaway reported in 2000 block of Neider Avenue/CdA.
  • 4:28 p.m. Patrol officer reports someone has rolled Dumpster into undisclosed Post Falls road.
  • 4:16 p.m. Driver has hood up on disabled pickup at top of e/b I-90 ramp/NW Blvd, CdA. Blocking.
  • 4:09 p.m. Woolsey Drive/CdA resident reports theft of mail by former landlord.
  • 10 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 12.18.12

“It's her fault, she bought it for me,” said Wayne Parsons, right, as he joked with his daughter Angela Parsons about his car port that blew down at his home in Coeur d'Alene on Monday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

NIdaho/Friends Blogs — 12.18.12

An anonymous donor contributed $35,000 of $67,000 raise for a half-acre dog park at the base of Tubbs Hill, as part of the new McEuen Field makeover. See sketch above. Coeur d'Alene Today tells you all about it here.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of Nov. 9-15): 46,442/26,039

Idaho No. 7 Most Generous State

Say what you will about us Idahoans, we're also generous and ready to volunteer to help. From MSN.com Causes comes news that Idaho is the 7th most generous state in the nation:

The Potato State boasted the highest rate of new charities founded between 2000 and 2010. As it turns out, Idaho residents are generous with both money and their time. Not only did Idahoans donate 6.4 percent of their discretionary income to nonprofits, but 32 percent of the state’s residents also report volunteering (much higher than the 26 percent national average).

Utah, which is the only state to out-volunteer Idaho, again is No. 1 in the category of generosity. Click here.

Question: Do you consider yourself generous?

SR Blogs: Passing Time At USPS

A year to the day after Mary Livingston opened her University Bar and Grill in the former Bulldog hangout, the business closed its doors. The business, at 1305 N. Hamilton Street, has a long history going back decades, when it was primarily the Bulldog Tavern and catered to the Logan neighborhood and Gonzaga University students. More from Office Hours here.

Featured Blog: In his Slice blog Monday, Paul Turner posted: “When the line at the post office seems a bit like the Nile River, people tend to critique those who finally make it up to the service counter. Are they going about their business in a quick, efficient manner? Do they show signs of having mailed something before? Or are they high-maintenance nightmares like the woman in purple? A white-haired guy in a denim jacket looked on in amazement as the woman in purple packed, addressed and taped her box up at the counter. More here.

Question: How do you pass the time while waiting in a line at the post office?

Users Angry With Instagram Change

In a variation on the assertion that if you're not paying for a product, you are the product being sold, Facebook's Instagram image-sharing service plans to implement new terms of service next month that allow it to sell users' digital photographs for use in social ads. Through this change in legal jargon, Instagram appears to be transforming itself from an image-sharing service into an image-taking service, but the consequences of the altered terms remain unclear. Writing for The Verge, Nilay Patel insists the new language represents an improvement in some ways because “the old Instagram terms allowed for modification, but the new ones don't”/Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek. More here.

Question: Does this change in Instagram image-sharing service concern you?

NRA Breaks Silence After Shootings

In its first comment following the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the National Rifle Association today said it is “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” The NRA went silent in the wake of the tragedy last Friday: The gun-rights group's Facebook page disappeared, it stopped sending out tweets, and it told reporters that “[u]ntil the facts are thoroughly known, NRA will not have any comment.” On Tuesday, the group said it would hold a “major news conference” on Friday, December 21 in the Washington D.C., area to further explain its position. It did not offer additional details on the press conference. In addition to promising “meaningful contributions” to avert another tragedy, the NRA said in its short statement that its members were heartbroken by the shooting/Associated Press. More here. (NRA logo from Wikipedia)

Question: What would you like to see the National Rifle Association do, in wake of the Newtown massacre?

Snow Falling On Eagles

On her Facebook wall Dec. 14, Kerri Thoreson posted: “Today's edition of I Love Where I Live: At RedLion Templin's on the Spokane River for two functions today and treated to the sight of a pair of bald eagles searching for salmon from their perch on the marina pilings. Light snow falling …”

Question: Why do you love living here in the winter?

NYTimes, Obama Praise Otter

On Friday the New York Times had a Headline, “Most Governors Refuse to Set Up Health Exchanges”. I thought to myself, Not my Governor. And then there it was in the article for the whole country to see, “Administration officials said they were delighted this week when a Republican governor, C. L. Otter of Idaho, announced plans to establish a state-run exchange. “ … “However, Mr. Otter’s rationale provided little comfort to the administration. He said he did not want to surrender power to “federal bureaucrats.” He denounced “the mandates and overreaching federal authority of the Affordable Care Act.” He said the law “will do little or nothing to reduce costs while force-feeding us coverage and increasing the size and scope of government.” And he said his decision could be rescinded if the State Legislature disagreed with him. “ A few things come to mind. If Governor Otter feels the Idaho Legislature disagrees with him why put forward an Idaho state run exchange?/Idaho Conservative Blogger. More here.

Question: Do you think hardline conservatives in the Idaho Legislature will scuttle Otter's proposed insurance exchange?

2nd Hart Bankruptcy Filing Dismissed

A federal bankruptcy judge has dismissed former Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart’s second bankruptcy filing, opening the way for federal authorities to go after his log home in Athol for back federal income taxes, and for the state to launch collection efforts over his state tax debts. “We’re kind of in line behind the feds, and I’m not sure what’s going to be left,” said Bill von Tagen, deputy Idaho attorney general for the Tax Commission. The federal foreclosure lawsuit already has geared back up; a federal judge issued an order today calling for Hart to submit to a deposition on Jan. 7 as part of the case. The tax-protesting four-term state lawmaker has been fighting court orders to pay more than $600,000 in back state and federal income taxes, penalties and interest; he’s lost repeated attempts to declare the taxes unconstitutional and to claim that legislative privilege should free him from some or all of his tax debts/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: What do you think is next for former solon Hart?

Feds To Review Caribou Status

“Maybe you got a point there,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seemed to say today as it annouced its response to a petition questioning whether the Southern Selkirk Mountains Population of Woodland Caribou deserves status as an endangered species. The petition to remove the rarest mammal to venture into the USA from Endangered Species Act protection was filed in May, 2012, by the Pacific Legal Foundation (representing Bonner County, Idaho), and the Idaho State Snowmobile Association. The southern Selkirk Mountains woodland caribou was protected under the ESA in 1983 as an endangered species stemming from the threats posed by poaching, habitat loss due to timber harvest and wildfire, motor vehicle collisions and genetic problems through inbreeding. It occupies high-mountain habitat in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and northeastern Washington and southern British Columbia/Rich Landers, SR Outdoors. More here.

Question: Should woodland caribou of Southern Selkirk Mountains continue to be an endangered species?

Reagan Republicans: The Crisis

Tis the season to turn crisis and tragedy into tyranny.  When former White House Chief of Staff (and now Chicago Mayor) Rahm Emanuel said “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before,” he laid out the universal liberal marching order.  Now instead of prayer, grief, contemplation and compassion as a response to an unimaginable and horrific tragedy, the ghouls of a liberal crisis exploitation machine intend to callously use the death of children as an excuse to strip us of our Constitutional Rights.  It is not like they haven't done it before. Previously, they successfully exploited the crisis in American healthcare (one that liberal government policy in large part created) to create the most intrusive attack on American liberty since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798: Obamacare/Jeff Ward, Reagan Republicans newsletter. More here.

Agree/disagree?

Newtown Children Return To School

A young girl waves as her school bus pulls into Hawley School today in Newtown, Conn. Classes resumed Tuesday for Newtown, schools except those at Sandy Hook, following Friday's mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Buses ferrying students to schools were festooned with large green and white ribbons on the front grills, the colors of Sandy Hook. At Newtown High School, students in sweatshirts and jackets, many wearing headphones, betrayed mixed emotions. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Hearts were heavy and security was tight as thousands of children in Newtown, Conn., returned to school Tuesday for the first time since a gunman killed 20 students and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary. It was a tiny glimmer of normalcy in a town that was also burying two more youngsters, but officials made it clear this was no ordinary school day. “This is a day to start healing,” Newtown High School Principal Charles Dumais wrote in an e-mail to parents before six schools opened two hours later than usual, with police officers and counselors on hand/Tracy Connor & Alexadra Moe, U.S. News & World Report. More here.

Question: Could you send your children back to school today, if you were a parent in Newtown, Conn?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.18.12

  • 11:56 a.m. White RV w/b on I-90/MP 19 (Yellowstone Trail) almost hit rocks off road, possible DUI.
  • 11:30 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 17-18 here.
  • 11:15 a.m. Crimestoppers issue reward for Justin Brite Glenn, 23, of Coeur d'Alene, for probation violation for rape & failure to register as a sex offender. Click here.
  • 10:50 a.m. Unattended white Isuzu Trooper partly blocking H95 near Spokane River bridge.
  • 10:46 a.m. Patrol officer told that tow trucks are tied up w/slideoffs, crashes for next 30 to 40 minutes.
  • 10:38 a.m. Leiza, a manager in black dress w/white vest tells CdA Blues that unknown local bank not being robbed. Officers had responded to false alarm.
  • 10:03 a.m. Female accidently looks 6MO in crib in house as she stops outside for a smoke.
  • 9:21 a.m. Female fell on ice in Fred Meyer lot, hurting shoulder. She's still on the ground.
  • 9:11 a.m. Female suffering possible heart attack near espresso counter of CdA store.
  • 8:37 a.m. Traffic backing up behind black SUV going extra slow on H95/MP 488 (Samuels, north of Sandpoint).

Comedian Warns Otter, Luna

Boise comedian Pete Peterson said his third attempt to gather 158,000 signatures and force a recall vote depends on whether Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and Gov. Butch Otter attempt to re-enact the laws widely rejected by voters in November. “If Butch and Luna reintroduce the three Luna laws or some variation of those it could generate another firestorm that would eclipse anything that happened in 2011,” Peterson said Tuesday. Both Otter and Luna have said there are aspects of the laws they will seek to revive during the 2013 Legislature, but neither has been specific. If their aims are modest — for example paying for high school students to earn college credits — Peterson said he will drop the recall idea. “Then, this thing will fizzle,” Peterson said. “We're prepared either way. We'll reevaluate things at the end of January”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman.

Question: Do you think there'll be another petition drive and possible recall effort if Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent Tom Luna try to resurrect most of the failed Luna Laws?


Read more here: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/18/idahopolitics/reviving_idahos_luna_laws_would_spark_third_recall_effort_says_t#storylink=cpy

Red Kettle Loss ‘Embitters’ Clark

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, I can’t feel my fingers …” Strange things can happen to a guy after six hours of singing and playing guitar for the Salvation Army in the winter cold outside a Fred Meyer store. The brain shuts down. Extremities freeze … Now I know why frostbitten Sam McGee wanted to be cremated in that famous Robert Service poem. But in the end, everyone who took part in Saturday’s so-called “friendly” red kettle Ring Off survived to play another day. As it turns out, however, dodging hypothermia was not the most irritating thing about this money-raising contest between the Gang of Doug vs. Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem and friends. I’m putting this in the rearview mirror with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Thoughts?

AM Headlines — 12.18.12

Patrons make their way to State Line Liquor Store in State Line, Idaho on Friday.Idaho has experienced a boost in sales from Washingtonians since privatization. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Mourning In Connecticut

Mourners arrive for the funeral service of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim, Jack Pinto, 6, Monday, in Newtown, Conn. A gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

All I Want For Xmas Is Whisky, Cigar

On her Facebook page, Cindy writes: “Things my husband wants for Christmas: A whiskey making kit and a humidor. Apparently, the closer you get to 50 the more you embrace your vices.”

Question: What do you want for Christmas?

Johnson: It’s Our (Gun) Culture

The after massacre reports speculate that the mass murder of 20 six and seven year olds may prompt a serious national discussion of what a “civilized” society can do to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. Most of the discussion so far centers on two specific ideas: restore the long-expired ban on weapons like the Bushmaster assault rifle and get serious about mental health care in the United States. Both ideas are worthy of serious, non-ideological debate, which isn’t likely to happen since the real bedrock on which America’s proclivity for gun violence rests is more fundamental and ultimately just about as disturbing as a deranged 20-something walking into a school building and causing the kind of damage a U.S. soldier might rain upon the Taliban in the remote mountains of the Hindu Kush. A national debate about once again banning assault weapons or pouring more resources into mental health care is a fine start, but it falls short of understanding the American culture of guns and violence. Don’t hold your breath for that bit of national soul searching/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Thoughts?

Vick Brings Hammer, Needs Wrench

If anybody has an upside-down, inside-out and backwards view of recent Idaho history, it's got to be state Sen. Steve Vick, pictured. The two-term Dalton Gardens Republican insists Idahoans need protection from tax increases. He wants a constitutional amendment requiring any new tax to win a two-thirds vote in the Idaho House and state Senate. Who is he kidding? This isn't California or Washington, where Democrats control the governor's offices and the legislatures - fertile ground for people such as Washington initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman to argue blocking the democratic pulse of majority rule is needed to prevent higher taxes. This is Idaho, a place so Republican its state colors alternate between maroon and crimson/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Does Idaho need a constitutilonal amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of the Idaho Legislature for raising taxes?

Gookin Wants Independent Audit

Mayor Sandi Bloem supports the city's decision not to reprimand anyone in the finance department in light of an embezzlement case that netted a former employee $365,000. Not everybody at City Hall agrees. The embezzlement issue will be a topic at Tuesday's City Council meeting, as the city prepares to hire the same accounting firm for its annual audit that performed the task in years past, even as city funds were being stolen. Bloem said this week in an interview with The Press that Tuesday's discussion shouldn't veer toward punitive issues inside the finance department/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

(Councilman Dan Gookin) said he'd like to see an independent body look over the finance department's practices to determine what could or should have been implemented. Department employees who caught the fraud and implemented the new changes are the same ones under whose watch the thefts occurred. It would be more reassuring, he said, to have independent parties look it over. From those independent findings the punishment question could then be considered.

Question: Do you agree with Councilman Gookin that an independent audit be conducted to decide whether or not to take punitive action re: the city embezzlement case?

Coeur d’Alene Trustees Pick Regan

Brent Regan (middle), shown during a demonstration against Kootenai County's land-use code by United Conservatives of North Idaho, was selected to fill a vacancy on the Coeur d'Alene School Board Monday night.

School board members in Coeur d'Alene selected Brent Regan Monday for appointment to the district's board of trustees. Regan's selection was made following a two-hour and 15-minute public interview of three potential candidates, including Christa Hazel and Casey Morrisroe. The sitting board members - Tom Hamilton, Terri Seymour, Ann Seddon and Jim Hightower — grilled the trustee hopefuls, asking questions that touched on a broad range of issues including school safety, the upcoming maintenance and operations levy that will go before voters in March, the recently eliminated International Baccalaureate high school program and the Primary Years Programme at Hayden Meadows Elementary, and how they will deal with it when they find themselves in disagreement with some of their constituents/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Are you surprised by the selection?

Lake City Bell Ringers Best Spokane

Item: Cd'A bests Spokane - again: $5,000 donation puts Lake City over the top in mayor ring off/Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Thanks to a $5,000 donation from the Huckabay Foundation, Coeur d'Alene out-raised Spokane for the second year in a row Saturday during the Salvation Army's Mayor vs. Mayor Ring Off. That's right, when the kettles were opened, there was a $5,000 check from the foundation out of Nevada, signed by John Huckabay.That skyrocketed Coeur d'Alene's total to $9,567, nearly double that of the roughly $5,000 Spokane raised.

Question: Was there ever a doubt?

Idaho Won’t Recognize Gay Marriage

Gay couples from Idaho, and anywhere else in the world, are also now legally allowed to marry in Washington, Dalton said. Marriage licenses for a gay couple can be obtained in all 39 Washington counties, with the same requirements for gay and different gender couples. There is one caveat, though. What happens when out-of-state gay couples take their Washington marriage license home? “The issue is, is that recognized, in that other jurisdiction?” Dalton said. “Unfortunately, same-gender marriage (law) is inconsistent. It's dependent on that other jurisdiction.” That's why Washington's new law won't necessarily make a big difference for gay Idaho residents. Unless they're planning to become Washington residents. If gay Idaho couples obtain a Washington marriage license, the marriage won't be recognized for tax purposes back in the Gem State, confirmed Liz Rodosovich, spokeswoman for the Idaho State Tax Commission/Alecia Warren, Press. More here.

Thoughts?

Heller: 26 New Angels In Heaven

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Parting Shot: Then and Now Riverside Ave.

In this digital composite, a photo circa 1930 shows the south side of the 300 block of West Riverside Avenue. From left in the current portion are the Robertson Building, home of the Glen Dow Academy of Hair Design, and the Morgan Block, better known as the Fairmont Hotel. In the historical portion, from left, are the Bell, Shaw and Borden, and Nichols buildings.. Read more. Jesse Tinsely, SR

I'm a fan of Jesse's Then and Now series. I especially love the composite photos, blending the old into the new. But some folks prefer the traditional then and now pics. Which do you prefer?

Monday Wild Card 12.17.12

DFO had already planned to take today off before Friday's horrific events in Newtown Conn. But a day off from blog duties doesn't mean he gets a day off from the ongoing coverage surrounding the brutal murders of 20 innocent children and six adults.

I can tell you I stayed awfully close to my family this weekend. Tragedies tend to remind us to take nothing for granted.

Dave will be back at the helm tomorrow. In the meantime, it's a blustery day here in Spokane. Here's your Wild Card.

Wrapping woes

In Saturday's Slice column, Paul Turner asked, At what Spokane area retail store would you elicit the loudest laughter from employees by saying, “And I would like to have that gift-wrapped”?

What's the most difficult thing you've ever tried to gift wrap?

Expressive motorist

Kerri Thoreson snapped this pic and wrote, “A rather unique way to express displeasure with a customer service experience … as seen on Appleway and Ramsey Road.”

How do you express your displeasure with a business or service provider?

RIP Sen. Daniel Inouye

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, the influential Democrat who broke racial barriers on Capitol Hill and played key roles in congressional investigations of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals, died Monday. He was 88.

Inouye, a senator since January 1963, was currently the longest serving senator and was president pro tempore of the Senate, third in the line presidential succession. His office said Monday that he died of respiratory complications at a Washington-area hospital. Full story.

Duncan case goes back to the courtroom

Condemned killer Joseph Duncan will be back in an Idaho federal courtroom in January, for a two-week hearing on whether he was mentally competent when he waived his right to appeal his death sentence. U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge is now sorting through issues relating to experts who will testify; he issued a ruling last week on that. You can read a full report here from AP reporter Rebecca Boone. Duncan’s defense attorneys say the crux of the case is whether Duncan suffered from religious delusions or merely held unusual religious beliefs, according to court documents. More here. Betsy Russell, EOB

I know this a legal matter, but honestly do you really care whether Duncan suffered from relgious delusions or merely held unusual religious beliefs?

Thor the Foot Warmer

As you can see, Thor takes his responsibility as Foot Warmer quite seriously. Here he keeps my toes toasty while I read the newspaper.

Do your pets have any duties or responsibilites?

Wrestling wrap-up

CV’s Carson Graham, bottom, puts the squeeze on Shadle Park’s Coby Johnson at 106 pounds.Jesse Tinsely, SR

Jesse writes, “Photographing wrestling matches take me back to when I was an easy pin for any opponent in high school. The wrestling mat is the loneliest place on earth when you're losing.”

Wrestling pics bring back unpleasant memories for me, too. Out of four sons, only our firstborn tried wrestling. That's how I learned I wasn't cut out to be a wrestling mom.  Turns out the refs don't like it when you scream “Get off my kid you moron!” Who knew?

Did you or any of your kids wrestle?

Westboro Baptist backlash

After the Westboro Baptist Church posted on Twitter its intention to picket the Newtown, Conn., site where 26 shooting victims died, including 20 children, hackers retaliated.

The reason for the protest? Reportedly because Connecticut has legalized same-sex marriage.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a spokesperson for the Topeka, Kan., Westboro church and daughter of church founder Fred Phelps, put on Twitter, “Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.”

Over the weekend, the hacktivist group Anonymous posted what it said was church members' personal information. In a video posted on Vimeo, the hacker group accused the organization of “breeding hatred” and adding, “We will destroy you. We are coming.”

The Anonymous site has also directed readers to an online petition, found at a portal on the White House website, asking that the church's tax-exempt status be investigated. Full story.

Would you sign a petition asking that Westboro Baptist's tax-exempt status be revoked?

The Hobbit: Meh?

On his Facebook page Jesse Tinsley wrote of seeing The Hobbit. Actually, he wrote that walk through the mall will cure your Christmas spirit because he'd been at the mall to see the movie. Here's his Hobbit review:

“Movie started slow and was long. But soon orcs were killing with wild abandon. Spectacular CGI but the story was a little circuitous. Meh”

For those who've seen the movie, agree or disagree?

Cover your ears

Iron Mike is coming to Spokane.

Mike Tyson, former heavyweight champ – he of the “Hangover” cameo, facial tattoos, a prison record, and the ear incident – has performed a one-man show in Las Vegas and on Broadway. He’s now taking it on the road for a 36-city tour, and a stop at the INB Performing Arts Center on March 15 is on the agenda.

Ticket prices: $59.50 to $175.

Last week I joked that I'd pay $59.50 to NOT see Mike Tyson when he comes to town. Name a celebrity you'd pay to NOT see.

Quotable kid

Last week my 13-year-old told me he learned about “woman stuff” in Science class.”What did you learn,” I asked.

“I learned I'm glad I'm not a woman,” he replied.

Don't know about the other lady Hucksters, but I enjoy being a girl. The only time I wish I was a man is when I have to wait in a long line to use a restroom.

High Noon: Never Forget

This composite photo has been making the rounds on Facebook. A moving glimpse of what the world lost on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut.

Fido’s field of dreams

In this October photo Molly, a chocolate lab puppy, runs through the grass Tuesday at Central Bark dog park in Coeur d'Alene.

COEUR d'ALENE - Hey, dogs of Coeur d'Alene - you ready for this? Your playground at McEuen Park is officially on.

That's right. The Kootenai County Dog Association has raised the $67,000 it will cost to give you the park of your dreams. You can thank a long list of generous supporters, including Dale Schuman at Panhandle State Bank's Trust and Wealth Division, KCDPA Chair Bob Mcdonald and community volunteers Dorothy Hatch, Robert Knetchel, Bonnie Warwick, Terry White, Jon Busath and Karen Olsen. Save an especially enthusiastic wag for the anonymous donor who contributed $35,000 to meet the fundraising goal.

“There are so many people who stepped up to make this dog park a reality,” said Coeur d'Alene Parks Director Doug Eastwood. “They really recognize the value of dogs in people's lives.”  Read more. CdA Press

Thoughts?

 


 

Thousands without power

Thousands of people were without power due to heavy winds and inclement weather this morning, stretching from Colville and Chewelah to St. Maries, Sandpoint and the Palouse.

Avista Utilities was reporting more than 10,000 customers were without power this morning throughout its service areas. KHQ is reporting that Plummer-Worley School District is releasing all students this morning due to a power outage. More here.

Anyone you know affected by power outages?

ValleyGirl94: He LOL’d ‘till he dropped

On the Secretary of State faints thread, ValleyGirl 94 writes of her son fainting during PE class and getting a concussion as a result. When I asked if she learned the reason for his fainting spell she replied:

ValleyGirl94 on December 17 at 10:05 a.m.

The wonderful pediatric neurology and cardiology docs at Sacred Heart did actually come up with the reason for his fainting spell…he was laughing so hard that he slowed his own heartbeat down so much that his blood pressure dropped and caused him to faint. Their Rx for him? Either don’t laugh or remember to breathe when you do :-) I still would like to know what his friend did and/or said to make him laugh so hard. Neither my son or his friend can remember!

Do remember the last time you laughed so hard you felt like you couldn't breathe? What caused your mirth?

Patterson tones down bio claims

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A newly-minted Idaho lawmaker changed his Internet biography after questions about its accuracy. When Rep. Mark Patterson was elected in Boise's District 15, his Facebook site listed him as a University of Southern California student and petroleum engineer. But Patterson never attended USC and isn't an engineer, though he once worked in Wyoming's oil fields. Read more.

Why do you suppose people still put false claims on their resumes and bios when the truth is usually just a click away on the Internet?

Lawmakers support ban on assault weapons

An AR-15 assault rifle

WASHINGTON – Democratic lawmakers and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman said Sunday that military-style assault weapons should be banned and that a national commission should be established to examine mass shootings in the United States.

The proposals were among the first to come from Congress in the wake of Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“Assault weapons were developed for the U.S. military, not commercial gun manufacturers,” Lieberman said before a vigil Sunday night in Newtown. More.

Do you support a ban on assault weapons? Why or why not?

City views differ in the wake of embezzlement

COEUR d'ALENE - Mayor Sandi Bloem supports the city's decision not to reprimand anyone in the finance department in light of an embezzlement case that netted a former employee $365,000.

Not everybody at City Hall agrees.

The embezzlement issue will be a topic at Tuesday's City Council meeting, as the city prepares to hire the same accounting firm for its annual audit that performed the task in years past, even as city funds were being stolen.

Bloem said this week in an interview with The Press that Tuesday's discussion shouldn't veer toward punitive issues inside the finance department. Personnel issues should be discussed with administrative heads, which is protocol, not at public meetings, she said. Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press More here.

“But she said she supports administration's decision not to punish anyone inside the department that uncovered the crime after six years.” Do you agree or disagree with Mayor Bloem?

“I am Adam Lanza’s Mother”

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”

“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me. Full story.

A colleague posted this on his Facebook wall this weekend and Sis shared it on the Weekend Wild Card. It was originally published on The Anarchist Soccer Mom blog. It's perhaps the most  compelling thing I've read in the wake of Friday's tragedy. Please read the entire article and then answer this: What can be done to rectify the abysmal state of mental health care in America? What can be done to help mothers like the one above? 

 

 

 

Secretary of State faints

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for a round table meeting of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who skipped an overseas trip this past week because of a stomach virus, sustained a concussion after fainting, the State Department said Saturday.

The 65-year-old Clinton, who’s expected to leave her job soon after serving as America’s top diplomat during President Barack Obama’s first term, is recovering at home and being monitored by doctors, according to a statement by aide Philippe Reines.

No further details were immediately available.

Have you ever fainted?

Obama speaks at Newtown

Eknoor Kaur, 3, stands with her father Guramril Singh during a candlelight vigil outside Newtown High School before an interfaith vigil with President Barack Obama, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — He spoke for a nation in sorrow, but the slaughter of all those little boys and girls left President Barack Obama, like so many others, reaching for words. Alone on a spare stage after the worst single day of his presidency, the commander in chief was a parent in grief.

“I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depth of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts,” Obama said at an evening vigil in the grieving community of Newtown, Conn. “I can only hope that it helps for you to know that you are not alone in your grief.”. Read more.

Related stories: Gunman shot self as first responders closed in

Staffers hailed as heroes after Conn. shooting

Parents: Was it hard for you to send your kids back to school today?

Weekend Wild Card — 12.15-16.12

I haven't watched more than 5 minutes of on-air coverage of the latest senseless massacre in this country, at Newtown, Conn. Nor do I plan to do so. Print coverage and the photos on the AP wire tell me all that I want to know about the monstrous deed and the monster behind it. I plan to spend this weekend considering what I can do to make this world a better place. I can't stop these horrible acts that recur with increasing frequency. But maybe I can affect my tiny part of the world for good. With that thought, I'll post the weekend Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.14.12

A mother hugs her daughter following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City on Friday. A gunman entered the school Friday morning and killed at least 26 people, including 20 young children. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)

DFO: Hug the children you still have at home tonight and tell the ones who are now living on their own how much you love them.

TGIF Wild Card — 12.14.12

I'm glad this awful work day is over. I don't look forward to the days ahead as the funerals pile up and we learn more about the monster who caused so much grief in Newtown, Conn., and throughout the nation. I don't have to tell you to hold up the survivors, witnesses, school officials and families of this devastation in your thoughts and prayers this weekend. Now, for the re-posted Wild Card …

‘Heartsick’

Heartsick. That’s the one word I keep coming back to today, since no other word seems to apply. When so many lives – including so many young lives, cut so tragically short – are lost in a hail of senseless violence, our language falls short on adjectives. Heartsick, then, it is. Heartsick for the victims. Especially the youngest victims. Twenty students. Shot dead in a grade school. When the facts are so unfathomable, is it a wonder our language proves inadequate? Heartsick for the mothers and fathers — who will now endure an unending nightmare that, as a parent, I cannot even imagine. Heartsick for the children who survived – and were told, as they were escorted out of Sandy Hook Elementary School, to close their eyes to the violence that had unfolded around them. If only it could be so easily forgotten/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP photo)

Question: I can't think of a better word that “heartsick” to explain my reaction to today's senseless tragedy. Can you?

Read more here: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/14/krichert/when_words_cannot_explain_unexplainable#storylink=cpy

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.14.12

  • 5:23 p.m. 2 men outside of a disabled vehicle w/flashers on @ s/b H95/MP 436 (Lancaster).
  • 5:22 p.m. Vehicle has crashed way off n/b H95/MP 452 (Hoodoo Creek). Only headlights showing.
  • 5:14 p.m. Red SUV hits guardrail on w/b I-90 offramp/MP 5 (Spokane Street) & has spun around.
  • 5:12 p.m. Female driver outside disabled vehicle on s/b H95/Wyoming, Hayden.
  • 4:37 p.m. Vehicle crashes into Hayden yard in 9100 block of Reed Road.
  • 4:12 p.m. Motorists say black Toyota Prius being driven w/lights off @ w/b I-90/H95, CdA.
  • 12 more items & AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 12.14.12

Danielle Ahrens, who drove all the way from from home in Sandpoint, joins about 50 protestors in demonstrating against the Idaho health insurance exchanged endorsed by Gov. Otter on the Statehouse steps on Thursday afternoon. “We need to stand up on our own as a sovereign state and say no to Obamacare,” she said. Otter said Tuesday a state-built health insurance exchange is the best option for Iaho under the federal government's health care overhaul, but left the final decision up to lawmakers who return to Boise in January. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Joe Jaszewski)

A Time To Pray

A sign for a Healing Prayer stands outside St. John's Episcopal Church near the scene of a school shooting in Newtown, Conn., today. A man opened fire Friday inside two classrooms at the school where his mother worked as a teacher, killing 26 people, including 20 children. The killer, armed with two handguns, committed suicide at the school and another person was found dead at a second scene, bringing the toll to 28, authorities said. A law enforcement official identified the gunman as 20-year-old Adam Lanza. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

A Kindergarten Teacher Cries Out

As you know, Jen of A Butterfly Moment is a Coeur d'Alene kindergarten teacher. She offers this poignant thoughts on the senseless tragedy in Connecticut today:

Here I sit, in a room full of kindergartners, reading about a tragedy that happened in a kindergarten class thousands of miles away. My heart is breaking. My soul is crying out. My arms are aching to hold my own children. All I can think about is those poor mamas and dads whose children won't be coming home from school today. How will they survive? How will they make it through this terrible, horrible, life changing tragedy? How will they tell their other children that they have lost one of their own? What will they do with the packages already under the tree for their babies? And the teachers. How will they be able to walk into their classrooms on Monday or the next week or the next month and teach reading and writing and addition to the survivors? How will they be able to walk into a classroom ever again? More here.

Thoughts?

Otter Orders Idaho Flags To Half-Staff

Via Twitter from Betsy Russell/Eye on Boise: “Gov’s office orders flags to half-staff in honor of Connecticut school victims. Effective immediately continuing until (Tuesday) Dec 18.”

ISP Officer Makes $386K Drug Bust

At about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Cpl Kessler stopped a vehicle for speeding on I-90 near milepost 46 (between Pinehurst & Kellogg). Cpl Kessler became suspicious that the driver, a 40-year-old male, was attempting to smuggle drugs through Idaho.  Cpl Kessler obtained written consent to search the vehicle from the driver and upon searching the vehicle located several large duffle bags that were filled with what appeared to be marijuana.  The total seizure of marijuana weighed approximately 120.75 lbs with an estimated street value of over $386,000.  The driver was arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana. (ISP report and photo)

Columbine Principal Reacts: Not Again

For a community leader in a town that still feels the wounds of the shooting at Columbine High School nearly 14 years later, the news of Friday’s mass casualties at a school in Connecticut is sickening. Principal Frank DeAngelis (pictured in AP photo), who was principal of the Littleton school at the time and remains in the position today, told CBS4 his first reaction to news of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was “Not again.” “It just made me sick to my stomach. It just takes me back to what we felt on April 20, 1999. Even though it’s going to be 14 years, anyone that was alive during that time or in schools at that time or especially at Columbine, it just takes us back to that horrific day,” DeAngelis said/CBS Denver. More here.

Thoughts?

DennisM: America Is Not Sick

RE: Obama: 'Our hearts are broken' for families of Connecticut shooting victims/Fox News

I teared up as soon as my son Colin texted me that the Newtown elementary school mass killings had happened just over the bridge from West Point in CT. My heart broke and yet as the morning grinded on, my tears began to halt…Until President Obama teared up. He almost kept his composure. I simply did not. Neither did the little kids, their parents and all people across this land. This is not the time to disagree on the puniness of politics. It is the time to grieve together as a nation. Differing solutions will most assuredly be offered. Only one problem, however, is in front of us today - at this very moment. It is the loss of life - of kids, sweet babies and little elementary schooled kids. America is not sick. America's tears prove that today/Dennis Mansfield. More here. ( AP photo: An American flag flies at half-staff over the White House in Washington today in honor of the Connecticut elementary school shooting victims)

Question: Did you hear the president's message about the senseless Newton tragedy?

CDAMom: Let Us Process Tragedy

CDAMom: Your blog, your decision. But I wouldn’t shut it down. Looks like people need an arena to vent and talk about the situation. Quiet frankly, I am not sure I can verbally process this horrible tragedy right now. Blogging about it may help instead. But this does make me want to go pick up my 3rd grader from school and just hold her. I pray for the families that are now dealing with this horrible loss.

DFO: I think I'm going to continue to post this afternoon. But lightly. And, I pray, appropriately. Certainly nothing light. News continues. Maybe I need this distraction. Maybe this is a time for us to publicly express our grief, anxiety, frustration and thoughts for those lost and those who will have to cope with that loss. I will certainly understand if you need to tune out. I'll also understand if you don't. Hug your kids. Tell all of your loved ones how much they mean to you. During my noontime walk, I thanked God for the two children he blessed me with — and the two wonderful partners they've found. I always begin my “prayer walks” with the Lord's prayer. Today, the closinig line made me stop and meditate: “Deliver us from evil.” Amen.

Shooter Was Dead Teacher’s Son

People embrace at a firehouse staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, today. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

A shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Friday morning killed 27 people, including 18 children, law enforcement sources said. The dead at Sandy Hook Elementary, about 60 miles northeast of New York City, included the suspected gunman, who law enforcement sources identified as Ryan Lanza, 20. Authorities said Lanza killed himself. Lanza’s mother worked at the school, the sources said, and Lanza allegedly killed her before killing the others/Washington Post. More here.

Thoughts?

My 2 Cents: Yet Another Tragedy

Two of these senseless shootings of the past year hit home. My daughter lives in Portland. She told me that several of her friends were in the Clackamas Town Centre earlier on the day of the shootings this week. My son graduated from the exact UC Denver medical school neuro-science department that the Aurora shooter had been enrolled in. I no longer wonder if these tragedies are going to occur. I wonder when and where they’re going to occur. And pray that my loved ones aren’t victimized by them. Also, I wonder if that’s the best this country can do — to hope that the next senseless shooting or the one after that or the one after that doesn’t harm my family and friends. What an awful mess we’re in. My prayers are with the families, victims, students, teachers, administrators, parents and community of the Connecticut school.

Pull Plug On Blog Today?

A mother runs with her children as police above canvass homes in the area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

I've been thinking about pulling the plug on Huckleberries today. It's hard to find appropriate topics in wake of another senseless massacre in this country. Also, of course, it's difficult to do this job today when I'm absolutely heart sick. What do you think?

Quotable Quote — C.S. Lewis

From Facebook wall of Michael Strickland:

You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tearsC.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.14.12

  • 11:51 a.m. Undisclosed type of animal dead @ 2900 Government Way/CdA.
  • 11:44 a.m. Older male in beanie cap is carrying a rifle on n/b Huetter @ Hayden.
  • 11:31 a.m. Traffic offense or possible disabled vehicle on Best Hill Road.
  • 11:15 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 13-14 here.
  • 10:46 a.m. White Ford Bronco & red vehicle playing “chicken” on s/b H95/Hayden Avenue.
  • 10:26 a.m. Inmates are being evacuated at Kootenai County Jail as result of laundry room smoke.
  • 10:23 a.m. Female in Dodge SUV @ w/b H54 near Timberlake High possible DUI.
  • 10:19 a.m. Someone has been injured in a fall in 4000 block of W. Seasons Road/Twin Lakes.
  • 9:43 a.m. Stateline WalMart security has caught two female juveniles shoplifting.
  • 9:33 a.m. 73YO female unconscious but breathing 8n 600 block of N. Corbin Road/PF.
  • 9:28 a.m. ISP officer reports trash bag laying near intersection of H95/Hayden Avenue.
  • 9:22 a.m. Gold Toyota Camri broken down on n/b H95/MP 413.5 (Elder Road, north of Worley).
  • 8:53 a.m. 2-vehicle, blocking, non-injury crash reported on Wallace (possibly @ 1st/CdA).
  • 8:46 a.m. Loose dogs causing traffic hazard @ Idaho/Burlington, Rathdrum.
  • 8:43 a.m. CPD officer en route to undisclosed store where customer provided false info for purchase.

Oregon Mall Reopens After Shootings

The Clackamas Town Center mall opened its doors for the first time Friday morning since the shooting incident that claimed three lives and left one in serious condition on Tuesday. Retailers and mall staff were invited back to the mall Thursday morning for an urgent meeting that he said began with a word of prayer. Mall general manager Dennis Curtis estimated around 2,000 individuals work at the mall. While there were counseling personnel at the center Friday, Curtis said it's important to find normalcy/USA Today. More here.

Thoughts?

Obama Won’t Pursue CO, WA Pot Use

Backers of new laws that legalized marijuana in Washington and Colorado were cautiously optimistic after President Barack Obama said Uncle Sam wouldn’t pursue pot users in those states. Following the November votes in Washington and Colorado the Justice Department reiterated that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but had been vague about what its specific response would be. In a Barbara Walters interview airing Friday on ABC, President Barack Obama said: “It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view” to focus on drug use in states where it is now legal/SR & AP. More here.

Question: Is President Obama taking right  approach to pot use in Washington & Colorado?

What Do We Tell Our Children?

A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, this morning. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

A Facebook Friend posts: “This is one day I'm going to shield my kids from the news. They'll read about the school shootings soon enough, but just for today I'd like them to not be faced with such horrors.”

Question: How do you explain something like this to your children? Or do you try to protect them from today's dreadful news?

AM Headlines: Tent City For Spokane?

Ralph “Doc” Harvey and his wife, Becky, hope to form a tent city under Interstate 90 at South Browne Street in Spokane, at the site of vacant tennis courts. SR story here. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)

27 Killed In School Shooting

In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there this morning. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)

Question: How do we stop these carnages?

Kerri: Evil Eyes For Christmas

On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson posts: “The lovely little family across the street has a pretty outdoor lighting display on their house. Tonight I noticed they replaced the security lights on either side of the front of their garage with red bulbs. The view from my home office window is now a bit unsettling. Looks like evil eyes, ala Amityville Horror, staring at me from the dark.”

Question: Do you have a good/bad outdoor Christmas display in your neighborhood this year? Can you describe it for us?

Stebbi: Tough Call On Tent Cities

Stebbijo: It’s a tough call about tent cities. I don’t think that the bridge overpass in downtown Spokane) should be encouraged as an accepted spot for the homeless. It is an eyesore and is a problem whenever you get off the highway to enter Spokane. It’s not the best greeting to represent the area and must be a huge issue for business. Who want’s to shop down there? Ick. Just going to the medical offices and hospital in the area is like working your way through a slum. You don’t feel safe. My husband is not nearly as sympathetic as I am. He says, pick them up, put them in the car, take them to the county line, and tell them to keep walking because that puts them out of business. I don’t think that solves the problem because I don’t believe that most folks decide to grow up and become homeless but I do recognize that there are some who like and exploit the lifestyle. (SR photo)

Question: Would you want city officials and police to allow a tent city in a Kootenai County community?

Rathdrum OKs Up To 10 Chickens

Rathdrum has scratched its chicken law and added teeth to its vicious dog ordinance. The City Council approved an ordinance on Tuesday night that allows any single-family homeowner to have up to 10 hens on its property. The previous law only allowed homeowners of lots that are an acre or larger to have birds. The chickens are required to have a coop or other shelter and there are setback requirements for the structures. The council made the change after 10-year-old Alyson Chatterton requested that the city change the law so she could raise chickens for a 4-H project. The decision comes about two years after the council opted not to change the law after another resident came forward/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: What type of pet would you not want to see living in the yard next to you?

Trib: Jeers To The Great Nonini

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Opinion Editor Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune jeers Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene:

If anybody deserved a public flogging as he entered Idaho's upper legislative chamber, it was Nonini. In the eight years he inhabited the House, Nonini embodied its worst traits — arrogance, rigid ideology and factionalism. In a stunning display of chutzpah, Nonini decided he knew best who should join him in the Senate. Through his political action committee, Nonini funneled cash into the campaigns of right-wing primary challengers to Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, and Sen. John Tippets, R-Bennington. All three survived. So a trip to the woodshed was expected. But Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, and Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, were more forgiving. Instead of sweeping the floors of the Capitol basement for the next two years, Nonini will be spending his time on three committees — Agricultural Affairs, Education and Transportation. The Great Nonini lives on. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Agree/disagree?

Identical Twins Born In Tiny Toyota

Jessica and Matthew Graham hold their twin daughters Zoe, on left, and Adele on Thursday at Pullman Regional Hospital. The girls were born late Tuesday night in the family car with the help of emergency medical technicians and firefighters from the Pullman Fire Department. The identical sisters weighed more than 7 pounds each at birth. Moscow Pullman Daily News story here. (Moscow-Pullman Daily News photo: Dean Hare)

Question: Were you born somewhere other than a hospital?

Bloem Ready For Clark, Bigwigs

The secret is to stand around and let the residents do the work. For the second year in a row, Mayor Sandi Bloem and company will take on Spokane big wigs in a Salvation Army bell ringing showdown.Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Bloem will be in front of Fred Meyer for the day-long competition that raises money for the nonprofit's Red Kettle Campaign to scholarships and programs in time for the holidays. It's Lake City versus the Lilac City, and last year Coeur d'Alene whipped its western neighbor by raising roughly $5,200 to Spokane's $1,200. What's the secret? Letting the locals take over/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Are you planning to visit Coeur d'Alene Fred Meyer Saturday to drop a buck in Sandi Bloem's Salvation Army bucket and help her beat her Spokane challengers?

Labrador Named To Judiciary Panel

Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee in the House – the panel that’s expected to handle immigration reform, on which Labrador is positioning himself to become a player.  Yesterday, Politico dubbed Labrador one of “five Republicans who matter on immigration,” beyond the “big three,” Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. “This freshman with rock-solid conservative credentials is high on the list of likely partners for Democrats on any immigration overhaul,” Politico reported. “Labrador certainly has the expertise; he practiced immigration law for years and started his own practice. And the Puerto Rico native, who moved to the mainland as a teenager with his single mother, brings a compelling personal tale to the debate”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Is Congressman Raul Labrador about to become a major player on the national scene?

Anderson: App Mishap

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Thursday — 12.13.12

I have a good excuse for being crabby this morning. I had an extended-family medical emergency that kept me at Kootenai Medical Center ER from 1:30 to 4:30 a.m. today. All turned out well. But I discovered it's hard to catch a few winks of sleep in a plastic chair in one of those back ER rooms. I made the coffee extra strong this morning. So I'll see how long I can go before the Sand Man comes knocking. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.13.12

On her Facebook wall, Cindy posts: “Uh oh. My purse puked out this pile of receipts. Let's not tell anybody about this okay?”

Question: How long do you keep receipts? Do you pack them into a wallet/purse — or somewhere else? How old must they be before you get rid of them?

Slight Detour: We Can CALM Down

Yeah, 12-12-12 was a pretty big day for a lot of folks, but I'm thinking 12-13-12 is fairly monumental too. I just learned that I can calm down and that I don't need to work as hard while watching TV. Along with stories about mass murders and political bickering about physical cliffs–or was that fisticuffs–and updates on Lindsay Lohan being denied probation, there is good news about how our lives will change, and the great news is that it all starts today. Because of the CALM Act, we no longer need to fumble around looking for the remote every time a commercial airs. We can sit back, relax and maybe even take a catnap while waiting for the next segment of whatever show we happen to be watching. From this day forth,  the TV gods will have to match noise levels of regular TV programming whenever commercials air/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.

Question: Have you ever considered how much time you've wasted watching TV commercials?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.13.12

  • 5:22 p.m. PFPD officers request Bell Tower Funeral Home to handle unattended death.
  • 5:06 p.m. 4YO child is threatening to run away from Coeur d'Alene Manor.
  • 4:54 p.m. Individual involved in minor traffic infraction being followed of Greensferry/PF by other car.
  • 4:44 p.m. Argumentative drunk is walking across church lot @ 21st/Henry, PF.
  • 4:39 p.m. A large chunk of tire is laying on e/b I-90 just past Memorial Bridge/CdA.
  • 4:15 p.m. Someone has been injured in fall @ Hayden WalMart on Honeysuckle.
  • 4:07 p.m. Man is upset that the pitbull he was babysitting killed his chihuahua.
  • 3:57 p.m. Officer reports yield sign @ 4th & Kathleen/CdA roundabout has been knocked down.
  • 14 more items + AM Scanner Traffic below

PM Headlines — 12.13.12

Idaho Vandals forward Stephen Madison, left, leads Russell Elementary School students in the Vandal fight song during a Readers are Leaders program pep rally with the men's basketball team Wednesday in Moscow. Moscow-Pullman Daily News story here. (Daily News photo: Dean Hare)

NIdaho/Friends Blogs — 12.13.12

Coeur d’Alene Police Department records specialist Juli Cramer incorporated crime tape and toy police vehicles in decorating the lobby Christmas tree at police headquarters. (SR photo)

HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday, 12.12.12): 8800 page-views; 4449 unique views

JeanS: Santa Photo Meltdowns

My one regret as a parent (Oh, ok, I have a gazillion regrets, but this one particular one wasn’t my fault!), and that is that my two sons never got their picture taken with Santa. We tried but failed miserably. It happened that my first son was born on the 10th of December – a little too young for a picture with Santa, mainly because as a new mother, I was NOT going to let just anyone hold my brand new baby. Not even a jolly old saint of a man, wearing red pajamas and ho-hoing loudly, giggling his large belly. No way. We settled for dressing the baby in a Santa outfit and placing him under the tree for endless adorable pictures/JeanieS, Community Comment. More here. (AP photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Were your kids able to handle taking photos with Santa Claus?

SR Blogs — 12.13.12

At The Slice blog, Paul Turner asks: “How many thousands of hours did you spend looking at a set similar to one of these?” (Illustration: retrocassarole.com)

Boise State Up Creek Sans Paddle

Now they are wayward, the Big East football schools that never were. The nine football schools that thought they were buying their way into the Big East just got left out on the island of misfit boys. Boise State gave up geography and two time zones to go to the Big East. San Diego State joined the Broncos. Houston, Central Florida, Southern Methodist, East Carolina, Memphis and Tulane at one time or another left Conference USA for a bump in pay. Navy was due to join in 2015. There are 13 in all, four of them holdovers — Connecticut, South Florida, Temple and Cincinnati — from the conference formerly known as the Big East. What happens to those 13 football schools is the next question now that the seven Catholic basketball-playing schools plan to break away, as CBSSports.com has reported/Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports. More here.

Question: Do any of the Idaho Vandals fans out there feel bad re: the predicament that Boise State finds itself in, as  result of the exodus of Catholic schools from Big East?

Not Enough White Voters To Save R’s

A new study says Republicans are in dire straits because the party is so unpopular among Latinos. “Republicans have run out of persuadable white voters,” says the analysis by the conservative Resurgent Republic and the Hispanic Leadership Network. “For the fifth time in the past six presidential elections, Republicans lost the popular vote. Trying to win a national election by gaining a larger and larger share of a smaller and smaller portion of the electorate is a losing political proposition.” “To be competitive nationally in the future,” the study adds, “Republicans must do better among non-white Americans, especially Hispanics and Asians/Kenneth T. Walsh, U.S. News & World Report. More here.

Question: Do you consider this good news or bad news?

Rice Withdraws From Consideration

In this July 19 AP file photo, Susan Rice, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, listens during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria, at the United Nations. Rice has withdrawn from consideration for secretary of state. Story here. (AP File Photo/Kathy Willens)

Thoughts?

I Saw It Along The Waterfront …

… A blue-and-yellow Notre Dame flag on a flagpole, blowing in the stiff breeze, at that green house at the corner of West Lakeshore Drive and Military. I suppose the flag will fly until the BCS championship game next month. It'll be interesting to see if it's still displayed should Alabama win the collegiate football championship.

Question: Do you display a flag of any kind from your house or yard?

Anti-Luna Law Leaders Caution Otter

The co-chairs of the successful campaign to defeat Propositions 1, 2 and 3 on the November ballot, the “Students Come First” or Luna laws, today released a statement applauding Gov. Butch Otter for looking into forming a broad stakeholder task force to look into future school reforms, but urged against enacting any new reform laws in the upcoming legislative session. “It’s entirely feasible that this group could issue recommendations by the end of 2013, in time for the 2014 Legislature,” the two said in their two-page statement; you can read it here/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think Gov. Otter and Superintendent Tom Luna have the chutzpah to try to force education through the Idaho Legislature again, in 2013?

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts

This is easy, something a person with a broken ankle like myself, can manage to cook. Just throw in some flour, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, a little dried basil and poultry seasoning, and shake the goods until well coated, then dip into a couple of mixed up eggs and shake it again for a nice crispy crust. Bake for about 50-60 minutes at 400 degrees. This homemade shake and bake is a winner. I drizzled olive oil on the pan and turned the chicken breasts at 20 minutes. They were nice sized. Here is a recipe, I used, but added flour. It just holds better, along with the egg. I also used store bought bread crumbs. Okay, my take on this is nothing like the recipe, but you get the idea/Stebbijo/Stebbijo's Place. More here. (Photo: Stebbijo's Place)

Question: Which way do you prefer your chicken dinner to be prepared?

LDS Over-Represented in Legislature

More than 40 percent of Idaho legislators identify themselves as Protestant.  That’s in-line with religious affiliation for Idaho’s general population, which according to a 2008 survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, found 38 percent of Idahoans identify as Protestant. … At least 36 percent of Idaho’s legislators identify themselves with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That’s compared to 23 percent of Idaho’s total population. Conversely, there is a larger percentage of Catholics living in Idaho, than there are representing constituents in the Legislature. Eighteen percent of Idahoans say they’re Catholic, 8 percent of legislators self-identify as Catholic/Emilie Ritter Saunders, StateImpact. More here. (AP file photo of Mormon pioneer Brigham Young)

Question: Are you surprised to discover that the Mormon religion is over-represented — and the Catholic Church under-represented — in the Idaho Legislature demographically?

You Be The Editor/Producer …

On her Facebook wall, Colleen O'Brien/KXLY reports on a dilemma she faced recently while reporting on a homeless camp in downtown Spokane: “News dilemma of the day — how do we 'show' a feces smeared wall in downtown Spokane to illustrate the 'vandalism' on businesses near the homeless camp at I-90 and Division? The likely answer is blur it… we shall see.”

Question: What would you did if you were producing the newscast mentioned above?

2013 Golden Globe Nominations

This film image released by 20th Century Fox shows Suraj Sharma in a scene from “Life of Pi.” The film was nominated for a Golden Globe for best drama today. The 70th annual Golden Globe Awards will be held on Jan. 13. Golden Globe nomination list here. (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Jake Netter)

Question: Which of the entertainment industry awards shows do you enjoy most?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.13.12

  • 12:04 p.m. Male threw butter knife @ female, threatening to kill her @ Burma/Carlin Bay.
  • 12:02 p.m. Undisclosed traffic hazard reported @ Prairie/Ramsey Road/Hayden.
  • 11:41 a.m. Undisclosed parking problem reported @ 3406 Hayden Lake Road.
  • 11:35 a.m. Elderly female @ Beehive Homes, 2100 E. Sherman/CdA, has ulcer problems.
  • 11:30 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 12-13 here.
  • 10 more items below

Hayden Woman Loses Wedding Bands

Little meant more to Kathy Schnell than the two rings on her fingers. One, her father's wedding band. The other, her husband's. So when she realized they were missing Tuesday, she cried. “I can't sleep, I can't concentrate,” the Hayden woman said. Schnell is hoping and praying she gets them back. She has searched pawn shops. She's checking at any store that would buy gold rings. She has called anyone she believes could help. So far, no luck. She could use some luck right about now. “Even if I have to pay to get them back, I don't care,” she said Wednesday. The loss of the rings has taken an emotional and physical toll on Schnell/Bill Buley, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Have you ever lost your wedding ring/band?

Poll: GOP Has ‘Tolerance’ Problem

  • Wednesday Poll: A supermajority of Hucks Nation believe the national Republican Party has a “tolerance” problem. 127 of 186 respondents (68.28%) said the GOP has a “tolerance” problem. 56 of 186 (30.11%) said the GOP doesn't have that problem. 3 (1.61%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Which factor do you think is more important to the Coeur d'Alene School Board in deciding who to pick to fill a trustee vacancy — ideology or qualifications?

City To Get 29 Acres Of BLM Land

While the details have shifted, the big picture remains the same. The only question left to answer may be what the best use of the land would be. On one condition: The 29 acres stretching from Memorial Field to Riverstone, must be preserved for public space. “You could have soccer fields out here,” said Doug Eastwood, parks director, as he toured the land Tuesday and began brainstorming on what could one day develop on the stretch between Riverstone and City Park. “You could have just about anything.” First things first. After years of planning with several different agencies, the city of Coeur d'Alene is ready to gain control of the parcel, which was once old railroad line running west of Northwest Boulevard and through the education corridor/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos' photo: Doug Eastwood surveying BNSF land that will become part of city parks system)

Question: Can we all agree that this is a good deal for Coeur d'Alene?

AM Headlines — 12.13.12

Five-year-old Layla Armes watches the city of Spokane move past while riding on Bruce Spencer's horse-drawn carriage recently. Spencer, owner of Spencer's Carriage Rides in Post Falls, offers rides Friday and Saturday afternoons, thanks to sponsorships by the Downtown Partnership and STCU.. Cindy Hval SR story here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

A Very Old Textbook

So just how old are some of the textbooks that are still being used in the Post Falls School District? I'll let Facebook Friend Scott Peterson spell it out: “So my niece Zoe, a freshman at Post Falls High, texts me a picture after receiving her English Grammar and Composition book today. I guess if Post Falls School District ever needed to pass a levy it would be now. Sad part is my name is not the oldest of the bunch.”

Question: Can you get away with old textbooks for a subject that changes so little, like English grammar, right?

Christmas Cards? Oh Bother

On her Facebook page, Colleen O'Brien/KXLY posts: “Am I a bad person for not doing Christmas cards? I'm just NOT a card person. I find most cards taxing and impersonal. Like… if you're just going to sign your name at the bottom of a card don't bother. It's like sending a blank text. Perhaps I'm being a grinch?”

Question: Do you agree that the dwindling number of Christmas card senders shouldn't bother if all they do is sign their names at the bottom of a card?

North Idaho Solons Dis Obamacare

If it’s up to state legislators from North Idaho, the federal health-care overhaul law commonly known as “Obamacare” will continue to be a hot topic next year. “It is such a huge issue,” state Sen. Steve Vick said Wednesday at the annual Legislative Send-off luncheon at the Best Western Coeur d’Alene Inn. The event was hosted by the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce, and legislators shared their outlooks for the legislative session starting next month in Boise. Ron Mendive (pictured), a newly elected Republican state House member from Coeur d’Alene, said Obamacare — also known as the Affordable Care Act — is a “job killer.” “As far as industry goes, that’s a really serious issue,” Mendive said. “The federal government is trying to take over one-fifth of the U.S. economy, and that has ramifications far beyond anything we have even begun to discuss to this point.” He’s hoping the state can come up with alternatives/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Which North Idaho representatives are most likely to continue opposing Obamacare, including Gov. Butch Otter's call for a state-run health care exchange?

10Cs Of Getting, Keeping Dream Job

The job landscape for young professionals nowadays is an unpredictable slog. Yet despite the challenges and constant disappointments, many maintain a vision of their dream job, a wonderful but seemingly unattainable fruit-laden Eden where all good workers share laughs around perpetually filled water coolers. Unpaid internships and part-time gigs may keep you just back from the cusp of self-doubt, but have faith! As a current Inlander intern with experience at several other companies, I have weathered the harsh climb to the top of the sacred mountain of near-employment and I return to you now with 10 Commandments that will lead you closer to your promised job/Christian Wilson, Inlander. More here. (Illustration: Pacific Northwest Inlander)

Question: Do you have any tips for getting — and keeping — a job you want in these uncertain times?

Butch Knows Something IFF Doesn’t

When it comes to Obamacare, Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter knows several things Idaho Freedom Foundation Executive Director Wayne Hoffman does not. Otter has come out in favor of a state-run health insurance exchange. He says it beats having the feds operate this virtual portal where individuals, small businesses and low-income adults eligible for federal subsides can shop for insurance. Hoffman has come out swinging. Along with allies such as Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, Hoffman argues Otter has veered off the path of virtue: ” … A state exchange affords almost no flexibility and makes states co-owners of the looming disaster in medicine: higher insurance premiums, more expensive medical care, reduced accessibility and worse patient outcomes”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Who would you trust more to make the right decision on the health exchange for the state of Idaho — Gov. Butch Otter or Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation? (Yeah, I know it's a trick question)

Helping With Hurricane Sandy Effort

When Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast on Oct. 29, the American Red Cross sprang into action. Volunteers from across the U.S. converged on storm-damaged cities. Thirty-two of those volunteers were from the Spokane area. Spokane Valley residents Chuck and Janet Boehme were vacationing in Las Vegas when they got the call. They left their RV behind and flew to New Jersey, returning Dec. 2. “We were in Jersey City, where a lot of people had flooding,” said Janet Boehme. “In the morning we’d go to a mobile kitchen site and load up the ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle) with pallets of water and snacks. Then we’d load the hot meals.” A route manager told them where to deliver the supplies. “We’d set up in a corner of a neighborhood,” Boehme said. “You really got a community feeling as firefighters pitched in to help us unload”/Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (Dan Pelle SR photo: Annie Miraglia and Stacey Bogar have returned from the East Coast after helping victims of Hurricane Sandy)

Question: Have you ever been part of a relief effort or received assistance from the American Red Cross?

3 Seek School Board Vacancy

Brent Regan (middle), one of three applicants for a Coeur d'Alene School Board vacancy, is interviewed by a Coeur d'Alene Press reporter during a demonstration by United Conservatives of North Idaho near the Kootenai County Courthouse earlier this fall.

The next trustee to round out the Coeur d'Alene School District's five-member school board will likely be one of three applicants who submitted their paperwork by Wednesday's 5 p.m. deadline. Trustees will consider Christa Hazel, Casey Morrisroe and Brent Regan for appointment to the board's vacant Zone 1 seat. Jim Purtee held the position by appointment from April until Nov. 15, when he resigned, citing health reasons. The board will meet Monday at 5 p.m. at the Midtown Center to interview the applicants and potentially select one for appointment. Hazel and Morrisroe each previously sought appointment to the Zone 1 seat and were in a pool of six applicants from which Purtee was selected last spring. Hazel also applied for appointment in May 2011 following Edie Brooks McLachlan's resignation/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Will Coeur d'Alene school trustees base their next appointment on ideology or qualifications?

McMillan Files Disclosure Report

At 1 minute to 5 p.m. today Boise time, the Idaho Secretary of State’s office reported that Rep. Shannon McMillan (pictured), R-Silverton, had filed her campaign finance report; up to that point, she was the only incumbent lawmaker who hadn’t filed. The deadline was Dec. 6. By getting the report in now, she avoids possible $50-a-day fines. In other news from North Idaho lawmakers’ and candidates’ latest finance reports, the candidate who ended the election cycle with the biggest campaign debt in North Idaho is new Rep. Thyra Stevenson, R-Lewiston, who reported $21,000 in campaign debt to herself at the close of the reporting period. … The third-highest campaign debt reported in North Idaho, in districts 1 through 7, belongs to new Rep. Ed Morse, though the $10,000 debt is a holdover from his hard-fought primary race, in which he defeated then-Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Is it a small matter to you whether a candidate files his/her campaign finance report on time?

Bloem, Clark In Bell-Ringing Faceoff

My hope of experiencing a déjà toot with the Eastern Washington University band must be a dream deferred. The good news is that I didn’t waste any time trying to resurrect my deceased trumpet lip. But due to scheduling demands far beyond my control, I won’t be joining the EWU band this Saturday as the mighty Eagles take on a football team from Sam Houston State in the FCS semifinal on scarlet Roos Field. Not that I’m complaining. On Saturday I’ll be having loads of excitement with another goodhearted team that includes Randy Shaw, Amy Biviano, Sammy Eubanks and others. The Fred Meyer store on Thor Street in Spokane is the place. The fun begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. We will be taking part in the Salvation Army’s annual red kettle Ring Off between the Spokane mayor and Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, who will be doing her thing at the Lake City’s Fred Meyer/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Who do you think will win?

Bennett: Marley’s Ghost

Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Hump Day Wild Card — 12.12.12

Sometime later today, Huckleberries Online will reach my annual goal of 2.5 million page-views — a target I've hit only once before, in 2010 when the blog attracted 2.595 page-views. The blog will fall a little short of that this year. But, all and all, I'd say HucksOnline is going strong as it nears the end of its ninth year of existence. Thanks for your followership and making it fun for me to be at the helm of this cyber news source. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.12.12

Newborn Noelle Joy Klinker, of Reading, Mass., who was born at 12:12 p.m. at the Massachusetts General Hospital, rests in her mother Colleen's arms a few hours after birth today (12.12.2012) in Boston. Noelle was a natural birth. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

And The CSB Applicants Are …

Huckleberries hears that the three applicants for the Coeur d'Alene School Board vacancy created by the resignation of James Purtee are: Christa Hazel, Brent Regan and Casey Morrisroe. We'll break down these applicants Thursday.

New Brewing Company Fills CdA Void

For Matt Morrow (pictured), it’s like Christmas in … well, December. Morrow had hoped to have his Trickster’s Brewing Co. in Coeur d’Alene up and running by July, if not sooner. But license and permit delays kept pushing the date back. When Trickster’s finally opened its doors Dec. 1, the Lake City welcomed its first brewery since Coeur d’Alene Brewing closed two years ago. “It’s been a long 12 months,” Morrow said. “I wanted to walk away more than a couple of times, but I had so much into it. I was past the point of no return a long time ago.” Morrow, 27, grew up in Tulsa but relocated to Colorado, where he discovered the two loves of his life: his wife, Emily, and brewing beer/Rick Bonino, SR. More here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Are you ready for a new Coeur d'Alene brewing company?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.12.12

  • 5:58 p.m. Driver of dark pickup possibly DUI on e/b H53/MP 6 (near Rathdrum).
  • 5:37 p.m. Male appeared to have handgun before leaving in 4Runner @ Torrey/Atlas, Hayden.
  • 5:22 p.m. Driver of vehicle weaving badly @ Miles/Maple, Hayden, possibly DUI.
  • 4:52 p.m. KREM2: Post Falls PD arrested a man & his girlfriend after a brief standoff at 202 W. 7th. (May be related to 3:09 item in drop down box)
  • 4:49 p.m. Rathdrum man is threatening to kill his mother and himself w/butcher knife.
  • 4:46 p.m. 15YO boy w/abuse history is throwing items at his mother on Cloverleaf Road/Hayden.
  • 4:36 p.m. 26YO female on 7th/CdA is on hot line threatening to cut throat w/knife or broken glass.
  • 12 more items and AM Scanner Traffic link below

AM Headlines — 12.12.12

Riley O’Connell, left, 11, and his friend, Isaac Falen, 11, ride their bicycles away from Moscow Middle School on Tuesday. O’Connell turned 12 today — 12/12/12. Twelve years ago, Riley O'Connell was born Dec. 12, he weighed nearly 12 pounds and was born 12 minutes before midnight - that's 12 a.m. Daily News story here. (Moscow-Pullman Daily News photo: Dean Hare)

SR Blogs — 12.12.12

“Bighorn rams defy the concussion issue plaguing the sport of football,” posts Rich Landers/SR Outdoors blog. “With unbelievable power they reserved for the mating seasons, males prove their superiority with a challenging ram by squaring off and rising to their hind feet to “ram” their horns together. The impact sounds like the boom of a high-powered rifle.” More here. (Photo: Jaime Johnson)

NIdaho/Friends Blogs — 12.12.12

“I used to crochet years ago and was fairly skilled, but as time passes by, you forget how to do things if you don't keep up with the hobby,” posts Stebbijo/Stebbijo's Place. “However, it's like riding a bicycle when you start up again, but it's a bit shaky at first.” More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Tuesday, Dec. 11): 8256 page-views/4449 unique views

61YO Hayden Man Killed In Crash

A 61-year-old Hayden man was found dead in his Jeep Commander along Hayden Lake Road Tuesday evening, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. The fiancee of Thomas McLennon reported him missing at 7 p.m. Tuesday. He may have been missing as long ago as Monday night. Deputies retraced his usual route from his work to his house and found his Jeep Commander about ½ mile from E. Hayden Lake Rd on his long, winding driveway. McLennon was found inside the Jeep, deceased. The Jeep had apparently left the driveway and crashed into a hillside and some trees prior to catching fire. The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Traffic Investigation Team is currently investigating the incident.

Taking Wing

Canada geese fly from pool to pool on a partially frozen lake, the morning after temperatures dropped and a few inches of snow fell, in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Gonzaga Mentioned For New League

The wave of conference realignment has pulled Gonzaga’s name into the discussion. At a meeting in New York on Sunday, presidents and athletic directors of the Big East Conference’s seven Catholic, non-FBS schools discussed numerous options, including the possibility of leaving behind the new-look Big East and creating a basketball-only conference, according to media reports. The seven schools – DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova –would presumably need additional members and schools that could be considered include Xavier, Butler, Saint Louis, Creighton and Gonzaga. ESPN.com reported that Gonzaga would “love” to be part of a part of “a national, branded basketball conference.” At the very least, Gonzaga is keeping a close eye on the latest round of conference shuffling/Jim Meehan, SR. More here.

Question: Would you like to see Gonzaga move to a league with a national brand?

Weather Or Not

Am I the only one who noticed that the weathermeisters were calling for heavy snow last night and today in Coeur d'Alene and our suburb of Spokane? What's up with that? We've experienced light rain. At best. Or overcast skies. I enjoyed another noon walk along the shoreline today with nary a drop of rain hitting me. So how do the weithermeisters get away with such a miss — and yet we'll tune in again this evening and night to find out what the weather will be like tomorrow.

Question: Is there any occupation other than weather forecasting that maintains credibility despite occasional (frequent?) wrong forecasts?

McMillan Misses Reporting Deadline

Second-term Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, hasn’t filed the required post-election campaign finance report, the only North Idaho legislative incumbent or candidate to miss the filing deadline. The reports were due the Dec. 6 – today’s the 12th. Candidates can meet the deadline by having that postmark, so the Secretary of State’s office is just gearing up now to go after those who haven’t filed; notices will go out tomorrow. In addition to McMillan, six unsuccessful legislative candidates around the state missed the deadline; she was the only incumbent/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Thoughts?

News Quiz: More BB Tickets Available

If you've kept pace with current events, you'll probably fare well — and even win a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel — in this week's quiz. And simply by entering, you're eligible to win four tickets to see the EWU men's basketball team play Weber State. Good luck! Take News Quiz here.

  • Leaderboard: 6 entries on the leaderboard are from Hucks Nation — Kcc1029, TLPoelstra, EddieTorreal, SpudBob, MrD and KCres. Entry deadline is Thursday evening.
      

Idaho No. 2 In Volunteering

Idahoans residents volunteer at a rate that is second to only one other states, according to the 2011 “Volunteering and Civic Life in America” Report. Idaho's volunteer rate of 38.8% (with a value of $1.4 billion) is second only to Utah's 40.9%. Idaho finished ahead of Iowa (38.4%), Minnesota (38%) and South Dakota (36.8%) to round out the top five. The Gem State also was tied for fourth with Georgia for the greatest increase in volunteering from the previous year — 3.7%. You can see the complete rankings here.

Volunteering and Civic Life in America reports the following findings re: Idaho:

  • 58.4 volunteer hours per resident.
  • 72.9% do favors for their neighbors.
  • 92.8% eat dinner with their family a few times a week or more.
  • 58% discuss politics a few times a month or more.
  • 455,920 volunteers.
  • 68.7 million hours of service.
  • $1.4 billion of service contributed.

Question: Do you volunteer? Where?

Celebrating 12.12.12 Birthdays

Sialas Tripp of Coeur d'Alene and Alexis Davis of Post Falls celebrate their 12th birthdays on 12/12/12 with an appearance on KVNI-AM 1080 radio this morning. “In a small world coincidence,” posts Kerri Thoreson/KVNI, “both were born at Kootenai Medical Center so were actually in the hospital nursery at the same time!”

Question: Do you have a favorite number?

Otter Becomes Obamacare Salesman

Butch Otter — the young, brash conservative legislator of almost 40 years ago — is known for rising to the House floor and famously casting a vote of “hell no” on an anti-pornography bill. On Tuesday, Otter voted, “Meh.” Yes, the governor voiced support, again, for a state-run health insurance exchange. Yes, he’s on the right side on an emotional issue. But he couldn’t be any less enthusiastic or more conflicted about it. Otter’s 522-word statement Tuesday furnishes vast wiggle room — for the legislators who must approve a state-run exchange, and even for Otter himself. In spots, it was less an endorsement of a state health exchange than it was another indictment of the federal health care law that mandates an exchange/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Should the governor defer to legislators who still are at war with Obamacare?


Read more here: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/12/krichert/otter_idahos_powerful_reluctant_health_exchange_salesman#storylink=twt#storylink=cpy

Guv Tabs Woman To Deal w/Budget

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has named a new budget director:  Jani Revier, who served on his congressional staff and has worked as a special projects manager for Congressman Mike Simpson since 2007. Revier, the first woman to hold the position, will start as Otter's Division of Financial Management chief Jan. 2; the appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. Revier, who also previously worked for the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry, Conservation and Rural Revitalization and as a legislative assistant to then-U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, is the daughter of state Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Nice to see Butch breaking up the good ol' boys club in his administration, with the occasional female pick. Am I being too hard here?

Forbes: Utah Best State For Biz

Utah heads (Forbes 2012) list of the Best States for Business for a third straight year. Utah’s economy has expanded 2.3% annually since 2006–fifth best in the U.S–versus 0.5% for the nation as a whole. “We have a very fertile environment for entrepreneurs and business,” says Gov. Gary Herbert, who was reelected last month in a 68%-28% landslide. Herbert cites three areas where Utah has a competitive advantage: taxes, its labor force and a favorable regulatory climate. Utah’s 5% flat corporate tax rate is one of the lowest in the country/Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes. More here.

  • Washington is No. 11, Idaho No. 19

Question: Forbes makes the argument that 9 of the 10 states for doing business are right-to-work states. Do you support Idaho's right-to-work law?

JohnA: Happy Birthday To … Me

JohnA: It (12.12.12) means I’m another year older today. :) I remember when I was seven I had an interest in numbers, partly because my dad’s birthday was 6/6, my aunt’s was 9/9 and mine was 12/12/55. So, I calculated how old I would be on 12/12/12 and remarked to my first grade teacher Mrs. Vaden that I would be REALLY old. There are days when I feel like that prediction. And yes, Keith, I did buy a lottery ticket for tonight, because you never know…

Question: Do you share a birthday with someone famous?

Musician Ravi Shankar, 92, RIP

Indian musician Ravi Shankar performs during the opening day of the Paleo Festival, in Nyon, Switzerland.  Shankar, the sitar virtuoso who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s after hobnobbing with the Beatles and who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over an eight-decade career, died Tuesday. He was 92. (AP Photo/Keystone, Sandro Campardo, File)

Question: How many of you out there remember Ravi Shankar?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.12.12

  • 11:57 a.m. Resident in 11100 block of N. Church Road//Rathdrum reports hearing crash of rock being thrown through back window when he returned home 15 minutes ago. No one gained entry to home.
  • 11:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 11-12 here.
  • 11:24 a.m. Doctor's office @ 8181 Cornerstone/Hayden reports patient w/chest pain.
  • 11:02 a.m. A dog is running loose causing traffic hazard @ 29560 N5th/Athol.
  • 10 more items below

Lake City Spokeswoman Checks In

Kristina Lyman (city of Coeur d'Alene PIO): Hello bloggers. I’m here and have read this string. My, aren’t you a tough crowd. You likely will not see me on comment strings, unless I need to get a fact out or relay some information. But I thought I’d at least say hello since there were quite a few comments about me. I do read the blog and find it very informative. I’m happy to chat with you about what I’m doing for the city, etc. But it’s not the best use of my time to blog about it. So feel free to email me (kristina.lyman@gmail.com) and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

Thoughts?

Solons Don’t Reflect Idaho Workers

Almost half of the legislators in Idaho work in agriculture or business when they’re not making policy in Boise. Over the last month, StateImpact Idaho has collected basic demographic information on the 2013 Idaho Legislature.  Some of the information we gathered came directly from lawmakers. Some of it was gathered from Project Vote Smart, the Idaho Legislature, or Nexis. We wanted to better understand the makeup of the Legislature, and whether the people making laws in Idaho truly represent the overall population.  When you look solely at occupation, it’s safe to say Idaho’s citizen Legislature isn’t very representative of Idaho/Emilie Ritter Saunders, StateImpact. More here.

Question: Do you share an occupation with an Idaho legislator?

Poll: Vaccination Foes ‘Foolish’

  • Tuesday Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation said that parents who refuse to allow their children to be vaccinated are “foolish.” 151 of 192 respondents (78.65%) took that position. Meanwhile, 25 of 192 respondents (13.02%) described such parents as “cautious”; 5 (2.6%) as “wise”; and 4 (2.08%) as “principled.” 7 respondents (3.65%) marked “other.”
  • Today's Poll: Do you think the national Republican Party has a “tolerance” problem?

AM: M’s Land Ex-NIC Star Jason Bay

Seattle Mariners' Jason Bay smiles as he begins interviews with reporters while standing in front of his new locker on Monday in Seattle. Bay, a former North Idaho College Cardinal and Gonzaga Bulldog star, signed a one-year deal with the Mariners in the hopes of putting in the past a miserable three years with the New York Mets. Larry Stone's Seattle Times column here. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Lake City Gas Prices Drop To $3.13

On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson reports, “Several stations in Coeur d'Alene and Hayden today had gas at $3.13 per gallon. It would make me happy to be paying under $3 in 2013.”

Question: How low do you expect gas prices to go before they bottom out?

Oregon Guv Orders Flags Lowered

Oregon Gov. John  Kitzhaber today ordered all flags at public institutions statewide to be lowered immediately and flown at half-staff until sunset today in remembrance of individuals who died in Clackamas Town Center shooting Tuesday. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and their friends during this very difficult time,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “I would also like to thank the first responders and the many citizens who helped protect those at risk”/Kitzhaber news release. (Oregon governor's page photo of Gov. John Kitzhaber)

 Question: I mean no disrespect to the victims of this senseless shooting spree. But is it proper to lower a state's flag to pay respect to civilians killed in this matter?

Press: Step Right Up, LCDC

Property owners along Front Avenue should ante up for improvements that will increase their property values, but city officials need to put a reasonable lid on their request. The city might create a LID - Local Improvement District - that would pull in $1.2 million of the estimated $2.9 million needed for improvements along the street as part of the McEuen Park reconstruction project. That boils down to some $400 per foot of frontage space - an astronomical and unreasonable sum. Some of the negotiating that's beginning to take place centers on whether or not the city promised no additional taxes as part of the McEuen funding plan. That's a legitimate question which we'll answer in a moment, but it's not the right target/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Should LCDC help pay for improvements on Front Avenue?

Florida State Adds UI to ‘13 Schedule

With one game still left in Florida State's 2012 season, the Seminoles have already begun firming up their 2013 schedule. FSU has reportedly added a late-season, home, non-conference game with Idaho onto next year's calendar. The Seminoles and Vandals are slated to play Nov. 23 at Doak Campbell Stadium in what will be their first meeting. Idaho first reported the game on its website Wednesday morning. The Orlando Sentinel reached out to FSU on Wednesday morning to confirm the news, but officials at the school haven't yet made confirmation/Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel. More here.

Question: Can you say, “road kill,” baybee?

Strange Thing About Strange Dates

Over the years I've noted a type of odd feeling when a date falls on the calendar where the day, month and year all have the same numerals attached. Today's date of 12-12-12 is my case in point. I'm not a numerology guy. I don't think that different things collide simply because key numbers coalesce together. Yet, I do find these days odd. I write or see the date on papers, checks, blog posts. I pen the numbers on journal entries, notes to friends and mention the oddness with family in conversations. And I pause. Today is a very unusual day. There won't be one like it but once in a hundred years. For today's date - it's only happened 252 times over two millennia (that's around 730,000 days - for the geeks) in the western culture calendar so far, you know/Dennis Mansfield. More here. (AP photo: Signage for the “12-12-12” concert is displayed on the Madison Square Garden jumbotron, Tuesday in New York)

Question: Does today's date mean something special to you?

Poll: GOP Has ‘Tolerance’ Problem

President Obama's top pollster said the Republican Party has a 'tolerance problem' and predicted they will continue to struggle at the ballot box if they don't have a major tonal change. “If Republicans approach this as if they have a Latino problem I think that they are missing a larger dynamic that's in place right now. I believe that The Republican Party has a tolerance problem,” Obama pollster Joel Benenson said at event hosted by the center-left group Third Way Wednesday morning. “When you define people who look differently than you as illegal aliens and use that term over and over again and talk about self-deporting them that's a tolerance issue.” Benenson said other examples of the GOP's “tolerance problem” included their calling those who believe in global warming “job killers,” and its stances on gay marriage, Planned Parenthood and contraception/Cameron Joseph, The Hill. More here. (Wikipedia photo: GOP symbol)

Question: Do you think the national Republican Party has a tolerance problem?

Getting Married On 12-12-12

Tee shirts advertising the 12-12-12 date sit on display at A Little White Wedding Chapel Tuesday in Las Vegas. These “once-in-a-century” wedding dates have become more important each year as people increasingly look outside Vegas for nontraditional weddings. Once known as the wedding capital of the world, Vegas' share of the U.S. wedding market has fallen by a third since 2004. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Question: What is your wedding anniversary date?

Councilman Targets Story Time

Story time? Really, Councilman Fagan? The next time you hear the government-phobes launch the script about crushing taxes and runaway waste, remember Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan and his insights into the city’s library system, offered during the passionate debate Monday night about the city’s budget. Story time. That was one of Fagan’s examples of a world gone mad – of government overreach that must be reined in. Story time. Programs on genealogy. Monthly movie nights. All these nonessential services that the city’s library system is offering. “This is one of the reasons why government in my mind has gotten out of control,” he said. “This is crazy. It has way gotten out of control.” Out of control! Crazy! Completely, crazily lacking in control!/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: What types of “fluff” do you think government should underwrite?

Bloem Delivers State of City Address

In 2000, citizens were asked what Coeur d'Alene should focus on as it built for the future, 2020 to be exact. Almost everything, the survey answers said. Get busy, they said, on expanding arts and culture, economic vitality, parks and recreation opportunities, housing, public safety, infrastructure … A dozen years later Mayor Sandi Bloem reminded citizens of that vision, which the council adopted back then as a road map to the future. Partly to recognize how far the city has come, she said, but also to recognize how much more can be done as the city builds for the future - to 2020 and beyond.”The first step in setting goals for the city … is to have a vision,” Mayor Sandi Bloem said Tuesday during her State of the City address at The Coeur d'Alene Resort, the annual end of the year speech that summarizes the last 12 months of city affairs, while outlining what lies ahead. “Being successful will depend on our vision, and how we have met the goals outlined by the citizens.” But in 12 years, items have been checked off in impressive fashion, she said/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce Facebook photo: Sandi Bloem at Upbeat Breakfast Monday)

Question: Is Coeur d'Alene better off today than it was in 2000?

Assessor Appeals BOE Assessment

Tuesday marked an unusual occurrence for Kootenai County, when the Idaho Board of Tax Appeals held a hearing where the county Assessor's Office appealed a property assessment. That is, the Assessor's Office appealed a decision the county commissioners made this summer — when they convened as the Board of Equalization — to reduce a citizen's assessed property value. The commissioners convene as the BOE every year to hear county citizens' appeals of their property value assessments.This year, the Assessor's Office only appealed two of the BOE's decisions to the state. Not bad, considering the BOE deliberated on more than 100 property assessment appeals this summer. … At the hearing on Tuesday afternoon, the Assessor's Office challenged the BOE's decision to lower Marty Krupitsky's assessed property value for his Parkside Tower condo from $612,000 to $565,000/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Donna Hoppe, with the Kootenai County Assessor's Office, discusses the steps taken to appraise Marty Krupitsky's home in Coeur d'Alene)

Question: Have you ever appealed a property tax assessment?

Heller: Beware Of The Cookie

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Tuesday — 12.11.12

Gosh, you take a well-deserved coupla daze of vacay — and get clobbered for it in the comments thread. I may appear to be a grizzled, old blogmeister with 4-inch journo rino skin, but deep down inside I'm … a grizzled, old blogmeister with 4-inch journo skin. So I'll ignore your whining and propensity to be baited into discussions about cats in my absence — and post today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.11.12

On her Facebook page Monday, Kerri Thoreson writes: “What a Monday this is. Started out with me leaving the house without my packet of show notes and having to re-create from memory right before going on the air. Plus I polished my nails Christmas green and am just not sure that's a color one should have on their fingers.”

Question (for Ladies of HucksOnline): How do you decide which color to use on your fingernails?

Yum: Maple Praline Bacon Recipe

I love it when someone gives me a recipe to try because they want to know if it is good or not but not necessarily on the foods they can eat. It helps if someone can eat it for you,so you can still have the inner joy of getting close to the forbidden goods. You may just want a taste and the sounds of this recipe was irresistible. I will be more than happy to  act as a guniea pig when it comes to food,  my husband has no problem stepping in to volunteer, either.  Who eats candied bacon, of all things? I had to try it. This stuff is like popcorn or potato chips, you can't eat just one. This is an around the fireplace snack and would be a hit at any camp out to do up in your cast iron fry pan. Leave some of this out for Santa, he will be sure to come back next year/Stebbijo, Stebbijo's Place. More here.

Question: What is the most fattening thing you've eaten so far this month?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.11.12

  • 5:25 p.m. Female sitting in disabled white mini-van on s/b H95/MP 410 (Stringham, north of Worley).
  • 5:23 p.m. Vehicles trying to make U-turns @ Ramsey & NW Blvd to avoid traffic jam from crash.
  • 5:22 p.m. 2 drunks in black clothes from Coeur d'Alene Casino trying to hitch rides @ H95/H58.
  • 5:17 p.m. Hazmat team responding to report of gas on roadway @ Seltice Way & Huetter.
  • 5:13 p.m. Responders extricate I-90 driver (4:41 item) from vehicle & taking him to KMC.
  • 4:59 p.m. 2-vehicle, injury accident @ Government Way/Aqua, CdA. Mother w/3 small children complaining of neck and back pain.
  • 4:51 p.m. Traffic w/b on I-90 backed up as result of 4:41 p.m. rollover. Responders are trying to stabilize the vehicle and flatten the rough to get driver out of the vehicle.
  • 4:41 p.m. Responders to rollover in w/b I-90 median near Huetter rest stop report extrication is needed. Accident may involved 2nd vehicle with front-end damage parked at rest stop.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 10-11 here.
  • 11 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 12.11.12

Susan Weathers, the Coeur d'Alene city clerk, talks with coworkers and friends during her farewell party Friday at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. Weathers worked with the City of Coeur d'Alene for 26 years. (If you look closely, you'll see DFO talking to assistant city manager Jon Ingalls in the background) Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)

NIdaho/Friends Blogs — 12.11.12

In case you wondered how John Chamness, former director of Coeur d'Alene's Kroc Center, is doing now … that's him on the far left, with his wife next to him. John now is divisional commander for the Salvation Army in Honolulu, Hawaii. Tough gig, hunh?

HucksOnline numbers (for week of Dec. 2-8): 43,403 page-views/24,976 unique views

Prank Call Station To Donate Ad $$$

2Day FM, the Australian radio station behind a prank call to Kate Middleton's hospital plans to donate money to the family of the nurse who was found dead after the hoax. Last week, nurse Jacintha Saldanha transferred a call from two Australian DJs posing as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles to a colleague. They were given confidential information about Kate Middleton's condition. Saldanha was later found dead in a suspected suicide, with many alleging that the hoax led her to take her life. BBC reports that 2Day FM will donate its advertising profits for the rest of the year to a memorial fund to benefit Saldanha's family. At least 500,000 Australian dollars (£320,000) will be donated/Huffington Post. More here. (AP photo: Britain's Prince William stand next to his wife, Kate, as she leaves the King Edward VII hospital in London.)

Thoughts?

Johnson: Idaho Poet Judge Dies At 75

Today, Idaho is shy one of its true characters — an original with a biography to match.

  • A Boise High School baseball pitcher who struck out a fellow Idaho native son destined for better days on the diamond: future Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.
  • A political aspirant who lost three runs for office — then landed, for more than a decade, on the state’s Supreme Court.
  • A student of his state’s heritage, who dedicated time and energy to preserving the history of his adopted home of Idaho City.
  • A Harvard-educated attorney who eschewed airs — starting with neckties in the courtroom.
  • A man who, above all, wanted to be known as a poet. And wrote his obituary to match.

Byron Johnson, who died Sunday at age 75, followed his muse and heeded his instincts/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Thoughts?

SR Blogs: Gifts From The Kitchen

“There’s still time to join me and whip together some treats for others before the season slips away,” posts Lori Hutson/Too Many Cooks. “I'm fussing over ideas for the Meyer lemons I found this weekend at Costco. I was thinking of lemon curd, but I'm cranky about the recipes I've found because they call f