Advertise Here

Huckleberries Online

Archive for February 2012

Leap Day Wild Card — 2.29.12

Saw “Hugo” last night. And now understand why director Martin Scorsese & Co. won all those Oscars for technical perfection. It's out on video, if you want to treat yourself to an entertaining 2 1/2 hours. You can thank me later. After reading Dennis Mansfield's review of “The Actor,” I've added that to my list of must-see DVD. Now for your morning Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.29.12

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter answers questions for a television reporter during a news conference earlier today at the Idaho Center in Nampa. On March 6 Idaho will take part in their first ever Republican Presidential Caucus as part of “Super Tuesday”. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Charlie Litchfield)

Sex Offender Delisting Bill Advances

Senate lawmakers are trying to give young men convicted under an older definition of statutory rape an opportunity to clear their name from the sex offender registry. The Judiciary and Rules Committee advanced a bill Wednesday that applies to young men who were convicted of statutory rape before 2010. In 2010, the Legislature cleared statutory rape charges in cases of consensual sex when a man is within three years in age of his 16 or 17-year-old partner. Previously no girl under 18 could legally give consent. Sen. Les Bock of Garden City says many offenders convicted under the old law might not be found guilty under the new definition/AP. More here.

Question: Do you support this bill, which would allow delisting of sex offenders in certain kinds of older statutory rape cases?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.29.12

  • 5:37 p.m. Male reports girlfriend's mom has locked herself in garage w/car running, off 14th/PF.
  • 5:36 p.m. 8YO girl walking s/b along H95 from Remington/Athol carrying backpack w/stuffed animal.
  • 5:33 p.m. Les Schwab manager reports disorderly male @ tire center, 2018 Govt Way/CdA.
  • 5:24 p.m. Male is drinking beer outside an undisclosed Post Falls business.
  • 5:13 p.m. Caller reports a dog running loose in road @ 1206 E. Locust Ave/CdA.
  • 5:01 p.m. Someone reports on USFS channel that there are people shooting on Fernan Saddle. (Update: Ranger reports a male & a female in a red Mustang are shooting at a no-shooting sign.)
  • 4:28 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Albertson's in Ironwood Square reports a shoplifter.
  • 4:24 p.m. Caller reports a 21YO Hauser male who's wanted on a warrant was in a fight with her son in 1500 block of Hemlock/CdA before leaving w/another male in vehicle.
  • 4:19 p.m. Woman in 3200 block of Echo/PF has questions re: a custodial order.
  • 4:13 p.m. An officer is wanted to serve a warrant @ Kootenai Adult Probation.
  • 16 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link

PM: Skunked In Louisiana

Brandon Palaniuk, 24, of Rathdrum, lands his first of three fish totaling 5 pounds 15 ounces on the Red River of Louisiana in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic. But that total just moved him up to 48th place among the 49 anglers who competed Saturday. He was the only angler in the competition to get skunked on Day 1. Rich Landers of SR Outdoors reports on the event here.

Flagship Outdated, Sez BOE President

Mission statements for the University of Idaho, Boise State University and Idaho State University were tweaked this month in order to promote a climate that is “consistent and collegial in nature rather than comparative or competitive.” So says State Board of Education President Richard Westerberg in a guest opinion sent out this afternoon. Westerberg further explains the board's controversial decision to strike the word “flagship” from the University of Idaho's mission: “There was much thoughtful, and sometimes spirited, discussion about proposed updates. The proposed mission statement for the University of Idaho included the term 'flagship,' which was not used in previous mission statements and was not deemed appropriate by the board”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Idaho Bored of Education prez Richard Westerberg that “flagship” is a “single, outdated word” that doesn't belong in UI mission statement?

Read more here:

NIdaho Blogs — 2.29.12

I couldn't decide which photo I liked best of Sue Hutter's daughter, Chloe, running along the north shore. So I published one Tuesday afternoon of her running on top of the seawall with the Coeur d'Alene Resort floating green in the background. Now, this tri-weekly roundup spot gives me a chance to publish another — and point you to Sue's Wine Chocolate & Friendship blog here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Monday): 8901/5535, and (for Tuesday): 8303/5159

Ron Paul To Visit Moscow, Sandpoint

Ron Paul has tentatively placed Moscow back on his campaign trail ahead of Super Tuesday, seeking a larger venue after his first visit was to a shut-out crowd. According to an email from a campaign staffer, the Texas congressman plans to visit three Idaho cities Monday — Sandpoint at 11 a.m., Moscow at 2 p.m., and Idaho Falls at 7 p.m. Paul's staff is currently fleshing out a contract with the University of Idaho to use the Kibbie Dome, said Karen Calisterio, north Idaho regional director for the campaign/AP.

Question: How important are the results of the Washington (Saturday) and Idaho (Tuesday) caucuses to Ron Paul GOP presidential hopes?

Dennis: The Silent Movie That Roars

The Artist is an unusually entertaining and surprisingly joyful film. My bride, my brother and I watched it Oscar Day+1, not because it won so many Academy Awards, but because my sweet Susan wanted to see the film many weeks ago - and we just did not make time to do so. Tonight we made that needed time. And it was a wonderful investment on our collective behalves. The film is touching and beautifully shot. The techniques of the '20s are employed as if the last master silent film cinematographer had not passed away decades ago. The black and white filming was so sharp and completely alive. The film can be watched by any member of your family … no kidding/Dennis Mansfield. More here. (AP file photo: Jean Dujardin, left, kisses his Oscar for best actor for “The Artist”)

Question: Which of the 9 nominations for movies of the year have you watched?

February Going Out Like A Lion

On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson of ESPN 1080 (aka KVNI) posts this photo of a woman she saw cross-country skiing northbound in front of Forest Cemetery along Government Way at about 9 this morning.

Question: Does anyone know this woman?

Hayden Man Gets 6 Yrs For Child Porn

A Hayden Lake man is to spend more than six years in federal prison for possessing child pornography. Charley Brigham Leighton II, 41, also is to be on probation for 15 years, forfeit the computer and media used in the crime and register as a sex offender under a sentence imposed today in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene. Investigators seized computers from Leighton's home in August 2010 that contained pornography images of children. Leighton told investigators he'd downloaded more than 1,000 images in about a year, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty in October/Meghann M. Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels. More here.

Govt Way Work To Start Monday

Via Coeur d'Alene Police Department Twitter: “The Cities of Dalton Gardens and Coeur d'Alene are preparing to break ground on the Government Way, Dalton to Hanley Project. The selected contractor is expected to start work on the first phase of this project on Monday. The first phase includes installing a sewer main in:

  • Government Way between Dalton Ave and Hanley Ave
  • Dalton Avenue east of Government Way about half a block
  • Hanley Avenue east of Government Way about half a block

Although two-way traffic will be maintained on Government Way, traffic may experience delays and at times will be diverted to a gravel shoulder. Sewer installation on Dalton and Hanley Avenues will require one-way traffic with flaggers. Following installation of the sewer main, the roadway will be reconstructed to create a five-lane roadway with sidewalks on both sides. During this time additional water and storm sewer utilities will be installed. Anticipated Schedule: Start of sewer work — Monday, March 5; end sewer work — April 30; start roadway reconstruction — May 1; and end of construction — September.


CdA Resort Finished With Remodel

Coeur d'Alene Resort partner Jerry Jaeger shows off remodeled Dockside Restaurant earlier today, the opening day of the two-month ground floor remodel of the Resort. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

The Coeur d’Alene Resort will reopen its first floor to the public at noon today after a two-month remodel. The 35,000-square foot makeover includes new décor for the lobby and Dockside Restaurant, a larger fitness area and an expansion of Whispers, a bar and lounge. “We want people to feel like it’s a brand new place,” said architect Guy Dreier of Palm Desert, Calif. The remodel includes larger skylights to increase natural light, a 22,000-gallon Koi aquarium with imported fish from Japan, indoor plants, Italian tile and Brazilian granite. Conventions and meetings makes up about half of the business for the resort hotel on Lake Coeur d’Alene/Becky Kramer, SR. More here. (Jesse Tinsley Sr photo: Line cook Aaron Merrill prepares food in the new kitchen at the Dockside Restaurant earlier today)

Question: Becky Kramer tells Huckleberries that she's impressed with the remodel. Anyone else seen it today? Impression?

Play Music In Heaven, Davy Jones

In sixth grade, when the television show started about the rock band, my girlfriends and I spent hours discussing our favorite Monkee (mine: Peter Tork). We bought all their albums, memorized all the songs, waited in line for their movies. We didn't care when we later learned that none of them were very good at playing music when they got together. They were chosen for their chemistry. And boy, did they have it. They allowed us to daydream about love, romance and all the other stuff we didn't really know about yet in sixth grade/Rebecca Nappi, SR End Notes. More here. (AP file photo: “The Monkees,” from top left, during TV show in 1960s, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, from lower left, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork pose next to their customized Pontiac GTO)

Question: Anyone have a favorite Monkee who wasn't Davy Jones?

Vestal: Addiction Excuse Used Before

Get a job with a badge and a gun. While catching drug dealers, start smoking pot and snorting coke. Just to fit in. Find yourself going a little further than your undercover duties require. Snort some more cocaine, then smoke it. Then smoke it. Then smoke it. Take paid leave to go to treatment, turn in your badge and gun – and sue the city of Spokane for $2 million, for getting you hooked on crack cocaine. If you thought the Brad Thoma case was something new under the sun, think again. A quarter-century ago, Spokane was rocked by a case with unmistakable similarities: an addicted cop, a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, and a City Hall that doesn’t want to settle … except it also doesn’t want to lose a lot of money in court. We don’t know the end of the Thoma case, yet. The City Council is showing some backbone, Thoma is suing, and the case will doubtlessly drag on for a good long while/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here. (Spokane police photo of Brad Thoma)

Question: Was the city of Spokane right in rejecting a proposed settlement with fired/disgraced former cop Brad Thoma?

Avista CEO Morris Gets $250K More

Avista Corp. CEO Scott Morris’ total compensation increased by $250,000 last year, to $3.5 million, due in large part to the company’s improved financial performance, Avista said in a detailed report to Washington state regulators. Of the $9.5 million paid to all company officers, about 42 percent came from customers’ rate payments in its three-state service area, Avista said in the report. That last figure was required by order of the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission. Washington customers, which represent Avista’s largest service territory, pay $2.4 million of the company officers’ $9.5 million in compensation through their rates. Idaho customers pay $1.2 million and Oregon customers pay about $560,000/SR. More here. (SR file photo of Scott Morris)


Hi-Noon: A Leap Year Cocktail

While most of us view leap day as just another work day or extra time to catch up on laundry, this quadrennial event used to be celebrated with great fanfare in Spokane. In the early 1900s, leap year balls were held at the old Spokane Hotel, the Manito Golf Club and the Davenport Hotel. Standing in the Hall of the Doges at the Davenport, with its crystal chandeliers and celestial murals, one can almost imagine how grand those celebrations must have been. Stories found in the Spokane Chronicle tell of leap year dance parties attended by hundreds in 1916, hosted by various women’s social clubs. Ladies in fine gowns with silk gloves and men in coats and tails danced to eight-piece orchestras surrounded by palm trees and trailing vines/Kristen Harrington, SR. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: Samantha Hammond shows off the Red Petticoat at Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery in Coeur d’Alene)

Question: How do you mix your favorite type of cocktail?

Cheering For The Red, White & Blue

US supporters shout on the stand prior to the start of a friendly soccer match between Italy and USA, at the Genoa Luigi Ferraris stadium, Italy, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

DFO: I thought I'd publish this photo b/c it's been a long time since I've provided beefcake for Cindy & the Laides of HBO.

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.29.12

  • 12:12 p.m. Traffic lights @ Hayden Avenue & H41/Rathdrum continue to malfunction.
  • 12:09 p.m. Resident @ 2235 Homestead Loop/Hayden reports ongoing problems w/vicious dog.
  • 12:03 p.m. Caller from 500 Aqua Ave/CdA reports undisclosed theft.
  • 11:30 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Feb. 28-29 here.
  • 10:59 a.m. Dogs running loose on Boekel Road, east of Atlas Road/Hayden.
  • 11 more items below

DFO: Jeff Ward Deserves A Hat Tip

Larry Spencer might not have much good to say about Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans this morning. But I tip my hat to Ward for saving the Kootenai County Republicans from themselves last night. By voting 31-30 to disinvite Richard Mack to speak at the Lincoln Day Dinner March 24, the Republicans avoided the stigma of officially associating themselves with a controversial figure on the right fringe of the political spectrum. It's one thing for the local Tea Party to invite an individual lionized by the militia and Patriot movements in this country. But quite another for the official local Republican Party to do so. The appearance of Mack as a keynote speaker would color how outsiders view the local Republicans and Kootenai County. The move to disinvite Mack may be the local Republicans first step back from the right fringe. The next step would be for the local Republicans to pick true conservatives rather Constitutionalists and Libertarians in the GOP primary election this spring — DFO.

Panel Dumps Anti-Urban Renewal Bill

Urban renewal might not be popular with Idaho’s legislators, but lawmakers aren’t ready to eliminate the districts just yet. After two days of testimony, the House Local Government Committee voted 5-4 Tuesday to hold a bill that would eliminate urban renewal districts in Idaho. During the testimony, the committee heard arguments for and against the bill. Former state Sen. Rachel Gilbert of Boise called urban renewal “food stamps for businesses.” “I’ve watched urban renewal districts grow across this state. There are now 70 urban renewal districts across the state of Idaho,” Gilbert said. Those districts took $52 million from the property tax base in Idaho, she said, adding that the free market should determine which businesses succeed/Melissa Davlin, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.

Question: Would you like to see urban renewal districts eliminated altogether in Idaho?

Davy Jones, 66, Monkees, RIP

In this 1997 file photo (left to right), Monkees Davy Jones, Peter Tork,Mickey Dolenz, Michael Nesmith. Jones, the lead singer who popularized “I'm A Believer,” died this morning of a heart attack. Story here. (AP file photo)

Question: Do you have a favorite Monkees' song?

AM/Idaho — 2.29.12

Linda Lantzy/Idaho Scenic Images writes of this photo: “I drove by this shack early this morning while everything was still gray. Later when the sky was getting a little interesting I decided to go back to shoot it. I had a hard time finding it again. (Third lesson of the day — Zip my coat pockets, or always retrace my steps. I almost took a short cut back when I was done shooting, but decided instead to retrace my footsteps for one more shot. That's when I found my $125.00 filter lying in one of my footprints. No, I did not know I had lost it. Sheeesh!)” See more of Linda's fabulous scenics here.

Poll: Add ‘Flagship’ Back To Statement

  • Tuesday Poll: 97 of 136 respondents (71.32%) say the Idaho Board of Education should restore the word “flagship” to the University of Idaho mission statement. 27 of 136 (19.85%) said the word shouldn't be restored to the mission statement. 12 (8.82%) were undecided.
  • WCC Tournament: 34 of 69 (49.28%) say Gonzaga will win the WCC tournament this year. 29 of 69 (42.02%) say conference champion St. Mary's will win the tournament. Other votes went to BYU 4 (5.8%) and Loyola Marymount 2 (2.9%)
  • Today's Poll: Did the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee do the right thing by disinviting Richard Mack to speak at the Lincoln Day Dinner?

15 Minutes Makes Leap Year Impact

Twin brothers Nick and Adam Filicetti, Boise, Idaho, were born 15 minutes apart at midnight on Feb. 28 and March 1, 1991. Nick gets to celebrate his 21st birthday a full day before his younger brother this leap year. Patrick Orr/Idaho Statesman story here. (AP Photo, Idaho Statesman, Darin Oswald)

Question: How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?

UI Faculty Supports Flagship Status

The University of Idaho Faculty Senate on Tuesday afternoon unanimously passed a resolution to call on the Idaho State Board of Education to reinstate the word “flagship” into the UI's mission statement. State board members removed the word during a Feb. 16 meeting in Boise, where they also edited the mission statements of Boise State University and Idaho State University. The word “flagship” had only been in the UI's mission statement since September. But the UI change - intended to foster collegial relationships among the three universities - caused controversy across the state.The Faculty Senate resolution expresses “profound disappointment” at the decision and asks the state board to reconsider at its April 18-19 meeting on the UI's Moscow campus/Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.


Spencer Letter Attacks Jeff Ward

Jeff Ward, of the Reagan Republicans and the for-profit Strategery Political Consulting company is yet again trying to undermine the Republican Party. As a former member of the Board of Directors of the Reagan Republicans, I feel compelled to explain the direction the RR’s are going and why I, along with most of the other conservative former board members and VPs including Rep Bob Nonini, Steve Adams and Jack Schroeder, have resigned our positions. When they were formed, the RRs were a fairly conservative group. After several attempts to purge conservatives from the board and watering down the endorsement criteria from a unanimous board vote to just two/thirds of the board members who can attend the meeting, the RRs are poised to endorse a slate of moderate and liberal Republicans this spring. Most of the candidates hoping to be endorsed by the RRs have also reportedly hired Strategery at a cost of $5,000 each/Larry Spencer, letter to the editor/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: What's going on here?

Romney, Santorum In Robocall Flap

During Josh Romney's visit to Meridian Tuesday he called out President Obama for urging Democrats to cross over and vote for anyone but Mitt Romney in Tuesday's Michigan primary. “They don't want to face my dad,” Romney said to a crowd of about 100. “President Obama does not want to run against my dad, so he's encouraging everyone in Michigan — all the Democrats — to vote for the other guys, don't vote for Mitt. It's a good sign for us, but it's making life tough in Michigan.” Romney pulled out a critical 3-point win Tuesday, after blasting Rick Santorum for doing what his son attributed to the president. The candidate called Santorum's automated phone calls to Democrats — reminding them that Romney opposed bailing out the U.S. auto industry — a “dirty trick” Tuesday. Santorum omitted mention of the fact that he too opposed taxpayer loans to Detroit/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP photo of Rick Santorum after his 3-point loss to Mitt Romney in Michigan last night)

Question: Do robocalls from political candidates upset you?

Read more here:

Solon Opposes Human Rights $$$ Cut

As JFAC set the budget for the state Department of Labor this morning, Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, raised concerns about the continuing inclusion in that budget of a “general fund phase-out” for the Idaho Human Rights Commission, cutting state general funds to that agency by $156,600 next year for the third straight year; after four years, the commission would have no general funds. The money is being replaced with dedicated funds, including federal funds, from the Department of Labor/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Should the Human Rights Commission be funded by the state's general fund?

APhoto Of The Day — 2.29.12

Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon leaves a locker room during baseball spring training Wednesday in Surprise, Ariz. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Romney Wins Michigan, Arizona

Mitt Romney is trying to capitalize on twin victories in Arizona and Michigan as the GOP nomination race expands to the 10 states that vote on Super Tuesday. Rival Rick Santorum, who narrowly lost in Michigan, faces splitting the conservative vote with Newt Gingrich as the former House speaker counts on Southern primaries to revive his campaign. Mitt Romney speaks to supporters Tuesday night in Novi, Mich. Texas Rep. Ron Paul remains a factor as he attempts to mine delegates in caucus states like North Dakota, where his campaign team says the process plays to his strengths. Super Tuesday is March 6, just three days after Saturday's Washington state caucuses/AP. More here. (AP photo of Mitt Romney in Michigan last night)

Question: Was Kid Rock the key to putting Romney over the top in Michigan?

County GOP Disinvites Mack To Speak

Richard Mack will not be speaking at this year's Lincoln Day Dinner. After nearly two hours of often acrimonious debate, a nearly evenly divided Kootenai County Republican Central Committee voted Tuesday in favor of rescinding the party's invitation to Mack, a Tea Party activist and former Arizona sheriff, to be the keynote speaker at their March 24 dinner and fundraiser. The roll call vote of 31-30 was taken after the party chair, Tina Jacobson (pictured), defended the procedure followed to select Mack and chided a group of elected precinct committee members for signing a letter opposing Mack's selection and giving the letter to members of the media. “We've had discussions in this room about airing our laundry in the press,” Jacobson said. She said going to the newspapers with party business hurts the organization and shows divisiveness. “And the Democrats are passing the popcorn,” Jacobson said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Did Kootenai County Republicans help/hurt themselves by disinviting controversial Richard Mack to speak at their Lincoln Day Dinner March 24?

Heller: Desensitized

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

County GOP Votes 31-30 Against Mack

The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee opposed the guest speaker planned for local Republicans' annual Lincoln Day Dinner by a 31-30 vote tonight. Richard Mack, an Arizona sheriff in the 1990s, has been under fire locally since 14 GOP leaders signed a letter opposing his appearance at the annual fundraiser. The vote taken tonight was launched on a motion by Jeff Ward, a precinct committeeman and key Reagan Republicans figure. HucksOnline hasn't learned whether the vote will be binding and Mack disinvited. After the meeting, Ward was confronted by angry Coeur d'Alene Councilman Steve Adams. The meeting adjourned without the scheduled Central Committee practice for the March 6 caucuses.

Wild Card/Tuesday — 2.28.12

I had one of those Homer Simpson D'oh! moments this morning. I didn't realize how easy it is to know when a leap year occurs until I saw Joe Heller's cartoon today. Yeah, yeah, I knew Leap Years occur every fourth year. But I hadn't realized they occur every year that there's a presidential election. Only took until age 62 for me to figure that one out. Oh well, I can say I learned something new today. And wipe the egg off of my face. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.28.12

Nancy Greenhow, 50, of Farmington Hills, shows off her “My vote counted!” sticker after voting in the Republican presidential primary in Farmington Hills, Mich., today. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Regina H. Boone)

Question: Do you plan to partipate in the Republican Party caucus election?

Polls Closing In Michigan GOPrimary

Polls have begun closing in the Michigan Republican presidential primary, where former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum are locked in a close race, with Romney hoping to reestablish himself as the frontrunner and Santorum hoping to gain momentum and reinforce his claim on the party’s conservative base. Arizona today also is holding its Republican primary, where all 29 delegates are expected to go to Romney. The state has a winner-take-all primary so most candidates conceded the race to Romney, who held his lead in the polls. Polls began closing at 8 p.m. Eastern Time in Michigan. They were to begin closing at 9 p.m. Eastern Time in Arizona/Matt Viser and Bobby Caina Calvan, Boston Globe. More here. (AP photo: Karen Santorum lists to her husband talk to the media in Grand Rapids, Mich.)

Question: Predictions?

Some 9/11 Remains Sent To Landfill

Problems with the handling of human remains at a Delaware military base date back at least to Sept. 11, 2001, when portions of bodies brought there after the terrorist attacks were cremated and deposited in a landfill, according to a Defense Department report Tuesday. Detailing previously undisclosed errors at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary, investigators found a 2002 memo that indicated portions of bodies of people killed in the Shanksville, Pa., plane crash and the Pentagon attack couldn't be identified, were cremated at a civilian crematory and then given to a biomedical waste-disposal contractor that deposited the remains in a landfill/Julian E. Barnes, Wall Street Journal. More here. (AP file photo by Heesoon Yim of a helicopter flying over Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001)


PM: Running Along The Waterfront

Sue Hutter's daughter, Chloe, kept up her training for the Lake City High cross-country and track teams, even with snow on the ground this winter at City Park. Chloe, a LCHS sophomore, has been running since the first grade. As a freshman, she qualified for the state track meet in the 1600. You can see more photos of Chloe running along the waterfront & read about her training efforts at Sue's Wine Chocolate & Friendship blog (which now has a link in the right rail) here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.28.12

  • 5:04 p.m. Worley residents tells KCSD that a contractor took $40,000 from him.
  • 5:01 p.m. Caller reports possible burglary in progress in 500 block of W. Harrison/CdA.
  • 4:37 p.m. Female w/small child is @ KCSD lobby b/c she was evicted & has no place to go.
  • 4:35 p.m. County resident wants to know what to do w/dead neighbor's eight dogs.
  • 4:31 p.m. A couple walking along H95, near Worley, are involved in a domestic dispute.
  • 4:08 p.m. Caller has questions for a KCSD deputy re: her sister's domestic problems.
  • 4:01 p.m. Disorderly transient has walked from H95 & Appleway to Tomato Street restaurant/CdA.
  • 15 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

North Idaho Candidates Start Filing

Several candidates have filed as Republicans for 2012 GOP legislative primary races in the northern counties, including state Rep. George Eskridge of Dover, House District 1B; Sen. Steve Vick of Dalton Garden & Fritz E. Wiedenhoff of Rathdrum, Senate District 2; Rep. Vito Barbieri of Hayden, House District 2A; Rep. Bob Nonini of Coeur d'Alene, Senate District 3; Jeff Tyler of Coeur d'Alene, House District 3A; Rep. Frank Henderson of Post Falls, House District 3B; Sen. John Goedde of Coeur d'Alene, Senate District 4; Barrett Schroeder of Moscow, Senate District 5; and Kenneth B. De Vries of St. Maries, House District 5B. Additionally, Jeremy Boggess filed as an Independent for Senate District 4. And Dan Schmidt of Moscow filed as a Democrat for Senate District 5. 

Sue’s View Of Lake Coeur d’Alene

Sue Hutter, Coeur d'Alene resident and HucksOnline Twitter bud, snapped this photo from Higgens Point earlier this winter, displaying a unique view of our viewtiful waterfront. You can find a link to more of Sue's photos on her Wine Chocolate & Friends blog here.

House Unanimously OKs Texting Ban

Sen. Jim Hammond, in his closing comments on SB 1274, the bill to ban texting while driving, told the House Transportation Committee that he's in full support of a proposed amendment to the bill drafted by committee Vice Chair Julie Ellsworth, R-Boise, to remove a law-enforcement exemption; it's not needed, he said, as the bill is only about use of hand-held electronic devices, and police and emergency workers don't use those to text on the job. “Is it a feel-good law?” Hammond asked. “If we can save the lives of some of our youths, and that feels good, then yeah, I guess this is a feel-good law”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Anyone out there not support a ban on texting while driving?

Quotable Quote — Off The Cuff

Idaho is second to last in per student funding nationally, but somehow we are supposed to think our legislature gives a rip about education because teachers got a raise from piecemeal to barely adequate?” — Dylan, UI Argonaut. More Off The Cuff here.

On Scene Of The Fatal Accident

Mama Kautz, one of my Twitter buds, was 3rd on the scene of that fatal, 3-vehicle crash last night near the stateline. Here's what she posted on her blog: “I had stopped to get gas at the truck stop. Got back on the freeway. Was driving along, glanced at my phone … yes … I did. I was looking at it, not texting, for once. I look up and have to hit my brakes. (insert guardian angel working overtime) There is smoke … thought it was fog … except that cars were pulling over! I ended up being the 3rd car on the scene of an accident. We, meaning the other drivers, are just kind of sitting there. I didn’t think to call 911. Weird. I guess I figured others would be. (somebody did say they couldn’t get through) I thought why are we sitting here….why isn’t anybody HELPING. I got out of my car and started running up to the cars. More here.

Question: Have you ever been one of the first to the scene of a serious accident?

Huckleberries Hears …

… That local Republicans who oppose speaker Richard Mack for the Kootenai County Republican Lincoln Day dinner are pushing to discuss the matter at their Central Committee meeting tonight. Thirteen precinct committeemen and Lora Gervais, chairwoman for the old Legislative District 3, have signed a letter protesting the appearance of Mack, who, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, is popular in militia & Patriot circles. Mack has filed a defamation lawsuit against the SPLC. The meeting is scheduled for 7 tonight in the Kootenai County Administrative Building.

Lab Retriever Still Top U.S. Breed

Puppies representing the top five breeds according to the American Kennel Club are lined up in order at American Kennel Club headquarters in New York earlier today. From left are the Labrador retriever; German shepard; beagle; golden retriever and Yorkshire terrier. Story here. (AP Photo/American Kennel Club, Kate McCroary)

Question: Is your dog one of the top 5 breeds in the country?

Harwood Gives Blessing To Candidate

Benewah County Businessman Ken De Vries filed yesterday for election to Idaho House of Representatives District 5 Seat B, a district containing Benewah and Latah Counties. De Vries, in his first run for public office, will seek a two-year term to the seat currently held by Rep. Dick Hardwood (pictured). Harwood has announced he is retiring from the Legislature and endorsing De Vries. Ken De Vries, 52, a self-employed business software consultant lives with his wife of 24 years, Yvonne on their working ranch in rural Benewah County.  They have three children.  Connor, 20,  Adrian, 17,  Trevor, 10.  De Vries has for more than 25 years developed software solutions for businesses and has owned I3 Consulting since 2003/News Release. More here.

Question: Who has the edge in a race in the new Legislative District 5, encompassing Benewah & Latah counties? Candidates from Benewah County? Or candidates from Latah County?

More On Richard Mack’s Fight w/SPLC

Kathryn M. DeLong, of the conservative Human Events mag, offers more insight into the ongoing battle between Richard Mack and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mack, an Arizona sheriff in the 1990s and board member of the relatively new Oath Keepers group, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Kootenai County Republican Lincoln Day dinner. He may have filed a suit against the SPLC, alledging defamation, libel, and slander. In the article, SPLC spokesman Mark Potok says that the Oath Keepers pledge to uphold the Constitution is simply a facade to cover “very specific conspiratorial fears which are absolutely groundless” of militia and Patriot groups. Stewart Rhodes, who founded the Oath Keepers in 2009, said such characterizations by opponents of Oath Keepers are “smear tactics.” You can read the article here.


Dow Jones Closes Above 13,000

The Dow Jones industrial average has closed above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008, four months before the financial crisis. Preliminary figures show the Dow closed up five points Tuesday to finish at 13,005. The average is up more than 6 percent this year, mostly because of enthusiasm about the building U.S. economic recovery. The Dow first broke 13,000 on April 25, 2007. The last time it ended the day above 13,000 was May 19, 2008. The Great Recession was six months old/AP. More here. (AP photo: A board on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing number for the Dow Jones Industrial average today)

Question: What will have to happen before you believe the Great Recession is officially behind us?

Santorum, Paul Returning To Spokane

GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Ron Paul will be in Spokane this week. Rick Santorum will be at the New Life Assembly Church in Spokane Valley on Thursday at noon. Ron Paul will be speaking at the Spokane Convention Center Friday at Noon/KREM2.

  • On her Facebook wall, Kootenai County Republican official Lora Gervais reports: “Another visit from Santorum this week in Coeurd'Alene is starting to look more promising.”

Hi-Noon: Oh For A Sister Wife

On her Facebook wall, FB Friend Katrina writes: “Confession time: I just finished watching the first two seasons of “Sister Wives” on Netflix streaming. It was amazing how weird they weren't. When it was just the wives hanging out, it looked kinda fun. I told Paul we could get another wife, as long as she is uglier than me and likes to cook.”

Question (for the Ladies of HBO): Would you be interested in finding a “sister wife” for your family if she cooked, enjoyed house work, and wasn't as pretty as you?

A View From Cougar Bay

“This morning's view of Coeur d'Alene Idaho from across Cougar Bay at 7 degrees,” tweets Linda Lantzy/Idaho Scenic Photos. “First lesson of the day~ Always put on the packpack. I really needed to shoot on bulb for this, but had left my remote in my backpack the Jeep. So, I bumped the ISO to 400 (something I hate doing), opened the aperature to f/7.1 (doable since I didn't need much depth for this shot), and still had a 25 second exposure.” More of Linda's work on her Facebook wall here.

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.28.12

ISP news report re: 3-vehicle accident on w/b I-90 at the stateline that killed a Post Falls man Monday night here. And: SR story here.

  • 11:48 a.m. Caller would like to speak to CPD officer re: Coeur d'Alene curfew laws.
  • 11:40 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Feb. 27-28 here.
  • 11:31 a.m. Donald reports to KCSD that he has lost his Ruger pistol.
  • 11:29 a.m. Black Toyota in w/b I-90 median b/n NW Blvd & H95 involved in non-injury crash.
  • 11:19 a.m. Mother @ 4th & Hanley/CdA reports unattended death of son who'd been ill for 2 years.
  • 11 more items below

Rev & Tax OKs $36M Tax Cut

Who would benefit from tax cut: For a married couple filing jointly with no dependents, it's $72,520. For a couple with two children, it's $79,920. More here.

The House Revenue & Taxation Committee has approved HB 563 on a 13-4 vote, and sent it to the full House with a recommendation that it “do pass.” The bill, which permanently cuts individual and corporate income taxes for top earners by $35.7 million a year, is co-sponsored by 40 of the 70 members of the House. Rep. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, told the committee, “The governor has recommended that we not collect this money, that we're collecting too much.” House Majority Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly (pictured), who made the motion to pass the bill, said, “It's not the $45 million that the governor proposed in his budget … but unless we move forward with putting a number and a tax bill before the Legislature, it's likely that the budget committee will basically spend everything we have”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, comments that it's irresponsible to cut taxes when the state can't meet its current needs. What do you think?

AM/Idaho — 2.28.12

Michelle Williams arrives before the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. The Kalispell, Mont., native didn't win an Oscar for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe. But she wowed Red Carpet critics with her stylist garb. Story here. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Huckleberries Hears …

… That former Kootenai County clerk Dan English has put off his decision re: a possible run for county or legislative office until next Monday. English told HucksOnline this morning that he's still making sure he has support from family and employer before deciding to run. Meanwhile, a HucksOnline poll Friday indicated that Hucks Nation would like to see Dan run either for the seat currently held by state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol (52%) or for the county commission (21%).

Poll: Obama Not Attacking Religion

  • Monday Poll: Almost a supermajority of Hucks Nation disagrees with GOPresidential candidate Rick Santorum's claim that President Barack Obama is hostile to religion. 128 of 201 respondents (63.68%) said Obama isn't hostile to religion. 68 of 201 respondents (33.83%) said the president is hostile to religion. 5 of 201 (2.49%) were undecided.
  • Dan English Poll: 61 of 117 respondents (52.14%) said they'd like to see former Kootenai County clerk Dan English, a Democrat, run for the seat currently held by state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, if English decides to seek county or legislative office this year. 25 respondents (21.37%) want to see English run for county commission; 13 (11.11%) want him to seek Rep. Vito Barbieri's seat; 8 (6.84%) want him to seek Sen. Steve Vick's seat; and 10 (8.55%) want him to seek an undisclosed seat.
  • Today's Poll: Should the Idaho Board of Education add the word “flagship” back into the mission statement of the University of Idaho?

An All-Star Dunk

Utah Jazz's Jeremy Evans jumps over teammate Gordon Hayward for his attempt during the NBA basketball All-Star Slam Dunk Contest in Orlando, Fla., Saturday. Evans earned 29 percent of 3 million text message votes cast by fans to win the competition. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Question: Have you ever been able to jump high enough to dunk a basketball?

Trail, Profs To Enter UI ‘Flagship’ Fray

The University of Idaho Faculty Senate and a Republican state representative from Moscow are separately planning to bombard the Idaho State Board of Education with opposition to its recent decision to remove the word “flagship” from the UI's mission statement. Rep. Tom Trail late Monday afternoon forwarded the Daily News a draft copy of legislation he intends to introduce that would, if passed, officially establish the UI as the state's flagship university. Meanwhile, the UI Faculty Senate will consider adopting a resolution this afternoon to request the board reconsider its Feb. 16 decision, which angered UI officials and supporters around the state.The state board's next regular meeting is scheduled for April 18-19 at the UI's Moscow campus/Holly Bowen, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Question: Would you like to see the word “flagship” added back into University of Idaho mission statement — even thought it'd only been there for six months?

City Eyes Downtown CdA Behavior

The city of Coeur d'Alene wants to add some rules to its outdoor food and alcohol serving policy to help clean up behavior around bars and restaurants with seating on public sidewalks. The changes would clarify expectations for businesses that serve outdoors thanks to the city's food and alcohol outdoor service policy, which has been changed several times the last three years. “It's a balancing act,” said Mike Kennedy, councilman, on attempting to clean up late-night behavior outside establishments that serve alcohol, versus coming down too heavy handed on businesses. “And it's not an easy one.” The proposed additions would require businesses that have the outdoor permits to play a more active role in policing unacceptable behavior in their own designated areas/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo of a mother & her son dining outside the Beacon)

Question: Do you enjoy dining or drinking outside restaurants or bars in downtown Coeur d'Alene?

Kid Rock Plays For Romney Rally

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney ended his final sweep through Michigan thanking supporters at a rally that included a live rendition of his campaign theme song performed by rocker/rapper Kid Rock. Romney, who introduced Rock as “a friend” and “a guy that makes great music,” said Rock agreed to perform after discussing what Romney would do for Michigan as president. “He had a piece of paper and had written down some questions for me,” Romney said at the rally Monday night at the Royal Oak Music Theater. “He said, 'Mitt, if you are elected president will you help me help the state of Michigan?' I said I would.” Romney said he then asked Rock — a Michigan native like the Republican candidate — to play a concert for his supporters/USA Today. More here. (AP photo of Mitt Romney meeting Kid Rock)

Via Twitter, Hmaboi: “Kid Rock endorsed Romney? Jon Bon Jovi is doing Advil ads? Am I in some sort of alternate universe?”

Question: Are you surprised that Kid Rock would play for a Romney rally?

I-HOP Offers Free Pancakes Today

IHOP restaurants are serving up free pancakes all day today — that's free as in libre, gratis, you don't pay a dime. That's how IHOP, previously known as the International House of Pancakes, celebrates National Pancake Day, by plating up a hot stack of flapjacks for customers and footing the bill. But, really, who are we kidding? You're probably going to pay one way or the other. IHOP's free-pancake offer is part of the California-based chain's annual fundraiser to support local charities. In exchange for a free short stack of pancakes between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday at participating restaurants, the chain asks that diners make a donation that will be used for a local Children's Miracle Network Hospital/Rene Lynch, Los Angeles Times. More here. (AP photo)

Question: What kind of pancakes & syrup do you like best?

Gonzaga Readies For WCC Tourney

Gonzaga's David Stockton (11) and Longwood's Tristan Carey chase a loose ball during the first half Monday in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga beat Longwood 92-60 on Seniors Night at The Kennel. ESPN boxscore here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Question: Who will win the WCC tournament next weekend?

Edit: Capitol Parking Bill Is Bad Idea

What do you get when you combine a bad idea, a disregard for local control and a highly questionable motive? You get something like Rep. Joe Palmer’s ill-conceived legislative trifecta: his bill to disable parking meters near the Statehouse during the legislative session. Palmer, R-Meridian (pictured), has been quiet during four years in the Statehouse. But his first attempt at high-profile legislation is a not-ready-for-prime-time effort … Palmer says his idea is to provide free parking to allow Idahoans to attend hearings or talk to their lawmakers. But constituents would have to get up early in the morning to snag a free spot. The bill creates a first-come, first-served free-for-all for the coveted freebies, with Downtown workers and Statehouse lobbyists and reporters likely to avail themselves of the coveted spots/Idaho Statesman Editorial Board. More here.

Question: What would happen if the city allowed unlimited, free parking in downtown Coeur d'Alene?

Read more here:

CdA Board Declares Trustee Vacancy

Nearly three weeks after a district court judge ruled Wanda Quinn's appointment to the Coeur d'Alene School District Board of Trustees to be “null and void,” the four remaining trustees have officially declared a vacancy in the board's Zone 1 seat. At a special board meeting held Monday, trustees also elected to hire outside counsel, other than longtime school district attorney, Charles Dodson, to review and advise them on the process of selecting another appointee. “I think the conflict there is a little too close,” said Trustee Tom Hamilton (pictured), who made the motion to seek alternate representation. The vote was 3-1 in favor of removing Dodson from handling school board business that falls under Idaho Code 33-504, the section of state education law specifically related to school board vacancies. Diane Zipperer cast the lone dissenting vote/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think the Coeur d'Alene School Board will have an easy time finding a consensus candidate?

Sacre, Carter Say Goodbye To Kennel

Gonzaga’s entire roster made sure Robert Sacre and Marquise Carter enjoyed their Senior Night. Carter had 13 points and five assists and Sacre chipped in five points and six rebounds as the Bulldogs routed Longwood 92-60 in front of an appreciative audience of 6,000 in the regular-season finale Monday at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Freshmen Gary Bell Jr. (20 points), Kevin Pangos (12 points) and Ryan Spangler (12 points, 10 rebounds) helped the Bulldogs (24-5) build leads as large as 35 points against the visiting Lancers, a Division I independent from Farmville, Va./Jim Meehan, SR. More here. (Colin Mulvany SR photo of Marquise Carter, left, and Robert Sacre)

Question: What will be the legacy of Robert Sacre and Marquise Carter among the Zag greats?

Anderson: No Separation?

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Monday — 2.27.12

That green flag you see Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes waving means it's time for candidates to belly up to his counter to announce their intentions of seeking office this spring & fall. Some, like Todd Tondee, have announced their plans to run. Others, like former clerk Dan English, would like to run if they can work out personal details. HucksOnline will let you know who runs for what as the info becomes available. Now for your first Wild Card of the work week …

Parting Shot — 2.27.12

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, right, stands with his wife Callista as he waits to be introduced at a campaign rally at the State Capitol on Monday in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In an editorial endorsing the GOP candidacy of Mitt Romney today, the Twin Falls Times News wrote of Newt Gingrich: “While difficult to choose the best candidate, we have no such problem identifying the worst. Newt Gingrich, a former Georgia congressman and Speaker of the House, is the only speaker reprimanded for misconduct while in office. He was also fined $300,000 by the Republican-majority house and only three days following his final congressional election victory, he quit. He also found time to bounce a number of checks — probably more excusable if one of them hadn’t been for more than $9,000, made out to the IRS. More here.

Question: Will Super Tuesday be the end of Newt Gingrich's presidential hopes?

Solon Didn’t Disclose Son’s Tickets

Idaho’s House transportation chairman, who successfully pushed a bill through the House last week to shut off parking meters around the state Capitol during legislative sessions, didn’t disclose that his 24-year-old son has gotten numerous parking tickets in the area and had his car towed on the first day of this year’s legislative session. Instead, Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, told the House, “The reason I’m bringing this bill is because I had a constituent come to me.” After city records obtained under the Idaho Public Records Law revealed the towing and numerous tickets incurred during or just before the legislative session by Ty Palmer, three of which remain unpaid, Palmer was asked by a reporter if the constituent in question was his son. He had a one-word answer: “No”/Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Should Rep. Joe Palmer have disclosed information about his son's parking tickets when he introduced his bill? And/or: Have you received more than one parking ticket?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.27.12

  • 6:01 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Casino security reports a suicide threat.
  • 5:49 p.m. EMTs, ISP responding to 5-vehicle, unknown-injury crash on w/b I-90 near the state line. (Complete blockage) ISP is asked to close w/b onramp @ Pleasantview. ISP officer just asked for extrication equipment. Officer reports that one person has suffered extensive injuries and is asking for EMTs and ambulance to arrive ASAP. 2 vehicles totally damaged. Commercial vehicle also involved.
  • 5:29 p.m. Daughter reports a text from mom along Lacey/Hayden threatening possible suicide.
  • 4:52 p.m. Caller reports motorcycle speeding on Chapelle Lane/CdA
  • 4:41 p.m. Female in Wyoming/Hayden apartment sez man in green station wagon parked outside is pointing a laser at her & stalking her.
  • 4:21 p.m. Off-duty officer reports male is pointing rifle across H95 b/n Coeur d'Alene Casino & Worley, while standing outside white pickup.
  • 4:13 p.m. Caller reports possible runaway in 1200 block of Walnut/CdA.
  • 4:01 p.m. Officer asked to servant warrant & take juvenile in 200 block of N4th/CdA to JDC.
  • 13 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM/Idaho — 2.27.12

“This is a modern day paradise,” said North Idaho College student Clinton Price of Spokane as he took advantage of the sunny weather in Coeur d'Alene at NIC Beach earlier today. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Extra! Rammell To Challenge McMillan

If the far-flung new Legislative District 7 wasn't enough to scare off state Rep. Shannon McMillan, this might. Dustin Hurst/Idaho Reporter just tweeted: “Rex Rammell has filed to challenge Rep. Shannon McMillan in the Republican primary!” I wouldn't wish a race against Rex Rammell on anyone.

NI Blogs: Protesting Easton Swap

My son learned a good lesson about free speech this past weekend. He and about 70 of his fellow Idaho Boy Scouts traveled into the big city to march on the council BSA office. They wanted to voice their concerns over the proposed sale of a beloved local Scout camp. It could not have been a worse day, weather-wise. An intense winter storm hit the area just as the rally was kicking off. That didn’t stop the boys’ enthusiasm, as they paraded along the street, waving signs and shouting out protest chants. The blizzard-like conditions only steeled their resolve to be heard. After about an hour of waving at honking cars and brushing layers of snow off of hats and coats, we climbed back into our cars and carefully made our way home/Idaho Dad, A Family Runs Through It. More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of Feb. 19-25): page-views: 54536 & unique views 33,340

World’s Shortest Man?

Nepal's Chandra Bahadur Dangi, 72, who says he's only 22 inches (56 centimeters) tall, looks at a copy of the Guinness World Record book at a guesthouse just hours before he was to be measured by officials, in Katmandu, Nepal, Sunday. Guinness World Records officials were set to measure Dangi who hopes to be named the world's shortest man Sunday. Dangi is hoping to snatch the title of the world's shortest man from Junrey Balawing of the Philippines, who is 23.5 inches (60 centimeters) tall. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Question: Do you consider yourself to be short?

News Quiz Offers Custer’s Tickets

If you're hoping to fast-forward to spring, we can help: This week's News Quiz, prepared by SReporter Jim Camden,  is sending a lucky winner and a guest to Custer's 35th annual Spring Arts & Crafts Show. Simply by taking the quiz, you're eligible for the random drawing. And if you happen to dominate the 10-question look at current events, $50 to the Davenport could be yours. You can take the News Quiz by clicking here or by clicking on the “That's News to you” button in the right rail.

Your Mood In A Word …

From Rachel Dolezal Facebook wall: In one word how would you describe your mood right now? Moi? Content.

AG Won’t Provide McGee Records

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's office cited the exemption in Idaho's public records law that allows withholding records related to an ongoing criminal investigation. Last week, after Sen. John McGee's resignation, the Statesman asked Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill for email, text messages, hand-written notes or any other records regarding allegations of sexual harassment brought to Hill by a Senate staffer. “We deny your requests because these documents are within the scope of a criminal investigation which is currently being conducted by the Idaho State Patrol,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Robert Adelson on Monday/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AG Web site photo of Lawrence Wasden)

Question: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a long, long yawn, how interested are you in former Idaho senator John McGee, now that he has resigned his Senate post in disgrace & is facing a criminal investigation?

Read more here:

Pakistanis Level Bin Laden Compound

In this combo of two pictures, a Pakistani woman and children stand next to the remained boundary wall of Osama bin Laden's compound earlier today, top, and, heavy machinery demolishes the main building of bin Laden's compound on Sunday, bottom, in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Pakistani authorities have reduced the house where bin Laden lived for years before he was killed by U.S. commandos to rubble, destroying a concrete symbol of the country's association with one of the world's most reviled men. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)


SPLC, Richard Mack At Odds

For those keeping score at home, Richard Mack, controversial speaker of the Kootenai County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, is listed among the “Patriots” spotlighted by the Southern Poverty Law Center in a summer 2010 Intelligence Report. Of Mack, the SPLC says: “It seems hardly a day goes by without another Mack attack on the evils of the federal government. This one-time sheriff of a rural county in Arizona and present-day icon of the Patriot movement has parlayed his antigovernment ardor into a full-time job doing speaking gigs at county fairgrounds, high school auditoriums and hotel banquet rooms.” The SPLC, which is being sued by Mack claming slander, libel & defamation, also notes that the prospective speaker hasn't been a sheriff in Arizona since 1996 and that he co-authored a book with Ruby Ridge figure Randy Weaver. More here. In a fall 2009 Intelligence Report, SPLC describes Mack as part of the Oath Keeper movement and a hero of the militia movement. You can read that report here. (Wikipedia photo of Richard Mack)


Shar Pai

He’s mostly just a pile of wrinkles,
this canine heap of folds and crinkles;
a Size M skin would fit him well,
instead he’s wearing X-X-L.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue (Wikipedia photo)

House Rev & Tax Chair Lake To Retire

Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, chairman of the House Revenue & Taxation Committee, won't run for re-election, reports Clark Corbin, reporter for the Idaho Falls Post-Register. Corbin tweeted, “He will not seek re-election. Formal announcement coming today.” Lake, 74, is in his 8th term in the House; he's an agribusinessman and former school board member who holds an accounting degree from Brigham Young University/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.

Question: Which member of the North Idaho delegation would you like to see retire?

Occupy Boise: We Won, Bubblegum

Occupy Boise member Mary Reali called today's federal court ruling — which upholds the state's new ban on camping on state property, but blocks removal of the Occupy Boise tents on 1st Amendment grounds — “a victory for our freedom of speech, for what we are aiming for.” Said Reali, who hasn't been camping overnight at the site but visits often and participates in meetings there, “One of the important functions of the vigil was to have a place for people to come. We will continue to use the vigil site for meetings and gatherings”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you support the continued presence of Occupy Boise in tents near state Capitol in Boise?

Poolman: Worst Oscars Ever

Octavia Spencer with the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for “the Help”, left, and Meryl Streep with the Oscar for best actress in a leading role for “The Iron Lady” examine their trophies at the Governors Ball following the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Poolman: That had to go down as the worse Oscars ever. The intro was a regurgitation of something Billy Crystal has done over and over again - not fresh at all. Crystal’s humor was dry, uncomfortable and old. It was like trying to laugh at a joke you heard last week. The skits were awful. The Cir de Soleil performance wasn’t even good and that is extremely rare. Who cares if Adam Sandler will show his entire interpersonal feelings on film by the time he is 80? They do interviews the entire show with people like Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, etc. and then give the biggest award to some Schmuck that was in a movie nobody will ever watch. Then they turn around give the other to a woman who would be nominated if she appeared in a commercial for Jimmy Johns sandwiches. And why it is every single speech has a thank you to Harvey Weinstein. That guy must pay the Academy members well.

Question: Who would you prefer to emcee Academy Awards — Billy Crystal or Ricky Gervais? Or someone else?

Hi-Noon: Getting Skills On, Off Court

The thumping sound of bouncing basketballs echoed throughout the Warehouse on a recent Sunday morning. While a men’s league sank 3-pointers on one court, another group warmed up nearby. “I want to play a game of basketball!” shouted 6-year-old Henry Peterschmidt. He was one of a dozen kids gathered to learn some new skills. But the primary focus of this league isn’t dribbling and shooting – it’s social interaction. Last month, Northwest Autism Center launched its first recreational basketball program for children with autism spectrum disorder/Cindy Hval, Washington Voices. More here. (Colin Mulvany SR photo: Volunteer Jamie Palmer helps Isaac Mitchell, 5, with his dribbling skills)

Question: This program is the first of its kind locally. Do you think there should be more recreational sports opportunites specifically for kids with autism spectrum disorder?\

volunteer Jamie Palmer helps Isaac Mitchell, 5, with his dribbling skills.

Spielberg Gets Popcorn Snack

Steven Spielberg gets a snack during the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Question: What size popcorn do you buy when you go to the movies & do you ask for extra butter?

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.27.12

  • 12:03 p.m. PFPD officer is stopping @ car wash @ 13th & Greensferry to try to recover stolen goods.
  • 12:02 p.m. Male reportedly kicked windows out of galpal's vehicle @ 13th & Syringa/CdA.
  • 12:01 p.m. Female injured in a fall outside grocery side of Post Falls WalMart/Mullan.
  • 11:49 a.m. CPD officers are looking for a slender 5-10 male w/curly-blond hair & wearing black-and-white plaid, wool shirt who possibly stole jewelry from Wiggetts Antique Mall on S4th/CdA & ran out of store toward Tubbs Hill. Female w/him has been detained in store.
  • 11:34 a.m. A chip truck is abandoned on fog line on s/b H95 @ M/P 420.7 (near Mica Creek).
  • 11:15 a.m. James reports business @ Dakota & Ramsey/Hayden burglarized over weekend.
  • 11:01 a.m. Male of Cave Bay Road/Worley to be warned female w/protection order leaving jail.
  • 11 more items below

Poll: Obama Wrong To Apologize

  • Weekend Poll: A solid majority of Hucks Nation believes President Barack Obama was wrong to apologize to Afghanistan for U.S. military burning of Qurans. 161 of 278 respondents (57.91%) said the president was wrong to apologize to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. 108 of 278 respondents (38.85%) said the president did the right thing by apologizing. 9 of 278 (3.24%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Is President Barack Obama hostile to religion, as GOPresidential candidate Rick Santorum claims?

Santorum: Obama Hostile To Religion

ne day after saying the separation of church and state “makes me want to throw up,” Rick Santorum told a Michigan audience that he supports the division of the two institutions. During a Sunday interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Santorum gave his take on the issue

“I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute,” he told 'This Week' host George Stephanopoulos. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country … to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”

Question: GOP candidate Rick Santorum claims President Obama has oppressed religious freedom. What do you think?

Mug Shot Cites Make $$$ On Shame

When Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney decided to post a daily arrest list and booking photos on the Internet in 2003, it was to provide a public service — and a deterrent for people about to do something really stupid, like drive drunk. The site has become popular, averaging about 200,000 unique visitors a month, and Raney considers it a complete success. “I don’t know how many times I have heard from people that they got a designated driver so they don’t end up on our website,” he said. “The public deterrence factor is pretty high, especially for DUI driving.” But Raney is now considering removing the site ( because of what he sees as an abuse of the public information and service it provides/Patrick Orr, Statesman. More here. (Ada County Jail photo of last person arrested for DUI) H/T: SamC

Question: Would you like to see your sheriff's office publish mug shots of people arrested for DUI?

Read more here:

Nate: Finally Idaho Has A Voice

After decades of politely waiting for the rest of the country to choose our Presidential nominees, Idaho finally gets a chance to make a difference.  You can be a part of history on March 6th, when Idaho Republicans caucus to assign their delegates for the Republican presidential nomination. It’s been exciting to see candidates—note the plural—visit Idaho in hopes of winning the nomination.  After this week, all four major republican contenders will have made a stop in Idaho.  The campaigns are organizing get-togethers, phone banks, and get-out-the-vote efforts.  Maybe we’ll even see some signs and/or media ads. It’s a great time to be an Idaho Republican.  The best the democrats can do is to occupy a voting booth, cast an obligatory re-election ballot for a failed president, and then hope for a miracle.  Meanwhile, Republicans are attending campaign events, listening to candidates, enjoying some media attention, and getting fired up for a meaningful caucus/Ronald M. Nate, Idaho GOP Caucus Committee chairman. More here.

Question: It's pretty hard to argue that the move by Idaho Republicans to eliminate their presidential primary and move to a caucus system for Super Tuesday attracted presidential candidates? Agreed?

AM: Scouts Protest Easton Swap

J.D. Meads, second from right, of Athol, Idaho, leads a group of scouts in a camp-style song outside the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Spokane Saturday. The scouts, and adult leaders, from North Idaho and the Spokane area were protesting the sale of Camp Easton, a scout camp on Lake Coeur d'Alene, to a private golf community. More here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Kids’ Book Creator Berenstain Dies

Janice Berenstain displays a copy of the first book, left, she and husband, Stanley Berenstain, created and the second book, which was the first to actually call the characters Berenstain Bears, in Solebury, Pa. Jan Berenstain, who with her husband Stan created the Berenstain Bears books that have charmed preschoolers and their parents for 50 years, has died. Her son Mike Berenstain said she died Friday. She was 88. Story here. (AP File Photo/Mel Evans)

Question: Do you read the Berenstain Bears books to your kids as they were growing up?

Trib: Otter Robs From Poor, Helps Rich

Good morning and welcome to the 2012 Marie Antoinette awards. This year's grand prize winners: Idaho Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter and House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star. And while Antoinette may or may not have famously looked down upon the starving masses of French citizens and declared: “Let them eat cake,” it is certainly more artful than the two-word retort Otter and Moyle may have in store for Idaho's neediest, its injured and its broken: Too bad. Too bad the state went broke a year ago and had to hack away at Medicaid services for Idaho's most vulnerable adults. To save $35 million in state dollars, Idaho had to sacrifice another $60 million in matching federal dollars. Too bad that meant less support for developmentally disabled adults struggling to live and work independently. Too bad the state would devote less effort to helping the mentally ill maintain their equilibrium and their safety. Too bad it meant no preventive dental care, vision or audiology services/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you think Butch Otter intentionally low-balled revenue estimates last year as part of an agenda to slash state Medicaid funding?

Hottest Pepper Levels Trib Reporter

He kept his wares in two latch-lid glass jars. At the outset of the interview, the 37-year-old custodian pulled three baggies of dried peppers from them and laid them on the table in the Tribune break room. We were adults, but it felt like we were two kids sitting in a basement with a stash of cherry bombs between us. Odds were good one of us was leaving hurt. “Any one of the three of these is going to mess you up,” Ted (The Fire Breathing Idiot) Barrus said of his peppers. That said, by his logic, I might as well tangle with the king - the last bag on his left. It held the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, recently given the crown as the hottest pepper in the world after some of its ilk scored 2 million heat units on the Scoville scale. A jalapeno, not even worthy of a spot in his jars, hits 8,000 at best/Cody Bloomsburg, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (Barry Kough's Lewiston Tribune photo: Ted Barrus handles the heat of the world’s hottest pepper with more poise than Tribune reporter Cody Bloomsburg as the two try Barrus’ Trinidad Moruga Scorpion challenge).

DFO: Cody Bloomsburg goes on to describe the effects of eating the world's hottest pepper & how he ended up in the emergency room of St. Joseph's Hospital in Lewiston.

Question: What's the hottest thing you've ever eaten?

Idaho Paper Backs Mitt, Slams Others

We believe that Mitt Romney is the best choice for Idaho, the best choice for Republicans, and the best option in bringing conservatism back to the White House in the person of the 45th President of the United States. He has listed creating jobs and restoring American competitiveness as his highest priorities, and although implementing those priorities is way easier said than done, at least he has the priorities right. And despite his bungled statements about both the “very rich” and the “very poor,” his clarifying remark — “My energy is going to be devoted to helping middle-income people” — is exactly where the next president’s energy ought to be focused/Twin Falls Times-News Editorial Board. More here. (AP photo of Mitt Romney in Traverse City, Mich., Sunday)

Question: Do you agree with the choice of the Twin Falls Times-News for the GOP presidential nomination?

Ward: Spencer Spreads Disinformation

Since fourteen members of the Kootenai County Central Committee sent a letter objecting to the selection of Richard Mack as the keynote speaker of the Lincoln Day Dinner, many of you have been contacted by proponents (namely a KCRCC non-member, Larry Spencer) who have spread disinformation about our letter.  Let me set a few facts straight. I composed the letter with ideas and research by a number of signers. Since it was a letter sent to the KCRCC Chair and Secretary with copies sent to signatories and various KCRCC members (whose email was on the original KCRCC Roster) there was an expectation of that the letter would be public. It was sent on Monday February 20th.  I did not forward it to anyone else.   I responded to a media email on the afternoon of Tuesday February 21st by a reporter who had seen a copy of the letter. There seems to be some confusion about the nature of our objections to Mack speaking that have been further obscured by the disinformation mentioned above/Jeff Ward, Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. More here.


Dujardin Wins Oscar For Best Actor

Jean Dujardin holds Uggie after accepting the Oscar for best picture for “The Artist” at the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. Story here. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Question: Which film nominated for an Oscar do you most want to see now that the Academy Awards have come and gone?

Filing Begins For Primary Elections

Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes announced the opening of candidate filing for the May 15 Primary elections, in which there are many County level offices open. Offices with two year terms include: County Commissioner District 1 and Precinct Committeemen. Offices with four year terms include: County Commissioner District 3, County Prosecutor, and County Sheriff. Clerk Hayes pointed out “the May 15 Primary election is the first in which the Elections office has to verify whether a candidate’s party affiliation on the declaration matches the same party they stated on their voter registration”.  (Party choices are Constitution, Democratic, Libertarian and Republican.)  Filing deadline ends at 5 p.m. Friday, March 9/Kootenai Count Clerk news release. Full news release here.

Question: Which county office election interests you most?

Huckleberries: A Young Ron Paul Fan

You know your 3-year-old daughter is as cute as you think she is when she’s photographed by two members of different media at the recent Ron Paul confab. Nicole Hensley of KXLY snapped Lajla Handeen near glad-handing Ron Paul. Jesse Tinsley of The Spokesman-Review photographed her peeking through a curtain. She was in Spokane with her father, Bjorn Handeen, Precinct 52 committeeman for the Kootenai County GOP Committee. Bjorn tells of Lajla’s close encounter with Paul: “When Ron Paul shook her hand, he asked if she knew his name. She smiled, nodded, and said ‘Ron Paul!’ He got a big kick out of that. She was beaming that whole weekend. She’s not even 4, but I have the feeling that she’ll remember that exchange for a long time.” Bjorn packs Lajla to political events. She behaves well, he told Huckleberries: “If she can sit through a (Kootenai County Republican Central Committee) meeting, a Ron Paul speech is easy”/DFO, HucksOnline. More here. (Anthony Terrell of NBC News shot a third photo of Lajla Handeen at the Ron Paul Rally)

Question: Do/did you take your children to political events?

Mack Eager To Speak To Local Repubs

Ex-Arizona sheriff Richard Mack said Friday (of the challenge by some Kootenai County Republicans to his scheduled Lincoln Day speech: “If Republicans support the Constitution, less government, individual liberty, less taxation, and standing for States' rights and against a $16 trillion debt, then they will like my presentation. I absolutely guarantee it.” He said he's honored to be invited to speak at the event. “I have quoted (former President Ronald) Reagan and Lincoln frequently in my books and throughout my career,” Mack said. “Jeff Ward is president of the Reagan Republicans. Does he not know that Reagan was once a Democrat?” Mack said that while he was registered as a Democrat, “I was the first sheriff in American history to sue the federal government and the head of the Democratic Party, Bill Clinton, on the issue of state sovereignty.” He said he won that case in the U.S. Supreme Court/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Have you always been a member of your current political party?

Ramirez: An Ap-hollow-gy

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

Weekend Wild Card — 2.24.12

Local politics are almost in full bloom in North Idaho, with incumbents and challengers announcing intent to run for office. Filing begins Monday, I believe, and continues through March 9. While election officials fill out the lineup cards, you'll have to start thinking about party affiliation. I'd urge all Independents, unaffiliated, & even some Democrats to consider signing on as Republicans. So their votes will count in races where there will be no Democrats running in the general election, especially for local county and legislative offices. Now for your weekend Wild Card …

GU Stops San Diego, St. Mary’s Wins Title

Guy Landry Edi scored 13 points and Gonzaga kept its hopes alive for a share of its 12th straight West Coast Conference regular-season title by defeating San Diego 65-57 Saturday.The Bulldogs (23-5, 13-3) can tie St. Mary's (Calif.) for the league crown if the Gaels (13-2) lose to San Francisco in a late game Saturday night.Robert Sacre and Kevin Pangos added 11 points each for the Bulldogs, who pulled ahead 59-57 on a jumper by Sacre with 1:51 remaining and closed the game on an 8-0 run. Elias Harris had 12 rebounds for Gonzaga/AP. Story & boxscore here.

St. Mary's 67, San Francisco 60: Rob Jones had 14 points and 14 rebounds, Clint Steindl added 16 points and Saint Mary's beat San Francisco 67-60 on Saturday night to clinch the Gaels' first outright conference title in 23 years. Story here.

Question: Despite the end of Gonzaga's WCC title streak, do you enjoy watching a conference that's more competitive than ever?

Idaho Caucus Confuses Republicans

Idaho Republican Party officials may be happy with how the new presidential caucus is playing out, but at the local level it's causing more confusion than joy. The main point people need to understand is this: If they want to vote for a presidential candidate before November, they have to participate in the March 6 Republican caucus or the April 14 Democratic caucus. Unlike previous years, the names of presidential candidates will no longer be included on the May primary ballots. Consequently, unaffiliated or independent voters will no longer have even a symbolic say in who the nominee should be. Nor will anyone who can't attend the caucus in person, since absentee ballots aren't accepted. The new system stems from a decision by Idaho Republicans to move their presidential nomination process up from May to Super Tuesday, when almost 20 percent of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination will be up for grabs/William Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (SR file photo of the 2004 Democratic caucus at North Idaho College)

Question: Do you understand the caucus system that will be used by Idaho Republicans on Super Tuesday?

Head ‘Em Up, Move ‘Em Out

Reilly Smith, of Spokane, is taken for a ride, along Howard Street in front of the Spokane Arena, by his dog Chloe on Friday.  Smith says he travels with the dog from Foothills Drive to Riverfront Park and then back home. Chloe still has energy after the long run.  “I've created a monster” Smith said. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Huckleberries Hears …

… That Digger (aka Henry D. Johnston, 26, of Moscow) is considering a run for the Idaho Legislature, District 5, for the House seat not currently occupied by Rep. Shirley Ringo (D-Moscow). Digger is considering running as an Independent on a platform of his own creation. He'll be discussing the possiblity of a run with his employer, friends and family and will make a formal announcment next week as to whether or not he will run.

Question: Should Digger run?

DFO: Time For Local Dems To Step Up

DFO: Kootenai County Democrats should field good candidates in all local races that include Far Right wannabes with a chance to win a county GOP nomination. Vs. Phil Hart, Vs. Vito Barbieri. For sheriff. Mebbe vs. Bob Nonini. Etc. That would give Reasonable Republicans, moderate Independents, and Democrats a better choice in general election if an extreme candidate wins the spring round. Last time, Hart, for example, won the primary (weeks before the news about his IRS/timber problems broke) and then survived token opposition from a write-in candidate. This time, the Democrats are on the spot to field a good field of candidates to provide a choice, even if their candidates don’t do any fund-raising in the spring …

Question: Is it time for Kootenai County Democrats to step up for seats that could end up in the hands of a fringe candidate who could take advantage of passionated backers and a poor turnout to win a GOP nomination?

Romney: Increase Age For Medicare, SS

Four days before critical primary elections, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney outlined a far-reaching plan Friday to delay Americans’ eligibility for Medicare and Social Security. Romney said the gradual shift, as people live longer, is needed to steer the giant benefit programs toward economic sustainability. Speaking to the Detroit Economic Club – in cavernous Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions football team plays – he also sought primary election support in Michigan, which votes on Tuesday along with Arizona. Romney said previous steps to toughen government emission standards had “provided a benefit to some of the foreign automakers” at the expense of American companies. He said future changes should be worked out cooperatively between government and industry/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo of Mitt Romney in Michigan Friday)

Question: Do you agree with the proposal by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to save Medicare and Social Security by increasing eligibility age beginning in 2022?

DanOTC Mulls Run, Not Naming Seat

Dan Of The Community: Yes, I will acknowledge that I am strongly considering a run for public office. I still have to resolve a few critical decision points. If I do run, you will know by the middle of next week. If I don’t then it won’t matter which race(s) I may have been considering so I’m not going to go there. But I will answer a few questions that are probably relevant anyway. Would I still run as a Democrat in Kootenai County? Yes, because that is what I am. No DINO, RINO, or the political equivalent of a wife swapper here. Probably the bigger question is why even consider it. Ironically, my answer is essentially the same that Cliff Hayes gave when he was asked why he was going to run against me as County Clerk (and it turned out pretty good for him).

Question: Which office should Dan run for, given the fact that he lives in Twin Lakes?

Signe: LiNBA

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Parting Shot — 2.24.12

Callista Gingrich, wife of Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, stands in front of a Valentine's Day-themed-bulletin-board as she visits a classroom at the Evergreen Christian School in Olympia, Wash., earlier today. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Finish this sentence: Love is …

TGIF Wild Card — 2.24.12

Newt Gingrich. Rick Santorum. Ron Paul. And Mitt Romney's kid. All we need now is a visit from Mitt Romney himself to say that the Inland Northwest is in the minds of the leading GOP presidential candidates. It hasn't always been that way. It means the area has grown up. Or turned brighter red. Either way, 'tis nice to have the top candidates come calling. Now for your last Wild Card of the work week …

Idaho Dad: The Food Paradox

What kid doesn’t have some food they just absolutely won’t eat? For most kids, it’s foods like liver, spinach, and cauliflower that cause dramatic wailing and gagging at the dinner table. No amount of persuasion and bribery can get them to eat that stuff. My own childhood culinary nightmares included squash, brussels sprouts, and mushrooms. Those three items just happen to be the last holdouts from a long list of foods that I eventually grew to appreciate. … My kids aren’t any different than others their age. They have their “Will Not Eat Even If Starving” lists. Neither of them will touch a mushroom, and I long ago stopped wasting asparagus on them/Idaho Dad, A Family Runs Through It. More here.

Question: Which vegetables do your children refuse to eat? Which ones do you still refuse to eat?

PM:Winter Flyfishing On The St. Joe

Dale Johnson snapped this photo of his father-in-law, Gary Gaines, during a fishing out on the St. Joe River near Calder last weekend. Emails Dale: “Calder got 6 new inches of snow Saturday night and Sunday morning. Although some parts of the river are not accessible, the fishing was outstanding. Kinda crazy fly fishing in a snowstorm. The fishing was as good as a good July day!”

APhoto Of The Day — 2.24.12

Bringman Young's Josh Sharp is harassed by Gonzaga's fans, in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday in Spokane. Gonzaga beat BUI 74-63. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Fan to Josh Sharp: I think you’re the father of my baby — DFO.
  • 2. LDS meets LSD — JohnA.
  • 3. I thought Newt was in CDA? — Dennis.
  • HM: 805me (VP of the Kennel Club who's the man in the mask above)

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.24.12

  • 5:38 p.m. Driver of silver pickup w/canopy ran after hitting vehicle @ Daanen's Deli/Hayden lot.
  • 5:37 p.m. CPD Blue stopping at Independence Point for person of unknown gender in unknown car.
  • 5:17 p.m. PFPD Blues arrest man & woman who were arguing with WalMart/PF East employee near Jeep w/Washington plates at pharmacy exit after he caught them shoplifting
  • 5:16 p.m. Custodial father in two-tone green van s/b on H41 from Coeur d'Alene/PF is driving without license or insurance & is not suppose to by driving w/kids in the car.
  • 5:10 p.m. Motorcyclist in black on red “crotch rocket” popping wheels, speeding @ H41 from I-90/PF.
  • 4:55 p.m. Albert reports unwanted daughter-in-law in his home re: custodial dispute.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Feb. 23-24 here.
  • 4:33 p.m. Julia is in Post Falls police lobby to see officer re: wallet that she found.
  • 4:24 p.m. Jennifer has 2 contained dogs, including one that fell through ice on Hauser Lake.
  • 4:07 p.m. Wrecker sought to pull suspect car in hit-and-run from Quail Ridge/Rathdrum hiding place. (see 3:14 p.m. item below)
  • 4:01 p.m. Motorist willing to sign complaint against driver of black pickup pulling trailer w/red car on it at 40 mph on w/b I-90 @ M/P 7 (H41). But ISP officer responds pickup driver is doing nothing illegal.
  • 10 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link

NIdaho Blogs — 2.24.12

When we last saw T.J. Barnhart, he was part of a Coeur Group panel who posed questions to the five Kootenai County GOP sheriff's candidates at the public forum in the Coeur d'Alene Library. Here, he practices his handshake as he waits for presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to arrive at the Coeur d'Alene Inn Thursday. (Special to HucksOnline)

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday): 10,058/6140, (for Wednesday): 9004/5494, and (for Thursday (9922/5730)

CdA Police: No Child Abducted Today

Coeur d'Alene police suspect that no child was abducted from Coeur d'Alene Place this morning. In a news release police Sgt. Christie Wood reports: “Police officers contacted residents that live in the neighborhood of where the bike was located. Two different neighbors reported seeing the bike lying on a lawn at 7:30am this morning. The female that called police saw the child riding the bike at 8:15am. The child put the bike down when the van approached and got into the vehicle. Neighbors said it is possible the bike has been in their neighborhood since yesterday. With no missing children reported it appears the child got into the van willingly and did not take the bike because it possibly does not belong to him. This report appears to be unfounded. Police will continue to monitor all tips.”

Newt, Mark Fisher Work CdA Crowd

Mark Fisher (left in red tie), who introduced Callista Gingrich at the Coeur d'Alene rally, works the rope line with Newt Gingrich at the Coeur d'Alene Inn. For those of you keeping score at home, Fisher has announced that he will run against state Rep. Vito Barbieri in the spring GOP primary election. (Special to HucksOnline)

A lot of show biz has crossed the stage at the Bing, and Thursday was no different. Fans stood in line more than an hour before showtime. Some held signs or dressed up. A tour bus lurked outside, and police rerouted traffic. When the doors opened, people flooded in, filling the ground floor immediately and then streaming up to the balcony. The crowd buzzed and rustled, in the full flower of Spokane diversity: every kind of white. Bald old graybeards dominated, but there were plenty of teenagers, families with children in tow, people dressed in athletic spandex and backwoods flannel, blue jeans and T-shirts and ball caps. One of Spokane’s better qualities – our pronounced lack of suits and ties – shone through. One man standing near the back refused an offer of a seat. “I’m too excited to sit,” he said/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here. (SR photo)

Question: Any of you commenters/bloggers/blurkers out there attend the Gingrich rally? Impressions?

Huckleberries Hears …

… That former Kootenai County clerk Dan English of Twin Lakes is considering a political race this year. Yeah, HucksOnline knows which race the “Last Democrat in Kootenai County” is eyeing. But we've been sworn to secrecy. Should know more next week.

Brannon Manager Wants Nonini Seat

Home builder and Republican activist Jeff Tyler will file Monday for election to Idaho House of Representatives Seat A, a district containing Post Falls, Rathdrum and southeast Kootenai County. Tyler, in his first run for public office, will seek a two-year term to the seat currently held by Rep. Bob Nonini, who announced he is running for the Senate. Tyler, 52, is a long-time Republican and conservative activist as a founder and 1st Vice President of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans and a founder of the Panhandle Pachyderm Club.  In 2009 Tyler became well known as the campaign manager for Republican Jim Brannon in his campaign against Democrat Mike Kennedy for the Coeur d’Alene City Council. A resident of Kootenai County since 1994, Tyler lives with his wife of 25 years, Pam, on Harbor Island.  Jeff and Pam have 2 grown sons, Kenny and Keith/News Release. More here.


IFF: Free Market At Risk In Idaho

Somewhere, someone in Idaho is working day and night on his technological innovation. Maybe out of a dimly-lit garage. I have no idea what this innovation is. Nor do you. Nor does government.  That’s the beauty of the free market. The governor and the members of the Legislature and of the business community who support the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) believe they can outperform and outthink the uncertainty of the markeplace. They’ve come up with a plan, expected to be voted on Monday in the Idaho House of Representatives, which would help facilitate the commercialization of high-tech research at our state colleges and universities. I won’t get into specifics of how that works, because there are no real specifics/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: The Idaho Freedom Foundation was the lone voice to speak against the IGEM proposal. Who's right, the Legislature or Wayne Hoffman?

Rick Seward Meets Newt Gingrich

Rick & Joy Seward, long-time Kootenai County Republicans, meet Newt Gingrich at the Coeur d'Alene Inn Thursday night. (Special to HucksOnline)

Joe: Out, Out, Damn Turtleneck

On his Facebook wall, Joe Paisley (aka “Joe in the Morning”) of ESPN 1080/KVNI writes: “Remember that one time that someone told you that they really liked your turtle neck? No you don't, because no one has ever said those words ever to anyone.” Which prompted me to comment that I recall those halcyon days when “Dickies” were in. A Dickie was a faux turtleneck that you slipped over your head and under your shirt to resemble a turtleneck — sorta like a fake tie. I wore them in high school. Fortunately they went the way of bell bottoms.

Question: Which questionable fashion fad did you embrace in your glory days?

Sam: They’re Just Going To Die’

On her Facebook wall, Cindy tells of this exchange with one of her 4 sons: “I told Sam I'm inteviewing a 77 year-old lady and a 95 year-old man who are getting married tomorrow. 'That is so wrong,' said Sam. 'Why get married when you're just going to die?' The kid is lacking the romance gene.”

Question: Do you know someone who has found love and successfully married very late in life?

We’re Getting Unfriendly On Facebook

Whether it's pruning friends lists, removing unwanted comments or restricting access to their profiles, Americans are getting more privacy-savvy on social networks, a new report found. The report released Friday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that people are managing their privacy settings and their online reputation more often than they did two years earlier. For example, 44 percent of respondents said in 2011 that they deleted comments from their profile on a social networking site. Only 36 percent said the same thing in 2009/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Do you allow angry comments to remain on your Facebook wall?

CPD: No Child Missing From School

Update: Coeur d’Alene Police have worked with SD271 personnel in all of the surrounding schools and have determined no children are currently missing from school. Local private schools and nearby daycares have also been contacted and have not reported any missing children

Coeur d'Alene police are looking for an 8- or 9-year-old boy who may have been abducted by a man in a white van in Coeur d'Alene Place this morning. A 25-year-old Coeur d'Alene woman driving her child to school saw the boy get into the dirty van, leaving his mountain bike in the area of Hanley & Courcelles. The woman described the van as a full-size cargo van with ladder rack. The child is described as 8 to 9 years old, 4-foot-1, wearing blue jeans, a yellow, green, and black neoprene jacket and dark shoes. His mountain bike is described as a green-and-black Huffy/Alpine 18-speed with black-and-green seat, black pedals, and front suspension. Police are working with Coeur d'Alene School District personnel to decide if any children failed to arrive at school this morning. CPD news release here.

High Noon: Gummint Regulation

In general, more Americans say that government regulation of business is harmful than say it is necessary to protect the public. At the same time, when asked about regulations in specific areas, such as food safety and environmental protection, there is broad support for strengthening regulations or keeping current regulations as they are now rather than reducing regulations. The public also thinks that in many sectors there is too little rather than too much regulation. Pluralities think there is too little regulation of large corporations, banks and financial institutions and the oil and gas industry. But when it comes to small businesses, far more say there is too much rather than too little regulation of small businesses/Pew Research Center. More here. H/T: Terry@KEA Twitter

Question: Are the words “government regulation” a positive/negative term for you?

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.24.12

  • 11:55 a.m. Some sort of theft is reported in 8800 block of Wyoming Avenue/Hayden.
  • 11:47 a.m. Night Hawk Security reports Pam Wallace has returned to scene of fire at her Post Falls mansion, 1504 E. Plaza/PF. She's demanding some sort of paperwork. She's also called the media to witness her encounter with security and local police.
  • 11:28 a.m. Resident reports man in work clothes asked to use phone @ Poleline & Corbin/PF.
  • 11:27 a.m. Driver of Chevy F10 pickup is driving 10 mph on H41 @ M/P 17 (Spirit Lake Loop).
  • 11:26 a.m. ISP officer is stopping to check debris lying on H95 @ M/P428 (Cougar Gulch).
  • 11:09 a.m. Female reports husband attacked her & took 1997 Dodge Ram pickup @ St. James & Bordeaux/Hayden. She had protection order against him. Man described as 5-foot-10 & 30YO. (Update @ 11:24 a.m., Deputies have taken man into custody.)
  • 13 more items below

Idaho BB Boys Sat Naked On Bus

Parents in a northern Idaho school district are steaming mad over alleged hazing incidents that were sexual in nature - and we're never told about it. Some of the alleged actions include Prairie High School boys basketball players sitting naked on a school bus for the last three years as well as one player placing his genitals in another boy's face. “We are here tonight as very concerned parents, grandparents and tax payers,” said Michelle Sprute. “In the past few weeks, we have heard of some very disturbing things going on at Prairie High School. Things that are crimes and punishable by law”/Whitney Hise, KLEW. More here. H/T: Orbusmax.

Question: As a parent, wouldn't you be steamed, too?

Poll: Not Happy With Commissioners

  • Thursday Poll: In light voting, 76 of 126 respondents (60.32%) aren't happy with the job performance of Kootenai County commissioners over the past 2 years. 29 of 126 respondents (23.02%) are happy with the commissioners' performance. 21 of 126 (16.67%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Should President Obama have apologized to the Afghanistan president for the U.S. military burning of Qurans, which has triggered rioting?

Newt’s Peeps Managed Event Well

A Berry Picker photographer writes of this photo: “The security at the Gingrich event was much more robust than that experienced at the Santorum event.  It was interesting how the whole event was managed.  While there was a lot of room available, the management pressed everyone into a relative small area.  This made it look like people were crowded in which they were.  There was a lot of room for the media.  A raised platform was provide at the back of the roped off area for video and just in front of that was a long table for reporters with laptops.  I cannot help but think that this was because of a grater attention to detail on the part of the Gingrich organization.  I saw one senior staff person carefully check the stage flags to make sure they hung just right.  The level of both security and stage management was impressive.”

For Those Keeping Score At Home …

… Just got off the phone with Kootenai County Commissioner Dan Green. Who confirmed that Larry Spencer called him 2-3 weeks ago to say that he was going to run against Green. The commissioners told HucksOnline that Spencer told him that he was a “good guy” but Spencer disagreed with him on some issues.

Letter: Johnson Candidacy A Farce

To begin with I believe The Press owes me a fresh bowl of cereal as I knocked mine over while laughing and reading the announcement of Adam Johnson running for sheriff of Kootenai County. According to the paper this is the same man who plugged two guys on Sherman Avenue sometime back and got away with it. He also pled guilty to felony possession of heroin last year. The story points out that Mr. Johnson is a failed businessman but remains as a board member of the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce. WOW! What a resume. Mr. Johnson admits that he has absolutely no law enforcement experience but is quite confident that his financial background would be of great benefit to the operation of the Sheriff’s Department. Oh did I mention that his business is closed?/Michael J. Murphy of Hayden, in letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Photo from Adam Johnson Facebook page)

Question: Should Adam Johnson be running for county sheriff, given his total lack of law enforcement background and his scrapes with the law in recent years?

Letter Applauds Mack Appearance

In a letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press (re: GOP faction opposes Richard Mack speech), Thomas Robinson, GOPrecinct 2 Committeeman from Spirit Lake writes: “Of the Central Committee members who signed the letter, one has been to one meeting since the last primary, one attended two, and five more have missed five to 15 meetings. If they would get involved, perhaps they would know more. That would require some effort on their part, but they think they should be the VIP boss, and the VIP doesn’t work. Since they aren’t the VIP, they would rather sulk and complain. On one of my shifts at the county fair, one of your complainers showed up. He sat in the back of the booth the whole shift, talking on his phone. Did no work. Haven’t noticed a lot of them participating at the three parades I was in, either.” More here. (Wikipedia photo of Richard Mack)

Question: Would you want to hear controversial ex-Arizona sheriff Richard Mack speak?

Legislature’s Only Gay Calling It Quits

Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, has decided not to run for another term, after serving two terms in the Senate and two in the House. “The job that I've had, I think, often is just speaking up for those who are about to lose, the side that's going to go down,” she said. “I think your heart can only take that for so long.” LeFavour, 48, a teacher and a writer, is the Legislature's only open gay member. She's been an outspoken advocate of legislation to expand the Idaho Human Rights Act to cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; that legislation has seen growing support, but lawmakers have never granted it a hearing/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: What is Sen. LeFavour's impact on the Idaho Legislature?

Newt Promises $2.50/Gallon Gas

HucksOnline's embedded photographer snapped this shot of Callista Gingrich along the rope line at the Coeur d'Alene Inn last night. Her husband spoke to a packed room afterward.

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wants everybody to share one idea with their friends and family. That “I represent $2.50 a gallon gasoline,” the former U.S. Speaker of the House said at a rally Thursday night at the Coeur d'Alene Best Western Inn. The price of gas now is a major part of Gingrich's game plan as he seeks to become president. He said President Barack Obama was responsible for “the most expensive gas in history” in 2011. Gingrich made two appearances in Coeur d'Alene Thursday night. The other was at a fundraiser at a home on Neachen Bay, where tickets to the event were $1,000 each/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: If Newt Gingrich truly could bring the country $2.50 gas, would you support his presidential candidacy?

Gingrich: Karzai Owes Us An Apology

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Thursday a U.S. apology to Afghan authorities for burned Qurans on a military base was “astonishing” and undeserved. President Barack Obama formally apologized Thursday after copies of the Muslim holy book were found in the week burned in a garbage pit on a U.S. air field earlier. Later Thursday, news organizations reported that an Afghan soldier had killed two U.S. troops and wounded others in retaliation for the burning. Campaigning in Washington state, Gingrich said Afghan President Hamid Karzai owes the U.S. an apology for the shootings/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo of Hamid Karzai and Barack Obama in New York last Sept. 20)

Question: Gingrich goes on to say: “There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama’s attention in a negative way.” Do you agree with Gingrich?

Read more here:

Read more here:

Wannabes Square Off Over Jail

Kootenai County Commissioner Todd Tondee and challenger Marc Eberlein revealed diverging opinions on county policy Thursday, when they squared off at a forum hosted by the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. Responding to questions from group founder Jeff Ward, Eberlein criticized the county's past attempts to fund a jail with a bond measure. “This has already been put out two times for a vote, and each time voters said no,” said Eberlein, Post Falls resident and owner of a cabinet business. He would rather see more effort invested in programs like work-release to free up space, he said/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: You know what's going to happen, right? Someday, sooner than later, a judge will rule that the jail is too crowded — and the county has to build another one. Happened to the old jail back when. Can you see any other way a new jail will be built?

Hamilton: I Was Answering Honestly

Tom Hamilton re: possible application of Wanda Quinn for a trustee post in response to Christie Wood comment: “What DFO posted was taken from my (private) Facebook page and posted slightly out of context. That post was in response to a direct question asking me “what it would take to get Wanda back on the Board.” I answered that question as truthfully as I could and if you care to look, there was no political motivation in my statement or in my opinion of Wanda. Frankly, I don’t have the faintest idea what Wanda’s political persuasion may be and neither do I care. You must also keep in mind that any opinion I have of Wanda on the Board is based on my experience serving with her since last July as well as her answers to the interview questions (which I heard in person) when she was selected to the Board. Were Wanda to reapply all of those things would factor into any decision I made as well as my stated opinion that I feel she exercised very poor judgement in how she personally handled the controversy of her own appointment.

DFO: The post wasn't exactly private in that it has been posted on for more than a week.

Question: Tom brings up a good question. Should a public figure consider his Facebook page private?

Heller: Right-Leaning Candidates

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Gonzaga 74, BYU 63

Bringman Young's defense can only watch as Gonzaga's Elias Harris (20) goes for the dunk as teammate Kevin Pangos (4) watches, in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday in Spokane, Wash. Gonzaga beat BYU 74 to 63. Jim Meehan SR story here. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)

Wild Card/Thursday — 2.23.12

Cliff notes on Kootenai County sheriff's forum from Wednesday night. Three people are qualified to replace Rocky Watson as sheriff: Ben Wolfinger, Keith Hutcheson, and maybe Bob Foster. Three people have a chance to win the race: Ben Wolfinger, Keith Hutcheson, and John Green. Wolfinger, obviously, has most hands on experience. Hutcheson is the only one of the others who could hit the ground running. Green's supporters were the noisiest. I waited in vain all night for a question that would force Green to address his political philosophy about the sheriff's office. But it's only February. We have a long one to go before this one is decided. Now for your Wild Card.

Parting Shot — 2.23.12

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich shakes hands, signs autographs and poses for photos with the large crowd assembled to hear him Thursday at the Bing Crosby Theater. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

The man who orchestrated the Republican wave that took out Spokane’s own Speaker of the U.S. House nearly two decades ago was back Thursday, this time with a bid for the White House. Newt Gingrich finds himself trailing in polls, well behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the surging campaign of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. But he said Washington could help put his campaign back in the running. He said Washington, which holds its GOP caucuses on March 3, can make a “big difference” in the race as the final contest before Super Tuesday, when 10 states, including Idaho, hold primaries or causes/Spokesman-Review. More here.

Question: Will Super Tuesday be Newt Gingrich's last hurrah?

Is America Apologizing Too Much?

As protests rage across Afghanistan for the third day in response to the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base, some are questioning whether the parade of apologies from the U.S. government may do more harm than good. The latest installment came Thursday, when the U.S. ambassador delivered an apology letter from President Obama to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. That follows apologies from Afghanistan commander Gen. John Allen, the White House, NATO's International Security Assistance Force and other Pentagon officials. The backlash began after Korans were burned with garbage at a military base in Afghanistan. Officials said they were removed from the detention center library because the detainees were using them to pass secret and what were described as “extremist” messages to one another/Judson Berger, Fox News. More here. (AP photo: Afghans shout anti-US slogans during a demonstration east of Kabul Thursday)

Question: Are American apologies concerning burning of Korans by U.S. military doing more harm than good in Afghanistan?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.23.12

  • 5:36 p.m. Kelsey reports possible fraud involving use of her credit card for Super 1 Redbox rental.
  • 5:23 p.m. 2-vehicle, noninjury crash is backing up traffic on w/b I-90, west of NW Blvd/CdA.
  • 5:02 p.m. Levi in 7200 block of Ohio Match Road/Rathdrum reports stolen vehicle.
  • 4:45 p.m. Residential burglary reported in 1300 block of Norlyn Court/CdA.
  • 4:41 p.m. Mitch is at PFPD lobby to report someone may have shot out window of his black-and-gray Chevy pickup while he was on the freeway 12 minutes ago. Window is shattered.
  • 4:34 p.m. Man who waved gun at ex-gal may be in custody at his apartment.
  • 4:22 p.m. Driver has Lab & St. Bernard caught in car @ fueling station on Burlington/Rathdrum.
  • 4:18 p.m. Female reports ex-boyfriend pulled a gun on her and new boyfriend @ W. Westminster & Atlanta/CdA b/c he thought they owed him money. Ex left w/o further problems.
  • 4:01 p.m. Officer asks dispatch to contact landlord of CdA woman locked out of 15th St. home.
  • 15 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link

PM: Newt In Spokane Heading To CdA

Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callistra, arrive at the Bing Crosby Theater for a rally Spokane this afternoon.  Picture story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich stopped in Coeur d’Alene Thursday night for a town hall meeting. Before taking the time to meet with some of his supporters Gingrich sat down at a $1,000 per plate private function in North Idaho. Ahi-tuna, tiger prawn martini's, a full bar and an oyster dish were all on the menu. The function is serving nine different hors dourves, and no entres. Roughly thirty republicans will fill the lavish Coeur d’Alene home to meet Mr. Gingrich for about an hour and a half/Cole Heath, KREM. More here.

Question: If you had an extra $1000 now and didn't intend to spend it on a ticket to talk to Newt Gingrich, what would you do with it?

Girl’s Running Death Leads To Charge

Gail Denny places a candle and stuffed animal outside the home of 9-year-old Savannah Hardin near Attalla, Ala., Wednesday. Authorities say Hardin was forced to run for three hours as punishment for having lied to her grandmother about eating candy bars. The severely dehydrated girl had a seizure and her death days later was ruled a homicide. Story here. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)


Harwood To Quit After 6 Terms

Six-term Idaho Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, has decided to end his 12-year legislative career after this year. “I’m not going to run,” Harwood said Thursday. “My wife’s family’s not doing well. … She needs me to be there.” After 12 years in the Legislature, Harwood says he’s most proud of his work to push back against the federal government, including his failed bill this year to kick the EPA out of Idaho. “My whole goal has been to push back from the federal government,” Harwood said. “Just having someone here to try to push back and say, ‘Hey, we have sovereignty as a state,’ and try to keep the federal government from running over the top of us. That’s been my goal.” He said his only regret is that he wasn’t able to do more on that score/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Did Dick Harwood have an impact on the Idaho Legislature?

Johnson: KCSD Isn’t Paramilitary

On his Facebook wall, Adam Johnson, one of five candidates for the Kootenai County GOP nod, posts: “During the Sheriffs Candidate forum last night, one of the other candidates (sheriff's Major Ben Wolfinger) equated the sheriffs department to a paramilitary organization. A statement I wholeheartedly disagree with in every sense of the meaning. Thoughts?

Question: Do you consider the sheriff's department to be a paramilitary organization?

Huckleberries Hears …

… that Kootenai County Republicans who want to participate in the Idaho caucus locally on Super Tuesday are having a rough time contacting the local Republican office. The Kootenai County Elections Department gives callers the number of the local Republicans to call: 765-8259. A pleasant, recorded female's voice answers the call, telling callers how excited local Republicans are to participate in Idaho's first caucus. She then asks callers to leave a number, promising a live person will get back to them ASAP. Only they don't. An insider tells Huckleberries: “People are angry. No one answers the phone. It is voice mail only.  No one returns their calls even when they leave messages.”


Out Of Bounds

A golf ball is embedded in a saguaro cactus along a fairway at th Ritz Carlton Golf Club during the Match Play Championship golf tournament Thursday in Marana, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Question: Which club would you use to hit this shot?

ISP Investigating McGee Allegation

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has reviewed the sexual harassment allegations against former Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, and handed the case over to the Idaho State Police. “He determined it was appropriate to provide to ISP,” said Attorney General's office spokesman Bob Cooper, who said Wasden met with ISP Director Col. Jerry Russell yesterday afternoon to hand over the case. Asked the status of the matter at ISP, Russell said today, “ISP is currently conducting a preliminary investigation to determine if any criminal laws have been violated”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: How do you think all this will play out for former senator John McGee?

Newt Visits Lake City At 7 Tonight

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at a debate watching party Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz. Today, Gingrich is visiting Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. He'll be present at a townhall meeting at the Coeur d'Alene Inn tonight. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

  • Columnist Shawn Vestal covering Gingrich this PM in Spokane, via Twitter: “Newt filled the Bing like he was Matthew Modine or something.

Question: Do you plan to see Newt Gingrich in Coeur d'Alene tonight?

Tom Not Likely To Back Wanda Pick

Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Tom Hamilton reacting on his Facebook page to possibility of former trustee Wanda Quinn being reappointed to School Board: “She is certainly welcome to put her hat back in the ring although I don’t have any idea if she intends to. I will be honest with you and tell you that while this was never about Wanda, it will be difficult for me to support her reappointment. I would never besmirch her character, but I do feel she showed very poor judgement in allowing this to go to court. Don’t forget that Terri and I asked no less than 3 times for an administrative solution to this issue. One of those was a motion at a Board meeting that Wanda refused to allow to come to the table. I said all along that I never wanted this to go to court, but I would see it through if I had to. Unfortunately, that is the path they chose…”

Question: Does this statement affect Tom's ability to stay neutral should Wanda apply for reappointment?

Wine Cellar Moving Next Door

The owners of The Wine Cellar, a staple of the downtown scene for over 20 years, are thrilled to announce that the restaurant will be moving street side this summer. Tom & Patricia Power have acquired the building located at 317 Sherman Avenue, directly next door to the Wine Cellar and will be relocating the restaurant to that space.  The Wine Cellar restaurant in its current location will remain open for business during this transition.  The building at 317 Sherman has been a number of businesses over the years, from a department store, furniture store, The Brix restaurant in 2003 and most recently the Icon nightclub/News Release. More here. (Photo from Wine Cellar Web page)

Question: Are you a fan of the Wine Cellar?

Pickett Knew Slain French Journalist

A French photographer who was killed Wednesday in Syria was a close friend and associate of Butte native Holly Pickett, she said in an email. Pickett, a freelance photojournalist living in Cairo, said she worked with Remi Ochlik in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Libya and one time the two had to run from gun fire. “He was very brave and very much wanted to cover these important stories,” Pickett said Wednesday in an email from New York City, where she's working. “He cared very deeply for the people he photographed and for his other colleagues.” Ochlik, 28, was killed in Homs when Syrian forces bombarded the city/Nick Gevock, Butte Standard. More here. (In this photo by Niels Hougaard, Jyllands-posten, Holly Pickett is shown covering a revolution in Tunis, Tunisia)

Question: Do you ever think of the cost that some journalists & photojournalists pay to cover the news around the world?

DM: Senate Leaders Betrayed Idaho

Larry Grant, Chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party, is often quoted about his disgust with the “culture” of the GOP controlled Idaho State Senate. His comments seem to often link it with the word “corruption” or some other perjorative word; though his recent quotes have not seemed to link those two words, anymore. Maybe Larry Grant's more correct than many of us gave him credit for. Not that the Idaho State Senate GOP Leadership is “corrupt” - as I have witnessed nothing that reflects an out-and-out ignoring of Idaho's laws…pending the Attorney General's report on Mr. McGee's actions, as an individual. However, the press reports on this event have NOW appeared throughout the US, today. Amercia sees Idaho once again as a laughing-stock, back-mountain wild west show/Dennis Mansfield. More here. (AP photo: Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill announcing John McGee's resignation Wednesday)

Question: Is McGee the first domino to fall in a legislative culture in Idaho that has for too long enabled misbehavers and scofflaws to continue to operate as though nothing has happened?

High Noon: A Pet’s Birthday

February is a busy month at our house. In addition to Valentine’s Day, we celebrate three family birthdays: Milo’s, Thor’s and mine. The less said about my 40-something-and-counting birthday, the better. But Milo’s third birthday and Thor’s first are truly reasons to celebrate. Pre-Milo, our family had been petless, unless you count goldfish. Alas, the boys and I had grown weary of watery funerals. When we adopted Milo, he was an 8-week-old fuzzy furball of need. He skittered around his metal cage at the pet store during pet adoption week like a kid in desperate need of Ritalin/Cindy Hval, SR. More here.

Question: Do you celebrate your pet's birthday?

Drinking With Miners In Wallace

Ask a local what people do in Wallace at night and you’ll likely get a laugh, a smile, or some variant of what is apparently a standard answer. “Drink,” says 16-year-old Randy Towne, a waiter at the 1313 Club, a popular pub on Bank Street. Towne, who attends Wallace High School, has lived in this tiny historic burg since he was 2. People his age, he says, tend to party at home, in garages, cursing their rivals at nearby Kellogg High School. Bartender Liz Lane, 22, adds that most people her age already have kids, but the rest go out to the few little bars along Bank and Cedar streets and toss them back. “Hunt, mine, drink,” says Towne. “That’s our life.” Sounds good to us/Joel Smith, Inlander. More here. (Inlander photo: Joel Smith)

Question: Anyone ever sampled the nightlife of Wallace?

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.23.12

  • 11:57 a.m. Mom who's not on home wants ambulance for son's possible suicide try on N10th/CdA. (Update: Officer reports not suicide attempt. But male in extreme pain)
  • 11:51 a.m. Caller reporting a strong smell of gas @ Justice & Atlas/Hayden.
  • 11:44 a.m. Officers have stopped vehicle for playing “bumper tag” @ H95 & Haycraft/CdA.
  • 11:40 p.m. Kohl's @ 5045 W. Aqua Ave/CdA reports catching a shoplifter.
  • 11:39 a.m. Caller in 1600 block of N9th/CdA reports possible stalking incident.
  • 11:35 a.m. Michael reports his ex-girlfriend moved out 2 months ago w/o returning some items.
  • 11:34 a.m. Residential burglary reported in 400 block of S11th St/CdA.
  • 11:16 a.m. Caller from Chevron @ 3840 Govt Way/CdA reports being victimized by hit-and-run.
  • 10 more items below

CdA To Appeal $3.7M Firing Judgment

The city of Coeur d’Alene is expected to appeal a $3.7 million judgment against its police department in federal court this spring. Daniel C. Dixon, a 17-year veteran of the force before his 2009 departure, filed a wrongful termination suit against the department and was granted $2.7 million in compensation in October by a federal jury, and $500,000 for emotional pain and suffering. Dixon’s wife, Heidi Dixon, received $500,000 for pain and suffering on behalf of the family. City Attorney Mike Gridley said the appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit will be filed after post-trial motions, which are scheduled for March, have been ruled upon. City Finance Director Troy Tymesen told the City Council Tuesday that should the city lose the appeal and be required to pay the judgment, the city would likely issue a public bond to pay it/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


AM/INWest — 2.23.12

Pepperdine's Nikolas Skouen, second from right, and Caleb Willis (23) chase the ball behind Gonzaga's Elisa Harris (20) and Gary Bell Jr. (5) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Jan. 5 in Spokane. Gonzaga defeated Pepperdine 73-45. Jim Meehan reports that Harris is making big strides with the Zags. See story below. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)

Kootenai County Sheriff’s Candidates

Keith Hutcheson, former Coeur d'Alene Tribal Police chief (left), and sheriff's Major Ben Wolfinger mull a question at the candidates forum for the Kootenai County Republican sheriff's nomination at Coeur d'Alene Library Wednesday night. I consider these two the most qualified of five-man field.


  • Wolfinger wasn't a hit with several Constitutionalists in the crowd when he described the sheriff's office as a “paramilitary organization.”
  • Foster was the only one to answer question re: who he'd vote for if he wasn't running — Hutcheson.
  • Green answered question re: how long he's lived in Kootenai County carefully, stating that he has owned land here for awhile.
  • Wolfinger is the only candidate who said the county needs to build a new jail.
  • Green didn't score points with some when he said the county might be arresting too many people at a time when 77 percent of the inmates in the county jail are there for felonies.
  • Wolfinger posed the $64,000 question to Johnson when he asked how Johnson's candidacy had credibility since he has no police background but does have a criminal record as a result of a guilty plea last year for heroin possession. Johnson was also involved in a downtown Coeur d'Alene incident in which he shot two men from Moses Lake.

DFO: Independent As All Get Out

I've been thinking about the accusations made by local Republican hardliners that HucksOnline is a “librul” blog. And the concerns by the Left Wing here that HucksOnline — and especially your blogmeister — barely hide their conservatism. I remain a Republican — a common-sense one in the mode of former governor Phil Batt. But I don't see a lot of Phil Batt types in the local or state Republican Party. I believe those who inhabit this blog are a lot like me — people who support individual candidates and positions rather than parties (although there are diehards from both sides here). Blogfest 2012 underscored this thought. There were more hard-core conservatives than hard-core liberals there. Most were middle right. Or independent. During brief comments, I joked that the people at Blogfest reminded me of what the old Republican Central Committee must have looked like. This blog is also like me in this way. I don't believe the sun rises & sets on politics. I like to laugh at silliness. I like to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. I don't care much for self-important people. I'm a bit iconoclastic. And I vote — DFO.

Question: Do you think you fit in well with the HucksOnline crowd?

Poll: A Majority Has Smoked Pot

  • Wednesday Poll: 103 of 192 respondents (53.65%) said they've smoked pot at some time in their lives. 78 of 192 respondents (40.63%) said they haven't. 11 of 192 respondents (5.73%) weren't sure.
  • Today's Question: Are you satisfied with the performance of the Kootenai County commissioners over the past two years?

Commish Tondee To Seek Re-election

County Commissioner Todd Tondee will announce today his re-election bid to serve a two-year term on the Kootenai County Commission.  Tondee, who won election to the District 1 seat four years ago with an over 23% margin, will make the announcement during a meeting of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, Noon today at Fedora Pub & Grille, 1726 W. Kathleen Ave. in Coeur d'Alene. Tondee, 47, has served on the Kootenai County Commission for five years and lives in Post Falls with his wife of 25 years DeDe. They have two grown children/Todd Tondee news release. More below

Question: Are you satisfied with Tondee's performance as commissioner?

No One Cares About HBO Polls? Hmm

Do you remember when Larry Spencer was dissing the HucksOnline poll earlier in the week, saying how easy it would be to jerryrig the results? Raising questions re: it's accuracy? Well, I'll be the first to admit that the poll, or any newspaper poll, isn't scientific. Duh! But it is something that's important to the political players (no matter how much they try to dismiss it). John Green, from the United Constitutionalists, er, Conservatives of North Idaho wing of the Republican Party, was urging his followers to vote in the poll. But the Reagan Republicans, who support Keith Hutcheson, got there first. Larry Seaward urged Reagan Republicans to vote in a mass email. Later, Seaward congratulated the Reagan Republicans for changing the results: “Way to go folks. We moved the bar on the straw poll from 65% Ben , 25% Keith at 2PM today to 40% Ben and 50% Keith as of 9:30PM. Keep it up till the cows come home. It was a good day. Great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (Wonder if Seaward has a license to carry so many exclamation points?


John Green Doesn’t ♥ HucksOnline

It was hard to tell whether John Green (show above making a point to his passionate fans in the audience last night) was running for sheriff of Kootenai County or against civility and the local blogosphere during a debate last night, sponsored by the Coeur d'Alene Police Officers Association and the Coeur Group. When asked by the Coeur Group moderators to pose a question to one other candidate, Green refused, stating that the exercise was “tacky and unprofessional.” But he saved his best for HucksOnline and the blogosphere. Green bristled when a questioner asked him about comment he'd read here involving prisoner housing in tents, saying he had nothing to do with anything here. This, despite the fact that he'd encouraged his readers on the John Green for Sheriff Web site earlier this week to vote on our poll for sheriff (in which he finished a distant third). In his closing statement (after refusing to answer a second question posed to him by the Coeur Group, Green said he didn't want the votes of the “cowardly people” who pass their time commenting on blogs — you know, the type who “hide in the dark and spread hate.” Green challenged the local media to clean up this kind of conduct and finished by saying that blog comments are “already reaching a fever pitch and we're not into May yet.” BTW, later he wrote this on his Web site from home: “Just home from the Coeur d'Alene Police Officers Association Forum. No doubt the HBO'ers will have plenty to vent about tomorrow.”

DFO: BTW, Green suggests on his Web page that I caught off the voting in the sheriff's poll because the votes of his followers were beginning to affect the numbers. As you know, my polls last for about a day, roughly beginning at roughly 10:30. No conspiracy here. Simply time to start a new poll. With his “surge,” Green had attracted 24 (7.45%) of 320 votes.


Hunt Decline Hurts Outdoor Programs

Hunting is a popular pastime in Idaho. It’s just not as popular as it used to be. What does that mean for Idaho? Less revenue for outdoors programs. Hunting license and tag sales have slowly declined over the past several years, according to data from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “Fishing licenses have stayed relatively steady as far as the numbers of licenses sold,” regional conservation officer Gary Hompland said. “Most of that, from what we can tell, is because we’ve had some really good salmon and steelhead runs the last few years. … What is really disconcerting is our hunting licenses, both resident and non-resident. “When those sales start to slump, all of our programs that function primarily on a budget related to those sales are affected”/Andrew Weeks, Twin Falls Times-News. More here. (2009 AP file photo: First wolf killed in Idaho after resumption of wolf hunting)

Question: Do you hunt?

Trib: Santorum Knows Little Of Idaho

Rick Santorum has seen Idaho at 35,000 feet. He knows Idaho is a conservative bastion. He reads about a place seething with resentment toward federal agencies restoring wolves to the wild and choking off logging. He hears the antipathy toward Washington, D.C., that Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter regularly expresses. From these factoids, Santorum has concluded Idahoans are ready to throw off the yoke of their federal landlord. The federal government owns about 33.7 million acres of forests and rangeland, about two-thirds of the state. By stoking the fires of the Sagebrush Rebellion, Santorum believes he can peel off a sizeable number of votes in the March 6 Idaho Republican presidential caucus.So Santorum parachuted into Boise last week and promptly said: “We need to get it back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector. … And we can make money doing it.” Now why didn't somebody think of that before? Fact is, they have. Idahoans have spent a lot of time thinking about this/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (AP file photo of Santorum visiting Coeur d'Alene earlier this month)

Question: What do you think about Santorum's idea, espoused during his trip to Idaho, to sell off federal land to states and private individuals?

Wolf Kill Bill Could Backfire On Idaho

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, who authored the federal legislation that removed Idaho wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act, is worried that a wolf-kill bill approved by a Senate committee yesterday goes beyond the wolf management plan Idaho approved in 2002 - and could give a federal judge a reason to return Idaho wolves to the endangered list, the Idaho Statesman reports today.  The measure, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, a sheep rancher, would let let livestock owners whose animals are molested by wolves shoot the wolves from motorized vehicles, powered parachutes, helicopters or fixed-wing planes, by night or day, using rifles, pistols, shotguns, or crossbows, night scopes, electronic calls, and traps with live bait/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Would the Idaho Legislature be wise to deep-six attempts to kill more wolves?

GU Students Combat Hate In Rivalry

Gonzaga University seniors, Jordyn Pillatzke, left, and Madison Merz protect their “Take the Hate Out of Hoops” posters fromt he wind as they head to College Hall in Spokane. Students from the Hate Studies in Business class have organized a response to hateful tweets sent by GU students about Mormons and Mormon faith after the last BYU/GU game. The Zags play Brigham Young on Thurday evening in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Tipoff is at 8. Kevin Graman SR story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Question: Are business students overreacting to a fierce rivalry developing between Gonzaga & BYU? Or being preemptive?

Popkey: McGee’s Fall Rooted In Hubris

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill disguised any anger he may feel for his disgraced former caucus chairman, John McGee. But Wednesday’s decision by the Republican majority to acknowledge McGee is accused of sexual harassment by a woman staffer reveals the sting of betrayal. Most institutions would have trotted out the “personal reasons” boilerplate, leaving Idahoans to speculate on what might have finally brought the man-who-would-be-governor down. Not the Idaho Senate under Brent Hill. Hill is both a gentleman and a gentle man. And he may simply be heartsick — the word Majority Leader Bart Davis chose to describe his own mood. But Hill made it clear he’s had his fill with McGee’s recklessness/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP photo: Sen. Bart Davis walks to a news conference for the announcement of the resignation of Sen. John McGee)

Question: Is John McGee's political career over?

Read more here:

UI ‘Flagship’ Was In Place 5 Months

Lost amidst all the controversy over the State Board of Education not allowing the word “flagship” in the University of Idaho's mission statement is the fact it was only there for five months. Some statements from board and university officials - not to mention media reports out of the board's meeting last week at Boise State University - led many to believe the board was stripping a word that had long been a part of the UI mission statement. But the word “flagship” was only added during a Sept. 9, 2011, special board meeting that was conducted via teleconference. And board minutes from the meeting indicate the mission statements of the UI and other four-year public schools were approved in haste because they needed to be submitted to an accrediting agency/Joel Mills, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Ah, are you still upset that “flagship” was removed from the UIdaho mission statement?

Jail, Turnover Topics Of Sheriff Debate

Item: Sheriff candidates face public: Five hopefuls state their case during forum/Alecia Warren, Press

More Info: Kootenai County has a high turnover of deputies, noted Keith Hutcheson on Wednesday night, and he believes it's clear why. “Where they're going is Spokane County,” said Hutcheson, Coeur d'Alene Tribe police chief and candidate for Kootenai County sheriff. “They're making 22 percent more by crossing the state line.” Deputy retention, as well as jail overcrowding and officer prioritization were among the issues analyzed on Wednesday at a forum of sheriff candidates, held by the Coeur d'Alene Police Officers Association. The approaching retirement of longtime Sheriff Rocky Watson has garnered five candidates campaigning to win the county's highest law enforcement position in the May 15 primary.

Question: Did you watch the debate? Thoughts?

Anderson: Half Baked

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Hump Day Wild Card — 2.22.12

I'm headed to the debate for Kootenai County GOP sheriff's candidates at the Coeur d'Alene Library at 6 this evening. The Coeur d'Alene Police Officers Association & Coeur Group are sponsoring the debate. I'm looking forward to seeing how the five men hold up under pressure. Will take notes tonight. No live blogging. But we'll talk about it Thursday. Hope to see you there. Here's your re-posted Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.22.12

Idaho State senate leadership, Chuck Winder, left, Brent Hill, center, and Bart Davis announce the resignation of Sen. John McGee during a press conference earlier today at the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, Idaho. Faced with sexual harassment allegations, Republican Sen. John McGee was given two choices: Quit or go before a state Senate ethics panel. The 38-year-old four-term lawmaker opted to resign on Wednesday, capping a political free-fall that began last year with a Father’s Day drunken driving and car theft arrest. Roundup of stories about resignation here. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Chris Butler)

Druggists Don’t Have To Sell Plan B

Washington state cannot force pharmacies to sell Plan B or other emergency contraceptives, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying the state’s true goal was to suppress religious objections by druggists — not to promote timely access to the medicines for people who need them. U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton heard closing arguments earlier this month in a lawsuit that claimed state rules violate the constitutional rights of pharmacists by requiring them to dispense such medicine. The state requires pharmacies to dispense any medication for which there is a community need and to stock a representative assortment of drugs needed by their patients/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo of pharmacist Rhonda Mesler, talks to reporters)

Question: Do you agree/disagree with this decision?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.22.12

  • 5:19 p.m. White Honda Civic w/Boundary Co. plates left scene of 2-vehicle crash on H41 & Mullan/PF.
  • 5:04 p.m. German shepherd w/collar is growling @ people @ Coeur d'Alene Lake & Sunnyside/CdA.
  • 5:03 p.m. A group of juveniles are causing problems near Fernan Elementary on 23rd/CdA.
  • 4:44 p.m. Angelina has general questions re: removing someone from a house.
  • 4:42 p.m. Resident in 4800 block of E. Upper Hayden Lake Road was told by male pedestrian in trench coat that his dog could roam on her property if it wanted to do so.
  • 4:34 p.m. Deer hit on I-90 near Sherman exit has stumbled into Fernan Elementary area.
  • 4:05 p.m. Drunk man @ Main & 2nd/Rathdrum asks for transfer to KMC detox center.
  • 4:02 p.m A tree has fallen across H95 & Parks Road/Athol.
  • 19 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM/INW: Rebuilding The Empire

Dick Warwick, left, and Larry Arnold help set up the stage for a production of “Bus Stop” at the historic Empire Theater at Tekoa, Wash., on Monday. The restored Art Deco building opened in 1940 as a movie theater but is now used as a community performing arts center. Mike Prager SR story here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

To A Chihuahua

You claim to be a dog? Oh, please.
You’re pointless as a Pekinese.
Your bark is but the high-pitched squeak
that might come from a robin’s beak.

Your wee small body’s thin and frail
and weighs less than a real dog’s tail.
Your tiny teeth won’t bruise a mouse,
so how would you protect a house?
No Sunday paper could you fetch
nor any flying Frisbee catch,
and if perchance a cat you chase
you’ll disappear without a trace.

No canine do you seem to me —

Did He who made the Lab make thee?

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Auctioning ‘Washington’ McNugget

Rebekah Speights of Dakota City is auctioning this McDonald's Chicken McNugget, which she believes looks like President George Washington, on eBay to raise money for a church summer camp. The nugget is shown in this photo. (AP Photo/Sioux City Journal, Nathan Robson)

Question: What's your bid?

Now Illegal To Moon Someone In CdA

The Coeur d'Alene City Council agreed Tuesday to close a legal loophole that made it difficult to prosecute those who expose themselves indecently. The city adopted an amendment to its obscene conduct law that specifically includes indecent exposure for offenders who drop trou to annoy or offend people, rather than those who do so with lewd intent. It passed 5-1. Councilman Dan Gookin opposed the amendment because the city's disturbing the peace ordinance already addresses the issue, he said/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Wikipedia photo of old Coppertone advertisement)

Question: Do you support this move?

Callista Gingrich Reads ‘Sweet Land’

Callista Gingrich, wife of Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, reads her book “Sweet Land of Liberty” to a group of students in the library at Chaparral Elementary School in Gilbert, Ariz. Sitting next to Gingrich is a character from her book, Ellis the Elephant. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Mark Henle)

Question: What was your favorite children's book growing up?

Gay Sheriff Outed, Still Will Run

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is interviewed by KPNX reporter William Pitts at the Mesa Arts Center on Monday in Mesa, Ariz. On Saturday, Babeu's conservative image took a beating as he was forced to confirm publicly that he is gay and was involved in a relationship with a Mexican immigrant who claims the sheriff threatened to have him deported if he revealed their relationship. He denies any wrongdoing, and has vowed to continue his battle for the GOP nomination in an extremely conservative rural congressional district. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Tingle)

Question: If this happened in Kootenai County, which like Pinal County is also very conservative, would the sheriff's career be over?

McGee Quits Over Harassment Claims

The three remaining Senate GOP leaders — Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, Majority Leader Bart Davis, and Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder — have announced to a packed press conference that Sen. John McGee (pictured) has resigned from the Senate in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment of a Senate attache. Hill said the harassment charges are being investigated by the Idaho Attorney General, and the attache, a woman who is not a minor, is on paid leave. McGee, R-Caldwell, is a fourth term state senator and also is the chairman of the Canyon County Republican Central Committee. A former aide to then-Sen. and Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, McGee, 39, is the marketing director for West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell, and is married with two young children. He was widely viewed as a rising star in the Idaho GOP before the bizarre incident last June in which he was arrested and convicted of drunken driving/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: About time?

Dennis: Pile On Senate Leadership

I've blogged since last summer that John McGee must resign. Today he did so. I've received phone messages from certain Idaho GOP State Senate Leaders who have “politely” called me and left voicemails asking me to “call them”. Really? Summoned by these guys who never had the courage to demand John's resignation? Now, watch what happens. It'll be anti-piling on, in a sense… GOP Senate Leadership (as it is now constructed — other than with Senator Chuck Winder, who is a good man) will today open their ranks and spit out Mr. McGee from its caucus. I refuse to pile on John McGee. His is a journey that now takes him to this distant part of a political desert. I hope he receives help in all areas of his life. The Senate Leadership? Pile on, baby, pile on/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Is Dennis right? Is it time to pile on Senate leadership for not having guts to handle John McGee's bizarre behavior back when?

42 Wolves Killed In Lolo Zone

Wolf culling has ended for the season in the Lolo Zone as aerial gunners, trappers and sport hunters have killed a total of 42 wolves since spring 2011, Idaho Fish and Game Department officials reported this afternoon. With moose and elk populations at critical low levels, Idaho went to the extraordinary measures of enlisting aerial shooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlfie Services to kill 14 of the wolves from a helicopter in early February. State officials say the Lolo Zone wolf numbers have been reduced by about half but as may as 50 or so still remain in the zone bordering Montana/Rich Landers, SR Outdoors. More here.

Question: Is Idaho doing a good job balancing survival of elk populations with reintroduced wolves?

APhoto Of The Day — 2.22.12

Jim Alberty receives ashes from Rev. Shirley Bowen on a sidewalk in downtown Portland, Maine, on Ash Wednesday. Rev. Tim Higgins, left, and Rev. Peter Bowen look on. “You're on the go, so the Epicopal Churches of Southern Maine brings the ashes to you” is the church's motto for the holiday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Wanted: Sheriff’s Forum Questions

Originally posted Tuesday morning

The Coeur d'Alene police association and Coeur Group will conduct a forum for Kootenai County GOP sheriff's candidates at 6 this evening in the Coeur d'Alene Library community room. The candidates are Bob Foster, John Green, Keith Hutcheson, Adam Johnson and Ben Wolfinger. Our own JimmyMAC & CoeurGenX are involved in putting on this forum. Jimmy has asked for questions from us Berry Pickers. More about debate here.

Question: Do you have a question to be asked by Coeur Group panelists at the sheriff's forum?

News Quiz Offers Movie Tickets, Too

Update: Mr. D & Kcres are HBO commenters on the leaderboard this week.

With a nod to the upcoming Academy Awards, the S-R's interactive news quiz is sending a lucky winner  and a guest to the movies. All entrants this week will be entered in a random drawing for two tickets to local cinemas. And as always, the overall winner will earn a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. You can take the weekly quiz by clicking on this link now. Or clicking on the “That's News to You” link in the right rail.

Richert: Regarding Frank VanderSloot

Frank VanderSloot (pictured) denied a lot of different things Tuesday. In a 1,750-word statement to, VanderSloot denied that he’s a billionaire. He denied that the business that made him his fortune — Melaleuca, an Idaho Falls household and nutritional products company — is a “pyramid scheme.” Despite his long record of supporting Idaho Republicans, he said he doesn’t consider himself a Republican or a Democrat. “I’m quite conservative on most social and economic issues. And I’m pretty liberal on most environmental issues.” He also denied the central point of a 3,600-word column written by’s Glenn Greenwald: his assertion that VanderSloot uses his money and “chronic bullying threats” to muzzle reporters and bloggers who dare to challenge him/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Did you know much — anything? — about Frank VanderSloot & his use of his Melaleuca fortune to support Mitt Romney & conservative candidates before he was focus of Salon & Rachel Maddow stories?

Read more here:

Legislature ReCalls Sen. Jim McClure

Jim McClure’s widow, Louise, was in the VIP gallery for Monday’s memorial, along with their son, Ken, and daughter-in-law Sally. McClure (pictured in 1994 AP file photoserved in the Idaho Senate from 1960-66 and 24 years in Congress, rising to chair of the Energy Committee. He died in February 2011 at the age of 86, after a series of strokes. Also remembered Monday were late-Sens. Kenneth Bradshaw, Vearl Crystal, Don Mackin, “Is” Merrill and William Crutcher. Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, noted McClure’s humility, hard work and humor, including a potato anecdote involving Sen. Ed Muskie, D-Maine. McClure and Muskie were discussing how students were let out of school during harvest. McClure said Idaho students had to reach junior high before they could enter the fields. “Idaho potatoes are so big it would hurt the smaller children to lift them,” he told Muskie/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you remember Idaho U.S. Sen. Jim McClure?

Read more here:

Idaho Hunt Snags California F&Ger

In his Merced Sun-Star column, Mike North on Hunting, Mike North writes: “Facebook is a versatile tool that can be used in a lot of constructive ways, but unfortunately, many use it to put their own stupidity on display. Over the weekend, I was sent a link on Facebook about the California Fish and Game Commission's newest president, Dan Richards (pictured), who has endured a barrage of unwarranted criticism since taking the position. The condemnation, much of which has been stimulated through Facebook and other websites, isn't because of something he did that was scandalous, illegal or dishonest — it's because he went hunting in Idaho and killed a mountain lion, which can legally be hunted in Idaho, unlike in California.” More here.

Question: Do you think Richards should resign his F&Gcommission position?

Read more here:

Ashes To Ashes, Dust To Dust

Monsignor Arthur Rodgers, rector of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, places ash on a worshiper's forehead during an Ash Wednesday Mass at the cathedral in Philadelphia earlier today in Philadelphia. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a time when Christians prepare for Easter through acts of penitence and prayer. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Question: Do you observe Lent?

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.22.12

  • 11:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Feb. 21-22 here.
  • 11:31 a.m. Lincoln County sheriff contacts tribal police re: possible rape @ Coeur d'Alene Casino.
  • 11:28 a.m. Kevin has contacted local authorities re: bag of paraphernalia he found in trashcan.
  • 11:05 a.m. Brad @ Hayden WalMart security has video of shoplifting from Tuesday night.
  • 12 more items below including report of power outage south of CdA.

Occupy Boise Challenges Eviction

Members of Occupy Boise today filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court, and U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill scheduled a hearing on it for 3 p.m. Friday. Bryan Walker, attorney for the group, said the group is trying to stop the eviction of the Occupy Boise vigil from state property across from the Capitol. “Our point is it's a violation not only of 1st Amendment rights, but 4th Amendment due process rights,” Walker said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you care one way or the other re: who wins the standoff between Idaho lawmakers & Occupy Boise?

For Those Keeping Score At Home …

… the board of trustees are meeting today at 1 p.m. to discuss the vacancy created with the voiding of Wanda Quinn at the district office. Quinn, the much-respected former, long-time chairwoman of the board, was booted from the current board by a judge, who ruled the board last spring appointed her illegally. Stay tuned.

Correction: School Board member Tom Hamilton reports today's executive session is scheduled to discuss a student discipline issue. The board vacancy likely will be discussed Monday.

AM/INWest — 2.22.12

A leaf floats in a puddle after scattered showers left puddles of rain water around the city and near the Statehouse in Boise, where the 2012 Legislature is in session Tuesday. (AP/Statesman photo: Darin Oswald)

Constitutionalist Eyes Sheriff’s Post

Sheriff candidate Dave Resser thought he understood the sworn oath of office for elected officials. After attending a conference in Las Vegas last month, he said he has a clearer picture of what it means to be a constitutional sheriff and what that would look like should he be elected sheriff. “The sheriff, the sheriff’s deputies and other elected officials take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the state of Idaho to the best of their ability,” Mr. Resser said. “A constitutional sheriff will make sure that what is done in his county to his people abides by the constitution.” A constitutional sheriff is an official who protects and upholds the constitutional rights of his constitutes, the people he serves. He will not allow anyone to conduct business inside of his county that is unconstitutional/Summer Crosby, St. Maries Gazette Record. More here.

Question: Should a sheriff be the one to decide what is constitution and what isn't within his county?

Ruthie Reappointed

Ruthie Johnson, long-time aide for the late Idaho U.S. senator Jim McClure and stalwart in the Kootenai County Republican Party, was reappointed to the Idaho Human Rights Commission this week. In the background is state Sen. Steve Vick, R-Hayden Lake, who steered Ruthie's confirmation through the process.

Poll: Mack Not Right Pick To Speak

  • Tuesday Poll: Nearly 60% of Hucks Nation sez the county GOP misfired when they selected former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack to be its Lincoln Day Dinner speaker next month. 71 of 119 respondents (59.66%) said the former Democrat w/Libertarian ties is the wrong person to speak to local Republicans. 33 of 119 respondents (27.73%) say he's the right man. 15 of 119 (12.61%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Have you ever smoked pot (in light of the fact that 35% of Idaho high schoolers say they have smoked pot in last year)?

Press: Urban Renewal Foes Myopic

Urban renewal makes an easy target for those of us who don't like taxes. Yes, that's just about all of us. But should it? Are we being fair, are we being prudent, when we clamor for elimination of the laws that permit the use of tax-increment financing - an unwieldy term that assures much misunderstanding right out of the gate - to spur economic development in the short term for benefit in the long one? Rep. Kathy Sims of Coeur d'Alene recently recommended changes to the way urban renewal agencies function, but Rep. Robert Schaefer, a Nampa Republican, introduced legislation last week that would repeal Idaho's urban renewal laws altogether and require debts incurred by urban renewal agencies to be retired. Schaefer's goal - to funnel more money toward schools, fire departments and highway agencies - seems laudable on the surface. But we think it bears deeper examination/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Legislature photo: Kathy Sims, outspoken opponent of urban renewal)

Question: Do you understand the long-term benefits of tax-increment financing and urban renewal law?

Carlson: Kustra Ambushed ‘Flagship’

Idaho media recently carried reports that the State Board of Education had unanimously voted to strip the word “flagship” from the University of Idaho’s mission statement. President Duane Nellis appeared stunned by the move. He should not have been – even this scribe pointed out a year ago in several columns that shang-haing the title of flagship away from the land grant university was part of BSU President Bob Kustra’s five-year game plan to have the Boise State campus be perceived by the public and politicians as the real flagship in Idaho’s university system. The apparent ease with which President Kustra pulled off the move not only is a testament to his political and p.r. skills, it also says much about President Nellis’ passive nature. Vandal partisans should ask pointedly why their president, despite all the obvious signs, failed to see this coming and did nothing to block it/Chris Carlson, The Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question: Do you credit BSU President Bob Kustra's Machavellian skill or UI President Duane Nellis's passivity for the Bored of Education's decision to remove “flagship” from UI's mission statement?

Bill Would Lift Charter School Cap

HB 481, Rep. Bob Nonini's bill to lift both of Idaho's current caps on creation of new charter schools - the six per year total statewide, and the one new one per year per school district - is up for a hearing in Nonini's House Education Committee this morning. Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, Nonini's co-sponsor, told the committee that the cap “limits Idaho's competitiveness for federal grants,” and also may be keeping some private foundations from awarding grants to Idaho charter schools. “The existence of the cap is limiting opportunity to bring non-state funds into the state for charter schools,” Bayer said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Has any of your children gone to Coeur d'Alene Charter School? What do you think of the experience?

DFO’s Interview On KVNI (ESPN 1080)

Get Adobe Flash player
DFO’s interview with Kerri Thoreson Feb. 20, 2012

Some of you have asked whether KVNI 1080 (ESPN 1080) provided a copy of my interview with Kerri Thoreson Monday morning. The station graciously did so this morning. You can listen to it here by clicking link above. Kerri provided the photo.

BYU BB Program Mirrors Gonzaga’s

Gonzaga and BYU are accustomed to hanging conference championship banners. The Bulldogs have won 11 straight WCC men’s basketball titles, a run that will likely require two wins this week and help elsewhere to continue. The Cougars won or shared four Mountain West championships under seventh-year head coach Dave Rose prior to joining the WCC this season. The teams share second place entering Thursday’s clash at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Both are trying to keep their title hopes alive with the winner taking a huge step toward a bye into the semifinals of the WCC tournament in Las Vegas. “One of your goals at the start is you want the last week of the regular season to mean something,” Rose said/Jim Meehan, SR. More here. (AP file photo: BYU Coach Dave Rose during gestures to players during Cougars' 83-73 win over Gonzaga in Provo, Utah, Feb. 2)

Question: Although Gonzaga is in danger of having its consecutive streak of WCC basketball titles broken, do you enjoy the fact that the conference is more competitive than ever?

GOP Faction Opposes Event Speaker

The selection of Richard Mack as the keynote speaker at the Kootenai County Republican Party's March 24 Lincoln Day Dinner isn't sitting well with a group of prominent party members. Mack, a self-described “constitutional conservative” and frequent speaker on the national Tea Party circuit, is a former Arizona sheriff. Now living in Texas, Mack is running for Congress in his district's Republican primary. A letter opposing Mack's appearance at the annual Republican party dinner and fundraiser was sent Monday to county party chair Tina Jacobson (pictured) and secretary Lorri Erickson. It was signed by 14 elected Central Committee members. Letter signer Jeff Ward, Precinct 23 Committeeman and president of the Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans, told The Press they are troubled by the selection of Mack because “he's been fairly hostile to the Republican party.” “It just doesn't make any sense to me,” he said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Anyone care to read the tea leaves here re: division among Kootenai County Republicans?

City Buys 5 More Acres Of Cherry Hill

The city of Coeur d'Alene agreed Tuesday to purchase roughly 5 acres of land north of Cherry Hill Park - a site that could play home to an American Legion baseball field by 2013. Mayor Sandi Bloem split a deadlocked City Council by voting to approve the property acquisition, which passed 4 votes to 3 votes. The outcome mirrors last month's council vote not to issue a public advisory vote on McEuen Field, and could repeat itself on future issues related directly or indirectly to the downtown park's redevelopment project as each council member has stood firm on his or her stance on the divisive topic/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo of BMX racers at Cherry Hill Park)

DFO: Whether a future diamond is built on the old Eagles property or not, I consider this a superb move because it allows the city to own almost the entire hillside of Cherry Hill Park. Score one for the majority.

Question: What do you think of this move to buy 5 more acres of park land for Coeur d'Alene?

Benson: Greek Debt

Lisa Benson/Washington Writers Group

Wild Card/Tuesday — 2.21.12

I begin today sheepishly, still trying to digest fact that I'm now in my 9th year of blogging for The Spokesman-Review — not my 10th. Somewhere along the line I began thinking that I'd started this blog on Feb. 16, 2003, instead of Feb. 16, 2004. Then, I've never had a good memory. I wonder what else I have wrong about important dates in my personal history. I need to check with my wife to make sure that we were married in June 1975. I'm pretty sure that I started my newspaper career in June 1970. I'm fairly certain that I've lived & worked in Coeur d'Alene since September 1984. Beyond that, everything's fuzzy. I'll post this Wild Card and continue to sort things out …

Parting Shot — 2.21.12

Toppings are placed on a potato during a lunch line at the State Capitol for Potato Day today in Olympia,Wash. Annually one of the most popular legislative session events, Potato Day drew its usual long lunch lines which snaked across the Capitol rotunda steps. Sponsored by the Washington State Potato Commission an estimated 2,000 potatoes were served as the organization feted the Classic Russet, a special spud that was bred from a 1995 research collaboration of Washington State and Oregon State Universities, the University of Idaho and the USDA. (AP Photo/The Olympian, Steve Bloom)

Question: What kind of toppings do you like on your baked potato?

3Rs: I Read Banned Books

I believe banning books is only a hop, skip and a jump away from burning books. Books are more than a window to another world, an escape, or a place to stretch the wings of your imagination. They let you walk in someone else’s shoes, see the world from a different perspective. They make you think and feel. They challenge your assumptions about the world and make you more compassionate. If you can cry for a heroine in a novel, aren’t you more likely to sympathize with your next door neighbor? I think so. So, when I found a list of the 100 most banned books between 2000 and 2009 compiled by the American Library Association I immediately added those books to my books-to-read spreadsheet. (Yes, I used to have a spreadsheet for books.) Based on the books I’d already read that were on the list, I knew I’d find a lot of gems/Jill Barville, 3Rs. More here.

Question: What's the last banned book that you've read?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.21.12

  • 5:21 p.m. 1 of 2 people arrested by local officer last night wants to talk to higher-ups about arrest.
  • 5:13 p.m. Sheriff's deputy sent to N. Roundy Road/Rathdrum for death notification.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Feb. 20-21 here.
  • 4:19 p.m. ISPer notes abandoned white pickup on median side of e/b I-90 @ Huetter rest stop.
  • 4:10 p.m. Juvenile walking on road on Kathleen, west of Interstate Concrete/CdA.
  • 4:08 p.m. Holly reports her kids returned from school to find door kicked in, place ransacked.
  • 4:07 p.m. Carol heard a shot fire south of home @ Upriver & Old Jellum/CdA.
  • 4:06 p.m. Griffin has 2 stray dogs caught in back yard @ Strahorn & Kensington/Hayden Lake.
  • 18 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link

PM/INW — 2.21.12

Idaho House District 3 Reps. Vito Barbieri, left, and Phil Hart, right, with camera, listen to presidential candidate Ron Paul during his rally at the Spokane Convention Center Friday. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

NIdaho Blogs: Herb Misses Blogfest

Below, Herb writes about missing his first Blogfest ever. Above, DFO and his HucksOnline Super Subs, Cindy (left) and Christa (center) pose for Don Sausser's camera at the annual event at the Fort Ground Grill.

Well I scored a first Saturday. Unfortunately not the right kind of first. I missed my first blog fest since they started. I can't remember what year that was, but I organized it and we had about nine or so attendees here in Bayview. We held it at the Captain's Wheel Restaurant. Since then the idea has exploded, the Spokesman-Review has taken over sponsorship and I understand there were over 70 people present at the Fort Ground this year. I wasn't one of them. The night before, I had a minor health issue that kept me awake for hours. Finally around 7:00am I got to sleep. I awoke around non and wasn't in any shape to go anywhere. I'm fine now but deeply regret the opportunity to see many of my friends again and to meet new ones as well/Herb Huseland, Bay Views. More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Monday, Feb. 20): 7601/4514

Anderson Rips Hart’s Gold/Silver Bill

The House State Affairs Committee voted this morning to introduce a new version of Rep. Phil Hart's gold and silver currency bill, which declares that Idahoans may use gold and silver coins at face value as “legal tender” and “as an alternative to the Federal Reserve Notes that currently circulate as our only currency,” and also bans any tax on ownership of the gold and silver coins. It's a new version of HB 430, which Hart earlier introduced as a personal bill; you can read my full story here at Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, (pictured) voted against introducing the new bill. “To me, it looks like nothing more than a tax avoidance,” Anderson said. “I don't buy the argument”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: What do you think of Anderson's remark about Hart's legislation?

Ex-Judge Bradbury To Seek D7 Seat

Former 2nd District Court Judge John H. Bradbury announced his bid Monday for the state Senate seat from District 7 as a Democrat. Promising to keep an open mind and not to compromise on constitutional rights, Bradbury, 75, said he is a “pragmatist at heart who won't let my ego or partisan politics get in the way of trying to solve problems.” Bradbury retired last year after serving two terms as district judge in Idaho, Lewis and Clearwater counties. He ran for the Idaho Supreme Court in 2008 and 2010, and narrowly missed unseating the incumbents. He has been a harsh critic of what he believes is cronyism at the high court and Legislature and traveled from one end of the state to the other talking to people about the neglect people in rural areas often feel from lawmakers in Boise/Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune. More to come.

Question: Did you support John Bradbury when he ran for the Idaho Supreme Court?

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

From Amy Dearest, who writes: “All those marketing/design classes are finally paying off.”

DFO: And to think I paid all that money to send her to college.

Property Rights Council Cites Authority

Seems the controversial Bonner County Property Rights Council lists a California foundation as its source for legal authority. On its Web site, the Property Rights Council links to “Pacific Legal Foundation Legal Authority Letter.” The 2-page document, written by principal attorney Paul J. Beard II, reads in part: “Our research indicates that California permits local governments to institute a Property Rights Council. We are not aware of any California law that prohibits, or substantively limits, the ability of a city or county to do so. Quite the contrary. Given the recognition and protection that the California Constitution affords property rights, the establishment of a Property Rights Council would only help to ensure that local decisions do not unconstitutionally6 infringe upon those rights.” More here.

Question: Isn't it a bit odd that a Bonner County entity would claim proper authority to exist based on the opinion of a California foundation and law?

Dow Cracks 13,000

The Dow Jones Industrial Average cracked 13,000 for the first time since the financial crisis Tuesday. The blue-chip stock index briefly eclipsed that mark in the middle of the day's trading as investors pushed the market tracker to its highest point since May 2008, before the subprime mortgage bubble burst and brought on the financial crisis. It also served as the latest indication that the economic recovery could be gaining steam, potentially buoying President Obama's reelection chances.Stocks dipped after clearing that threshold, but still retained gains by the end of the day, closing at 12,965 points. The Dow reached an all-time high of 14,066 back in October 2007/Peter Schroeder, The Hill. More here.

Question: Are you singing “Happy Days Are Hear Again” yet? Why? Why not?

Guv Signs Occupy Boise Eviction Bill

Gov. Butch Otter has signed HB 404a into law, emergency legislation that bans camping on certain state land and effectively evicts the Occupy Boise encampment from state property across from the Capitol. “I will be communicating with the leadership and attorney from 'Occupy Boise' to let them know that I  have received and signed the bill,” Otter said in his signing statement, “and to provide that they have a deadline of 5 PM on Monday to vacate the impacted state properties”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you glad Occupy Boise is finally getting boot from Capitol area?

Protected From Our Own ‘Stupidity’?

The Idaho Senate voted this morning to approve a measure which would ban texting while driving in Idaho. The vote was 29 to 6, with no votes coming from Meridian Sens. Russ Fulcher and Shirley McKague, Caldwell Sen. Curt McKenzie, Cottonwood Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, New Plymouth Sen. Monty Pearce and Dalton Gardens Sen. Steve Vick, all Republicans. … Sagle Sen. Joyce Broadsword, (who voted “yes”) said she had texted while behind the wheel. “I found myself weaving and not being in my lane of traffic,” said Broadsword. “We have to make sure that we're protecting citizens from their own stupidity”/George Prentice, Boise Weekly. More here.

Question: Who's to protect the people from the Legislature's stupidity?

Fat Tuesday Ends Mardi Gras Today

The Zulu Parade moves through the central business district of New Orleans Tuesday. This is the last day of the Mardi Gras celebration, ending at midnight, after a day of parades, marching groups and people in costumes. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Question: What do you plan to give up for Lent?

Newt To Hold CdA Townhall Meeting

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will hold a town hall meeting in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday night, the Idaho Republican Party announced today. The venue is still being nailed down, but Idaho GOP executive director Jonathan Parker said the meeting will begin at 7 or 7:30 p.m. The former speaker of the U.S. House also will hold a private fundraiser at a Harrison home on Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m., Parker said. Gingrich's visit marks the fourth major GOP presidential candidate to campaign in Idaho in less than two weeks/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (AP photo of Newt Gingrich at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., Monday)

Question: Would you pay $1000 for the chance of a one-on-one conversation with Newt Gingrich?

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.21.12

  • 11:59 a.m. Hastings reports an unwanted person is in its Appleway parking lot.
  • 11:58 a.m. Caller reports an unconscious person @ Cedar Court & Iowa/Hayden.
  • 11:57 a.m. Caitlin reports her vehicle was burglarized on Mitch Michael Drive/Worley.
  • 11:32 a.m. Older male wearing baseball cap is speeding @ 80-plus @ H95 & Kidd Island Road. (Update: Motorist follows speeder to Holiday gas station @ H95 & Hayden)
  • 11:23 a.m. Verbal fight has been going on for 3 days in 1800 block of E. Coeur d'Alene/CdA.
  • 11:01 a.m. Tracy reports running red Jeep w/driver lying down in it has been at end of driveway on H53 & Wilkenson for an hour.
  • 10 more items below

Survey: 35% Of Idaho HS Used Pot

About 35 percent of Idaho high school students surveyed last year reported using marijuana at least once. And nearly 19 percent — about one in five students — said they used the illegal drug within the past 30 days. That’s up by about 5 percent over 2009. Those statistics are included in the 2011 Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey, released earlier this month by the Idaho State Department of Education. Kim Dopson, clinical director for Pro Active Advantage in Twin Falls, said some teenagers say marijuana is more accessible to them than alcohol. “It is becoming dangerously prevalent,” she said/Julie Wootton, Twin Falls Times News. More here.

Question: Anyone here willing to admit s/he once smoked pot?

AM/Idaho — 2.21.12

Mark Beattie, assistant manager of Mountain Gear in Spokane, demonstrates the Backcountry Access avalanche airbag system used for backcountry skiing. Rich Landers/Outdoors writes that fresh powder isn't worth dying for here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Poll: Hutcheson Early HBO Choice

  • Monday Poll: Keith Hutcheson, chief of the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Police, was the clear favorite in the five-way race to succeed Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson. Hutcheson attracted 189 of 320 votes (59.06%) to beat sheriff's Major Ben Wolfinger, who was second with 97 of 320 votes (30.31%). Others attracting votes were John Green, 23 (7.19%), Adam Johnson 6 (1.88%), and Bob Foster 5 (1.56%).
  • Today's Question: Is ex-Arizona sheriff Richard Mack a good choice to speak at the Kootenai County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner?

All Eyes On Lajla

Here's more proof that Bjorn Handeen's 3YO daughter, Lajla, was the most photogenic individual at the Ron Paul rally in Spokane Friday — this side of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Monday, HucksOnline provided you with photos of Lajla by KXLY web producer Nicole Hensley here and by SR photog Jesse Tinsley here. Now, a Berry Picker offers this third photo of Lajla and Bjourn at the rally.

Question: Were you a cute 3-year-old?

Maddow Targets Idaho’s VanderSloot

In an 8-minute commentary Monday night, Maddow linked VanderSloot, founder of Idaho Falls-based Melaleuca Inc., to the copper barons of 19th-century Montana. “We are all still living in a billionaires' world,” said Maddow, who blasts VanderSloot for his past entries into politics and his $1 million contribution to the Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney. She also critiques the wealthy men backing Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. And she renews her attacks on the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that freed the wealthy to make unlimited contributions to Super PACs. “Now in this post-Citizens United world we are living in, these billionaires, who, frankly, have never been wanting for influence in the country in the first place — now in this post-Citizens United world, they are the ones who we've also decided to hand our elections over to. Because they need that, too. Ta da.” Last week, Glenn Greenwald of, said VanderSloot employed “thuggish” legal tactics to silence journalists/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Wikipedia photo of Rachel Maddow)


Otter Mum On Botched Nomination

Susan Kiebert did Gov. Butch Otter a favor Monday by swiftly leaving the Idaho Judicial Council, the panel that vets judicial appointments and investigates complaints against judges. “I don’t want this hanging in the air,” Kiebert told me. Kiebert said she was surprised to learn that her 1995 federal conviction for making false statements remained on her record. She said she assumed it was expunged after she completed probation, paid a fine and restitution. “I would never have put myself through this, nor would I have put Gov. Otter or Sen. (Denton) Darrington through this,” she said. Darrington, R-Declo, chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and postponed Monday afternoon’s confirmation vote on the October appointment after I told him about the conviction. “You expect the highest degree of ethics when you’re on the Judicial Council sitting on potential discipline of judges and appointment of judges,” he said. Four hours later, Kiebert gracefully resigned. But Otter, who also appointed Kiebert’s husband, Kermit, to the Department of Environmental Quality Board, was mum/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Wouldn't you think that a cursory vetting of the Kiebert nomination would have caught this problem?

Read more here:

14 Key R’s Object To Lincoln Speaker

14 key Kootenai County Republicans have signed a letter to Central Committee Chairwoman Tina Jacobson objecting to the selection of former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack (pictured) as the Lincoln Day Dinner keynote speaker. Here's a sample of the text: “Mr. Mack has been presented to us as a former Sheriff and a Republican candidate for Congress.  Upon further research, it is quite evident that Mr. Mack’s support of the Republican Party and Republican Party candidates is inconsistent, intermittent and questionable.  He does not appear to have ever shared the common goal of promoting the Republican Party and our Republican candidates. In fact, Mr. Mack’s political history has shown a consistent opposition to the Republican Party and a strong affinity to other political parties, including the Democrat, Libertarian and Constitution Parties. Mr. Mack was elected twice as a Democrat to the office of county sheriff in Arizona and defeated for re-election as a Democrat in 1996.” The letter was signed by Lori Gervais, chairwoman of the 3rd Legislative District & 13 precinct committeemen. Full letter here.


APhoto Of The Day — 2.21.12

A composite of Singer Susan Boyle flipping pancakes at St Augustine's High School during Wee Box, Big Change fundraising campaign, Edinburgh, Tuesday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Danny Lawson/PA)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Singer Susan Boyle, a Scot, illustrates the EU’s plan for the Grecian bailout with a demonstration of the flip flopping prinicple — Norther.
  • 2. Mitt Romney’s staff chef helps him decide his stance on issues for the day — Phoenix Rising.
  • 3. Susan Boyle gets panned once again for her performance — Herb.
  • HM: Charlie

Court To Hear Affirmative Action Case

The Supreme Court cast doubt Tuesday on the future of affirmative action at the nation’s colleges and universities, agreeing to hear an appeal from a white student in Texas who seeks an end to “racial preferences” in college admissions. The decision could either limit the use of affirmative action or broadly forbid using race as an admissions factor. However, because the court’s calendar is filled through the spring, the court will not hear arguments in the case until October, weeks before the presidential election. The Obama administration could choose to weigh in on the issue, but it need not do so. The court’s intervention nonetheless is an ominous sign for defenders of affirmative action/Los Angeles Times. More here.

Question: Is it time to end “racial preferences” in college admissions?

‘Downton Abbey’ Withdrawal

Paul Turner of The Slice shares this from a reader: “With the end of Season 2 of the popular 'Downton Abbey' series on PBS this weekend, a co-worker of mine (at WSU Riverpoint) was heard to say that she was 'Not addicted, Don't care, Could stop watching it anytime.' “A few minutes later she was seen asking some of the nursing faculty if anyone could provide a prescription for 'Downtonadone' until Season 3 next January. “She wasn't able to get one, but was offered access to Season 1 on CDs, to help her withdraw more gradually. Nurses are kind like that.” More here.

Question: If you know this phrase is all about, I'm afraid you're going through “Downton Abbey” withdrawal today: “It was lust, Matthew.” Are you in withdrawal or denial?

Ramirez: High Gas Prices?

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

Wild Card/Monday — 2.20.12

I'm just getting my blog legs under me after waking up earlier than usual today to appear on Kerri Thoreson's ESPN 1080 (formerly KVNI) radio show. We discussed my 9 years of blogging here (as of last Wednesday). I believe she used the word “pioneer” as in newspaper blogging pioneer to describe me. Joe in the Morning asked me if I felt like I'm addicted to the social media. I could almost hear Mrs. O yelling from McFarland Avenue: “You better believe he is!” Anyway, another week has begun — and we'll have to make do without presidential candidates dropping by to ask for our money & votes. Here's your Monday Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.20.12

On his Facebook wall, SR photog Jesse Tinsley sez this photo — again of photogenic Bjorn Handeen's 3YO daughter, Lajla — was his favorite shot of the the Ron Paul rally Friday night in Spokane.

UI ASB Prez Starts Online Petition

Tradition and pride since 1889, so says University of Idaho Student Body President Samantha Perez who started an on-line petition to keep the word “flagship” in the school's mission statement. And she insists it's about more than just bruised ego. “Flagship to me means we're the first in the state,” Perez told KBOI 2News. “It means we're the lead institution and that means a lot. It's part of our identity.” Perez says she hopes the thousands of supportive signatures (more than 2,000 in just two days) will convince the State Board of Education, which recently ordered the word “flagship”, removed from the university's mission statement to change its mind. The state Board of Education revised mission statements for all of Idaho's public universities during a meeting a Boise/Scott Logan, KBOI2. More here.

Question: Do you plan to sign the online petition?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.20.12

  • 5:48 p.m. Male driver & 3 kids escape injury in red Ford Explorer rollover @ H53 & Fowler/Rathdrum.
  • 5:39 p.m. Coeur d'Alene 15YO named Shane ran away from Adeline/CdA home this morning.
  • 5:35 p.m. An deer hit by a vehicle needs to be put down in H97 & Burma/Harrison area.
  • 5:34 p.m. An employee of either Target or Bank of America on Canfield reports loiterers outside.
  • 5:06 p.m. Blown transformer on Fruitland/CdA has knocked out traffic lights up & down Northwest Boulevard, including busy Ironwood & Lakewood (into Riverstone) intersections.
  • 4:59 p.m. Motorist reports 3YO female walking along Spokane Street/PF.
  • 4:46 p.m. Small teal car has box sticking out of open back doors @ Prairie & Atlas/Hayden.
  • 4:36 p.m. Driver of gray pickup pulling out of Coeur d'Alene RV Park is possibly DUI.
  • 4:19 p.m. Female @ St. Vincent shelter, 1st & Walnut, threatening to commit suicide.
  • 4:09 p.m. Driver of gray Jeep changed lanes 3X w/o looking on H95 s/b from Prairie/CdA.
  • 16 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link

PM/Idaho — 2.20.12

People crowd into a room during testimony about a bill that would allow Idaho employers and insurers to ignore a federal mandate to provide contraceptive coverage in their health plans at the State Capitol Monday in Boise. State Rep. Carlos Bilbao, the measure's sponsor, says no employer should be required to provide insurance that violates religious beliefs, but he's being forced to amend his bill, on grounds it has the unintended consequence of denying prescription coverage for conditions unrelated to birth control. Story here and here. (AP Photo/John Miller)

Bilbao: Buy Your Own Contraceptives

After more than an hour of testimony and before a standing-room-only meeting room, the House Health and Welfare Committee held a measure Monday allowing Idaho insurance carriers to exclude contraceptives in coverage options. The bill was the product of Rep. Carlos Bilbao, R-Emmett, who believes that he shouldn’t have to pay for abortions and contraceptives. “I say to you and the federal government, ‘Do not force me to pay for your abortions and your contraceptives,’” Bilbao said. The issue has been on the forefront of nationwide discourse since President Barack Obama’s administration issued a rule that all insurance providers will be required to cover contraceptives. Bilbao objected to the ruling for ideological and theological reason. “They’re mandating me to pay for abortions and birth control pills,” he complained. “That’s your responsibility, not mine”/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.


Mary Upset By Cherry Hill Purchase

Predictably, Mary Souza is upset that the Coeur d'Alene City Council is trying to move the American Legion Baseball field from the McEuen Field. Seems Mary thinks they have squatter's rights one of the most highly valued pieces of real estate on the Lake Coeur d'Alene waterfront. In her weakly newsletter, Mary does bring up one good point. The council has promised all along that the Legion wouldn't be moved until Coeur d'Alene could find a ballfield of equal value. The key here is whether or not the viewscape and location are figured in. Constructing a ballfield of equal value wouldn't be hard or that expensive. Constructing one on land as valuable as the McEuen site would be. Mary, of course, opposes the purchase of 5 acres on Cherry Hill for the ballfield. Which would be a wise move whether or not a ballfield is built there. The price tag is $550,000. Fumes Mary: “We'll see how that all turns out because the city can't afford to buy it right now; they don't have enough money in their Parks fund. The city will vote on the purchase Tuesday night.

Question: Do you support the purchase of the Cherry Hill site for possible relocation of the American Legion Baseball diamond?

Little Lajla Meets, Delights Ron Paul

At KXLY, Web Producer Nicole Hensley took this great shot of Bjorn Handeen and his daughter. Handeen, the Kootenai County Republican precinct committeeman from Precinct 52, and daughter Lajla were front & center at the Ron Paul rally in Spokane Friday night. Bjorn emails of daughter Lajla, who isn't 4 year: “She was an angel the whole time. I've been able to bring her to all kinds of political events and meetings, as a matter of fact, and I suppose if she can sit through a KCRCC meeting, a Ron Paul speech is easy! When Ron Paul shook her hand, he asked if she knew his name. She smiled, nodded, and said “Ron Paul!”. He got a big kick out of that. She was beaming that whole weekend. She's not even four, but I have  feeling that she'll remember that exchange for a long time.” You can read Nicole's report & see her KXLY photo gallery here.

Question: Have you taken your children to a political rally?

Poll: R’s Oppose Brokered Convention

A new poll finds most Republican voters opposed to the idea of a brokered convention to select the party's 2012 presidential nominee. A USA Today/Gallup Poll released Monday finds that 66 percent of Republican and GOP-leaning independents surveyed are opposed to a brokered convention and would prefer one of the four candidates secure the nomination beforehand. 29 percent would not oppose a brokered convention. The poll also found that 57 percent of GOP voters don't believe the extended fight for the nomination is hurting the party/The Hill Ballot Box blog. More here.

Question: Would you like to see a brokered GOP National Convention? Why? Why not?

1st HucksOnline Post Ever

Here's the first post I made as a blogger (on Feb. 16, 2004*). The blog was then called No Holds Barred. Later, it was known as Hot Potatoes before becoming HucksOnline:

For those who have developed a taste for Huckleberries, Hot Potatoes and other basic food groups in North Idaho, I'm taking it to the next level today … by moving on up to blogging. If you don't know what that means, sound it out: blog, bah-log, Web log. In other words, a blog is a combination Web diary/column/train-of-consciousness thing.

Here's what I hope to accomplish with my blog:

1. Let folks in North Idaho know what's going on behind the scenes in political races and North Idaho governments.
2. Comment on the stories of the day.
3. Bring important Web stories to your attention.
4. Use the blog to test drive new words for my Hot Potatoes columns on Sundays and Wednesdays — words such as ap-hollow-gize and institution-all-lies, which speak for themselves.

I view life through an offbeat conservative filter but that doesn't mean I'm conservative through and through. I may lean to the right on social issues but I voted for more Democrats than Republicans in Idaho's last legislative elections. In other words, I don't put much stock in either party's politics.

One of my favorite sayings comes from the old Chicago Times: “It's a newspaper's duty to print the news and raise hell.” So, fasten your seatbelts. I hope you have as much fun reading this as I'm going to have writing it.

*DFO: I'm thoroughly embarrassed to admit this but this blog began in 2004 not 2003, as I've been saying for some time now. Digger brought it to my attention in the comments section. He remembers being a college freshman when I started this. I began the blog as a conservative editorial page writer for the SR as a means to support George W. Bush's run for re-election. Which means I'm starting my 9th year not my 10th year on this blog. They say the mind is the first thing to go.

DFO In The Morning

Kerri Thoreson, Post Falls councilwoman, KVNI morning co-host with Joe (Paisley) in the Morning, and Coeur d'Alene Press columnist, provides this proof that I was awake & semi coherent this morning on her radio program. This is about 7:45 a.m. with most of a cup of coffee in me. Kerri, Joe & I discussed my nine years of HucksOnline (aka No Holds Barred & Hot Potatoes) blogging for The Spokesman-Review. Kerri used the term “pioneer newspaper blogger” to describe me. Aren't pioneers usually really, really old? Like roadbuilder John Mullan? Oh well, I guess I did begin this blog closer to the beginning of the newspaper blog revolution than most.

Otter Council Pick Has Felony Record

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Denton Darrington (pictured) pulled the nomination of Susan Kiebert from the committee agenda Monday after consulting with Gov. Butch Otter. Otter appointed Kiebert to the Idaho Judicial Councillast year and she has been serving, pending Senate confirmation. The council screens applicants for state district court judge, the Idaho Court of Appeals and Idaho Supreme Court, and makes nominations to the governor. The panel also investigates complaints against judges. Darrington, R-Declo, did not announce the reason for the delay. But shortly before his committee met to consider sending the nomination to the full Senate, he met with Otter and informed him he was delaying the vote. Darrington and Otter both said they were unaware that Kiebert had been convicted of making false statements by a federal jury in Pocatello in 1995/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Who goofed up here?

Read more here:

Senators OK Alzheimers Resolution

Deeply personal stories preceded a unanimous Senate vote to support a statewide plan meant to help Idaho's increasing population of people suffering from deadly Alzheimer's disease. Sen. Joyce Broadsword of Sagle on Monday spoke of the painful decline of her grandmother, who ended her days unable to remember loved ones surrounding her — or details from the rich life she'd lived. Creating a statewide plan, according to its Senate sponsors, would boost community awareness and help nurture a comprehensive approach toward educating the public about the United States' sixth-leading cause of death/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Has your family been affected by Alzheimers?

Fans: UI Flagship Status Undeniable

The University of Idaho “serves as the state’s flagship … and it always will,” two university supporters wrote in a guest opinion. Jeffry L. Stoddard, chairman of the University of Idaho Foundation, and Michael Higgins, president of the University of Idaho Alumni Association, wrote the guest opinion in response to the State Board of Education's decision Tuesday to strip the word “flagship” from the university's mission statement. “The University of Idaho is Idaho’s flagship research university,” they wrote in a guest opinion, which also will appear in Tuesday's Statesman. “That is an undeniable fact. It is the state’s founding university, it generates 73 percent of the competitive research dollars in the state and it is the state’s land grant university.” Stoddard and Higgins liken the flagship status to Boise State University's success on the football field — an analogy, I suspect, that won't go over too well with some Bronco backers/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: There's some talk of a petition drive by UI boosters to regain the word “flagship” in the university's mission statement. Do you think the state Bored of Education would pay attention to such a tactic?

Read more here:

High Noon: Blogfest 2012

Blogfest 2012 has come & gone — and I have a renewed since of energy and purpose in doing what I do here. Those who criticize HucksOnline for being too this or that politically totally miss what this blog is all about. (Then, I'd guess that they intentionally do so.) This blog brings people of various political, religious, philosophical stripes together for a fairly civil conversation about local, state & national issues, as well as gives them a sense of camaraderie. Saturday's Blogfest at Steve Widmyer's Fort Ground Grill illustrates the point. I joked to someone that the group reminded me of the county's old Republican Central Committee, before it went off the Far Right side of the rails. Spencer, Reagan Repubs, Gary Ingraham, Kerri Thoreson, Ben Wolfinger, Dan Gookin, Norther and others were there kibitzing congenially with HBO bloggers, commenters, and even one blurker. Sgt. Christie Wood, former Councilman Al Hassell, Councilman Mike Kennedy, former Clerk Dan English, and dozens of pseudonyms you see all the time here were also in attendance. All having fun. Exchanging ideas. Joking with one another. My goal from the start was to bring people together to find consensus. We agree on way more things than we disagree on. I'm as happy as I've ever been in where the blog is now in terms of civility. The annual blogfests reinforce that civility, bringing people who sometimes fight behind pseudonyms here to a comfortable venue to talk with one another face to face. I've often thought a good motto for HucksOnline would be something like: “Where everyone knows your pseudonym.” But that's not exactly true. And it steals too much from “Cheers.” Still the sentiment stands. It's a place of equals, despite lot in life, where everyone gets a say as long as s/he keeps things between the lines. Dunno how much longer I'll be doing this. But I still enjoy doing this as I begin my 9th year. Very much — DFO

APhoto Of The Day — 2.20.12

Jerry Rookstool and his horse Dakota stop at a Sonic to get dinner while out for a ride in Topeka, Kan. on Sunday. Rookstool said he likes to stop at Sonic every once in a while with Dakota because he likes the reaction he gets from people.You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Capital-Journal, Anthony S. Bush)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Why the long face, Dakota? “Are you sure they don’t serve alfalfa sprouts?” — Herb.
  • 2. No, the alfalfa lime-aid is for the horse. I ordered the cherry lime-aid — Nic.
  • 3. Voice over drive thru intercom: You want extra oats on that SaddleBurger ? — Randy Myers.
  • HM: JohnA

AM Scanner Traffic — 2.20.12

  • 12:02 p.m. Farragut State Park rep reports to KCSD vandalism to park property.
  • 11:24 a.m. Caller reports vandalism to property in 2300 block of N9th/CdA.
  • 11:17 a.m. Caller reports a wanted person in residence in 11400 block of Govt Way/Hayden.
  • 11:09 a.m. Possible DUI in green Dodge Neon w/Washington plates @ w/b I-90 & NW Blvd/CdA.
  • 11:05 a.m. Female on Camp Court/Hayden reports getting harassing text messages from uncle.
  • 11:02 a.m. A brindle pitbull dragging a chain is loose on Last Chance Road/CdA.
  • 11:01 a.m. Officer reports dead deer in median of w/b I-90 @ M/P 18.5 (Evergreen overpass).
  • 13 more items below

ESPN Fires Editor For Headline Slur

The ESPN editor fired Sunday for using “chink in the armor” in a headline about Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin said the racial slur never crossed his mind - and he was devastated when he realized his mistake. “This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny,” Anthony Federico told the Daily News. “I'm so sorry that I offended people. I'm so sorry if I offended Jeremy.” The headline - “Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin's 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets” - appeared on ESPN's mobile website at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday and was removed by 3:05 a.m. Battling to contain a furor, the sports network fired Federico/Irving Dejohn & Helen Kennedy, New York Daily News. More here. (AP photo: New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin, center, drives through Dallas Mavericks' Vince Carter, right, and Dominique Jones)

Question: Is ESPN over-reacting to an honest mistake? Or is it acting appropriately whether or not the mistake was intentional?

AM: Lewiston Girls Win 5A BB Title

Lewiston players celebrate after defeating Centennial in the girls' Class 5A high school state championship basketball game on Saturday in Nampa. Lewiston won 37-24. Story here. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)

Poll: Luna Reforms Drive Off Teachers

  • Weekend Poll: Almost 2/3s of Hucks Nation say that Superintendent Tom Luna's education reforms were responsible for driving an inordinate amount of Idaho teachers from the profession last year. 132 of 206 respondents (64.08%) blamed Luna reforms for the exodus in 2012. On the other hand, 29 of 206 respondents (14.08%) said Luna reforms had nothing to do with large amount of teachers who left. 26 of 206 (12.62%) said reforms had something to do with exodus. 15 (7.28%) said they were only a fringe reason. 4 were undecided.
  • Today's Question: If you had to vote today in GOPrimary for Kootenai County sheriff, who would you support — Bob Foster, John Green, Keith Hutcheson, Adam Johnson, and Ben Wolfinger?

Spencer Running For Commish?

At Blogfest 2012, Larry Spencer and former Kootenai County clerk Dan English discuss politics at the Fort Ground Grill. Huckleberries hears that Spencer has been hinting that he'll run against Commissioner Dan Green in the Kootenai County GOP primary election in May. Also, Huckleberries hears that Spencer has registered to vote in Kootenai County. Stay tuned … (Blogfest photo: Nic)

Question (from an interview of Spencer in Sunday's Coeur d'Alene Press:  You say your life if “very public.”  How so?
Larry Spencer:  I face scrutiny for most things I do.  For example, last year I took my kids our for a boat ride on a friend's boat.  He is also a political figure, and within half an hour of my walking to his boat at The Resort Marina, a post had been put up on a political gossip blog site by a prominent Democrat who wanted to know if this man with the boat and I were friends.  A couple years ago, I had moved before an election and didn't vote.  That missed vote of mine was run as a story on the front page of the Sunday Idaho edition of the Spokesman-Review, above the fold and in a print size that could be read from about ten feet away.  Even the governor doesn't face that level of pressure. Complete Coeur d'Alene Press interview here.

Question: Would you like to see Larry Spencer run for the Kootenai County commission?

Cops: Cocaine Rager Killed Teacher

A man who said the crack cocaine he was smoking “brought the devil out in him” was looking for a woman to abduct and kill before he strangled a school teacher who happened to jog near him in Montana, a prosecutor said in a sworn statement. The first public details about how authorities believe that Sherry Arnold, 43, was kidnapped, slain and buried in a shallow grave, emerged in an affidavit filed in state court on Friday by Richland County, Montana, prosecutor Mike Weber. Most of the account, Weber wrote, stemmed from a confession obtained from the younger of two men charged with kidnapping the woman, whom they encountered along a truck route on the outskirts of the northeastern Montana community of Sidney. Arnold, a high school math instructor, vanished after setting out on January 7 for a predawn run, and authorities are still searching for her body/Laura Zuckerman, Reuters. More here. (AP file photo of accused murderer Michael Keith Spell)

Question: Does the randomness of this murder cause you to reconsider where you jog or walk — and whether you do so alone?

Idaho Becomes GOPrez Race Player

Patrick Teems completed a political odyssey Saturday. The Boise pilot last week got to attend political rallies for three of the top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of Idaho’s March 6 GOP caucus. Teems came into the week leaning toward Mitt Romney, but seeing the other two made him reconsider. Ron Paul’s libertarian message Saturday resonated with him. And he liked Rick Santorum’s electrifying speech Tuesday at Capital High — and Santorum’s willingness to stay afterward to have his picture taken with people such as Teems’ teenage son, Max. Republican Congressman Raul Labrador would have loved to see all three, too, but he was in Washington, D.C., until Saturday and was able to attend only Paul’s rally. He’s not endorsing any candidate/Dan Popkey & Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here. (SR file photo: Santorum with Coeur d'Alene High students (from left) Adam Borsheim, Derek Scharf and Ty Higbie)

Question: Did the visit of three of the top four GOP presidential candidates last week boost Idaho's status on the national Republican scene?

Read more here:

Sheriff’s Forum Set Wednesday

A forum for the five Kootenai County Republican sheriff's candidates is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Coeur d'Alene Library community room, sponsored by the Coeur d'Alene Police Officer's Association. The Police Association has teamed with The Coeur Group in hosting this public forum. The Coeur Group will moderate the forum. It will air live on CDA TV. The televised event will also be recorded for later broadcasts. Candidates Bob Foster, John Green, Keith Hutcheson, Adam Johnson, and Ben Wolfinger have each confirmed they will be participating in this forum. In a news release, the Coeur d'Alene Police Officer's Association said: “The position of Sheriff is integral to public safety, the quality of life for our community, and the standards that dictate the public’s trust. The Coeur d’Alene Police Association will support the candidate that best serves these qualities.”

Question: Which candidate do you support at this point? Why?

Conservative Mag Spotlights Labrador

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), less than two years in office, quickly made a national mark by shining a bright light on the deeply troubling case of Operation Fast and Furious, the gun-running scandal that led to the murder of Border Agent Brian Terry in Arizona in December 2009. The lawyer from Eagle, Idaho, who has called for the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, has a message for the moderators at the Feb. 22 debate: Address the scandal and start a national discussion about the issue. “I would ask [the presidential candidates] what would they do to remedy the damage of ‘Fast and Furious’ and regain the confidence of the American people,” Labrador said in an interview with HUMAN EVENTS/Tony Lee, Human Events. More here. (Joe Jaszewski AP/Statesman file photo: Raul Labrador greets supporters on the Idaho Statehouse steps before announcing his campaign re-election last Monday)

Question: Why do you suppose that Republican presidential candidates have addresses the Fast & Furious controversy involving Attorney General Eric Holder only once in their 18 debates?

Vito & Phil Welcome Paul To Spokane

House District 3 Reps. Phil Hart (far left) and Vito Barbieri (far right) were on hand to welcome Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul to Spokane Friday night.

Presidential candidate Ron Paul took the hardest shot at President Obama of any of the three Republicans who campaigned in Idaho this week, accusing Obama of assassinating a 16-year-old U.S. citizen last fall. Paul said the Obama administration’s change in national policy in 2011 to allow the killing of American citizens accused of terrorist acts amounted to an attack on its own citizens. The administration fired missiles from drones in Yemen and killed three citizens, including Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a Denver native and the son of al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki. “Just because someone seems to be a bad person is no justification,” Paul told his audience at CenturyLink Arena in Boise. “The worse a person is, the more important it is they get justice so we get justice”/Rocky Barker, Statesman. More here.

Question: So which presidential candidate made the biggest impact in his Idaho visit — Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, or Ron Paul?

Read more here:

DFO Eavesdropping On Blogfesters?

Super Sub Cindy snapped this photo of DFO in the foreground with Bent, Mechanic Man, and JeanieSpokane in the background at Blogfest 2012 at the Fort Ground Grill Saturday. You can read about the latest Blogfest, celebrating the 9th anniversary of HucksOnline, and see more photos of the event here.

50 Years Since Glenn Orbited Earth

John Glenn plans to mark the 50th anniversary of his historic spaceflight with a series of events at Ohio State University, including a special dinner and a live chat with crew members aboard the International Space Station. The former astronaut and senator from Ohio became the first American to orbit Earth on Feb. 20, 1962. The trip helped the United States catch up to the Soviet Union's accomplishments in space, and Glenn says he thinks it was a turning point for America's national psyche. The 90-year-old is now the namesake of a public affairs school at Ohio State/Associated Press. (AP/NASA file photo: In this Feb. 20, 1962 file photo, astronaut John Glenn climbs into the Friendship 7 space capsule atop an Atlas rocket at Cape Canaveral, Fla.)

Question: Do you remember what you were doing when you heard an American had orbited the Earth?

Hucks: Golfing With Santorum

Jimmy McAndrew, who caddied at the Coeur d’Alene Resort golf course before becoming a Coeur d’Alene banker, is skeptical about Rick Santorum’s golf prowess. According to eyewitnesses Tuesday, the Republican prez wannabe landed two golfballs on the floating green, at its winter distance. Doubting Jimmy told Huckleberries: “We are talking 270 yard (on the fly) in 30-40 degree weather over the lake which is always gusting heavily every day and always requires you to club up one minimum (usually two clubs up). Just look at the flag out there, it’s rarely blowing toward the lake.” And even if Santorum hit the green, he’d be lucky to keep the ball on it, says Jimmy. Who estimates the floating green is 30 yards deep. Tops. In the winter, Jimmy said, the surface would be as hard as an airport tarmac. “Hit the green? Maybe,” says Jimmy. “Held it?” Hmm/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Question: Do you brag about your golf game?

Benson: Payroll Tax Holiday?

Lisa Benson/Washington Writers Group

Blogfest Weekend Wild Card — 2.18.12

After another rousing Blogfest Saturday afternoon, I'm energized to put in another year of feeding the vast cyber maw of HucksOnline. Also, I'm humbled by the 70-75 bloggers, commenters, and even one blurker who turned out on a cold day to enjoy the food and fellowship. Chatterbox nailed it in a comment afterward when she said: “Despite our various personalities and political persuations, we all managed to get along and “behave” today. Our elected officials would do well to follow OUR lead.” That's the beauty of what happens here. I'll re-post this Wild Card & hit the sack with warm thoughts of Bent's pulled pork dancing in my head …

Another Great Blogfest At The Grill

So what do you think Ron Lahr of the Reagan Republicans is telling former Kootenai County clerk Dan English at this afternoon's Blogfest 2012 at the Fort Ground Grill? In the foreground are Christa Hazel and (to the right) Digger. Some 70-75 Berry Pickers enjoyed delicious Bent's BBQ pulled pork, Steve's Mac & Cheese, BBQ beans, Bent/Keith brew, and Marie's famous cookies, as well as three hours of fun & fellowship. 4 walked away with $25 gift certificates to the Steve's Grill. Unofficial HucksOnline photographer Don Sausser provided this photo of the Blogfest. You can see more here. (I'm saving a photo taken by Cindy for my Photo of the Day post Monday.)

San Francisco 66, Gonzaga 65

San Francisco's Cody Doolin (45) and Gonzaga's Robert Sacre, left, battle for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in San Francisco, Saturday. San Francisco nipped Gonzaga 66-65. ESPN boxscore here. (AP Photo/Matthew Sumner)

Blogfest 2012 Warmups

To get you in the mood for Blogfest 2012 (2 to 5 p.m. today at the Fort Ground Grill), I have a few trivia questions for you:

  • Name five commenters who have come and gone.
  • Who became a commenter after she was involved in a tug of war between the prosecutor's office and the public defender's office?
  • Who has been thrown in the cooler more times than anyone else?
  • What is the current readership of HucksOnline (including Twitter & Facebook): 9,452, 10,452, 10,952?
  • What important service did former commenter Ron the Cop provide at a Capone Blogfest?
  • What was the featured food fare at last summer's Blogfest?
  • Who held DFO's hand through much of the first year of HucksOnline when he wanted to quit blogging?
  • What fashion faux pas did DFO and Herb make at last summer's Blogfest?
  • Who has worn the most outrageous costume to a Blogfest? Ever? Hands down?
  • Name the 4 venues for the Blogfests.

Paul Attracts 2300 In Spokane

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul works the crowd at the front of the ballroom at the Spokane Convention Center Friday after a rally for his campaign. More than 2000 attended the rally. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)


Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul may not have won a state primary yet, but he remains a favorite to win Spokane County. A standing-room-only crowd of about 2,300 shouted their support for Paul during his 45-minute speech Friday evening at the Spokane Convention Center. Paul is the second Republican presidential candidate to visit the Inland Northwest this week as Washington and Idaho prepare for their presidential caucuses early next month. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum spoke to about 600 supporters in Coeur d’Alene on Tuesday. Paul, who was introduced by state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, started his speech pointing to his strong base of support. In 2008, Paul finished first in the caucuses in Spokane County, capturing 46 percent of the vote/Jonathan Brunt, SR. More here.

Question: Anyone attend the Ron Paul rally in Spokane? Thoughts?

Costello: Gays Didn’t Weakened Marriage

No, my fellow conservatives, the world as we know it did not end Monday when Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed gay marriage into law. For that matter, her signature did not even do significant harm to the institution of marriage. After this last week's assault on religious liberty by the Obama regime, small government conservatives should be particularly sensitive when government tramples upon issues of faith. And when government intrudes upon the religious institution of marriage, it does harm both to the church that yields government sovereignty over marriage and to marriage itself. Gays cannot possibly do more damage to marriage than heterosexuals have already done through its secularization/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: What has damagd the institution of marriage most during your time on Earth?

Centennial Stops Viks, In 5A Title Game

The Centennial High girls basketball team finally gets its shot at redemption, and the Patriots will do so against the defending state champions. For the first time in three seasons, a District Three team will be playing in the 5A state championship when the Patriots (20-5) take on Lewiston (21-4) at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Idaho Center in Nampa. Centennial has not played in the title game since 2009 when it lost 54-50 in overtime to Coeur d’Alene. The Patriots posted their last state championship in 2006. They’re more than ready for another. “If we can play like we did tonight, then I think we have a chance,” Centennial coach Emery Roy said. “We’ll see if we can keep it going”/Rachel Roberts, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Read more here:

Anderson: Foot Soldiers

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

TGIF Wild Card — 2.17.12

On Monday morning, I'll be discussing the 9th Blogiversary of HucksOnline and mebbe Blogfest 2012 (if we all survive in decent shape) with Kerri Thoreson on her ESPN 1080 (aka KVNI) morning show. Air time is approximately 7:35 a.m. I'm the last guest on Kerri's show. She knows I'm not a morning person. So she scheduled me as the last guest of the morning. That was kind of her. Now, I have to steel myself to be awake & coherent at that time of the morning. I thought I'd give you a heads up in case you wanted to listen in. Now for your TGIF Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 2.17.12

From right, Aiden Hartley, 5, of Boise, rests his head against the railing as he sleeps while Beck Nokleby, 5, of Boise covers his ears waiting for Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, to address the crowd at a rally in Boise today. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Adam Eschbach)

Mardi Gras, Anyone?

Mardi Gras. It brings to mind beads, parties and fancy floats in New Orleans as people cram in all the fun they can before Lent begins. In reality, Mardi Gras has long been celebrated in coastal towns from Texas to Florida. And it means big business. “It is more of a regional thing, Mardi Gras is, from Texas down to (the) Gasparilla (pirate festival) down in the Tampa area,” said Stephen Toomey, whose family started a chain of Mobile, Ala.-based Mardi Gras party supply stores. “It means a way of life for people who live in these communities, but the bottom line is that it creates a lot of jobs.” Tourism leaders estimate more than 1 million visitors pour into the Mobile area each Mardi Gras season to watch the festivities/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo: Malia Miyashiro, of California, throws beads from a Bourbon St. balcony to Mardi Gras revelers in French Quarter in New Orleans earlier today)

Question: Do you participate in Mardi Gras activities closer to home? And/or: Do you observe Lent?

PM Scanner Traffic — 2.17.12

  • 5:52 p.m. Moose may be alive after being hit by vehicle @ H41 & M/P 16 (2.5 mi so of Spirit Lake)
  • 4:57 p.m. Hayden Super 1 has caught a cooperative shoplifter.
  • 4:43 p.m. 5 disorderly males are hanging out across from Auto Zone, Govt Way & Haycraft/CdA.
  • 4:25 p.m. 50-something male in older, gray car hit stop sign @ Old 95 & Ohio Match & kept going.
  • 4:21 p.m. Lori reports her runaway daughter may be hanging out in downtown Spokane.
  • 4:11 p.m. Mike reports to KCSD deputy that his chainsaw was stolen in last 2 weeks.
  • 4:09 p.m. Crash @ Appaloosa & Sherwood/CdA is blocking both lanes of travel.
  • 18 more items + AM Scanner Traffic below

PM/Idaho — 2.17.12

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at Guerdon Enterprises Friday in Boise. Story below. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Paul Attracts Overflow Moscow Crowd

Duroc reports: I can report an overflow crowd at Moscow's Ron Paul Rally. People crowding the area outside of the ballroom down the stairwell back onto the first floor of the Student Union Building. A young lady was just loaded into an ambulance (excitement?) and there are emergency vehicles all over the place. Rally just ended and the crowd is filtering out.

NIdaho Blogs: Blogfest ‘12 Saturday

We're less than 24 hours away from Blogfest 2012 — from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Fort Ground Grill on River Avenue in the historic Fortground area. The SR is picking up the tab for food & pop, including Bent's BBQ pulled pork, the Grill's famous Mac & Cheese, BBQ beans, and Marie's famous cookies. Bent/Keith/Stickman may have samples of their own “pop.” Also: Door prizes from Joe Butler & the SR. And 4 $25 gift certificates from Steve Widmyer & the Fort Ground Grill. Drop by any time during the 3 hours & say, “Hi!”

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday): 10,244/6416, and (for Wednesday): 8993/5622

Otter, Boise Turn Out For Mitt

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter introduced GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney at Romney's Boise campaign rally this afternoon. “Folks, this election is about your and my liberty,” Otter said. “We will turn out for that Idaho caucus. … We will turn out for the man that has the executive experience, understands that we are a free market, not a socialist country, that has been there and done that”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

HucksOnline Trivia

In honor of the 9th Blogiversary of HucksOnline & Blogfest 2012, Digger provided this list of trivia questions:

  • The term “Ramaro” was coined in what month and year of HBO? To what did it refer? (Bonus point: What additional term was coined during that time and continues to be used on HBO to this day?)
  • Name as many of the “founding bloggers” of HBO (besides DFO) who are still active on the blog today.
  • Which commenter of the past would most likely to carry around (and pass out) copies of “Catcher in the Rye”? (Bonus Point: what did said commenter do for a living before retirement)
  • Which short lived commenter shared a name with a famous piano player?


Laptop Shooting Dad Video Goes Viral

This frame grab taken from an undated video posted on YouTube Feb. 8 by Tommy Jordan of Albemarle, N.C. shows Jordan answering his teenage daughter's Facebook complaints by firing several rounds from his handgun into his daughter's laptop her computer as it lies on the ground. More than 26 million people have seen the video in which Jordan reads and replies to his daughter's rant before emptying his .45-caliber pistol into her laptop. AP story here. (AP Photo/YouTube Channel of Tommy Jordan)

Question: Unless you've been living under a rock, you've seen this video. Did Tommy Jordan do the right thing by responding to his daughter via video & then shooting her laptop computer?

Boy Scouts Face NIdaho Backlash

Scout program leaders in North Idaho are pleading constituents not to cut off support for the Boy Scouts out of opposition to the Camp Easton land swap. Officials with the Old Mission District, which oversees scouting programs in Kootenai, Shoshone and Benewah counties, say they have been contacted by a high number of volunteers and financial donors threatening to sever ties with the district if the proposed exchange goes through. “Some of our biggest contributors are saying, 'We're not going to be associated with scouting anymore,'” said district Chairman Ladd Livingston. Some have made significant donations to fund Camp Easton infrastructure, Livingston explained, with the understanding that the improvements would be used at that location permanently/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Photo from Saving Camp Easton Web site)

Question: Will this end badly?

Spokane Man Sought In NIdaho Case

A Spokane man is wanted in North Idaho for allegedly sexually abusing a child. Chad Andrew Radden, 21, is being sought on a $40,000 warrant in Kootenai County for sexual abuse of a minor under 16, as well as a probation violation warrant in Washington. Radden has felony convictions in Spokane County for property crimes and is awaiting trial on a car theft charge that he was arrested on in December. Radden was arrested in October 2010 for an alleged car-prowling and window-breaking spree in Spokane Valley. Anyone who knows where Radden, 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, is now is asked to contact the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force (208) 665-1471/Meghann Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels. More here.

‘Tis True About Early Birds

In Roseberg, Ore., Robin Loznak, a talented photographer & occasional HucksOnline contributor, discovered that the old adage is correct. On his Facebook wall, he posts: “The early bird works to get the worm near Roseburg, Oregon on Thursday.”

Question: How early do you rise in the morning?