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Archive for January 2012

Wild Card/Tuesday — 1.31.12

We're less than 24 hours away from February, the transition month to spring. For some time, I've considered Feb. 2 (Groundhog's Day and my late father's birthday) to be the unofficial end of winter. Mrs. O always thought I was cuh-razy for doing so, especially if there was snow piled up on the ground outside. It was a means of fighting off cabin fever. This year, however, winter has been a piece of cake. I didn't even bother to put the studs on the 4Runner. And I still have almost a cord of wood left in the pile outside. Has anyone checked the weather prognosticators to see if any of their fall predictions for this winter were correct? Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.31.12

A Sadhu, or a Hindu holy man, takes a dip at Sangam, confluence of the Rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, during the annual traditional fair of Magh Mela in Allahabad, India, Monday. Hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus bathe at the confluence during the astronomically auspicious period of over 45 days celebrated as Magh Mela. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Trish: My Turn To Get Picked

Trish Gannon/River Journal and I had a conversation on Facebook, launched by Trish's comment: “Wow! After 25 years residency, I have finally been called for jury duty.” Which prompted me to post: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Take it away, Trish: “I feel like I'm going to reprise childhood, sitting on the bench, bouncing up and down, shouting, 'Pick me! Pick me!” and probably with the same disappointing result. … Seems like the only things kids picked other kids for when I was in school were athletic games. I would only get picked fourth if there were only four people to choose from.”

Question: When did you get picked during your grade school days, when classmates were choosing up teams? First? Mid-pack? Last or close to last?

Romney Winning By 17% In Florida

Mitt Romney won a commanding victory in the Florida primary Tuesday night, rebounding from defeat and taking a significant step toward the Republican presidential nomination. Despite the setback, Newt Gingrich vowed to press on. Returns from 38 percent of Florida's precincts showed Romney with 48 percent of the vote, to 31 percent for Gingrich. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had 13 percent, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul 7 percent. Neither mounted a substantial effort in the state/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo: A workman mounts a sign to the podium before Republican presidential candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's Florida Republican presidential primary night rally in Orlando, Fla.)

Question: Will zombie warrior Gingrich be able to shamble on?

PM/Idaho — 1.31.12

Coeur d'Alene resident Ron Evanson took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and ran on Centennial Trail in Coeur d'Alene earlier today. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.31.12

  • 5:33 p.m. Caller is concerned that man in green coat walking toward vets memorial bridge @ I-90 & M/P 17 from white SUV may jump parked in pullout. (Update: ISP officer reports the man is simply having vehicle problems but help is on the way.)
  • 5:13 p.m. Family of military vet who has just returned to North Idaho from Iraq is concerned for his welfare after getting text that he was lonely and sorry.
  • 4:46 p.m. Caller will sign complaint vs. red pickup driver running light @ Spokane & Seltice Way/PF.
  • 4:36 p.m. Heather sez neighbor's dog that killed her chickens in past loose @ Poleline & Corbin/PF.
  • 4:12 p.m. Caller wants officer to help him w/re-po man in 3300 block of Park Ridge Loop/PF.
  • 4:01 p.m. Motorcycles are racing along 900 block of Smith Lane/PF.
  • 12 more items below

Otter Enlists Ex-Dem Operative Foster

Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has enlisted a former Democratic political operative to help develop his strategy for fighting to preserve new education laws that weaken teacher negotiating power and emphasize online learning. The governor has vowed publicly to do everything in his power to guarantee the measures aren't rejected by voters in November. The battle over the reforms deeply divided Republicans and Democrats during the 2011 session. Now, Otter's staff has brought on John Foster to serve as an informal adviser leading up to the referendum. The decision, which Foster confirmed Tuesday, may surprise some/AP. More here.

DFO: Sisyphus had this one right, 24 hours before Foster acknowledge here.

Question: Wonder what the Dems think of Foster now?

Jury Finds Ellington Guilty Again

A jury today convicted a North Idaho man of second-degree murder for fatally running over a woman during a 2006 road rage incident with her husband and two daughters. Jonathan Wade Ellington, 51, has already served six years in prison for the Jan. 1, 2006, incident but was released last year after the Idaho Supreme Court overturned his convictions because of problems with his first trial. Judge John Luster today allowed him to stay out of jail until his new sentencing, which is scheduled for March 26. Ellington’s lawyer, John Adams, called the verdict the most unfair he’s seen in 30 years of jury trials/Meghann Cuniff, SR. More here. (Meghann Cuniff SR photo)

Question: Are you surprised by the verdict?


A Facebook Friend reports she saw Sheriff Rocky Watson & two of his troops jaywalking from Kootenai Coffee to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office earlier today. Tsk. Tsk.


“I bet Jesus would have used his turn signal” — Cindy Hval, spotted this morning en route to school with Sam, at Division & Francis, Spokane.

Riley: Hart Gold Standard For Lunacy

Not only is Idaho State Rep. Phil Hart not in jail for tax evasion (yet), he’s still introducing legislation in Boise. Hart’s latest endeavor is House Bill 430, which “recognizes the liberty of Idahoans to conductbusiness in gold and silver coin uninhibited at their own discretion as a right never delegated by the People of Idaho to any governmental institution.” Yep, Phil wants the good people of Idaho to be able to use gold and silver coins instead of paper money. Not only that, Phil wants the use of these coins to be free of any taxation. OK, look, we all know this bill isn’t going to go anywhere, even in this land of rabid Libertarians and militia members/Sean Riley, iSightonline via Potato Understanding. More here.


DFO’s Critters: Snacking Eagle

A bald eagle, slows traffic for a time along the Eastside Highway north of Stevensville, Mont., during the morning commute. The eagle was feasting on a dead deer just off the roadway. (AP Photo/Ravalli Republic, Perry Backus)

Downtown CdA Coffee Shops Ranked

The North Idaho College Sentinel staff rated the three most popular coffee shops in downtown Coeur d'Alene (Java on Sherman, Bakery by the Lake, & Calypsos): “So much coffee, so little time! Coeur d’Alene’s downtown coffee shops have a lot to offer. We decided to compile the best of each shop so you can tame your caffeine craving. Whether you want a signature coffee creation, live music, fresh baked goods, a lively atmosphere or just some place to get your work done, there’s a coffee shop just for you! We’ve rated three iconic coffee shops, Calypsos, Java, and Bakery by the Lake, in four defining categories – price, events, food, and of course, coffee!” Read complete ratings here. (NIC photo of Java on Sherman's Bowl of Soul)

Question: Which downtown coffee shop is your favorite?

Komen Splits w/Planned Parenthood

A prominent cancer-treatment foundation is ending its work with Planned Parenthood, a decision Planned Parenthood called “deeply disturbing and disappointing.” The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has broken off a partnership through which it provided cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Planned Parenthood blamed the political controversy over abortion. “We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure. Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America/Sam Baker, The Hill. More here.


Foodbeat NW: CdA Olive Oil Company

It may be worth noting right away that there really aren’t a lot of olive trees hanging around up here in wintery North Idaho. So what’s up with the idea of Coeur d’Alene Olive Oil Company? A look at their website reveals that the olives are harvested at an olive farm in a far more tropically inclined region of the country, California, and blended and infused immediately on site. Gallons of Rachael Ray’s favorite acronym source are then trucked up here where they are bottled for sale and sold with attractively designed labels and in fabulous gift baskets on the shelves of the Coeur d’Alene Olive Oil Company shop in the heart of downtown near 4th and Sherman. That makes perfect sense, I suppose, (because) owners Brad and Sandra Gunn … also own the California farm itself but reside here/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho via Foodbeat NW. More here. (SR file photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Question: Is the Coeur d'Alene Olive Oil Company a regular stop for you?

Dennis: Political Zombies Among Us

Gingrich went on to say in the article, when asked about those who said he was NOW politically dead:

“The same people who said I was dead in June, or the people who said I was dead in Iowa, those people?” Gingrich said. “They're about as accurate as they have been the last two times they were wrong.”

Newt Gingrich is a member of a very small club of politically un-dead public figures/candidates/possible GOP Presidential nominee Zombies, including Richard Nixon (loss for President, loss for Governor), Ronald Reagan (loss for President in '68, '76) GHW Bush (loss for Senate in '64 and '70, loss for President '80) George W. Bush (loss for the House of Representatives in '78) who, by following their own personal plan, ultimately became president/Dennis Mansfield. More here. (AP file photo of movie zombies)

Question: Can you think of other political zombies who are still shambling among us?

USFS OKs Jesus Statue Permit

Freshmen at the University of Montana, from left, Jake Coburn, Stephanie Ralls and Claire Dal Nogare, visit a statue of Jesus Christ at Whitefish Mountain Resort Whitefish, Mont. The U.S. Forest Service said today it will re-authorize a permit for this 57-year-old statue of Jesus that had been facing eviction from this northwestern Montana ski resort. Story here. (AP/Missoulian file photo, Linda Thompson, File)

Cottage Cheese: Love It, Or Hate It?

Many opinions and beliefs divide us. You know the list. No need to repeat it here. But overlooked in the heated wrangling over contentious public policy issues is an undeniable reality. The most polarized schism in our society might be over cottage cheese. Many love the stuff. Others call it vile. And, no, we can’t all just get along. Not totally, anyway. Seemingly innocuous, some would say bland, it might seem strange that these mass-produced curds would elicit passionate condemnation. But cottage cheese haters are not into tolerance/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here.

Question: Do you love cottage cheese or think it's vile?

Walkabout: Dogs Loose All Over

RE: Owners ignore Tubbs Hill leash law/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

Walkabout: It isn't just Tubbs Hill that is the problem, it is all over town. I have seen loose dogs on Independence Point, in the Sanders Beach neighborhood, and City park. If fact, one of the worst dog attacks I experienced was last June between city beach and the college beach. We were very lucky that time but I am really worried that the loose dog problem is only going to get worse before it gets better. Just this morning while walking in East Tubbs Hill Park, two women with three dogs lost control of their large lab mix. He came running straight for Charlie. He didn't look real friendly so I yelled at them to get control of their dog. Thankfully, nothing happened and the dog came when called. As they feebly apologized, I kind of lost it. I have had it with strange dogs invading my dog's space without permission and then the owner saying, “Sorry”. Around here people seem to think they can do whatever they want at long as they tack on a “sorry.”

Question: How would you rank the importance of a crackdown on scofflaw dog owners, given all the other duties officers must do to keep the peace?

Do You Have Ideal Woman’s Body?

The ideal woman should be 5 feet 10 inches-6 feet tall, weigh 110-115 pounds and be size 0-2. That’s according to students in a “Multicultural Perspectives on the Body and Dress” class at Washington State University taught by Linda Bradley. “That’s pretty much what models look like,” said Bradley, a professor and curator in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles.Ten years ago, the ideal woman was size 4; 20 years ago, size 8; and 50 years ago, thanks to Marilyn Monroe, size 12. “So the ideals are getting harder and harder to reach,” Bradley said. “Body image is a huge problem in America, and the reason is that our ideals are so unbelievable”/Nella Letizia, WSU News. More here. (AP photo of Rome fashion show from Sunday) H/T: Chelsea Kopta/KHQ

Question: How far off from the ideal woman's body are you?

High Noon: February Least Favorite

Duroc: February is my least favorite month. Thank God it’s the shortest February is too frustrating - some years it’s winter, some years its just grey and miserable. I like February when it’s cold, snowy, and sunny. I hate February when it’s rainy and dark. Most years, I just want February to be over with as soon as possible.

DFO: But, Duroc, Blogfest is in February …

Question: What is your most/least favorite months?

Vested Santorum Presses Flesh

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum greets supporters during a campaign stop earlier today at the Lone Tree Golf Club in Lone Tree, Colo. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Question: How often do you wear vests?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.31.12

  • Noonish: Owner of barking dog on Majestic Rathdrum slams door in face of animal control officer, who plans to return to residence with police officer.
  • 11:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 30-31 here.
  • 11:25 a.m. Driver of Montana rig dumped animal carcass in Dumpster 12 @ Sunup & H95/Worley.
  • 11:22 a.m. Woman reports stray dog entered home via dog door & attacked her son on Sylvan/Athol.
  • 11:19 a.m. Sherry wants to speak to an officer re: trespassing 2 males from Cruisers/Stateline.
  • 11:05 a.m. Kootenai County Sheriffs Department outstanding warrants for week here.
  • 10 more items below

43rdSB: Foster Backing Luna Reform?

The referendum on Students Comes First will take place on the date of the general election, the first Tuesday of November, 2012. Word on the street is that John Foster has been tapped to lead the political efforts for Republicans against the initiatives, and in favor of leaving intact the draconian education reform legislation. John Foster is the former executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party. Foster is most notorious for his role as a staffer for Idaho's blue dog Congressman Walt Minnick, and leading Minnick's 2010 re-election campaign to an ignoble defeat. Since then, Foster has headed the office for a lobbying group./Sisyphus, 43rd State Blues. More here.

Denney Ap-Hollow-gizes To Caucus

A subdued House Speaker Lawerence Denney said after a 45-minute closed GOP caucus today that he apologized to the caucus for his handling of the attempted ouster of GOP redistricting Commissioner Dolores Crow. “Most of the comments were very, very supportive,” Denney said. He said he gave “kind of a statement as to what happened and what went on,” lasting two to three minutes, then took questions from caucus members. Then, he said, “We talked about two or three other things that kinda came up in the course of that”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Can Denney unilaterally declare as over the botched attempt by Stormin Norman Semanko and him to dump Dolores Crow & Randy Hansen from redistricting commission?

Otter Backs Internet Sales Tax

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter backs taxing Internet sales to level the playing field between virtual businesses and brick-and-mortar establishments on Idaho's Main Street. Otter made the remarks to Idaho chamber of commerce leaders meeting in Boise on Monday. Past efforts to deepen Idaho's involvement with a national movement to tax Internet sales have foundered in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, whose anti-tax conservatives have killed previous proposals. Idaho has a use tax, meaning everybody who buys over the Internet is required to report them to the State Tax Commission when they pay their annual income taxes. However, few people actually report them/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Do you support an Internet sales tax in Idaho?

Poll: 40% Once Live In California

  • Monday Poll: A large minority of Hucks Nation has lived in California at one time. 81 of 204 respondents (39.71%) said they had lived in California, while 123 of 204 respondents (60.29%) said they haven't.
  • Today's Question: Why do you plan to watch the Super Bowl (multiple choice): for commercials, food, football game, halftime show, etc.?

AM/Idaho — 1.31.12

Woodland Middle School 7th grader Sean Evensizer of Coeur d'Alene listens to instruction during the North Idaho College annual jazzNIC program at the college in Coeur d'Alene on Monday. Hundreds of middle school and high students from across the region will participate in jazz clinics through Wednesday. The NIC Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Co.jazz choir will perform an evening of jazz concert today at 7:30 p.m. at NIC's Boswell Hall Schuler Performing Arts Center, the event is free and open to the public. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

CGX: Women Behind SB Ad Release

“This 'releasing Super Bowl commercials before Sunday' thing is obviously the work of women. Now they don't have to watch the game at all” — CoeurGenX, via Facebook.

Question: Would you watch the Super Bowl, without the commercials and halftime show?

Farmers Market Mulls Dog Ban

The issue of whether dogs should sit and stay out of the Moscow Farmers Market and arguments about the First Amendment got mixed reviews from an advisory board on Monday. No decisions were made. The Farmers Market Advisory Board held a special meeting following a decision last week during a Moscow Administrative Committee meeting where the board's input was sought regarding prohibiting dogs at the market. City attorney Rand Fife also proposed an amendment to market policy that would require organizations to apply for space in Friendship Square. Though not included in this year's policies revised by the board, the issue of removing dogs from the market was brought by Councilor Wayne Krauss, said Fife, because of comments he received from the public regarding safety concerns/Brandon Macz, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (Bart Rayniak SR file photo of a golden retriever in 2010 Coeur d'Alene 4th of July parade)

Question: Do you get miffed when you see owners with dogs at a public event?

3Rs: Running For Sherry Arnold

Jill Barville, of the 3Rs blog, is encouraging people to participate in a virtual memorial run for Sherry Arnold, a kidnapped & probably murdered Montana teacher who never returned from a job earlier this month. The virtual run will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday 11. Jill writes: “I’ve thought of Sherry during almost every run in the past three weeks, some of them adrenaline-fueled races against myself as I’ve thought about the many dangers to runners, especially women, no matter how many precautions we take. I’ve imagined the many ways Sherry’s story might have ended differently, have ended later. But we can’t revise real life the way we might a blog post or piece of fiction. We also can’t predict how our own stories will end.” More here.

Question: What precautions do you take when you walk or run by yourself?

Pro-Lifers Oppose Health Exchange

Idaho Chooses Life (ICL), the largest pro-life group in the Gem State, has formally declared its opposition to lawmakers giving the green light to building a state-based health insurance exchange. In a statement released to Tuesday, ICL president David Ripley says the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the law through which exchanges are derived, is ripe with questionable policies. “ObamaCare is loaded with subsidies for the abortion industry, which is why Planned Parenthood is pushing so hard for its enactment,” Ripley said.  “We are very worried about the move to voluntarily assist in the federal take-over of health care in Idaho.  It jeopardizes conscience rights of employers, contains massive subsidies for the abortion industry and will lead to rationed care for the elderly and disabled”/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.


2011-12 Idaho Wolf Harvest: 264

As January ends, Idaho’s first wolf trapping season has harvested 60 wolves statewide in the TRAPPING season that opened Nov. 15. That compares with 204 wolves taken by sportsmen in the HUNTING season that opened Aug. 30. Idaho's total wolf kill by hunters AND trappers since Aug. 30 is 264 wolves. The hunting and trapping seasons will continue to March 31 or until management unit quotas are reached. In 2011, Idaho sold 32,273 wolf hunting tags.  Idaho requires sportsmen to purchase new hunting and fishing licenses each year on Jan. 1/Rich Landers, SR Outdoors. More here.

Question: Do you want more/less wolves harvested by hunters & trappers?

Post Falls Developer Is Wanted Man

Post Falls Landing developer Harry Green (pictured) has a warrant out for his arrest, in addition to being sued and facing bankruptcy. Kootenai County records show Green, 63, is wanted for failure to appear for selling alcohol without a license at the marina of the 33-acre, multi-use project on the Spokane River next to the Post Falls Dam. The Landing has been billed as an anchor for the city center. Green's bond is $5,000 and the warrant was issued on Jan. 12. “If he would be contacted today (by police), he'd be arrested and booked into jail,” Post Falls Police Chief Scot Haug said. Wanted persons also have the option of seeing a judge to “quash” their warrants through the court process/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Harry Green's dream to transform the old Louisiana Pacific mill site into a downtown proper for Post Falls never materialized. How could things go so far south for him?

Florida Republicans Head To Polls

Voter walk outside of a polling place at the First Baptist Church of Windermere, in Orlando, Fla., this morning. Mitt Romney is ahead in the Florida polls by double digits and is in a triumphant mood today. He'll assume the mantle as front-runner again with a big victory in Florida. Story here. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Question: Is Romney the best shot the Republicans have to unseat President Obama?

Kamm: California Still Tugs Heart

RE: Crump: Becoming a Californian/Twin Falls Times-News

Kamm: I’m a California expatriate. I moved with my daughter 21 yrs ago. So Cal wasn’t a place for her HS experience; too crowded; too violent, too much concrete. It’s way too hard to celebrate Christmas when it’s 86 degrees. It’s been a good move for us. But I miss my old friends as I get older. When I traveled down for my brother’s funeral I realized how comforting and accepting they are, how I could jump back into a conversation that had ended 20 years ago, how easy it was to feel 18 in their presence. I won’t move back because my daughter and my grandson are in this area but I’m saving up for another trip to replenish my heart.

Question: How long do you have to live in Idaho before you become a true Idahoan?

Druid: Super Bowl Sunday? Meh

Arch Druid: In my case, to all of you non sports fans; there is nothing that I’ll have the occasion to miss or give up. I get paid the Friday before, after the bills, I’ll see if shopping includes pepsi, a bag of chips and french onion dip. That will be after a sack of cat litter and a bag of soil to get my seeds for this year’s Farmer’s Market planted soon. Sit down in front of my HDTV and watch the latest bunch of silly ads. I don’t really get into sports, as you can see.

Question: What are your plans for Super Bowl Sunday?

Norther: Few Job Requirements Here

Norther: I have been reading all of the posts about qualifications for certain jobs in different places. There seems to be many questions as to what is required for each job. The Kootenai County Sheriff, The NIC President, and so on. Should they have a POST certificate to be Sheriff? Should they have a PhD to run a community college? This is a trend I don’t care for. It is echoed in my profession as well as many other ancillary modalities. I throw ionizing radiation at people all day long. I handle broken limbs and sick babies and grandma’s. Yet, in the State of Idaho, the only requirement for such duties is to be at least 18 years old - to operate the machinery!

Question: As a bare minimum, should a candidate for sheriff in Idaho at least have a few years of hands-on experience as a sworn officer?

Benson: The Devil In The Details

Lisa Benson/Washington Post Writers Group

Wild Card/Monday — 1.30.12

Mrs. O & I and two good friends enjoyed the closing night of Best of Broadway's “Beauty of the Beast” at the INB Performing Arts Center in Spokane last night. Superb show, as expected. I have the song, “Be Our Guest,” running through my head this morning when I should be focusing on the zany antics of the Idaho Legislature in general, Kootenai County elected officials in particular, and those who want to represent us. I'm looking forward to the run up to the spring primary and the general election beyond. Now for your Wid Card …

Parting Shot — 1.30.12

Dancers practice during a training session during the 40th Prix de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday. The Prix de Lausanne (40th International Ballet Competition) is an internationally recognized competition for young dancers. Prizes will be awarded to the best finalists on Sunday. The competition takes place through next Saturday. (AP Photo/Keystone, Jean-Christophe Bott)

Kelsey: Playing The Name Game

Kelsey Saintz (pictured), a Shoshone News-Press reporter, who is close to the delivery date for her first baby, posts the following in her This Is Not A Fairy Tale blog, titled “The Name Game.” She writes: “I asked this quite a while ago before I knew many Mumblrs, and I’m still curious. When did you decide the name of your baby? Before it was born? Or maybe once you knew the gender? Did you have a name picked out and change your mind when it was born because it didn’t seem fitting?I know many people in our generation name them before birth and refer to the baby with their name during pregnancy, and people in my mom’s generation say to wait because you need to see what they’re like first. What to do, what to do …”

Question: How did you select the names of your children?

Johnson Explains Sheriff’s Candidacy

A former North Idaho businessman and Post Falls Chamber of Commerce board member who was involved in a high profile shooting in downtown Coeur d'Alene announced he is running for Kootenai County Sheriff. Adam M. Johnson, 27, will seek the elected post as a Republican. He said finding a solution to the jail capacity issue without asking taxpayers to a fund a new building is key for the county, as is trimming the sheriff's office budget while finding ways to financially incentivize deputies to remain here instead of leaving for other departments. Johnson said his recent legal troubles - which include a citation for consuming alcohol from the December 2009 shooting and a 2011 guilty plea for felony heroin possession - don't mean he isn't serious about the job/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: How will Adam Johnson's candidacy affect an increasingly crowded Republican race for Kootenai County sheriff?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.30.12

  • 5:37 p.m. Oft-malfunctioning traffic lights @ H41 & Mullan/PF not working. Drivers running red light.
  • 5:21 p.m. Water flooding Coeur d'Alene Drive but not H41 in Spirit Lake area.
  • 4:53 p.m. Traffic lights are malfunctioning @ Seltice Way & Bay/PF.
  • 4:51 p.m. Officer is stopping to clean up fallen tree @ SHs 3 & 97, south of Harrison.
  • 4:31 p.m. Jake reports to animal control that he's contained a bloodhound.
  • 4:25 p.m. Caller reports suicide threat to deputy/tribal police at C Street/Worley location.
  • 4:06 p.m. Mother @ Stimson & Wyoming/Hayden reports young son is stealing/destroying property.
  • 4:01 p.m. Woman reports her boyfriend won't get into her PT Cruiser near French's Cleaners/CdA.
  • 10 more items below

Twin Falls Won’t Challenge New Map

Twin Falls county commissioners have announced that they've decided not to file any further challenge to Idaho's new legislative redistricting plan, though they're not entirely happy with it. The county led an earlier challenge to the Idaho Supreme Court that overturned the previous plan submitted by the state's citizen redistricting commission. County Prosecutor Grant Loebs said, “It’s not a good plan, but it’s an acceptable one. It’s considerably better than the previous plan that extended Twin Falls districts all the way to Chubbuck”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you ready for the new districts? Do you understand the ones in North Idaho?

Business Watch: Cafe Rio Hiring

  • Coeur d’Alene will soon get a Cafe Rio Mexican Grill,The store appears to be hiring and will be located in the same building as Fred Meyer along Hwy 95 near Kathleen Ave.Cafe Rio is a chain of mexican restaurants from Utah.
  • Barrel Room Number 6 wine bar is closing in their location in Downtown Coeur d’Alene.Barrel Room Number 6 is owned by Coeur d’Alene Cellars Winery and plans to move the wine bar in with the winery at 3890 N Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene off of Kathleen Ave.The Wine Bar will re-open in the spring.
  • Latest Inland Northwest Business Watch Report

North Idaho Blogs — 1.30.12

Stebbijo's Place offers recipes for Michelle Obama chili dog (because it provides alternatives to reduce calories) and cheeseburger egg rolls below.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of Jan. 22-28): 47,322/28,776

Conservative Values?

A supporter of Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich displays a sign during campaign stop Monday in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Question: Is HucksOnline part of the liberal media or the conservative media? Or something else?

Cindy & Computer Kiss & Make Up

Cindy Facebooks: “Time outs are great for any relationship. For instance, this morning my computer was running super slow. I nagged. I even shook it, just a little. No response. So finally, I said, “We need to take a break.” I turned it off and went for a 3 mile walk. Came back and things are running so much smoother! Obviously, we both just needed time to sort out our issues.”

Question: When & why did you last yell at your computer?

15% Pick SB XLVI To Baby’s Birth

What would you miss or give up in order to go to the Super Bowl? Fifteen (15) percent of U.S. adults who have a favorite NFL team would miss the birth of their own baby to attend the Super Bowl, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive. Another 19 percent would miss the funeral of a loved one, 20 percent would miss the wedding of a close friend or family member, 21 percent would miss an important work responsibility and 23 percent would give up a vacation in order to watch the Super Bowl/ More here.

Question: If your favorite team was in the Super Bowl, would you opt to go to the game, given the chance, over seeing your own baby born?

Big, Bouncing, Baby Boy

Asher Stewardson was born, weighing 13 pounds, 13 ounces. He measured 23 1/2 inches. He is believed to be the biggest baby ever born at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, without a surgical delivery. (AP Photo/The Des Moines Register, Todd Erzen)

Question: How big were you at birth?

Dustin: Dog Ate My Jury Duty Letter

Dustin Hurst of the Idaho Reporter tweets: “Whoops. I completely forgot I was on call for jury duty today. I called the line and my number was selected. Yikes.” And: “Maybe I will volunteer next week or something.”

Question: How do you think this is going to turn out?

Breakfast Nook Arson Try Fails

A popular midtown breakfast and lunch spot was the target of an arsonist sometime Sunday, reports the Coeur d'Alene Police Department. City fire and police units responded at 4:45 a.m. to a report of a structure fire at The Breakfast Nook on Fourth Street. Officers arrived on the scene first and made contact with the owner Paul Wiles who was opening up the business for the morning. Wiles noticed a strong odor when he opened the rear door and called 911. No one was inside the building at the time of the call/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


Not Wanted: Obama Appointed Judge

The Idaho House has passed HJM 4, a non-binding memorial calling on Congress to add a third federal judge in Idaho, but only by a 47-21 vote and after objections on the floor to allowing a Democratic president to appoint another federal judge. Idaho's had just two federal district judges since 1954, said the measure's sponsor, Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, (pictured) and the federal caseload has increased so dramatically that there are now big delays in processing civil cases. … Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, said he believes the “federal judiciary has served as a handmaiden” to overstepping the U.S. Constitution. He said he'd be willing to support the memorial, but only after a new president is elected and replaces President Obama/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.


Otter, Labrador Seek Consensus Chair

Gov. Butch Otter says he's spoken with three candidates to replace outgoing GOP Chairman Norm Semanko (pictured), who embarrassed Otter in 2008 when he ousted then-Chairman Kirk Sullivan. “I was roundly criticized by all you guys that I couldn't control my own party and I was probably the only governor in the United States that didn't have his choice as party chairman,” Otter told me late last week. “I've been able to work with Norm, but you know, I just don't want that to happen again.” … First District U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, a key player in boosting Semanko in 2008, said Monday that he's hoping to agree on a consensus candidate with Otter, as well as his GOP House colleague, Rep. Mike Simpson, and Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Who would be a good choice to replace Norm Semanko as Idaho GOP chairman?

Read more here:

Prez: Jim Hammond For NIC Prez

Priscilla Bell will retire as North Idaho College president this summer. Jay Lee, NIC's vice president for instruction and one of the most qualified candidates on hand to replace Bell, has accepted the top job elsewhere. In six weeks, Lee will take the helm at Northeastern Junior College in Colorado. We wish Lee well. His tenure in Coeur d'Alene might have been short, just under four years, but he bolstered NIC's instructional quality during one of the most challenging periods in the college's history, with expansive student growth met head-on by funding challenges. But this editorial is not an ode to a good man going elsewhere. It's an introduction of a good man who has been here all along, who just might be the best person to lead North Idaho College/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Would Jim Hammond be a good pick to replace Priscilla Bell as North Idaho College president?

His name is Jim Hammond. Yes, that Jim Hammond.

High Noon: Writing Like DFO

Dave; You once told me that you can spot a person by their writing style and that gave me an idea for a contest that you could run on a slow news day.  Why not have  a “write like Dave” contest on Huckleberries some time?  You could invite everyone to write one or two sentences in “Dave speak”.  It could be a ha-huge bunch of fun!  I would suggest also having “write like DR”, “write like Duroc” and so on contests but I expect they would get very ugly, very quickly. Anyway… just an idea/SpudBob.

Question: Anyone want to take a crack at writing like me, in 25 words or less?

Heavy Women Take The Runway

Contestant Elisa Mendes, from Brazil's Maranhao state, performs during the Miss Brazil Plus Size Beauty Pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday. A growing number of bikini and swimming suits manufacturers have woken up to Brazil's thickening waistline and are reaching out to the ever-expanding ranks of heavy women with new plus-size lines. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Question: Is it a good thing that society has begun to de-stigmatize chubbier people? Or should the stigma continue in an attempt to embarrass chubby individuals into an attempt at fitness?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.30.12

  • Noonish: PFPD Blue trespasses woman from Hayden Albertson's for panhandling.
  • 11:54 a.m. A dog running on H95, north of Hayden, is causing a traffic hazard.
  • 11:57 a.m. A 51YO man may be having panic attack @ Glacier & Pinewood/Hayden.
  • 11:25 a.m. Corey has question for officer re: outdoor shooting ranges in the area.
  • 11:14 a.m. Someone is suffering a seizure in 8400 block of Govt Way (cross of Nita/Hayden).
  • 11:10 a.m. Patrol officer takes wanted man into custody after traffic stop on Seltice Way on a warrant that calls for 3 days jail time for theft and vandalism.
  • 11:08 a.m. Amanda wants to know legal rights in case of child abandonment.
  • 9 more items below

Poll: Most Have Idaho High-Ed Roots

  • Weekend Poll: Most Merry Hucksters have a family member or themselves who have received secondary education at an Idaho college or university. 159 of 217 respondents (73.27%) have a family history of education at an Idaho college. Only 58 of 217 respondents don't.
  • Today's question: Have you ever lived in California?

Marc: I’ve Got Pink Duct Tape

I've got a roll of pink duct tape, and I am not afraid to use it. Last month, I started pulling off a strand of Hello Kitty duct tape after an instructor from one of the local higher education institutions couldn’t resist trying to give a lecture to a group of business professionals. The instructor was surprised and a little frustrated when he was told to stop talking and listen. Actually, I am not sure who was more shocked – the instructor or the business people who had taken time out of their day to share their thoughts about professional workforce readiness and preparation. After a few moments of awkwardness, the business community opened the floodgates during the first part of the Lewis-Clark State College Coeur d’Alene Business of Listening Tour/Marc Stewart, Lewis-Clark State College. More here.

Question: What more can local colleges do to prepare students for work in area businesses?

Crump: Becoming A Californian

Did something this month I never dreamed I’d do: I became a Californian. After I retired in August, my wife landed a job in Sacramento. We sold our house in Idaho, bought another in California and I arrived last week — like the Beverly Hillbillies — on an old truck with three dogs, three cats and our furniture. There’s some history here: I’m an Idaho native — lived in the state of 53 of my 60 years — and in print I’ve had a glorious good time for decades making fun of Californians. Especially California expatriates to Idaho. They tried a little too hard to impose their big-city ways on the Gem State, I reckoned. And they boasted much too often about selling their houses in Orange County for 10 times as much as they paid for their new homes in Idaho/Steve Crump, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.

Question: Have you ever thought of moving to California?

‘The Grey’: Stalked By Wolves

Wolves are coming to the big screen today in “The Grey,” a man-versus-beast thriller starring Liam Neeson. When their plane crashes in Alaska’s frozen wilderness, a bunch of oil-field roughnecks fight for survival. Not only do the men combat cold and hunger, they’re stalked by a wolf pack. Film previews feature eerie howls and shots of feral eyes glinting in the darkness. When carnage ensues in this R-rated film, the wolves are usually the winners. But the movie’s portrayal of wolves as man-eaters dismays Gary Wiles. “My first reaction was, ‘Oh, no!’ ” said Wiles, a wildlife biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It looks totally like a Hollywood-contrived movie: something to strike at people’s basic fears”/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.

Question: Will this movie affect the wolf debate?

Ysursa Thanks Redistricters For Work

Idaho's bipartisan citizen redistricting commission has submitted its new legislative district plan, approved on a unanimous 6-0 vote, to Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa (pictured). Ysursa, joining the confab by phone from a meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State, told the commissioners, “I sure want to thank you for all the work you've done.” He quoted Commissioner Sheila Olsen about a “triumph of civility,” and said in his view, that's what occurred in the commission. “We can get going for that May primary,” Ysursa said. “Obviously there could be lawsuits, but I think you've done a commendable job of it. Thank you all for your service”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Lawerence Denney plans to apologize to his caucus for his boorish behavior toward 2 appointed Republican redistricters and Norm Semanko doesn't plan to seek re-election to his office as Idaho GOP chairman. Do you think the redistricters have won the day and this plan will survive?

AM/Idaho — 1.30.12

Montana fishing guide Mark Raisler prepares to release a brown trout in the Missouri River during filming of Sipping Dry, to be featured in the 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour. The filmmaker, Simon Perkins, also is a fly fishing guide based near Craig, Mont. Rich Landers/SR follows the metamorphis of Perkins from a fish guide to a filmmaker here.

APhoto Of The Day — 1.30.12

Jim Clark kisses one of his four Capuchin monkeys inside their RV at an undisclosed location near the Louisiana Border in Texas. Even in their Texas hideout, Jim and Donita Clark are terrified that wildlife agents from their home state of Louisiana will descend on their motorhome and seize the four Capuchin monkeys they've reared for 10 years. You write the cutline. (AP photo: Gerald Herbert)

Top Cutlines

  • 1. Jim, a Tarzan fan, never could have imagined that he and Donita would fall into such poverty living in their RV, but their monkey never doubted it, remembering what his wise mother once told him: ‘Cheetah’s never prosper’ — JohnA.
  • 2. Bobo knew she shouldn’t date outside her species — and that life with Jim and their future family would be tough. But she couldn’t protect her heart whenever Jim looked at her that way — and puckered up — DFO.
  • 3. Jim, not able to find any frogs, decided that perhaps there were other ways of finding a princess — Herb Huseland.
  • HM: Misjustice.

Hart Wants Gold, Silver Untaxed

Rep. Phil Hart (R– Athol) wants gold and silver coin to be an alternative to paper money, formally known as Federal Reserve Notes.  Hart, who is currently being sued by the federal government for unpaid taxes, wants gold and silver currency exempt from tax.  He’s titled the bill the ‘Idaho Constitutional Money Act of 2012′/Emilie Ritter Saunders, StateImpact. Hart's Statement here.


Texting At The Movies?

Cindy Facebooks: “Last night's movie would have been more enjoyable were it not for the older woman who sat in front of us and repeatedly texted and messed with her cell phone. The glow of her phone was so annoying. What would you do?”

  • A. Suffer in silence
  • B. Politely ask her to refrain from using her phone.
  • C. Shoot angry glares and mutter comments about rude people
  • D. Throw breath mints at her\
  • E. Complain to the management

Green: Spencer Doesn’t Speak For Me

Item: ReaganRepub2: Green wasn't easy to pin down/HucksOnline

HucksOnline received the following email from Republican sheriff's candidate John Green: “I am a candidate for in the 2012 Republican race for Sheriff of Kootenai County.  A friend sent me copy of a post on your “blog” regarding the Reagan Republican Forum held in Coeur d'Alene a couple of days ago. I did not attend that function because I was not notified of the event until a couple of days before it was held and I had a previous speaking engagement with 40 people who were also part of an “important constituency.” My question is, are you the “I” who asked this question on the blog? 'Question: I still can't figure the strategy with Green and Spencer here. If Green truly had a busy schedule Thursday, he should have cleared out an hour to speak to an important constituency like the Reagan Republicans. Anyone?' If you are, I want to make it clear that there is no “strategy with Green and Spencer.” Larry Spencer does not speak for me and does not control my schedule or campaign.” (Photo from John Green Facebook page)


A Nice Word Of Thanks From Tony

Thank you so much for using the comments by Christie and me in today’s Huckleberries. It is greatly appreciated. Please allow me to take this opportunity to make a few observations about the media’s coverage for more than 30 years of the human rights movement to counter the activities of hate activities and hate crimes in the Pacific Northwest. As I have said on numerous occasions, there is no doubt in my mind that the two journalists in the entire United States with the most extensive knowledge and expertise on this subject are Dave Oliveria and Bill Morlin. Between these two excellent journalists, they have a combined history of more than 60 years. I have often referred reporters from such newspapers as the “New York Times” to Dave or Bill for background information. We are fortunate that you both have chosen to stay in the Inland Northwest during your successful journalism career. And the Southern Poverty Law Center was very wise to recently bring Bill on board as part of their blog reporting/Tony Stewart, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. More here.

DFO: 'Tis nice to be lumped in the same sentence as Bill by someone is revered in this community as Tony.

Denney To Ap-hollow-gize For Misstep

Rep. Lawerence Denney plans to gather his 57-member Republican caucus this week to make amends for his botched attempt at firing Dolores Crow, a woman he calls “an institution.” “I’ll probably just apologize if I made any of them uncomfortable and explain kind of what I did and why,” the House speaker told me Thursday. “That’s probably about it.” The Midvale Republican’s misstep is by no means the first in a six-year reign. The blowback has been more intense because it included revered former Gov. Phil Batt, who said Denney sullied the redistricting process by introducing rank partisanship to a reformed system approved by voters in 1994. But there’s a far greater force at play than a publicity snafu over trying to force Crow from the redistricting commission. Lawerence Denney is playing King Lear. Instead of three daughters he can’t figure out, he has three ambitious men who aspire to the throne and don’t want to wait until 2014 to be crowned/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Has Lawerence Denney overstayed his time as House Speaker?

Bringing Home X Games’ Gold

From left, Gregory Peck of Wasilla, Alaska; Samson Danniels of Whistler, Canada; Sean Rose of St. Neots, Great Britain; and Josh Dueck of Vernon, Canada, take off from the final jump during the Winter X Games' monoskier cross event on Sunday at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen. Danniels won the gold medal, Peck second and Dueck third. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Daniel Petty)

Owners Ignore Tubbs Hill Leash Law

When the owners arrive, they usually have a dog leash in their hands. That's the part that bothers Catherine McLandress most. McLandress owns two spaniels which she walks around Tubbs Hill nearly every day, and in the last year she's noticed an alarming trend. She has encountered more and more unleashed dogs while on the downtown hiking hill's trails, she said, dogs which have attacked her spaniels way too often. Eight times in the last year by her count, three of those in the last two months. “It's really, really gotten to be a problem,” she said. And when the owners catch up to their unencumbered dogs, they're holding the very leashes that could have prevented the encounters. “I don't understand where they're coming from, but they don't seem to have any remorse for it,” she said/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR file photo shows dog on leash being walked on Tubbs Hill)

Question: Should Coeur d'Alene police crack down on scofflaws who allow their dogs to run free on Tubbs Hill?

JohnA: Idaho Sheriffs Can Be Felons

Item: Adam Johnson announces for sheriff/HucksOnline

JohnA: Well, unable to sleep, I did some research on who can be Sheriff in Idaho. Idaho Code 34-618 (2) states ‘No person shall be elected to the office of sheriff unless he has attained the age of twenty-one (21) years at the time of his election, is a citizen of the United States and shall have resided within the county one (1) year next preceding his election.’ That’s it. However, in 2008 Senate Bill 1356 would have changed the qualifications, adding ‘and is not a convicted felon’ to 34-618 (2). The bill also added training for newly elected Sheriffs. The bill was approved by the Senate but when it went to the House it was amended to remove ‘and is not a convicted felon’. How crazy is that? A person who can’t vote for themselves or carry a gun can still be a Sheriff in Idaho. And who in the House do you think seconded the motion to allow felons to be Sheriff? Our very own Phil Hart. :) Oh, my.

Question: Should Idaho change state law to prevent convicted felons from running for the office of sheriff?

Hucks: Not Just A Feel-Good Group

Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations members weren’t happy with Huckleberries’ description of the venerable group last Sunday – as one that “prefers to accentuate the positive and focus on education.” Tony Stewart and Coeur d’Alene police Sgt. Christie Wood emailed my HucksOnline blog that the highlighted activities are but a “partial description of who we are.” Huckleberries had spotlighted how Rachel Dolezal, formerly of the Human Rights Education Institute, faced down KKKers during their protest of the task force-backed MLK Day event for fifth-graders at North Idaho College Jan. 13. In their email, Stewart and Wood listed hate-crime victims the task force has helped, dating back to attacks against Hayden restaurant owner Sid Rosen and Coeur d’Alene mother Connie Fort in the early 1980s. The group, they said, was instrumental in the 1998 case of Victoria and Jason Keenan that ultimately bankrupted the Aryan Nations. The 1986 bombing of the late Bill Wassmuth’s home is an example of serious threats task force members have endured, they said, adding: “We are not just a feel good organization”/DFO, SR Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Question: Have you ever been involved with the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations?

Heller: Can’t Stop Laughing

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Weekend Wild Card — 1.28-29.12

Five days until Punxsatawney Phil. One week until the Super Bowl. Three weeks until Major League spring training — and Blogfest 2012 at the Fort Ground Grill. One month until March Madness. We're transitioning toward spring and the beginning of the 10th year of HucksOnline. Beyond that, we have new legislative districts that'll force incumbents to collide in madcap races. Fasten your seatbelts. Fun times dead ahead. Now for your Weekend Wild Card …

Adam Johnson Announces For Sheriff

Following is the announcement made by Adam Johnson of Coeur d'Alene today that he will run for Kootenai County sheriff. Johnson is a Coeur d'Alene businessman who was involved in a December 2009 shooting that wounded two Mose Lake men. Johnson didn't say which party nomination he'll seek: : “Friends, Family, and citizens of Kootenai County, it is with great pleasure that I announce today, my intention to run for the office of Sheriff of Kootenai County in the upcoming 2012 election. A press release and press conference will be released and scheduled soon to formally announce these intentions with the public-at-large. In the meantime and throughout the season we will use the linked Facebook page, as well as a soon to be active website that will be used to provide updates, event notifications, how to contribute to the campaign/get involved, and other related items.” (Photo from Adam Johnson Facebook page) More below.


Parting Shot — 2.28-29.12

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is given photographs of himself to sign as he campaigns at  Lanco Paint Company in Orlando, Fla., Friday.  Romney and Gingrich square off over immigration and other issues as they look to woo Hispanics a day after a feisty, final debate before Tuesday’s Florida primary. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Question: I heard Sean Hannity say Friday night that Republican presidential candidates have benefitted by the grueling debate and primary schedule, especially Mitt Romney, who is becoming battle-tested. What do you think?

New District 7: Run, Joyce, Run?

Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, says she's weighing her options, now that the new legislative redistricting plan shifts her into a different district, where she wouldn't have to face ally Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, if she ran for another term. “I haven't had a chance to look at what the size of the district is or what it looks like,” Broadsword said. “I have to look at all my options. I've been receiving a lot of encouragement to stay, to please run for the Senate again … so I just have to look at the whole picture.” Under the new plan, L-93, Broadsword ends up in the new District 7, along with first-term incumbent Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood. The previous district plan, L-87, put both Broadsword and Keough in District 1/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Should Joyce Broadsword run for re-election in the new far-flung District 7? Or is she too far away from the center of the new district to serve it effectively?

Obama Decries College Costs

President Barack Obama embraced the idea of federal action to restrain the rapidly increasing cost of higher education, giving a boost to a long-simmering policy idea that has gained steam amid growing frustration with rising tuition. His proposal that colleges and universities cut costs or risk losing out on some federal aid was part of a larger package of “college affordability” ideas unveiled by the president Friday in a speech at the University of Michigan. Obama wants to increase funds for higher education, mostly through an expansion of federal loan programs. He also will require colleges and universities to give families standardized information to allow comparison shopping on financial aid packages, graduation rates and employment prospects for a college’s graduates. Obama also called for Congress to act to prevent a doubling of the interest rate this summer for the government’s subsidized Stafford loan program, which covers more than 7 million students/Christi Parsons, Tribune Washington Bureau. More here. (AP file illustration)

Question: Could you afford to go to college today?

‘Vision Quest’ Actor Returns To Spokane

Actor Matthew Modine is in Spokane this weekend, in part to promote fundraisers to restore two iconic Spokane landmarks. He’s helping raise money for Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle and Ferguson’s Café, two Garland District historic buildings badly damaged in a Sept. 25 blaze. “I see the value, when somebody slips and falls, in putting your hand out and helping them up,” he said. “There’s so much joy and happiness here. It’s a real pleasure to be here and do something to help the community.” Modine played the role of high school wrestler Louden Swain in “Vision Quest,” a coming-of-age film that was shot in Spokane in 1984 and featured Ferguson’s. On Friday morning, he joined a group of fans at another “Vision Quest” locale, Riverfront Park, for a flash mob – a gathering that’s typically promoted through word-of-mouth and social network websites/Chelsea Bannach, SR. More here. (Dan Pelle SR photo: cott Phillips, 41, dressed like Matthew Modine's Vision Quest wrestling character, Louden Swain, runs across a Riverfront Park footbridge)

Question: Did you see “Vision Quest”? What did you think of the movie?

RR2: Green Wasn’t Easy To Pin Down

RE: Spencer: Why John Green was a no-show at sheriff's forum/HucksOnline

ReaganRepub2: As I am the person that contacted the Sheriff Candidates for the meeting I can tell you what happened. A week and a half ago I contacted Keith, Bob and Ben and they promptly responded to me. I was having a hard time getting contact info for John so I called Spencer for it but he declined to give me info. I finally got his campaign info on Friday and called and e-mailed him with no response. On Tuesday I saw John and asked if he received my correspondence and he said he didn’t. I then asked him if he could attend as there was also going to be press there reporting the event and he told me that he would check his schedule and get back to me. He never did. You all can make your own assumptions. (HucksOnline photo: John Green at United Conservatives of North Idaho meeting earlier this winter)

Question: I still can't figure the strategy with Green and Spencer here. If Green truly had a busy schedule Thursday, he should have cleared out an hour to speak to an important constituency like the Reagan Republicans. Anyone?

JohnA: Idaho Is 3 States In 1

JohnA: I’m not sure why any sane person would want to serve in this state’s legislature. Whenever I’ve testified before them over the years I’ve always come away with a feeling of disconnect. I believe that’s because there are really three Idahos. There’s the Mormon-dominated southeastern Idaho, the newly-urban Ada/Canyon Idaho and of course our very own north Idaho. I’m not sure any state in the country can say their own people have so little in common. This is the great divide that keeps Idaho backwards in so many ways, from funding education to building and maintaining roads. Many of my friends have served from here and often can’t wait to get out. Their enthusiasm to make a difference is dashed from the get-go, it seems. That’s the amazing thing about Idaho, with its one party rule, that so little gets done every year. Maybe things will change one day. One can only hope.

Question: What would you try to accomplish if you served in the Idaho Legislature?

TGIF Wild Card — 1.27.12

I'm holding my breath hoping against hope that Boss Denney & Stormin' Norman are foolish enough to continue pushing their lawsuit to oust the fair-minded redistricters they originally appointed. 'Tis great political theater in the dying days of winter, two GOP leaders trying to jury-rig legislative boundaries to improve their already overwhelming advantage in the state Legislature. Any day now, we might have to send Phil Batt back into the fray to clean up the mess that the current band of Idaho GOP leaders are creating. With that happy thought, I'll post the final Wild Card of the work week …

Parting Shot — 1.27.12

The Delta Mariner is idle at the US68/KY80 Eggner Ferry Bridge, with two destroyed spans of the bridge draped over her bow, on Kentucky Lake near Golden Pond, Ky., today. The vessel struck the bridge Thursday night, causing a portion of the bridge to collapse onto the bow. The road that connects Land Between the Lakes and Aurora has been closed. (AP Photo/Stephen Lance Dennee)

Writing NI: Dictionaries & Dinosaurs

I adore words. I think most writers do. We thrill to the sound of a new one and instinctively store it away for use at a later date, like a dog with a bone. Long ago I promised myself I would always look up words I didn’t recognize. I’ve pretty much adhered to that dictum ever since. For many years that meant keeping a dictionary nearby; and later, as my writing ambition grew, I added a thesaurus. But with the advances in technology during the past decade, my word-finding tools have evolved, sadly turning my treasured reference books into dusty relics of a bygone era - dinosaurs in a digital world/Mary Jane Honegger, Writing North Idaho. More here. (Courtesy photo: Writing North Idaho)

Question: Do you enjoy looking up unknown words in a dictionary or its online equivalent?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.27.12

  • 5:12 p.m. Possible DUI involving white SUV s/b on H95 from M/P 421 (Mica Creek Bridge).
  • 5:07 p.m. Woman reports blood on driveway & wants to know where her dog is.
  • 4:55 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 26-27 here.
  • 4:33 p.m. Possible burglary reported in 200 block of E. Hazel/CdA.
  • 4:17 p.m. Trucker in 3/b semi @ Spokane/PF is hitting rumble strips & may be going to sleep.
  • 4:09 p.m. Post Falls WalMart has caught to juveniles shoplifting but hasn't notified parents yet.
  • 4:03 p.m. Forest Service rangers have arrested someone @ Two Lakes Motel. Unknown charge.
  • 4:01 p.m. Man in 2004 Cherokee appeared drunk when he stopped for cigs @ PF quick stop.
  • 15 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link

PM: Ellington Jury Stops Until Monday

Dressed as wrestler, Tom Flanigan, 38, of Spokane, show a little muscle as he poses for a picture with movie and TV actor, Matthew Modine, 52, during a flash mob gathering today at the north end of Riverfront Park in Spokane, Wash. Dozens gathered in the park to participate in a “run the bridges just like Louden Swain.” Modine played high school wrestler, Swain, in the 1985 movie filmed in Spokane titled “Vision Quest”. Flanigan says he is a cult follower of the movie and has seen it 50 times. A small group, excluding Modine, completed the run across 3 Riverfront Park bridges. The actor is in Spokane to participate in the Spokane International Film Festival. SR story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

4:57 p.m. Meghann Cuniff tweet: “The jury in the Jonathan Ellington road rage murder trial in Kootenai County has gone home for the weekend. Will return Monday at 9.”

North Idaho Blogs — 1.27.12

“Turn away from the lake,” posts Marianne Love/Slight Detour, “and there's a sky begging to be photographed. Mad skies have appeared off and on around here over the past couple of days. The wind blew this one in the other day while I was walking the shoreline of Pend Oreille.” More here. Also: view photos of “On golden Pend Oreille”

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, Jan. 26): 7879/4711

Keough, Broadsword In 2 Districts

Sens. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, and Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, are no longer in the same district in the new legislative redistricting plan, Plan. L-93. Keough lands in the new District 1, but Broadsword ends up in the new District 7, along with Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood. Broadsword had earlier said she'd retire from the Senate rather than seek a fifth term next year by running against Keough, a close ally and eight-term senator. Nuxoll is a first-term senator/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.


Lookout Pass Wife-Carrying Contest

At the Winter Carnival/Family Fun Day at the Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area Sunday Jan. 15, 2011, the marquee event was the Pacific Northwest National Wife Carrying Contest (Video by Colin Mulvany, SR)

Question: Did you carry your wife over the threshold after your honeymoon?

Redistricters Adopt New Map 6-0

Idaho's bipartisan citizen redistricting commission has agreed on a new legislative plan, dubbed L-93; it'll be up online shortly on the commission's website. The six-member commission voted unanimously in favor of the new plan. “What we did was we revised L-87 at the direction of the Supreme Court,” said commission Co-Chair Ron Beitelspacher/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.

Aides: Paul OK’d Racial Pamphlets

Ron Paul, well known as a physician, congressman and libertarian , has also been a businessman who pursued a marketing strategy that included publishing provocative, racially charged newsletters to make money and spread his ideas, according to three people with direct knowledge of Paul’s businesses. The Republican presidential candidate has denied writing inflammatory passages in the pamphlets from the 1990s and said recently that he did not read them at the time or for years afterward. Numerous colleagues said he does not hold racist views. …  But people close to Paul’s operations said he was deeply involved in the company that produced the newsletters, Ron Paul & Associates, and closely monitored its operations, signing off on articles and speaking to staff members virtually every day/Jerry Marken & Alice Crites, Washington Post. More here.


OTC: Tired Of Icy Sidewalks

“I’m really tired of the icy sidewalks. It’s safer to walk in the middle of the road, which is just what I plan to do. So if you see some random girl, feel free to smile and wave. And please don’t hit me…” Elizabeth, Idaho Argonaut, Off the Cuff column. More here.

DFO: Two friends have been hurt in falls this week — my pastor, who can't walk on a knee he twisted, and a newsroom colleague who is scheduled for a chiropractic visit this afternoon. I went for a walk last night. As Elizabeth suggests above, I walked along the side of the road because the sidewalks were too icy or snow-packed.

Question: When did you last hurt yourself by falling on snow or ice?

Illegally Parked? Nah-Uh

The Diamond Parking attendant didn't realize who he was ticketing when he cited Eric Barro of Lake City Photography for parking after his meter had expired in downtown Spokane last night. Only it hadn't. Eric pulled out the camera to show that his ticket expired at 6:34 (left photo), a full 10 minutes after the citation was issued (center photo). And that he'd purchased another ticket by 6:28 (right photo) to be able to continue to legally park in his spot near the Fernwell Building @ Riverside & Howard. Obviously, Eric isn't happy with the $19 ticket he was issued for, ahem, illegal parking.

Question: When & where did you last receive a parking ticket? Did you deserve it?

Semanko To Quit, Defends Move

Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko has sent out a guest opinion defending his attempt to try to fire GOP redistricting commissioner Randy Hansen, touting the party's Idaho electoral successes and announcing that he won't seek another term as party chairman. Semanko wrote that the “secret to our success” was that “the grassroots of our Party was motivated and energized to recruit candidates and support them because they were included, and we weren't shy about standing up for our core, conservative Republican principles.” He wrote, “As I conclude my four year tenure as Chairman and hand the reins over to someone else at the Republican State Convention in Twin Falls this summer, this will be my proudest accomplishment”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Interesting point Semanko makes re: persons from Hansen's Twin Falls area being among those calling for his ouster. And that Twin Falls filed suit against the redistricting plan. What do you think?

A Passion For Ballroom Dancing

A friend and I were discussing passion the other night. Not the sexual kind. But the passion for ideas, causes, projects, new adventures. We've noticed that as we age (we're both in our mid-50s) it's harder to feel passionate about all of the above. We decided we feel “half passions” which we abbreviated to “half-pashes.” Anyway, a couple I wrote about today, Ken and Debby Dahlke, discovered ballroom dancing four years ago, when both were in their 50s. They share the passion with others by organizing practice nights at the Kroc Center in Coeur d'Alene. On Sunday, they will hold a Snowflake Ball. (Read my story for details)/Rebecca Nappi, End Notes. More here. (Photo courtesy of Ken Dahlke)

Question: What are you passionate about?

Do Charters ‘Cherry Pick’ Students?

Despite their status as public schools that may not discriminate, Idaho’s public charter schools have been accused of “cherry-picking” children from families with higher incomes who are, presumably, easier to educate.The reality is charter school student family incomes reflect the general population. The chart (follow link) compares the percentages of students who were eligible for free and reduced lunch during the 2008-09 school year (the most recent year publicly available) in 17 charter schools with the percentages of eligible students from the districts around them. Five charter schools had significantly more students living in poverty than the districts surrounding them, five charter schools had poverty rates within plus or minus 3 percentage points of the districts and seven charters had significantly fewer students living in poverty/Brianna LeClaire, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

DFO: Unfortunately, this story doesn't include nationally acclaimed Coeur d'Alene Charter School.

Question: Do you think charter schools “cherry pick” students?

High Noon: Awards & Speeches

Cindy is making a mark on Twitter, after resisting the notion that it also was a valuable social media. Seems the Coyote Country (Seattle area?) site enjoys her humorous quips, awarding her this week with a certificate for Dutch Bros. coffee. Writes Cindy to HucksOnline: “Turns out they liked by acceptance speech so much they are going to 'Dig in the bin of awards' so more may follow!”

Question: Have you ever won a major award? Or have you ever had to give an acceptance speech after winning an award?

Do You Have Spirit?

Gonzaga cheerleader Cat Truong tries to encourage some dance steps out of a spectator in The Kennel during a timeout at the women's game against Loyola Marymount Thursday. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

Question: Have you ever attended a Gonzaga women's basketball game?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.28.12

  • 11:57 a.m. PFPD Blues are responding to report of a 17-month-old toddler locked in running car.
  • 11:44 a.m. Woman @ Dakota & Maple/Hayden found strange foot steps in her back yard.
  • 11:42 a.m. Semi with “WST” on back is reportedly driving erratically on w/b I-90 @ Huetter.
  • 11:29 a.m. Caller from Pinto & Mustang/Hayden reports 2 drivers regularly park vehicles wrong way.
  • 11:05 p.m. ISP officer reports a dead elk is lying in ditch on H58, near H95 & CdA casino.
  • 12 more items below

Sheriff Candidate OK With Tents

John Green, a Kootenai County sheriff's candidate, was present at the first meeting of United Conservatives of North Idaho, the re-invented Rally Right group, but was the only candidate to miss the sheriff's forum sponsored by the Reagan Republicans Thursday.

Jail expansion, unionization, deputy retention and gun rights. Three of the four Republican candidates for Kootenai County sheriff fired off reasons Thursday why they are the best officer for the job. Bob Foster, Keith Hutcheson and Ben Wolfinger each have decades of law enforcement experience and each is vying for the department's top post. Something should be done with increasing the jail if the demand calls for it, the candidates said, though they differed on what option they would support. “I'm not opposed to tents,” said Foster, a code enforcement officer with the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, who began his law enforcement career in 1967 in California. Exploring cheaper options, if they meet regulations, should be the first choice, he said, referring to the tents Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio set up in Arizona/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Should the Kootenai County sheriff use tents to house prisoners more cheaply, like controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio does?

IFF: Lockout Worse Than Occupiers

The recent decision by legislative leaders to lock the doors leading to House member office space is troubling and contrary to the vision of openness embodied by our state’s founders and by the designers of the Capitol as it existed in1919. Legislators used to roam and mingle with the citizenry. They had to. By architectural design, the only exit from the House and Senate chambers, prior the renovation and expansion, was through the Rotunda. Now, legislators can remain tucked away behind closed doors all day every day, never having to interact with the public. They can take the back stairs or elevator to their offices in the basement level and re-emerge in a committee hearing room without ever using the common areas where the real people hang out/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: I agree with Wayne Hoffman that the lockout ordered by House Speaker Lawerence Denney is more bothersome than Occupy Boise encampment. How about you?

Koler Reacts To CdA Press Criticism

Duncan Koler (pictured), an outspoken opponent of the Coeur d'Alene School District's International Baccalaureate program, reacted strongly to recent Press stories criticizing his positions, including opposition to school social programs. Fumes Koler: “Unfortunately, this is not the first time our Press has abandoned journalistic ethics (an oxymoron?) to feature false, defamatory attacks dressed up as 'news.'” Then this: “Mike Patrick’s editorial ran online on 1/14, and in print as his lead editorial on 1/15.  First the title: 'Empty stomachs, vacant hearts.' Are you kidding me? (I considered titling this My Turn “Bleeding hearts, empty heads,” but decided that would only be half-true.)” Later, Koler says: “I accurately used the term 'social services bureaucracy' to describe the vast scope of undertaking by our school district.  I also impliedly questioned whether combining education and social services responsibilities was the best way to deliver both education and the necessary social services, stating, 'I’m not sure that’s how I would do it, but that’s a fact about what our education system is today.'  I did not state that needy children should go hungry or otherwise be deprived of necessary support.” More here.

Question: Doth Koler protesteth too much?

Poll: We’ Rather Have Crow/Hansen

  • Thursday Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation prefers the current redistricting commission, featuring Dolores Crow & Randy Hansen, to the one preferred by Idaho GOP leadership that would include Angela Cross & Bob Forrey. 76 of 90 respondents (84.44%) preferred the commission with Crow & Hansen, whom House Speaker Lawerence Denney & GOP Chairman Norm Semanko tried to fire. 14 of 90 respondents (15.56%) wanted one with the replacements.
  • Today's Poll: Did you or one of your children attend a college/university in Idaho?

AM Headlines — 1.27.12

“We love this lake,” said Chuck Gladish as he walked with his dog Gypsy near Cocolalla Lake on Thursday. The Idaho Legislature will likely vote this morning to approve minimum water levels for the lake. Gladish is president of the lake homeowners association, which spearheaded the move. Betsy Russell SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Wild Horse Roundups To Go On

In this July 13, 2008, file photo a livestock helicopter pilot rounds up wild horses from the Fox & Lake Herd Management Area from the range in Washoe County, Nev., near the town on Empire, Nev. A federal judge in Nevada that handed horse protection advocates a rare victory last fall has rejected their latest request to block government roundups of free roaming mustangs in the West, saying they’ll have to go to Congress if they think the animals need more protection. Story here. (AP Photo/Brad Horn, File)

Question: What should be done with wild horses?

Idaho Higher Ed Has Cut 72 Programs

Richard Westerberg, president of the State Board of Education, told legislative budget writers this morning, “Obviously the last three years have been difficult economic times.” At the state's colleges and universities, student fees have risen for the past four years while state funding has dropped, he noted. The schools have also had to eliminate an array of programs; in the past three years, 72 degree programs, 13 minors or certificate programs, and 28 professional-technical ed programs have been eliminated; there are another 20 requests pending to discontinue degree programs this year/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think higher education in Idaho still delivers a quality product?

Brent Hill Gets Lewiston Trib Jeers

JEERS … to Idaho Senate President Brent Hill, R-Rexburg. Hill is the epitome of transparency and ethical political behavior. Yet he so mishandled the Sen. John McGee fiasco that in comparison, Boss Denney's mild rebuke of tax scofflaw Phil Hart last year looks like a public flogging. And Hart was only guilty of hypocrisy - refusing to pay his own taxes while serving on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.McGee, R-Caldwell, on the other hand, committed a crime - one that could have killed somebody/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Marty's Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Do you agree with Marty Trillhaase that Brent Hill's protection of Sen. John McGee is worse than Lawerence Denney's protection of Phil Hart last year?

Prosecutor: No Charges Vs. Treasurer

A southwestern Idaho county prosecutor announced Thursday he won't pursue criminal charges against state Treasurer Ron Crane for using a state gas card to fill up his private vehicle, concluding there's no evidence the four-term Republican acted with criminal intent. Canyon County prosecutor Bryan Taylor did recommend Crane quit using the gas card for undocumented purposes and begin more-comprehensive record keeping, ensuring he's not using taxpayer-funded gasoline for personal trips. Taylor also suggested Idaho clarify travel policies governing elected officials/John Miller, AP. More here.

Question: Should Idaho Treasurer Ron Crane have been prosecuted for using a state gas card to fill up his private vehicle?

Otter Renews Challenge To Gingrich

In a followup to his blast days before the Iowa caucus, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is pressing Newt Gingrich to say whether he had a client when he urged Otter and other Republican congressmen to vote for a $400 billion Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003. Otter is co-chairman of the Idaho presidential campaign of Mitt Romney's, Gingrich's chief opponent for the GOP presidential nomination. Politico reported Thursday night that an unnamed spokesman for Otter said of Gingrich, “If he was under contract then he should release that information.” Jon Hanian, Otter's press secretary, said Friday morning that he spoke with Politico/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Sure, Otter is a Romney supporter. But why do you think he's embedding himself in this controversy?

Read more here:

APhoto Of The Day — 1.27.12

A mother Corriente cow gives her two-hour-old calf a gentle nudge as it tries to takes a few steps on Thursday at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, N.M. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Las Cruces Sun-News, Robin Zielinski)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Mama cow loses the jitters after she is de-calf-enated — JohnA.
  • 2. One small step for calf, a huge step for mom — Herb Huseland.
  • 3. Corriente to baby: “You think this is hard for you … try giving birth” — DFO.
  • HM: Norther

Spencer: Why Green Was A No-Show

Spencer: He was not invited until less than a week ago, and he already had his day full. Jeff Ward was informed of the reasons he could not attend, but chose to not mention it. This way DFO could title the thread as if Green didn’t show up to something he had indicated he would attend. Yesterday, when DFO posted that all four would be there, I pointed out that Green would not be.

Question: Is it wise for a Republican candidate for sheriff to miss a forum staged by the Reagan Republicans, the most active GOP group in Kootenai County?

SR: Idaho GOP Running Up Score

Some sports have a mercy rule, which ends games when one team has an embarrassingly large lead. Idaho politics might need one, because some Republicans are determined to run up the score. Take the redistricting controversy, for example. Currently, Republicans occupy 85 of the 105 legislative seats. Plus, all of the statewide officeholders are Republicans. Few states can boast stronger one-party rule. So no matter how creative redistricting gets, the electoral whippings will continue. That’s not good enough for House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko, who tried to bench two Republican members of the redistricting commission in part because they weren’t trying hard enough to extend that 85-20 Statehouse lead over the next 10 years/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.

Question (for Republicans & conservatives): Are you bothered by the ethics problems and strong-arm tactics of Idaho GOP leadership?

County Downgrades 117 Employees

Item: County employees' grades fall: Commissioners will decide if pay rates will change/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Following a two-year review by a group of Kootenai County representatives, the county commissioners approved dropping the grades of 117 county positions last month, and raising the grade of 50 others. The three officials' next step will be determining whether the different grades warrant changes in pay for those positions, said Commissioner Todd Tondee. “We haven't adjusted anybody's pay yet. We're just halfway through the process,” Tondee said. “From the employees' side, if they get downgraded, we're not saying they're not worth what they're doing. We're just trying to put them within a fair rating within our system.”

Question: Would you take it personal if you were downgraded by your boss?

Benson: A Scary Place

Lisa Benson/Washington Post Writers Group

Wild Card/Thursday — 1.26.12

I appreciate the Up Front column by William Spence in the Lewiston Tribune today. Can you imagine how boring things would be at the state Capitol if the current bumper crop of self-absorbed Republican leaders weren't in place. We'd be wading through another year of hang-wringing over meager revenue. Instead, we have the Denney/Semanko team misfiring on firing diehard Republican redistricters. Tom Loertscher chairing an attempt to boot Occupiers. John McGee & Phil Hart reminding each chamber that its ethically challenged. And so much more. God bless our zany legislators everyone. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.26.12

US Cultural Ambassador and former NBA basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spins a basketball as he visits children in the Alemao complex slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, earlier today. Abdul-Jabbar is visiting Brazil from through Saturday to meet with underserved youth in Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

2 Rescued From Week In Mountains

After being stranded in a blizzard in the Blue Mountains for more than a week, Sarah Warden (pictured) came close to giving up hope of getting out alive. “It was a nightmare,” said the 26-year-old Clarkston woman. “The snow kept building up, and the wind was howling. It was terrifying.”Warden and Clarkston resident Jonathan Moore, 25, went for a drive and got stuck in the snow in the Willow Springs area, located about 25 miles south of Pomeroy. They survived on animal crackers, two vitamin waters, dry dog food, garbage remnants and snow, before being rescued by logger Jackson Russell of Lewiston Monday morning.”Thank God for loggers,” Warden said Tuesday. “They are my angels, that's for sure. When I saw him, I told him I would become a logger and work for him the rest of my life”/Kerri Sandaine, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Have you or a loved one ever been lost in the woods? Can you describe the experience?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.26.12

  • 5:47 p.m. Possible DUI in red Ford pickup passing transfer station @ Pleasantview & Prairie/PF.
  • 5:39 p.m. TJ Maxx @ 430 W. Wilbur/Hayden reports catching a shoplifter.
  • 5:29 p.m. 3-vehicle accident is blocking onramp on I-90 @ M/P 34 (H3/Rose Lake junction).
  • 5:12 p.m. A German shepherd is running loose in e/b median of I-90 @ M/P 7 (H41/PF).
  • 4:44 p.m. Caller reports vandalism to property in 1300 block of N1st/CdA.
  • 4:26 p.m. Male w/female & child in tan Toyota may have tried burglary @ Melrose & Emma/CdA.
  • 4:15 p.m. Deer in the road @ 22nd & Mullan/CdA.
  • 4:14 p.m. Auto Zone, 2625 Govt Way/CdA, reports loiterers on store grounds.
  • 4:07 p.m. Injury rollover accident at Hwy 2 @ MP 22 (b/n Laclede & Sandpoint) — roads extremely slippery according to law enforcement on scene — Via SandpointIdaho Twitter.
  • 18 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM: Stockton Watches From Bench

Always nice to have an NBA All Star on your bench. Gonzaga Prep girls varsity basketball coach Mark Arte kneels on the floor as Assistant Coach John Stockton watches, seated, behind him during a game against Shadle Tuesday. Stockton's daughters are members of the team. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

Question: Did you ever coach when of your kid(s) teams? Did a parent of yours ever coach one of your sports teams?

Moscow Welcomes Back WalMart

If the nearly full parking lot was any indication, Moscow couldn't wait to get its Walmart back. Hundreds of eager shoppers flooded into the remodeled store for its grand reopening Wednesday, and were able to pluck discounted products from its expanded departments and all-new grocery offerings. “It's a really nice store,” said Ginger Clem of Troy, who was casually pushing a shopping cart through the widened aisles with her husband Dennis. “They put back our material and craft stuff all the older people wanted.” Clem said she was disappointed after the old Moscow Walmart closed in 2010, and a new Walmart in Pullman opened without large bolts of fabric she needs for her sewing projects/Joel Mills, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you shop at a WalMart?

Green Is No-Show At Sheriff’s Forum

At the sheriff's candidates forum, sponsored by the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, sheriff's Major Ben Wolfinger talks with Bob Balser.

HucksOnline received this report from sheriff's forum staged by Reagan Republicans at noon today: “Ben Wolfinger's theme seemed to be Wolfinger's experience.  Most Conservative Republicans said that Keith Hutcheson was their man.  Someone stated how great it was to have a collection of Conservatives running for the job. Bob Foster is a supporter of the Second Amendment.  He would like to shake the hand of the man who stopped the knife assault at Goodwill. Keith Hutcheson recounted how he picked up some illegal aliens once in this area and held them for ICE officials.  He said he almost got in trouble go that one. … Keith Hutcheson had printed letters and envelopes, so people could contribute to his campaign.  The others just had business cards. Ben Wolfinger passed out business cards which (didn't have) the word 'Republican' on them but there was a “(R)” on the card this time.  Some privately criticized Wolfinger for having contributed money to Democrats in the past.”

NIC’s Lee Takes Colorado Job

North Idaho College Vice President for Instruction Jay Lee announced Thursday his plans to resign from NIC after accepting the presidency at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo., a junior college with approximately 2,400 students. NJC is part of the Colorado Community College System, which includes 13 state community colleges that serve more than 162,000 students annually. Lee will begin as president at NJC March 12/Stacy Hudson, NIC Press Room. More here.

Trib: Idaho GOP Lords Waste Your $$$

Boss Denney, left, and Stormin' Norman launched their lawsuit after the Idaho Supreme Court tossed out the six-member panel's unanimously adopted redistricting plan. Crow and Hansen, claimed Denney and Semanko, were too easy on the Democrats. To preclude a repeat, Denney wanted to appoint former Rep. Bob Forrey, R-Nampa. Semanko had named Angela Cross of Post Falls. Wednesday, the Idaho Supreme Court dumped that petition in the trash can, agreeing with Attorney General Lawrence Wasden that Crow and Hansen can't be fired. But the GOP and Troupis have no reason not to try again. When their suits against the state fail, they lose nothing.If they win, they can collect attorney fees — from you. Isn't that cute?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you prefer Boss Denney & Stormin' Norman? Or Boss Denney & Sultan Semanko?

Hansen/Crow Redistricters At Work

Idaho's six citizen redistricting commissioners have been working straight through since 9 this morning, either in small working groups or as a full commission; they worked through lunch, while reviewing all seven of the plans that already have been submitted to the commission that have the minimum number of county splits - five. (The way the Idaho Supreme Court counted it, it's seven - five with external splits, and two, Ada and Kootenai, that must have internal splits due to their population, without any district lines crossing their borders.) The five that mathematically must be split are Bonner, Canyon, Twin, Bonneville and Bannock/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.Q


Kitna To Teach, Coach In Tacoma

Jon Kitna, left, a former Seattle Seahawk/NFL quarterback, embraces his first football coach, Harry Snead, before being formerly introduced as the new Lincoln head football coach to staff and the media at the school's library today in Tacoma, Wash. Kitna is a graduate of the school who was recently hired as a math teacher after his 15-year career as an NFL quarterback. (AP Photo/The News Tribune, Dean J. Koepfler)

Question: Did you do well in your high school math classes?

Quotable Quote — Tom Torgerson

“Feeling bad. … After 8 years on deer infested Fernan Hill, I finally hit one this morning. … not cool” Tom Torgerson of Coeur d'Alene via Facebook wall.

Question: Have you ever hit a deer/elk/moose on the road?

Biz Tax Climate: Montana 8, Idaho 21

Montana has the eighth best business tax climate in the U.S. (Idaho #21, Oregon #13, Washington #7, and Wyoming #1), a national study has concluded. The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan educational organization based in Washington, D.C., issues its rankings each year. Montana dropped a spot from seventh place in 2011 to eighth place in 2012. “Montana does have a good tax climate,” said Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat. “It's not new.” He said he believes Montana's tax rating should move up a notch or two next year because the study doesn't include a 2011 law that further reduces property taxes on certain business equipment/Charles S. Johnson, Missoulian State Bureau. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that Idaho's business tax climate is far worse than Washington's & the worst in Pacific Northwest?

Vito Refuses To Go Through Scanners

Dalton Gardens Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri, who a year ago labeled the Affordable Care Act “socialism,” and sponsored a nullification bill of what he called “Obamacare,” this year has another federal behemoth in his crosshairs: the Transportation Security Administration. In an interview with the Idaho Reporter, Barbieri said he hadn't consulted with the TSA about a measure that would outlaw unwanted searches at Idaho airports, and he wasn't “even sure that the state has the authority to end the pat-downs,” but he still was ready to introduce a bill that would amend Idaho Code preventing TSA personnel from touching a person without consent. But in a real head-scratcher, Barbieri, in the same interview, said he also opposed full-body scans of passengers/George Prentice, Boise Weekly. More here.

Question: Would you want to go back to the way airport security was handled pre-9/11?

Hysterics: Let’s Kill Us Some Wolves

Let's kill every wolf in Montana. Sounds like a popular idea these days among hunters. While we're at it, let's kill every grizzly bear, every black bear and every mountain lion. Throw in golden eagles, bald eagles, rattlesnakes and coyotes. We'd be left with a hunter's paradise - a state teeming with game animals and hunting opportunity, right? That's the sentiment I heard recently at a meeting on the hunting season setting proposals in Butte, where an oft-angry group of sportsmen called for large-scale killing of predators to increase the number of deer, elk and other game species. The suggestions ranged from having government trappers shoot wolves from helicopters to creating a season on eagles so they don't kill mountain goats/Nick Gevock, Montana Standard. More here.

Question: Who's more hysterical — certain hunters who want to kill all wolves or certain conservationists who want to spare all wolves?

Noon: Toast To All Things Scottish

Second grade at Jefferson Elementary, Mrs. Pendergast attempted to teach us about cultural heritage. She explained, “For example, my mother’s family is from Germany and my father’s family came from Ireland, so I’m half German and half Irish.”Excitedly, kids raised their hands to share their family backgrounds. I pondered what I knew of my own history, and when Mrs. Pendergast called on me I was ready.“I’m part German, part Scottish, and part Arkansas,” I said.My classmates seemed impressed until Mrs. P. ruined everything by informing me that though my father was born there, Arkansas was a state, not a country, and therefore not culturally significant/Cindy Hval, Front Porch. More here.

Question: Do you know much about your cultural heritage?

APhoto Of The Day — 1.26.12

Lawmakers from the leftist Palikot's Movement cover their faces with masks as they protest against ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, during a parliament session, in Warsaw, Poland, earlier today, after the Polish government signed the agreement. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Top Cutlines

  • 1. A Polish Idaho Vandal fan gets a hankerin’ to start “Throwin’ the V!” — Duroc.
  • 2. Poland finally learns of the legend of Marshal Mend — Duane Rasmussen.
  • 3. The Idaho Legislature is back in session: send in the clowns — Fort Boise.
  • HM: DFO

No HBOers On Quiz Leaderboard Yet

Here's the leaderboard for Jim Camden's Weekly Quiz. As you will notice, no one from HucksOnline has cracked the Top 24 spots this week. Whazzamatter with you guys? Now, give it a shot for a $50 gift certificate to the Davenport Hotel in downtown Coeur d'Alene by clicking here or on “take the News Quiz” in righthand rail:

  • 1.Spokane_Boy (10 out of 10 correct)
  • 2.Spokanetom01 (10 out of 10 correct)
  • 3.Lynnsnobbydogs (10 out of 10 correct)
  • 4.Bonnieandclyde4 (10 out of 10 correct)
  • 5.Harley01 (10 out of 10 correct)
  • 6.Skwscrod (10 out of 10 correct)
  • 7.Elmer (10 out of 10 correct)
  • 8.Mbangjr (10 out of 10 correct)
  • 9.Lolo (10 out of 10 correct)
  • 10.Freddyj (10 out of 10 correct)
  • Next 14 below

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.26.12

  • 11:41 a.m. Resident of 8500 block of Meadow Brook/Rathdrum reports a loose pitbull has chased her family & her into house. She's concerned about a cat that's still outside.
  • 11:30 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 25-26 here.
  • 11:04 a.m. Party involved in custody case reports interference w/former mate @ Winton School/CdA.
  • 11:01 a.m. Caller reports suspicious deli van w/no food in back @ Maplewood & Ridgewood/PF.
  • 10:43 a.m. Someone has been injured in a fall @ Idaho Independent Bank, Govt Way & Honeysuckle.
  • 10 more items below

College Treats Dorm For Bedbugs

Rocky Mountain College had an outbreak of bedbugs in one of its residence halls last semester and is continuing to treat two vacant rooms to make sure the pests don't return. Brad Nason, Rocky's vice president for student life, said Wednesday that the infestation started late last August or early September, in a room in Widenhouse Hall, the biggest dorm on campus, with 175 students. Bedbugs were found in four rooms, he said, but the whole building had to be treated. One company was brought in early last semester, but the bugs weren't eradicated, so Action Pest Control was contracted to begin a second round of treatments around Thanksgiving/Ed Kemmick, Billings Gazette. More here. (AP file photo of a bedbug)

Question: Have any of you Merry Hucksters ever shared a room with a bedbug? Wanna tell us what that's like?

Jell-O Shots Lead To MS Suspension

Five students were recently suspended and charged with being  minors in possession of alcohol for allegedly drinking Jell-O shots at Kalispell Middle School, according to a letter sent to parents by school officials on Wednesday. In the letter, Principal Barry Grace confirmed the incident, which had been rumored among parents, including one who contacted him directly. “The alcohol came to school in the form of Jell-O shots as well as mixed with another drink in two liquid containers,” Grace wrote. “The substance and drink was shared around and we were alerted to these incidents and responded”/Daily Inter Lake. More here. (Photo: WikiHow)

Sub Question (courtesy of CollingwoodCDA: Were you at least out of out middle school the first time you were intoxicated?

King: Beware Of Intolerance Image

Update: House OKs anti-Occupy bill 54-16 and: Hart, 2 other Republicans oppose/Eye On Boise

Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, said she originally thought the anti-Occupy bill, HB 404, sought to abridge 1st Amendment freedoms, but after reading an Attorney General's opinion and studying the law, concluded it didn't. “But the perception is still out there,” King said. “I've gotten emails from all over the state. They believe they are just expressing their rights to freedom of assembly.” She said, “I think the occupiers have pointed out issues that we should be working on,” from jobs to the homeless to drug and alcohol treatment. “As you vote, think about the image of Idaho — are we portraying an image of intolerance?”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Will Idaho appear intolerant if legislators boot Occupy Boise from Capitol area?

Poll: Vote Obama Out

  • Wednesday Poll: By a slim plurality, Hucks Nation can't wait to vote President Obama out of office, following his State of the Union address Tuesday. 80 of 212 respondents (37.74%) said they can't wait to vote against Obama this November. However, 74 of 212 respondents (34.91%) said Obama's speech was “inspiring.” 37 of 212 (17.45%) dismissed the speech as “campaign rhetoric.” 19 of 212 (8.96%) described it as “average.” 2 respondents were uncommitted.
  • Today's Poll: Which group of Idaho redistricters would you rather have in place now — Team Crow/Hansen or Team Forrey-Cross?

Old Redistricting Team Ready To Start

In a big table in a small room on the first floor of the Capitol stand six paper tents with the names of six redistricting commissioners: Republicans Dolores Crow, Randy Hansen and Sheila Olsen, and Democrats Ron Bietelspacher, Shauneen Grange and Elmer Martinez. The names have been reprinted since Oct. 18, when the commission agreed on plans for congressional and legislative districts. But legislative staff made no accommodation for the efforts of House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, and Idaho Republican Chairman Norm Semanko to fire Crow and Hansen, a move rebuffed by the Idaho Supreme Court late Wednesday. Did they even print name tents for the prospective replacements, Bob Forrey of Nampa and Angela Cross of Post Falls? “No, we didn't,” said Jeff Youtz, director of the Legislative Services Office/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Which redistricting team would you rather have on the job now — the one with Dolores Crow & Randy Hansen or the one with Denney/Semanko new picks Bob Forrey & Angela Cross?

Read more here:

AM: Spokane Med School On Wish List

Dave LaFountaine, project supervisor for Burton Construction, guides in the new Spokane Falls Community College planetarium dome on the school's campus Wednesday in Spokane. The dome, built by Burton Construction, weights 17,000 pounds and is 30 feet in diameter. Jim Camden SR story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Denney, Semanko Issue Statement

House Speaker Lawerence Denney, left, and Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko are shown during a North Idaho tour they took in May 2009 with Gov. Butch Otter.

Following is a joint Statement from Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko regarding the adverse Idaho Supreme Court’s decision on their redistricting lawsuit: “Unfortunately, the Idaho Supreme Court was unable to reach the merits of the case yesterday, opting instead to dismiss it on procedural grounds. As a result, the Court did not decide whether the Redistricting Commissioners can, in fact, be replaced. We are hopeful that the Court will have the opportunity to address the issue in the near future and are continuing to evaluate our legal options as we review the decision. In the meantime, the Commission will reconvene today with a cloud of uncertainty continuing to hang over it with regard to the ultimate legality of any new plan that it may adopt. That is the unfortunate reality of yesterday’s ruling.”

Question: Will the Idaho Republican Party be hurt/helped if it continues to try to replace redistricters Dolores Crow and Randy Hansen?

In Praise Of Legislative Circus

Let us pause and give thanks. In a session destined for mediocrity — one poised to stupefy with money squabbles and bleak debates over energy regulations and insurance exchanges — it is appropriate that we express our gratitude for Idaho Republicans.They have rescued us from boredom. We the media, the politically jaded, we the reality TV fans and monster truck ralliers - they have spared us from mere legislation. This is particularly true of House leadership. It's been fascinating to watch them these past few weeks. They've managed to turn the session into a soap opera, taking issues that might otherwise have drawn yawns and transforming them into gripping drama/William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Are you more engaged in this session of the Legislature than usual, as a result of the three-rings circus act being performed by Republican leadership?

Helping Hoarders Not To Hoard

According to the A&E television series “Hoarders,” more than 3 million people in the United States are affected by hoarding. Spokane resident Judi Manuel is one of them. In fact, hoarding almost cost Manuel her life. But the disorder also gave her daughter, Ceci Garrett, a new purpose. In August, Garrett launched Adult Children of Hoarders Spokane – a peer-to-peer recovery and support group. She and her mother were featured in a 2009 episode of “Hoarders.” On Monday, another Spokane-area resident will be featured along with two local professional organizers, Martha Goss and Cindy Vanhoff/Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (SR photo: Ceci Garrett, left, and her mother, Judi Manuel)

Question: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being someone who needs strong therapy, how much of a hoarder are you?

Council To Set Letter Reading Policy

Item: The letters of the law: Cd'A council may craft policy about written comments at meetings/Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press

More Info: Last week's letters ruffled some feathers — or at least raised some eyebrows.Now, the city of Coeur d'Alene could consider crafting a policy addressing whether letters should be read into public record during meetings if the author isn't there.A policy isn't in place. After five letters were read into public record at the Jan. 17 City Council meeting opposing a public vote for the McEuen Field proposal, some said the city should draft a policy to establish a rule whether that should be allowed. Drawing a clear-cut line could also help the city avoid a possible perception that it could play favorites when it comes to reading written comments.

Question: Besides Mary Souza and the crowd, who cares which letters are read into the record at a City Council meeting?

Arizona Governor Confronts Obama

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer points during an intense conversation with President Barack Obama after he arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Wednesday in Mesa, Ariz. Asked moments later what the conversation was about, Brewer, a Republican, said: “He was a little disturbed about my book.” Brewer recently published a book, “Scorpions for Breakfast,” something of a memoir of her years growing up and defends her signing of Arizona's controversial law cracking down on illegal immigrants, which Obama opposes. Obama was objecting to Brewer's description of a meeting he and Brewer had at the White House, where she described Obama as lecturing her. Story here. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Question: Should Gov. Brewer have confronted President Obama like this?

SEAL Raid Rescues Somalia Captives

The Navy SEAL operation that freed two Western hostages in Somalia is representative of the Obama administration's pledge to build a smaller, more agile military force that can carry out surgical counterterrorist strikes to cripple an enemy. That's a strategy much preferred to the land invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan that have cost so much American blood and treasure over the past decade. The contrast to a full-bore invasion is stark: A small, daring team storms a pirate encampment on a near-moonless night, kills nine kidnappers and whisks the hostages to safety. Special operations forces, trained for such clandestine missions, have become a more prominent tool in the military's kit since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that led to the ongoing war in Afghanistan. The administration is expected to announce Thursday that it will invest even more heavily in that capability in coming years/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo/Danish Refugee Council: Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, left, and American Jessica Buchanan)

Question: Is the Obama administration going in the right direction in relying more heavily on candestine missions?

Luna: 2/3s Want 1st 1/3 Of Laptops

State schools Supt. Tom Luna said there's strong interest in being among the first third of schools to join the new “one-to-one” laptop computer program, in which every high school student would get a computer; his budget request includes $2.5 million for that next year. “Just as it is in every other part of our lives, we recognize that technology is no longer a 'nice-to-have' tool in the classroom. It is an essential tool,” Luna said. He's asked schools and districts to send letters of interest if they want to be in the first third; so far, he's gotten 73 letters representing 139 schools and more than 57,000 students - that's two-thirds of the state's high school students/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Wouldn't you want a free laptop, too?

DC: Thompson’s Hail Mary Defense

And now for the latest in legalized leg pulling. Ex-Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson Jr. has “accepted responsibility” for pounding Otto Zehm to pulp in 2006 and lying to investigators afterward to cover his slimy hide. Or so the Thompson shysters claim. Gee, Karl. Too bad you didn’t have this “come to Jesus” moment a few years back. Could’ve saved the public all the expense and bother of holding a federal trial. You know, the one in Yakima last fall that found you GUILTY as hell. This is just another Hail Mary ploy by the defense, of course. The goal this time is to get Thompson a discount on the already woefully thin amount of prison time he has coming/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: You be the judge. What would you do with this latest attempt by Karl Thompson's defense team to win a new trial in the fatal beating of Otto Zehm?

Anderson: Congressional Comity

Ken Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Hump Day Wild Card — 1.25.12

The 2012 local election season officially begins Thursday when the 4 announced Republican candidates for Kootenai County sheriff square off at the Reagan Republicans weekly luncheon at Fedora. Say what you want about the RRepublicans … Jeff Ward, Ron Lahr, & Co. are on the ball when it comes to organization and local politics. No one knows, of course, whether the primary election will be held in May per usual. Or moved to August — thanks to the Idaho Supreme Court and partisan politics. So we'll listen to the politicians squawk — and let the courts sort out the rest. Now for your Hump Day Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.25.12

Maria Sharapova of Russia serves to compatriot Ekaterina Makarova during their quarterfinal at the Australian Open tennis championship, in Melbourne, Australia, earlier today. (AP Photo/John Donegan)

A Granddaughter Enters Our Lives

Yesterday, I received a phone call. The accompanying image on my cell phone was my daughter's beautifully smiling face. As is customary, I took the cal … But the voice on the other end was that of a little almost-4-year old boy, my lone grandchild. “We're gonna have a baby Sister!” boomed the little man-cub's voice. Caught off guard, I paused for just a second. Then I realized what he was saying - that his mother, father and he had just returned from the doctor's office and with the birth-date still off on the horizon, the physician had determined the sex of the baby. And “we're gonna have a baby sister” suddenly and completely made sense/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Do you spoil your grandchildren?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.25.12

  • 5:21 p.m. Male reportedly shooting firearm @ old IFI mill site @ Seltice Way & Atlas/CdA.
  • 5:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 24-25 here.
  • 5:06 p.m. Deputy sent to tell man in 2400 block of Sheffield/Hayden that woman getting out of jail.
  • 5:03 p.m. Caller reports male in red Chevy Blazer @ Midtown Safeway is driving w/o license.
  • 4:42 p.m. Resident @ Kelso & Coeur d'Alene/Spirit Lake has repo man blocked w/vehicle.
  • 4:32 p.m. White Washington car almost hit 2 vehicles head on @ H41, near Twin Lakes Dumpsters.
  • 4:28 p.m. Small, older white vehicle is d/a in s/b lane of H41/PF near I-90.
  • 4:13 p.m. ISPer has 2 cars that were ramming each other stopped near KMC @ H95 & I-90.
  • 4:11 p.m. PFPD Blue is looking for source of “voice” female heard along trail at falls.
  • 4:10 p.m. Animal control officer chases & catches 2 loose dogs @ Govt Way & Hudlow/Hayden.
  • 11 more items & AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 1.25.12

Kindergartner Maiya Terry, celebrated the birthday of “Mr.Blue” at Kinder-Magic preschool in Coeur d'Alene on Wednesday. Mr. Blue is a puppet that lives in a pillowcase. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Sis: Redistricting Ruling Solves Zero

RE: Semanko, Denney lose suit, but …

Sisyphus: Unfortunately the decision clarifies very little. The decision was a complete dodge by the SCTOSOI, which while cowardly, successfully tosses the hot potato out of the court. It was a rookie mistake to fail to submit a brief. Tomorrow’s hearing should be very interesting. The decision … (confirms) that their attorney screwed up. We’re gonna have eight commissioners show up tomorrow with no clear guidance on who the proper commissioners are. If the goal was to make sure that Idaho moves their primary to August, this is a great ruling for Semanko and Denney. Where is the commission meeting tomorrow?

Question: Predict what will happen at the redistricting commission hearing Thursday?

Business Watch: Joey T’s To Open

  • Joey T's Taste of Chicago is opening soon in Rathdrum. The resturant will have Sauages,gyros and more and will be located within Stein's Family Foods grocery store at the corner of hwy 41 and 53.
  • I can't located exactly when they moved in but I notice Legacy Mixed Marshall Arts Academy who has been in Post Falls since 2006 is now located in the new building along Primrose Ln. next to Divco and near 41 and Mullan.
  • Emergency Pet Care in Post Falls has moved just down the street into a building at 3406 E. Seltice Way. The building had been Kids World child care center.
  • More from INW Business Watch here and here.

North Idaho Blogs — 1.25.12

Bay Views shines a spotlight on a relatively new Athol Bakery: “The Knead “N” Dough Bakery opened up last fall and some of us down the hill didn' catch it right away. Run by Gwen Bakie and Louis Voves (how could a baker loose with the name Bakie?). More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Tuesday): 8646/5184, and: (for Monday): 8184/4997

Semanko, Denney Lose Suit, But …

Angela Cross of Post Falls was in high spirits at a September 2009 Tea Party rally at the Greyhound Track in Post Falls. But she probably isn't as happy today. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled moments ago against a lawsuit by House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko to make her one of two replacements on the Idaho Redistricting Commission. The two GOP leaders tried to “fire” Republican redistricters Dolores Crow and Randy Hansen for not being partisan in drawing their boundaries. Betsy Russell's story here.

The Idaho Supreme Court has issued an order denying the petition from House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko asking the court to order Secretary of State Ben Ysursa to declare two vacancies on the state's citizen redistricting commission; you can read the order here. The court essentially ruled that Denney and Semanko hadn't come up with sufficient legal reasons why the court should take that action; this means their challenge is dead, and the citizen redistricting commission is good to go as-is; it's scheduled to meet tomorrow morning at 9/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Supreme Court decision on petition by Norm Semanko & Lawerence Denney?

Review: Scrud’s Gourmet Burgers

The patties served up at Coeur d'Alene's Scrud's Gourmet Burgers would give my grandma a moment of pause and a mildly jaundiced eye. Just like hers, these babies are hand-formed and thick, but not thick enough to have that sense of meatloaf-esque overkill that some places like to do (hi, Nosworthys). Just like hers, they're moist and juicy without being total grease bombs, and there's a certain deep auburn richness to the flavor of a well cooked beef patty that they both have in common. Naturally, there's somewhat of an unavoidable giggle factor to the name Scrud's/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here.

Question: Is there room in Coeur d'Alene area for another hamburger joint?

Carlson: Idaho’s Best Governors

As you know, Chris Carlson/Carlson Chronicles has written a book in which he dubs Cecil Andrus as Idaho's best governor. Now, he ranks the other governors since 1946 when he was born:

  • 2. Dr. C. A. Robins, 1947-1951. The first of the modern era governors, he set the state on the correct course forcing substantial consolidation of school districts, paying teachers more, removing patronage from the Highway department, establishing the Department of Labor, and the Workman’s Comp program, obtaining separate status for Idaho State University; the list goes on, but you get the picture. He was a doer. Doc served as State Senator from Benewah County from 1939 to 1945 and was Senate Pro Tempore during his last session.
  • 3. John V. Evans, 1977 to 1987. Smart enough to continue along the path Andrus chartered. Brought a congenial collaborative style to the office that enabled him to get along with solidly Republican legislatures. He had served in the Legislature as the State Senator from Oneida County before becoming Andrus’ Lt. Governor in 1976.
  • More here


Otter Opposes August Primary

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter opposes moving Idaho’s primary election to August, largely due to concerns it would result in an even lower turnout than the current primary in May. Otter made the comments Wednesday to reporters from the Idaho Press Club. Rep. Tom Loertscher, an eastern Idaho Republican, has introduced a measure that would shift the primary election to August. With Idaho still without redistricting maps governing legislative boundaries, moving the primary from May would allow for more time to sort out complications. It would also give incumbent lawmakers more time to campaign after legislative sessions. But Otter said a primary in August — when people are still on summer vacations — would damage voter participation/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Would you likely vote if the Idaho primary election was moved to August?

Searching For Munchy Field Mice

A red-tailed hawk sits in a leafless tree along Trent Ave. near Evergreen and scans for its next meal Tuesday. Several of the birds were feeding on field mice in the field south of Trent. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Author Unmasks Olive Oil Fraud

Another alarming new food book has sent me scrambling to the pantry to check the labels of my ingredients. This time, it was author Tom Mueller’s, “Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil,” a book (cover shown in inset) that reveals that most of the extra virgin olive oils sold in U.S. supermarkets are not what they seem. In fact, in Mueller’s new book, he reveals that most of the oils labeled “extra virgin” are probably not the quality, antioxidant rich oils that consumers think they’re eating to protect themselves from cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other health problems/Lorie Hutson, SR. More here.

Question: Do you cook often with olive oil?

Different Approach To Bullies Needed

Deborah Glasscock, a Nampa therapist, relates her own story of being bullied as a child in the Idaho Press Tribune and then points out that we're taking the wrong approach to stopping bullism: “So why do I bring up this story that is still painful today, over 40 years later? Because I see today an approach towards bullying that is both misguided and dangerous. Walking into a local middle school, I saw a “No Bullying” sign, followed by a list of protected categories: race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc. Whew, I thought. At least they didn’t have my vulnerabilities at the time of bullying listed: thick glasses, short, awkward, opinionated, teacher’s pet, etc. What a horror that would be!  Pointing out the vulnerabilities of those bullied serves only to “blame the victim,” increasing the intrinsic shame that the bullied already bear. This approach is misguided.” More here. (AP file illustration of bullies)

Question: Were you ever bullied in school?

Batt Blasts Denney, Semanko Suit

If Republican leaders try to hijack the redistricting process, they run the risk of compromising years of “remarkable success” at the polls. That's the assessment from one of the architects of the GOP's success — Phil Batt, a former governor, lieutenant governor, legislator and state Republican chairman. Batt submitted a guest opinion today, criticizing House Speaker Lawerence Denney and GOP Chairman Norm Semanko for trying to fire redistricting commissioners Dolores Crow and Randy Hansen. Writes Batt: “Our party leaders want to sully the reapportionment process for more political gain. I guess they want 100 percent Republicans of their own variety (Dolores and I probably don’t qualify)/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo of Phil Batt)

DFO: And you wonder why I continue to consider Phil Batt the most effective governor of my 30 years in North Idaho? I finally figured out what kind of Republican I am. I am a Phil Batt Republican — one who respects fair play and common sense over the hardline zealotry of those now in charge of the Idaho GOP.

Question: Is former Gov. Phil Batt right? Will continued heavy-handedness by Norm Semanko and GOP leaders undercut the Idaho Republican Party?

Read more here:

High Noon: Mitt’s Income & Yours

In 2010, it would have taken Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney 21 hours, 1 minute, and 44 seconds to earn what I did last year. In contrast, I would have to work 416 years 6 months 23 days 11 hours 20 minutes & 7 seconds to earn what Mitt did in 2010. His total income for the year was listed as $21.6 million, more than one-half of which came from capital gains. Slate magazine has a nifty income calculator that compares your salary with Mitt Romney's 2010 income. You can find the calculator here.

Question: How does your income stack up against Mitt's?

Bonner County Rips Caribou Plan

Courtesy of Pecky Cox and As the Lake Churns, Rod Stafford provides this “Caribou Bob” 'toon, revealing the feelings of some North Idaho residents toward the region's protected caribou. You can see the rest of the cartoon here.

Question: Do you think Selkirk Caribou are overprotected in northernmost Idaho?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.25.12

  • Noonish: Undisclosed traffic hazard reported @ I-90 & Government Way/CdA.
  • 11:54 a.m. Red Dodge left Holiday station on Cornerstone/Hayden w/o paying for gas.
  • 11:44 a.m. Bernard in 800 block of W. Hayden reports possible fraud re: SR scratch ticket.
  • 11:43 a.m. Unknown traffic hazard reported @ Appleway & Ramsey/CdA.
  • 11:07 a.m. 30YO male patient left Harmony House, 9967 Maple/Hayden, Tuesday & hasn't returned.
  • 10:49 a.m. Patrol officer reports Huetter b/n Lancaster & Boekel/Hayden is “solid sheet of ice.”
  • 10:44 a.m. Delivery driver reports “overwhelming smell of natural gas” @ 2625 E. Seltice Way/PF.
  • 10:32 a.m. Female in pajamas involved in physical fight w/male @ 13th & Spokane/PF.
  • 10:02 a.m. I-90 Boss hit on stolen blue 1992 Honda from Washington w/b b/n stateline & Huetter.
  • 9:24 a.m. Deputy en route to 1300 E. Hanley/Dalton Gardens to check open door in home.
  • 9:17 a.m. PFPD Blue reports phone box damaged by snowplow in front of Post Falls High.
  • 9:07 a.m. Britney reports growling dog in driveway prevents her from leaving Ferndale/Hayden home.
  • 8:52 a.m. Caller reports possible break-in to residence in 5900 block of 16th/Dalton Gardens.
  • 8:48 a.m. Older woman creating traffic hazard by walking along Lincoln Way, south of KMC.

Quotable Quote — Kevin Richert

“Not content with firing two commissioners, Denney and Semanko now claim they have authority to fire baseball commissioner Bud Selig” — Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman Opinion Page editor, via Twitter.

Burdick: Working On Redistricting Flap

Chief Justice Roger Burdick was paid special attention Wednesday when he delivered his State of the Judiciary message in separate addresses to the House and Senate. The Capitol is abuzz with speculation about how the court will handle a lawsuit filed by House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko, who seek to fire and replace their appointees to the redistricting commission. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Secretary of State Ben Ysursa say the law requires the fall appointments to stand. The commission is set to reconvene Thursday at 9 a.m. to redraw maps the court ruled unconstitutional last week. Burdick signaled late Wednesday morning that the court will make its mind clear soon. “We're workin' on it,” he told me before entering the Senate. “That's all a guy can say”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you trust the Idaho Supreme Court to eschew politics in resolving lawsuit filed by House Speaker Lawerence Denney & Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko?

Hucks Poll: No To Gay Marriage

  • Tuesday Poll: A bare majority of Hucks Nation opposes gay marriage legislation that's about to pass in the Washington Legislature. 113 of 219 respondents (51.3%) oppose the gay marriage bill. 96 of 219 (44.04%) support it. 10 of 219 (4.59%). The poll results mirror the ones at KREM online, which asked the same question. In the KREM poll, 53% opposed the legislation, 45% supported it, with 3% undecided.
  • Today's Question: How would you rate President Obama's State of the Union speech last night?

AM Headlines — 1.25.12

North Idaho College student Diana Slocum of Moses Lake makes her way to classes at the campus in Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday. With enrollment soaring and state funding down, more of the college's funding now comes from student tuition and fees than from the state. Betsy Russell SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

RRepubs To Host Sheriff’s Forum

The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans will host the first election forum of 2012 with the announced Republican Candidates for Kootenai County Sheriff at their noon lunch meeting Thursday at Fedora Pub & Grille, 1726 W. Kathleen Ave., Coeur d'Alene.   Candidates  Bob Foster, John Green, Keith Hutcheson, and Ben Wolfinger have been invited to participate, and three have confirmed.  The four announced candidates will compete to be the Republican nominee selected during the May 15 Kootenai County primary election. 

Question: Do you have a favorite for Kootenai County sheriff yet?

Huckleberries Hears …

… That Chairwoman Tina Jacobson of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee raised some eyebrows last night when she announced that Sheriff Richard Mack would be the main speaker for the elephants' Lincoln Day March 24. What's the big deal. Mack ran as a Libertarian against a Republican in a 2006 U.S. Senate race in Arizona. Apparently, according to local elephants pushing for his appearance, that's okay because he's a friend of controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was greeted with open arms by Kootenai County Republicans during a 2010 visit. Word is that  Mack is now running as a Republican for an elected post in Texas. Which would mean that he is the perfect speaker for Kootenai County Republicans, whose Central Committee is crawling with former Libertarians and has a warm spot in their partisan hearts for Constitutionalists, too.

Question: What do you suppose the “Reasonable Republicans” think about the Lincoln Day pick?

APhoto Of The Day — 1.25.12

John Chaney shows off a turkey responsible for a break-in at a public library Sunday in Deadwood, S.D. Chaney and Sgt. Ken Mertens captured the turkey in a blanket and let it free after it crashed through a window and flew around the aisles that morning. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Deadwood Police Department)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Turkey crashes through literacy barrier for Muslim women! — JBelle.
  • 2. Neighboring ‘No Daks’ laugh out loud when they hear the newest delicacy in Deadwood is “Turkey in a Blanket” — JohnA.
  • 3. Found with ruffled feathers in the cookbook section, the unruly hen was asked to leave the library — Fort Boise.
  • HM: Duane Rasmussen

Extended Forecast: Much Hot Air

Bad news for all,
I’m sad to say —
still nine months ‘til
Election Day.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

MT: Denney, Semanko & Flat Earthers

In targeting Idaho's independent redistricting commission for decapitation, Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko and House Speaker Lawerence Denney are all in. They're ignoring history. They're disenfranchising voters. They're wading deeply into illogical waters. And they've partnered with the legal equivalent of the Flat Earth Society. Where would they get the notion that they might pull it off? From the highest court in the state. Last week, the Idaho Supreme Court voted 4-1 to strike down the citizen commission's plan for realigning Idaho's population growth with its 35 legislative districts. That redistricting plan was a remarkable feat, accomplished quickly and unanimously by the commission's three Republican and three Democratic members/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Should the redistricting process be taken out of the hands of the Idaho Legislature altogether?

Seattle’s Underwood Battles For Glory

Papering the walls of the subterranean Howard Street Boxing Club are the usual posters from bouts and cards going back decades, and they suggest the musty odor of smoke and beer from arenas and armories long razed. Those yellowing bills were the back-in-the-day come-ons for wannabe fighters. Here’s how much boxing has changed: Converts are now made in beauty shops. It helps, of course, if a boxer is in the chair. This happened just on Monday to Queen Underwood, who by virtue of her bronze medal at the last world championships and her Seattle roots is the flag-bearer for next month’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing at Northern Quest Resort. Booked for an awards show later this week, she made an appointment with a stylist. “I’m tired of braids and ponytails,” she said to the stylist, pinning her hair issues on her current vocation of boxing/John Blanchette, SR. More here.

Question: Would you want to see a sanctioned boxing match between women?

Obama: American Dream In Peril

Declaring the American dream under siege, President Barack Obama delivered a populist challenge Tuesday night to shrink the gap between rich and poor, promising to tax the wealthy more and help jobless Americans get work and hang onto their homes. Seeking re-election and needing results, the president invited Republicans to join him but warned, “I intend to fight.” In an emphatic State of the Union address, Obama said ensuring a fair shot for all Americans is “the defining issue of our time.” He said the economy is finally recovering from a deep and painful recession and he will fight any effort to return to policies that brought it low. “We've come too far to turn back now,” he declared/Ben Feller, Twin Falls Times-News. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Do you believe the American dream is in peril?

Barbieri Targets TSA Patdowns

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was detained by airport security in Nashville for refusing to take a pat-down by Transportation Security Agency officials. Maybe Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, sympathizes with the U.S. senator because he is readying a bill that would outlaw unwanted TSA searches within the Gem State’s borders. In an interview with, Barbieri said the pat-downs do little to improve airline security and are more for show than anything else. “I’m just adding that federal TSA personnel cannot touch a person that does not want to be touched,” Barbieri said. “And if they do, without consent, they are subject to the state battery law”/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Barbieri that TSA patdowns aren't needed in Idaho?

A Hug For A Courageous Woman

President Barack Obama greets retiring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. on Capiotl Hill in Washington, Tuesday, prior to delivering his State of the Union address. Story here. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Question: Have you been inspired by Gabby Giffords fight to overcome her grievous wound from a would-be assassin's bullet?

Cross Gets Redistricting Nod

Idaho Republican leaders announced their appointments to the new Idaho Redistricting Commission today, and a Kootenai County resident is one of them. State GOP chairman Norm Semanko appointed Angela Cross of Post Falls to the commission. House Speaker Lawrence Denney selected Bob Forrey of Nampa. Semanko and Denney filed the necessary documents with the Idaho Supreme Court today to ensure the appointments are recognized by the time the commission convenes Thursday in Boise. Cross is a community activist who is deeply involved with the Idaho Republican Party. She serves on the board of directors of the 3Cs (Cancer and Community Charities) and helps coordinate Kootenai Medical Center's annual Festival of Trees benefit/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you want to see Angela Cross and Bob Forrey replace Dolores Crow and Randy Hansen on the Idaho Redistricting Commission?

Delegation Reacts To Obama Speech

Tonight’s speech was different than President Obama’s previous three versions with him now clearly switching to campaign mode. He talked about the exceptionalism of the American people and how they are the key to our country’s greatness. I agree, and I also agree with many of the ideas he set forth in his speech. Unfortunately, his words tonight did not match the policies he has put forth over the past three years when we have seen record debt, unemployment and layers of new regulation/U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, via Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP photo: President Barack Obama with Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner, right, in background)

Question: What did you think of the president's State of the Union speech?

Is Otter The ‘Food Stamp’ Governor?

Last week, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called Barack Obama the “food stamp president,” citing a record number of Americans receiving food aid. Idaho has set its own record, as the number of people receiving food stamps rose from about 87,000 in 2007 to about 229,000 in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now, 15 percent of Idahoans get food stamps. Since Otter became governor in 2007, the food stamp caseload has jumped 163 percent, putting Idaho behind only Nevada’s 172 percent growth rate/Dan Popkey, Statesman. More here. (AP photo of Butch Otter)

Question: Is it a good thing or a bad thing that usage of food stamps have increased so much under the tight-fisted oversight of Gov. Butch Otter?

Read more here:

Heller: Getting Better?

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Tuesday — 1.24.12

HucksOnline had a pleasant start to the day via Twitter when “123 Idaho” tweeted: “Washington Post's best political tweets in Idaho: @IdahoEdAssoc, @HucksOnline, @foster208 (D), @IdSBOE, @marvhagedorn (R), @BetsyZRussell. 'Tis nice to be noticed back East. This must mean that I'm now fluent in a second social media language. Still trying to figure Facebook out. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.24.12

Shaun Koos, administrator for the Wenatchee Valley Medical Center and father of Olympic cross country skiier Torin Koos, spends part of his lunch hour Monday, preparing a loop, and scaring up Canada geese, for the Wenatchee Nordic Club's Tuesday workout at Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee, Wash. (AP Photo/The Wenatchee World, Don Seabrook)

About That Coughing

On his Slice blog, Paul Turner asks: about that coughing you heard at work today. To what is it attributable?

  • Seasonal colds.
  • Pot-smoking asthmatics.
  • Spokanthrax.
  • Skiers setting the stage for calling in sick tomorrow.
  • Other.

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.24.12

  • 5:28 p.m. Injured deer hit by vehicle trying to get up on Hanley, west of 15th/Dalton Gardens.
  • 5:08 p.m. Unwanted male named Ryan is e/b on 16th/PF headed toward Henry.
  • 4:57 p.m. Heather has contained a brown Labrador in 1200 block of Greensferry/PF.
  • 4:44 p.m. Caller reports juvenile ran away at Fred Meyer on Kathleen/CdA moments ago.
  • 4:25 p.m. Hauser Lake man w/outstanding warrant for driving w/o privileges calls 911 dispatch to report that a county bar overserved his girlfriend.
  • 4:16 p.m. Driver claims he was being tailgated by a school bus on Government Way.
  • 3:51 p.m. Angry man @ Dirne Clinic is threatening to commit suicide by cop.
  • 16 more items below +AM Scanner Traffic link

PM: Semanko Picks Cross

Angela Cross, the choice of Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko to replace a “fired” redistricting commissioner, is shown above. Betsy Russell reports on the showdown involving two redistricters who refused to be fired by Semanko and House Speaker Lawerence Denney here.

ITD Losing $645K/Yr On Megaloads

Idaho has been losing $645,000 a year administering oversize-load permits including those for so-called megaloads, Lewiston Tribune reporter Bill Spence reported today; the news came out when an ITD official briefed a legislative committee on pending ITD rules, which include fee increases designed to try to wipe out that deficit. “We're required to recoup the administrative cost of running the program,” ITD official Regina Phipps told the Senate Transportation Committee/Bill Spence, Lewiston Tribune, via Eye On Boise. More here.


Deputy Sprouts Sellect Type ‘Stache

Dave Resser, is the resident deputy for a rural area of Shoshone County. (Photo Courtesy: Shoshone County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)

Some call Dave Resser a modern Wyatt Earp. When it’s time to drive into town from his rural turf, he shows up to Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office logistics meetings with his classic cowboy hat and boots. He’s also armed with a righteous mustache that could put Tom Selleck's own to shame. He’s the resident deputy for a huge chunk of land in Shoshone County that ranges from the Bitterroot Mountains to the south county line. He’s only one man patrolling the backcountry bordering Benewah County to the state line. Sheriff Mitch Alexander wrote on Facebook: “He handles an area half the size of Delaware all by himself.” “It’s a huge area for one person,” said Resser/Nicole Hensley, KXLY. More here.

Question: Do you now or have you ever worn a mustache?

OpenCDA Mary Dissects McEuen Vote

Never one to miss an opportunity to train her fire on Councilman Mike Kennedy, Mayor Sandi Bloem, & City Hall, Mary Souza of breaks down the 4-3 vote against a motion to stage a McEuen Field advisory vote. In her latest newsletter, Mary blasts Mayor Bloem for allowing letters opposed to the advisory vote to be read into the record. And Councilman Kennedy for “rude, untrue, unwarranted attacks” on County Clerk Cliff Hayes last month which have absolutely nothing to do with an advisory vote. And Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander for having the audacity to break into a coughing fit and not excusing herself during public testimony. And Counciman Woody McEvers for making kumbaya statements but failing to support the motion for an advisory vote. Then, she gushed about the “great job” that newbies Dan Gookin and Steve Adams did in supporting the public vote. Souza's newsletter.

Question: Ever wonder what this city would have been like if Mary had defeated Mike Kennedy back when instead of finishing third in their 3-way race?

Roadblock For Reagan Republicans?

Digger posted this on my Facebook wall. Seems the feral, er, Federated Reagan Republicans might hit a roadblock if these Prohibitionists from this 1919 poster are still around. The question, of course, is whether you would want your lips to touch theirs.

Question: How many drinks would you need under your belt to kiss a few of these Prohibition beauties?

SR: Stopping Violence In The Cards

There’s new hope for victims of domestic violence in Idaho. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and the Idaho Sheriff’s Association have begun issuing wallet-size “Hope Cards” to people who have obtained long-term civil protection orders against spouses, former spouses, stalkers or anyone else. On the front are the names of those being protected, the court that issued the order, the order number and the date it was issued. On the back is the name of the person ordered to stay away from the holder, a date of birth, physical description and, most importantly, a picture. Court-issued paperwork is far less convenient and far less useful because it lacks a photograph/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here. (Photo: front of Hope Card, issued by state of Montana)


Question: Do you know someone who could use a “Hope Card” for protection?

Freezing Rain For Commute?

Less than an inch of snow later this afternoon could change over to freezing rain during the evening commute, National Weather Service forecasters said. An incoming Pacific storm is carrying milder air with it, but cold air in place over the Inland Northwest could result in snow and a mix of precipitation for several hours today. A hazardous weather outlook is in place for Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. A more serious winter weather advisory for snow is posted for areas to the north and west of both cities. The chance of snow and freezing rain is 80 percent today with a 90 percent chance of freezing rain and rain this evening with little or no accumulation of ice/Spokesman-Review. More here.  (Kathy Plonka SR file photo of snow berm on Sherman Avenue)

Question: Any near misses this winter — behind the wheel or while walking on ice?

Labrador Reviews Dike Road Petitions

The Kootenai Environmental Alliance received this photo of Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, flipping through the big stack of Dike Road Trees Petitions. Rep. Labrador’s office agreed to carry the petitions to Washington DC to Jo-Ellen Darcy, the U.S. Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works. The KEA launched a petition drive to save the large pines along Dike Road after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ordered them clear cut. More from KEA Blog here.

NIC’s Bell Warns Of Cost Shift

North Idaho College has seen its funding burden shift more and more to its students, college President Priscilla Bell told Idaho lawmakers today. “As with most higher education institutions, NIC has experienced significant growth in enrollment over the past four years,” she said, even as state funding has dropped. NIC's for-credit student population has increased by 45 percent in four years; professional-technical education enrollment has grown “by a whopping 68 percent,” Bell told the Legislature's joint budget committee. Now, both student tuition and fees and local property taxes exceed state funding as a portion of NIC's budget/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: How important is it for Idaho to keep community colleges affordable?

Idaho GOP Sues Over Redistricters

Update: House Speaker Lawerence Denney has appointed Bob Forrey of Nampa and State Chairman Norm Semanko has appointed Angela Cross of Post Falls.

The Republican Party is suing the secretary of state over redistricting in the Idaho Supreme Court, contending the party's chairman and the speaker of the House of Representatives have the power to fire their appointees and name new members to the panel. Republican Chairman Norm Semanko (right) and House Speaker Lawerence Denney (left) want to remove redistricting commissioners Randy Hansen, a former Twin Falls legislator, and Dolores Crow, a former House member from Nampa. But the Idaho attorney general says Semanko and Denney don't have the power to remove them, even though they appointed Hansen and Crow to the panel/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Would Kootenai County/North Idaho benefit from having a redistricter from Post Falls (if the Idaho GOP is permitted to replace current commissioners)?

Obit: Rose Mary Peak, 65, Snake Pit

Following is the obituary of Rose Mary (Poelma) Peak, co-owner of historic Enaville Resort (Snake Pit), as it appears in Coeur d'Alene Press today: “Rose Mary was born on Jan. 13, 1947, in Cheyenne, Wyo., and died on Jan. 20, 2012, in the presence of her loving family at Hospice House in Coeur d'Alene. Rose Mary was the second of four children of Jim and Eileen Poelma. She grew up in the rural farming community of Carpenter, Wyo., 20 miles southeast of Cheyenne. She lived in a community, school and family where faith and music went hand-in-hand with the hard work of farming. Her grandmother taught her to play the piano at an early age, and the rest of her family often played music together as a group, whether it was during informal family gatherings or for barn dances.” More here. (Kathy Plonka SR file photo: Enaville Resort)


Slice: Can’t Place Face? Join Club

It is not really a mental illness. It’s, well, more like a distraction. But there are those who can be home contentedly watching a TV show or movie one moment and then, with the appearance on the screen of a vaguely familiar actor or actress, find it impossible to think about anything except one maddening question. What have I seen him in before? Sometimes it comes to you – or to someone seated nearby – right away. “The guy in the insurance commercial? He played a power hitter in the original ‘Major League.’ Pedro Cerrano. His real name is Dennis something.” Or “She was in a bunch of British stuff, ‘Foyle’s War’ for one”/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here.

DFO: A visitor approached me in church Sunday and started talking as if I knew her. I drew a blank, until she identified as someone who'd attended church with me 15 to 20 years ago. I horrible re: remembering people from the distant pass. I rely on my wife to tell me who they are, as they approach, especially at North Idaho Fair.

Question: How about you? Are you good at remembering people from your past?

Better Off Today Than 3 Years Ago?

Duroc: My family was facing harder times when George W. Bush was president. The housing bubble meant we couldn’t afford to buy a house because the prices had been driven so high. We were only able to afford our first home when the market collapsed and people became desperate to sell. My employment situation was much more unsettled under George W. Bush. So was my wife’s. Our crappy insurance company brought us to the brink of bankruptcy because of a medical emergency they refused to fairly cover. Also under George W. Bush. But guess what: I didn’t blame Bush for our personal misfortune. And I don’t credit Obama for the turnaround my family has accomplished the past few years. Are things bad for a lot of people right now? Yes, they are. But Obama had little to do with it. (AP file photo)

Question: Are you better off today than when President Obama took office?

Defrost Your Bathing Suit

Juergen Fritsch, of Pittsburgh, Pa., has fun with a frozen bikini displayed in New York's Times Square as part of the “Defrost Your Swimsuit” campaign by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau earlier today. Visit for a chance to win a trip to south Florida. (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Greater Fort Lauderdale)

Question: Have you remained in bathing-suit shape this winter?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.24.12

  • 11:52 a.m. Caller reports he was cutoff @ Govt Way & Foster/CdA by commercial pickup that then pulled into Kootenai County Courthouse lot.
  • 11:46 a.m. 2 motorists are stranded in white Subaru on e/b I-90 @ M/P 1 (Pleasantview area).
  • 11:20 a.m. Suspicious package reported at Kootenai County Courthouse.
  • 11:16 a.m. Caller reports suspicious activity in 10200 block of N. Pinto Lane/Hayden.
  • 11:14 a.m. Caller wants Rathdrum officer to trespass person from 1545 H53 business.
  • 10:47 a.m. Snowplow driver reports clearing snow from under overpass on I-90 @ H3 (Rose Lake).
  • 10:22 a.m. ISP officer is stopping black pickup w/Wyoming plates and loose furniture in bed.
  • 10:07 a.m. Man in KCSD HQ to report business theft @ 406 W. Appleway/CdA.
  • 9:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 23-24 here.
  • 9:40 a.m. Street worker worries that plow might clip car buried in snow @ Govt Way & Virginia/CdA.
  • 9:28 a.m. PFPD Blue witnesses vehicle crashing into parked one @ Super 1 on Polston.
  • 9:21 a.m. Wilbur is visiting PFPD Blue HQ to report a theft.
  • 9:01 a.m. Business alarm sounds at Azteca, 2462 Old Mill Loop, Riverstone/CdA.

A Recession Or Not?

Mrs. O & I are trying to figure out whether we're in a recession or not, based on the packed house at Azteca last Saturday night. On Saturday evening, the extended Coeur d'Alene Family Oliveria walked to Azteca after watching “Sherlock Holmes II” at the Riverstone Cinemas next door. Place was hopping. We had to wait 10-15 minutes for a table for 8, which was OK because the Zags were beating San Diego on Azteca's TVs. Didn't know if the packed house was the exception to the rule. Or standard fare at popular eateries in town.

Question: Has the recession prompted you to dine out less?

Weekly SR News Quiz Hits Stands

The latest SR News Quiz has hit the stands, offering a chance for a lucky winner of a $50 gift certificate to the Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane. Kate Allison (unknown city of residence) was the winner last week. You'll again find questions with an Idaho flavor in Jim Camden's weekly poll. (invisible ink on) In fact, I'll give you the answer to Question No. 2, if you don't tell Jim: 75 mph.(invisible ink off. Good luck — and let HucksOnline know how you did when you complete the quiz. You can click here or on the box under my photo in the right rail.

Thompson Seeks Sentence Reduction

A federal prosecutor is objecting to a request by convicted former Spokane Police officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. to reduce his potential prison sentence because he claims to have taken responsibility for using excessive force on Otto Zehm and lying to cover it up. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Durkin has responded to an earlier request filed by defense attorney Carl Oreskovich to reduce Thompson’s sentencing guidelines, which currently call for him to serve between 27 and 33 months in federal prison. Oreskovich has argued that the decorated former officer has accepted responsibility for the crimes/Thomas Clouse, SR. More here.

Question: Do you think that former Kootenai County sheriff's captain Karl Thompson took responsibility for his actions in Otto Zehm's death?

Post Falls Theater Closing Doors

“It is with a heavy hand and a sorrowed heart that I write this letter. This Sunday, January 29, 2012 Post Falls Theater will close. This property has been sold to a local church and the building will be converted for that purpose. Even though the sale of the building is the technical reason for closing there is one immutable truth in what brought us to this point. Our community that we have so generously supported throughout the years failed to support us in return. With the population of Post falls alone our business should have flourished. It would be easy to blame the economy but that is not the case. Harry Potter 7: P2 had sold in its opening week $170 million in ticket sales. We had 1 copy of the movie and did not sell out 1 showing while the Riverstone had multiple copies and was sold out for almost a week”/Julius Vinchinsky, Post Falls Theater. More here. H/T: Coeur d'Alene Press Online.


AM: Kansas Billboards Feat NIC Cards

Here’s a billboard that is now up in two locations in Kansas in promotion of the upcoming National Junior College Athletic Association women’s basketball tournament in Salina, Kansas March 20-24. It’s on Interstate-135 near Lindsborg and on Interstate-70 outside of Salina. The North Idaho College Lady Cardinals (pictured right following their victory in the 2011 championship game) are the defending national champions and are currently ranked 10th in the nation and are 16-2 this season and unbeaten in the Scenic West Athletic Conference (5-0).

Poll: Romney Will Get GOP Nod

  • Monday Poll: Despite a setback in South Carolina, Mitt Romney will win the GOP presidential nomination, according to Hucks Nation. 86 of 161 respondents (53.42%) predict that Romney will get the Republican nod, while 54 of 161 (33.54%) say Newt Gingich will be the GOP nominee. Other votes went to Ron Paul, 13 (8.07%) and Rick Santorum, 8 (4.97%).
  • Today's Poll: Do you support the same-sex marriage law that the Washington Legislature is about to pass?

McGee Vote Reveals GOP Split

For years, Idaho legislators have tried to keep their leadership elections and in-house discipline to themselves. This is one reason why lawmakers say they need to be able to meet in closed party caucuses, outside the view of the media and their constituents. A caucus is not unlike Las Vegas. What happens there stays there. But on Friday, nine Republican state senators pulled back the curtain and gave their constituents a glimpse inside the cloistered caucus — although their motivations were probably more machiavellian than altruistic. Regardless, it is an astounding twist in the implosion of state Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell. Nine days after Senate Republicans caucused, and decided to keep the embattled McGee in party leadership, the nine Republicans issued a statement saying they wanted to replace McGee. The fact that a group of Senate Republicans went public in such an unorthodox fashion illustrates a schism within the caucus/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.


Read more here:

Clark: State Of The Column OK

Thank you. You may scooch your cheeks back into your chairs. I am happier than Ryan Seacrest with a new hand mirror to be able to once again deliver the State of the Column address. Especially since I’m able to upstage the president, who later today will perform his own annual magic-show attempt to misdirect voters away from the royal mess he’s made. Aw, don’t get on Barack Obama’s case. Sure, the economy’s more strained than Steven Tyler singing the national anthem. And true, you must now sell a kidney to buy the same gallon of gas that sold for a buck-something when the O-Man took office. But be fair. The prez promised change and change he has delivered. This is not the venue for solving the nation’s problems, of course/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Mebbe HucksOnline should work up a State of the Blog Address for other commenters, blurkers, and other North Idaho bloggers. But I need your help. What should be included in the State of the Blog address here?

RRepubs Take Lead In Liquor Fight

A grocery-industry lobbying group won't push a liquor privatization ballot measure in 2012, but a second group emerged Monday and announced it will try to get an initiative before Idaho voters in November. The Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans submitted a citizen's initiative to the secretary of state's office that would privatize liquor sales in Idaho and eliminate the state Liquor Division. Liquor sales in Idaho are now conducted through state-run or contract stores. In his group's push to change that, Reagan Republicans president Jeff Ward (pictured) of Post Falls said his members intentionally avoided ties to trade groups or retailers. They want a measure focused on scaling back government, not one designed to make millions in profits for private industry, he said/John Miller, AP. More here.

Question: I've been trying to figure out how a Kootenai County-based group can pull off a statewide initiative that will require 47,432 valid signatures. Any thoughts?

Washington Same-Sex Marriage Near

As supporters and opponents packed hearing rooms Monday around the Capitol, Washington moved a step closer to legalizing same-sex marriage when the proposal gained its crucial 25th vote in the state Senate. State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, announced she would vote yes on Senate Bill 6239, giving it a majority in that chamber. The companion bill, HB 2516, has the votes necessary to clear the House, said Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, and Gov. Chris Gregoire has called for the Legislature to pass such legislation. Barring some unexpected shift, that suggests Washington would be the seventh state in the nation to pass a law on same-sex marriage. But it would be the first state where voters have the ultimate say on a bill passed by the Legislature/Jim Camden, SR. More here. (AP photo: Jane Abbott Lighty greets Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, after hearing the news that Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, had announced her support for legalizing same-sex marriage)

Question: Will Idaho pass same-sex marriage legislation some day?

APhoto Of The Day — 1.24.12

Sara Errani of Italy eyes on the ball for a return to Sorana Cirstea of Romania during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship, in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. What do you mean, I look like Monica Seles! — KCres.
  • 2. After waking up, Sara told the doctor “I wasn’t sure what it was, but it got closer and closer, and then it hit me” — JohnA.
  • 3. Cameras catch Sara’s reaction when she was informed she had just won a date with Doug Clark! — Dennis.
  • Brent & Kage


‘Hugo’ Lands 11 Oscar Nominations

Martin Scorsese’s Paris adventure “Hugo” leads the Academy Awards with 11 nominations, among them best picture and the latest director slot for the Oscar-winning filmmaker. Also nominated for best picture Tuesday: the silent film “The Artist”; the family drama “The Descendants”; the Sept. 11 tale “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”; the Deep South drama “The Help”; the romantic fantasy “Midnight in Paris”; the sports tale “Moneyball”; the family chronicle “The Tree of Life”; and the World War I epic “War Horse.” The nominations set up a best-picture showdown between the top films at the Golden Globes: best musical or comedy recipient “The Artist” and best drama winner “The Descendants”/AP. More here. (AP photo: Director Martin Scorsese poses with the award for Best Director of a Motion Picture for the film “ Hugo” during the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards Sunday)

Question: Have you seen “Hugo”? Brief review?

Romney To Pay $6.2M In Taxes

Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate for 2011 showing he is likely to pay $6.2 million on income of $42.5 million over the two-year period. Romney's tax information — covering more than 500 pages — can be found on his website. The tax records show Romney and his wife, Ann, paid an effective tax rate of 13.9% on their adjusted gross income in 2010. The estimate is 15.4% for 2011. How does Romney's effective tax rate compare with other Americans? The average effective tax rate of American taxpayers is 11% on adjusted gross income, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Tax Foundation. Millionaires pay about about 25%, the foundation says/USA Today. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Is Mitt Romney paying his fair share of taxes?

Crapo To Sit With Dem For Speech

Sen. Mike Crapo is the only member of the Idaho delegation so far to sign on to an effort for members of Congress to sit with a lawmaker from the opposite party during the president’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night. There’s no word on which Democrat that Crapo will be sitting with and, unlike many members of Congress, he’s kept it low key. Congresspeople from other states have been sending out press releases touting their participation in the bipartisan seating arrangement, a sign that the partisan atmosphere in Congress has become so poisonous that it’s reached the point where it’s considered a big deal where people sit. Alaska Sen. Murkowski is the main Republican championing the bipartisan date idea in the Senate, while Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is doing so in his party/Sean Cockerham, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you like the idea of Democrats and Republicans sitting together tonight to here President Obama's State of the Union speech?

Read more here:

Heller: Winning?

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Monday — 1.23.12

Now that my S.F. 49ers have been eliminated from the playoffs, I can look forward to (yawn) a Super Bowl featuring 2 northeastern teams. I hope the commercials are good, as well as the hors d'oeuvres at our Super Bowl party. New England versus New York? Seriously? Oh well, that's why they play the games. And I still have Gonzaga. Beyond that, spring training for Major League Baseball begins in 3-4 weeks. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.23.12

“When I stopped at home today for a quick lunch,” writes SR buddy Colin Mulvany/Snaps & Frames, “I spotted my neighbor’s bush covered in melting icicles. I shot a few snaps with my 60mm macro lens then downloaded the files as I ate my sandwich. I kind of shrugged my shoulders at the results, wishing the icicles had more sparkle. Returning to the bush, this time with my flash tethered to a cord, I positioned the strobe directly underneath the icicles and blasted away. Much better contrast and color–and I got my sparkles:) Nikon D700 Nikkor 60mm 2.8 lens, Nikon SB800 flash.”

S&G: Alleged Peeper Wore A G-String

A man arrested for voyeurism outside a Girl Scouts gathering in Spokane was wearing a red g-string and no pants when a woman spotted him early Sunday, officials say. Martin J. Green, 29, had a “pocketful of condoms” in his untied sweat pants when police arrested him after a brief foot chase near the Girls Scouts office at 1404 N. Ash St., said Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Johnson. Green's g-string, pocketful of condoms and lack of pants “gives me a great cause for concern for our community,” Johnson said today at Green's first court appearance. Assistant Public Defender Mike Elston disagreed. “I fail to see the significance of the allegation of the g-string or the condoms,” Elston said. “The allegation is he looked through a window”/Meghan Cuniff, SR. More here. (Wikipedia photo of a condom)

Question: Who's right re: the G-string & condoms being a cause for concern — the deputy prosecutor or public defender?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.23.12

  • 5:06 p.m. PFPD Blue is stopping to remove a big piece of lumber @ Seltice Way & Rancho Viejo.
  • 5:03 p.m. Deputies are closing down i/s of Huetter & Poleline/Hayden due to slick conditions.
  • 4:51 p.m. Resident is turning in dated prescription drugs @ CPD Blue HQ.
  • 4:24 p.m. Hayden resident in 10600 block of Reed complains re: neighbor shooting arrows.
  • 4:12 p.m. Road crew worker sez he's treated I-90, from M/P 12 to 17 (Coeur d'Alene), and second replies that he plans to “squirt” freeway from M/P 12 (H95 to bottom of 4th of July Pass).
  • 12 more items & AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM: Otter Meets w/Angry Silver Valley

“This is an emergency,” said former miner Dan Thompson during the town hall meeting with Governor Butch Otter in Wallace on Monday. The meeting was held to discuss the year shutdown of The Lucky Friday mine in Mullan. Thompson has a son that works at the Lucky Friday. Becky Kramer provides this report on the meeting here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Ward: RRs, Liquor Privatization A Fit

An offshoot of one of Kootenai County's numerous Republican clubs filed a statewide initiative Monday to privatize liquor sales in Idaho. The move is separate from one that had been mulled by the same grocery association that backed the successful liquor privatization drive in Washington state; that group said today that it won't push an initiative this year after all. The “Reagan Republicans” group said its initiative would push privatization on smaller-government grounds. “This was kind of our coming-out party for Reagan Republicans statewide, something that we thought reduced the size and scope of government,” said Jeff Ward, president of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans and the new Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that the Reagan Republicans would get behind liquor privatization as its first statewide cause?

Idaho Dems Rip Redistricting ‘Bullies’

The Idaho Democratic Party issued a statement this afternoon decrying the latest move by Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko (pictured) and GOP House Speaker Lawerence Denney to attempt to fire their two appointees to the state's bipartisan citizen redistricting commission. “Make no mistake, this is a Republican against Republican fight and a clear example of the unacceptable culture in the GOP-controlled Statehouse. That culture is one of ongoing bullying and arrogance as GOP leaders seek to purge moderate, reasonable lawmakers from their ranks,” the Dems' statement said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

North Idaho Blogs — 1.23.12

JeanC knew just where to turn when she got her van stuck Friday morning on the Palouse, her husband. At JeanC's Cat House & Shooting Gallery, Jean provides several photos of life last week during the big snow sotrm that hit us here.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of Jan. 15-21): 42,028/26,475

KEA Backs Tubbs Hill Access Plan

After several months of study and discussion, tonight (Monday) the City of Coeur d’Alene’s Parks and Recreation Commission will officially consider a consensus recommendation to retrofit a Tubbs Hill trail to accommodate wheelchair accessibility. Last spring, the City Council separated Tubbs Hill from the McEuen Park project and formed a task force to take a comprehensive look at Tubbs Hill trails. The task force, which included representatives from the Tubbs Hill Foundation, KEA, and the disability community, met through the fall. At the final meeting in December, the group unanimously agreed to recommend that the existing east side trail become the first wheelchair-accessible trail on Tubbs Hill. Meanwhile, the task force also unanimously recommended that any further consideration of a new, north-side trail, be tabled until the east-side trail is completed/Terry Harris, KEA Blog. More here. (KEA courtesy photo)

Question: Do you agree that Tubbs Hill trails should be wheelchair accessible?

Old Country Buffet Shuts In Spokane

The last two Old Country Buffet restaurants in Spokane County have closed as part of the company’s Chapter 11 reorganization. Parent firm Buffets, Inc. filed the bankruptcy last week in Delaware, announcing it would close 81 underperforming restaurants. Those closed restaurants are roughly 16 percent of the 500 it operates nationally. The local locations were 12205 E. Sprague, at the corner of Pines and Sprague, in Spokane Valley; and 5504 N. Division St. in Spokane. Both closed Thursday, said Melissa Sheer, a company spokesperson/SR. More here.

Question: Was the erstwhile buffet diner in the Silver Lake Mall an Old Country Buffet, too? Did you used to eat there?

‘Snow And Ice’

Linda Lantzy/Idaho Scenic Images Facebooks: “This ice abstract is one of two of my images that will be exhibited at the 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles as part of the 'Snow and Ice' Show opening in February. You can see the entire show here.

Huckleberries Hears …

… That there's dozens of upset Kootenai County employees who recently had their position and pay down-sized — 117, to be exact. In a memo from Kootenai County Board of Commissioners Jan. 12, 99 employees has their positions & pay docked one grade, 50 employees had their positions & pay docked two grades. Seventy-nine workers stayed the same after recommendations by the Position Review Committee. And 50 staffers had their pay & position increased one grade. Huckleberries also hears that the Position Review Committee recommended to the commissioners that many more — maybe all workers reviewed — have their pay increased one grade. But that recommendation was rejected by the commissioners. The memo didn't indicate when the wage changes would take place. Positions not subject to the review were: sheriff's sworn personnel, 9-11, and attorneys. (For those keeping score at home, HucksOnline has a copy of the memo)

Boss Denney Limits Public Access

The renovated Idaho Capitol opened more than two years ago with secluded office space for lawmakers. Now that seclusion is limiting public access to House lawmakers. Last week, House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, ordered that all access points to House lawmakers’ offices be secured and locked to the general public. Meetings with House lawmakers must now be scheduled and visitors are required to check in with security before entering the office areas. This is a break of process from the prior two sessions in the Capitol building. For the past two years, visitors could come and go as they pleased in order to meet with lawmakers/Idaho Reporter staff. More here.

Question: Is it starting to sound as though Denney is a control freak?

Christa: Extend Coeur d’Alene Levy

I wanted to let you know of a group of parents (including myself) that created an online petition in advance of tomorrow's school board special workshop meeting.  The workshop meeting is rumored to be the starting point of a long discussion regarding a possible spring or summer levy vote.  The idea behind the online petition is to let our elected trustees know that there are parents and community members who are requesting that our community be asked to support safety and security related improvements in our schools.  We want voters to be asked to extend the expiring levy so we can begin to tackle the long list of needs that have been previously identified in the school district's Ten Year Long Range Plan.  You can find the Plan thru this link here (And: you can find an online petition here) — Christa Hazel. More below.

Question: Do you support continuing the Coeur d'Alene School District levy?

Has Luna Reform Gutted IEA?

Idaho’s controversial new school reform laws gutted teacher associations’ collective bargaining powers, but local union leaders say they can still work effectively with their district administration to help shape policies. “This (legislation) basically said to districts that if you don’t want to work with teachers in these areas, you can say by law you don’t have to do it anymore,” Boise Education Association President Andrew Rath said. “But I think they’ve found that districts want to work with the teachers.” Association leaders Sam Stone of Caldwell and Luke Franklin of Meridian agreed. “We can always talk to our district,” Franklin said. “Our relationship isn’t really ‘us against them’”/Kristin Rodine, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Is the Idaho Education Association still much of a force in Idaho?

Read more here:

Letter: HBO Didn’t Do KCTFHR Justice

Re: Rachel Dolezal's protest/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries (2nd item)

In the “Spokesman Review” Huckleberries column on Sunday, January 22, 2012, it was suggested that the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations prefers to accentuate the positive and focus on education with regard to confronting bigotry, prejudice and hate. This is only a partial description of who we are. For 31 years, the work and activities of the KCTFHR have included supporting the victims of hate crimes going back as far as the Sid Rosen and Connie Fort cases in the early 1980’s, the Victoria and Jason Keenan case in 1998 and the more recent 2011 Marlon Baker case. Let us not forget that members of our board have experienced serious threats on their lives such as the bombing of the late Father Bill Wassmuth’s home. We are not just a feel good organization/Christie Wood & Tony Stewart, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. More here. (2009 SR file photo: Tony Stewart, right, and Sgt. Christie Wood speaks to media about racist literature)

Question: Have you ever participated in an event staged by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations?

Noon: Nazis Don’t Want Media Stories?

I need to set the record straight on an issue that seems to be being misunderstood by many. Never once did I or any members of White Knights ask for media at our events. We do not need the liberal misguiding media to send our message. As a matter of fact I would like to thank the varios media outlets that chose to not cover stories about us. I find it better for community members that see us out at demonstrations to be able to come right up to us and get solid facts right from us rather than hearing it through the media that only seems to print what they want to about a particular issue. So I ask the media to please continue to not cover our demonstrations so we can continue to get facts out to the communtiy/Shaun Winkler, White Knights of Ku Klux Klan, Spirit Lake. More here. (2001 SR file photo of Shaun Winkler, background, leaving Kootenai County Courthouse with Richard Butler in Aryan Nations bankruptcy civil trial)

Question: Do you believe Winkler when he says he doesn't want media coverage?

Raunchy Comedies Draw Viewers

In this image released by CBS, from left, Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs and Jennifer Coolidge are shown in a scene from “2 Broke Girls,” scheduled to air Monday, Feb. 6, at 8:30 p.m. on CBS. As CBS' Monday night comedies are pushing the barriers with risque jokes, the network and producers of the comedies strongly defend their work and point to the shows' success as evidence they are working for viewers. “Two and a Half Men” is TV's favorite comedy, “How I Met Your Mother” has its best ratings ever in its seventh year and “2 Broke Girls” is a breakout freshman hit. (AP Photo/CBS, Darren Michales)

Question: Do you watch any of the sitcoms mentioned above — “2 Broke Girls,” “Two and a Half Men,” and/or “How I Met Your Mother”? Why?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.23.12

  • Noonish: Red Ford pickup taillgated caller, before passing, and brake-checking @ I-90 & H41/PF.
  • 12:06 p.m. A Ford Explorer has hit a moose @ H41 & Seasons, 3 miles south of Spirit Lake. Moose is lying on highway, still alive. (Moose was later euthanized.)
  • 11:36 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 22-23 here.
  • 11:16 a.m. CdA streets employee: “Everyone look at the little green Toyota going past us and laugh.”
  • 11:10 a.m. Woman @ Ferndale & Westwood/Hayden reports black Lab “Diego” is on loose.
  • 10:33 a.m. A male shoplifter who was caught by Cabela's security is being cooperative.
  • 10:22 a.m. Woman @ Seasons & Clagstone/Twin Lakes reports footprints in snow outside window.
  • 10:13 a.m. Roger reports possible stolen pickup near water tower on Poleline & Huetter/CdA.
  • 10:05 a.m. Caller reports a legally blind man from Cataldo drives his Chevy Tahoe every day.
  • 9:22 a.m. Hayden Public Works de-icer truck reported @ Govt. Way & Honeysuckle/Hayden.
  • 9:14 a.m. Kathy in 1000 block of Glasgow/PF reports suspicious activity in area.
  • 8:59 a.m. 2-vehicle crash involving front-end loader reported on I-90 @ M/P 62 (Wallace viaduct).
  • 8:49 a.m. Female NIC student locked out of vehicle in front of “Sherman officers quarters.”
  • 8:22 a.m. 2-vehicle crash partly blocking H95 & Wilbur, in front of Best Buy/Hayden.
  • 8:15 a.m. Officer asks for sand after 2 vehicles hit guardrail on I-90 @ Wolf Lodge Bay.

Hart Opposes Tardy Tax Notice Bill

Idaho could save $200,000 a year by no longer using certified mail to send two types of deficiency notices to delinquent taxpayers, and instead using first-class mail. The reason: 35 percent of certified mail is returned, simply because folks don't bother to pick it up. Today, Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, urged the House to support HB 362, legislation from the state Tax Commission to try first-class mail instead for a year, to see how it works; the Tax Commission would report back to lawmakers after a year on the results/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.


RRepubs Pushing Liquor Privatization

Today, the Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans will submit, to the Idaho Secretary of State, a citizen’s initiative to privatize liquor sales in Idaho and eliminate the Idaho Liquor Division. A draft copy of the proposed initiative petition must be filed at the Secretary of State’s office with the signatures of twenty qualified electors of the state as specified by Idaho Code 34-1804.  Upon submission, the proposed initiative must be forwarded to the Idaho Attorney General who has twenty days to provide recommended changes. IFRR President Jeff Ward announced that the initiative is an effort solely by his organization and no trade organizations or potential retailers were involved or consulted in the draft initiative/Reagan Republicans news release. More here.

Question: Why do you think the new federated Reagan Republicans group is pushing a liquor privatization initiative?

Poll: Legislators Worst Occupiers

  • Weekend Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation is more concerned about the Idaho Legislature occupying the Idaho Capitol than the Idaho press corps of Occupy Boise. 142 of 195 respondents (72.82%) said that Idaho legislators are the group they're most concerned with squatting at the Capitol building. 31 of 195 respondents (15.9%) said they're concerned with Occupy Boise hanging out near the Capitol. And 22 of 195 respondents (11.28%) said they're concerned with the press corps.
  • Today's Poll: Who will win the 2012 GOP presidential nomination — Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, or Rick Santorum?

AM: Making Cash Count

Volunteer Nick Scourey, a Whitworth University student, plays with a young client at the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in Spokane on Friday. The nursery is one of three organizations that will benefit from a $1 million endowment set up by James W. Crow, a Spokane businessman. SR story here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Denny, Semanko Dump Redistricters

The Idaho Republican Party announced today that State Chairman Norm Semanko and Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney have removed Randy Hansen and Dolores Crow from the Idaho Redistricting Commission effective immediately. The names of the two new commissioners will be released Tuesday morning. The Redistricting Commission will convene on Thursday, January 26th at 9am at the Idaho Capitol/Idaho GOP news release.

Question: What do you think of this move in light of an opinion last week that the redistricters can't be removed from their appointed position?

KH: Mayan Calendar Messes w/Year

Not to be a pessimist or anything, but if the Mayan prediction comes true and the world ends this year, should I bother planting a garden? Just asking because I've been looking at my garden catalogs and wondering whether it's worth it to spend the money for seeds if the world is going to be incinerated. I understand the prediction is the world won't end until Dec. 21 and that's long after the growing season. But it could affect what to plant, such as beets, green beans, corn and the like. Is there any point in planting crops you normally can or freeze for the winter if you won't get to use them up before we're toast?/Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Are you concerned at all that the world may come to an end when the Mayan calendar runs out Dec. 21?

Duane: Hucks Doesn’t Mirror NIdaho

Duane Rasmussen: This blog does not represent the general thought in North Idaho. The blog is predominantly influenced by Liberals. Before they are shouted down, a few conservatives are allowed to speak, primarily for the purpose of giving the Liberals something off of which to bounce their diatribes. Sort of like keeping a few mice alive so they can be fed to the snakes. Another analogy might be the feeding of Christians to lions. Many people in North Idaho are appalled by what goes on in this blog. It is difficult to get Conservatives to even look at this blog once they have seen it the first time. It has become a safe place for the counter culture to present its views.

Question: Does HucksOnline reflect North Idaho?

Clark: Facebook User Nails Idiocy

There’s a vital message to the planet contained in the story headlined: “Man hardly fazed by nail in his brain.” And no, the vital message has nothing to do with any misplaced nail. Heck, X-ray all the bozos we elect year after year. I’m betting half of them at least have loose screws rattling around inside their cranial cavities. How else do you account for the ridiculous ways they waste our money? But getting back to our point …Dante Autullo, a 32-year-old Illinois man, was using a nail gun in his workshop when the device somehow went off on his noggin. … But as riveting as this not-so handyman’s ordeal is, here’s the real shocker. And I quote: “… he posted the X-ray on Facebook during his ambulance ride between hospitals for surgery.” My friends, the social media is a social disease/Doug Clark, SR. More here. (This photo provided by Christ Medical Center & Hope Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn,, Ill. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 shows an X-ray of a nail embedded in Dante Autullo's brain)

Question: Do any of your Facebook Friends go too far in sharing personal information?

County Valuation Board Likely Illegal

A state official revealed last week that it is likely illegal for Kootenai County commissioners to create an advisory board for property valuation appeals, which the officials have been pursuing as a time- and cost-saving measure. “The legal authority to assign property tax appeals to an advisory board is unclear, but under current statutes, I believe the procedure will not withstand a court challenge,” wrote Carol Olsson, deputy attorney general, in a letter to Rep. Frank Henderson, who had approached the office about the legality of the commissioners' idea. But the county is still going to create the new advisory board as planned, said Commissioner Jai Nelson, their legal staff holding ground that it is legal and will give taxpayers a fair say/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Is Kootenai County wise to go ahead with an advisory board for property valuation appeals that the attorney general's office considers illegal?

Giffords To Resign Congress Post

In this Jan. 8 AP file photo, U.S Rep. Gabrielle Giffords recites the “Pledge of Allegiance” alongside her husband Mark Kelly, right, Ron Barber, far right, and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, left, at the start of a vigil at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., on Sunday. The day marked the one year anniversary of the shootings at the Safeway in Tucson. Now, Giffords has announced that she will stepped down from her elected position to concentrate on her rehabilitation. Story here. (AP Photo/The Republic, David Wallace)

Question: Did Gabrielle Giffords make the right decision?

Penn State’s Joe Paterno, 85, RIP

For years, Penn State University game days meant long lines of cars and RVs bearing fans making pilgrimages from all corners of Pennsylvania to a school right in the middle of the state, and by extension, to coach Joe Paterno, the man long regarded as its center. The school's flagship campus, established in 1855 in the small town of State College and conceived as a place for farmers to receive a scientific education, sits in the state's geographic center. But its physical presence is also woven throughout Pennsylvania, with two dozen campuses scattered across the state. So Paterno's death from cancer on Sunday has created emotional ripples that have spread throughout the university's broad network of alumni, both within the state and far beyond/CBS News. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: What will be Joe Paterno's legacy?

Newt Upsets Mitt In South Carolina

Mitt Romney’s stunning loss in South Carolina was as broad-based as his win in the previous primary in New Hampshire, according to exit polls, raising new questions about his ability to reach a wide assortment of voters. And perhaps most troubling for Romney’s campaign is that Newt Gingrich, who came from behind to swamp Romney in the Palmetto State by more than 10 percentage points, received the most support from voters worried about the economy. Romney has built his message around his talents as a turnaround specialist. South Carolina is viewed as an extremely conservative state—and the conventional wisdom before Romney’s easy win in New Hampshire was that he would struggle there. But Gingrich, surprisingly, also won among independents Saturday/James Oliphant, Los Angeles Times. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Why didn't the revelations of Newt Gingrich's ex-wife affect the South Carolina GOP results?

Hucks: From Teacher To Dope Mag

Meghan Ridley had resigned as a special ed teacher in the Lakeland School District and was headed for doctoral studies at Gonzaga University when we visited with her almost a year ago. Now, she’s a writer with Dope Magazine, Seattle’s new medical marijuana journal. How do you go from a teacher of the year in Rathdrum to a medical pot advocate in the Emerald City? In two words? Tom Luna. The Idaho superintendent of schools chased the former teachers union rep from education with his so-called 2011 reform that values online experimentation more than hands-on teaching. Also, Ridley had an epiphany when she received more attention for a front-page, classroom photo in the Coeur d’Alene Press that showed a hint of cleavage than she had had as a teacher. After navel gazing, Ridley passed on Gonzaga to chase her passion, writing professionally/DFO, Huckleberries. More here.

Question: If you could follow your dream, what kind of work would you be doing?

Bennett: Confession

Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Weekend Wild Card — 1.21-22.12

This is the week of birthdays for my extended family — Mrs. O & Amy Dearest, brother Frito Ray, brother-in-law Uncle Tom, and twin brothers-in-law Christian & William. We're traipsing from house to house in Kootenai County, singing “Happy Birthday” and eating cake. 'Tis nice to have family near for milestone events. I hope you do. Now for your Weekend Wild Card …

Gonzaga 77, San Diego 60

Gonzaga guard David Stockton, center, gets screened, allowing San DIego's Cameron Miles, left, to drive past in the first half of WCC action tonight at the McCarthey Athletic Center at Gonzaga University. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

1 Dead In 6-Vehicle Crash Near Cocalalla

A six-vehicle crash on Highway 95 involving several semi trucks left one person dead this morning. The crash occurred about 8:40 a.m. near Cocolalla Creek, according to the Idaho State Police. James M. Mady, 49, of Creswell, Ore., was driving a semi truck when he was killed. Police say two were hospitalized after the chain-reaction crash: Zachary B. Henager, of Temple, Texas, who was driving a Mazda Coupe, and Richard D. Walston, 58, of Colville, who also was driving a semi truck. Mady’s semi trailer flipped onto its side and blocked all southbound lanes and the northbound passing lane. Henager was airlifted to Kootenai Medical Center and Walston was airlifted to Providence Holy Family Medical Center/Spokesman-Review. More here. And: Coeur d'Alene Press story

JohnA: Farewell To Rose Mary

Joe and Rosemary Peak were featured in the Shoshone News Press in 2008 for 30 years in operation at the Enaville Resort. Health issues caused the Peaks to close the Snake Pit earlier this month. Cancer claimed Rose Mary Friday.(SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

JohnA: Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe and his family tonight. There are very few ‘sainted’ women in the world. Rose Mary was truly one of them. She and Joe provided the world with three great kids, one of whom has blessed us as a Catholic priest. She helped Joe to maintain the tradition that was the Snake Pit, but more importantly made it a place for families, and that was something no one thought could happen to the venerable old joint. In the thirty years I knew her, I never heard her say one negative thing, not about anyone or anything. She remains to me the very essence of what it means to be a true servant of the Lord. I know she’s in a better place tonight, and the suffering has finally ended, but somehow that doesn’t replace the sadness that I feel.

Question: Do you know someone of whom you can say: S/he never says an unkind word?

Idaho Dad: Buying Into Home-Schooling

One morning, just last week, I was again thinking about our options for returning to public school when I had a sort of epiphany. For the first time, I asked my son what he wanted to do. His answer was clear and confident. “I want to continue homeschooling.” The door that I’d left open suddenly started to close. Actually, it was more of a slam. Just like that, I realized there was an option I hadn’t been considering. And it really is the best option. I mean, look at what we’re doing: one-on-one teaching, creative curriculum, independent learning. Who wants to argue against that?/Idaho Dad, A Family Runs Through It. More here.

Question: Have you considered home-schooling your children?

Hitchcock: Not The Rarity I Once Was

I used to think I was pretty unique. But not so much anymore. I am a twin. My identical brother looks enough like me that we have fooled people on occasion into thinking they were face-to-face with the other. How can an identical twin feel unique? Well, it so happens that I was born one minute before midnight, my brother following 15 minutes the other side. We have separate birthdays. A college professor once told me that he estimated that only 1 pair out of 1,500 had separate birthdays, making us rare indeed. But now after reading an Associated Press story, I'm feeling rather ordinary. In a story filed on Jan. 4, AP medical writer Mike Strobbel relayed “In 2009, 1 in every 30 babies born in the U.S. was a twin, an astounding increase over the 1 in 53 rate in 1980, according to a government report”/Jerry Hitchcock, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (AP file photo: Identical twins Kira, left and Kendra Ridgley, 3, share a multi-colored popsicle outside a Bayer's Road convenience store in west-end Halifax, Canada)

Question: Do you have any twins in your family?

LTHM: Get Rid Of NIC Cardinals, Too

LoveToHateMe: If Cougar is offensive, I think we must change the NIC Cardinals to something that’s not offensive. Sure, the cardinal is also a bird, but a cougar is primarily a cat. What we really have to consider is that not only does the mascot “cardinal” bring the-worst-of-all-things, religion into the public school, it also brings to mind the horrible things some Catholic clergy did to children that some cardinals covered for. Not only that, the historic Catholic church was responsible for some terrible conflicts that cost thousands of lives and helped deteriorate east/west relations over hundreds of years. Having a cardinal as NIC’s mascot is terribly offensive to anyone who has any regard for these victims, not to mention its obvious religious connotations which should not be allowed at a public school. (2007 AP file photo of Vatican cardinals)

Question: Which mascots, at any level of sports, do you consider the best & worst?

Bayview Float Homes Sinking

A recent winter storm is toppling float homes on Lake Pend Oreille. “They’re top heavy,” said Paul Celeri, office manager of the Scenic Bay Marina & Motel in Bayview, Idaho. “The problem is, is there’s not really a lot of building codes on the lake and so people think they can build these things how they want.” Unlike house boats, float homes do not have motors and are more or less stationary, and they are popular around the Scenic Bay portion of the lake. However, many of the two-story float homes have a boat shed underneath, Celeri said, which makes them less stable as snow and ice pile up on top. “A good amount of them started out as a standard boat shed and over the years, they would add on to them,” he said. … About three homes are tilting into the water, one seriously, he said/Chelsea Bannach, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever lived on the water?

Anderson: Newt’s Commitment

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

TGIF Wild Card — 1.20.12

I want to start TGIFriday w/a monster hat tip to the snowplow driver who pitied me enough last night (about 10:15) to take two extra swipes at my plowed in driveway. I was halfway through 90 minutes worth of shoveling out my driveway and sidewalks when he started up McFarland. Not only did the snowplow driver drop his gate when he passed my driveway, but he backed up twice to remove as much snow as he could from the front of it. I know he was tired from a full day of plowing. Which makes his good work for the city all that much more appreciated. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.20.12

Derrick Lonneker, right, tosses aside a part he removed from a downed power pole, as he works to repair a transmission line damaged by a falling tree near a substation earlier today in Olympia, Wash. Heavy layers of ice brought down trees and power lines across the Northwest Friday, following two days of snow and ice storms and crews will be busy through the weekend restoring power.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

End Notes: Now, 77 Seems Young

Today is my father's birthday. Joe Nappi would be 93 if he had lived this long. He died in January 1996, just a few weeks after turning 77. He had been ill with Alzheimer's for about seven years and in a care facility the last year or so, and we were all a lot younger 16 years ago, but my sisters and I were commenting today how young 77 now sounds to us. We thought my dad was so old when he died. But now that we six Nappi siblings are in our 50s, 60s and our oldest sis is 70 — 77 doesn't sound so old, after all/Rebecca Nappi, End Notes. More here.

Question: Does 77 seem old to you?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.20.12

  • 5:47 p.m. Officer reports onramp @ I-90 & H41/PF is extremely slick.
  • 5:37 p.m. Resident @ 5th & Ichabod/CdA reports 2 snowmobilers racing in street.5
  • 5:12 p.m. Resident in Winton School area is concerned re: children sledding on hills.
  • 4:58 p.m. Dalton Gardens resident calls animal control re: his dog attacking neighbor's chickens.
  • 4:57 p.m. Silver SUV hits guardrail on w/b I-90 @ M/P 11 (Northwest Boulevard/CdA).
  • 4:51 p.m. Black Suzuki rolled on 2/b I-90 @ M/P 22 (near Wolf Lodge Bay), went over guardrail, and down embankment. Now about 30 feet off road. Obvious injuries.
  • 4:31 p.m. 2 vehicles are disabled & occupied on I-90 on each side of Atlas/Huetter.
  • 4:19 p.m. DMV officials @ Government Way & Foster report wanted man in office.
  • 4:01 p.m. Dorothy on Putnam & Kidd Island/CdA reports company harassing her by phone.
  • 13 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link

PM: Cancer Claims Rose Mary Peak

Joe & Rose Mary Peak closed the doors to their popular Enaville Resort (Snake Pit) earlier this month, due to health problems that each of the co-owners were suffering. The Shoshone News-Press has announced that Rose Mary died earlier today.

Biz Watch: Hair Zoo Moves, Not Shut

  • First off I messed up one previous post a bit as it was reported to me wrong, The Hair Zoo in Post Falls is only moving and not completely closing.The Hair Zoo beginning in Feb will be in the same neighborhood but in The Whistle Stop Plaza at 2700 E. Seltice Way suite 3. My apology's to The Hair Zoo for the error.
  • Whispering Pines at Ivy Court is open and is transitional care center.The center offers 23 beds and is located in Coeur d’Alene at 2200 Ironwood Pl which would be in the same neighborhood as Kootenai Medical Center.
  • Adhara Tanning and Swimwear in Coeur d’Alene has closed,They had been on Coeur d’Alene Ave. near the Coeur d’Alene Athletic Club. More from Inland Northwest Business Watch here. And: here.
  • Also: Apartment market is expanding in Inland Northwest here

NIBlogs: Bayview Float Home Sinks

Top Post: Just moments ago, I witnessed a two story float home on A dock at Scenic Bay Marina. It was half underwater with the snow load. When the snow turns to rain or freezing rain as forecast, we are going to see several homes start to sink. The massive home owned by Eric Musson on A dock was starting to sink when it was caught. The owner, out of the area, was unable to help, but Friend, Mark Streater, saved the day, raking the snow off.It is going to get worse before it gets better. I couldn't get a picture, because I didn't  have my camera with me and I'm snowbound and on foot/Bay Views. More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, Jan. 20): 7960/4982

Car Thieves Are Handy Sometimes

In the Coeur d'Alene Press, local attorney Suzie Graham tells of a woman with car trouble accidentally locking her keys in her vehicle Thursday. According to the Press: The driver, Graham said, didn't jump for joy at the thought of a tow truck bill, but behind the officer drove up a Kootenai County Sheriff's deputy, with a gang of its labor program workers. “Don't any one of you guys know how to break into a car?” Graham asked the incarcerated, paroled or probationed workers. They did. One unscrewed the car's antenna and used it, like a coat hanger, to unlock the door by sliding it down the window. Presto. Full story here.

Question: Have you ever locked yourself out of your vehicle?

Bridgette: Thankful For Helping Hand

“Thanking God for the two strong strangers that helped me get unstuck this morning … I tried to pull in to the parking lot for Jazzercise … and didn't make it … they helped me get free, then I parked on the street — Bridgette Helstrom Lowry via Facebook.

Question: Has someone helped you out unexpectedly this snow week?

Ellington: A Difference Of 6 Years

Jonathan Wade Ellington and his girlfriend leave Kootenai County District Court during a break in the opening day of his murder trial on Thursday for a 2006 road rage incident. (SR photo: Meghann Cuniff)

DFO: SR buddy Meghann Cuniff is covering the retrial of Jonathan Wade Ellington in a 2006 road rage death on Scarcello Road in Twin Falls area. She provides a link to her Sirens & Gavels blog that shows the difference between Ellington now and during trial almost 6 years ago here.

9 Senators Wanted McGee To Quit

Nine Idaho senators, including Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said they were outvoted on last week's vote on retaining Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, (pictured) in his No. 4 position in the Senate Republican caucus. The nine, in a statement issued Friday, said they want to clarify how they voted. They said media reports of the vote to retain McGee “led many of our constituents to mistakenly conclude that all members of the Senate GOP caucus voted to affirm support for Sen. McGee. …” “Our constituents expect us to stand up for the convictions, principles and values we have said we represent and … our constituents deserve to be reassured that their confidence in us us not misplaced.” The signers of the statement, in addition to Winder, were Sens. Russ Fulcher, Dean Mortimer, Sheryl Nuxoll, Mitch Toryanski, Monty Pearce, Shirley McKague, Steve Vick and Lee Heider/Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: If you do the math, you'll notice that Steve Vick, R-Hayden Lake, was the only North Idaho senator who wanted John McGee to step down. What's up with the other 4 North Idaho senators?

Read more here:

Teaching ‘Em To Read

Callista Gingrich, wife of Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, reads during visit to Children's Hospital earlier today in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Question: Did an adult read to you when you were young? And/or do/did you read to your young children?

Semanko: Idaho Big, Early Prize

The following comment by Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko appeared on iSightonline: “On Super Tuesday, March 6th, the day of Idaho’s Republican Presidential Nomination Caucus, every county in the state will hold a County Caucus.  Instead of selecting Idaho’s nominee for the GOP presidential candidate at the polls in the May primaries, voters must show up to participate in their counties’ Caucuses.  Idaho has 32 delegates to send to the national convention.  That is more delegates than Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada.  Idaho will be a big, early prize for the winning Republican Presidential candidate, and we should expect to see candidates paying more attention to Idaho Republican voters.” More here.

Question: Do you agree with Chairman Semanko that Idaho is a big, early prize in the GOP presidential race?

DM: Key Senators Want McGee Out

I just NOW heard from some friends at the capitol that there is a move by certain key GOP Senators to ask John McGee to step down from his GOP Caucus leadership position. Like within the last little bit, my insiders tell me. “C'mon John, do the right thing, for a change,” seems to be their request. If this is accurate and Mr. McGee cannot or will not listen to those who CLEARLY are being impacted by his continued and blind self-focus, then either his “vision” must be altered or he risks a brand new name: Mr. Magoo/Dennis Mansfield. More here. (Wikipedia photo of Mr. Magoo)

Question: Anyone out there remember Mr. Magoo?

Boss Denney Can’t Fire Redistricter

Redistricting commissioners can't be removed by those who appointed them, according to an Idaho Attorney General's opinion issued today in response to an inquiry from Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa. “No mechanism exists for the removal of a Commissioner once appointed,” Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane wrote in the opinion. “A vacancy can occur if a Commissioner resigns.” You can read the full opinion here. The question comes up because House Speaker Lawerence Denney said yesterday he wants to fire commission GOP Co-Chair Dolores Crow of Nampa (pictured), whom he appointed to the panel/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Isn't it nice that Boss Denney & Co. aren't above Idaho law … yet?

Edit: Primary Move To August Wrong

Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman pulls the curtain back on the attempt by state Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, to move the primary election to August: “Don’t think for a minute that this has been proposed in the interest of good public policy. This is a cynical ploy. Self-preservation is usually a top-of-mind matter for politicians — and this is a particularly brazen example. Truth is, some lawmakers don’t like filing for re-election in late February or early March. After all, they are in Boise in the midst of a legislative session, while primary challengers can get the jump on campaigning. This timetable works best for voters, though, because it allows them to vote in a primary before the start of summer vacation season (and, while the actions and inactions of the most recent legislative session are fresh in their minds).” More here. (Joe Jaszewski Statesman photo of Rep. Tom Loertscher at today's anti-Occupy Boise hearing)

Question: Richert adds that a summer primary will further depress voter turnout, favoring the ideological few who will vote come hell or high water. Which a closed primary system also does. Do you get the impression that hardline Republicans want to ensure that only ideologically “pure” partisans are elected?

Noon: Upload Site Wants Assets Back

The Internet website, shut down by authorities over allegations that it illegally peddled copyrighted material, is trying to recover its servers and get back online, a lawyer for the company said on Friday. The company and seven of its executives were charged in a 5-count, 72-page indictment unsealed on Thursday accusing them of engaging in a wide-ranging and lucrative scheme to offer material online without compensating the copyright holders. Authorities in New Zealand arrested four of those charged, including one of its founders, who legally changed his name to Kim Dotcom/Reuters. More here. (AP photo: The homepage of the website

Also: Congress puts anti-piracy bill on backburner amidst uproar/Fox News

Question: Do you expect more government/police efforts to rein in the Internet?

Legislators, Occupy Boise Face Off

Shavone Hasse of Parma is removed from the podium by Idaho State Trooper Ben Comorosky after Haase's testimony was cut-off by House State Affairs Committee chairman Thomas Leortscher, who deemed it a personal attack on Friday in Boise. Occupy Boise supporters came to the Legislature to protest a ban on their encampment, which has been erected on state land near the Capitol since November.  Republican House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke told the House State Affairs Committee that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1984 that forbidding tents on the federal Capitol Mall didn't violate free-speech rights. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Joe Jaszewski)

Eye On Boise coverage of Occupy Boise hearing:

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.20.12

  • 11:49 a.m. Woman reports that neighbor is threatening to shoot husband who is plowing roadway @ Fox Haven & Valhalla/CdA. They have a history of bad blood over an easement. (Update: Husband reports hearing shots. Officer recommends woman & husband stay in house.)
  • 11:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 19-20 here.
  • 11:31 a.m. Caller wants to talk to a Coeur d'Alene officer re: possible adultery.
  • 11:28 a.m. Patient coming out of anesthesia @ Post Falls dentist office suffers chest pain.
  • 11:20 a.m. 102YO female injured in fall in Post Falls.
  • 9 more items below

MrD: Kids Did Well In CdA Schools

Mr. D: People are always eager to share their complaints but so few to offer compliments. My kids got an excellent education in CDA, both have gotten their BS degrees from Idaho colleges, and one is currently getting their MA and one will start an MA program in the fall. Both are employed. We made education a priority and took advantage of everything CDA had to offer. Those that complain seem to have no kids or kids who failed in the system for whatever reason. I also have an MA plus many credits and graduated for an Idaho school. It’s all about priorities. The teachers do extremely well considering the lack of support from out local legislators - who I hope are defeated in the next election. (Kathy Plonka SR file photo of Coeur d'Alene school children)

Question: Did you children receive a good education in local schools?

AmyY: CdA Snowplowing Tops

AmyY: I too think we have some of the best plowers/snow plan in the country. I have noticed however, you are more likely to have less of a berm at your driveway if you’ve made an effort to shovel/plow it before the plows arrive. In my neighborhood if a driveway hadn’t been touched, there was no courtesy dropping of the gate. I kinda get that but what about single parents/disabled folks who have a hard time getting out to shovel? Otherwise - keep up the good work CdA! (Jesse Tinsley SR file photo: A snowplow works its way down C St. in Coeur d'Alene last February)

Question: Are you happy/unhappy with snowplowing in your North Idaho/Spokane community?

Utah School Fears ‘Cougars’ Offensive

A Utah school district decided not to select a cougar as the mascot of a new high school partly because school officials and some parents believed the word is disrespectful to women. Students in the Canyons School District named the cougar their top choice to become the mascot of the new Corner Canyon High School. The school is expected to open in 2013. However, district officials overrode the student vote after complaints that that the word “cougar” is offensive and derogatory towards women/Todd Starnes, Fox News. More here.

Question: Do you think Washington State should change its mascot, so it doesn't offend women?

Hucks Poll: No To August Primary

  • Thursday Poll: 48 of 87 respondents (55.17%) said they don't want to see political primaries moved to August this year, despite Idaho Supreme Court decision this week outlawing latest redistricting plan. 32 of 87 (36.78%) said they don't mind moving the primary election to August. 7 (8.05%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Which group of squatters hanging out in or near the Idaho Capitol this winter concerns you most — Idaho Legislature, Idaho press corps, or Occupy Boise?

AM: Mine Families Coping w/Closure

“I would prefer to stay here,” said Mark Miller, of Kingston, Idaho, along with his wife, Heidi, and their baby daughter, Naomi, during a job fair at Wallace Junior/Senior High School on Thursday. Miller works in Lucky Friday Mine’s milling operation. Becky Kramer/SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Singer Etta James, 73, RIP

n this April 29, 2006 photo, Etta James performs during the 2006 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. James, the feisty rhythm and blues singer whose raw, passionate vocals anchored many hits and made the yearning ballad “At Last” an enduring anthem for weddings, commercials and even President Barack Obama, died today. She was 73. James had been suffering from dementia and kidney problems, and was battling leukemia. In December, her physician announced that her leukemia was terminal. CNN story here. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)

Question: Any thoughts re: the passing of singing legend Etta James? And/or: When did you last hear “At Last” sung at a wedding?

Risch’s Online Come-To-Jesus Ordeal

U.S. Sen. Jim Risch is having second thoughts re: co-sponsoring online piracy legislation, after the tidal wave of opposition hit Washington, D.C., this week. opinionator Kevin Richert/Statesman tracks Risch's back-tracking: “I can see Risch’s bind. As an attorney by trade, the idea of protecting intellectual property must carry some basic law-and-order appeal. It’s also a sensitive spot for this newspaper and our parent company, as more of our readership migrates to online platforms — where readership is easy to track, yet harder to monetize. Still, I can’t help but think that Risch’s Internet unsavviness came back to bite him on this one. If you don’t use the Internet — if that behavior isn’t wired into your routine — it’s tough to be sensitive to people who fear that SOPA and PIPA would stop the free flow of information online. I wouldn’t call him Risch 2.0, but the senator has become a bit more plugged in over recent years. He has told Spokane Spokesman-Review blogger D.F. Oliveria that he now reads some blogs — including mine.” More here.

Question: Do you want your elected officials to be tech savvy?

Read more here:

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Edit: Idaho Should Quit Liquor Biz

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has taken his familiar stand on government control of liquor. The Libertarian-leaning chief executive has again put his foot down against talk of the state getting out of the liquor business. Otter has been adamant in his stand on the matter - the state has a vested interest in maintaining its control of how intoxicating spirits are distributed and sold in Idaho. We respectfully disagree and, as we have opined in the past, would like to see liquor sales handled by private industry. It works well for 32 states, and there's no reason it can't in Idaho/Murf Raquet, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (SR file photo — Idaho state liquor store in Post Falls)

Question: Is it time for Idaho to follow Washington's lead and get out of the liquor business?

Edit: Solons Pitch A Fit About Tents

RE: Committee introduces new anti-Occupy bill/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise

It's comforting to see the 2012 Idaho Legislature gearing up to tackle the most important issues first this legislative session. It could have been funding for Idaho's public schools and universities, gearing up for mandated federal insurance exchanges or even debating the merits of Gov. Otter's IGEM program. Instead it's anti-camping legislation. Specifically, it's legislation that would force those pesky Occupy Movement folks off state land in front of the old Ada County Courthouse. Apparently the state doesn't have an anti-camping law. Upset at looking at the symbolic tents of a handful of protesters, state solons are springing into action/Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. More here. (AP file photo: Daniel Grad works on a computer while waiting for his socks to dry in a dedicated medical tent at the Occupy Boise encampment)

Question: Why are Idaho legislators rushing to evict Occupy campers, when there are so many more important issues facing them?

Edit: No Silver Lining In Mine Closure

Federal closure of Hecla's Lucky Friday silver mine in Mullan is devastating for the Silver Valley economy. And don't think for a minute that the pain won't be felt here in Kootenai County. While state officials have estimated the negative economic impact for the Valley at $13 million, a figure used by Hecla CEO Phil Baker better illustrates the severity of the blow to North Idaho. Baker says that the loss will do more than cost some 300 workers their jobs; Hecla will reduce its expenditures for the mine from about $100 million last year to $20 million this year. That's an $80 million kick to the economy's gut, much of it right here in North Idaho/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here. (SR file photo of Lucky Friday Mine)

Question: Do you understand the economic impact the Silver Valley mining district has on the region?

APhoto Of The Day — 1.20.12

The Utah Utes cheerleaders perform during a time out in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona Thursday in Salt Lake City. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Colin E Braley)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Confused when they heard South Carolina was a ‘toss up’, future wives #4 audition anyway in an event called ‘Root for Newt’ — JohnA.
  • 2. “And the Lady Utes do their impression of the 4-14 Runnin’ Utes Mens Basketball Team after they kicked off their leading Scorer earlier in the week” — SmittyK.
  • 3. A college boys dream: girls falling like pennies from heaven — Phaedrus.
  • HM: Fort Boise

Letter: Kids Come First, Not Koler

In regard to your Sunday Editorial and Mr. Koler's “rant,” thank you for recognizing his misplaced fear of socialism and touching on the need to help the children of our community anyway possible. It would have been more poignant to thank School District 271 for what they are doing despite current budget restrictions. Then “implore” the community to show support verbally and at the polls for a school district that stresses educational success and shows compassion for the children in their care/Nancy Heffter, letter to the editor, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do local school districts to a good job serving the area's kids despite budget restrictions and diehard critics?

Boss Denney Miffed At Redistricter

Republican House Speaker Lawerence Denney may fire his appointee to Idaho's redistricting commission, former GOP state Rep. Dolores Crow, because party members don't think she protected their interests. That's after Idaho Supreme Court justices threw out the new political boundaries Wednesday. On Thursday afternoon, Denney told the Associated Press that GOP legislators are angry and believe Crow and other Republican commissioners in October backed a plan that's too generous to minority Democrats. They want commissioners who will support a map more favorable to Republicans. Denney says he'd prefer Crow to resign, not force him to fire her/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Obviously, supermajority Republicans believe that the best redistricting plan is one that favors them. Do you agree that what's best for Idaho Republicans is best for Idaho overall?

Survey: 61% OK w/Easton Swap

Item: Scout survey: Majority OK with swap: Results will guide council's decision on Camp Easton/Alecia Warren, CdA Press

More Info: The written results are posted online at under Council Camps, as well as a 52-page report replete with charts and graphs mapping out the response percentages. “We've provided every comment made, with no editing of any kind,” McCandless said. “We wanted to put it out there, and let people read it for themselves.” To the survey's chief question, asking whether folks want the INC board to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with Discovery and give up the current property for a new camp, 61 percent were in favor and 39 percent opposed.

Question: Do you agree with the survey results?

Heller: Not King Of The World

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

WSU Upsets Pac-12 Leader Stanford

Washington State guard Faisal Aden (11) drives the baseline for a layup against Stanford forward Josh Huestis (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday in Pullman. (AP Photo/Dean Hare)

Few spectators braved the elements to watch Washington State host Stanford at Beasley Coliseum on Thursday – just 3,119 of them, to be exact. Faisal Aden showed up, though. The senior guard scored a career-high 33 points – 23 of them during a second-half onslaught that allowed the Cougars to overcome a 13-point deficit – to lead WSU to its first Pac-12 win since Dec. 29, an 81-69 upset over the conference-leading Cardinal. “That’s what we saw when we recruited him,” coach Ken Bone said/SR. More here. And: boxscore here.

Wild Card/Thursday — 1.19.12

I'm headed home to watch Gonzaga host San Francisco at The Kennel and then, maybe, Brad Pitt in “Moneyball.” I read the book. And now am curious to see how it plays out on film. Also might finish “The Help.” Saw the movie first. Enjoying both movie & book in this instance. You can report on what you're reading or continue to use this Wild Card to discuss any topic you want …

Parting Shot — 1.19.12

Nearly eight months after an EF-5 tornado killed 161 people here, workers are silhouetted as they rebuild a home in Joplin, Mo., earlier today. The city has issued nearly 4,000 building permits to homeowners since the tornado hit on May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Toastmasters To Offer Workshops

Brooks Sackett, dressed in a coat and tie, greeted every person by name at the Spokane Uptowners Toastmasters Club on a recent Tuesday. As the official greeter, he helped people relax. The more relaxed, the better the speech. But Toastmasters isn’t just about speechmaking. To understand the organization’s wider scope, Toastmasters is doing a blitz of free Inland Northwest workshops starting Monday. Toastmasters International, founded in 1924, boasts more than 270,000 members in 13,000 clubs in 116 countries. There are about two dozen clubs in Eastern Washington and North Idaho/Rebecca Nappi, SR. More here. (Colin Mulvany SR photo: Korey Johnson of the Spokane Uptowners Toastmasters Club gives his first “icebreaker” talk)

Question: When did you last give a public speech? And/or: Does public speaking make you nervous?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.19.12

  • 5:24 p.m. Woman reports stranger banging on door, ringing bell in 200 block of Harbor Park/PF.
  • 5:08 p.m. Seasons/Rathdrum area man reports someone has slashed his Jeep's tires.
  • 4:58 p.m. Traff