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Archive for October 2012

Halloween Wild Card — 10.31.12

At the close of their morning ESPN1080-AM show today, “Joe in the Morning” Paisley and Kerri Thoreson engaged in a brief conversation re: scary movies. Joe likes them. Kerri doesn't. Kerri doesn't like to be scared. How about you? Do you like to be scared. Do you watch scary movies? You can answer that question or start your own thread with this Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 10.31.12

Here's what downtown Coeur d'Alene looked like at 5:30 this morning when Kerri Thoreson reported for work at ESPN1080-AM. Kerri posted it on her Facebook wall.

Purtee Resigns From School Board

School Board Trustee Jim Purtee submitted his resignation from the school board today citing a need to reduce his commitments and focus on current health issues, according to a news release circulated by Laura Rumpler for the Coeur d'Alene School District. Trustee Purtee notified Chairman Tom Hamilton that his resignation is effective Nov. 15. “I thanked Trustee Purtee for his service and want to honor his decision to step down due to health reasons,” stated Chair Hamilton.  “Being a school board member takes a large commitment of time and is stressful and Jim needs to dedicate his energy elsewhere.  I am aware of the health issues that Trustee Purtee is facing and can say that in the same circumstance, I would make the same decision.” More here.


PM Scanner Traffic — 10.31.12

  • 5:53 p.m. Possible wildland fire reported @ Mathison & Hauser Lake Road. Trees on fire.
  • 5:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Oct. 30-31 here.
  • 5:09 p.m. Undisclosed traffic hazard reported @ H95 & Boekel/Hayden.
  • 5:01 p.m. Undisclosed theft reported by resident @ H41 & Wyoming/Rathdrum.
  • 4:39 p.m. 40ish drunk w/open container acting disorderly @ KKJ's Pizza, 29777 H95/Athol.
  • 4:37 p.m. Loose dog running e/b in w/b lanes of I-90/MP14 (15th Street/CdA).
  • 4:36 p.m. Someone is suffering chest pain at Coeur d'Alene Casino/Worley.
  • 4:34 p.m. A semi truck is stopped on e/b I-90/MP 14.7 (15th/CdA), w/trailer blocking slow lane.
  • 14 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

SR Blogs: A Clown Walks Into A Bar

Tricia Jo Webster/Dually Noted (above) posts: “Because I am super good at oversharing, I'll assume you're already familiar with my abhorrence of clowns. I'll assume you know that clowns are, since the day I saw Poltergeist at the North Division Cinema, the stuff of my nightmares.” More here. You can read more posts by Dually Noted blog duo Tricia Jo Webster and Dan Webster in the links below.

Other blogs:

Question: Do clowns scare/delight you?

PM Headlines — 10.31.12

Two-year-old Samantha Hudson takes her classmate Grier Scott for a ride across campus during the annual Halloween trick-or-treating event at North Idaho College today. Children from the NIC Children’s Center, the college’s learning laboratory for child development students, trick-or-treat departments and offices across campus each Halloween. (NIC Press Room photo: Tom Greene)

WSU Student Drank 5X Legal Limit

Family members of a Washington State University student who died last weekend said Wednesday that Kenneth Hummel died from a lethal concoction of caffeinated energy drinks and alcohol. Hummel, 18, of Lynnwood, was found unresponsive Saturday morning in a dorm room at Stephenson Hall. Police say they received a call around 2:30 a.m. Saturday from students in saying he was unconscious and they were performing CPR. He died later in the day at Pullman Regional Hospital. Earlier in the semester Hummel had received a citation for minor in possession and was drinking hard alcohol the night he died. The coroner's report indicated Hummel's blood alcohol level was .40, five times the legal limit for driving in Washington State/Rob Kauder, Internet Content Manager, KXLY. More here. (Photo courtesy of KXLY)

Question: Do you worry that your child(ren) will drink too much at college?

Hamilton: City Didn’t Ask For Time

Responding to Coeur d'Alene Press story reporting that Central Bark, the dog park in the Northshire subdivision area (Atlas & Nez Perce), is for sale along with adjacent Coeur d'Alene School District property, School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton commented:”

It should be noted that Superintendent Bauman, myself and Trustee Seddon all attended and spoke at the City Council meeting where Person Field was discussed. A number of representatives from the city were also there and although it was noted several times that the Northshire property was also be disposed of by the district, no one from the city spoke of any interest in that property. Mr. Wardell is exactly correct in his statement that had the City Council asked for time to consider Northshire (as they did with Person Field) the Board more than likely would have seen fit to honor that request.

Question: Should the School Board back off & give the city of Coeur d'Alene time to also purchase the 1.8 acres that contains the Central Bark dog park?

Trying To Recover From Sandy

Kim Johnson looks over the destruction near her seaside apartment in Atlantic City, N.J., Tuesday. The storm, which made landfall Monday evening, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Huckleberries reader Jim Faucher writes of conditions in Hoboken, NY, where his nephew lives:

My nephew and his wife live in Hoboken and here is what their life has been like the past two days. Their home does have power and is not underwater, so last night they had dinner for 40 people and their place became a “charging station” for laptops and cell phones. My nephew John's wife, Amy, went to go get some groceries this morning in a town north of Hoboken. She went into a store which then lost its power and everyone had to leave. She did get groceries in another store and when was stopped at a checkpoint when she went back into Hoboken and had to provide ID to show she lived there—right now there is only one way to get in or out of town.” More below.

Question: Have you heard from friends or loved ones living in areas hit by Hurricane Sandy? Any stories to share?

McEuen: City Hall Lots Nearly Done

Spokesman Keith Erickson of Lake City Development Corp. reports: Paving of the City Hall parking lots should be complete this week with striping on the upper east lot to follow over the weekend, Team McEuen officials said during an update today. Striping of the east lot will occur on Saturday, weather permitting. A portion of the lot, off Eighth Street, will open on Monday. Initially, 40-50 parking spots will be available with spaces increasing as work progresses. Project managers said they expect to shut down work for the winter around the third week of November. By then, both City Hall parking lots will be complete and open to the public, as well as the new portion of the Centennial Trail through McEuen Park. Officials emphasized progress is weather-dependent. Click on the LCDC tile in upper lefthand corner of Huckleberries Online to see latest view of McEuen work.

NY Mayor Gave $200K For Luna Laws

Education Voters of Idaho, acting under a judge's order, filed its campaign finance disclosure report this afternoon, revealing the until-now anonymous donors to the group's statewide TV ad campaign in favor of Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the school reform measures. Among them: $200,000 from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (pictured), and $250,000 from Boise's Joseph B. Scott. Michael Bloomberg is the third-term mayor of New York, an independent, a former Republican and former Democrat, and one of the nation's richest men. He is pro-choice, pro-gun control, and made national waves this year with his move to ban the sale of sugary soft drinks in servings bigger than 16 ounces on public health grounds. He's clashed with the city's public employee unions, including during a transit workers strike in 2005, and as mayor took direct control over the city's public schools, where he's pushed for reforms/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (AP photo)

Question: What the heck is a New York mayor doing by doughnating $200K to an Idaho education fight?

Streamline Group Raises $26,458

Attorney Arthur Macomber whispers something to Kootenai County Commissioner Dan Green during a meeting to discuss the proposed county government changes on next Tuesday's ballot last night at the Coeur d'Alene Library community room. The event was sponsored by the county GOP Central Committee, which is on record as opposed to the suggested changes. (Duane Rasmussen photo special for Huckleberries Online)

Streamline Kootenai County, the group behind the proposed changes to Kootenai County government, has raised $26,458 to date, according to its 7-day, pre-election campaign finance report. The organization has spent $13,890 and has $12,568 on hand for the final push to pass the controversial measure. Among those contributing $500 to Streamline Kootenai County in the latest filing period are: Dean Haagenson, Ron Nilson, Eve Knudtsen, Brad Dugdale, Michael Bendig, Jim Eises, Glacier Partners and Chapman Financial Services. Other significant contributors are Paul Anderson, Jack Beebe, Sue & Tom Thilo, Mike Patano. Gordon Longwell, Bruce Cyr, Wanda Quinn, Jim Elder, Pepper Smock, Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty and Lake City Ford Lincoln. You can see the full report here. And: Oct. 10 report here. (Inset photo from Streamline Kootenai County Web site)

  • Also: Assessor Mike McDowell and Treasurer Tom Malzahn contributed $150 apiece to the $585 raised by Citizens for Common Sense, the organization opposed to government change. Report here.

Question: Definitely appears as though the Coeur d'Alene business community pushing this. What do you think?

Waiting For Pro Luna Backers Reveal

Idaho political watchers are awaiting the big reveal today — when a secretive group, under a court order, reveals the source of more than $200,000 it collected to underwrite statewide TV ads in favor of Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the school reform measures. The rumor mill is going wild, but nothing's been filed yet. A judge has ordered Education Voters of Idaho to file its disclosure report with the Idaho Secretary of State's office by 3 p.m./Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Nonini Donates To GOP Senate PAC

Remember the mischief in the primaries with Republicans donating against Republicans?** It looks like some of the players are trying to make amends. Rep. Bob Nonini's PAC, Idaho Association for Good Government, donated $1,500 to the Senate Republican PAC, according to a report filed with the Secretary of State.  Will it be enough to repair the rift? Earlier this month, Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill told Betsy Russell that if Nonini wins his Senate race, disciplinary actions aren't off the table. On Wednesday, Hill said the donation wasn't solicited, and he hadn't discussed the donation with Nonini/Melissa Davlin, Capitol Confidential, Twin Falls Times News. More here.

  • How about a song dedication — from Idaho Senate GOP to Rep. Nonini: “Can't Buy Me Love” by The Beatles.

Question: Will Nonini be able to buy an indulgence from Senate GOP leaders for $1500?

Renter Beware Of True Laptop Cost

When Gov. Butch Otter and state superintendent Tom Luna announced the state’s Students Come First laptop deal, they wanted you to take away this one number: $292.77. That was the per-unit cost announced last week — and, at first blush, it sounds like the state got a bargain. But the fine print tells another story. The details were unearthed Tuesday by the Spokane Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russell, who obtained a copy of the state’s contract with Hewlett-Packard under the state’s public records act. First, you need to keep in mind that this is an annual per-unit cost. The computers for high school students and teachers will be replaced on a four-year cycle, pushing the four-year per unit cost to $1,171.08/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Curiouser and Curiouser?

Read more here:

Spencer Endorses Dan English

Conservative gadfly Larry Spencer wrote this in a letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press today:

I have a confession to make. For the first time in my life, I have voted for a Democrat, and I am asking my fellow Republicans to join me. As a staunchly conservative Republican who received 32 percent of the vote in this spring's Republican Primary election for county commissioner, I believe that my reasons are solid and will advance Republican values and principles. In the Idaho House of Representatives, a Democrat really can't do harm, because there are so few of them that their votes are inconsequential. The candidats that can harm conservative goals are the candidates who pretend to be Republicans but aren't. More below.


Sign Of The Times — 10.31.12

On his Facebook wall, Sam posts that he saw this bumpersnicker at Costco on Neider/CdA this morning — and thought it was appropriate for the season. What do you think?

Cindy: Worst Halloween Candy?

On her Facebook wall, Cindy asks: “Worst Halloween candy: Dots, suckers and “fruit” flavored tootsie rolls.What say you?” I posted my objections to Cindy's list. Dots are a wunnerful candy (except for the green ones). How about you?

Question: Which Halloween candy would you consider to be the worst?

Scary Movies & Thou

One of my Facebook Friends considers “The Shining” to be the scariest movie she's ever seen. She says that she always looks in the corners of her hotel rooms as a result of seeing the movie, starring Jack Nicholson as “jack Torrance.” I enjoyed the movie and the book. I'm not much of a scary movie fan. But I've seen several of them. How about you? (Warner Brothers/AP photo)

Question: What movie do you consider to be the scariest that you've seen? Why do you consider it the scariest?

AM Scanner Traffic — 10.31.12

  • 11:39 a.m. Affordable Poles, near Dakota/Hayden, reports undisclosed theft.
  • 11:36 p.m. Driver of black Isuzu Rodeo reports vehicle hit by debris when logging truck blew tire @ H54/Ramsey, Athol. And that trucker drove off on bad tire after initially stopping.
  • 11:19 p.m. Frederick Post Elementary/PF official reports possible child abuse.
  • 11:09 a.m. Driver reports vehicle almost hit twice by possible DUI on H41 passing Abbey Carpet/PF.
  • 10:45 a.m. 71YO male may be suffering stroke on Hudlow Road/PF.
  • 10:21 a.m. Allen is in KCSD lobby to report possible check fraud.
  • 10:03 a.m. Amy is in the KCSD lobby to report non-injury accident that occurred Monday.
  • 9:54 a.m. CPD Blue en route to handle possible motorcycle theft, faces language barrier.'
  • 9:44 a.m. Resident of 7th & Linden/CdA suspects late-20s male w/backpack in neighborhood is possible burglar. The male wouldn't answer questions when resident confronted him.
  • 9:18 a.m. Possible suicide following crash of blue van and white pickup @ Meyer & Boekel/Rathdrum. Male reportedly lying face down on road after shooting himself. Meyer is shut down south of Lancaster.
  • 8:50 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Fire Department station No. 3 reports unconscious person at station.
  • 8:32 a.m. Psychologically upset male threatening to kill people in 9900 block of Maple/Hayden.

Poll: Majority Foresee Obama Win

A majority believe President Obama will defeat Mitt Romney and secure a second term in the White House, a Gallup poll found Wednesday. According to the survey, 54 percent said they thought Obama would win, 34 percent believe Romney will win, and 11 percent had no opinion. Those numbers have been fairly stable throughout the cycle, with Obama peaking in late August at 58 to 36 over Romney/Jonathan Easley, The Hill. More here.

Question: Who do you think will win (as opposed to who do you want to win)?

Mother Of Stranded Boys Arrested

The woman arrested on Tuesday night after she allegedly abandoned her two young sons, ages 6 and 3, along Interstate 90 in Post Falls faces felony charges from Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office. Shannon M. Germanton, 27, also known Shannon Duval, is currently in custody at Spokane County Jail where she awaits extradition to Idaho for two felony charges of injury to a child with a warrant bond set at $50,000. An anonymous tip to Spokane County Sheriff’s Office directed law enforcement to Spokane Valley where she was arrested by Spokane County deputies on a misdemeanor warrant for negligent driving. Her children were found on Tuesday morning at a construction site near the Beck Road interchange around 9 a.m. The boys told deputies their mother ran out of gas and went for help/SR. More here.


Ex-Press Editor Cecil, 74, RIP

I'm posting this obituary from the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Mont., because this is the man responsible for bringing me to the Inland Northwest. Cecil, then executive editor for the Coeur d'Alene Press/Hagadone Newspapers, hired me as news editor of the Daily Inter Lake in summer 1977. Brilliant journalist/editor.

George Wallace Cecil, executive editor of the Daily Inter Lake from the late 1970s to 1980, died Sunday in Kalispell after a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 74. Cecil had a long and accomplished career in journalism as both a reporter and editor. He had been employed at the Coeur d’Alene Press as executive editor from the late 1960s to early ’70s and then worked in the same position at the Elizabeth Daily Journal in Elizabeth, N.J., prior to coming to the Inter Lake. All three papers were owned by the Hagadone Corporation at the time/Carol Marino, Daily Inter Lake. More here.

Question: Anyone remember George Cecil from his time in Coeur d'Alene?

Help HBO Help College Researcher

Austin Cope, a student at Oberlin College in northern Ohio, is writing a research paper “that predicts the election result and determinants in a specific state.” He writes to Huckleberries Online: “I'm trying to get perspectives from people in Idaho about what factors will determine Idaho's electoral vote. I thought that as a journalist covering the election in Idaho, you would be a great person to help.” Here's the questions Austin asks:

  • Do you think the margin of victory for Romney (I'm assuming Romney will win— it would be crazy if he didn't) will be bigger in Idaho this year than the margin for McCain? Why?
  • What do you think will be the bigger draw to the polls for Idaho voters: the question over Propositions 1, 2, and 3, or the presidential election?
  • Do Idaho voters generally vote because of specific issues, or because of party loyalty? What might some specific issues be that Idaho voters feel strongly about?

DFO: Feel free to weigh in. I'll send your responses to him, as well as my own.

AM Headlines — 10.31.12

Molly, a chocolate lab puppy, runs through the grass Tuesday at Central Bark dog park in Coeur d'Alene. Story below. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

Meyer Leads NIC Trustee $$$ Raising

Incumbent Judy Meyer outraised challenger Paul Matthews in one North Idaho College trustee race and incumbent Mic Armon and challenger Paul Matthews were fairly even in the fund-raising in another race, according to the seven-day, pre-election campaign finance reports. Meyer (report here) has raised $6,356 to defend her seat on the NIC board, while challenger Matthews (report here) has raised $3987. In the second race involving an incumbent, challenger Todd Banducci (report here) has raised $5329, while incumbent Mic Armon (report here) has raised $5007. Matthews and Banducci are also aided by the considerable fund-raising of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, who have spent $30,402 so far this year to support a slate of candidates at county, legislative and nonpartisan levels.

  • Also: As reported Tuesday, Ron Nilson, owner of Ground Force, has raised $12,500, including a personal loan of $4539, in his six-way race for an open NIC trustee seat. Former legislator Dean Haagenson, his chief competition, still hasn't turned in his finance report. You can read the breakdown of Nilson's report and 4 others turned in here.
  • Also: Dean Haagenson, a candidate for the open seat, has turned in his finance report, showing he raised $1325, including $750 of his own money. You can see it here.

Question: Find anything of interest in the financial statements?

Chili Cookoff: Fireman Vs. Librarians

Sarah Sherwood, dressed as Lucille Ball, shows off her five-bean chili during a United Way benefit at Hotstart in Spokane. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

On a recent Saturday, patrons at the North Spokane Library checked out more than books. A smoky, spicy aroma wafted all the way out into the parking lot courtesy of the first Firefighters vs. Librarians Chili Cook-off. Spokane County District 9 firefighters and Spokane County librarians went head-to-head in a taste challenge to see who makes the most mouth-watering chili. Librarian Ellen Peters heard about a similar competition while attending a library conference. “I thought it would be fun for our community members and give us a chance to partner with another local agency,” she said/Cindy Hval, SR. More here.

Question: Are you a decent chili cook?

Expert: Idaho Laptop Deal ‘Complex’

I spoke last night with Leslie Fiering, research vice president for Gartner Inc., a leading market research and advisory firm focusing on the information technology industry and a recognized expert in major IT acquisitions, about Idaho's $182 million laptop contract. She said lease deals are not uncommon, and said she couldn't say if it's a good deal or not for the state. “It's a really complex deal,” she said. But she pointed to a plus for the state: “They have a built-in refresh,” meaning the deal automatically calls for the laptops to be replaced every four years/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.


Solon’s Son Shoots Wife In Butt

Authorities in eastern Idaho say the son of a Democratic state lawmaker shot his wife accidentally with a rifle following a day of hunting. The Idaho Falls Post-Register reports that 31-year-old Ian Malepeai and his wife, Hailey Hodges, of Irwin, had been hunting Monday. Malepeai is one of three children of Idaho Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai of Pocatello, who is retiring from the Idaho Legislature this year/KREM. More here.

Question: How do you kiss and make up after this one?

Dog Park Days May Be Numbered

Lost in the hubbub re: the Coeur d'Alene School Board's decision to sell excess property, including Person Field, is the implication the move has for Central Bark, the dog park in the Northshire area. In the Coeur d'Alene Press today, Bob Macdonald, the chairman of the Kootenai County Dog Park Association, laments that the popular 1.8-acre dog park is included in the 10-acre piece of Coeur d'Alene School District property that will be placed for sale among the excess property. Central Bark is located at Atlas and Nez Perce roads. Macdonald said: “I'm certainly disappointed. That's one of the most popular dog parks we have.” The city of Coeur d'Alene also has a dog park on Cherry Hill.


Portland Amateur 3rd At Poker Event

Jake Balsiger, left, reacts as Greg Merson pulls in the pot after snap folding on an all in bet by Merson during the World Series of Poker Final Table event, Tuesday in Las Vegas. Balsiger, a 24-year-old Portland, Ore., native, won $3.8 million for finishing third in the tournament, the best finish by an amateur. Merson won the event. More here. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Question: Do you have a poker face?

Online Press Now Subscriber Only?

OrangeTV: “I was curious about this so I called the Press and was told this is all due to a “computer glitch” and they will have it back to normal shortly. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not, however…”

The Coeur d'Alene Press no longer appears to be providing access to some online stories on its Web site. If you want to read any of the online postings, you have to subscribe. The front of the Web site still looks the same. But you get only the top two paragraphs when you click onto the headline. The same goes for the editorials and letters to the editor. So I'm sure the same goes for the comments section.

Question: Will you miss the online Press if, indeed, the management has made it subscriber only?

Reagan Repubs Pushing Trio Again

The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans continue to push their three partisans hard, as they attempt to take over the North Idaho College Board of Trustees, as they did the Coeur d'Alene School Board. In the latest newsletter, Reagan Republican/Strategery president Ron Lahr discusses two last door-to-door pushes for the Reagan Republican ticket (Paul Matthews, Todd Banducci and Ron Nilson). The ground force of the Reagan Republicans will be knocking on doors, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday — and will return for one last attempt to turn the nonpartisan board into an ideological one beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday. May the force not be with them.

Vestal: Judge Defends Transparency

It’s too bad that the time most ripe for optimism and enthusiasm regarding democracy and citizenship – elections – is so persistently darkened by cynicism. It’s too bad, but not surprising or unfounded. One of the chief failures of our public life is the failure of frankness, and it’s widespread, and it causes an entirely reasonable loss of faith in the whole enterprise. That’s why the 19 pages written by Judge Michael Wetherell and filed in a Boise courtroom this week are such an invigorating tonic. It’s not because he ordered a stubbornly resistant political committee to reveal its donors, as required by Idaho law. In doing that, Wetherell was interpreting the law. But in the way he did it – in his clear, cogent defense of the rights of citizens – Wetherell produced an eloquent reminder that there is reason to be more than merely cynical about elections/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: How about joining me in giving 3 cheers for Judge Wetherell?

Benson: Washing Away

Lisa Benson/Washington Writers Group

Wild Card/Tuesday — 10.30.12

The 7-day, pre-election financial disclosure statements should be due at 5 p.m. today. Will be interesting to see how much the candidates are spending to win county, legislative and North Idaho College seats. I'll report those numbers to you, of course. Now for the second Wild Card of the work week …

P.S. Colorful Slug

On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts: “A large wild banana slug slithers over colorful fall leaves in a wooded area along the Umpqua River near Elkton, Ore., today. You can see more of Robin's outdoors photography here.

Pact: State On Hook For Laptop Risk

Here's a surprising feature of the state's new $182 million, eight-year contract with Hewlett-Packard for laptop computers for high school students: The company will retain title to the computers, and the state, which will just be renting them, will be liable for all risk of loss, including damage or theft. The contract, in Attachment 1 on Page 5, says, “Lessee,” which in this case is the state, “shall bear the entire risk of loss with respect to any asset damage, destruction, loss, theft, or governmental taking, whether partial or complete.” If a laptop is damaged, the state must have it repaired at state expense - within 60 days. If one is lost or stolen, the state would have to pay H-P for it/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Are you kidding me?

PM Scanner Traffic — 10.30.12

  • 5:26 p.m. Man who has fallen from wheelchair @ 4th & I-90/CdA needs help getting back up.
  • 5:23 p.m. Coeur d'Alene High custodian reports fire alarm sounding is a false one.
  • 5:18 p.m. Deer injured when hit by vehicle @ Fairmont Loop/River Wood/CDA, south of river.
  • 5:13 p.m. Driver wants to file complaint against tailgating purple Chevy e/b on Appleway from I-90.
  • 4:32 p.m. John reports to KCSD that a stolen vehicle was abandoned on his property.
  • 4:12 p.m. EMTs en route to undisclosed medical emergency in 2000 block of Pennsylvania/CdA.
  • 10 more items below

PM Headlines — 10.30.12

On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson writes: “A little brightness on the rainy horizon today. From nearly $4 a gallon in recent weeks, gas is $3.67 at this station on 4th St. and I-90 in Coeur d'Alene. Wonder if we'll ever see gas prices below $2 again. Sigh.”

Question: How low do you expect gas prices to go?

NIdaho Blogs & Friends — 10.30.12

Marianne Love/Slight Detour posts: “Following a fairly 'perfect storm' here yesterday afternoon, I snapped this photo of some of my pumpkins.  That red thing behind this pair is the hub of an antique wagon wheel. More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Monday, Oct. 29): 9464 page-views/5270 unique views

Otter Backs Nilson’s Partisan Push

A blog reader is bothered that Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has signed on to the North Idaho College Board of Trustees candidacy of Ron Nilson of Ground Force, despite its partisan nature for a nonpartisan election. What do you think?

Question: Does the governor of the state of Idaho undercut the nonpartisan nature of a community college election by overtly supporting a candidate who has clearly announces his partisanship?

Helen Asks $64,000 Question

In the comments section, Helen Newton asks: “What’s the thinking on the election? With most metropolitan areas having electronic voting and some eastern seaboard communities saying they won’t have power restored for a week (putting it possibly after the election), how will people cast their votes?”

Question: How do you think Hurricane Sandy will affect the election?

KHQ, DFO Discuss Police Chief Longo

On News Break at noon today, KHQ's Ken McGrath & I discussed Police Chief Wayne Longo running down an armed robber and then helping a stranded motorist at busy intersection of Northwest Boulevard & Seltice Way. That's Chief Longo talking to physical therapist Gary Bartoo before the tow truck arrives Thursday night. Amy Bartoo took photo..

KHQ Right Now - News and Weather for Spokane and North Idaho |

Court Voids Rock Creek Mine Permit

A Spokane Valley company has been dealt a setback in its effort to open a silver and copper mine beneath Montana’s Cabinet Mountain Wilderness. The Montana Supreme Court on Monday voided a key water quality permit for the proposed Rock Creek Mine in the lower Clark Fork River drainage across the state line from Sandpoint. A four-judge majority found that the road permit the state issued Revett Minerals Inc. for the mine is not strict enough to protect a threatened population of bull trout in Rock Creek, a tributary of the Clark Fork River just above Lake Pend Oreille/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Did you support/oppose this project?

SR Blogs: Beware Fake Sandy Photos

Paul Dillon/Down to Earth blog posts: “It's hard to not look at Facebook and Twitter without seeing some pretty amazing images of Hurricane Sandy. In the instant pace of posting pictures, many are foregoing a fact-check. Mashable breaks down fake Hurricane Sandy photos flying around social media that actually weren't taken during the storm. One was even a wallpaper used from the film The Day After Tomorrow!” More here.

Question: Have you been suckered into reposting a fake Hurricane Sandy photo on Facebook or Twitter?

PETA Commemorates Dead Fish

This image provided by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) shows a California roadside memorial sign to honor fish killed during a container truck crash in Irvine, Calif. PETA volunteer Dina Kourda told Irvine's street maintenance chief the sign would remind drivers that fish value their lives and feel pain. About 1,600 pounds of saltwater bass died on Oct. 11 when the truck hauling them to market got into a three-way crash. (AP Photo/PETA)

Question: Do you kill fish?

Who’s Fault Is Hurricane Sandy?

On his Facebook wall, Hugh Imhoff asks:

Was Hurricane Sandy:

  • A- Obama's fault?
  • B- A message from God to all those Eastern Liberals?
  • C- More evidence of climate change?
  • D- Dunno


Wolfinger Leads Sheriff’s Donations

Major Ben Wolfinger has raised more money overall than his Independent opponents in a four-way race for Kootenai County sheriff, but he has less money on hand for the fall campaign than Independent Bob Foster. Wolfinger has raised $14767, including $850 in the last reporting period, in his bid to replace retiring Sheriff Rocky Watson. But he spent much of the money in his bruising GOP primary campaign. Foster has raised $10,838 overall, including $695 during the last reporting period. You can read Wolfinger's report here, and Foster's here. Also, you can read Independent Tom Dickson's report here, and Independent Joe Bodman's report here.

Boys 3, 6 Found Near Road Work Site

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an incident where two young children were found alongside Interstate 90 earlier today. A construction supervisor at the I-90 interchange project at Mile Post 1, found the 3 and 6 year old boys sitting in the grass near the construction area about 9:10 a.m. The boys told deputies that their mother had run out of gas and gone for help. The boys also told deputies that their mother had walked them to the location while it was still dark and raining. The mother, Shannon Marie Germanton (pictured), AKA, Shannon Marie Duval, 27, of Spokane Valley, Wash., has not been located at this time. Investigators have learned that she was given a ride by a Jacklin Seed employee to the Exxon Station at Pleasant View Road and Riverbend Drive between 6:30 and 7:30 this morning. She told the employee that she had been in an argument with her boyfriend and just needed to get to a phone to call for a ride/Major Ben Wolfinger, Kootenai County Sheriff's Department news release. More here.

Nilson has $12,500 For Trustee Race

In his race for the open Trustee Seat C on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees, Ron Nilson of Ground Force has raised $8001 an loaned himself $4539. Nilson filed his 7-day, pre-election campaign finance report with the county clerk's office ahead of today's 5 o'clock deadline. In the latest reporting period, Nilson raised $1950, including $500 donations from Greg Gervais and David Bobbit. To date, Nilson has spent $6787. Nilson spent $1805 with Reagan Republican president Ron Lahr's Strategery Group during this reporting period. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe donated $1000 to Nilson during the last reporting period. You can read his latest campaign finance statement here and here. Dean Haageson, who is also running for the seat being vacated by Trustee Ron Vieselmeyer, hasn't turned in his campaign finance statement yet. Others in the race who have turned in their reports include: Vickie Ambrosetti here, Gary Coffman here, James Ruch here, and Fritz Widenhoff here.

DFO: Incumbents Judy Meyer and Mic Armon have turned in their reports. But there opponents haven't. I'll post those reports here when they're all in.

Did Obama’s Romney Strategy Bomb?

Months ago when they became convinced that Mitt Romney would be the eventual Republican presidential candidate, Barack Obama’s campaign brain trust made a critical strategic decision. They decide to attempt to define Romney as an ultra-rich, ultra-out-of-touch corporate raider, the kind of guy who just isn’t like most Americans. The Obama campaign and its Super PAC allies spent all summer, as the favorite catch phrase of politics now holds, advancing that “narrative.” We learned about Romney’s dealings at Bain Capital, his California house with elevators for his cars – a couple of Cadillacs – and his off-shore bank accounts. For weeks it seemed like Romney was playing right into the “narrative.” The pundits talked endlessly of the need to “humanize” the corporate CEO and Romney steadfastly refused to release any more than two years of his very well-to-do income tax returns. … The Denver debate where “moderate Mitt” emerged and grabbed the campaign momentum may well go down in presidential campaign history as the greatest single debate game changer ever/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here. (AP file photos)

Question: Did the Obama campaign brain trust misfire in its strategy toward Republican Mitt Romney?

Another GOP Flyer

Here's another GOP flyer that landed on my door step Monday night, encouraging a “yes” vote on the Luna Laws. About the same time I received this, I was hanging out with some friends including three people with family members who are young teachers in the Kootenai County education system.One worried that the Luna Laws provide no security for teachers, especially young ones who wanted to buy a home and raise a family in the community.

AM Scanner Traffic — 10.30.12

  • 11:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Oct. 29-30 here.
  • 11:38 a.m. Male sitting in vehicle drinking beer @ supermarket parking lot, 410 W. Neider/CdA
  • 10:52 a.m. Female driver w/handicap sticker on gray car ran lights @ H95/H54, Athol.
  • 10:51 a.m. Semi from Utah & red Toyota involved in non-injury crash on H95/MP 444 (Corbin Hill).
  • 10:19 a.m. Undisclosed traffic hazard reported @ Ashland & Castle/Hayden.
  • 9:56 a.m. Dispatcher is called Child Protective Services to pick up two children, ages 6 & 3, sitting by side of Beck Road. Apparently, mother left them there & drove off (& didn't run out of gas).
  • 9:43 a.m. Caller in Toyota Secona tails reckless driver in white vehicle from s/b H95/Prairie to south of Spokane River bridge before both pulled over. Caller is willing to sign complaint against other.
  • 9:20 a.m. 2 small children have been sitting by side of road @ end of Beck/Stateline, near e/b I-90 construction zone, since mother ran out of gas and left them to get help.
  • 8:35 a.m. Employees of Country Grocery/Harrison report male is giving them problems.
  • 8:22 a.m. Someone is suffering chest pain in 18000 block of Cedar Grove Lane/Hayden.

Inmate Pads Account W/Hooker $$$

Justin Miles Nuckols may be nearing the end of a 10-year prison sentence for attempted lewd conduct with a minor, but he now faces the possibility of staying a lot longer after admitting he accepted money in his prison account that his fiance earned by having sex with paying customers. The 39-year-old Nuckols pleaded guilty late last week to a felony charge of accepting the earnings of a prostitute. He is set to be sentenced on that charge in front of 4th District Judge Lynn Norton Nov. 8. The crime of accepting the earnings of a prostitute is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors have recommended a three-year prison sentence for Nuckols as part of an arrangement called a “rule 11” plea agreement/Patrick Orr, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: I can't think of a question for this one. It's simply so messed up in so many ways.

Here’s $182M Laptop Deal

Here it is — the $181,935,125 eight-year contract that the state of Idaho has signed with Hewlett-Packard Co. to supply laptop computers to every Idaho high school student and teacher. It may take a bit to load, but you can see the full contract here; it's 362 pages, making a 24K pdf. Some portions have been redacted “relating to HP trade secrets.” In response to my public records request, the State Department of Education provided the contract on paper only, saying, “the file was far too large to send electronically.” I took it straight to Kinko's, where my newspaper paid to have it scanned it so I could post it here for you to see/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise.


LaRocco: Obama, Senate D’s Win

I asked former 1st District Rep. Larry LaRocco how he reads the national election and his response was so thorough, I figured it would be of interest to readers. LaRocco said he trusts Nate Silver, the New York Times prognosticator who writes the FiveThirtyEight blog. Silver's latest forecast puts President Obama's likelihood of winning at 72.9 percent, with 294.6 electoral votes to Mitt Romney's 243.4. Now a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., LaRocco was elected in 1990, re-elected in 1992 and lost to Republican Helen Chenoweth in 1994. LaRocco lost to Republican Jim Risch for lieutenant governor in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2008/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.


Read more here:

Idaho Not Alone Sunshine Law Fight

The idea seemed simple: Create a nonprofit, collect cash and send more than $200,000 for TV ads promoting an education overhaul by schools chief Tom Luna. The advantage for camera-shy donors was anonymity because such a 501(c)4 nonprofit can shield backers' names from public scrutiny, say the leaders of the nonprofit Education Voters of Idaho who include lobbyist Phil Reberger, a former chief of staff for Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, and Debbie Field, campaign manager for Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. However, the strategy backfired when a judge sided with Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and ordered Education Voters of Idaho to reveal the names of donors. The deadline for disclosure is 3 p.m. Wednesday, barring an appeal. The issue of how campaign disclosure laws apply to nonprofit groups isn't confined to Idaho/AP. More here.


Local GOP Knocking On Doors

Here's the front of the flyer supporting North Idaho College challenger Todd Banducci, who missed both candidates' forums but insists he's the man for the job. On the back, Banducci parrots the questionable info that NIC's tax rate has gone up 107% in five years without mentioned that declining valuations have kept actual tax increases low.

I found a package of GOP flyers hanging on my door when I arrived home from work last night, including ones for the 3 Legislative District 4 Republican candidates (Sims, Malek & Goedde) & the 3 Reagan Republican endorsees for North Idaho College (Nilson, Banducci & Matthews). Als in the package was information in support of the Luna Laws and Raul Labrador. Of interest was a small information sheet from an organization calling itself Kootenai County Citizens for Common Sense (Douglas Balijoa, treasurer) opposing proposed change in Kootenai County government. The Kootenai County GOP Central Committee has taken a position against the proposed government change. The flyer mixed in with all the other Republican material indicates to me that rank-and-file partisans are against the concept, too.

Question: Do you plan to vote for anyone supported by the Reagan Republicans?

Poll: Most Can Tell Props Apart

  • Monday Poll: An overwhelming majority of Hucks Nation knows the differences among the Luna Laws propositions. 122 of 162 respondents (75.31%) say they can distinguish among the three propositions. 39 of 162 respondents (24.07%) say they can't. One respondent was undecided.
  • Today's Poll: How are you going to vote on the Luna Laws propositions — yes on all 3, no on all 3, or split?

AM Headlines — 10.30.12

Jason Droesch rakes the leaves from his yard along the Foster Avenue curb on Monday in Coeur d'Alene. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo:Jerome A. Pollos)

Swept Away By Sandy

Glenn Heartley works on his car in a creek in Chincoteague, Va., this morning. Heartley and his wife were swept off the road into a shallow creek when superstorm Sandy struck the area Monday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Question: Anyone having a worse day than this guy?

Sam: Out, Out Damn Robo-Call

On his Facebook wall, Sam posts: “It seems like tonight is non-stop robo call night. 5 calls from the same number and a sixth from a different number—all within two minutes.” I got a robo-call last night from the anti-Luna Laws backers who were holding some sort of telephone call-in event. Not much beside that. Then, I haven't been home that much the last few nights. How about you?

Question: Anyone else getting bombarded with robo-calls? Who are they from?

Ex-Vandal Iupati Wows NFL Pros

On a 10-yard, fourth-quarter run by Kendall Hunter in last week’s win over Seattle, Mike Iupati pulled from his left-guard position, sprinted right into the second level and ran over Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner to pave the path for Hunter. On the NFL Network telecast, analyst Mike Mayock raved about Iupati, saying the 6-foot-5, 331-pounder was “a left guard that I think has a chance to become the best guard in football. He’s so big and strong. He’s gifted athletically.” Mayock’s opinion is shared by others/Eric Branch, San Francisco 49ers. More here.

Question: Isn't it nice that someone associated with Idaho Vandals football is successful?

Column: Endorsements Don’t Matter

Political campaigns and the resulting cottage industry of analysis rely on tradition to a surprising degree. Even in the age of Facebook friendships, Twitter mentions, and Pinterest pinups, most of the metrics of elections from 40 years ago — or more — continue to gain a lot of traction today. Nowhere does that seem more anachronistic than in the attention paid to newspaper endorsements. Of course, newspapers have the biggest incentives to promote the idea of the importance of their editorial-board endorsements. They can argue that their perspective does not just convince voters, but also forces candidates to mold their approach to their influence. That sells newspapers, or at least it used to sell newspapers, back in the days before newspapers faced stark declines in circulation/Edward Morrissey, The Week. More here.

DFO: I wrote newspaper endorsements of North Idaho candidates & issues for 13 years for the SR Editorial Board. It was one of my least favorite things to do on the Editorial Board. But I remember the buzz the endorsements caused, especially among candidates and their supporters.

Question: Do newspaper endorsements help or hurt the newspaper?

Clerk Hayes Sues For Clarification

Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes wants some clarification on who has the power to hire, fire, authorize wage increases and evaluate the performance of employees working in the court system who are paid with county funds. He believes he has that authority, concerning bailiffs, security screeners, judicial state attorneys, and specialty court coordinators and trial court administrative assistants. But he hasn't been exercising it. That's because 1st District Court Judge John Mitchell signed an administrative order telling Hayes not to. “An administrative order is very strong, because you go to jail if you don't follow it,” Hayes said Monday. On Friday, Hayes filed a lawsuit in 1st District Court seeking clarification through the court system. Mitchell declined to comment because of the pending lawsuit. Hayes filed a petition with the Idaho Supreme Court, regarding the same question, but the court dismissed his petition, court documents show/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Does Hayes have much of a chance of winning this lawsuit?

Help, Big Bird, You’re Our Only Hope

Artist Jim Lennox and his wife Hilary Ross wave while standing next to the 100-foot by 80-foot field painting of Big Bird, a parody of the Barack Obama Hope poster, outside their rural Shickshinny, Pa. home. Lennox designed and laid out a grid of the image. Last week, he and Hilary then invited friends over for a painting party, using environmentally safe paint. Four years ago they created a large image of then-candidate Obama in the same field. (AP Photo/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise, Bill Hughes)

Pew: Obama, Romney In Dead Heat

A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds a deadlocked presidential race with just a week to go until election day. In the new poll, President Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney are each pulling support from 47 percent of likely voters. The president, though, is leading 47-45 among all registered voters — a difference likely attributable to more than three-quarters of Republicans saying they are likely to vote, outpacing the 62 percent of Democrats who say the same. The poll shows Romney having largely closed the favorability gap, with Obama now leading just 52-50 percent. Still, Obama is seen as the leader more likely to connect well with ordinary Americans, to take consistent positions on issues, and to be more honest and truthful/Justin Sink, The Hill. More here.

Question: On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “absolutely yawner” & 10 “totally sold out,” how enthusiatic are you re: your choice for president?

Judge: Pull Back Secrecy Curtain

With just a week to go in Idaho’s most dramatic campaign of 2012, 4th District Judge Mike Wetherell moved to end the mystery surrounding a new interest group that wants to keep its donor list secret. Education Voters of Idaho fought to suppress who gave $200,350 spent to convince voters to approve Superintendent Tom Luna’s education reforms in Propositions 1, 2 and 3 on Tuesday’s ballot. Though he wouldn’t fit in anyone’s bicycle basket, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa is playing Toto, grabbing the screen shrouding the donors and yanking. Wetherell granted Ysursa’s motion for disclosure less than three hours after hearing oral arguments Monday. “Voters are entitled to know who is standing behind the curtain,” Wetherell wrote/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Has the attempt by Education Voters of Idaho to keep contributors secret hurt its cause?

Read more here:

Zags Preseason Favorites Again

Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few doesn’t long for the good old days of the West Coast Conference because, well, they weren’t always all that good. Gonzaga was tabbed WCC favorites for the umpteenth time in the coaches’ preseason poll and four Bulldogs made the 10-player All-WCC preseason team. The poll was released Monday just before the conference’s annual tip-off event in Los Angeles, where nine head coaches were joined by one of their top players for 10-minute interviews streamed live on YouTube. Coaches voted Gonzaga first, followed by BYU, defending champion Saint Mary’s, Loyola Marymount, San Diego and Santa Clara/Jim Meehan, SR. More here.

Question: Are you ready for some Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball?

Signe: Through Storm Of Night

Signe Wilkinson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Monday — 10.29.12

I posted this Wild Card early because I thought I would be at the dentist longer than I was this morning. Got business taken care of quickly. And I'm here now to start countdown to Election Day. If this week is like most weeks in the Cyber Land of Huckleberries, something will pop up that we don't expect — and will have us all talking. So I'll post this Wild Card & we can all wait & see what it is …

Parting Shot — 10.29.12

Ken Royster of Anchorage captures an image of the setting full moon from a pullout along Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday morning. (AP Photo/Anchorage Daily News, Marc Lester)

Judge To EVI: Cough Up The Names

A secretive group that underwrote more than $200,000 in TV campaign commercials in favor of three Idaho school reform ballot measures must disclose its donors by Wednesday, a 4th District judge ruled this afternoon. Judge Mike Wetherell (pictured) ordered Education Voters of Idaho to disclose its donors by 3 p.m. this Wednesday, Halloween. The group must “file all required further reports when required or face sanctions,” the judge wrote. Wrote Wetherell, “A failure by the Defendants to follow the requirements of the Sunshine Initiative is in violation of the rights of Idaho citizens as provided by law, and a failure to grant injunctive relief at this time would permit the law to be violated with impunity and would result in irreparable harm to the voters of Idaho whose rights under the Sunshine Initiative the Secretary of State is charged with protecting.” You can read his 19-page decision here/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.


Clerk Hayes Sues Judge Over Control

County Clerk Cliff Hayes and Administrative Judge John Mitchell (shown talking to an inmate involved in Mental Health Drug Court)  are involved in a flap re: who is responsible for the District Court employee supervision and budget — and deciding increases in compensation for bailiffs, court security personnel, judicial staff attorneys (law clerks), specialty court coordinators, etc. Hayes claims “final authority to hire, terminate the employment of, authorize wage increases, and evaluate the job performance of all county employees working in the court system in Kootenai County whose wages are paid from Kootenai County funds including, but not limited to, the District Court Fund. Mitchell disagrees with Hayes. Hayes has sued Mitchell, in his role as administrative judge. Also, Hayes has asked that all the other judges in the 1st District Court be disqualified from hearing the lawsuit since he believes they would have a conflict of interest. You can read the lawsuit that seeks declaratory judgment here.

Question: Can't figure out the end game here. Judges traditionally have control of District Court budget. Appears as the Idaho Supreme Court feels that way, too. Any thoughts?

PM Headlines — 10.29.12

Asante Children's Choir member Isaie Vyiringiro, dances during an assembly at Fernan Elementary in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho on Friday. The group is from East Africa and is in the middle of a ten-month tour of the U.S. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

PM Scanner Traffic — 10.29.12

  • 5:27 p.m. Caller reports reckless driver ran several red lights before pulling into Bank of America lot, H95 & Appleway/CdA.
  • 4:42 p.m. Caller reports vicious dogs in 6300 block of Hargrave/PF.
  • 4:37 p.m. CPD officers are searching for female runaway named Cheyenne, last seen this AM.
  • 4;07 p.m. Caller reports someone in Hidden Valley/Winch, Rathdrum, area yelling “fire!”
  • 4:03 p.m. Officer on scene asks for absorbents & sand to clean up paint/thinner spill (3:56 item).
  • 4:02 p.m. Unknown Post Falls business reports teens outside harassing workers, won't leave.
  • 3:57 p.m. Patrol officer has stopped a 4-wheeler traveling on H41 & Rice/Hauser.
  • 3:56 p.m. 8 or 9 cans of paint & thinner have spilled @ s/b H41 & Prairie/Rathdrum, causing mess.
  • 13 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

NIdaho Blogs & Friends — 10.29.12

At Stebbijo's Place, Stebbi experiments w/a spooky fingers recipe: “The scary part is removing the nail and placing it back on the bed of oozing blood. Don't burn yourself! Surprisingly easy! Test batch - Successful!  You can make these as ghoulish as you want - dye the dough green and splatter blood all over. But, remember you have to eat them. I can't be too grossed out.” More here. And you can find Stebbi's how-to for Zombie Boogers here.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of Oct. 21-27): 53,090 page-views/31,087 unique views

Bard: Like The First Robin Of Spring

That winter’s near

you can’t deny

when studded snows

start clicking by.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Facebook Politics Favors No On Props

“Facebook politics, update 5: Vote No on Propositions 1, 2 and 3: 15,926 likes. Vote Yes: 927” — Melissa Davlin, Twin Falls Times News via Twitter.

Ad: Luna Laws Hamper Teachers

The latest campaign commercial opposing Idaho's school reform ballot measures draws on a variety of criticisms of the measures to suggest they hamper teachers in doing their jobs. “We want to give your children the best education - but the Luna laws make that harder,” says the ad, which is airing statewide, including in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene market. The ad cites an array of criticisms of the measures, some directly related to the propositions and others more general, from school funding issues to parent fees/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: What are the purpose of television ads this deep into the campaign when many have photo and many others are tired of the mudslinging?

SR Blogs: Vandals Love Yard Signs

Nampa trick-or-treaters dressed as famous paintings — Ty Sherman, 10, as “The Scream,” Kaesha Jackson, 10, as the “Mona Lisa,” and Sam Sherman, 7, as “American Gothic” — pose for a photo at this year's Boo at the Zoo Boise in Boise on Saturday. Gov. Butch Otter and the First Lady will be hosting trick-or-treat event at the Capitol Wednesday. See Eye on Boise below. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Darin Oswald)

Vandals Love Yard Signs: Wednesday is Halloween. While it is mostly a holiday devoted to raising the blood sugar levels of small children, it is also a time when older youths wander around looking for trouble to get into. Among the easiest targets for such mischief are campaign yard signs. Mustaches and devils horns get spray-painted onto candidate faces, obscenities get scrawled on issue signs and some just flat disappear, never to be seen again/Jim Camden, SR Spin Control. More here.

Hurricane Slams New York

A construction crane atop a luxury high-rise dangles precariously over the streets after collapsing in high winds from Hurricane Sandy on Monday in New York. Hurricane Sandy bore down on the Eastern Seaboard's largest cities Monday, forcing the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sending coastal residents fleeing, and threatening a dangerous mix of high winds, soaking rain and a surging wall of water up to 11 feet tall. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Gallup: Romney Up By 5%

Mitt Romney (in Ohio today in AP photo inset) gained a point over President Obama, according to a Gallup daily tracking poll released Monday, and now holds a healthy 5-percentage-point national lead. Romney took 51 percent support in the poll of likely voters, compared to 46 percent for Obama. The GOP nominee also pulled even with Obama among registered voters, 48 percent to 48, after trailing by a point on Sunday. The survey is a rolling seven-day average through Oct. 28, so it has almost fully digested voter sentiment since last Monday’s third and final presidential debate/Jonathan Easley, SR. More here.

Question: Wouldn't it be something if Republican Mitt Romney won the popular vote & lost the electoral vote (a la George Bush & Al Gore in 2000)?

Grant: Idaho R’s Have Bad Wannabes

The great thing about the United States is that voters have the last word. And that should give many Idaho GOP candidates pause. Think of the sinking feeling that Rep. Phil Hart (pictured), the timber thief and tax cheat from North Idaho, must have felt as this year’s primary approached. No amount of help from GOP bosses could stop voters from holding him to account. No amount of help can save flawed candidates like District 10’s Brandon Hixon of Canyon County. You would think with all the ethics problems in the GOP, they would be concerned about how their candidates behave. Former Sen. John McGee was a punch line for the rest of the state, but in Canyon County he was a punch in the gut/Chairman Larry Grant, Idaho Democratic Party. More here.

Question: Who is the worst candidate, either major party, running for the Idaho Legislature this fall?

Another Journalist Embraces PR

Michelle Cole, a former Statehouse reporter for the Twin Falls Times-News and Idaho Statesman, is leaving The Oregonian for Gallatin Public Affairs. Cole will be the firm's first director of content and research, according to a news release. Gallatin has offices in Boise, Portland, Seattle and Spokane. Cole will remain in Portland. Cole also was an editor at the Statesman, which she left in 1999 for the Oregonian in Portland. Cole was the paper's bureau chief at the Statehouse in Salem/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Oregonian staff photo of Michelle Cole)

Question: If I were still a Catholic, I'd light a candle every time a reporter opted for a job in public relations. I can understand it. More money, better benefits — and more security. But I still hate to see journalists flee the profession. How about you?

Read more here:


Superstorm Sandy Hits East Coast

After checking to make sure his boat line is secure, Bob Casseday crosses the waist high flooded street just over the bridge along Savannah Road in Lewes, Del., to get back home as Hurricane Sandy hits Delaware today. Hurricane Sandy continued on its path Monday, as the storm forced the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sending coastal residents fleeing, and threatening a dangerous mix of high winds and soaking rain. (AP Photo/The Wilmington News-Journal, Suchat Pederson)

Question: Have you ever personally experienced a natural disaster? Tell us about it.

AM Scanner Traffic — 10.29.12

  • 11:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Oct. 28-29 here.
  • 11:38 a.m. Green Ford Explorer @ H41 & Mullan/PF was passing in school zone in Rathdrum.
  • 11:37 a.m. Stolen vehicle left behind by driver who ran into Hauser area woods is stuck in mud down an embankment (11:28, 11:16, 9:31 & 9:47 items).
  • 11:28 a.m. Passerby reports seeing male walking on Bernadette access road/Hauser; may be male who ran from traffic stop.
  • 10 more items below

Poll: Most Use Public Schools Only

  • Weekend Poll: 41% (57 of 139 respondents) of Hucks Nation has enrolled their children in private or alternative schools (charter, virtual, etc.) at one time or another, The weekend poll question was asked after Rep. Vito Barbieri encouraged Evangelicals to pull their children from “godless” public schools. 80 of 139 respondents (57.55%) have never enrolled their children in public schools. 2 (1.44%) answered “dunno.”
  • Question: Without looking, do you know the differences among the Luna Law propositions (1, 2 & 3)?

Study: IEA ‘Thugs’ Relatively Weak

While Idaho's teachers union has been accused of union thuggery during the intense campaign on Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the state ranks just 36th in union strength nationwide, according to a study released Monday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now. The report says Idaho has the seventh-highest rate of teachers laid off annually due to poor performance, with 3.5 percent let go every year. Union membership ranks 35th, with 62 percent of teachers in unions, and union revenue ranks 29th, at $444 annually per teacher. The Ohio-based Fordham Institute's board includes former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige, who was Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's boss during the George W. Bush administration/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (IEA photo of President Penni Cyr)

Question: Izzit just me, or do you also think that the real motivation behind the Luna-Law propositions is to drive the last nail into the coffin of the teachers union while giving Republican legislators cover to further underfund education?

AM Headlines — 10.29.12

Participants are bombarded with color during The Color Run along ParkCenter Boulevard Saturday in Boise. Runners in the 5K run were splashed with colored chalk and then partied at the finish line in clouds of multicolored fun. (Idaho Statesman photo: Darin Oswald)

Cutline Contest — 10.29.12

An religious devotee buries his head in sand to relax and to collect coins which some of the pilgrims had placed near him in Allahabad, India, Monday. Allahabad on the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna is one of Hinduism's important centers. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Idaho Vandal Suspended For Tweet

Update: Gesser: UI will visit in offseason possibly monitoring or limiting Twitter among players. Says Elmo's suspension was for more than his tweet — Josh Wright via SR sports tweet.

A University of Idaho football player who put out a tweet criticizing the school's athletic director for firing the head coach has been suspended from the team. Athletic Director Rob Spear told The Spokesman-Review ( Saturday that junior tight end Taylor Elmo could eventually return to the team but says it “depends on how Taylor responds.” Spear fired Robb Akey Oct. 21, a day after the Vandals lost 70-28 to Louisiana Tech and fell to 1-7. Later that day Elmo tweeted that Spear's decision to fire Akey was in part to keep the heat off Spear. Elmo tweeted, “Fire a man to keep your own job???”/KHQ. More here.

Question: Was Idaho right to suspect Elmo for tweet dissing AD Rob Spear?

English-Morse Is Race To Watch

The Idaho Statesman has listed seven legislative races to watch in Idaho, including the District 2 matchup between Republican Ed Morse and Democrat Dan English. The Statesman says this about that race:

“This is the seat that was held by Republican Phil Hart.  Hart’s years of not paying income taxes have caught up with him, he now faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, both state and federal, and has been in and out of court all year.  Hart lost his seat in the primary to Republican Ed Morse. Morse now faces Democrat Dan English, who is well known in North Idaho.  English originally got into the race thinking he would face Hart.  It's a Republican District, so English faces an uphill battle.” You can read what the Statesman says about the other 6 races to watch here.

Question: How much of a chance do you give Democrat English of winning a race in a solid Republican district?

Slice: Sharing A Name w/A Disaster

“I think everyone should have a major storm named after them once in their life,” emailed Sandy Tarbox. “Should I be clipping all the great headlines that include my name?/Paul Turner, The Slice blog.

Question: Do you have friends or family in path of Hurricane Sandy?

$4K Worth Of Pumpkins Smashed

A pumpkin patch on the South Hill has become the target of vandals. Sometime after 8 p.m. Saturday, someone smashed hundreds of pumpkins in the parking lot of Our Lady of Fatima on 33rd Avenue. “Oh, it's crazy I don't get it,” said Mark Sullivan, a church volunteer. ” I don't understand why someone would do this.” Sullivan said so many pumpkins were smashed the mess created a traffic hazard on 33rd Avenue.  Spokane city street crews spent four hours cleaning up pumpkin pieces. “He had so many pumpkins that he had to leave with his pickup and come back with a dump truck and then he came back with street sweeper, who knows how much tax payer dollars that cost, it's a lot of money,” said Sullivan/Annie Bishop, KXLY. More here.

Question: There's an underlying meanness to this crime that bugs me. I hope they catch the vandal(s) — and penalize him/her to the max. What do you think?

CdA Press: Yes On Proposition 3

Take it from an industry that has struggled to adjust and adapt: The world has changed, and those who resist that change risk becoming irrelevant. The newspaper business has finally stopped fighting the dramatic shift in the way information is communicated; its very survival depends upon creating excellent products and delivering them in ways consumers not only desire, but now demand. Public education faces many of the same challenges - and the same opportunities. Proposition 3 on Idaho ballots opens unlimited possibilities for public school students to learn with help from technology that they neither fear nor misunderstand, which cannot be said of some adults. Education reform adopted by the Idaho Legislature in 2011 includes a mandate for every high school to have wireless Internet access and every high school teacher and student a wireless computing device/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.


Giants Sweep Tigers

Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera walks away after striking out to end Game 4 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Sunday in Detroit. The Giants won 4-3 to win the series. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) Game story here. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Question: Any Giants' fans out there besides me?

Trib: Vote No On All 3 Luna Laws

Only once have Idaho voters repudiated any law passed by the Legislature and enacted by their governor and that was nearly 80 years ago. Now is the time for Idahoans to take that step again.On the Nov. 6 ballot are the three Luna laws — measures schools Superintendent Tom Luna steamrollered through a compliant Idaho Legislature in 2011 over the objections of teachers, administrators and many parents. By waging political war on Idaho's teachers, the Luna laws would add to the burdens of a public school structure already buckling under the weight of budget cuts and a neglectful political elite/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.


Clark:Nov. 7 Only Cure For Electionitis

Thought I was coming down with the flu at first. Dull headache. Depression. Irritability … Then I nearly peed myself from laughing hysterically at one of our local political TV ads. That confirmed it. What’s ailing me is a whole lot worse than a mere virus. I’m obviously suffering from a severe case of EFS, or Election Fatigue Syndrome, as medical experts like Dr. Phil or Dr. Scholl would say. I know I’m not the only victim, either. There’s an EFS epidemic sweeping across America, I believe, and it’s even more formidable than the Great New York City Bedbug Outbreak of aught nine. We victims have reached our mental breaking point because of an overexposure to: Lying politicians, Landscape-cluttering yard signs, Yammering candidate debates. Political robocalls, and TV commercials that show Candidate X smiling in radiant color while Candidate Y scowls in grainy black and white with a finger buried up a nostril to the third knuckle/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Am I the only one on this side of the Spokane TV border who resents being bombarded by political ads for Washington candidates?

Hucks: Shoutout To Helpful Police Chief

A funny thing happened to Coeur d’Alene physical therapist Gary Bartoo and son, Trey, on the way home from the new Frontier Ice Arena on Thursday night. The fuel pump in the truck quit, stranding them in a turn lane at the busy intersection of Seltice Way and Northwest Boulevard. So Gary called for a tow. Then, he and Trey settled in for a wait of up to an hour. That’s when Coeur d’Alene police Chief Wayne Longo appeared. In uniform. Wayne and Coeur d’Alene’s finest had just chased – and caught – a suspect in an armed robbery at the Boulevard Food Mart, a short distance away. Spotting the disabled vehicle, Wayne stopped his patrol car and offered to help. Gary was amazed that the chief was doing grunt work. And that Wayne was able to speed the tow truck along. So was wife, Amy, who later Facebooked: “Not only is Wayne Longo a phenomenal gentleman but our esteemed CDA Citizen of The Year!!! We are lucky people tonight!” There was a downside to all this. All that extra time Trey spent in Gary’s rig after hockey practice, notes Amy, left a distinct boy-sweat smell/DFO, Huckleberries print, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever been helped by a police officer?

Signe: God Intended?

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Weekend Wild Card — 10.27-28.12

The countdown begins Monday as we enter the final full week of the 2012 general election, with the presidential race neck-and-neck. No more debates on the national level. Which is good. Locally and statewide, the 7-day, pre-election campaign financial statements will be due Tuesday afternoon. That'll give us some idea who's pumping money into the various campaigns. And I'll report that here. Meanwhile, I'd like to root my S.F. Giants onto two more wins this weekend, so I can concentrate on the final push to election night. Now for your Weekend Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 10.26.12

A pair of whitetail deer eye motorists amid fall foliage near North Vistawood on Friday morning, October 26, 2012, in Spokane, Wash. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)

Stebbijo: Labrador Out Of His Mind

Stebbijo: If 70 is the new fifty then I suggest that Labrador and some of the folks who have yet to experience age - take a weeks vacation at a nursing home and make those poor suckers get out of bed and go to work. He has lost his frigging mind - needs cane and walker flogged. Disability claims will climb to new heights unless there are jobs for folks to sit and fold napkins - half the people won’t be able to see well enough to drive and get to work, let alone walk or drive a bicycle. You don’t even see this age working in hospital positions. It’s rare.

Question: Do you think 70 is the new 50?

PM Scanner Traffic — 10.26.12

  • 5:16 p.m. A disabled, gray car in middle of n/b 95/Lancaster, Hayden, is a road hazard.
  • 5:05 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Oct. 25-26 here.
  • 4:51 p.m. T-bone crash in front of Rathdrum Super 1, H53 & Westwood, blocked road.
  • 4:50 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Tribal police en route to custodial dispute at Coeur d'Alene Casino.
  • 4:41 p.m. Possible DUI/medical problem @ Prairie & Atlas w/elderly driver w/handicap plate.
  • 4:27 p.m. Lost hiker has only 1% usage left on cell phone (4:13 item). Deputy tells dispatcher to return to last place that he made contact and stay there.
  • 4:13 p.m. Hiker who started in Liberty Lake reports he's in Idaho now & lost after walking for 3 hours. His GPS indicates he's somewhere near Weller & Eire/Athol.
  • 3:59 p.m. Driver of disabled semi on e/b I-90/MP 26 (4th of July) is holding sign: “Please help.” ISP officer reports the California driver has no cell phone coverage. His semi has a blown turbo charger.
  • 14 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 10.26.12

Aaron Lorenz washes dishes at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Convention Center on Wednesday. He landed the job with help from Ability Works, a non-profit agency that assists individuals with disabilities in the job market. Scott Maben reports on TESH's Ability Works program here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

NIdaho Blogs & Friends — 10.26.12

In a Bay Views post, Herb Huseland eulogizes country Western singer Slim Dossey, who died Tuesday, after a career that saw him sing with Gene Autry & Sons of the Pioneers, as well as locally. More in highlighted box.

I met Slim when I walked into the old Scoonerville bar in Hayden back in around 1990. I got him several gigs including the old bar at Tobler's Marina on Hayden Lake, Turtles.t Later when I moved to Bayview, I introduced him to a whole hew batch of fans at the Captain's Wheel where he became a regular at every Christmas Party. His last appearance was outdoors where he joined in with a couple of singers and sang along with them. More here.

Other North Idaho blogs & Friends:

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, Oct. 25): 8984 page-views./5279 unique views

The Land Of Sky Blue Waters

Ed Pearson, from Walla Walla, Wash., canoes on Bennington Lake with his grandsons Nolan Korslund, 6, left, and Garrett Korslund, 9, from Colfax, Wash., today in Walla Walla. (AP Photo/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Matthew Zimmerman Banderas)

Labrador: Up Retirement Age To 70

Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador wants to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70, cut a third of the staff at the Pentagon and ban all abortions other than those to save the life of the mother. The freshman congressman took all three stands during a debate broadcast live Thursday night on Idaho Public Television. His Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, differed sharply on the retirement age and abortion, but found common ground with Labrador on trimming military spending. “I think there are a number of places that we would agree and admit that we can find savings,” Farris said. “If Pentagon staff is one of them, I’d certainly like to look at it.” The two faced off in the “Idaho Debates,” a three-decade-plus tradition in Idaho political races/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Would you support raising the retirement age to 70?

Hart Files For Bankrupty Yet Again

State lawmaker and tax protester Rep. Phil Hart has filed for bankruptcy — again — prompting a federal tax foreclosure case against him to be put on hold. Hart filed for bankruptcy in Idaho's U.S. District Court on Wednesday, almost two months after he voluntarily dropped his previous bankruptcy case. Hart, a Republican from Athol who lost his bid for a fifth term in the Idaho House in the May primary election, stopped filing federal income tax returns in 1996 while he unsuccessfully pursued a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal income tax. He lost that lawsuit, and the Internal Revenue Service is seeking to collect more than half a million dollars in back taxes, penalties and interest, partly by foreclosing on his log home/AP via Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: I'm starting to believe that our Artful Tax Dodger is trying to outlast the IRS and Idaho Tax Commission. What do you think?

SR Blogs: 9 Weeks Of KAYU-DirecTV

Dan Webster of the SR's Dually Noted blog prefers backyard BBQ to expensive steakhouses because the food is cheaper & prepared exactly the way he likes. But when he does eat at a steakhouse, it prefers Churchill's. See link in “other blogs” below.

At the SR's Office Hours blog, Tom Sowa explains why KAYU-DirecTV battle took so long to resolve: So what really kept the Spokane Fox Affiliate off DirecTV for about nine weeks? One story running today in the SR said it came down to a contractual dispute over money. Jon Rand, an executive with Northwest Broadcasting, parent firm of KAYU-Fox 28, said that the real reason wasn't the payment plan  — AKA the carriage fee, which is paid to the station based on some specific amount per subscriber in the market. The real issue was the aggressive effort, he said, by DirecTV to establish a “most favored nation” clause in their contract. More here.

Other blogs:

Otter Dedicates Dover Bridge

In this April 2008 SR file photo, the old Dover Bridge is seen in a rear-view mirror.  Looks like the ITD board is The North Idaho bridge received national attention as one of the worst in the country. Now it has been replaced. (SR file photo: Kathy Plonka)

The new Dover Bridge was dedicated this morning. Here's the story from this morning's Bonner County Daily Bee:Governor Butch Otter and other officials will be on hand today for a dedication ceremony for the new U.S. Highway 2 bridge in Dover. The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. beneath the bridge. Signs will be posted for parking and dedication site location. Dover’s Depression-era truss bridge was replaced a 72-foot-wide steel structure with no overhead encumbrances. The highway has been realigned and includes improved access into the city and a bicycle/pedestrian trail, the Idaho Transportation Department said. The project accommodates future expansion of U.S. 2 west of the bridge spanning the Union Pacific railroad to Rocky Point east of the bridge.” More here.

Secret-Donations Case Back To State

A lawsuit to force a group touting public schools chief Tom Luna's education overhaul to reveal still-secret financiers is back in state court. The group, Education Voters of Idaho, sought a shift to federal court, to help it fight Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's demands. But on Friday, Ysursa's attorney and the group's lawyer, Christ Troupis, signed papers agreeing to contest the matter in 4th District Court. Even so, a hearing on Ysursa's lawsuit that had been set for Friday at 1:30 p.m. has been postponed ― and the original state judge removed from the case/AP via Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: I consider this a mockery of Idaho's Sunshine Law — and wouldn't trust any advertisement that Education Voters of Idaho has its name on. How about you?

Longo Gets His Man … Again

Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Wayne Longo found himself chasing another robber last night after an alert citizen called in an armed robbery that had just occurred at 6:40 p.m. at the Boulevard Food Mart located at 1801 NW Blvd. Residents may remember Chief Longo was involved in a foot pursuit in August of 2010 and captured a suspect who had stolen a vehicle. In this instance Chief Longo had just turned onto NW Boulevard when the robbery called was aired. Officers Tim Neal and Pete Tufford also responded to the area to assist the Chief in locating the suspect. The store clerk reported to 911 a transient later identified as Jon Wallace Hohnsbehn (pictured) had come into the Food Mart and stole a couple of bottles of beer. The clerk confronted Hohnsbehn and he pulled a knife on the clerk and said “I will stab you”. Hohnsbehn then left the area on foot and walked toward Riverstone/Sgt. Christie Wood, Coeur d'Alene Police Department. More here.

Question: Izzit just me, or are transients with knives becoming a problem in Coeur d'Alene?

Mic: Mary Owes Students An Apology

North Idaho College Trustee Mic Armon (pictured): When i received the invitation to the ASNIC forum, in the body of the invitation it stated that the questions were attached. On my email there was not an attachment, so I emailed the sender and requested that the questions be sent. A few minutes later I received a second email with the questions attached. The email was addressed from Duncan Menzies, ASNIC Senator, dated 10/17/2012 @ 1:18pm and sent to all of the candidates that had responded that they would attend. When I arrived on Tuesday evening for the forum, we were handed a list of approx. 9 questions, some of which were on the original email and some that were new to all of us. We were instructed to choose 4 questions each to be asked during the first portion of the program. There was not any special treatment for any of the candidates, we were all treated the exact same. I believe that Mary owes the ASNIC students an apology for insinuating that they were anything but fair.


Twitterless On The Palouse

John Blanchette's funny column re: WSU football coach Mike Leach's ban on Twitter:

John Blanchette @JPBlanchette

Coach Mike Leach has banned Washington State’s football players from Twitter. #ProblemsBabeHollingbery Didn’tHave

Generation Z @GenZCoug Who’s Babe Hollingbery?

Double Down @DoubleDownCoug

Does that change the point spread this weekend?

Cyber Stalker @CyberStalkingFan

My buds think the personal flotsam I find following players on Twitter means I hang with them. There goes my cachet. #40YearOldsWithNoLife

Cougar Crazy @CougarCrazy

Where will I go now to read crude, misogynistic hip-hop lyrics?

More here.

No Ap-hollow-gy From Mary

Mary Souza isn't backing down from her claims that something was fishy at the forum for North Idaho College trustee candidates. Remember? Originally, she expressed displeasure that incumbents Mic Armon and Judy Meyer were given the questions prior to the forum & had prepapred answers. After HucksOnline poiinted out that most/all? candidates had access to the questions beforehand, commenter Meesterbox challenged Souza re: her claim. This is the opening to her response to Meesterbox on “Ok, so it looks like my original Breaking News was correct, but there’s more to tell. One candidate says the invitation to the forum said that the questions would be sent to them in advance. He didn’t get any so he called and asked for them. Some questions were sent to him but when he arrived at the forum, he was told those questions had been changed. Weird.” You can read the rest comment (No. 11, at the bottom) here. Simply amazing.


Labrador-Farris Debate ‘Testy’

Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador, right, shakes hands with Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris, left, after the two debated on live TV on Thursday night. The Idaho Statesman reports that voters were treated to a spirited debate last night here. (Idaho Public Television photo: Kevin Rank)

Question (from Emily Ritter Saunders/StateImpact): Idaho, why are you not interested in our congressional races? Politicked out? Do I have the wrong impression?

AM Scanner Traffic — 10.26.12

  • 11:44 a.m. Vandalism to property reported @ Hern Ironworks, 3610 W. Hern/CdA.
  • 10:56 a.m. Washington father reportedly hit daughter w/Dodge Caravan after verbal dispute @ Cozy Acres/Hayden. Man left on Dakota Avenue headed back to Spokane. Daughter uninjured.
  • 10:29 a.m. 2 GMC pickups, one yellow, one black, racing on w/b I-90/MP 34 (Highway 3).
  • 10:23 a.m. Burning slash pile appears to be unattended near Huetter Iron Works.
  • 10:05 a.m. Chevy Malibu has dent in hood after hitting deer @ H95/MP 435 (Dakota/Hayden).
  • 9:46 a.m. Female in gray sweat shirt loitering near gated community @ 515 S. Shoreline Court/PF.
  • 9:33 a.m. Blue-and-white semi entered w/b I-90 @ Ironwood & H95/CdA after hitting traffic signal.
  • 8:38 a.m. A 21YO has been injured in a fall at Modern Glass, 3727 Industrial Loop/CdA.
  • 8:23 a.m. 4 males reportedly have been sitting in vehicle in Del Taco lot for an hour.
  • 8:22 a.m. Neighbor reports home @ 12310 Woodland Beach Drive/Hauser on fire.
  • 8:11 a.m. Driver in black Neon pickup willing to sign complaint against driver in white Toyota Corolla who is going too fast for conditions on s/b H95/MP 455 (Granite Hill).

Ex-F&G Chief Opposes Amendment

The Boise Guardian reports today that retired Idaho Fish & Game Director Steve Huffaker has come out against HJR2aa, the right to hunt, fish and trap constitutional amendment on the November ballot, and raised questions about the inclusion of a clause about water rights, which was among various changes made to the bill during the legislative process. “I see no valid reason to amend the constitution,” Huffaker told the Guardian. “We opposed similar attempts for 10 years. And now they have inserted the water language which is certainly not good news for fish”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you know enough about this constitutional amendment to vote responsibly?

Scenes Of INW Fall

My talented SR photog colleagues have updated their scenes of fall, including the one above by Colin Mulvany. Colin describes the photo above: “A maple leaf embeds itself into the roadway on West 17th Avenue Thursday  in Spokane.” For more SR photos of fall, including ones by Kathy Plonka from Coeur d'Alene, click here.

Poll: Reform Prompts Teacher Exodus

  • Thursday Poll: A large majority of Hucks Nation believes the Luna Laws are causing educators to quit Idaho teaching jobs. 105 of 168 respondents (62.5%) hold that position. 49 of 168 respondents (29.17%) say the Luna Laws aren't causing the unusual exodus. 14 (8.33%) were undecided.
  • Weekend Poll: Rep. Vito Barbieri is telling Evangelicals to pull their kids from “godless” public schools. Have your kids ever attended a private or alternative school (charter, virtual, etc.)?

KAYU 28 Back On DirecTV

Word reached Robert Dobbins about 6:15 p.m. Thursday night: The World Series game between Detroit and San Francisco was on channel 28. The Coeur d'Alene man quickly moved from the uncomfortable straight back chair in his bedroom, in front of the TV with a makeshift antenna, to his more spacious living room with recliners and couch and a large screen high-definition TV. Much better. “That's fantastic,” he said as he settled down to cheer on his beloved Giants. The return of the FOX network - channel 28 through Northwest Broadcasting's KAYU Spokane - to DirecTV was a pleasant surprise to local DirecTV customers. They've been without FOX for about three months due to a price dispute between Northwest Broadcasting and DirecTV/Bill Buley, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

DFO: This is the second time I've gone without Channel 28 as a result of a dispute with a cable provider. I broomed Time-Warner the first time it happened. Now that it's happened to DirecTV, too, I'd say that KAYU may be more responsible for the disruption.

Question: Who do you get your cable/satellite TV from? What do you pay for it?

AM Headlines — 10.26.12

Dr. Dan Savage attends to an adult female grizzly bear in Kalispell, Mont., on Monday. The grizzly was injured in an encounter with a bird hunter and captured near Ferndale, Mont. It was released Wednesday in the Spotted Bear Area. See story below. (AP Photo/Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)

CPD To Honor Vigilant Citizen

From Coeur d'Alene Police Department Facebook wall:

Your PD responded last evening to a report of an armed robbery that had occurred at a quick stop store in the Riverstone area on NW Blvd. An alert citizen had witnessed the incident and followed the suspect from a distance as he fled on foot in the Riverstone area. He provided up to the minute details on location and responding officers were able to arrest the suspect on the trail west of the Hampton Inn. The citizen will be honored at a future council meeting for his willingness to put himself in harms way and help keep our community safe. Be safe out there and have a great weekend.

DFO: This sounds like the knife assault reported at 6:55 last evening in Scanner Traffic. Click here.

KXLY Anchor Describes Burglary

We all think our homes are secure or that we'll never become the victims of burglary. That's exactly what KXLY4's Colleen O'Brien thought until a man tried to get into her home while she was home alone. In September, there were 565 total burglaries in Spokane County – that's 18 a day. Now that it's getting darker earlier the cover of night offers the perfect landscape for criminals to sneak around your home at night. A majority of residential burglaries happen in the daylight when you're at work, but Colleen O'Brien was home alone and asleep when the burglar came knocking at 8 p.m. The following is Colleen's account of what happened and parts of her 911 call/Colleen O'Brien, KXLY. More here.

Question: Have you ever been burglarized?

CdA Program Helps Disabled Workers

When Christopher Griffin (pictured) fills out job applications, he knows his work history stands out for the wrong reason. He hasn’t held a job since 2005, well before the recession. The 31-year-old Spokane man was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis seven years ago this month. The news derailed his working life. Numbness in one foot – a symptom of the disease that attacks the central nervous system – forced Griffin to quit his last job as a line cook. “We had hot oil, sharp knives – you know, just everything that would be an issue,” he said. After years of fine-tuning medical treatments and attending community college accounting classes part time, Griffin is ready to go back to work. He hopes to land a job that permits him to mostly sit, as standing for long periods is difficult/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Does your business hire workers with disabilities?

CdA Trustees: A Lack Of Democracy

The Coeur d’Alene school board is out of control. Populated almost entirely by appointees, apparently board members are confused about the concept of representative democracy… A prime example? They recently voted to disband PYP (a parent-funded program at one of our schools of choice) after refusing to do a community survey evaluating the program — despite a petition with more than 700 signatures begging them to get broad input first. At the most recent meeting, they voted to sell Person Field, pushing for a vote despite the fact that city representatives (scheduled to meet with them) had not yet arrived. As a citizen this scares me. It’s like something out of a bad movie/Barbara Hallett of Coeur d'Alene, letters to the editor, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think the Coeur d'Alene School Board will remain controversial through next spring when the 3 appointed members will face the voters?

Tribune: Vito Veto

Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune gives Jeers … to state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens (pictured). Here's what Barbieri thinks of state government's primary obligation — the education of your children: “If you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and God, then pull your kids out of that Godless institution.” Barbieri deliberated over this quip, wrote it down and published it on his website. When his Democratic challenger, Cheryl Stransky, also of Dalton Gardens, pressed him about it during a debate, he didn't retreat: “My words exactly.” Then he launched into a call for a tax credit to “allow an alternative to this public school system that is certainly serving a purpose, but there are questions about the curriculum, and that's what I'm concerned with”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Will Rep. Phil Hart replace Rep. Phil Hart as the uberconservative lighting rod in the Idaho Legislature?

Disabled Truck? Who Ya Gonna Call?

A funny thing happened to Coeur d'Alene physical therapist Gary Bartoo en route to his son's hockey practice at Frontier Ice Rink Thursday night. His truck broke down at the busy intersection of Northwest Boulevard and Seltice Way. You may recognize the police officer who responded to the 911 dispatch SOS call — Chief Wayne Longo — yeah, the 2012 Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year who was pounding the beat with his troops last night. Gary's wife, Amy, Facebooks: “Not only is Wayne Longo a phenomenal gentlemen but our esteemed CDA Citizen of The Year!!! We are lucky people tonight!”

Press: Yes On Props 1, 2

Proposition 1 has been derided by opponents as a mean-spirited attempt to wrest control away from teachers and the teachers union and instead put too much authority in the state's hands. We agree that regretfully, some teachers have perceived it as mean-spirited, and we further agree that it absolutely takes authority away from the teachers union. But we support Prop 1 because we believe it has placed much more control in local hands - the hands of parents and school boards. And we also believe it has opened the window to a level of transparency that never existed here before, not even in this right-to-work state that has long rejected the mentality behind secretive collective bargaining sessions. We prize individual accomplishment and responsibility, and Prop 1 underscores those values/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.


Vestal: Citizens United Infects Idaho

Are corporations people, my friends? The battle over campaign disclosure in Idaho’s education-reform campaign is the latest skunky fruit of Citizens United. The organizers of a nonprofit corporation that raised and spent some $200,000 on TV ads are refusing to turn over the names of donors. Idaho’s secretary of state, Ben Ysursa, is suing them for violating Idaho’s campaign disclosure law. Such is the depth of the group’s desire not to disclose that they offered to give back the donations rather than reveal the donors. Ysursa, God bless him, said no. The group, Education Voters of Idaho, is making a constitutional argument: “Social Welfare Organizations, such as EVI, have fundamental Constitutional rights that must be respected by all government agencies, including your office,” the group’s attorney, Christ Troupis, wrote to Ysursa/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.


LCHS Grad Making It In Poker World

Kevin MacPhee, a 1998 Lake City High School grad and Coeur d'Alene native, has spent the past several years traveling the world playing in high-stakes poker tournaments. MacPhee, 32, won a million euros as the 2010 Berlin tournament champion on the European Poker Tour. He has cashed-in at numerous EPT tournaments and is ranked fourth on the EPT all-time leader board. “I've been living out of my suitcase for five years, which has been awesome,” he said. “All of my stuff has been in a storage unit in Coeur d'Alene.” Along the way, he has found his dream girl, a model and poker celebrity in Europe, Liv Boeree, his current girlfriend. Along with being beautiful and having a British accent, she plays heavy metal guitar and studied physics with astrophysics at the University of Manchester. They have been traveling the world together/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Courtesy photo: Kevin MacPhee and girlfriend Liv Boeree)

Question: Would you like to trade places with Kevin MacPhee?

Heller: Ohio

Joe Heller/Hellertoon

Wild Card/Thursday — 10.25.12

As you notice in the main thread below, I'm starting to get hang of this KHQ News Break thing, with Dave Cotton first and now Ken McGrath. I've changed the direction of the camera and seat height so I'm looking directly  into the camera more. All good so far, except that I have to remember each day to wear nice shirt and cut my hair more often. Such is the life of a, ahem, media personality. Now to repost your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 10.25.12

In this Aug. 24, 1995, file photo, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates sits on stage during a video portion of the Windows 95 Launch Event on the company's campus in Redmond, Wash. One of the biggest changes with Windows 8 is the disappearance of the familiar start button at the lower left corner of the screen. There will be a new screen filled with a colorful array of tiles, each leading to a different application, task or collection of files. (AP Photo/File)

Which Is Worse?

On his Facebook wall, Daniel Walter of the Pacific Northwest Inlander asks: “Which is worse?: 1) Not voting or 2) Voting when you have no clue about the issues or candidates you're voting on.”

Question: Anyone?

PM Scanner Traffic — 10.25.12

  • 6:55 p.m. A knife assault is reported at Boulevard Food Mart, 1801 Northwest Blvd/CdA.
  • 6:46 p.m. A disabled vehicle w/o flashers is parked on w/b I-90/MP 9 (near Huetter rest stop).
  • 6:43 p.m. EMTs en route to reported trauma @ Post Falls High football field.
  • 6:26 p.m. I-90 Boss hit on 1993 Washington Honda Accord that may contain missing person.
  • 6:04 p.m. Possible wanted person reported in 4300 block of Woodland Drive/PF.
  • 5:59 p.m. Caller reports driver of red Ram Jeep on H41 from Spirit Lake isn't letting him pass.
  • 10 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

NIdaho Blogs & Friends — 10.25.12

Say what you will about the laws that he pushed through the 2011 Legislature, you still have to give Superintendent Tom Luna credit for being personally plugged in online. He's active on the social media, particularly Twitter. Here, Luna and wife, Cindy, are busy online during a break in the action at the Kootenai County Reagan Republican luncheon at Fedora this afternoon. (Duane Rasmussen photo special for Huckleberries Online)

HuckOnline numbers (for Wednesday, Oct. 24): 11,188 page-views/6,068 unique views

News Break: DFO Talks Govt Change

KHQ's Ken McGrath and DFO discuss Kootenai County ballot measure to streamline county government, on News Break this afternoon. DFO makes prediction re: measures chances of passage:

KHQ Right Now - News and Weather for Spokane and North Idaho |

25 Worst Passwords On Web

Is “password” your password? Despite the obvious insecurity in using the word “password” as your password, it’s the most popular (and least secure) password used on the Internet, according to a new list published by SplashData.The Internet security firm’s annual list of scary logins comes just in time for Halloween — with a warning. Anyone caught using these lame passwords is most likely already or soon to be the victim of a security breach. “At this time of year, people enjoy focusing on scary costumes, movies and decorations, but those who have been through it can tell you how terrifying it is to have your identity stolen because of a hacked password,” said Morgan Slain, SplashData CEO/Fox News. More here.

Question: Do you change your passwords often?

SR Blogs: H&M Opens In Valley Mall

Local shoppers have been eagerly awaiting the grand opening of the new H&M store in the Spokane Valley Mall. The fashion retailer is known for its low prices. Nina Culver/Spokane Valley Blog provides more info here.

Not My Groin, Not My Meth

A suspect found inside a Les Schwab Tire store in Spokane Valley after an alarm went off told deputies it was neither his groin nor his meth found in his groin area they recovered after arresting him Wednesday. At 2 a.m. Wednesday deputies were dispatched to the Les Schwab Tires at 15911 E. Sprague Avenue where an alarm had gone off. Deputies discovered an unsecured door and K-9 Brax and his handler entered the store to conduct a search. Brax and his handler immediately located Kenneth Hooper, 45, who readily complied with the deputy commands/Rob Kauder, KXLY. More here.

Question: Groping groins to find meth? Wonder if that's in the job description for deputies. No thanks. Have you ever performed work that others would consider gross?

Cat Food

“Told my husband I just saw a homeless man walking through downtown holding a cat. “Good to know he has dinner,” says hubby. GOSH!” — Cindy Hval via Twitter.

Question: Why do I think Cindy's hubby and I would get along well?

Green Wants To Streamline County

DFO interviewed Commissioner Dan Green online this afternoon re: the ballot measure to change Kootenai County government, which he supports. The measure proposes to turn four elected offices — clerk, assessor, treasurer & coroner — into appointed ones. And to add a county administrator:

  • DFO: How is the Streamline Kootenai County campaign going?
  • Dan Green: I think it's going well. It's generating a lot of discussion, which is healthy. We're gaining momentum.
  • DFO: You've encountered opposition from the GOP Central Committee, your own party. How do you overcome that?

Green: The Central Committee has their own opinions. Only 33 members of the 68 precincts were there that night (that passed a resolution against the proposed government change). This is not a partisan issue. This is an administrative issue to be more efficient. There are a great many Republicans who support the measure. They just might not be on the Central Committee.

More below

Review: ‘Jersey Boys’

Nick Cosgrove stars as falsetto singer Frankie Valli in the “Jersey Boys.” (Inlander photo: Joan Marcus)

At the Inlander, reviewer E.J. Ianelli writes of the “Jersey Boys” production at Spokane's INB Performing Arts Center that runs through Sunday:

Jersey Boys is big on music (its chief strength, as it ought to be for a jukebox musical), big on razzle-dazzle (not an inch of fly space goes unused, and the lighting is blinding) and big on gratuitous profanity (because the f-word in profusion is inherently funny, right?), but it skims through an otherwise compelling backstory at a pace that’s positively merciless. This unrelenting rush of sight and sound might have been both desirable and necessary. It’s no secret that the audience dominated by Baby Boomers will have arrived hungry for quality Seasons covers. And how else can one cram in 34 musical numbers to sate that cumulative appetite? More here.

Question: I know Cindy & Christa saw “Jersey Boys.” Anyone else? Thoughts?

News Quiz: Sports Tickets Available

The weekly News Quiz is casting the sporting net a bit wider this week. All entrants this week are eligible to win 1) two tickets to this weekend’s Gonzaga University men’s basketball game against Northwest Nazarine, or 2) four tickets to Eastern Washington’s Nov. 3 home football game against Cal Poly. As usual, a $50 gift certificate to the Davenport Hotel will be awarded to a top guesser. Take the News Quiz here.

  • Leaderboard: Kcres & TLPoelstra are the only two Merry Hucksters among the top 26 contestants on this week's Leaderboard. So far.

Satay: From Hot Rod To Hot Spot

Coeur d’Alene’s new Satay Bistro is a fine dining experience located, improbably, between Taco Bell and the Long Ear music store, where Fourth Street crosses Interstate 90. With its chic decor, 70-some bottles of wine and upscale fusion menu ($23 average entree), Satay’s modern, casual elegance would fit in in downtown Coeur d’Alene, Spokane or even larger cities. “I was really wanting that downtown Seattle/Portland, old-style cool building, but parking is so, so critical,” explains owner Rob Elder, who left his first restaurant, Crickets Restaurant and Oyster Bar, in 1998 to launch Hot Rod Cafe in Post Falls/Carrie Scozzaro, Inlander. More here. (Inlander photo: Young Kwak)

Question: Anyone tried Rob Elder's new Satay restaurant yet?

Post: Ex-Redskin In Run For His Life

On his way to changing the country, Jimmy Farris was late hitting the road. He didn’t load his car until after 8 p.m., and the trip from Georgia to Idaho would measure more than 2,300 miles. His 3-year-old cat, Caesar, was a nervous wreck — and he was the calmest one in the car. That first night, back in 2011, Farris had hoped to get as far as Nashville. But after only 10 miles, his head was spinning and tears were flowing, and he pulled over. A couple of years had passed since he had played his final game in the National Football League, and this next step was daunting. All he could think was, “What am I doing with my life?” Since he could run, Farris had been a football player. He played wide receiver at a small college and spent six seasons in the NFL, including two with the Washington Redskins/Rick Maese, Washington Post. More here. (AP file photo: As a Washington Redskin in 2005, Jimmy Farris celebrates a touchdown with a teammate)

Question: Is Jimmy Farris the new face of the Idaho Democratic Party?

Mary Lou: Streamline County Govt

In the Inlander, former Democratic state senator Mary Lou Reed comes out in favor of Kootenai County government change:

I lean toward making the change to establish a culture that is simpler and more efficient. A legislative amendment could make an allowance for additional part-time county commissioners. I question that a $1 million savings can be made immediately, but I believe considerable savings could be made down the road. Proponents are right that municipalities work very well with appointed department heads. As do school districts and our own NIC. Let’s do it. Let’s take the plunge. Let’s streamline Kootenai County government. More here.

Question: Anyone else out there in favor of streamlining Kootenai County government?

Cindy: Walk Stimulates Body, Soul

One of the best forms of exercise doesn’t require expensive equipment, trendy fitness DVDs or a gym membership. Everyone from Thomas Jefferson to health guru Dr. Oz have touted the benefits of walking. All I know is that while my “Buns of Steel” DVD gathers dust on my shelf, my walking shoes wear out on a regular basis. Six years ago, I started taking a 3 ¾-mile walk several times a week because I wanted the physical benefits of a regular exercise routine. But what has kept me walking is the way it feeds my soul/Cindy Hval, SR Front Porch. More here.

Question: Do you have a regular exercise routine? Tell us about it.

Statue Of Liberty Reopens

The Statue of Liberty is shown against the deep blue sky in New York Harbor. On Sunday, the statue will reopen to the public on the U.S. landmark's 126th anniversary. The statue has been closed since last October for renovation to its interior, although the public has been allowed to visit its Liberty Island grounds. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Question: Have you ever visited the Statue of Liberty? Impressions?

AM Scanner Traffic — 10.25.12

  • 12:12 p.m. CPD Blue @ I-90/MP 23 (Wolf Lodge Creek Bridge) calls for Kootenai County's drug dog.
  • 12:03 p.m. Post Falls Food Bank, 415 E. 3rd Ave., reports undisclosed medical emergency.
  • 12:02 p.m. Caller in 10300 block of Blaine Road/Rathdrum reports suspicious vehicle.
  • 11:27 a.m. 10YO girl has hit her head in a playground fall @ Prairie View, Poleline & Greensferry/PF.
  • 10 more items below

Cliff Hayes Predicts 86% Turnout

Just got word from Kootenai County clerk's office that Clerk Cliff Hayes is predicting a turnout of 86 percent, which would be incredible. As you know 8900 (or 12% of registered voters already have cast absentee ballots. So what is your prediction?

Question: Is the presidential race and Propositions 1-3 the only thing driving the high predicted turnout in Kootenai County?

KCres: Prefer Cheryl Over Vito, But …

KCres: I had my first request for my vote today. Cheryl Stransky’s sister appeared at my door, and I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that she was wasting her time with me. I would vote for Cheryl over Barbieri given a chance, but as a non citizen, I cannot vote. Still, at least I get to pay taxes. Wasn’t there a revolution over this some time in the past?

Question: Has any candidates or relatives of candidates come to your door, asking for your vote? Who? Will they get your vote?

AM Headlines — 10.25.12

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, stands with Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho speaks with reporters while in Boise Wednesday to help campaign Labrador. See story below. (AP photo: Idaho Statesman)

For Those Keeping Score At Home …

… UI Athletic Director Rob Spear will be the speaker at the Vandal Booster luncheon today at the Coeur d'Alene Resort; starts at 11:45. Considering the firing of Coach Robb Akey recently, it should be interesting.

Poll: Treasurer, Assessor Raises? No

  • Wednesday Poll: 99 of 174 respondents (56.9%) were opposed to the Kootenai County commissioners' decision to give the assessor and treasurer raises of 2.47% (when no other county elected officials sought an increase). 62 of 174 respondents (35.63%) were in favor of the raises. 13 (7.47%) were undecided.
  • Today's Question: Do you believe the Luna Laws have played a role in the large number of Idaho teachers quitting the profession?

A Huge Smile And A Basket

On his Facebook wall, Don Sausser writes: “NIC's mens baskeball team provides a high lift to this player who scored big at a Special Needs kids Basketball game last night.

On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson writes about the event last night: “About 4:30 p.m. I was pretty much settled in for the night but then remembered I'd promised my friend A-Train I'd come watch him play in the Special Needs Recreation Basketball Extravaganza at NIC at 5:30 p.m. So off I went, out in the rain and without joy in my heart. But let me tell you a couple of hours cheering for Anthony and his fellow players did the soul good. When the teams came out on the court through the smoke to the cheers of the crowd I got choked up. Their absolute joy and sense of accomplishment and sportsmanship was a true blessing to witness. Stop and smell the roses friends. So glad I did tonight.”

Question: Do you have a close contact with a special needs child?

Ad Highlights Teacher Departures

The latest TV campaign commercial from opponents of Idaho’s school reform propositions focuses on the number of Idaho teachers who have left the profession since the laws passed in 2011. “Since the Legislature passed Props 1, 2 and 3, over 1,800 Idaho teachers have left teaching,” the ad says. That claim is based on data compiled by the state Department of Education. The department’s data shows that 1,884 certificated Idaho teachers left the profession of teaching in the 2011-2012 school year, a number that rose sharply from the 1,276 who left in the 2010-2011 year. Both those figures were way up from the 2009-2010 school year, in which the data show 716 Idaho teachers left the profession, a figure that at that point had been relatively stable for three years. That means the ad’s claim is correct - if anything, it understates the figures/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Are you concerned that the Luna Laws are chasing Idaho teachers from the profession?

Huckleberries Hears …

… That the Luna Laws were challenged by a lone dissenter Tuesday night at the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee's monthly meeting.  After a presentation by Bob Nonini in favor of the Luna Laws, Andrew Whipple of Precinct 70 stated that he opposed Propositions 2 & 3, which include the laptops for students issue.  Whipple is a high school teacher in the Harrison area who retired from the military as a major. Luna had been scheduled to speak to the local Republicans but cancelled his appearance to attend the governor's press conference regarding the computer purchase contract. Whipple may be the only active public school teacher on the local GOP Central Committee. At one point Central Committee member Kellie Palm asked if there were any public school teachers present other than Whipple.  Only one person responded.  She said she was a home school teacher but not a public school teacher.

Question: Are you surprised by the Group Think mentality by local and state GOP organizations in favor of the Luna Laws?

Rare Illness Requires Readiness

When Lacey Williams (pictured) was 4, she received a medical diagnosis that changed her life – and just may have saved it. She was diagnosed with hereditary angioedema, a rare, potentially fatal swelling disorder affecting around 6,000 people in the United States. HAE patients have a defect in the gene that controls a blood protein called C1 inhibitor. “My dad has it,” Williams said. “When my brother was born my parents decided to get us both tested. My brother and I both have it.” HAE is characterized by debilitating swelling attacks that can occur at anytime, anywhere on the body/Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Question: Do you know your family's medical history?

Moscow High Schoolers Pick Obama

More than 600 high school students passed through the 1912 Center Wednesday for the ninth biannual Moscow League of Women Voters mock elections. This year Latah County high school students elected Barack Obama over Mitt Romney for president by 26 votes. The past eight times the LWV held mock elections, Latah students have predicted three out of three presidential elections and three out of four gubernatorial elections, organizers said. The school mock elections are held on every general election year and usually involve every school, but this year only high schools in Latah County voted.”We used to do all the schools in Moscow, this is the first year we just limited it to high schools,” said Karen Lewis, chair of the mock elections. “It's a little silly to watch second graders vote”/Estelle Gwinn, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More to come. (Geoff Crimmins Daily News photo: Volunteer Dick Fredericks, left, helps Moscow High School sophomore Chloe Williams fill out an affidavit to vote in the League of Women Voters of Moscow Mock Election)

Question: What percentage of the vote will President Obama get in the Idaho election Nov. 6?

Daily News: EVI Hiding The Truth

Rather than disclosing its donors, Education Voters of Idaho, a group championing Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's education overhaul, is now saying it wants to take back its $200,000 contribution for TV advertising supporting the reforms in exchange for Secretary of State Ben Ysursa dropping demands that donors' names be released. Sounds like someone has something to hide. It appears EVI was set up as nothing more than a way to launder campaign donations to Parents for Education Reform, both figments of two Boise Republican operatives.Ysursa doesn't seem to be taking EVI's request seriously and isn't letting the issue go by the wayside, filing a lawsuit Monday in state court to force disclosure of the group's donors/Devin Rokyta, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (In this 2011 AP file photo, Ben Ysursa receives signatures for a referendum to overturn the Luna Laws.)

Question: What do you think Education Voters of Idaho are trying to hide?

Cutline Contest — 10.25.12

Let's have a cutline contest today with this photo: Singer Katy Perry performs for a crowd before the arrival of President Barack Obama at a campaign rally, Wednesday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Everyone Mum On House Leader Race

Graham Paterson is no political newbie, having done campaign work for Dirk Kempthorne, Steve Symms, Helen Chenoweth-Hage and Brent Coles. But asked in an editorial board meeting to offer his take on House Republican leadership, the normally glib Paterson slowed down to pick his way through the field of rhetorical cowpies. The silence was awkward, and Paterson tried to break the tension. “I can hear the clock ticking.” Ultimately, the best Paterson could offer was a general statement that leadership — executive and legislative, in both parties — has done a good job navigating an “extremely stressful” economic environment. As an outsider, running for an open seat, he said he considered it hard to judge leadership further. And that’s how it went generally, when we asked House Republican candidates about the race they don’t want to discuss/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Idaho Legislature photo of House Speaker Lawerence Denney)

Question: Is it time for House Speaker Lawerence Denney to go?

Read more here:

Wannabe’s Rape Remark Haunts Mitt

Just as Mitt Romney and other Republicans had cut into the Democrats’ advantage with female voters, a tea party-backed Senate candidate’s awkward remark – that if rape leads to pregnancy it’s “something God intended” – has propelled the emotional issue of abortion back to the political forefront. It’s put GOP candidates in tight races, from the presidential candidate on down, on the defensive. Divisive social issues are hardly what most GOP candidates want to be discussing in the few days remaining until elections largely hinging on jobs and the economy. Almost immediately after Richard Mourdock’s comment, Republican candidates distanced themselves from the Indiana state treasurer – though by varying degrees/AP. More here. (AP photo of Richard Mourdock)

Question: WWMD (What Should Mitt Do)?

Obama Masks Outsell Romney’s

It's official. The presidential election is pretty much decided. Not because of savvy angles the candidates worked at the third debate. Not because of boosted campaign funding or icy TV ads. The Halloween mask sales have got this one. According to CNN Money, Halloween masks of President Barack Obama are outselling masks of Mitt Romney at Spirit Halloween stores nationwide by a 60 to 40 percent margin. The mask sales have been an accurate election predictor since 1996, according to CNN. So there you have it. Election over. “It's a spark of hope,” said Paula Neils, chair of the Kootenai County Democrat Central Committee, with a chuckle/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: What do you plan to dress up as this Halloween?

9 Local Drivers In 13-Vehicle Crash

Eight North Idaho drivers were involved in that 13-vehicle accident at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday when a Penske truck driven by Pamela L. Genis, 56, of Reno, Nev., crashed into vehicles stopped at the traffic lights of northbound Highway 95 at Kathleen Avenue. They were: Robert L. Grimm, 64, of Coeur d'Alene; Sarah A. Johnson, 36, of Athol; Kelly A. Glenn, 41, of Coeur d'Alene; Ingrid L. Olaru, 38, of Bonners Ferry; Michaela N. Olinger, 18, of Oldtown; Richard C. Moser, 72, of Rathdrum; Faye A. Taylor, 34, of Dalton Gardens; Victoria B. Winkler, 64, of Rathdrum; and Jane L. Lathrop, 64, of Rathdrum. The following were treated and released at Kootenai Medical Center: semi driver Gentis; passenger Chelsea M. Stillman, 29, of Coeur d'Alene; infant passenger Maylee Mortensen of Washington, Utah; Moser; and Lathrop. You can read the ISP report here.

Hump Day Wild Card — 10.24.12

Sounds like the main qualification that wannabes Paul Matthews and Todd Banducci are offering for the job of North Idaho College trustee is the “R” after their name in a nonpartisan election. At least, Matthews showed up for a candidates' forum last night after missing the first one. Which is more than can be said for Banducci. Would you hire a guy who didn't show up for the job interview. Ron Nilson, the third-part of the latest Reagan Republican attempt to take over a nonpartisan elected board, has a vision, at least. Whether you like it or not. 'Twill be interesting to see how these races play out. Now for your Hump Day Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 10.24.12

On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson reports that she took this photo of The Coeur d'Alene resort boardwalk about 9 o'clock this morning.

Voting Is Easy — In Oregon

A post about mail-only voting in Oregon on Ridenbaugh Press caught my attention today. Barrett Rainey (pictured) was writing about the ease of voting in Oregon. He said: “At our house, we voted this morning. As I write this, nearly all of you in other states have another 10 days or so before traipsing to the polls. For us, the campaign is over. It ended with the slight swishing sound of two Oregon vote-by-mail ballots sliding down the intake of the ballot collection box. No stamps. No extra envelopes. No mess. It’s a great feeling!” During a weekend visit to Amy Dearest and Okie Doke in Portland, Ore., last weekend, I watched my new son-in-law fill out his ballot. We had fun discussing the various issues and the Pacific Green Party of Portland. He wouldn't let me fill out the presidential race for him. I suspect he voted for President Obama. But he wouldn't confirm. After watching him check a voter's guide on candidate positions and initiatives, he'd vote. Then, he put his ballot in an envelope and put a stamp on it. No muss to fuss. I envied him.

Question: Should Idaho go to mail-in balloting?

PM Scanner Traffic — 10.24.12

  • 6:53 p.m. Deer hit by motorist on H95/MP 401 (Worley city limits) may be still alive.
  • 6:16 p.m. CPR being performed on Dalton Gardens man who is unconscious after falling.
  • 5:58 p.m. Female on Sunnyside/CdA reports hearing pickup leave after bullet tears through wall and shatters bathroom mirror.
  • 5:29 p.m. EMTs responding to 20YO male who was punched in jaw @ Seltice Way gas station.
  • 5:06 p.m. A suspicious male who's “trying to be seen” is reported @ 15th & Best/CdA.
  • 5:04 p.m. Alarm sounding @ Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce, 105 1st/CdA.
  • 5:03 p.m. Little Caesar's Pizza employe reports 2-vehicle crash on Neider/CdA.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Oct. 23-24 here.
  • 4:32 p.m. Female in 1600 block of Coeur d'Alene Ave/PF may have taken overdose of pills.
  • 4:20 p.m. Possible illegal burn reported in 1200 block of Lunceford/CdA.
  • 4:11 p.m. Female is arguing w/her child in vehicle parked @ Hayden WalMart.
  • 3:51 p.m. Female dressed in Goth clothes driving multi-color vehicle was taking photos of children at Dalton Elementary on Mount Carroll 10 minutes ago. She left school when confronted.
  • 12 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 10.24.12

Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna was pushing his Luna Laws at a noon luncheon of Bonner County Republican women in Sandpoint today. The event took place at the 41 South restaurant at The Lodge. (Duane Rasmussen photo special for Huckleberries Online)

NIdaho & Friends Blogs — 10.24.12

At As the Lake Churns, blogger Pecky Cox posts this up close & personal photo of bear claws in tree trunk too close for comfort at Casa Cox.

HucksOnline numbers (for Tuesday, Oct. 23): 9,711 page-views/5,682 unique views

Ysursa Seeks Restraining Order

The state of Idaho today filed for a temporary restraining order against a secretive group that underwrote more than $200,000 in campaign ads in support of three school-reform ballot reform measures and has refused to disclose its funding source, and a judge set a hearing on the matter for Friday. 4th District Judge Deborah Bail will hold a hearing on the motion for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. The group, “Education Voters of Idaho,” incorporated in August and within the next 40 days, had transferred $200,350 to a political committee, Parents for Education Reform, the motion says. That group then immediately spent the money on the statewide TV ads/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: At this point, has John Foster's Election Voters of Idaho purchased more than $200,000 worth of negative publicity by refusing to bow to Idaho's Sunshine Law?

Betsy Analyzes H-P Pact Numbers

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, center, along with Gov. Butch Otter, right, and executives from Hewlett-Packard Co., announced on Tuesday in Boise that HP was awarded a multi-year contract to provided laptops and technology support to Idaho students as part of  Luna's “Students Comes First” initiative. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Katherine Jones)

At Eye on Boise, Betsy Russell writes: “I still have not received a copy of the $180 million contract the state of Idaho signed yesterday with Hewlett-Packard Corp. and partners for laptop computers for Idaho high schools, but the State Department of Education just sent me this cost breakdown. It shows that the total amount of the contract is $181,935,125. Their figure for the total number of laptops matches the one from the RFP, at 90,376. But with the phase-in over the eight years, the total number of laptop-years in the contract comes to 554,251, because smaller numbers are included for the first, second and third years. The contract includes $292.77 for each of the 554,251 laptop-years, which adds up to $162,268,065.” More here.

Also by Betsy:

City Hall Lot Nearly Ready For Parking

Facebook Friend Adam Graves snapped this photo of progress on McEuen Field earlier this week.

Keith Erickson, spokesman for Lake City Development Corp, provides this update on the McEuen Field upgrade: “A portion of the new East Lot at City Hall is expected to be available for parking next week. Paving will begin Friday and is expected to be complete by Monday, contractors said during the weekly update Wednesday morning. Meantime, earthwork needed for construction of a dog park at the base of Tubbs Hill is nearly complete. Dog park advocates are in the process of raising money to build the canine playground. Work on the McEuen Park 2012 project is expected to be complete in late November and the project is on schedule, according to Welch-Comer engineer Phil Boyd. Construction updates can be viewed on the city’s webcam.”

Sports Authority To Open At Mall

Inland Northwest Business Watch has now confirmed that Silver Lake Mall in Coeur d' Alene will also soon be home to a new Sports Authority sporting goods store. The new store is the 2nd major store announcement from the mall on Government Way on the north end of Coeur d' Alene. Earlier this month it was also annouced that Silver Lake Mall would also be home to a new Joann Fabrics store/Inland Northwest Business Watch. More here.

SR Blogs: Leach & Twitter Problem

This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Jim Broadbent, left, and Ben Whislaw in a scene from “Cloud Atlas,” an epic spanning centuries and genres. Dan Webster/Dually Noted reviews the movie in the links at bottom. (AP file photo)

In his A Grip on Sports post for SportsLink this morning, Vince Grippi writes: “If you expect me to get into the Twitter debate concerning Washington State's football team, you are going to be a bit disappointed. It's not all that important. The Cougars football coach has final say on all things having to do with the program, so it's his decision. If the school policy is one thing (you can read some comments about how the school deals with social media, including Twitter, in this story) and Leach wants to do something else, he can. Heck, he's done it in regards to other things – the use of marijuana as the prime example – so why would anyone be surprised if he went his own way with Twitter?” More here.

Other SR blogs today:

Hayes: 8900 Have Voted So Far

County Clerk Cliff Hayes announced that both in-person absentee voting and absentee ballots cast by mail have been steady in the last couple of weeks. “We’ve received 8,900 ballots so far; that’s about 12% of the County’s registered voters”, Hayes said. That total includes ballots by mail as well as those cast in-person at the Elections office. One day this week 297 people voted in-person at the County Elections office, which is the highest daily total so far during this election cycle. “Saturday (Oct. 27) we’ll be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” Hayes continued. That is the last of the Saturday in-person absentee voting options. About 60 voters utilized this option for casting their ballots last Saturday, October 20. Complete news release here.

Question: Have you voted yet?

NIC Moderator Explains Questions

At the 59:25 mark of this YouTube video, Mark Browning of North Idaho College explains that candidates for North Idaho College trustee were given questions prior to the forum. Browning then poses a question to each candidate re: partisanship. Apparently, those who complained to Mary Souza of re: irregularities of the forum weren't listening very hard to the moderator. You can see the entire forum below.

Daily News: We Prefer More Docs

What does Idaho need more, a second year of the University of Idaho's law school in Boise or additional doctors? The State Board of Education would like to see both happen but feels it is unlikely the Legislature will provide the money to do both. Bill Goesling, a board member from Moscow, and Kenneth Edmunds, SBOE president, both say that providing funding for training more doctors should take precedence. We agree/Lee Rozen, Moscow-Pullman Daily News Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Which do you think is more important — 2nd year law school in Boise or more doctor positions for Idaho students at University of Washington?

University Bans ‘Freshman’ As Sexist

The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill has removed the word “freshman” from official university documents, citing as their reason an attempt to adopt more “gender inclusive language.” We are “committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community,” reads a statement administrators sent to Campus Reform on Monday. … A spokesperson for UNC declined to further elaborate on the university’s reasoning for implementing the language change. Some students, however, expressed discontent over the change in policy/Oliver Darcy, Campus More here.

Question: Correct move? Or political correctness run amok?

Trump Offers $5M For Obama Records

Donald Trump said on Wednesday that if President Obama releases his college records and his passport application, the mega-millionaire developer will give a $5 million check to charities of Obama’s choosing. Trump tweeted a video of himself in which he offers Obama a “deal that I don’t believe he can refuse, and I hope he doesn’t.” The records must be turned over by Oct. 31 by 5 p.m., and the check will be made within an hour after the records are released, Trump said/Katie Klueck & Bobby Cervantes, Politico. More here.

Question: Should President Obama take the deal?

Feast Of Color

On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts this comment: “A carnivorous yellow jacket wasp cuts a chunk of flesh from the discarded remains of a black tailed deer after it was shot by a hunter in a rural area near Roseburg, Ore., on Friday, Oct. 12. You can see more of Robin's outdoor photography here.

AM Scanner Traffic — 10.24.12

  • 11:41 a.m. Man in red pickup entered Coeur d'Alene business after hitting woman for calling police.
  • 11:23 a.m. Caller reports vicious dog in 700 block of S11th/CdA.
  • 11:15 a.m. Pregnant woman is having contractions in parking lot @ Ramsey & Prairie/Hayden.
  • 11:05 a.m. Caller @ 6800 block of Trinity Lane/Athol reports undisclosed theft.
  • 11:03 a.m. ISP news release: 18YO Coeur d'Alene man killed in H95 crash this AM. More here.
  • 11:02 a.m. Garwood Elementary official reports contained animal on Ramsey Road grounds.
  • 10 more items below

Akey Firing Won’t End UI Problems

As he prepares to hire a fourth football coach since becoming Idaho’s athletic director in 2003, Rob Spear is confident that he can find the right man to turn around the program. He’d better. There aren’t many athletic directors who get five chances to get the most important hire in the department right— and there is a growing chorus of Idaho fans who don’t think Spear should get the chance to replace Robb Akey, who was fired Sunday. Junior tight end Taylor Elmo put his frustration into a tweet Sunday night, suggesting that Spear’s decision to fire Akey was in part to keep the heat off of him. “Fire a man to keep your own job???” Elmo tweeted. Spear bristled at the idea that this decision would have a larger reflection on him than others/Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman. More here. (SR file photo: UI AD Rob Spear, center, introduces new football coach Robb Akey, left, in December 2006)

Question: Is it time for the Idaho Vandals to get a new athletic director, too?

Read more here:

Souza Claims Bias At Trustee Forum

In her latest newsletter, Mary Souza claims a fix was in at the North Idaho College trustees forum:

” I've just heard from people who attended the NIC Trustee Candidate Forum last night.  They tell me it was embarrassing because incumbents Judy Meyer and Mic Armon appeared to have the questions printed out in front of them, and the answers too!  And that questions were not  asked equally of all candidates, they were directed at certain people but not all.  Even a liberal supporter of the incumbents, who was present, said it was very unfair.” More here.

IdahoGirl78: Each candidate was asked before the forum to choose 4 questions from a preselected group. The moderators then asked the candidates the questions that they chose. Since each candidate knew about the questions ahead of time, not just Mic and Judy, so they all had prepared answers. Nilson even corrected the moderator because he missed asking him one of his pre-selected questions


14YO Local Girl Escapes Kidnap Try

A 14-year-old girl told police that a man attempted to kidnap her and punched her in the face Friday night. The alleged incident occurred around 5:50 p.m. in the area of 10th and Spokane streets while the girl was walking southbound. The girl said a skinny male was driving a newer green four-door passenger car with several dents on the passenger side. “He got out of the vehicle and attempted to grab her and force her into the car,” Post Falls police Chief Scot Haug said. “After he was unable to get her into the car, he struck her in the face and knocked her to the ground. She was able to run away and the male yelled obscenities at her as she took off. “She said she has never seen him before”/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: A Post Falls man told a newscaster from a Spokane TV station that he'd moved from Chicago to get away from crimes like this. Do you think the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls area is relatively safe for children?

Popkey: Don’t Mess With ‘Big Ben’

At the Idaho Statesman, Dan Popkey writes about Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's attempt to protect Idaho's sunshine law by seeking disclosure of financial donors to Luna Law propositions:

On top of ignoring popular will, EVI, led by Gov. Butch Otter’s two-time campaign manager, Debbie Field, is attacking Ysursa, Idaho’s top vote-getter. In 2002 and 2010, Ysursa outpolled every other contested candidate, averaging 76 percent of the vote in those two contests. In 2006, he was unopposed. In what appears a desperate attempt to keep secret embarrassing information about the contributions, Field is linking Ysursa, a lifelong Republican, with teachers unions the campaign calls “thugs.” “Although efforts by the Secretary of State, the union and its allies have temporarily chilled our ability to fulfill our mission, we won’t back down,” wrote Field and EVI spokesman John Foster in an op-ed Monday. More here.

Question: Do you want to know who's funding the pro-Luna Law side?

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AM Headlines — 10.24.12

The large megaload staged at the Port of Wilma Monday is not a three-stage Saturn rocket, but water purification equipment. The load is being towed this week through North Central Idaho on U.S. Highway, enroute to Canada's oil sands region. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune, Barry Kough)

Several Hurt In 13-Vehicle H95 Crash

A smashed vehicle sits in the median at the scene of a large multi-vehicle crash at Highway 95 and Kathleen in Coeur d'Alene. Several motorists suffered minor injuries when a northbound Penske truck plowed into vehicles at Highway 95 and Kathleen Avenue in Coeur d'Alene Tuesday afternoon. Story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka) And: Another photo & real-time Scanner Traffic coverage from Tuesday here.

Stateline Showgirls Keeping It On

On his Facebook wall, Kevin Taylor posts:

“Driving back to Spokane today, cutting through Stateline, and outside the Stateline Showgirls is this: 'It's back! Bikini Thursdays!' And I'm thinking, who would go to a nude dance club for bikini Thursday? And what's next? Parka Friday!! Bathrobe n' Curlers Monday!! Put it ON, baby! Woo!”

Question: Anyone understand the concept behind bikini Thursdays at a strip club?

Trib: Troupis Opens Little Black Bag

Whenever the legal equivalent of a black bag job is required, Christ Troupis is the lawyer hired to deliver it. When the ultra-partisan fringe of the Idaho Republican Party chose to evict independent and Democratic voters from the GOP's primary election, leaders such as former Chairman Norm Semanko and former state Sen. Rod Beck relied upon Troupis to take the matter to court. When he prevailed, Idaho's traditionally open primary - the make-or-break election in a one-party state - was sealed off from anyone unwilling to register as a Republican. For the privilege of resisting that effort, Idaho taxpayers were forced to hand over $100,000 to Troupis to cover his costs. Earlier this year, Troupis struck again/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Had you heard of Christ Troupis before now?

Economy Snags Symphony, Too

Things are tough all over – even, it turns out, in the acoustic and architectural wonderland of the Fox Theater. A labor dispute has erupted between the Spokane Symphony’s musicians and administrators, and the tune is depressingly familiar: The economy is doing a number on an organization, and the resulting scramble to keep the ship afloat has resulted in cuts in staff, pay and morale. After months of negotiations, the symphony has imposed a contract on the musicians that amounts to a 13 percent pay cut. That comes after musicians agreed to a 10 percent pay cut in 2009 and gave up contracted raises last year to help the struggling symphony, musicians say. “It’s really disrespectful of the musicians,” said Alaina Bercilla, 30, the 2nd flute/piccolo in the orchestra. “It’s difficult not to take it personally and not be offended by what they’re offering us”/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Are you a Spokane Symphony fan?

Press: Yes To Luna Laws, Teachers

On Friday and Sunday, The Press will publish editorials explaining the editorial board's support for the three education propositions on the Nov. 6 ballot. But before we tell you why we believe these are important steps in elevating public education in Idaho, we want to state unequivocally our support for all the great teachers in our state and particularly in North Idaho. The public education structure has fallen far behind what's needed for Idaho's students to compete in tomorrow's work world. Education isn't alone in having fallen behind; in the blink of an eye the world has changed faster and more dramatically than ever before, and few have adjusted sufficiently. Yet public education will flourish again because it continues to attract some of the finest, most dedicated professionals. Within a more effective structure, those individuals will be public education's salvation/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Agree/disagree?

NIC Candidates Debate Partisanship

A question about partisanship is the one that most clearly divided North Idaho College trustee candidates participating in Tuesday's forum held on the college's downtown campus. Eight contenders running for three seats on the college's board of trustees squared off Tuesday during a forum held on campus and hosted by the Associated Students of North Idaho College, NIC's student government organization. A written question, one of several fielded from audience members, asked the candidates if they felt the nonpartisan nature of community college trustee elections is important. It also asked those who have chosen to run from a partisan position to explain why/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (NIC Trustee Judy Meyer gives a thumbs up during candidates' forum Tuesday night)

Question: Challenger Todd Banducci has missed both forums for North Idaho College trustee. He's running against incumbent Mic Armon. Does he deserve your vote?

Prop Backers Don’t Mention Laptops

I received this in the mail Tuesday from the Yes for Idaho Education group. What struck me most is the absence of anything to do with laptops for kids. In fact, the description provided by the Yes for Idaho Education group for Proposition 3 (which deals with laptops) simply sez: “Gives families a chance to save money on their education by earning up to a year of cllege credit in high school paid by the state.” (Click on photo to see slightly larger version of flyer)

Question: Why didn't proponents of the Luna Laws mention laptops in their flyer?

Laptop Deal Dead Sans Voter OK

Item: HP wins Idaho laptop contract: $180 million computer deal for students null if Prop 3 fails/Betsy Russell, SR

On her Facebook wall, Kristi Nivette Milan post: “Luna just signed a contract with HP to spend $180 MILLION in the next 8 years to give $250 computers, made in China, to 14 year olds. They have budgeted $2.5 million for this year only. Do the math, they need $22.5 million per year to pay for these computers. WHO'S GOING TO PAY FOR THIS???? You guessed it, educators! Larger class sizes, less professional development, less benefits, cut sports, arts, music and electives to name a few options. But every high school student will have a computer to lose, destroy, leave at home, forget to charge or pawn. JUST VOTE NO on Prop 1,2,3.”

Question: Do you plan to vote for Proposition 3 — the measure that would provide laptops for Idaho high school students?


Leach Bans Cougars From Tweeting

Just one week after players were instructed by a professional about the dangers of social media, Twitter is no more for the Washington State football team. The decision was made Tuesday, coach Mike Leach said, to ban his players from the social media site effective immediately. “Quite frankly, if after today you see anything on Twitter from our team,” Leach said, “and I don’t care if it says, ‘I love life,’ I would like to see it because I will suspend them.” So, what prompted this decision? “Because I decided to, that’s what prompted that,” Leach said/Christian Caple, SR. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Did WSU football coach Mike Leach go too far in banning his players from tweeting?

Wild Card/Tuesday — 10.23.12

Best show in town tonight might be the candidates forum for North Idaho College trustees from 6:30 to 8:30 in the Edminster SUB Coeur d'Alene Room. The forum will consist of opening and closing statements, and timed-answers to questions gathered beforehand from students, staff and faculty. A portion of the forum will be open for questions from the audience. It'll be interesting to see if the Reagan Republican candidates show up for this one after skipping the one & only previous debate at the Democratic Club luncheon. Any conflicting Republican events out there tonight? Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 10.23.12

A Spokane Transit Authority bus travels north on the Maple Street Bridge as a bank of fog engulfs the Spokane River gorge, leaving the the top of the Spokane County Courthouse exposed, Tuesday morning. You can see more fall photos by SR photographers here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Oatmeal & Peanut Butter? Yum!

In the latest Off the Cuff column in the UIdaho Argonaut, Elisa writes:

“I’m finding that as I grow older I enjoy the taste of vegetables and other foods I used to push around my plate long after dinner was over, stubbornly refusing to eat. Oatmeal with peanut butter is my new favorite comfort food.” Complete Off the Cuff column.

Question: What's your favorite comfort food?

Akey Surprised By Midseason Firing

Robb Akey knew his Idaho coaching staff needed a pick-me-up after a 70-28 loss to Louisiana Tech on Saturday. So he called a staff meeting for Sunday afternoon to suggest some changes, find some bright spots and go over recruiting plans heading into the final four games of the season. Before he got to meet with his staff, however, Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear fired Akey. “I didn't expect it in the middle of the season. I knew we needed to win more games. We needed to win more — and that was an ugly game on top of it,” Akey told the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday evening. “I expected to be able to finish the season”/Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Should AD Spear have waited until season's end to fire Coach Robb Akey?

PM Scanner Traffic — 10.23.12

A motorist makes a phone call in the middle of a 13 car pile up on Highway 95 at Kathleen Avenue early Tuesday in Coeur d'Alene. The northbound lanes of Highway 95 are shut down and traffic is being detoured around the crash at Bosanko Road. The southbound lanes are open and not affected by the crash. Several people were injured in the crash, the extent of their injuries is not known. See more in drop-down box below. KHQ story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

  • 5:32 p.m. Hayden Mini Storage, 9960 Government Way, reports business burglary
  • 5:15 p.m. ITD removing barriers & Coeur d'Alene officers about to reopen n/b H95 @ Bosanko after clearing 13-vehicle crash that occurred about 2:30 this afternoon.
  • 5:13 p.m. 5YO on Theo Street/Rathdrum may have swallowed spider poison.
  • 4:34 p.m. Someone is shooting in the area of H95/MP 428 (East Riverview Drive/CdA).
  • 4:11 p.m. Female is in KCSD lobby to report threat received from Oklahoma.
  • 3:49 p.m. Older female in red car s/b on Prairie Trail from Kathleen toward Ramsey Park.
  • 3:47 p.m. Several people involved in multi-vehicle pile-up on H95 being treated @ KMC.
  • 14 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 10.23.12

On his Facebook wall, SR photog Jesse Tinsley posts: “Don't shoplift at the Spokane Valley Mall. And if you do, don't run out by the Sheriff's office on the west end.”

NIdaho Blogs & Co: Yuck & Awe

Marianne Love/Slight Detour wasn't happy with the snowflakes she found on her windshield this morning. See link to her Tuesday Twitterdedamnflakes below.

HucksOnline numbers (for Monday, Oct. 22): 9,962 page-views, 5,972 unique views

‘60s Fictional Character Backs Raul?

The Twitterverse and liberal The Daily Kos are having fun with a R/T by Congressman Raul Labrador's crew — of Dr. Alfred Bellows' endorsement: “I'm supporting @Labrador4Idaho, and you should too. The man has delivered on his campaign promise of fiscal responsibility.” If that name sounds familiar, you're probably a fan of the old TV show: “I Dream of Jeanie.” Dr. Alfred Bellows was the psychiatrist in the 1960s comedy. Tweeter Sharon Fisher may have been the first person to spot the R/T — and hilarity that went with it. (Wikipedia photo)

Question: Which fictional TV character would you want to be endorsed by?

Idaho Signs $180M Laptop Pact w/HP

Von Hansen, vice president and general manager at HP Boise, hailed selection of his firm to supply laptop computers for Idaho high school students through a contract with the state of Idaho. (SR photo: Betsy Russell)

The eight-year contract that Idaho is signing with Hewlett-Packard for laptop computers for Idaho high schools totals $180 million, according to a news release from Gov. Butch Otter. It covers implementing wireless networks in every Idaho high school, deploying the mobile devices, monitoring and maintaining the system and devices, and training teachers and staff/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Shouldn't they have waited until after the votes on Propositions 1-3?

SR Blogs: Trailcam Nets Cougar Clan

Trail cams are opening our eyes to rarely seen intimate lives of reclusive animals. There's no better example than the photo above of four cougars in Montana — likely a mother an her three adult-size offspring. See Rich Landers Outdoors link here. (Courtesy photo: Drew Shearer)

In SportsLink, Vince Grippi moans: The Mariners never win and they respect their fans so much they raise their ticket prices and don't tell them. Nice. The Dodgers never win and they respect their fans so much they're willing to take the Red Sox's biggest problems – and contracts – off their hands trying to make the postseason. Nice. The Giants always win, though they respect me so much they always get this close to elimination every freakin' series. Nice. More here.

Question: Is there a professional or college team that you simply hate?

Snow Coming, Then Mild Ahead

“I love the change of the season's,” said Christabela Jerome as she rakes leaves at North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene on Monday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

The first snow of the season has fallen in Spokane, but the U.S. Climate Prediction Center says it may not be a sign of things to come. This winter in the Inland Northwest should be milder and drier than normal, prediction center scientists say. Spokane International Airport officially recorded a trace of snow on Sunday. Snow and rain remain in the overnight forecasts through Friday morning. A winter storm warning was issued on Monday for mountain areas of Northeast Washington and far North Idaho/Mike Prager, SR. More here.

Question: What do you make of the long-range winter forecast — mild?

Durst Reacts To Statesman Pick

Branden Durst, an occasional commenter at HucksOnline, offered a pithy response when Boise Republican Sen. Mitch Toryanski received the Idaho Statesman endorsement. Kevin Richert/Statesman provided the response via Twitter:

Said Durst: “Reading the Idaho Statesman Opinion Page endorsements reminds me a lot of an abused spouse. Rather than look at what the spouse is doing, they keep saying it won't ever happen again. Guess what, they've been doing it to you for 20 years, it's not going to stop.”

Question: Do you like to see newspapers endorse candidates? How much sway do those endorsements have with you?

Read more here:

ISU’s Kramer Suspended One Game

Idaho State has suspended football coach Mike Kramer for Saturday's game at Montana and issued a letter of reprimand. Kramer was under investigation by the university and the Pocatello Police Department for pushing receiver Derek Graves at practice on Oct. 3. “Following a thorough investigation coach Kramer will serve a one-game suspension for this Saturday’s game at Montana,” Idaho State Director of Athletics Jeff Tingey said in a statement. The school said he violated the Idaho State University Conduct Policy. Associate Head Coach Don Bailey will be the acting coach for Saturday's game. Bailey is a former Boise State assistant coach/Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Does the punishment fit the offense?

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Rosdahl: Enotica Opens In Post Falls

Everything's in place for the grand opening of Enoteca Fine Wine & Beer. Expanding in the building at 112 E. Seltice Way (next to the White House Grill), Post Falls, and with a full liquor license, the celebration is Friday through Sunday. Check for details of each day's activities. Owners Russell and Sarah Mann bought the business in 2006 and expanded the selection to more than 1,000 wines and 600 craft beers. Enoteca offers Wine and Beer of the Month clubs and tastings. The wine and beer are retail and available with other spirits in the Drinkery & Refuge that seats 36 customers at tables and the bar. Retail hours start at 11 a.m. with the Drinkery open at 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Phone 457-9885/Nils Rosdahl, Business Bits, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Are you a beer and/or wine connoisseur?

SR Picks Playboy Vet Over Shea Fear

If there were a political version of the TV show “Fear Factor,” Republican Rep. Matt Shea would make an excellent host. Fear of U.S. currency. Fear of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Fear of “FEMA camps” where, according to a conspiracy theory, citizens will be held once invading federal troops round them up. No wonder he keeps a gun stashed in his car. We would’ve liked to discuss these views and more, but he was alone among local candidates in declining to return our calls. So we’re left with lines like this from a speech to the Constitution Party, “How long will we continue to beg like dogs only to be satisfied with a few scraps from the king’s table?” Shea supported Constitution Party candidate Randall Yearout rather than Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in the 5th District congressional primary. His desire for states to unilaterally nullify federal laws shows he’s a fringe thinker. To borrow a phrase, he’s a Republican in name only/Spokesman-Revew Editorial Board. More here. (Rep. Matt Shea, 2nd from left, with Idaho Reps. Phil Hart, left, and Vito Barbieri, right, at Ron Paul rally in Spokane earlier this year.)

Question: Izzit just me, or does Shea sound as thought he'd fit in perfectly in Idaho's Legislative District 2 or 3?

Latest Kootenai Health Issue Online

On its Twitter feed, Kootenai Health announces that its new issue of Kootenai Health magazine is available online now — and will be in your mailboxes in a week. By way of explanation, Kootenai Health explains that the “magazine brings you health and wellness information and inspiring stories from people here at home. Our quarterly publication delivers news on leading-edge technology and the latest procedures available in our region.” You can see the latest issue online here.

Question: Do you read Kootenai Health mag?

Breakfast Of Champions

Facebook Friend Ken Burchell calls this “the real breakfast of champions.” What do you think?

Question: Did you have something better than this for breakfast?

AM Scanner Traffic — 10.23.12

  • 11:56 a.m. Blue Legacy that turned off @ H41/PF involved in I-90 road rage incident.
  • 11:51 a.m. Post Falls police are looking for 6-0 man w/3 missing upper teeth and a deep voice who tried to entice a girl into his green, 4-door sedan Friday evening @ 10th & Spokane Street. When she wouldn't enter his vehicle, he punched her in the face. She was able to get away from him.
  • 11:42 a.m. Caller is unable to awake male @ house after finding 1YO baby in Post Falls alley.
  • 11:41 a.m. ISP officer reports disabled, white Explorer in median @ w/b I-90/H41, PF.
  • 11:24 a.m. 25YO man injured in fall in 400 block of N12th Street/CdA.
  • 11:15 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Oct. 22-23 here.
  • 10 more items below

UI Smoking Ban Draws Opposition

Students smoke while sitting outside the University of Idaho library in Moscow on Monday. (Moscow-Pullman Daily News photo: Geoff Crimmins)

An initiative to ban tobacco products campus-wide could result in the University of Idaho becoming a tobacco-free campus in the next few months. The UI Economics Club organized a debate on the topic to raise awareness of the initiative, which is working its way through the Associated Students of the University of Idaho senate and the Faculty Senate. ” It goes through the Senate and then the president approves it,” Economics Club President Nick Meixler said. “We heard this was going through and nobody was really talking about it, there was no debate about it, and it's going to affect 20 percent of the school population.” The debate became a forum when proponents of the ban chose not to participate “at the last minute,” Meixler said. The proposed ban is an effort by students in the UI health education program/Estelle Gwinn, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Question: What is the policy of your business re: smoking?

Idaho Ranks No. 25 For Tax Burden

For nearly two decades the Tax Foundation has published an estimate of the combined state and local tax burden shouldered by the residents of each of the fifty states. For each state, we compute this measure of tax burden by totaling the amount of state and local taxes paid by state residents to both their own and other governments and then divide these totals by each state’s total income. We not only make this calculation for the most recent year, but also for earlier years due to the fact that income and tax revenue data are periodically revised by government agencies. More here. H/T: Orbusmax.

Question: Without looking, can you guess which state has the highest/lowest tax burden? And/or: Are you surprised that Idaho is in the middle of the pack re: tax burden? And Washington's lower?

Avista Offers Buyouts To 900 Workers

Avista Corp. told about 900 workers Monday that it will offer generous buyouts so that the Spokane-based utility can cut about $14 million or more from next year’s budget. The invitations are going to 919 of the utility’s 1,550 total employees. Not included in the voluntary severance offer are about 600 union workers, said Avista spokesman Dan Kolbet. The unusual cost-cutting measure is driven by spiraling operating costs that include huge increases for medical insurance and pension payments, the company said in a summary sent to many employees. Avista provides power to 600,000 business and residential customers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Its 2012 operation and maintenance budget was $256 million; a $14 million cut would be just above 5 percent of the budget/Tom Sowa, SR. More here.

Question: Would you take a buyout from your company if one was offered?

Poll: UI Right To Fire Robb Akey

  • Monday Poll: Hucks Nation agreed with the firing of Idaho Vandals football coach Robb Akey. 74 of 153 respondents (47.74%) agreed with the firing. 57 of 153 respondents (36.77%) disagreed with the firing. 24 (15.48%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Should Kootenai County Assessor Mike McDowell and Treasurer Tom Malzahn received the 2.47% pay increases that they want?

AM Headlines — 10.23.12

Members of University of Idaho Facilities, Moscow Police Department and Moscow Fire Department search through a garbage and recycling receptacle on the south end of the Wallace Building. Fred Hutchison, director of environmental health and safety, said that three “devices” — made in plastic soda bottles — were placed in the receptacle. A member of facilities found the bottles, the first of which was opened, releasing the pressure. The other two were punctured and pressure released by the fire department. No one was injured. (Idaho Argonaut photo: Madison McCord)

Santa Claus Among Idaho Write-Ins

Mr. Claus is on the list of write-ins who have field a declaration of intent. Votes cast for old St. Nick will be counted, along with those for 33 others who've filed with the Secretary of State's office. Claus lives in Incline Village, Nev., home of Diamond Peak Ski Resort. Other notables include Roseanne Barr of Kamuela, Hawaii; Rev. Merepeace-Msmere of Boise; Gerald Warner of Moscow; Chance White of Pocatello; and Texas inmate Keith Judd, who got 40 percent of the vote against President Obama in the West Virginia primary. For a write-in vote to be counted, the candidate's name must be written in the spot for the presidential race and must not be accompanied by a vote for any of those listed on the ballot/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (SR file photo)

Question: Have you ever voted for a write-in on an election ballot? Who? Which race?

Read more here:

Billy Idol To Perform At Birthday

Michael Henrichsen poses in his bedroom at his home in Seattle. Henrichsen created a website and enlisted friends and celebrities around the world in a two-year effort to convince Idol to come play a concert on Friday at a Seattle music venue to raise money for charity and celebrate Henrichsen's birthday. Idol agreed to do so. Story here. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Question: Which singer would you want to perform at your next birthday?

Melissa: Undecided? Really?

On her Facebook wall, Melissa Deis/KXLY makes this observation: “I don't really care who you vote for. BUT, it is absolutely insane to me to think that people can be 'undecided' at this point. Seriously. What more could you possibly need to hear?”

Question: Anyone out there still undecided re: the presidential race? Are there any races that you consider yourself to be an undecided? Which one(s)?

Gesser Will Coach By Committee

Mid-afternoon on Monday, the sign outside the most prominent coach’s office in the Kibbie Dome still read: “Robb Akey, Head Football Coach.” A few hours earlier, Jason Gesser had met with the media for the first time as Idaho’s interim coach. And 18 hours before his introductory news conference, he first heard that Akey – his former boss and coach at Washington State – had been fired. “It’s been a whirlwind,” Gesser said. Gesser had yet to process all that had unfolded, and he was at a loss to explain how he found himself – at the age of 33 and in his second year as a collegiate coach – running an FBS program. But he had plenty to say about his vision for the Vandals football program/Josh Wright, SR. More here.

Question: Isn't 33 way too young to be head coach of a top division college football team?

Statesman Backs Simpson, Labrador

Fiscal health is the most urgent issue facing Congress. Not the only issue. But it’s close. And on this defining issue, incumbent Republican Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson are the clear choices. They are far stronger on deficit and debt issues than their Democratic opponents. Labrador rode the conservative crest in 2010, one of a whopping 87 GOP freshmen to win a House seat in the midterm elections. Amidst this crowd, the 1st District lawmaker has managed to do something unusual — if not unheard of — for a first-term Idaho House member. He has begun building a national profile. Labrador has become a repeat guest on the Sunday morning talk show circuit. He has been among a group of Latino Republicans campaigning in swing states for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. With a background in immigration law, Labrador would be well-positioned to assume a key role on a sensitive issue that is critical to Idaho/Idaho Statesman Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Agree/disagree with Idaho Statesman endorsements in Idaho congressional races?

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Assessor, Treasurer Want Pay Raises

At least two Kootenai County elected officials could get raises this fiscal year, under a resolution the commissioners will consider at their business meeting today. Under Idaho code, the commissioners must set the nine elected officials' salaries each year, including their own. The new fiscal year budget allows raises for all of the more than 700 county employees, including voted-in officials. Yet under today's proposed resolution, only two of the county's nine officials, the treasurer and assessor, are requesting to receive a 2.47 percent raise. The other seven officials, commissioners included, are recommending to keep their salaries flat. “The commissioners, we decided we're not taking a raise this year, because of the economic times,” said Commissioner Todd Tondee, who like the other commissioners earns $71,080 a year/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Kootenai County photo: Assessor Mike McDowell)

Question: Is this the time for a public elected official to ask for a raise?

World Reactions Mixed On Debate

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and President Barack Obama, left, greet members of the audience at the end of the final debate at Lynn University on Monday in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Commentators and people around the globe gave mixed opinions to the performances of Mitt Romney and President Obama in Tuesday's debate that focused largely on foreign policy. “Obama (came out on top) but to an extent both tried to be the other,” said Omar R. Quraishi in Karachi, editor of the editorial pages of the English-language Pakistani newspaper, Express Tribune, which is affiliated with the New York Times's global editions. “Obama sounded firm and assertive, kind of like a Republican, and Romney tried to ensure that the female vote, which has apparently risen for him, doesn't go away, but tried not to sound like a war-mongering Republican”/USA Today. More here.

Question: Who do you think won the 3rd presidential debate? Why?

Superman Quits Daily Planet

If you ask Superman, the print business might as well be Kryptonite. In DC Comics' new issue of Superman, the Man of Steel's bespectacled alter ego, Clark Kent, isn't happy with his day job anymore as a mild-mannered reporter, so much so that he actually ends up quitting The Daily Planet, the Metropolis newspaper where he's made his home since the character's creation in 1938. Editor-in-Chief Perry White's not going to be thrilled about this. Per USA Today, in Superman issue 13, Superman's been so busy saving the world that his other persona has neglected his journalism duties to the point where White begins getting on Kent's case for failing to generate scoops/E! More here.

Question: Do you think Superman should become a blogger?

Hall: Take Off Your Shoes, Honey

Eventually, we are permitted by Providence to progress through all seven of Shakespeare's ages of man - infant, whining schoolboy, sighing lover, soldier, wise person, fading elder and then, finally, “second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” And now, it turns out, sans shoes. I received some good news the other day when entering the airport security line for my examination as a potentially dangerous passenger. A new sign advised me that passengers 75 years and older have graduated to a greater level of trust. People of my August age are no longer required to shed their shoes or their jackets while going through the security checks. I have mixed feelings about that. Mind you, I enjoy a status that spares me some of the hassle of boarding an airplane. But a manly man of any age has misgivings about being declared less dangerous. There is something soft and flabby and all worn out about becoming officially harmless/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you mind taking off your shoes at an airport security station?

Signe: Sports Hall Of Shame

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Wild Card/Monday — 10.11.12

We're almost down to two weeks and counting, as far as the 2012 general election is concerned. The propositions, Kootenai County government change, and the North Idaho College races seem to be getting most of the attention. But the Democrats have fielded candidates in all the legislative races. So it'll be interesting to see how they do, particularly in District 2, where uberconservatives have held sway for awhile. With that thought, I'll post the work week's first Wild Card …

P.S. ‘Akey’s Army’ Shuffles Off

At Slight Detour, Marianne Love posts: “Bill always wore his T-shirt proudly, at home on game days and in Moscow at the Kibbie Dome when he'd accompany Willie the University of Idaho to watch the Vandals play a home football game. Willie reports on Vandal home games for the Idaho Press Tribune.  Bill knows this morning that he owns a collector's item, and Willie knows that he'll be questioning a new coach for his game reports. We all feel a tinge of sadness that “Akey's Army” at the University of Idaho has become defunct.” More here.

Up Half The Night Reading

In an earlier post, I announced to the world that Hilary Mantel's, Bringing up the Bodies, had been selected for my summer reading. As the season slid into fall, it was mid October, glorious and ripe with color and the bounty of my garden, that I reached the end of this fabulous book. The night table lamp, put to such good use over the previous weeks, I finally  turned off. With a scant few hours sleep before the cruel alarm would shake me unwillingly from my rest, I still had trouble nodding off as my mind continued to reel. Even though I have stopped reading it, the book is still with me and in my thoughts. I find I return to it several times a day. Discussing the novel over dinner with our book club, I found fellow readers in complete agreement as to the utter majesty of the work/Elizabeth S. Brinton, Writing North Idaho. More here.

Question: What was the last book you read until the wee hours of the night?

PM Scanner Traffic — 10.22.12

  • 5:33 p.m. Someone is unconscious in the public bathroom @ KMart, 201 Neider/CdA.
  • 5:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Oct. 21-22 here.
  • 4:58 p.m. CPD Blues learn that vehicle they sought just left Hayden WalMart parking lot.
  • 4:56 p.m. Post Falls man may have suffered broken hip in fall from ladder.
  • 4:49 p.m. Pickup is against guardrail @ I-90/MP 11.5 (near NW Blvd), partly blocking freeway.
  • 4:39 p.m. Loose dog is creating road hazard @ Ramsey & Garwood.
  • 14 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

McEuen: Paving Set For City Hall Lots

Keith Erickson, spokesman for Lake City Development Corp, provides latest developments of McEuen Field upgrade:

Base rock is being placed on the two new parking lots near City Hall with paving expected later this week, weather permitting, according to Team McEuen engineer Phil Boyd. Additionally, crews are constructing a new 60-foot retaining wall on Young Avenue near City Hall  that could cause minor traffic delays during the early part of the week. The McEuen project continues on schedule. Meantime, city crews are replacing leaky water valves near Sherman and First Street and Sherman and Second Street, which will require road closures/detours on Tuesday.

Also: LCDC minutes from October 2012 meeting

PM Headlines — 10.22.12

Idaho interim head football coach Jason Gesser speaks during a news conference in Moscow today. Gesser replaces replaces Robb Akey, who was fired by athletic director Rob Spear on Sunday. Story here. (Moscow-Pullman Daily News photo: Geoff Crimmins)

Working To Save Person Field

Someone from the neighborhood offers his/her opinion re: the future of Person Field at 15th & Garden in Coeur d'Alene. The photo was taken this weekend at Person Field while Coeur d'Alene Junior. Tackle 5th grade Steelers warm up for the last game of the season.  This sign faces the field from the alley on the north. Meanwhile, the city of Coeur d'Alene and Coeur d'Alene School Board are working on an agreement that would lead to the sale of Person Field to the city, to preserve as green space.

Carlson: A George McGovern Tribute

Chris Carlson of the Carlson Chronicles remembers reporting on the 1972 Democratic National Convention that nominated South Dakota Sen. George McGovern:

A truly decent man had been slandered and demonized beyond belief.  Especially puzzling to many was McGovern’s failure to reference or even talk about the fact that he was a legitimate and decorated war hero having piloted a B-24 through 35 dangerous missions over Europe during World War II. Like many veterans, he’d seen war up close and understood that too often old men full of false bravado send young men off to die in the misadventures created by their bluster. What I will most remember McGovern for though is the fine, poignant and sad book he wrote, entitled Terry, about he and Eleanor losing a beloved and talented daughter to alcoholism.  It was an honest, candid, unsparing account of their ultimately unsuccessful effort to save her from her eventual premature death. More here. (AP file photo of McGovern from January 2012)

Question: Did you vote in the 1972 presidential election?

Oh For The Days Of Black Jack Gum

The catalogs are already a couple of inches high on my reading table and I find them more enjoyable than my usual diet of politics.  One of my favorites is The Vermont Country Store , the best source I know for all things past like bubble lites for the tree. Of course this is for club members only.  We of advancing years.  Remember Black Jack chewing gum?  And Beemans and Clove?  How about Necco wafers?  Ribbon Candy? Have you seen a bar of Lifebuoy soap anywhere in the past twenty years?  Remember when the Fuller Brush man went door to door?  If I weed through some drawers of “stuff” I may actually find some of their brushes purchased way back when and stashed away at some point for a newer design, if there is such a thing when it comes to brushes! And scents.  I remember wearing White Shoulders when I was a young working girl.  So did just about everyone else in our office.  And English Leather for the guys?/Dogwalk Musings. More here. (Wikipedia photo)

Question: What product do you miss from days gone by?

Idaho Dad: Foot-In-Mouth Disease

I put my foot in my mouth again. This time I was at a homeschool event and found myself chatting with a nearby mom I’d never met before. At some point she said to me, “It’s very nice to see a dad doing all the teaching. So many fathers don’t have the patience to do that.” I answered back with the obvious, “Very true. I know way too many dads who don’t have the patience to spend any time with their kids.” And then I just kept droning on and on, which inevitably leads to me saying something unintentionally stupid. “In fact, a lot of dads I know see their kids quite infrequently. It’s so sad. I just don’t understand why a father would allow himself to slowly become a stranger to his children. It’s tragic, these ‘stranger dads’ who spend maybe one day a week around their kids, if that. Work can’t be more important than family.” Blah freakin’ blah, that’s me/Idaho Dad, A Family Runs Through It. More here.

Question: When did you last put your foot in your mouth?

Bay Views: Dump Barbieri, Too

Back in the 1960's I worked closely with Ronnie Reagan on his first election run in California. I knew his daughter, Maureen and her husband then, Dave Sills who is now an appellate judge in California. I moved back to Washington Sate in 1967 and thence to Idaho in 1990. During those days as a Young Republican and living in Orange County, we had the same problems that we have here in North Idaho. Extremism. There and then, it was the John Birch Society. They had absolutely no room at all in their philosophical basement for the rest of the party and they were overwhelmingly tossed out of office during the 1966 election cycle. Here we are faced with the opposite of Washington State. There, the liberals control almost everything, especially on the west side. In our state, it is the opposite with extremist republicans holding most of the offices. Either extreme is unhealthy for the politics of any state. We got rid of Hart in the primary, but still have his hand chosen buddy,  Barbieri/Herb Huseland, Bay Views. More here. (Duane Rasmussen photo of Vito Barbieri special for HucksOnline)

Question: Do you consider Rep. Vito Barbieri's views extreme/maintstream North Idaho?

NIdaho Blogs & Friends — 10.22.12

At As the Lake Churns blog, Pecky Cox posted this photo of auburn-haired twins Ava Grace and Ella Scarlett Ackerman sitting between the horns of their dad's big-game kill in the back of a pickup. Pecky has posted a number of fall photos of her Priest Lake Facebook group.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of Oct. 14-20): 52,803 page-views/31,860 unique views

The Way We Were: Templin’s

Templin's Restaurant and Motor Lodge was a popular spot on the old north shore, under the ownership of restaurateur Bob Templin. McCall's magazine once named it one of the top 13 restaurants in the western United States. Templin's was still standing when I arrived in Coeur d'Alene in fall 1984. But it was probably called Murphy's then, after Fred Murphy, the long-time friend and Casco Bay neighbor of Duane Hagadone. Hagadone took over Templin's frontier empire in 1983. Later, he removed opened the vista of the waterfront by removing Templin's/Murphy's restaurant. This photo was taken from the old Desert Hotel, on the north side of Sherman Avenue. (Photo provided by John Hensley)

Question: Anyone else out there remember eating at Templin's restaurant on the waterfront?

Idaho Didn’t Ban Corporal Punishment

Idaho is one of only 19 states that does not forbid corporal punishment in K-12 schools. OK, so what does that mean and what is corporal punishment? The National Association of School Nurses defines corporal punishment as “intentional infliction of physical pain as a method of changing behavior.” This can include hitting, shaking or slapping, either with the hand or with an object, such as a paddle or a belt. Idaho Code, 33-1224, gives districts and teachers some latitude in administering corporal punishment, but a north Idaho school district (Coeur d'Alene) and a Boise charter school say their schools would never use corporal punishment regardless if Idaho law does not forbid it/Austin Hill, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Should Idaho schools follow through on use of corporal punishment? Or ban it altogether?

One Ring Joins 3 Men

On October 21st, 1948 my father,William E. “Bill” Mansfield, was given this ring to commemorate his 21st Birthday. That was exactly 64 years ago. Had my Dad lived he would have turned 85 years old on Sunday, October 21st, 2012. (He passed away July 30th, 2012.) His father-in-law, John J. Maguire bought the ring for Dad, had it engraved with Dad's initials on the outside of it and a simple message on the inside -  along with the date… and then gave it to him. And Dad wore it. All through my childhood. I have memories of holding his hands as I bounced on his knee, looking at his ring, comparing the size of our hands. Seeing how different they were/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Do you have a family heirloom that has been passed down through generations of your family?

Akey’s Departure Brings Tears

This morning Jason Gesser met with reporters for the first time after being named Idaho's interim head football coach. The 33-year-old former Washington State quarterback, wearing a black pinstripe suit with a gray tie, started crying a few minutes into the press conference when talking about the influence that Robb Akey, the man he's replacing, has had on him. “Akey’s been everything for me,” Gesser said. “The guy means a lot. … I mean, I owe my life to the guy”/Josh Wright, SR SportsLink. More here. (Dan Pelle's SR file photo of Jason Gesser earlier this fall)

Question: Do guys cry too much today?

High Noon: Illness & Airline Flights

I am at the airport waiting for a flight and there is a boy about 6 who is waiting for what I hope is a different flight. He has the telltale bark of what used to be called croup. But could it be whooping cough? He's a cute little guy and I heard him telling someone that he's on his way to Disneyland. So here's the dilemma? Should airline personnel step in and inquire about his condition before he boards the plane? He is pretty much barking non-stop so whether croup or whooping cough, he's likely contagious/Rebecca Nappi, SR. More here.

Question: What do you do to protect yourself from contagious illnesses on plane flights?

Itsy Bitsy Spider

On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., offers this “Itsy Bitsy Spider” photo: “A small spider encounters a water drop as it walks along strand of electric fence wire on a rainy morning on Sunday in rural southwestern Oregon.” You can see more of Robin's outdoor photography here.

AM Scanner Traffic — 10.22.12

  • 12:53 p.m. Someone is unconscious @ Mountain View High, 7802 W. Main/Rathdrum.
  • 12:51 p.m. Vandalism to property reported in 5700 block of N18th/Dalton Gardens.
  • 12:42 p.m. Possible illegal burn reported @ Government Way & Prairie/Hayden.
  • 12: 29 p.m. Deputy and Hayden WalMart security have trespassed shoplifter.
  • 12:16 p.m. Hayden WalMart security has apprehended a shoplifter.
  • 12:10 p.m. PFPD officer stopping @ A to Z Sewing in Post Falls for “uniform maintenance.”
  • 11:43 a.m. Firefighter at scene of haystack fire (11:23 item below) reports it'll be burning awhile.
  • 11:42 p.m. 73YO male complains of heart condition, 34YO of neck pain in T-bone crash at undisclosed location in the Post Falls area.
  • 10 more items below

Grip: UI Sends Good Guy To Sidelines

One of my favorite stories about Akey came from former Washington State defensive coordinator Chris Ball, who was a secondary coach at WSU when Akey was coaching the defensive line. Ball related how then-Cougar defensive coordinator Bill Doba liked to spend the first 10 minutes or so of halftime figuring out new blitzes to throw on the field in the second half. Then, as the team was getting ready to leave the locker room, he would pull Akey aside, tell him what he wanted to do and ask if Akey's d-linemen could pull it off. Akey's answer was always the same. Do whatever you think you have to do. We'll adjust. That was Robb Akey. Throw whatever you wanted at him and he dealt with it/Vince Grippi, A Grip on Sports/SportsLink. More here.

More blogs:

Final Presidential Debate Tonight

Italian Nativity scenes designer Genny Di Virgilio puts the final touches on two statuettes depicting President Barack Obama, right, and Republican rival Mitt Romney in his shop in Naples, Italy, today, hours ahead of their third and final presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida. Story here. (AP Photo/Salvatore Laporta)

Question: Have you watched the previous two debates? Do you plan to watch this one, too?

Trib: Ysursa Fights Secretive Donors

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Lewiston Tribune opinionator Marty Trillhaase cheers Secretary of State Ben Ysursa:

One thing you can count on, Ysursa will defend Idaho's Sunshine law against all comers. Passed by the voters nearly four decades ago, the law says candidates and organizations must tell you where they get their money. Desperate to avoid defeat, backers of the Luna laws are hiding the source of $200,350. Here's how their shell game works: Parents for Education disclosed collecting that amount from a single source - Education Voters of Idaho. And where did Education Voters of Idaho get the money? It refuses to say. Among the people involved is former state Rep. Debbie Field, R-Boise - who is a political ally of Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter - and John Foster, who ran one-term Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick's shop. If they get away with this, the Sunshine law will go dark.”To not do it eviscerates the whole law,” Ysursa said. “If they are not covered, then nobody is.” Full Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Do you consider Idaho's Sunshine law important?

Coeur d’Alene: Great Place To Retire

It was 15 years ago that Nola Lagg's son brought her from Florida to Coeur d'Alene, she recalled, because of an illness she was facing. She grew rather attached to the place. “I never went back,” the 85-year-old said with a chuckle on Thursday, while eating with friends at the Lake City Center. Although the winters took getting used to, she said she has still preferred her retirement years in Coeur d'Alene, where shopping, beautiful scenery and delicious eateries are abundant. “I've been to them all,” Lagg said of restaurants she toured with her son. She even prefers the clouds. “In Florida, they're flat and boring,” Lagg said. “Here, they're big and puffy. I'm absolutely fascinated with the clouds.” Take a back seat, Miami. Arizona? Forget it. CNN Money has just given Coeur d'Alene some publicity it doesn't seem to need/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Why aren't winters in the Inland Northwest a deal-breaker for retirees seeking to relocate?

AM: Do Cheerers Need Safety Rules?

a cheerleader from Nampa High School is thrown into the air as the cheer squad practices their stunts before a game in Nampa. In a new policy statement released online today in the journal Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics says school sports associations should designate cheerleading as a sport, and make it subject to safety rules and better supervision. MedPage Today story here. (Idaho Press-Tribune file photo: Charlie Litchfield)

Question: Should cheerleading be designated as a sport, subject to safety rules and better supervision?

Poll: ‘Binders Of Women’? So What?

  • Weekend Poll: A plurality of Hucks Nation took a “so what?” approach to the “binders full of women” statement made by Republican Mitt Romney in his second debate with President Barack Obama. 150 of 362 respondents (41.44%) said “so what?” when asked what they thought of Romney's controversial comment. 104 of 362 (28.73%) found the phrase offensive. 98 of 362 (27.07%) were amused by the statement. 10 (2.76%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Did the University of Idaho do the right thing in firing Vandal football coach Robb Akey?

Spokane Hosts World Accordion Event

Naomi Harris, 12, right, plays her accordion while rehearsing with the group The Portatos Monday at Music City. Playing drums is Sam Tubbs, 12. The group will entertain at the upcoming accordion competition and Harris will compete. You can read about Naomi & her accordion here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Patricia Bartell, a native Bolivian who grew up in Charlo, Mont., is the driving force behind the international accordion championships that will take place in Spokane this week: Forty-eight musicians – each deemed among the best in their countries – will converge on the city to compete for a world title. They’ll be judged by an international jury. That path here, Bartell said, started with her relationship with another Spokane musician, a pianist who taught her a new way to make and hear music. “It’s an interesting thread, how it came to be,” Bartell said. “People influence things and sometimes don’t even know it.” More here.

Question: Do you enjoy accordion music?

Shadow Group To Re-Start Campaign

A shadowy group that raised and spent more than $200,000 in anonymous contributions to fund statewide TV ads in favor of Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the school reform referenda, issued a defiant news release today headed, “Founders: 'We won't back down,'” asserting that it'll resume its activities to “talk to voters about education reform and make sure they understand the education issues on Idaho's ballot” in the final two weeks before the election - despite a legal dispute with the Idaho Secretary of State over the legality of the group not disclosing its contributors/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Why would individuals contributing to Luna Law reforms be afraid to acknowledge their financial contribution since Republican leadership is behind the change?

Nilson Wants NIC Trustee Spot

Ron Nilson said he's running for a seat on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees because the community's future leaders are its children, and their success relies on the quality of the education they receive and how well they are taught to maximize the use of their skills as they move forward. Nilson, 60, is running for election to Seat C on the NIC board. Ron Vieselmeyer, who currently holds that position, is not seeking re-election. “I support Joe Dunlap, the new president of NIC, and his efforts, and I am committed to working with him to build a bridge between the private sector and the college,” Nilson said. A Coeur d'Alene resident, Nilson is president and CEO of Ground Force Worldwide, a Post Falls-based multinational company that manufacturers mining equipment. He has lived in Kootenai County for 12 years/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Other Press trustee profiles

Question: Do you think Nilson will play well together with other NIC trustees, if he is elected but other two challengers on his Reagan Republican ticket aren't?

Press: Change County Government

Coeur d'Alene Press Sunday editorial re: ballot measure that would significantly change Kootenai County government:

Under the proposed form of government, the three county commissioners would hire a manager or administrator to manage much of the county's day to day business. The manager and commissioners would hire four department heads that currently are elected: coroner, assessor, treasurer and clerk. That's a dramatic change that some in our community oppose vociferously. The Press editorial board, however, has been calling for similar change for years, and we commend the county commissioners for finally putting this item on the ballot for voters to decide. We know how we'll vote: Yes. The benefits of change outweigh the risks.

Question: Do you think this ballot measure will pass?

Idaho Fires Football Coach Akey

Item: Idaho coach fired, Gesser takes over/Josh Wright, SR

Here’s a bet: Robb Akey comes down to the breakfast table this morning, looks at a family trying to hide its heartbreak and booms out the question he asks every room he enters: “HOW WE ALL DOIN’?” If only a life lived in capital letters could have repeated the “W” more often. Those rooms where Akey bowed the walls with his relentless spirit did not go concave with the air being sucked out in surprise when the University of Idaho sent out a feeble email notice Sunday afternoon that he’d been fired as head football coach. His record – 20-50 – was leaden. His relationship with athletic director Rob Spear was fractious. The support of Idaho’s constituency was indifferent. Oh, wait. That last part’s true no matter who happens to be the coach/John Blanchette, SR. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Robb Akey's firing?

Barbieri Calls Public Schools ‘Godless’

Rep. Vito Barbieri is defending a statement posted on his re-election campaign website in which he called on Christians to pull their children out of Idaho’s “Godless” public schools. In a debate on TV Channel 19 between Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, and his Democratic challenger Cheryl Stransky, also from Dalton Gardens, Barbieri was asked about this statement posted on his website regarding public schools: “One more thing: If you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and God, then pull your kids out of that Godless institution.” Barbieri told questioners from the Coeur Group that he stands by the statement. “My words exactly,” he said/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with Rep. Barbieri's description of public schools as “Godless”?

SR Endorses Romney For President

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks while President Barack Obama listens during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP file photo)

SR Sunday Editorial: (President Obama's)  time for solving this crisis – and it is a crisis – has come and gone. He has little leverage with Congress. He hasn’t changed the tone in Washington, and we cannot endure four more years of gridlock. This standoff is not entirely his fault, but he hasn’t figured out how to end it. We believe Mitt Romney could bring a fresh approach unburdened by recriminations. He has extensive management and leadership experience, and worked with the opposite party as Massachusetts governor. The nation needs that Romney, not the one who pandered to the tea party wing of the Republican Party to secure the nomination. If elected, he needs to take on that faction with the same resolve he’s shown challenging Obama. More here.

Do you agree/disagree with the reasoning for the SR's endorsement of Romney? Explain.

Proud Liberal McGovern, 90, RIP

George McGovern once joked that he had wanted to run for president in the worst way – and that he had done so. It was a campaign in 1972 dishonored by Watergate, a scandal that fully unfurled too late to knock Republican President Richard M. Nixon from his place as a commanding favorite for re-election. The South Dakota senator tried to make an issue out of the bungled attempt to wiretap the offices of the Democratic National Committee, calling Nixon the most corrupt president in history. But the Democrat could not escape the embarrassing missteps of his own campaign. The most torturous was the selection of Missouri Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton as the vice presidential nominee and, 18 days later, following the disclosure that Eagleton had undergone electroshock therapy for depression, the decision to drop him from the ticket despite having pledged to back him “1,000 percent”/Associated Press. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Did history vindicate McGovern?

Labrador Defends 1st CD Record

As Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador seeks re-election for a second term in Congress, he’s made a name for himself in Washington, D.C., as a tea party favorite and hard-line conservative. He’s frequently appeared on national TV and has been prominent in helping GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney court Hispanic votes around the country. Yet his legislative record for his two-year term is light - he's introduced and passed fewer bills than his three first-term predecessors in the 1st Congressional District seat. Labrador has sponsored seven bills and one amendment; one bill and one amendment passed the House. By comparison, his predecessor, Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick, sponsored 27 bills or amendments in his two years in Congress and 10 passed/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Is it right to judge a congressman's effectiveness by the amount of legislation and amendments s/he sponsors?

Clark: A Race That Keeps Giving

The tipster called me midday Friday with two eye-popping political developments, namely that 4th District state legislative candidate Amy Biviano appeared topless in a 1995 Playboy magazine spread. Five words immediately came to mind. “Well, it’s about damned time!” (Contractions don’t count.) See, I’ve been around politics a long time. And the mantra of every politician is that they have “absolutely nothing to hide.” Which always turns out to be an utter falsehood when candidate so-and-so is found to be heavy into cross-dressing or addicted to toilet stall sex in airport men’s rooms. And those are just Republicans. So this is the first time in my recollection that a candidate really does have NOTHING TO HIDE!/Doug Clark, SR. More here. And: Previous thread: Topless photo? confidence building

Other SR weekend columns:

Question: If you had the right stuff to pose for Playboy/Playgirl, would you?

Heller: Boy Scout Knots

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Weekend Wild Card 10/20-10/21

My weekend plans include covering a chili cook off between Spokane County firefighters and Spokane County librarians. I promise to bring you unbiased coverage of this event, even though I'm pretty sure I know whose chili is going to be hotter.

That's me. Bravely following breaking news so the rest of you can sleep in and watch sports on TV.

DFO will be back Monday. Covered in cat hair, no doubt.

Here's your weekend Wild Card.

Parting Shot: A colorful stroll

 Dan Kunkel, 56, gets a morning walk around Cannon Hill Park pond with his dog Marley on Wednesday. The fall colors of surrounding trees reflect off the water. Said Kunkel about his dog, “She doesn’t waste too much time with the ducks.” On the Web: For a big-picture gallery of autumn scenes throughout the Inland Northwest, go to Dan Pelle SR, photo

TGIF Wildcard

If it's Friday, it must mean it's time for another DFO vacation day.The rest of us working folks will just have to carry on.

Speaking of working, yesterday I sent an invoice to a client. He called a few minutes later to tell me I charged him $100 LESS than the amount we'd agreed on. From this I take two things: honest people rock and journalists shouldn't do math.

Feel free to post your thoughts regarding honesty, math, or anything else on this Wild Card.

Topless photo: confidence building?

Amy Biviano, the Democratic challenger in a high-profile battle for a legislative seat representing Spokane Valley, is defending a 1995 topless photo shoot with Playboy magazine as a confidence-building experience while attending Yale University.

In an interview Friday, following a conservative website’s disclosure that Biviano appeared in a “Women of the Ivy League” pictoral, Biviano said she doesn’t regret the photo shoot but wouldn’t do it a second time, especially now that she’s a mother of two.

“I was a college kid,” she said. “I thought, ‘you might as well give it a try.’” Jonathan Brunt, SR  More here.

Would you be more or less likely to vote for a candidate who posed for a topless photo? Or does it really make a difference in how you'd vote?

The “S” word

It’s going to be windy today into Saturday, with gusts as high as 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service’s Spokane office. The wind will be accompanied by falling temperatures that mean snow in the mountains and possibly a rain-snow mix in valley locations.

The weather service is saying winds will pick up late today and into Saturday, with a 50 percent chance of rain today.

Friday’s high is expected to be 61 degrees, with an expected low tonight of 43 degrees.

It’s going to get colder into the weekend, with a high on Sunday of just 48 degrees and an expected low of 29 degrees.

And that snow? The weather service says snow levels will fall “significantly,” bringing several inches of snow at higher elevations and potentially bad driving conditions.

Well. Are you ready for winter?

Squeeze Play

Naomi Harris, 12, right, plays her accordion while rehearsing with the group The Portatos earlier this week at Music City. Playing drums is Sam Tubbs, 12. The group will entertain at the upcoming accordion competition and Harris will compete.

At 7, Naomi Harris picked up the guitar. She put it down after three weeks. “I didn’t practice at all,” she said. “I quickly ended that.”

Two years later, 9-year-old Naomi’s father picked up the accordion, enrolling in lessons through the Parks and Recreation Department. Naomi thought his instrument was cool – it had so many keys to poke at. She wanted to play, too. Remembering the guitar, her dad said no, but Naomi persisted.

She made a PowerPoint presentation, mapping out practice times. She included a note at the bottom: Naomi would carry her own accordion. Her father relented, figuring she’d last a few lessons.

Next week, Naomi, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Sacajawea Middle School, will be the youngest person ever to compete in Trophée Mondial, a prestigious international accordion competition that moves from country to country. Adrian Rogers, SR

Do you play a musical instrument?

Too many songs about Sherry

Really. There are WAY too many songs about Sherry out there and not enough songs about Cindy. At least that was my conclusion after last night's production of Jersey boys.  
Of course, your opinion may differ.

Are there any songs that feature your first name?

Dems used corporate cash on covention

WASHINGTON – Democratic convention organizers broke their pledge to stage the three-day meeting without corporate donations, using $5 million from a committee financed by companies such as Bank of America, Duke Energy and AT&T to rent the Time Warner Arena for the three-day event.

The payments were revealed in reports filed Wednesday evening with the Federal Election Commission.

The limits were part of President Barack Obama’s promise to curtail the role of big money in politics, a goal he has struggled to meet. He railed against the influence of outside groups in elections, but gave his blessing this year to a “super PAC” supporting his re-election after GOP-allied groups began to spend millions of dollars to defeat him. Read more.

Can political parties survive or even exist without corporae cash?

The truth about DFO and cats

Naptime for Milo and Thor or Let Sleeping Cats Lie

He's derided them. Talked about eating them. Posted unflattering pictures of them.

Well. I've kept silent long enough.

Though DFO professes a profound disdain for felines, I happen to know he's the “proud” grandfather of THREE cats. That's right. Junior and his wife have two kitties and Amy Dearest and her new hubby recently adopted their own kitty cat.

DFO probably ships catnip care packages to his furry little feline grandcats.

Now. You. Know.

Chicago: bullet tax

CHICAGO – As Chicago struggles to quell gang violence that has contributed to a jump in homicides, a top elected official wants to tax the sale of every bullet and firearm.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle speaks at a news conference in January.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle submitted a proposed budget on Thursday that would impose a tax of a nickel for each bullet and $25 for each firearm sold in the nation’s second-largest county, which encompasses Chicago.

Preckwinkle’s office estimates the tax would generate about $1 million a year, money that would be used for various county services including medical care for gunshot victims…

…Dave Workman, of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Bear Arms, said the tax proposal is sure to infuriate gun rights advocates when they hear about it.

“It’s not the law-abiding citizens stacking bodies like cordwood in Chicago; it’s the bad guys,” he said.

Preckwinkle sought to fend off that argument during her remarks Thursday. She said nearly a third of the guns recovered by police after being used in Chicago crimes had been purchased legally, initially at least, in suburban Cook County.  Read more.

Will taxing bullets and firearms will be an effective deterrent to gun crimes?

Idaho jobless rate falls

The unemployment rate in Idaho fell to 7.1 percent in September, the lowest rate since May 2009 and down from 7.4 percent in August.

But the state also has seen its labor force shrink four straight months, including the first August-September decline since the 1986 recession, the Idaho Department of Labor said Friday.

Employers in Idaho expanded payrolls last month at a higher rate than in the past five years, and at a slightly faster pace than during the expansion of 2003-07, the state reported. More. Scott Maben, Office Hours


Of crooks and cavities

Behind the bars of a Palm Beach County jail cell, you're denied your freedom, your privacy — and your dental floss.

Four Florida men are now armed to the teeth with reasons why they should receive this standard tool of oral hygiene.

The Palm Beach County inmates filed civil lawsuits against Sheriff Ric Bradshaw this month, complaining the jail provides no access to dental floss, WPBF reports. Huff Post  Full story.

Do you think inmates should be able to floss regularly?

High Noon: Garlic

We scarfed down this lovely appetizer of roasted garlic last night at Luigi's in downtown Spokane.

On a scale of 1-10 how much do you love garlic?

Twitter: Friday Funnies

Today my weekly wrap-up from the wacky world of Twitter includes: pig stuff, communication woes, debate summary, swearing and waking up. Not necessarily in that order. Friday Funnies.

Souza: frustration, accusation and more

From Mary's newsletter: “Tuesday night's CdA City Council meeting was high drama, complete with last minute add-ons, sudden teamwork and surprising unanimous agreement.

It also contained frustrations, accusations, dirty looks, calls for staff dismissal and much, much more.”

Souza goes on to say that Bloem and Gabriel kept information about Person Feild away from city council members. Read all about it here.

Wow! If CdA City Council meetings every become a reality TV show, what title would you give it?


Musical mania

The touring production of the smash hit “Jersey Boys” plays Wednesday through Oct. 28 at the INB Performing Arts Center.

My husband and I really enjoyed last night's performance of Jersey Boys. I seem to be on some sort of musical kick. I had a blast at  Interplayers Theatre's production of Always, Patsy Cline and I took my youngest son to Mary Poppins this summer.

Our region offers some truly knockout theater.

What is the last play/musical you saw on stage and where did you see it?

Idaho: 130 texting charges since July 1

POST FALLS - Few local drivers have been cited under Idaho's texting law that went into effect July 1, but there were 130 statewide during the first three months.

Local law enforcement officials say the law has been difficult to enforce, but supporters argue the statute is still a deterrent and a step toward making roads safer especially with younger drivers who tend to text more.

“This law, as it is written, is nearly impossible to enforce because we cannot tell if someone is texting or dialing,” said Kootenai County Sheriff's Office Maj. Ben Wolfinger. “A law must be enforceable to be effective.”  Read more Brian Walker, Cda Press

Do you think texing-while-driving bans are working? Have you ever texted while driving?

Record setting wild GSL game

Players from Central Valley and Shadle Park watch as CV's Austin Rehkow kicks a 67-yard field goal at the end of regulation on Thursday.

In a game that was a defensive coordinator’s nightmare, the Central Valley Bears somehow managed to keep their slim postseason hopes alive Thursday with a heart-stopping, jaw-dropping 62-55 overtime win over the Shadle Park Highlanders at Joe Albi Stadium.

It took a record-setting boot from their senior place-kicker and an interception on the final play for the Bears to withstand a record-setting performance from Shadle Park sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien.

Most of the crowd of just less than 1,000 – with a sparse turnout by CV followers – was still around when, as time expired, Austin Rehkow drilled a 67-yard field goal – believed to have tied the second-longest field goal in national high school history.

The field goal broke the Washington state record (62 yards). Full story.  Greg Lee, SR

Wow! What a game! When/where was the last time you watched a high school football game?

Longo named Distinguished Citizen

COEUR d'ALENE - The chief of police is a citizen, too. In Coeur d'Alene, however, he also happens to be the Distinguished Citizen of the Year for 2012.

Wayne Longo was honored with the award Thursday at the 100th annual Coeur d'Alene Chamber Luncheon at The Coeur d'Alene Resort.

Longo wasn't present for the award, but was on family vacation in Washington, D.C. By phone, he said, “I certainly don't deserve it, and there's many people that do.”

He added, “I'm truly humbled by it.”

His nomination was accepted by the chamber's executive committee. More here. David Cole, Cda Press

  Do you agree with the Chamber's pick or is there someone else you'd like to see named as Citizen of the Year?         

The Scout files

Portland attorney Kelly Clark examines some of the 14,500 pages of previously confidential documents created by the Boy Scouts of America concerning child sexual abuse within the organization, in preparation for release of the documents.

PORTLAND – An array of local authorities – police chiefs, prosecutors, pastors and town Boy Scout leaders among them – quietly shielded scoutmasters and others who allegedly molested children, according to a newly opened trove of confidential files compiled from 1959 to 1985.


At the time, those authorities justified their actions as necessary to protect the good name and good works of Scouting. But as detailed in 14,500 pages of secret “perversion files” released Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court, their maneuvers protected suspected sexual predators while victims suffered in silence. Full story.


Gays, lesbians protected group

WASHINGTON – Gay-rights advocates won another victory in their fight for equal treatment under the law Thursday when the U.S. appeals court in New York struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act and held for the first time that gays and lesbians are a minority group deserving of special protection from discrimination under the Constitution.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan joined a growing number of federal judges in New England and California who have ruled that the U.S. government may not deny equal federal benefits to legally married gay couples. More.

Washington state voters have Ref 74, an equality in marriage measure on the ballot. How likely do you think this is to pass?

Wild Card/Thursday — 10.18.12

Supersub Cindy will be at the controls of Huckleberries Online Friday while I take a three-day weekend, for a last breather before the final push to the 2012 general election. Treat her nice. Per usual. See you back here Monday. Now to re-post the Thursday Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 10.18.12

Five-year-old Rian Schaible of Hayden Kinder Center participates in the Great ShakeOut earthquake preparedness drill at the school in Hayden today at 10:18 a.m. Organizers estimated about 14 million people participated. The drill was mainly for U.S. West and Southeast. Residents in Canada, Italy, Puerto Rico and Guam signed up for the exercise. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Kathy Plonka)

Gallup: 3.4% Of USA GLBT

A Gallup survey, touted as the largest of its kind, estimates that 3.4 percent of American adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The findings, released Thursday, were based more than 121,000 interviews conducted from June through September. Gallup said it is the largest study ever aimed at calculating the nation's LGBT population. The report's lead author, demographer Gary Gates of the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute, said he hoped the findings would help puncture some stereotypes about gays and lesbians while illustrating the diversity of their community/CBS News. More here.

Question: Are you surprised by the percentage?

City Gets More Time For Person Deal

Christa Hazel reports: The meeting was convened with 4 Trustees present:  Hightower, Seymour, Hamilton and Seddon (pictured).  Two City Councilmen, Ron Edinger and Dan Gookin were in attendance.  One member of the public, a teacher from Lakes Middle School asked to address the board and the board granted this request.  The teacher stated how important Person Field is to our community and our students. The board amended Monday night's action to declare Person Field surplus for disposal through sealed bid.  The amended action will now give 60 days for the City to find a resolution that will be beneficial to both entities.  It was referenced by Mr. Hamilton that no matter who owns Person Field, both entities wanted it to remain as is. Ann Seddon voted against the sale of Person Field last Monday night.  Today, she voted yes on the amendment to allow 60 days for the city and school district to work out a compromise.  The amendment passed unanimously with the 4 trustees present.  Mr. Purtee was absent.


PM Headlines — 10.18.12

A duck swims as autumn's parade of fall colors is on the verge of breaking loose in the Treasure Valley today in Boise. Some trees at Kathryn Albertson Park and Boise's Northend have already began their annual transition but the there is certainly more to come in the next couple of weeks. (Statesman photo: Darin Oswald)

PM Scanner Traffic — 10.18.12

  • 5:19 p.m. Resident asks if he can shoot neighbor's hen & cats when they're on his property.
  • 4:57 p.m. 2 males in males in white car acting suspicious around Avista substation.
  • 4:36 p.m. Juvenile runaway reported in 4200 block of Buckingham Road/CdA.
  • 4:26 p.m. ITD closes lane on w/b I-90 construction zone, causing back-up to MP3/PF.
  • 4:15 p.m. A loose dog is reported at The Porch restaurant/Hayden Lake.
  • 4:12 p.m. Loose dog running in construction zone in 4200 block of Lancaster/Hayden.
  • 18 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Idaho Blogs — 10.18.12

Facebook Friend Ken Burchell posts: “Started digging at the “small-carrot” end of the carrot row today. These will get MUCH larger as we go along. Note: carrots get sweeter after a frost or two. Yes, those are gold, yellow, red and whites you're seeing. There are some monster reds on the other end of the patch.”

HucksOnline numbers (for Monday): 10,022/6044, (for Tuesday): 10,113/5847, and (for Wednesday): 11,732/6684

Trustee Targets NIC Incumbents

Appointed Coeur d'Alene School Trustee Jim Hightower (show above in Duane Rasmussen photo from luncheon today) asked fellow Reagan Republicans today to write letters to the newspaper editor to take “some of the heat off” the new School Board. And he told him that he will sponsor a newspaper ad in favor of three North Idaho College trustee challengers. Christa Hazel, who attended the noon luncheon, reports on Hightower's comments.

Hightower said:

  • Letter campaign: “It would be nice if we could write some letters to the editor and kind of 'take some heat' with us for this  because we are really depicted in some unflattering ways and their even talking about a recall.  Now I'm not going to write anything.  I'm not going to do a My Turn or anything like that for personal reasons.”
  • NIC trustees: “Melissa and I said that we were going to do an ad at the Victory Fund for the three NIC candidates.  We're gonna let that run.  It's gonna say 'we endorse these three candidates. And the Democrats in fact endorse these other three candidates.  And so though that, hopefully, will go a long way towards informing the public that these are three conservative candidates.
  • PYP/IB: And, uh, you know if they want to recall us, I don't speak for my fellow board members but I would welcome it.  For one thing, I think everybody would have to get educated on what PYP is, what IB is, how it came about, from wince it originated.  I think when people did that, they would definitely support us and our decision to terminate this.  I would love to see the legislature to consider laws to not allow school boards in the state of Idaho (like they did in New Hampshire) to implement the IB/PYP program.
  • Christa's full report here.


Clean Water Act Turns 40 Today

When Rick Unger was a boy, he and his father would fish from the breakwall where the Cuyahoga River enters Lake Erie. “I remember the smell,” says Mr. Unger, now 59. “I remember the oil slicks. I remember the fishing not being very good.” The Cuyahoga was then so polluted that the surface occasionally caught fire. Erie was considered a “dead” lake; in summer floating mats of stinking blue-green algae consumed so much oxygen in the water that large areas of the lake were rendered lifeless. But in 1972 Congress passed the Clean Water Act, one of the most far-reaching and ambitious environmental laws ever enacted in the United States. The act cut industrial pollution, set new goals for the health of the nation’s waters, and provided billions of dollars to help cities build and upgrade sewage treatment plants. The effect on the Cuyahoga and Lake Erie was swift and dramatic/Richard Mertens, Christian Science Monitor. More here.

Question: How important is the Clean Water Act to you?

Ad: Luna Laws Treat Kids As Widgets

The latest TV campaign commercial from opponents of the education reform propositions on Idaho’s November ballot focuses on Proposition 2, the teacher merit-pay measure, suggesting that Idaho’s state schools superintendent wants to “treat children like widgets.” The measure sets up a new merit-pay bonus system for Idaho teachers, allowing teachers to earn bonuses if their entire school shows growth in student test scores on the Idaho Standards Achievement Test. The law also allows bonuses for other student-achievement measures set by individual school districts, and next year, would cover additional bonuses for teachers who take leadership roles or hold hard-to-fill positions. The ad says, “Every child in Idaho is unique, but Tom Luna in his Propositions 1, 2 and 3 treat children like widgets. You see, Prop 2 links teacher pay to standardized testing results of Idaho kids”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Ever worked with widgets?

Green Pushes Streamline Government

Kootenai County Commissioner Dan Green consults Luke Sommer, President of the Panhandle Pachyderm Club after Green's speech today at the Reagan Republican's Thursday lunch meeting. Commissioner Green spoke about his propposal to streamline Kootenai County government, by adding an administrator and eliminating three elected positions — clerk, assessor, treasurer & coroner. (Duane Rasmussen photo special for Huckleberries Online)

DFO/KHQ Discuss Person Field Sale

I was back on KHQ News Break at noon today, discussing the controversy re: the Coeur d'Alene School Board's decision to sell Person Field: KHQ Right Now - News and Weather for Spokane and North Idaho |

News Quiz: EWU Tickets On The Line

Looking for an opportunity to see No. 1 Eastern Washington play a home football game? All entrants in this week's news quiz are eligible to win four tickets to Saturday's game against Sac State. Also, The Spokesman-Review will be giving away a $50 gift certificate to the Davenport Hotel in downtown Coeur d'Alene, per usual. Good luck! News Quiz link here.

  • Last week's winners: Richard Farver of Hayden Lake ($50 gift card to Davenport Hotel as overall winner) and Steve Goodmansen of Post Falls (two free movie tickets).
  • Leaderboard: KCres & Eddietorreal are the only ones from HucksOnline on the leaderboard this week.

SusanC: Love The Smell Of Paper

Susan Cuff: We subscribe to Time, but I occasionally pick up a copy of Newsweek if there’s a story that interests me. What distresses me is the demise of yet another print publication. I understand and embrace the shift to digital; I read a lot of publications online. But, at heart, I’m a lover of the printed page, the one I can hold in my hands, fold the corners, smell the ink and smack a spider with. I love newspapers, magazines, harcover books, paperbacks, journals and manuscripts. I relish the feel and smell of paper. I have a couple of boxes of magazines stored in the basement, editions that chronicled a momentous or historic occasion. I’m unapologetically old school when it comes to the printed word.

Question: Do you still relish the smell of paper when it comes to books, journals and manuscripts?

Graham Drops Mormons From List

Influential pastor Billy Graham is signaling to evangelical Christians that they shouldn't hesitate to vote for Mitt Romney because of his Mormon religion, further cementing Romney's strong standing with the key Republican voting bloc. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association this week removed Mormonism from its list of religious cults, the Charlotte Observer reports. Mormons consider themselves Christians, though not all of their beliefs align with mainstream Christian doctrine. The association dropped the label after Romney visited Graham and his son Franklin Graham, who now runs the organization, last week. In his six decades of ministry, Billy Graham has served as a spiritual adviser to several presidents, though he's never formally endorsed a presidential candidate/Stephanie Condon, CBS News. More here. (AP photo)