Archive for April 2013
I'm heading out of here early today to attend the Coeur d'Alene School Board forum, sponsored by Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership and emceed by the Coeur Group. I hope that trustee candidates Ann Seddon and Bjorn Handeen decide to show for the forum. We'll see how this turns out. Now to replay your Wild Card and head over to the Coeur d'Alene Library. I hope to see you there …
Tracey Munn, 25, right, from Granada Hills, Calif., lies on the floor stretching, as she prepares for her eight audition to appear with The Rockettes at the 2013 Radio City Christmas Spectacular on Tuesday in New York. Those who make it will return for the show that runs from Nov. 8 to Dec. 30. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
We remember the firsts. The first smile. The first tooth. The first word and step and day of school. We remember those days and write them in baby books and on calendars. We take pictures to capture those moments to treasure forever. We ask other parents about their child's firsts and compare stories. Firsts are important. But what about lasts. I don't remember the last time Adam sat on my lap. Or the last time Josh asked me to snuggle with him before bed. I don't remember the last time I washed their hair or put on their socks. I don't even remember the last book I read to them. Or the last time we sang silly songs before bed. Those things just kind of stop happening. And at the time, it's a relief. Finally they can dress/feed/bathe themselves! But I wish I would have known/A Butterfly Moment. More here.
Question: Can you remember any “last times” that you'd like to get back?
Ben Ellenberger of Graffix Inc attached the lettering to the entrance of the education corridor on Northwest Blvd in Coeur d'Alene last week. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Former Sen. Nicole LeFavour's application for a $155 weekly unemployment check has been denied after the state objected to her claim. The Boise Democrat represented the left-leaning Democratic North and East ends from 2004 to 2012 before leaving the Legislature to challenge GOP Congressman Mike Simpson last year. Simpson won with 65 percent of the vote in November. LeFavour, 49, said she delayed applying for unemployment benefits while she lived off savings and began work on a memoir about her service as the only openly gay legislator in Idaho history. As her financial situation deteriorated, LeFavour said, friends urged her to see if she was eligible for the 26 weeks of benefits from the part-time legislative job that pays $16,116 annually/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Did the state of Idaho make the right decision re: former senator Nicole LeFavour's unemployment claim?
The tweet of the day comes from Troy Rohn, a Boise School Board member. “Let the Common Core hysteria begin,” Rohn wrote Tuesday. “The (Boise School District) strongly believes in (Common Core State Standards) and the long-term benefits it will have for our students.” Rohn was responding to Monday’s Idaho Education News story on Common Core — and the Idaho congressional delegation’s position on the controversial standards. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said he sympathized with efforts to cut off federal funding for the standards — although Risch stopped short of signing Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s letter seeking to block Common Core spending/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
At As the Lake Churns, Priest Lake blogger Pecky Cox posts of the photo above: “With the installation of new piling for our dock, we lost the home for a couple of birds that come each year. We decided to try with this old bird house. 22 hours later.. (about) they've moved in. I think they like the view. I know they are not, but I like to think it's the same couple every year.” More here.
HucksOnline numbers (for Monday, April 29): 7991 page-views/4476 unique views
Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes announced that in-person absentee voting for the May 21 election will start Monday, May 6 (through Friday, May 17) at the County Elections office, 1808 N. Third Street in Coeur d’Alene. The office is open 8AM to 5PM weekdays. Depending on residency, the ballot can include:
Voters county-wide are eligible to vote for hospital trustees. Only voters registered within school or water district boundaries are eligible to vote on those ballot measures. More here.
Question: Do you plan to vote absentee for the May 21 elections?
In his post, “Here at the Socialist Review,” Paul Turner/The Slice blog writes: “Pay no attention to the fact we always endorse the Republican presidential candidate. That name is too wonderful to disavow. Sherman Alexie once said, ages ago, that the absurdity of some locals calling this newspaper The Socialist Review was one of his favorite things about Spokane. Anyway, here's the question. Seeing as we are all obviously Commies down here at Riverside and Monroe, how should we celebrate May Day tomorrow?”
We're open to ideas.
Will Belezos measures the placement of the Boston Marathon logo Monday while repainting the finish line two weeks after the race that was disrupted by two tragic explosions in Boston. Maintenance on the finish line, which typically involves the race-day sticker being pulled up after the event and the paint version touched up as the more permanent parker, was delayed until the crime scene was cleared. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
In the minutes of the Lake City Development Corporation, Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem addressed the LCDC board. She said:
The pending 2013 fall elections will be critical to the continued vitality of the community. LCDC needs to continue its communication efforts to the community to help CDA citizens understand the value of urban renewal; CDA’s locally controlled economic development tool. Full minutes here.
Question: A thought must occurred to me. Will Mayor Bloem become a major factor in the fall 2013 city elections, now that she has announced her decision to NOT seek re-election and can take her gloves off re: critics of urban renewal and other issues?
From the Strategic Planning minutes of the Lake City Development Corporation:
(Chairman Doug Cranston of the Parks & Recreation Board) shared that in the next few weeks, the Parks and Rec. Commission will launch a public input process for the 4 corner area (Northwest Boulevard & Government Way and north along Northwest Boulevard). Twenty plus stakeholder groups have been identified for this input process. Following the public input process, workshops will be scheduled over the summer to develop a planning process for the 4 corner area. An open house will be scheduled in late summer to report back to the stakeholders and public on what the Commission heard. The Parks and Rec Commission will then forward a recommendation to City council on next steps in the planning process, which would most likely include an overture to the LCDC for partnership funding assistance to engage a master planning team to develop a master plan for the 4 corner area. Minutes of LCDC strategic planning session here.
Question: What would you like to see happen to the “Four Corners” area?
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez watches Kentucky Derby hopeful Vyjack get a bath after a workout at Churchill Downs Tuesday in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson posts: “Well, bummer. Saturday is the Kentucky Derby, run for the roses, the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown. This year the race won't be available at the Greyhound Park, not for viewing or for paramutual wagering. It's the one time (okay one of three times) a year when I bet on a horse race so this is disappointing. Especially if a long shot gray horse wins!”
Question: Have you ever bet on the Kentucky Derby?
In his blog, The Slice, Paul Turner notes: “A caller said that, except for a few retirees, it appears to him that no one in Spokane mows his own lawn anymore.
Question: I mow my own lawn. So do my neighbors. Do you?
City Editor Addy Hatch tweets: “Wessel cites Pew study that found 42% of Americans aren't even sure Obamacare is still law.”
Question: Do you see a problem here?
Last week's building collapse in Bangladesh that killed hundreds of clothing factory workers put a spotlight on the sobering fact that people in poor countries often risk their lives working in unsafe factories to make the cheap T-shirts and underwear that Westerners covet. The disaster, which comes after a fire in another Bangladesh factory killed 112 people last November, also highlights something just as troubling for socially conscious shoppers: It's nearly impossible to make sure the clothes you buy come from factories with safe working conditions/Anne D'Innocenzio, AP. More here. (AP photo: A Bangladeshi woman holds her daughter and weeps as Bangladeshi people hold photographs of their relatives whom they believe are trapped in the rubble)
Question: Do you care whether the clothes you wear are made in a foreign sweat shop?
Hundreds of Idaho nonprofits are making final preparations for the inaugural “Idaho Gives,” an unprecedented day of statewide, charitable giving taking place on Thursday. Groups have been busy reaching out to supporters new and old—via direct mail, email, web sites, and social media—to drive traffic and donations to idahogives.org this coming Thursday. Donors will have over 500 causes to choose from when they participate in Idaho Gives. “It’s extremely gratifying to see so many nonprofits working together toward a common goal and being rather creative in drawing attention to their organizations,” said Lynn Hoffmann, Executive Director of the Idaho Nonprofit Center, which is presenting the event. “Following several months of planning, we’re thrilled to see the participating nonprofits really embracing the spirit of Idaho Gives and generating excitement in their communities.” Activities related to the giving day are scheduled for all over the state/News Release. More here. And: Idaho Gives Web site here.
Question: Which nonprofits do you support?
Which questions would you like to see asked at the Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership/Coeur Group forum (5:30-7:30 p.m. at Coeur d'Alene Library)? Here's a few of mine:
Feel free to add to the list.
Dancers wait on the sidelines for their turn to audition to appear with The Rockettes at the 2013 Radio City Christmas Spectacular on Tuesday in New York. Those who make it — a good dozen or so out of hundreds of young women from around the country — will return for the show that runs from Nov. 8 to Dec. 30. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Question: Are you a good dancer?
I'm disappointed that Zone 4 Trustee Ann Seddon and Zone 5 candidate Bjorn Handeen have declined invitations to the Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership forum tonight (according to CEP Facebook page). Both attended the Mica Grange forum, organized by a Republican stalwart, and both have attended Republican events to troll for votes in friendly waters. It seems to me — and I'm reading between the lines here — that these two candidates are comfortable only in friendly partisan forums where hard questions aren't asked. However, they're seeking an office to represent all constituents, not just those who toe the Tea Party (United Conservatives of North Idaho) or Tea Party Lite (Reagan Republicans) line. Also, they want one of the most important jobs in our community — educating our children. They owe it to the public to tell us where they stand on a variety of issues. Are they for or against Common Core? Are they for or against school uniforms? Are they for or against the Luna Laws? We saw what happened more than two years ago when State Superintendent Tom Luna sprung his education “reform” on the state after not mentioning his radical ideas in the previous fall campaign. Also, we saw the School Board, with three appointees, jettison the International Baccalaureate and PYP programs over parent objections. Candidates who decline invitations to important forums, like the televised CEP/Coeur Group debate, are playing games with their constituents, putting their fears and their handlers' advice ahead of the community's right to know. No one would hire a job applicant who refused to show up for his/her interview. You shouldn't vote for trustee candidates who refuse to show up for candidate forums either/DFO.
A travel writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is touting Idaho as “one cool destination at a cool price.” Writing for the Georgia paper, Clara Bosonetto mentions Coeur d'Alene in her article:
A 7-hour drive north of Boise is Lake Coeur d’Alene, created by glaciers and today an international resort destination with the town of Coeur d’Alene on its north shore and resorts nestled along 135 miles of shoreline. An ideal region for avid birdwatchers - Lake Coeur d’Alene has the largest nesting population of osprey in the western United States. More here.
Question: How do you describe Coeur d'Alene/North Idaho to people you meet elsewhere?
They call them weekend warriors, cooks that have mastered the art of barbecue in their backyard, but have never competed in a sanctioned competition. The Coeur d'Alene area is full of them, and Greg Prado, board member of the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association, wants to smoke them out with a new competition in Coeur d'Alene on June 29. The event, Bikes, Brews and BBQs, is designed to create a cheaper and less intimidating atmosphere for weekend warriors to transition into full-scale competition. “We created this one-day competition to get these guys off the fence,” Prado said. “That is why I am on the board, I really want to grow the culture of barbecue in this area”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Facebook photo: Jeff Selle, left, & Commissioner Todd Tondee BBQing salmon)
Question: Who handles the BBQ tongs in your family?
Seattle Mariners fans sit with a sign as they wait for a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles to begin, Monday in Seattle. The NBA’s relocation committee voted unanimously Monday to recommend that owners reject the application for the Sacramento Kings basketball team to relocate to Seattle, the latest — and by far the strongest — in a long line of cities that almost landed the franchise. Story below. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
I feel sorry for parents who don't take their kids fishing. They don't know what they're missing. See a few hints about what they're missing in my Sunday story about Saturday's opening day of Washington's lowland trout season. Please enjoy this short photo sequence of Quinn Connacher, 6, of Spokane, as he works at Williams Lake to catch his first fish. Once the trout was netted, the boy got a huge high five before he pranced and danced in celebration on the Bunker's Resort dock. Photo sequence here.
Question: Do/did you take your kids fishing?
Cindy tweets: “Son #4 left for school quite glum. 'We have to dissect a frog today,' he said. To those who are about to slice, I salute you.”
Question: Did you mind dissecting frogs, cats, fish, animal hearts and other dead things in high school biology class?
From her Facebook wall, Katie Boer of KREM2 posts: “I've been getting lots of calls to the weather center about planting times recently. I'd say if you haven't planted yet, give it another week or so. IF you already have a garden or plants in the ground—you'll want to cover them tonight. A Freeze Warning is in effect late tonight and tmrw. with most spots near or below freezing temperatures this morning and early Wednesday.”
Question: Have you planted anything yet? What?
From Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership Facebook wall: “
Question: I believe candidates who refuse to show up for major debates are like job applicants who don't appear for work interviews — not worthy to hold the job. What do you think?
From Zone 5 candidate Tom Hearn's Facebook wall: “
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away (full lyrics here)
Are you afraid of the “big, bad federal government”?
The Idaho Core Standards will be in place in Idaho K-12 classrooms this fall, and Coeur d'Alene school trustees are among a growing group of citizens who have concerns about the education benchmarks. “Suppose I wanted Idaho to have the best education in the nation. How do we do it with a nationalized standard?” asked Brent Regan, during a board workshop held Monday in Coeur d'Alene. The Common Core is a states-led effort to align and elevate education standards. Idaho Superintendent Tom Luna began working with other state education leaders and governors in 2007 to begin developing more rigorous standards for math and English language arts education in the nation. Gov. Butch Otter joined the effort in 2009. The Idaho Core Standards were given final approval by the Idaho Legislature in 2011/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: I find it interesting that Coeur d'Alene school trustees are wary of Core Standards supported by conservative Superintendent Tom Lunar, don't you?
Held by college students sumo wresters, a couple of babies cry in their competition during Naki Sumo, or Crying Baby Contest, at Sensoji temple in Tokyo on Monday. The babies born in 2012 participated in the annual traditional ritual performed as a prayer for healthy growth of them. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Monday winner — Charlie: “Calling for an Alpha male.” Monday's photo & all 7 cutline entries here.
The seat Sen. Jim Risch will defend next year as Republicans eye control of the U.S. Senate has been in Republican hands since 1949, trailing in longevity only two Kansas seats which have been held by the GOP since 1919 and 1939. So reports Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Ostermeier has a knack for such cocktail-party-chat lists. Earlier this month, he reported that former Idaho Govs. Cecil Andrus (No. 11) and Bob Smylie (No. 31) were among the nation’s 50 longest-serving governors/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you think a Democrat will win Risch's Senate seat between now and 2049, which would mean 100 years of dominance if it's still in Republican control?
Item: The right site: NIC continues forums on where to build professional technical program facility/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: About 80 people from all walks of life attended North Idaho College's three-part forum on the expansion of its professional technical education program. Mark Browning, vice president of community relations and marketing, moderated the event and set the stage for what essentially became a community dialogue over the importance of where the facility is located, and how that will impact the students of those programs. Browning said the NIC Board of Trustees will eventually have to make a decision based primarily of the size of the facility, where it will be located and the skills that will be taught there.
Question: Where should North Idaho College locate an expanded professional education program — on the current campus in Coeur d'Alene or on the Rathdrum Prairie near the new KTEC?
Local education will be front and center again this week, with the Coeur d'Alene School Board discussing controversial Common Core at a meeting tonight (5 o'clock, methinks). And a second trustee election forum scheduled for Tuesday, organized by Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership and conducted by JimmyMAC's Coeur Group. I'll be on hand for the forum to see who shows and who doesn't. Which should provide plenty of fodder to Wednesday. You've been warned. Now for today's Wild Card …
Update: My Berry Pickers tell me that all the trustees and candidates are at the Coeur d'Alene School Board discussion on Common Core, but Zone 5 candidate Bjorn Handeen.
A Facebook Friend posts: “
A Facebook Friend writes: “
North Idaho College student Georgia Eto, of Coeur d’Alene, dressed up as a mime and played chess at one of the two newly installed concrete chess tables in front of the Edminster Student Union Building Monday. Eto and other mimes/students filled the chess seats to demonstrate their use as Gustave Lester, a member of NIC’s student government, opened the tables at a dedication ceremony. The chess tables were Lester’s student government project. (NIC Press Room photo: Tom Greene)
Question: Do you play chess? Well?
At As the Lake Churns, photographer/blogger Pecky Cox posts: “It’s time to start planning for the Priest Lake Annual Kids Free Fishing Derby. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, June 8th starting at 8:00 a.m. and will end at 1:00 p.m. Kids may fish all afternoon when the derby ends. We will again hold our event at the Priest Lake Golf Course. We will be at the small pond between the 7th and 10th holes. More here.
Huckleberries numbers (for week of April 21-27): 44,077 page-views/25,261 unique views
More teachers are leaving Idaho than people in other professions. That’s according to a report released earlier this month by the Idaho Department of Labor. Of people who left Idaho between 2008 and 2011, 3 percent were K-12 teachers and 4 percent were college or university instructors. Both are among the top five groups of professionals leaving the state, with K-12 teachers at number four and college instructors number three. Alivia Metts is a regional economist with the Idaho Department of Labor. She looked at U.S. Census data for a picture of what’s known as out-migration. She expected to see people leave for jobs like construction (in the number two spot)/Adam Cotterell, Boise State Public Radio. More here.
Question: And you still don't think the all-out, Idaho Republican war against public education and higher education is having an detrimental effect?
Sasha the porcupine is shown at Montana Wild, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Park's education and conservation center in Helena, Mont. WP is a firm advocate of not interfering with or humanizing wild animals, and they've rehabbed and released other porcupines. But Sasha's story is somewhat unique and she's become an ambassador animal for FWP, along with the raptors and other birds housed at the center. Story of Sasha: Montana's porcupine ambassador here. (AP Photo/The Independent Record, Dylan Brown)
Question: Have you or one of your pets ever gotten to close to a porcupine?
On its Facebook wall, the Bonner County Daily Bee posts: “
Bob Fick of the Idaho Department of Labor tells Jamie Gray/KTVB that Idaho experienced the smallest in-migration (people moving into Idaho) in decades. Also, the state is gaining 60-somethings while losing 20-somethings:
“We have an influx greater than it has been in the past of older people,” Fick said. “People who are at the end of their working lives or retired. Compounding that, which is something we haven't had in the past, is this exodus of younger workers.” In the last decade, 2012 stands out with huge drop in workers in their 20s and a new rise in those above 60-years-old. That new trend, which is expected by many to continue, is what some experts have named the Silver Tsunami. Fick says they're already seeing that trend causing a shift in jobs and pay/Jamie Gray, KTVB. More here.
Question: Why are older people near the end of their careers moving into Idaho, while 20-somethings are moving out of the state?
A voter in the Zone 4 race between appointed Trustee Ann Seddon and Dave Eubanks called Huckleberries to complain re: Seddon's political yard signs in his neighborhood, by the Coeur d'Alene Public Golf Course. “She identifies herself as a 'Republican' in three-inche letters across the bottom,” the caller said. “Isn't that a violation of school election rules.” He said his wife was very upset re: injecting partisan politics into a nonpartisan race. I gave him a quick run-down of the scorched-earth tactics of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. And wished him good luck, if he tries to back an issue of the partisanship with trustees whom all owe their elective positions to the Republican brand. We concluded by discussing the hospital elections in which we agreed that 3 of the 4 candidates were qualified: Liese Razzato, Neil Nemec and Jim Pierce. Neither of us knew much about Donna Montgomery, other than that she's a card-carrying Republican. Which makes her a favorite, whether or not she's qualified to be on a hospital board.
Question: Tired of partisans running for nonpartisan races yet?
Opposition to Common Core academic standards is rising within Republican Party circles, but Idaho’s two Republican U.S. senators are split on the issue. And their reasoning is noteworthy as well. Sen. Mike Crapo says the Common Core question has been vetted at the state level, and he sees no need for federal officials to interfere. Sen. Jim Risch says Idaho should establish its own standards, describing Common Core as a federal mandate. For federal lawmakers, Common Core is more than just an academic question. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, recently urged Senate appropriators to cut off federal spending on Common Core implementation/Kevin Richert, IdahoED News. More here.
Question: Is this the case of the center-right in the Republican Party opposing the Tea Party right on another controversial issue?
Stability at the top has emerged as a key ingredient as the State Board of Education begins its search for the next leader of the University of Idaho. When Duane Nellis departs this summer, the university will be on its sixth president - four interim and two who stayed four years each - since the resignation of Robert Hoover in 2003. “We need to find someone who is going to be there,” Ken Edmunds, immediate past board president, told the Idaho Statesman. “It is highly detrimental to keep having this turnover”/Bill Roberts, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Why can't the University of Idaho keeps its presidents?
On December 8, 2005, at one minute past midnight, Spokane smokers turned up their collars, stepped away from the bar and stood on the sidewalk, 20 feet from the doors of every pub, tavern, restaurant and bar. While they’ve been standing out there, some of those establishments have made changes in ambiance, menu and ownership. Ben Cochran, chef at Scout in downtown Spokane, has worked in the food industry for two decades at pizza places, delis, taverns and restaurants in Montana, Minnesota and Washington. When smoking bans started going into effect, Cochran didn’t see much of a change in bar menus themselves but he did notice a change, he said, “in product mix.” “People were ordering different things… less spicy, less salty, exactly what you would think. Smokers like more flavor because they can’t taste it as well. It wasn’t so much that everybody quit smoking, it was more that non-smokers were going out and staying longer — they were so happy,” says Cochran/Annemarie C. Frohnhoeffer, Inlander. (Photo: Young Kwak)
Question: Would you say something to another diner who lit up a cigarette near you in a restaurant?
At the LCDC strategic planning session, Mayor Sandi Bloem said good growth doesn't happen simply “organically” and called for formation of an East Sherman Avenue urban renewal district:
Mayor Sandi Bloem applauded the agency's efforts in stimulating the economy and underscored that many of the major economic development projects in the Coeur d'Alene area would not have been possible without partnership from the LCDC. The mayor discounted recent public comments that growth should to occur “organically,” without urban renewal or any public assistance. “So many great projects have occurred in Coeur d'Alene with help from the LCDC … that otherwise would not have happened,” Bloem said. Some level of growth would occur without LCDC funding, the mayor said, but not at nearly the rate the LCDC has created through its partnership initiatives. Regarding the LCDC's future, the mayor, who recently announced she would not seek a fourth term in November, said the agency must move forward and resist political opposition. “You must continue to share your message with the community on the great things the agency has accomplished,” she said. The mayor also said she supported creation of a new urban renewal district to enhance East Sherman Avenue, calling it the “perfect area” for urban renewal financing/Keith Erickson, LCDC. Full report here.
Question: Should an urban renewal district be created for East Sherman Avenue?
How windy is it? Here's Kerri Thoreson (on her Facebook page) earlier today on the top level of the Coeur d'Alene Resort parking garage. Writes Kerri: “I'd guess those predicted gusts up to 50 mph are pretty accurate.” SR sports scribe Greg Lee and I just returned from a walk through the Education Corridor and along the north shore waterfront. The wind was blasting us from the southwest. We finally made good time once we got the wind at our backs.
Question: How are you doing in dealing with the wind today? Any horror stories?
Breaking news: buzzed bicyclists could pedal around downtown Coeur d'Alene this summer. Actually, a new business venture wants to offer said cyclists the chance to do exactly that, but on an organized tour, and legal to boot. It's called The Cycle Pub - at least for now - and it's a bicycle big enough for 14 people that will make pit stops into downtown bars and restaurants as part of a guided tour proposed by Mark Brown of Hayden. “We actually thought it would be a fun thing to bring to Coeur d'Alene, said Brown, a perfusionist at Kootenai Health who borrowed the cycle pub idea from other cities such as Bend, Ore., and Boise/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Is this something you would enjoy doing?
Former NFL player Herschel Walker signs Paul Kelly's shirt Saturday before the start of the 19th Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America starting at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. The 2100 mile ride to Tempe, Arizona will benefit Victory Junction, a North Carolina camp for children with chronic medical illnesses. Some 175 took to the road at 8:15 a.m. and headed to Lewiston. Scott Maben SR story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)
Question: Do you ride motorcycles?
Spokesman Keith Erickson provides this information from the 2013 Lake City Development Corp. planning session:
Steve Griffitts (pictured in ZoomInfo photo), president of Jobs Plus, told the board that the LCDC has provided an immeasurable impact on the job market over the past 15 years. “Your involvement with Jobs Plus has helped to contribute 6,000 jobs in this area since 1997,” Griffitts told the board. “There is such a great level of momentum generated by the LCDC.” Griffitts added that urban renewal is the best means the state of Idaho has to attract jobs in a competitive national market. Public works improvements funded by the LCDC have supported and sustained that growth, he added. “We've attracted companies here and kept them here because of your involvement with creating necessary infrastructure,” he said. Listing two examples, Griffitts said the LCDC helped bring in 500 jobs via the U.S. Bank call center on Seltice Way within the agency's River District, and 700 employees at Riverstone, which is thriving. “That area (Riverstone) has created so many jobs and included a tax base increase of more than $100 million,” Griffitts said. Full report here.
Question: Are you still skeptical re: job-creation impact of LCDC?
On his Regan for Trustee Facebook page, Brent Regan tells of a political sign being pilfered within 48 hours after he put it out. But Regan sign pilferers shoud beware. In 2010, the trustee/inventor built a few, tiny, camouflaged cameras w/motion sensing for a candidate that he supported. As a result, Regan and his candidate were able to catch a thief, as a camera snapped a photo of the male in action, along with his car license plate. Regan comments: “I mailed the parents a copy of the picture showing junior in action and a brief note. Problem solved.” Regan sez he has the cameras “on the charger now.”
Question: Why do you suppose would someone steal a candidates' yard signs?
In what top-10 ranking does Boise join nine other much-larger cities from across the nation, from the San Francisco metro area (No. 1) to Seattle-Tacoma (2), Philadelphia (3), New York City and Washington D.C. (tied for 4), Baltimore (6), Boston (7), Portland (8) and San Diego (tied for 9th)? The answer: Yoga. Forbes Magazine reported Friday on the “Top 10 Cities for Yoga in the U.S.,” and while the S.F. Bay Area was tops with its population 59 percent more likely to practice yoga than the general U.S. population, Boise made the list, tied for ninth place with San Diego, with the residents of both rated as 21 percent more likely/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you practice yoga? And/or: Why do you think Boise ranks so high for practicing yoga?
Paul Turner of The Slice blog offers tongue-in-cheek reasons why journalists enter professon:
A) To work in a profession where you don't have to pass state-sanctioned tests to demonstrate competence. B) To meet sexy male editors. C) So pseudonymous online readers could dump self-impressed bile on her work. D) To right wrongs. E) To crank out local briefs. F) To perfect the art of always being away from her desk when the assignment editor comes trolling for warm bodies. G) So that she could fall asleep in the break room and have a colleague take out a pen and draw arrows on her face pointing to her eyes. H) Other.
DFO: I became a journalist to make a difference. I'm still motivated by that original intention.
Question: Why do you think most journalists enter the profession?
Bikers stream out of a parking lot Saturday at the start of the 19th Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America starting at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. The 2100 mile ride to Tempe, Arizona will benefit Victory Junction, a North Carolina camp for children with chronic medical illnesses. Some 175 took to the road at 8:15 a.m. and headed to Lewiston. Scott Maben SR story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)
Della Munnich and Merlyn Nelson demonstrate on behalf of wolves on Sherman Avenue looking south toward the Coeur d'Alene Resort Boardwalk. Della is holding a wolf hand puppet while a part wolf / part dog pet tries to steal the scene in the lower left corner. Photographer Duane Rasmussen tells Huckleberries: “Apparently the wolf dog was there to represent his wild relatives. I reached down to him so he could smell the back of my hand. He politely complied. He was a friendly fellow.”
Almost 40 years ago, in one of its biggest hits, Fleetwood Mac sang: “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. … Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.” Today, fans of the band – which hasn’t released any new music in the past decade – are still happily looking backward. Tickets for the June 29 show at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena are selling much faster than when the ’70s supergroup last came to town in 2004, said Matt Gibson, the arena’s general manager. “It’s going to be sold out,” Gibson said. “Part of it is, you don’t know if this band is going to be back, ever.” While its creators creep past retirement age, the music the baby boom generation grew up with keeps on trucking/Rick Bonino, SR. More here.
Question: Does every generation continue to rock out to its music? Or is there something different re: the Baby Boomers' connection to their music?
Idaho is a one-party state caught between two elections. One election overwhelmingly repealed the Luna laws - the 2011 school overhaul package championed by state Superintendent Tom Luna that targeted teacher employment rights, imposed a clunky merit pay program and substituted technology for teaching. But the other election retained the same legislators who enacted the Luna laws in the first place. Is it any wonder that, when lawmakers got back to work this year, they reversed the voters by re-enacting some of the Luna law's features?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: How can Huckleberries do a better job reminding voters which legislators bucked them and helped restore Luna Laws, prior to the 2014 GOP primaries and general elections?
Do not jump to conclusions. That's the predictable advice that the mainstream news media dispenses after any terrorist attack. Translation: Don't assume that this is yet another in a long line of hateful, cowardly attacks against innocent, unsuspecting civilians committed by Islamic extremists. But, while they were telling us not to rush to politically incorrect judgments, the news media themselves and much of the left had the Boston Marathon bombing solved almost immediately. Within minutes, MSNBC's Chris Matthews pointed his finger at conservatives. So did NBC's Luke Russert. Obama's political adviser, David Axelrod, had it nailed too. CNN's Wolf Blitzer saw things the same way. They all cited the calendar. It was April 15/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: I figured that the terrorists were either neo-Nazi/militia or Islamic extremists, when I first heard about the bombings. Dunno if that's a rush to judgment. Rather, I view it as fingering the usual suspects from both extremes. How about you?
Heading out on a trail for a day or even a few hours is one of life’s simplest active pleasures. Craving fresh air, wildflowers, wildlife and healthy exercise? Taking a walk is the universal alternative whether you’re young or old, rich or poor. I look at day hiking as backpacking without the baggage – knee-friendly ventures that can be short and easy or long and challenging. Your choice. Day hiking has an attractive cost/benefit ratio compared with other means of venturing outdoors. It requires a minimal investment in equipment for traveling the widest variety of routes. Since day hikers often need little time for packing and planning, they have more time and incentive to discover new places/Rich Landers, SR. More here. (Rich Landers' SR photo: Bitterroots are delicate pink wildflowers that blossom from sparse rocky soil — sometimes sprouting in spring from well-traveled trails)
Question: What's your favorite place to day hike?
Jennifer Locke (Re: Letter: Beware the Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership/Coeur Group forum): You know as well as I do, that questions can be asked to make someone look bad on both sides and it doesn't help when you have to explain yourself in a 30 second sound bite. I had a friend tell me about showing up early to a forum where the governor was going to be answering questions last year and that he had some guy who was part of the teacher's union there telling his people what to say or what questions to ask the governor before the forum. This guy thought my friend was part of his group. Most of these events on either side of the aisle are typically staged events. Do we know if all of candidates will be getting these questions ahead of the forum?
DFO: Before the Mica Grange forum, there were rumors that the deck was stacked against the three challengers to the incumbents and Bjorn Handeen because the forum was organized by a diehard Republican. The forum went off without a hitch — and no loaded questions from the audience. Now supporters of the incumbents and Handeen are nervous because CEP has organized the Tuesday (5:30-7:30 p.m.) forum at the Coeur d'Alene Library. JimmyMac's Core Group will handle the questions. I've seen 2 or 3 of these Coeur Group forums, including one that involved controversial Councilman Steve Adams. The Coeur Group moderator and professionals couldn't be more neutral. Anyone who skips this forum because they're afraid of a loaded question isn't worthy to represent the Coeur d'Alene district as a trustee.
Question: Do you plan to attend the CEP/Coeur Group trustee forum Tuesday?
In this Duane Rasmussen photo, a protester howls in support of wolves during a demonstration Saturday on Sherman Avenue, between Independence Point and the Coeur d'Alene Resort. You write the cutline.
Friday Winner: PhotoGuy, w/7 likes — “After the ball landed near the water hazard, the course marshall called in the investiGATOR to make a ruling if a penalty stroke needed to be given or not.” Friday's photo and all cutline entries here.
Idaho schools will switch this fall to Common Core State Standards designed to raise student achievement, and the Coeur d’Alene School Board will take a closer look Monday at what that means for local schools. The board workshop was prompted by questions and concerns raised by constituents, including some who see the new English and math standards as a step toward a federal takeover of local education. “The state has adopted Common Core, (and) locally we have some concerns about our ability to maintain control of our curriculum, so how are we going to accomplish that?” board Chairman Tom Hamilton said. Hamilton said none of the school trustees has indicated to him an interest in backing away from Common Core, which 45 states have adopted. “I don’t think we can, and I don’t know that we should,” he said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Are you starting to understand the concern that some have with Common Core?
Now, we all know what Mayor Sandi Bloem meant at the annual Human Rights Banquet on Monday when she said she’d return to the feast in 2014, but maybe not in the same capacity. She had already decided not to seek re-election to a fourth term, for personal and professional reasons – not because she feared possible stiff competition against rival Councilman Dan Gookin. Bloem told Huckleberries on Wednesday that she wasn’t going to run, when your columnist followed up on her banquet remark. Despite her extraordinary accomplishments over the past 11-plus years (from construction of the Kroc Center and library to the Education Corridor), Bloem has attracted fanatical opponents. Who include masterminds of the failed 2012 recall effort against her and GOP hard-liners who want every nonpartisan elective office in Kootenai County filled with their kind of Republican/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.
Other SR weekend columns:
Question: Will Councilman Dan Gookin run for mayor?
We're in store for a sunny but windy weekend, which means I'll hit the garden for the first time this year. Plenty of stuff to trim, pull out and spruce up. And I've almost recovered from the sun burn I got on the Gulf Coast of Florida two weeks ago. So the shirt might come off, if it's hot enough. Get outside. Enjoy the weather. And I'll see you back here again Monday. Here's your Weekend Wild Card …
Caroline Masson, of Germany. watches her playing partner Brittany Linciome place her ball while waiting to putt on eight hole during the second round of the North Texas LPGA Shootout golf tournament on Friday at Los Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Question: Ho9w good of a golfer are you?
Saeed Abedini is in a battle for his life. The 32-year-old has languished in Iran's notorious Evin Prison for more than 200 days, after being convicted of “threatening the national security of Iran” for his involvement in Christian home churches from 2000 to 2005. His parents are allowed to visit him weekly, and they say he's enduring beatings and other torture. He has suffered internal bleeding and needs medical treatment, according to the American Center for Law & Justice. Tiffany N. Barrans, international legal director for the nonprofit advocacy center, said it has petitioned to have the Red Cross come in as a third party to treat him. “That has not been granted by the Iranian authorities,” Barrans said/Katy Moeller, Idaho Statesman. More here. (OpenDoorsUSA.org Photo of Saeed Abedini and his children)
Question: Are you outraged by the treatment Pastor Abedini is getting at the hands of the Iranians? Or simply shrug it off?
Duane Rasmussen offers proof via this photo that your Huckleberry Hound still can handle pen and paper to cover a candidates forum cattle call. Here, I'm either pausing to listen to a speaker at the Coeur d'Alene School Board teachers forum at Mica Grange or catching some shut eye.
An alligator crosses the 14th fairway during the first round of the PGA Tour Zurich Classic golf tournament at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La., on Thursday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Thursday winner — John Austin, with 2 likes/no dislikes: “When asked what the former Guv said to her, Victoria wouldn't say what Sheard.” Photo and all 6 cutline entries here.
Saw a news item a few weeks ago that could be exhibit A regarding what educators are calling a Common Core of Knowledge that a student graduating from any high school in the country should have mastered. The multi-millionaire superstar of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant, was telling a reporter about the entire Lakers team having gone to see Daniel Day Lewis’ exceptional performance in the movie Lincoln. Asked to characterize his and the team’s reaction to the film, Bryant said they all thought it was a pretty good movie but were shocked and surprised by the ending. Really? These gazillionaire basketball players, most of whom supposedly are college graduates, none of them including Kobe, knew that Lincoln had been the first president to be assassinated? That folks is what developing a Common Core of Knowledge for students to master is all about. It is not a plot by the Federal government to usurp local control of our public schools. It is not a conspiracy to brainwash our students into becoming liberal leaning robots who will look to Big Brother for everything/Chris Carlson, The Carlson Chronicles. More here.
Idaho ties for third in the nation in its percentage of diesel-fueled passenger vehicles, according to a new national report. Data compiled by R.L. Polk and Co. for the Diesel Technology Forum concluded Idaho has nearly 96,100 registered cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and vans that use diesel gasoline. At 6.6 percent, the state is tied with Alaska. Wyoming, at 10.5 percent, and Montana, at 7.8 percent, lead the list in percentage of vehicles. Texas has the largest number of registered diesel passenger vehicles at 775,395/Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you drive a diesel-fueled vehicle? If so, why?
For years, the Coeur d’Alene School District had come under attack for its International Baccalaureate program, a world-renowned curriculum intended to teach critical thinking and global knowledge. Critics saw it as a waste of money at minimum, and a United Nations-driven socialist reeducation conspiracy at worst. But when a new crop of board members took over, they ditched both the IB program and the Primary Years Programme. But the programs had ardent supporters, and the school board faced backlash. Last night, at the Mica Flats Grange Hall, three sets of school board candidates talked about everything from bus contracting to what they think about the phrase “progressive education.” (Most didn’t like it.) Inevitably, they got asked about PYP and IB/Daniel Walters, Inlander. More here. (Duane Rasmussen photo of trustee candidate Dave Eubanks)
Question: Will the way the Coeur d'Alene School Board jettison IB/PYP last summer and fall come back to haunt the trustees running in the May 21 school elections?
McEuen Field update: “Work on installing a retaining wall on the north side of Front Avenue continues. The wall should be completed in about a week. The purpose of the wall is to keep dirt away from the buildings on Front Avenue.” You can find route maps for navigating downtown Coeur d'Alene and parking during McEuen Field reconstruction here. The same site provides photos of current work.
Huckleberries numbers (for Thursday, April 25): 7796 page-views/4518 unique views
Jennifer Locke, a regular at Huckleberries Online, holds baby Isabella during the Coeur d'Alene School Board trustee forum at Mica Grange Thursday night. Jennifer was one of 7 or 8 people who asked questions of the six candidates. Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership, in conjunction with the Coeur Group, will host a second candidates' forum, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the community room of the Coeur d'Alene Library. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)
As Idahoans engage in a statewide conversation about K-12 public school improvement, I want to add another discussion point to the mix: The state should reexamine its participation in national education standards known as Common Core. I say this despite my deep respect and friendship for Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, a supporter of Common Core. Tom says there is a lot of misinformation out there about Common Core, propelling some of the opposition. But Lindsey Burke, the Heritage Foundation's education policy expert, told a panel Friday in Orlando that Common Core will lead to less education choice and competition, and is, ultimately, a push for federal control of all education—public and private/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Are you surprised that Wayne Hoffman/Idaho Freedom Foundation opposes Common Core?
Federal wildlife officials have drafted plans to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, a move that could end a decades-long recovery effort that has restored the animals but only in parts of their historic range. The draft U.S. Department of Interior rule obtained by The Associated Press contends that roughly 5,000 wolves now living in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes are enough to prevent the species’ extinction. The agency says having gray wolves elsewhere — such as the West Coast, parts of New England and the Southern Rockies — is unnecessary for their long-term survival/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Would you kill a wolf if you had a chance to do so?
George Jones, the definitive country singer of the last half-century, whose songs about heartbreak and hard drinking echoed his own life, died on Friday in Nashville. He was 81. His publicists, Webster & Associates, said he died at a hospital after being admitted there on April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure. Mr. Jones — nicknamed Possum for his close-set eyes and pointed nose and later No-Show Jones for the concerts he missed during drinking and drug binges — was universally respected and just as widely imitated/Jon Pereles, New York Times. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Are you a George Jones' fan? And/or: Who is your favorite country singer?
The best debate-within-a-debate of the evening at the Mica Grange CSD trustee forum last night was the matchup between challenge Christa Hazel, who's seen making a point in this Duane Rasmussen photo, and Trustee Brent Regan, to her right. After listening to Christa speak, Huckleberries is more amazed than ever that Kootenai County commissioners passed over her for James Purtee in making an appointment last year that swung the board hard right. Conversely, I was impressed with Regan's extensive knowledge of issues and on-the-stump charisma. The voters are getting their money's worth in this race.
DFO: Another question I wished was asked last night, particularly of these two candidates: Are you more qualified to serve as a trustee if you have children in district schools. Christa does. Brent either still home-schools his children or did home-school them. His oldest is 26.
Question: Who would you support if you were able to vote in this race?
After the three-hour listening session wrapped up Thursday night, Richard Westerberg got another earful. Flanked by two staffers, the State Board of Education member was buttonholed by about a dozen opponents of Common Core, the academic standards on track to launch in Idaho classrooms this fall. Several of the Common Core critics had already testified earlier in the evening, but they weren’t going to leave without making another appeal for Idaho to ditch the standards. The impromptu discussion was, in a way, a good metaphor for the education reform task force’s seven-city tour, which concluded Thursday. Assigned to hit the road to glean ideas from Idahoans — a first step before drafting bills for the 2014 legislative session — Gov. Butch Otter’s 31-member task force fielded complaints about Common Core, something lawmakers approved 27 months ago/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
Question: Is the concerns re: Common Core more paranoia from the uber-cons? Or legitimate? Are you up to speed enough on the issue to answer?
In this Duane Rasmussen photo, Coeur d'Alene School Board candidate Bjorn Handeen looks on as his opponent, Tom Hearn, answers a question from the audience at the Mica Grange Thursday night.
The Mica Grange deserves a hat tip for staging a successful, civil forum for the Coeur d'Alene School Board trustee candidates, before a packed house last night. But I came away dissatisfied. It was difficult to distinguish differences among the candidates. Maybe the forum was to blame in that all candidates answered all questions. Which limited the number of questions. On the other hand, some issues received good discussion. Common Core. Internatiional Baccalaureate. Privatizing bus service. However, the rest was a blur. Obviously, three candidates are backed by all or part of the local GOP establishment. There was no discussion about how their political philosphy will affect their educational policy making. At least two of the three GOP candidates support the voter-rejected Luna Laws. But there was no discussion about that. One of the GOP candidates was singled out by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations for re-telling a tasteless anti-Obama joke. Yet there was no discussion about the candidates' stands on human relations. It struck me that at least two of the challengers are fiscally conservative. But they have been marginalized by the GOP establishment as liberals and Democrats because that's the nasty way that local Republicans deal with anyone who doesn't walk lock step with them. The trustees are charged with managing our most valuable resource: the education of our children. Yet it's difficult to get a real handle on how this group thinks about a range of subjects. The forum at Mica Grange was a good start. Another forum is coming up next week, sponsored by Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership and the Coeur Group. As you can see by the letter to the editor in the Coeur d'Alene Press printed below, some GOP hardliners are encouraging the Republican endorsees to boycott the forum. I'd say that any candidate that's unwilling to attend as many forums as possible is undeserving the public's vote. It's hard enough to decide what candidates are all about — even with a forum. Trustee candidates also need to understand that they will be representing all of the Coeur d'Alene District — and not just the noisy wheels embedded in the dominant local GOP/DFO.
The Latah County Republican Party has voted to censure its chairman for his vote as a Moscow city councilor supporting an ordinance outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports that a small assembly of county Republican precinct committee members voted 7-6 earlier this month to censure Walter Steed for his city council vote. Committee member Gresham Bouma says the ordinance will penalize business owners for their personal beliefs when it comes to hiring/AP via Eye on Boise. More here.
A trooper with Idaho State Police pauses while processing the scene of a fatal collision Thursday on Highway 41 near Twin Lakes. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune offers cheers to …
Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both R-Idaho. With their support, the Senate Monday voted 74-to-20 to consider enabling states to collect sales taxes due on transactions made over the Internet. That's a break in a logjam that has bedeviled Idaho, Washington and any state that imposes a sales tax. Idaho loses $35 million a year. For Washington, at least $184 million goes unpaid. As the share of the economy conducted online continues to expand, those numbers can only rise. It's hardly fair to the brick-and-mortar retailers who invest and hire locally. Collecting the sales tax makes their goods more expensive than the products their online competitors offer tax-free. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: So are you happy that Internet sales may soon be taxed?
Apparently, the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans used their dirty election tactics again and came up WRONG again. Their attack this time was on an outstanding teacher in the Post Falls School District. The political group tried to dig up dirt, but there was none. The Post Falls School District Administration found no violations. The Kootenai County Elections Clerk found no violations. Nothing was done wrong. The Press reporter in his April 24 article confirmed no violations occurred. This was just another failed attempt by a political party to create wrong information and to confuse voters/Joanna Adams, Coeur d'Alene. More here.
DFO: If the Reagan Republicans didn't exist, I'd have to make them up. Ron, Jeff & Co. provided considerable fodder for the insatiable maw of Huckleberries Online. Thanks, guys.
Question: Which group is a better foil for Huckleberries — Reagan Republicans or OpenCDA.com?
Any conservative-Republican candidate who agrees to the upcoming CEP “balanced” Coeur d’Alene Schools Trustee debate is truly brave. It is similar to walking into the lion’s den. The board of directors consists of two former liberal school board members, one of whom quit after the board began to lean conservative; so much for tolerance and balance. The other board members represent an array of liberal activist community members. The Coeur Group formulating the questions appears to have close ties to CEP and “Balance North Idaho,” which endorsed the left leaning school board candidates/Ken Mayo, Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor. More here.
DFO: This is the type of silly fear-mongering that preceded last night's trustee forum at the Mica Grange. I'd heard that the deck was stacked against the challengers because Republican stalwart Joy Seward had organized it. But the forum played out as one of the most civil that I've witnessed. Joy deserves a hat tip. Rather than listening to alarmist Mayo, the incumbents and Handeen need to realize that they represent the entire community, not just Republican hardliners. They need to be at the forum, which will be conducted by the extremely neutral Coeur Group.
Now is the time to build an event center in Coeur d’Alene for sports, trade shows and community gatherings, North Idaho College officials told the city’s urban renewal agency Thursday. NIC, which would own and operate the building, anticipates asking for $10 million in urban renewal financing for the project, President Joe Dunlap said. Another $5 million would come from private fundraising, and the college would need an estimated $250,000 a year initially to cover operating expenses, Dunlap told the Lake City Development Corporation board. While enthusiastic about the potential for a sports and event center, NIC doesn’t have the money to make it a reality, emphasized Dunlap and Ken Howard, president of the college board of trustees/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Would you like to see an event center that's largely funded by urban renewal money?
All six Coeur d'Alene School Board candidates were on hand last night during a two-hour forum in which audience members asked the questions. They are, from left, Christa Hazel, Brent Regan, Bjorn Handeen, Tom Hearn, Ann Seddon and Dave Eubanks. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)
The six candidates seeking election to the Coeur d'Alene School District Board of Trustees were cordial and courteous Thursday as they fielded audience questions during a public forum hosted by the Mica Flats Grange. Seated on a stage in front of a crowd of about 130, the candidates were asked to comment on a variety of issues including the privatization of busing, the International Baccalaureate Organization programs recently axed by the current board, federal funding of public schools and the Common Core initiative/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Have you seen and heard enough to make an informed vote for trustee in your Zone?
Ex-cons housed here? Not in this backyard. Seattle-based nonprofit Pioneer Human Services has been denied a permit by the Dalton Gardens planning commission to open a federal prison residential re-entry facility. Pioneer sought the permit for property at 5648 N. Government Way, which Pioneer has yet to acquire. In Pioneer's application, it said it wants to establish the facility to house, monitor and provide services for up to 43 residents. Occupational training and pre-apprenticeship training would occur in the adjacent building or parcel. There was a public hearing Tuesday in front of the planning commission, which voted 5-0 to deny the request. Marcia Wingfield, city clerk, said 12 people spoke against the facility during the hearing and 13 people submitted written comment forms opposing it/David Cole, Press. More here.
Question: Can you blame Dalton Gardens for rejecting the halfway house?
Paineite (re: “My 2 Cents: Don't Run, Mike”): The fly in your oinment, DFO, is that if everyone took that view and just stepped away when the stench became overwhelming (as indeed it is), then nothing would get done and the shire would be overrun by Shelob (don't have to tell you who I'm thinking of) and the orcses. No … I'd rather see Mike stand and fight … come what may. And btw, I “get” the “oh the humanity” aspect of your take on it … but Mike CAN win this and his opposition will be just as strong for a state seat. And btw, he can and has accomplished more here than he ever would in that legislature chock full of nincompoops.
Question: Could Councilman Mike Kennedy win re-election to a third term — with all the forces of the Reagan Republicans, OpenCDA.com, RecallCDA and CAVErs aligned against him?
I'll be at the Mica Grange tonight (7 o'clock) to watch the Coeur d'Alene School Board forum, involving all six trustee candidates. My favorite uber-con, Jennifer Locke, will be there, too — to introduce me to her baby, Isabella. Mebbe Sara Meyer. Also, I know that some Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre actors will be singing songs from Les Miserables as part of a fund-raiser at Bakery by the Lake on torn-up Front Avenue. So there's plenty to do in our viewtiful City by the Lake tonight. See you at the Grange? Now for your replayed Wild Card …
Offensive tackle Eric Fisher, from Central Michigan, stands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected first overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the NFL football draft on Thursday at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Story here. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Question: Let's think outside the box here. Who would be good candidates for the Coeur d'Alene City Council or mayor's seat this fall. I'd suggest Eden Irgens, Sara Meyer and Jennifer Drake. However, Sara and Jennifer will have newborns to care for by then. Can you think of new blood that you'd like to see run?
On Monday, Cassandra Davis, from Who's Running Who, stands with Maximus, a client's dog before a run in Moscow. The dog-running business is owned by Ryan Hayes. Ryan Hayes, like many other recent graduates, had to decide what he wanted to do after college and struggled to find something that he loved. His solution? Who's Running Who, a local dog running business he started when he moved back to Moscow in mid-December. (AP Photo/Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Geoff Crimmins)
From Post Falls Police Facebook page: “Update on our missing person case - This morning Avista closed the third channel section of the dam which allowed staff from the Post Falls Police Department, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department and Post Falls Parks Department to search the area below for the majority of the day.
Nic, at Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts, can't explain how he, who hated vegetables as a kid, grew up to raise vegetable-loving kids:
It must have been a texture issue. The scent, taste, textures; I found it all revolting. The fact that the food I was wasting was healthy was irrelevant. I could not force myself to swallow. The flavor made me gag. Now that I have a son on the autism spectrum I'm starting to recognize some of those same symptoms. His texture issues surround anything with a saucy texture. Spaghetti sauce, alfredo, ketchup, salsa. He also struggles with most meats. He likes bacon, chicken, and shrimp. But steak, ham, and pork set off his texture aversion. Ditto for anything ground up. That makes meal planning difficult in our home/Nic, Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts. More here.
Question: Which kinds of vegetable will/won't you eat?
Here's another Pecky Cox/As the Lake Churns photo of the 2013 Priest Lake Loggers Day at Nordman over the weekend. The females at the event were as tough as the guys.
Huckleberries numbers (for Wednesday, April 24): 8853 page-views/4713 unique views
Councilman Mike Kennedy is struggling with a re-election decision while dealing with a serious medical issue involving his extended family. Although Kennedy has been a solid council member, who has formed part of a majority of four in moving Coeur d'Alene ahead, I hope, for the sake of his family and him, that he decides not to seek re-election to his city office. He has served his city well in supporting the many projects put forward by the Bloem administration, from the new library to the expanded Education Corridor. All the while, the former Democratic activist has stepped on toes of unforgiving GOP hardliners by beating two party favorites in his two successful elections: Mary Souza and Jim Brannon. The first win won him the undying anonymosity of Souza and her OpenCDA.com allies. The second win landed Kennedy in court and cost him considerable legal fees (some of which the city paid) when Brannon refused to concede a five-vote defeat. For all his good work, Kennedy was subject to a failed recall try last year, spearheaded by Souza, state Rep. Kathy Sims and other GOP hardliners. Now that Mayor Bloem has decided against seeking a fourth term, Kennedy becomes Public Enemy No. 1 of Souza, the Reagan Republicans and others opposed to urban renewal and progress in the Lake City. The neo-GOP establishment will throw everything it can at Kennedy to defeat a re-election bid. Kennedy has survived the constant criticism from Republicans and online attacks from keyboard commandos with his Irish humor intact. He deserves a break from the poisonous political discourse surging through Coeur d'Alene. He should enjoy his growing family and business for awhile. And then return next fall to challenge either Sims in the Coeur d'Alene House election or state Sen. John Goedde in the Coeur d'Alene Senate election. Both those seats need a significant upgrade that Kennedy would provide/DFO.
Question: Do you want to see Mike Kennedy run for re-election?
Narrative: A few years ago the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department approved a concept for a “Fire Safety Awareness Board” promotional campaign with Firehouse Promotions in Moline Illinois. The concept was for Firehouse Promotions to print a number of fire safety messages for the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department to distribute free of charge to the fire department. Shortly after this approval from the Fire Department, the fire department began to receive concerns and complaints from business owners that they had been receiving sales calls from the company requesting donations for this project and indicating they represented the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department. The Fire Department immediately contacted the company and asked them to stop representing that they were affiliated with the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department/Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Lauper, Coeur d'Alene Fire Department. More here.
On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson writes of the photo above:
“Five years ago the historic log house, circa 1932, long owned by Duane Hagadone, was bought by Rocky and Mary Watson and barged from Casco Bay to Cougar Bay on Lake Coeur d'Alene. I took many photos during the transport of the two sections in 2008. This afternoon I spent an hour or so walking through the home with Claudia Brennan and John Condon. The house and 5 acres are now on the market. Claudia is handling the sale for the Watsons and John just happened to drive by this afternoon and stopped in. It was John (N.Idaho Maritime) who coordinated that incredible move of the structure in 2008. The home is settled in nicely in Cougar Bay and looks just as I remember it from the numerous times I'd visited when it belonged to the Hagadones. If I win the Powerball this week, I'll pay cash for the property and live happily ever after.”
Question: Would you buy the old Hagadone Casco Bay log cabin if you won Powerball?
Jennifer Locke: I went to a sheriff's and commissioner's forums last spring and they were pretty exciting. Better than any Presidential debate on television. I love going to all the local forums. I wish more people would attend these forums. I think they would learn a lot and get more active in their community.
Question: What was the last community forum that you attended? Why did you attend?
Dozens of folks braved the drizzling rain Sunday to view the past 100 years through the eyes of Rotary Club 21. The one-day exhibit at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture included bound volumes of the Hub weekly newsletters dating back from 1922, now housed in the Joel E. Ferris Research Library at the MAC. “A lot of this stuff was stored in the basement of our executive director’s home,” said Steven Schneider, chairman of the membership development committee/Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (SR photo: Rotary Club member Steven Schneider gives a tour of the new “Through the Eyes of Rotary” exhibit at the MAC in Spokane on Sunday)
Question: Which service/civic clubs do you belong to?
Confidence in the U.S. job market has rebounded to a near normal level from its record low after the Great Recession, a trend that could help boost the economy. Americans increasingly feel they could find a new job if necessary, according to the 2012 General Social Survey, a long-standing poll of public opinion. And fear of being laid off dropped last year from its 2010 peak to roughly its average for the 35 years the question has been asked. The percentage of Americans who said it would be somewhat or very easy to find a job if they lost theirs rose to 54% last year from 46% in 2010. The 2010 figure was the lowest since 1983, when the United States was also emerging from a deep recession/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Do you feel better about job security today than you did during the Great Recession?
Shawn Vestal grew up in a Mormon family in Gooding, Idaho, but he left the faith as a young adult. His new book, Godforsaken Idaho, is based in part on his experiences growing up Mormon. The stories in the book also examine secular takes on life and the afterlife. Slate recently featured Vestal as one of a growing number of ex-Mormon writers who examine the faith in their writing. Shawn Vestal now lives in Spokane, where he writes for the Spokesman-Review. After two decades of writing stories in his spare time, he went back to school in 2006 to get an MFA in creative writing at Eastern Washington University. He was published in the literary journal McSweeney's the following year, and signed a book deal shortly after that/OPB. More here.
Question: Have you had a crisis of faith involving your childhood religion?
Honor guard stand in front of caskets prior to a memorial service for first responders who died in last week's fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, today, in Waco, Texas. President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are set to speak at Thursday's memorial at Baylor University's Ferrell Center in Waco. Firefighters and other first responders were among those killed when a fire at the plant erupted in an explosion last week. Hundreds of people were injured. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
From Coeur d'Alene School District Web site:
The Coeur d’Alene School District Board of Trustees will hold a board workshop at 5 p.m. Monday to discuss Common Core state standards. The workshop will be held at Midtown Center, 1505 N. 5th St.. The school board wants to devote time to learn more about the origin of Common Core and what the Common Core standards are, ask questions to clarify information about the Common Core and dialogue about the work the district has done to transition into the new state-mandated system and what still lies ahead regarding the Common Core. The format of the workshop is intended for interactive discussion amongst board members and staff. The workshop is open to the public. No public comment, however, is part of the workshop agenda.
Question: As Duncan Koler goes on this issue, so goes the Coeur d'Alene School Board, right?
Idaho Department of Lands assistant fire warden Shane O'Shea talked about the conifer tree seedling giveaway near his office in Coeur d'Alene this morning. The giveaway is Friday from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot at Cherry Hill Park on 15th Street and will include Western Larch, Western White Pine and Ponderosa Pine. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Coeur d’Alene soon may join a growing number of Idaho cities to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation – a reaction to the Legislature’s steadfast refusal to add such protections to state law. City Councilman Mike Kennedy is drafting an ordinance modeled after one adopted in Boise last year. It would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. “I think it’s needed, I think it’s overdue, and it’s simple equal rights,” Kennedy said. “We shouldn’t be excluding any group or party from full participation and full protection under the law,” he said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
A Walk for Wolves will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, beginning at the Kootenai County Courthouse Building. This walk is organized and led by citizens concerned about the plight of the wolves in the Northwest. The Following was information sent to us from “Adopt A Wolf Pack“:
Question: Do you plan to walk in support of wolves?
Brent Roundtree has been working for weeks to repair the dock at Sun Cove Resort on Clear Lake. His family took over the resort in the fall. Outdoors reporter Rich Landers reports that the Spokane region is a hot bed for rental fishing boats. Story here. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)
Former President George H.W. Bush, wears pink socks as he is seated in a wheelchair with, from left, first lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, former first lady Barbara Bush, and former President George W. Bush, at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas on Thursday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Question: What color and design are the socks you are wearing at this moment?
In case you missed it. On April 8, a 25-year-old transgender woman was banned from the Lewiston Rosauers after customers complained she used the women’s restroom. According to an Associated Press story, Alberto Robledo of Lewiston identifies herself as female but has not had gender reassignment surgery. Robledo, who goes by Ally, says she was leaving the Rosauers when police officers gave her paperwork informing her that she had a “no trespassing” order against her for using the women’s restroom. When this article was posted on The Spokesman-Review blog Huckleberries Online, it unleashed a furor of comments about who should and shouldn’t be allowed to use women’s restrooms. For me the bottom line is simple: I don’t care who you are as long as you put the darn seat down when you’re done/Cindy Hval, SR. More here.
Question: Seat up or seat down?
In October, House Minority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was in Boise to help Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador raise money for his first re-election bid. But when Cantor needed Labrador’s vote on a bill allowing people with preexisting health conditions to buy into a high-risk insurance pool as they transition to coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the Idaho tea party favorite once again demonstrated his independence from his leaders. A scheduled vote on the “Helping Sick Americans Now Act,” was cancelled Wednesday because Labrador and other Republicans agreed with the anti-tax Club for Growth and the conservative Heritage Foundation that the measure was “a costly boondoggle that would do nothing to dismantle the health-care law,” according to the Washington Post’s Paul Kane/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Is Labrador being foolish by bucking House GOP leadership? Or is he being his own man?
For the better part of a decade, Idaho's elected leadership has been sending this message to the young people of this state: Get your college education. As long as you and your families are willing to pay for it. But don't look to us. Message received. Scattered across every community in Idaho are the students who have been priced out of a college degree. The pattern played out once again last week in Moscow. After using the higher education budget as a cash cow to balance the budget during the depths of the recession, lawmakers had restored only some of the cuts/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Did you or your kids go to college in Idaho? Why? Why not?
In the article this morning re: Mayor Sandi Bloem's decision not to seek re-election, reporter Tom Hasslinger discusses the newspaper's decision to rein in nasty online commenters. For example, “bionic man” had directed this comment at Bloem and three council incumbents who supported the McEuen Field upgrade: “They are going to stick the taxpayers with the most they can get away with while in office. too bad they all weren't sitting on the 'bombs' of boston,” it said. “May the legal system and wrath of whatever, reign down on their lives.” Bionic man was banned, and the comment was taken down. Mike Patrick, managing editor of The Press, said Wednesday that the editorial staff had just banned three frequent cdapress.com visitors from posting comments. Many people in the community have said the Press online discussion is often too crude and mean to serve any public good. “It has gotten out of hand,” Patrick said. More here.
DFO: Good call by Mike and the Press. The comment sections of the Press Online and Huckleberries can offer a good gauge of community sentiment, if the trolls are kept at bay.
Item: Teachers chastise board: Bargaining team criticized for bringing 'premature proposal' to table/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: A plan to make a major change to the Coeur d'Alene School District's employee health benefit plan received some pushback from the local teachers union Wednesday during a collective bargaining session at Woodland Middle School. Before a crowd of about 50 observers, the teachers also chastised the board for its negotiating tactics, and criticized the board's bargaining team for bringing the plan to the table before the insurance company officially offered it. “Proposing a plan before full information was out, cannot be delivered at the time the proposal was made, ladies and gentlemen, that's bad faith bargaining,” said Tim Sanford, the teachers' chief negotiator. “Your proposal was premature.”
Question: Is the Coeur d'Alene School Board operating in good faith?
Victoria Sheard, right, of Dallas, receives a kiss on the cheek from former governor Jeb Bush, left, during a book autograph session after a speaking engagement at the Dallas Council of World Affairs Wednesday in Dallas . Sheard had commented to Bush that she had purchased three books when Bush replied with a kiss for doing so. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Wednesday winner — Charlie: “We see evidence just why the Elephant Bird is extinct.” Wednesday photo and all the cutline contest entries here.
Item: Election plan draws concern: But teacher union denies wrongdoing, district finds none/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans are raising red flags over the Post Falls teachers union plan to support school board candidates for the May 21 election, but the union denies any wrongdoing and the school district and county clerk didn't find any. The Republican group obtained an April 18 email the Post Falls Education Association sent to its membership, outlining an action plan to support candidates and containing form letters to the editor. Jeff Ward, treasurer of the Republican group, said he believes the union would be crossing the line of using taxpayer-funded resources for campaign purposes if it acts on its candidate support plan - if it hasn't already.
Question: Do the Reagan Republicans have a legitimate beef here?
Mayor Sandi Bloem said Wednesday she will not seek a fourth term this fall. Bloem, the city's only three-term mayor — and its only female leader - cited personal and professional reasons for not running for re-election Nov. 5. Bloem didn't elaborate on those reasons, but said she still intends to be involved in the community after she steps away, calling her 12-year run as head of the city “an incredible honor.” “It's the right thing for me now,” Bloem said. “It was a very difficult decision but I have a few opportunities in front of me and I feel if I don't take those opportunities, and wait four more years, they might not be there.” Bloem said she made the decision a few weeks ago and told some staff and council members. But then rumors of the decision circulated online Wednesday, which she confirmed/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Besides Dan Gookin and Mike Gridley, is there anyone else that you'd like to see run for mayor?
Spring is trying to finally break out in the viewtiful City by the Lake. Which means you'll soon be abandoning Huckleberries Online for the beaches. Alas. That's my burden to bear — sun worshippers who forget that I'm slaving away at Hucks HQ to make sure that you have the news you need to go about your day. But, hey, there's always the weekend to soak in some rays. Now for your Hump Day Wild Card …
Overwhelming response to a call for donations to an inmate quilting project has left the Idaho Department of Correction out of storage space and unable to accept new donations of quilting material. “Idaho’s quilters are generous and eager to share their passion for quilting,” says Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke. “We never imagined we’d get buried like this.” The prisons have received more than four pickup truck loads of quilting material. “We are truly grateful for all the help, but we just don’t have a place to store more material,” Reinke said. Click below for the department's full announcement/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. (SR file photo)
Question: Are you a quilter?
Sabby Stasney, 3rd grader from Sorensen Magnet School waited for further instruction as the group studied native and invasive plant species during a field trip on Tubbs Hill in Coeur d'Alene today. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Earlier today, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, appeared on 'Out Front with Erin Burnett' on CNN to discuss FBI and CIA intelligence on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of two perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing.
The Democratic Party of Idaho is a shadow of its former self. Working Idahoans, rural Idahoans, seniors, farmers, and Catholics have all left the former Cecil Andrus Democratic coalition from the 70's and the 80's in droves. The groups that inhabit the current national Democrat coalition (minorities, government labor unions, gays, urban poor, urban professionals, liberals, college students) just do not have the numbers in Idaho to return the party to competitive status. The only significant “tent pole” that holds up the Democrats' shrinking tent is the teacher union: the Idaho Education Association. If it weren't for the teacher union the Idaho Democratic Party would almost cease to exist. It would collapse like an empty suit/Jeff Ward, Kootenai Conservative Weekly. More here.
Question: Wonder which boogeyman Jeff and the Reagan Republicans will conjure when the Idaho Republican Party finally succeed in completely destroying the teachers union and imposing the voter-rejected Luna Laws on our unfortunate public school students?
Christie Wood (re: “It's Official! Bloem won't run again”): I have been a City employee for 23 years. We have been fortunate to have some good mayors and dedicated council people. Mayor Bloem is deeply respected and admired by the employees. She is down to earth, and sophisticated at the same time. She loves her community, and has certainly devoted herself to her words of “creating a sense of place”. If she decides not to run for another term she will be sorely missed, but she has done her part and she deserves other opportunities. Public service is fulfilling, interesting, and mostly joyful but it also takes a toll. I hope she knows how much she is appreciated and that she has many great, new endeavors ahead.
Question: What will be Mayor Bloem's legacy?
Councilman Mike Kennedy told Huckleberries moments ago that he's “officially undecided” re: plans to seek a third term as a Coeur d'Alene City Council member. “I have made no final decision,” Kennedy said. “There's still plenty of time.” Candidates don't have to officially announce until this fall. Kennedy is currently dealing with a serious health issue involving his extended family. In 2005, he won a first term after a three-way race involving strident Bloem administration critic Mary Souza. In 2009, he won a squeaker over challenger Jim Brannon that led to a lengthy court challenge in which he emerged with a three-vote margin of victory. The challenge cost Kennedy and the city more than $200,000.
Question: Could Kennedy win re-election to a third term with GOP hard-liners lined up against him?
Next month will bring a handful of local elections in Kootenai County, some that previously passed with little contest. This year, things are different. Hard-right group Kootenai County Reagan Republicans announced it would target the nonpartisan Kootenai Hospital District Board. In response, a new political action committee formed. Bipartisan and led by some of those most outspoken in the controversial anti-recall effort in Coeur d’Alene last year, Balance North Idaho is fundraising to support its picks for the hospital (Liese Razzeto and Jim Pierce, himself a Reagan Republican) and school board (Dave Eubanks, Christa Hazel, Tom Hearn). We sat down with the PAC’s Board President Eden Irgens (pictured) to learn more/Heidi Groover, Inlander. More here.
Question: What impact will Balance North Idaho and Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership have in the spring elections?
It's official. Mayor Sandi Bloem told Huckleberries moments ago that she won't seek a fourth term this year. Her decision is a game changer. By deciding not to run, Bloem de-fused much of the nastiness that was sure to come her way from the usual suspects — and a possible replay of the unsuccessful 2012 recall election. She will be able to leave office on her own terms, with a treasure trove of accomplishments — from the Kroc Center to the Education Corridor. At 70, she has earned a rest from the heavy city duties that have also won her the undying anonymosity of online critics and some GOP activists. Her decision will open the field for a possible run for office by Councilman Dan Gookin, who has hinted at his desires to run City Hall in online posts. A council headed by Gookin and politically aligned with him would mean significant changes at City Hall. Some department heads would roll. City Attorney Mike Gridley, who has clashed with Gookin ally Councilman Steve Adams would be sure to go. Probably Finance Director Troy Tymesen, too. And City Administrator Wendy Gabriel. Seeing the writing on the wall, some department heads have already taken early retirement, including Police Chief Wayne Longo, Parks Director Doug Eastwood and Recreation Director Steve Anthony. If the anti-Bloem forces seize control of City Hall, there will be a house-cleaning that hasn't been seen since Ray Stone took over for Jim Fromm in the mid-1980s. Urban renewal will be reined in, too. Conversely, an anti-Bloem administration won't be able to damage too much of Bloem's accomplishments. McEuen Field will be finished by Election Day. The Education Corridor is too far along to mess up too much. The Kroc Center and Coeur d'Alene Library are built. Coeur d'Alene can survive a so-so administration for two to four years because so much has been finished already. Maybe we need a lackluster to mediocre administration and council to better appreciate the golden era that we are enjoying in the Lake City under Bloem. There's also a chance that Bloem's announcement may spur fresh blood to emerge to continue her legacy of accomplishment by running for city office. This still could be an interesting year for the Coeur d'Alene city elections yet/DFO.
Update: It's official. Mayor Sandi Bloem called Huckleberries moments ago (2:03 p.m.) to say that she wouldn't seek a fourth term, citing personal and professional reasons.
Huckleberries hears … that Mayor Sandi Boem will not run for re-election this November. According to my impeccable sources, Bloem has told some city employees, friends and family that she won't run again, due to other opportunities that have surfaced for her. Huckleberries also hears that the decision was not made because Bloem fears a possible bruising re-election battle against Councilman Dan Gookin, who has expressed indirect interest in running for the position. Bloem, who will be 71 at the end of the year, will leave behind an incredible legacy, if my sources are correct. Not only is she the first female mayor of Coeur d'Alene but she's also the only mayor to serve three, four-year terms — one more than former Mayor Ray Stone. Stay tuned.
Question: How will the departure of Mayor Bloem affect the city and this fall's council races?
Rockford High School students dance at The Pinnacle Center during their prom in Hudsonville, Mich. Prom spending is expected to rise in 2013 to an average $1,139. That’s among families who are planning to spend some money to attend the annual affair, according to a survey of 1,025 parents of prom age teens by payment processor Visa Inc. and research company Gfk. Not included in the average were 12 percent who said they wouldn’t spend anything on the prom. A majority of parents with teenagers surveyed were still unsure how much they’d spend. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Emily Zoladz)
Question: How much money do you plan to spend for your high schoolers to go to the prom?
On her Twitter account, SR City Editor Addy Hatch reports: “Caller objects to columnist calling Boston terror suspect a 'punk.' Said it's OK to call him a terrorist, but not a punk.” Addy was referring to this lead by columnist Doug Clark Sunday: “And just like that, Boston’s mind-boggling week of murder and mayhem was over. A law enforcement ensemble from what looked like every jurisdiction in copdom caught the last terrorist punk Friday night.” (Full column here.)
Question: Is being called a 'terrorist' really better than being called a 'punk'? Really?
Two North Idahoans won the two prizes offered by the SR weekly News Quiz Sharlene Anderson of Bonners Ferry (gift card) and Tim Lafser of Post Falls (movie tickets). You don't have to be an expert on current events to win our weekly news quiz, but it can't hurt! All entrants this week are eligible to win two movie tickets to area cinemas, and our overall champ will earn a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Good luck! You can take the News Quiz here.
Leaderboard: 2 HucksOnline readers are on this week's Leaderboard — Cathyanne & Sfredrickson.
Updated graphics, integrated social media and an improved Action Center are all part of Idaho Senator Mike Crapo’s newly-redesigned website that launched today. “My goal is to stay in constant contact with Idahoans and provide them with up-to-date information in an efficient way,” Crapo said. “The previous website served Idahoans well, but with changing technology, we recognized the need for an improved site. The new website is graphically appealing, functional and helpful to the people of Idaho. I encourage Idahoans to explore the new site and continue to provide comments and suggestions on how my website can better serve them”/U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo's office, news release. More here.
Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes offered a clarification on election costs today. “Some City Council members and several citizens in Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls apparently still believe each taxing district pays for each election they hold”, said Hayes. This confusion has become apparent in televised City Council meetings. “Since the legislature enacted consolidated elections in 2011, almost all elections are paid for by the County”, noted Hayes. There are still a few exceptions to this, primarily irrigation and watershed districts. The County’s funding sources for administering all other elections are two: about 40% from the state of Idaho, and about 60% from local tax revenues. “The taxpayers pay either way, but there is not an additional cost borne by the cities,” noted Hayes/Kootenai County Clerk's Office, news release.
This cover image released by People shows actress Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover of a special double issue. The 40-year-old actress tops the magazine's annual list of the “World's Most Beautiful,” announced today. Paltrow stars in the upcoming film, “Iron Man 3,” out on May 3. The issue is available on newsstands on Friday. (AP Photo/People Magazine)
Question: Do you agree that Gwyneth Paltrow is the most beautiful woman in the world? If she isn't, who do you think is?
In a letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press editor today, former appointed Trustee Jim Purtee endorses the candidacy of another appointed trustee for Coeur d'Alene School Board, Ann Seddon (who is opposed by Dave Eubanks):
Ann’s hard work has found 48.8 percent of graduates in our local high schools require remediation in math prior to proceeding with college courses. 39 percent of those graduates require remediation in English/Reading. Ms. Seddon along with others works hard for the benefit of Coeur d’Alene students. She works to benefit “all” students. Not to simply please teachers or administration or even some parents. Ms. Seddon has never resorted to characterizing trustee candidates as wackos, Aryans, ultra left or right, etc. She instead represents a steadfast display of character, intelligence, dedication to school children and community. She is perfect for the job as Trustee.
Question: Do you know enough about the School Board races to vote intelligently in your zone?
Hillary Branyik, of Boston, kneels at the site where the first bomb detonated on April 15 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street in Boston today. Traffic was allowed to flow all the way down Boylston Street on Wednesday morning for the first time since two explosions on April 15. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Common Core – a unifying force or another educational policy hoop to jump through? As districts in adoption states begin the implementation process, it seems as though the camps are becoming more divided. Those in favor are promoting classroom successes and hope for future collaborative efforts. Those who are against cite many reasons, the loudest being the concern about federal control of schools and insufficient evidence regarding the potential for positive impact on student achievement. So who is right? Are those states who are knee-deep in implementation headed toward disaster, or will those holdouts and naysayers be won over as the process continues? I, for one, will continue to champion the Common Core/Jessica Keigan, IdahoED News. More here.
Question: I need to get up to speed on Common Core. Do you consider it a unifying force — or something sinister?
David Tucker, spokesman for the Washington IRS, tells Huckleberries that the decision to close the Coeur d'Alene IRS office was made well before sequestration took affect March 1. “It was a business decision to consolidate,” Tucker told Huckleberries Online. “It had nothing to do with sequestration.” A Coeur d'Alene Press reporter saw a note on the door of the local IRS office door that cited federal budget cuts under sequestration for the closure and consolidation with the Spokane IRS office. But Tucker said the decision was made because the lease for the office space runs out June 30 and to streamline IRS operations in the Inland Northwest. All five employees in the Coeur d'Alene office will be transferred to the Spokane office.
Farmers often make art even if it’s not intentional, like the green-and-brown striped flag seen in Tammany from the south edge of the Lewiston Orchards. (Lewiston Tribune photo: Barry Kough)
Christie's scientific specialist James Hyslop poses for photographs with a sub-fossilized pre-17th century Elephant Bird egg at the auction house's premises in London. A massive partly fossilized egg laid by a now-extinct elephant bird has sold for more than double its estimate ($103,813) at a London auction. You write the cutline. (AP photo)
Tuesday's Winner — Charlie, w/4 votes: “Since I went on the “Nutrisystem,” I'm prettier than Terry Bradshaw.” Photo plus all the cutline entries here.
First, Corrections Corporation of America gouged the Idaho taxpayer on the front end. Now the people whose management of the Idaho Correctional Center near Boise gave you the “gladiator school” are gouging the taxpayer at the back end, too. Earlier this month, CCA acknowledged it has billed the state of Idaho for 4,800 hours of prison staffing it didn't provide. That works out to 57 missing 12-hour shifts for each of the seven months under review. CCA blames its Idaho employees, but the same thing happened in CCA-operated prisons in Florida. Scrimping on staffing is one way CCA maximizes its profit margin, and it goes a long way toward explaining why ICC's inmates are brutalized at three times the rate of people held in prisons the state manages/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you still think it was a good idea to privatize the Idaho Correctional Center near Boise?
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Wednesday his party is “forging ahead” with legislation that repeals part of ObamaCare to prop up the healthcare law's insurance coverage for high-risk patients. House Republican leaders refused to predict on Wednesday morning whether they could pass the bill, which the White House has threatened to veto. Cantor deferred questions about the vote count to the whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who trotted out his usual reference to the film, “Fight Club.” “Every time you ask this question I give you the same answer,” McCarthy said. “The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club”/
A large medical group considering Coeur d'Alene as the site of its annual meeting in 2015 is wondering whether the area is tolerant enough for the culturally diverse group of professionals. The short answer from Coeur d'Alene officials: Yes, it is. Western Orthopaedic Association President Dr. Ellen Raney sent a letter April 5 to Mayor Sandi Bloem asking for information that points to local efforts to “promote the inclusion of racial and ethnic diversity” to ease concerns if the group would feel comfortable here should they chose the Lake City as the spot for their annual summer retreat. “Our group is ethnically diverse,” Raney, an orthopedic surgeon from Portland, Ore., wrote. “In reading about Coeur d'Alene, our members have expressed concern about whether our group would feel welcome given the activity of racially intolerant groups in the area”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Do you think Coeur d'Alene is as tolerant as most other cities its size?
During a tour of the state Capitol last week, Digger snapped this photo of a mid-1970s class of Idaho Legislature. Letter writer Gary Ingram is shown as a representative from District 2 (Post Falls), alongside Bud Lewis of St. Maries, founder of Bud's Drive-In (and the best burger in St. Maries, according to Digger).
It appears there may have been at least three violations of the Open Meeting Law by the North Idaho College board at its recent special executive session meeting. The first occurred when they shoehorned an issue into the executive session that is not allowed, a policy discussion. 67-2345 (3) Idaho Code specifically forbids this. A second violation occurred when they left executive session and reconvened to a regular session. As the Saturday meeting was a special call for an executive session closed meeting only, there is no provision in the law to go into an open session in this circumstance. The third violation occurred when the board discussed and voted on a motion in the aforementioned illegal meeting/Gary Ingram, Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor. More here.
Question: This matter will be on the agenda for discussion at tonight's NIC meeting. Trustee Christie Wood has criticized new Trustees Ron Nilson and Todd Banducci for a lack of transparency for their involvement in this action. What do you think?
The Democrat Club meets for lunch every Friday at the Iron Horse and has for many years. Recently some folks from the Reagan Republicans organization have been attending. They take notes and, reportedly, have recorded the meeting. Naturally, when someone sits in the back of the room, takes notes, says nothing and rushes for the door at the end of the meeting the other people at the meeting begin to wonder what is going on. So, for you RR folks: Come on in, sit down with the rest of us, introduce yourselves just as the rest of us do and feel free to take part in the activities. We have many interesting speakers and if you are concerned about what they say and think come and listen and question. Maybe you will want to invite some of them to your gatherings. Most of all quit lurking in the shadows. It is unbecoming serious people/Jerry Shriner, Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor.
Question (for Reagan Republican blurkers): What's going on here?
If you thought that Duane Alton’s anti-schools campaign had slowed down since it took a drubbing at the ballot box last fall, think again. It just shifted the battle ground to Battle Ground – a school district near Vancouver, all the way across the state. As you may know, there is no public school anywhere on Earth that Alton and his band of merry patriots will not try to make poorer, whether they live there or not. Alton’s group sent out its familiar yellow scare fliers to Battle Ground voters earlier this month in an effort to defeat a levy on Tuesday’s ballot. They also targeted a bond issue in Reardan-Edwall. The Reardan-Edwall measure was losing Tuesday night, falling far short of the 60 percent needed. The Battle Ground levy, which requires a simple majority to pass, was winning/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.
Question: Is it patriotic to oppose public education?
Every time I attend the annual human rights banquet of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, I'm reminded of the privilege that I had to cover the task force in its formative years. I was friends with the giants of the movement past and present. I walked through Bill Wasmuth's house hours after it was bombed. I traveled with Wassmuth, Larry Broadbent and Mayor Ray Stone to cover the presentation of the Wallenberg Award to the city of Coeur d'Alene. I walked through the old Aryan Nations compound with Tony Stewart days before it was torn down. The human rights banquets are a reunion of sorts for me. They rev me up, to continue the fight. Now for your Tuesday Wild Card …
Councilman Mike Kennedy tells Huckleberries Online that he will introduce a Coeur d'Alene ordinance that would ban discrimination against gays in Coeur d'Alene. The ordinance, which will be patterned after one in Boise, will be introduced at the noon meeting Monday, May 13, of the General Services Committee, which Kennedy chairs. Kennedy said he would like to see the matter taken before the council later in May. He said he had decided to go ahead with the ordinance after the 2013 Idaho Legislature refused to give fair hearing to the “Add the Words” campaign, which would have made Idaho the 34th state to adopt anti-discrimnation laws protecting gays. Four Idaho cities have adopted similar resolutions — Boise, Moscow, Sandpoint and Ketchum. The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations had approached the city earlier this year with the proposal to adopt the anti-discrimination law. Mayor Sandi Bloem put Kennedy in charge of the process.
P.F Chang's employees Michelle Sampson and David Crane spent Monday afternoon in Spokane scrubbing pink paint off the restaurant's replica of a Chinese T'ang Dynasty horse, which was painted in support of last Sunday's Susan G Komen Race for the Cure event. “I volunteered to scrub it,” said Sampson. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)
Michelle Fink presents the Civil Rights Award at the 2013 Human Rights Banquet in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Christina Crawford accepts on behalf of the Benewah County Human Rights Coalition. (Video courtesy of Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19)
A human rights organization in Benewah County has received this year’s Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations Civil Rights Award. The Benewah Human Rights Coalition was presented the award Monday night at the annual human rights banquet hosted by the task force in Coeur d’Alene. The coalition, founded two years ago, was singled out for its successful anti-bullying program with the St. Maries and Lakeside school districts. The nonprofit group also has worked to improve relations between members of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and nontribal residents/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
William Shakespeare died at age 52 on this date 397 years ago. Marianne Love/Slight Detour brought that fact to the attention of Huckleberries Online in her blog post today:
Shakespeare had himself a feather pen or something like that. He also had to read big fat books to find out stuff that history's made of. Can you, dear friends, imagine how long it took him to learn all those facts And, then to write them down with all those big words and metaphors and such. Yes, Shakespeare was ambitious, and if it were so, it's not his fault. He was just one smart dude who figured all us dummies needed some culture. So, he brought many plays onto the scene, and for centuries we have loved them so. More here.
Question: Which Shakespeare play or poem is your favorite?
At JeanC's Cat House & Shooting Gallery, our Witch with a Gun (and a camera) photographed a flock of redwing blackbirds enjoying themselves at a park in the Moscow area Monday. More here.
Huckleberries Online numbers (for Monday, April 22): 7480 page-views/4260 unique views
In his The EDge blog, Kevin Richert provides a student's response to a tempest-in-teapot controversy re: giving out shot glasses at a high school prom. Here’s an excerpt from organizer Sammantha Gulliford’s guest opinion in today's Twin Falls Times-News:
“I ran for junior class president out of choice and to make this school actually have an amazing prom for once. I have to say with this article and the way it was portrayed makes a part of me never want to run for student council again. It shows that all the work we did wasn’t appreciated. … So thank you for taking away the joy I had in planning, what I thought, was one amazing prom. Thank you for never asking me if I ever needed help. Thank you for making me feel more stressed about a harmless glass than actually planning prom.” More here.
Question: Would you keep a shot glass if it was handed out at your high school prom as a souvenir?
The Idaho Transportation Department this week agreed to new regulations allowing transgender drivers to change the sex designation on their driver's licenses without a note from a surgeon, the Associated Press reports, after two people complained that previous policy violated their civil rights. In April 2011, the state highway agency began requiring a signed surgeon's note signifying the individual “had undergone a complete surgical change of gender.” Early this year, two people said they were blocked from getting their driver's licenses, based on this policy/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
25 Years ago: On April 25, 1988, I led off my Huckleberries column with this item:
Katie Brodie's possible campaign for the state Senate bears watching closely. It will be a surprise if she decides Tuesday to go ahead with her challenge fo Democratic Sen. Mary Lou Reed's seat. But if she does, she may have a trick or two up her sleeve. She showed her resourcefulness as vote-getter on election night 1986. At the time, she was Kootenai County's Republican Central Committee chairwoman. Amidst the revelry at GOP central that night, Katie promised she would run down Sherman Avenue buck naked if U.S. Sen. Steve Symms captured the Democratic stronghold of ewiston. The 20th Century Godiva wannabe had no intention of baring her assets, particularly to the likes of our downtown business crowd. She knew raving right-winger Symms had no chance of beating Democratic Gov. John Evans in blue-collar Nez Perce County. Evans bested Symms there 9,619 to 4,681. Katie didn't miss a beat when reminded Friday of the 18-month-old quote. “Well,” she said, “if it would win votes …” (SR file photo: Katie Brodie, fully clothed, as a commissioner-elect in December 2004).
Shara Evans, of West Bloomfield, Mich., acts during a “zombie apocalypse” exercise, which included students dressing up as the undead, on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Mich., today. The exercise was designed to get School of Public Health students thinking about what the appropriate response should be during a disaster. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Question: If you were to be changed into some monster, would you prefer to be — zombie, werewolf, etc.?
At the Human Rights Banquet last night, Mayor Sandi Bloem reported that she received a letter from the Western Orthopedics Association, in which the president expressed concern re: bringing a convention of 450-600 people to Coeur d'Alene in 2015. The president said the diversified members of his large group were concerned re: the reception they'd get in Coeur d'Alene as a result of recent news stories re: racist activity in the area. He wanted to know what Coeur d'Alene had done to combat the racist influence. You can hear Bloem's remarks about the letter in the video. (Video clip courtesy of Coeur d'Alene Television Channel 19)
Question: If you were in charge of a diverse group planning a convention, would you schedule it in Coeur d'Alene?
The Coeur d'Alene Police Department shouldn't expect that guy in the black 2-door Ford, with Kootenai County plates, to pay that $15 parking ticket issued by K301 at 9:40 this morning — you know, the one who grabbed the ticket and envelope, wadded them up and tossed them on the ground. He'd parked his Ford front end into a tiny parking space, leaving the trunk and bumper hanging out onto Rosenberry Drive (Dike Road), adjacent to North Idaho College. 'Ere he drove outta sight, I picked up the ticket during a noon time walk and tucked it into my back pocket. Hey, I don't want to see the scofflaw get a littering ticket, too.
Question: Do you promptly pay your parking tickets?
CPALisa (re: “My 2 Cents: Will Sandi run again?”): “I just hate it though when everyone who disagrees/disagreed with the McEuen project gets lumped in with the “radical political activists”. There are many of us who oppose/d the project that are politically the polar opposite of the groups that you seem to be want to put us in. I was not against the Kroc Center or the library but disagreed so much with the McEuen project that I happily signed the petition. Somehow that seems to put me in bed with the “radical” republicans, which is both funny and wildly inaccurate.”
Question (for those who opposed the McEuen Field project and/or signed a recall petition): Is it possible for you to consider the Bloem administration's whole body of work (Kroc Center, Riverstone, Education Corridor, Centennial Trail, etc.) when/if the mayor decides to run again — and vote for her — rather than just the McEuen Field upgrade?
The Idaho Supreme Court is standing by a state judge who two years ago deemed a Malad City woman a vexatious litigant for filing too many frivolous lawsuits. The justices agreed Tuesday that the judge acted appropriately in finding that Holli Lundahl Telford meets the legal criteria for taking action against people who clog the courts with nuisance cases. Telford was declared a vexatious litigant in 2011 by 6th District Judge David Nye. Telford has also earned that designation in federal appeals courts, Utah, Montana and California. In its ruling, the high court ruled Nye did not abuse his discretion in imposing vexatious litigant status on Telford/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Don't you wish there was a way to rid the court system of about half its frivolous lawsuits?
Ryan Trevithick of Montana's Parrot & Exotic Bird Sanctuary reaches for “Love Love” a scarlet amcaw that is being reunited with his owner Mike Taylor after 5 years, on Friday. (AP Photo/Montana Standard, Walter Hinick)
A Great Falls man who lost his macaw in a divorce more than five years ago has been reunited with the bird, thanks to an observant friend. Mike Taylor picked up the 25-year-old bird he calls “Love Love” at Montana's Parrot & Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Butte on Sunday. Taylor said his wife sold the bird after a nasty divorce. “I've been kind of looking for him the whole time,” he said. A friend of Taylor's, Steven Campbell, recently spotted the bird during a visit to the sanctuary/Montana Standard. More here.
Question: Have you ever lost something of great emotional value in a divorce?
I know that Mayor Sandi Bloem would like to return as mayor for a fourth, four-year term. And she deserves to be re-elected. No mayor during my nearly 30 years in Coeur d'Alene has accomplished as much as Bloem. Under her guidance, as Downtown Coeur d'Alene president and then mayor, the town has upgraded the central business district, helped launch Riverstone, landed a Kroc Center, built the Coeur d'Alene Library, laid the infrastructure for the future education corridor, extended the Centennial Trail. And is in the process of upgrading McEuen Field, which, I believe, will dazzle us when opened this fall. Any community would give a proverbial arm and a leg to have a mayor like Bloem. Yet, I rate her chances of winning re-election at less than 50-50 — no matter which uber-con “Republican” challenges her. The naysayers (who have opposed the Bloem administration and urban renewal for a decade) and radical political activists have reached critical mass. Also, Bloem would face a referendum for pushing ahead with reconstruction of McEuen Field. She narrowly missed a recall election a year ago when a petition drive narrowly failed. Her political enemies are embedded in the dominant Republican Party. They have foot soldiers to knock on doors and slime Bloem. They'll have money, too. The goal of the radicals is to put a Republican — their kind of Republican — in every nonpartisan local office. The only reason these activists haven't succeeded in shutting down progress in the Lake City is that they haven't gained majority of City Council and North Idaho College seats. They have overthrown the Coeur d'Alene School Board through the ballot box and appointments. But there main goal all along has been to topple the Coeur d'Alene mayor and Councilman Mike Kennedy, who has accomplished much but carries the Scarlet Letter (D = Democrat) on him. Bloem and the council will be lost to the radicals if Reasonable Republicans, business leaders and Independents in Coeur d'Alene continue to watch from the sidelines as the radicals propandize and continue to beat up good leaders in their cyber forums and GOP gathering places. Edmund Burke nailed it when he said: “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent”/DFO.
Following the Republican Party's losses in the 2012 elections, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about what the party should do to improve its electoral fortunes. Some argue the GOP should moderate its positions on social issues, as well as policies that affect income inequality and social mobility, and it should embrace compromise as a way to attract more voters. But others say that changing its positions risks alienating the core Republican base and diluting the party's conservative message — doing more damage in the end/NPR Staff. More here.
Question: What must the national Republican Party do to survive?
Hackers have compromised the main Twitter account of The Associated Press, sending out an erroneous tweet about an attack at the White House. The tweet, which said that there had been two explosions at the White House and President Barack Obama was injured, came after hackers made repeated attempts to steal the passwords of AP journalists. The AP said today that its Twitter account had been suspended following a hack and said it was working to correct the issue/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Have you ever been hacked?
I've asked Jeff Crowe of Bunkhouse Media for video of the short comments that Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem made last night at the annual Human Rights Banquet. I've also left a voice message for the mayor re: a letter she received from an multi-cultural organization that is wary re: bringing 450-600 attendees to Coeur d'Alene, due to increased notoriety of the area from racism and extreme politics. Two other things were of note from the mayor's speech — that the council is working on an anti-discrimination ordinance that will be ready to area in the months ahead and that the mayor isn't sure that she'll the city's chief executive at this time next year. She received a standing ovation prior to her remarks.
DFO: For those keeping score at home, a handful of racists, including Shaun Winkler and some kids, were holding signs on the sidewalk entrance to the Coeur d'Alene Inn prior to the dinner. I got to the dinner late. So I didn't see them. But I was told about them.
Question: Would Mayor Sandi Bloem win if she sought re-election to a fourth term.
For all the talk about the National Rifle Association as the key player in defeating gun control proposals in the Senate last week, the hunting and wildlife lobby also played a significant role. Safari Club International touts itself as a lobbying leader on Capitol Hill for hunters’ rights and wildlife conservation. Between 2011 and 2012, the group gave nearly $400,000 to congressional candidates, including $2,000 to Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, and $1,000 to his counterpart, Sen. Mike Crapo. The Idaho pair was among 14 senators, and several Safari Club beneficiaries, who threatened a filibuster on gun control legislation pushed by President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats/Kip Hill, SR. More here.
Question: How would you describe the clout of the NRA and hunting lobby in Congress (in “Goldilocks & the Three Bears” terms — too little, too much, just right)?
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. He is one of eight senators who crossed party lines on the showdown vote on background checks for gun buyers. The four Democrats who voted against broader background checks are from largely rural states that voted heavily against President Barack Obama last fall. Now, Baucus has announced plans to retire after 40 years in Congress. Story here. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Investigators from the FBI inspect the boat where Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding on Friday night in a backyard in Watertown, Mass., today. There is blood spattered on the wheel fender of the trailer and bullet holes in the hull of the boat. Tsarnaev had gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and hands when he was captured hiding out in the boat on Friday night. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, David L. Ryan)
The injury toll from the Boston Marathon bombings is much higher than initial counts indicated. The count of people treated in area hospitals for injuries from last week's bombing has risen sharply to 282, according to the Boston Public Health Commission. Earlier estimates were about 170. The commission says dozens of victims waited to go to the hospital for minor wounds or symptoms that they thought would go away on their own/USA Today.
Hayden Cinema 6 is closing Sunday, owner Curtis Deming confirmed Monday. He said April 28 will be the final day of business for the independent movie theater. Its demise will leave Kootenai County film-goers with a single source of viewing: Riverstone Cinemas in Coeur d'Alene. The independent Post Falls Theater closed in January 2012. “It happened pretty suddenly,” Deming said. “I'm not able, at this point, to explain why. It's sad. I got so much support from the general public and it was a great time seeing all those people here.” The theater has been open for 15 years and currently has nine employees/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Did you ever see a movie at Hayden Cinema 6?
Balance North Idaho has endorsed two candidates for the Post Falls School Board election May 21 — Julie Hunt and Dave Paul. Hunt is an incumbent and Paul has served on the board before. In a news release, Balance said that only Hunt and Paul showed up for endorsement interviews. “They both demonstrated high levels of knowledge for the complex issues involved in the district, a desire to ensure the kids attending schools receive the best education possible and each had children attend in the district.” The two other candidates for the School Board are Glorie Ward and Carol Goodman. Complete Balance news release here.
Question: Do you agree with these endorsements?
Monday was Earth Day, the day we all try to show our friends and neighbors just how much more we care about saving the planet than they do. A good way to do this, by the way, is to work certain ecological words like “chlorofluorocarbons” or “Al Gore” into your casual conversation, such as … “If that Al Gore gets any fatter he’ll look like a chlorofluorocarbon-filled float in a Macy’s parade.” See? Anyway, I used to pretend to go “green” by mowing and watering my lawn, trimming my hedges and picking up yard waste. Then I discovered that there are people in the community who, for the right amount of green, will go green for you. This has allowed me to devote myself to even bigger eco-projects, like getting my grime-covered 1967 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser back on the road/Doug Clark, SR. More here.
Question: Would you describe yourself as “green”? Why? Why not?
The lack of concern for education and its proper funding from the Idaho Legislature is amazing. In recent years, the state has hacked away at the public education budget forcing school districts to run levy and bond elections, or make substantial cuts. For higher education, that same financial black hole is increasingly subsidized with tuition paid by students. Or at least that's what the schools hope will happen.But the Idaho State Board of Education - for two years in a row now - has stopped this from occurring. The University of Idaho asked for approval of a 5.9 percent increase for in-state tuition at an SBOE meeting last week and was denied it. The board, instead, voted for a 5 percent increase - a loss of $500,000 from UI's anticipated $3.3 million in additional revenue for 2013-14/Elizabeth Rudd, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.
Question: I keep asking the question, over and over — Why do we let the Idaho Legislature get away with underfunding all levels of education? When are we going to say, enough, and start voting these guys out of office? We certainly have some anti-education ringleaders in North Idaho.
Dr. Gregory Stanton, president of the international organization known as Genocide Watch, said it's important to identify the process of genocide so preventive action can be taken. It all starts with “classification” and “symbolization,” Stanton said, speaking to 400 attendees at the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations' 16th annual human rights banquet at the Best Western Coeur d'Alene Inn Monday night. “In fact if you can defeat genocide at this level, by refusing to classify (people based on characteristics like race or religion), you have defeated it — period,” Stanton said. If symbolization is eliminated, genocide is again defeated, he said. “You can't even put up a swastika in Germany now,” he said. “They've been through Nazism, they know what it means. It is literally illegal to put one on a wall. You'll be arrested for it”/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Gabe Green)
Question: Have you ever attended a human rights banquet?
Lisa Schnathorst, of Overland Park, Kansas, rubs the belly of her bulldog Addie during the 34th annual Drake Relays Beautiful Bulldog Contest Monday in Des Moines, Iowa. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Monday Winner: Charlie, w/4 likes: “Suzann is told the Hula is all about the hands but Suzann thinks it's all in the backswing.” Monday photo and all cutline entries here.
Paul Turner of The Slice blog asks this AM: “Do you suppose people in other parts of the country who are not conservatives cross Idaho off their retirement-destinations short list because of the state's prevailing politics?”
Question: Would the politics of a state prevent you from retiring there?
The Internal Revenue Service office in Coeur d'Alene is closing June 30 because of sequestration, a sign hanging on the office door reads. North Idaho residents needing assistance will have to go to the Spokane office, 920 W. Riverside Ave. Karen Connelly, IRS spokesperson, couldn't provide more information on the closure by Press deadline Monday, and employees at the office said they weren't at liberty to answer questions. But a sign on the office door announces the closure, citing the federal budget cuts that were implemented March 1, 2013, known as sequestration. Before it closes permanently, the office will also be closed May 24 and June 14 for the same reason. “It's nice to have an office locally instead of going to downtown Spokane,” said Harold Markiewicz, of Post Falls, outside the office Monday. “It's an inconvenience to go over there”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Harold Markiewicz discusses his thoughts Monday about the Coeur d'Alene Internal Revenue Service office closing on June 30)
Question: Have you ever had to use the local IRS station?
Nice to greet a new week with the sun shining outside and promise of more to come. I cut my lawn for the first time Saturday. Which was a good feeling. But I'm still not in the spring garden/cleanup mode. I suppose I'd get there more quickly if I didn't have some trees and bushes to pull out of the garden area. Which means work, work, work …
Massachusetts Institute of Technology student Hajar Boughoula of Bizerte, Tunisia, writes a message on the ground with chalk near a makeshift memorial for fallen MIT police officer Sean Collier on the school's campus in Cambridge, Mass., Monday. Collier was fatally shot on the MIT campus Thursday. Authorities allege that Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were responsible. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Pete Rossi can count on one hand the number of weeks out of the year that he works more than 50 hours. But the rest of the year, his job as an actuary with the Department of Defense, provides a good living with a minimum of stress. That partly explains why actuaries have the best job in the United States, according to a new survey by CareerCast.com that will be released Tuesday. Biomedical engineer was No. 2 and software engineer, the top job of 2012, came in at No.3. Careers that ranked the lowest included enlisted military personnel, lumberjack and newspaper reporter. (Click here to see the full ranking of all 200 jobs)/Lauren Weber, Wall Street Journal. More here. And Jobs List 1-200 here.
DFO: Oh, great … newspaper reporters are listed as No. 200 of 200 in terms of worst job of the year. I looked, but they didn't have a listing for a full-time Idaho blogger. Which is a swell job — and should be in the top 10.
Question: Where does your job rank of this list? Do you agree with the ranking? Why? Why not?
“My grandmother is a survivor,” said Jacob Harkness, 21, of Spokane after he finished the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in Spokane on Sunday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Newspeak is here. And it works. And thanks to Newspeak, one of the most horrific trials in American history is proceeding with little press attention. You probably don't know who Kermit Gosnell is. What should be the trial of the century has been mostly blacked out by the mainstream media. There are a number of reasons for their negligence. One reason is that the vocabulary adopted by the elites makes the precise description of Gosnell's alleged crimes impossible. It's similar to the Associated Press' deletion of the accurate term “illegal alien” from their stylebook. I still remember how to speak English. Gosnell is accused of performing seven illegal, late-term, partial-birth abortions. In the course of these abortions, he delivered living, breathing, crying babies whom he then executed by severing their spinal cords.He decorated his office with jars containing the preserved feet of his tiny victims. They were his trophies/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: We have also discussed this one before. Any further thoughts?
When Ally Robledo entered the restrooms at Lewiston's Rosauers, she wasn't making a political statement. Nothing in the record says the 25-year-old transgender woman used the bathroom inappropriately. Nobody said she was shoplifting. Or fighting. She wasn't drunk. She didn't bring a dog into the store. But somebody complained. The store management called out the Lewiston Police Department, had Robledo removed and slapped a one-year no-trespassing order on her. If she violates it, Robledo could be charged with a misdemeanor. In other words, Robledo was thrown out not because of what she said or did. She was evicted because of who she was. Robledo went public with the story last week/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: We've discussed this last week. Any further thoughts?
… On Navy blue Dodge Durango parked on Rosenberry Drive (Dike Road) b/n North Idaho College and the Spokane River during the noon hour: “Keep your theocracy off my democracy.”
SR City Editor Addy Hatch tweets: “Zag Kelly Olynyk declaring for NBA draft got higher traffic on the @SpokesmanReview site last week than the Boston Marathon bombs.”
Question: How do you explain this?
As you may have noticed, Lake City Development Corp. is using an advertising tile (upper lefthand corner) on Huckleberries Online again this year. LCDC likes the traffic that it gets on this site. The urban renewal agency board also discussed buying an ad tile on the Coeur d'Alene Press Online site. But there's a snag, according to the minutes of the LCDC board meeting last week: “The CdA Press blog site contains a unique user demographic that seems more antagonistic to CDA community improvement endeavors.” LCDC will continue to evaluate communication venues such as the Press Online and mebbe the Nickel's Worth to get its message out. You can read the minutes from the April 17 meeting here.
Question: Is LCDC doing a better job at getting out its message of community improvement?
Lt. Mike Murphy of the Newton, Mass., fire dept., carries an American flag down the middle of Boylston Street after observing a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the bombing at the Boston Marathon near the race finish line on Monday in Boston, Mass. At 2:50 p.m., exactly one week after the bombings, many bowed their heads and cried at the makeshift memorial on Boylston Street, three blocks from the site of the explosions, where bouquets of flowers, handwritten messages, and used running shoes were piled on the sidewalk. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
The nation stopped to remember the tragic events that began a week ago with twin explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon as prosecutors charged a suspect in his hospital room with using a weapon of mass destruction in the attack. At precisely 2:50 p.m., bells tolled throughout Boston to mark the moment that the first explosion tore through the city’s heart, killing three and injuring more than 200 — an updated figure on the wounded. President Obama, who visited Boston last week to participate in an interfaith service, commemorated the tragedy by pausing in Washington. Trading was halted on the New York Stock Exchange/Michael Muskal and Michaeal A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times. More here.
Richie Havens, a seminal member of the New York folk scene of the '60s, died Monday morning from a sudden heart attack. He was 72. Havens, widely admired for his briskly rhythmic guitar style and richly textured voice, became a part of history for serving as the opening performer at the Woodstock festival in 1969. Havens transfixed the crowd at the start of that storied weekend. In a way, he had to. He was asked by the organizers to extend his set to nearly three hours to kill time since most of the other performers hadn’t yet reached the site, due to the choking crowds. Havens’ subsequent improvisation on the spiritual “Motherless Child” - threaded with his own inspired vamp of “Freedom” - become one of the festival’s signature sounds/Jim Farber, New York Daily News. More here. (AP file photo: Havens at 2008 Cannes Film Festival)
Question: Did Woodstock affect your life in any way?
Just over five months ago, Idaho voters rejected the three laws known as Propositions 1, 2, and 3. Now, less than 200 days later, a series of laws limiting school teacher contract rights is back on the books. How did this happen? What does it say about Idaho policymaking, policymakers and politics? More importantly, what will be the short and long term effects of these laws on our education system and the teaching profession? Teachers are a resilient lot; it’s a hallmark of our profession and a key to long-term success in the classroom. This quality has come in handy the past few years, which have been turbulent with respect to education policy. Even before the November election, we held numerous internal dialogues and debates about how to move forward after the election/IEA President Penny Cyr, IdahoED News. More here.
Question: Will Idaho voters hold GOP legislator and Gov. Butch Otter responsible for bringing back and passing parts of the voter-rejected Propositions 1, 2 and 3?
A few words here about the Idaho Statesman‘s new editorial page editor, Robert Ehlert. Some correspondents have had some snark to point his way; they surely aren’t alone, so let’s put it out there. Ehlert has had a few years since working for news media (including several metro-level newspapers), during which time he first worked in the office of a congressional office – a natably partisan, conservative and ambitious Californian named Dan Lundgren – and then as head of Robert Ehlert Associates, the nature of whose consulting work remains a little hazy. The argument goes like this: Ehlert was hired by the Statesman to make nice with the state’s conservative Republican political and business establishment and serve as its apologist. I mention this not to join in that line of argument but, for time being at least, quite the opposite/Randy Stapilus, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: What qualities do you want in an editorial writer for you newspaper?
Huckleberries isn't sure what this fellow on the end of the log was doing at the annual Priest Lake Loggers Day in Nordman Saturday. But Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns was on hand to take a photo of it. For a complete view of Pecky's many Logger Days photos, click here.
Huckleberries numbers (for week of April 14-20): 41,991 page-views/23,775 unique views
Is Earth Day (which is today) dead? Maybe not, but if we’ve read the tree rings correctly, it may be dying. Which is why 2013 is the year we don’t need to save the Earth – we need to save Earth Day. Consider this: A new Huffington Post/YouGov poll finds Americans are less concerned about the environment now than when Earth Day began. A lot less. In 1971, the year after Earth Day was founded, 63 percent of Americans said it was “very important” to work to restore and enhance the national environment, according to an Opinion Research Corp. poll for President Richard Nixon. This year, only 39 percent of respondents said it was very important, according to a 2013 HuffPost/YouGov poll/Husna Haq, Christian Science Monitor. More here. (AP photo: Filipinos in colorful costumes participate in a protest against plans by a private developer for a reclamation project along Manila's Bay, as they celebrate Earth Day)
Question: Are you concerned re: reducing your carbon print? Why? Why Not?
Huckleberry sits on the throne after being crowned the winner of the 34th annual Drake Relays Beautiful Bulldog Contest on Monday in Des Moines, Iowa. The bulldog is owned by Steven and Stephanie Hein of Norwalk, Iowa. The pageant kicks off the Drake Relays festivities at Drake University where a bulldog is the mascot. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Question: What's the name of your dog? Why did you choose your dog's name?
SQM, a Canadian company that provides follow-up services for companies using call centers, has opened an 11,500-square-foot office at 7400 Mineral Drive, in the Coeur d’Alene Tech Center building. The company opened the office in March with 90 employees. Based in Vernon, British Columbia, SQM provides quality assurance services for more than 400 companies across North America. It’s been in business for nearly 20 years. The North Idaho office is the first in the United States, said Sarah Kennedy, SQM vice president for business development/Tom Sowa, SR Office Hours blog. More here.
Question: Are 90 call center jobs worth celebrating?
Three days after the end of spring practice, Idaho has two vacancies on its football staff. Defensive line coach Patrick Libey and linebackers coach Mike Anderson have left the team, The Spokesman-Review has learned. FootballScoop.com also reported both are no longer on Paul Petrino’s staff. … After the first day of spring practice, Petrino said he expected his assistants to be high-energy guys with the same personality as him. “That’s how we’re going to coach,” he said at the time. “When I put them together, I tried to get a whole bunch (with) the same personality as myself. And then I told them that’s how they’re going to be. And if they don’t, they’re not going to be here very long”/Josh Wright, SR. More here.
Question: Do you like the hard-nosed approach by new Vandals football coach Paul Petrino?
From the Citizens for a Positive Coeur d'Alene Facebook site:
Mica Flats Grange is hosting a School Candidates Forum for District 271 Candidates (at 7 p.m. Thursday). All six candidates have said they will be able to attend. The Candidates will try to be a half hour early so they can meet and greet those of you who will attend. This Forum is strictly a peoples forum. All questions will come from the floor, so be prepared to ask your questions. It is important to be an informed voter so mark April 25th on your Calendar.
The Candidates are:
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (pictured) was charged by federal prosecutors in his hospital room Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill — a crime that carries a possible death sentence. In a statement Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder detailed the charge against the 19-year-old Tsarnaev. In addition to the weapon of mass destruction charge, Tsarnaev is also charged with one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death, according to the criminal complaint/U.S. News. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Would you have preferred to see prosecution handled by the military?
Thirteen months out from the 2014 Idaho primaries, and a little more than 18 months away from the general election, what can we expect? Perhaps a snoozer? Randy Stapilus — a longtime Northwest political observer and former Idaho newspaper editor — advances that theory in a weekend column making the rounds. By already formally announcing his bid for a second term, Sen. Jim Risch probably “cleared the field of serious opposition,” says Stapilus. And incumbent Gov. Butch Otter may well be doing the same by signaling his plans to seek a third term. Writes Stapilus: “The closest thing to a wild card among major offices seems to be superintendent of public instruction, mainly because incumbent Tom Luna endured a big crashing ballot issue defeat last year on school overhaul, the centerpiece of his two terms in office”/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
Question: Is Idaho Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna vulnerable if he seeks re-election in 2014?
No matter where you are in Downtown Spokane you can expect that you're on camera. Surveillance cameras are all around the downtown core and with a combination of city, police and privately owned cameras, Sergeant Dan Waters estimates there are hundreds of cameras rolling at any given time. This gives the Spokane Police Department an advantage when trying to catch a criminal in the act. If it wasn't for surveillance back in 2009, police might not have caught the man who slammed a little dog into the concrete outside of City Hall. In most recent memory, Pullman Police used multiple surveillance cameras to find four suspects involved in the beating of a Washington State University instructor. Surveillance is also how the FBI pinpointed two suspects in the Boston bombings within days of the explosions/Colleen O'Brien, KXLY. More here.
Question: Surveillance cameras are great, particularly when they're used to capture criminals, like the individuals who allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon. But do the growing number of surveillance cameras in public places make you nervous?
In this April 15 file photo, 17-year-old Sydney Corcoran is tended to at the finish line of the Boston Marathon after two bombs exploded within seconds of each other. More than 180 people were hurt in the explosions, and at least 14 of them lost all or part of a limb. But one week after the Boston Marathon bombings, doctors say everyone injured in the blasts who made it alive to a hospital now seems likely to survive. (AP Photo/Boston Globe photo: John Tlumacki)
The Third Street Boat Launch will be closed for the season. Beginning June 1, boaters will have to go elsewhere if they want to drop their vessels into Lake Coeur d'Alene, as construction on the McEuen Park redevelopment project will rope off the downtown launch this summer. The approximately $20 million park project will keep the boat launch where it is between Tubbs Hill and the Coeur d'Alene Resort, but crews will need the space to work because components like the seawall and waterfront promenade abut the launch, Dennis Grant, city project manager said this week. “The contractor needs the area to work in and build the structure and put the new entryway for the area,” he said. It will be reopened Oct. 1/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: How will the closure of the Third Street launch this summer affect boat traffic on Lake Coeur d'Alene?
“America the gullible.” Bill Hall repeated the phrase several times Saturday at the Coeur d'Alene Casino, while speaking at the 11th annual North Idaho Democracy Dinner hosted by the Kootenai County Democrats. Hall, a former political columnist and longtime editorial page editor for the Lewiston Tribune, said he's troubled by today's electorate. “They have abandoned their homework as voters,” Hall said to the roughly 150 people at the dinner. Today's voters are less informed and more self-absorbed, he said, and it is the voters themselves who are responsible for breeding “uncommonly cowardly members of Congress,” whose greatest fear is that they will have to leave Congress. It is a fear that causes the politicians to bow down to lobbyists and “group think” rather than stand up for what they believe in, Hall said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Do you agree with Lewiston Tribune columnist Bill Hall that today's voters are self-absorbed and less informed?
Students at Roosevelt Elementary in Boise run a silent mile in honor of victims of the Boston Marathon bombing Friday. Fifth and sixth grade teacher Stephanie Williams said her students came up with idea on their own after watching events from the bombing during a current events session. “One student asked if they could run a mile in silence to think about the victims,” Williams said. “Every student raised their hand to volunteer, thought that was really neat coming from 12-year-olds.” (AP/Statesman Photo: Darin Oswald)
Gun-ontrol advocates face off with gun rights supporters during the gun-control rally outside Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats' Indianapolis office at 10 W. Market Street on Saturday. Coats' votes last week help defeat the Democrats in Congress' attempt to enact more gun-control legislation. (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Charlie Nye)
Question: How involved are you in the gun-rights debate?
An international airline with computer troubles was compelled one recent day to cancel hundreds of flights for thousands of passengers, but it apologized. Sort of. “We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience,” the airline said. It didn't say, “We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.” The airline spokesman said, “for any inconvenience,” suggesting the weasel-worded possibility that none of the thousands of passengers was inconvenienced by a tiny little matter like being delayed for hours before embarking on their journeys. You hear such wobbly, half-sincere apologies constantly in business and in politics. Especially in politics. It's usually something like, “If I have offended anyone by calling the senator a typical California nut job, I apologize”/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Are you tired of half ap-hollow-gies?
Idaho’s new state-based health insurance exchange board gathered for its first meeting today, and each of its 19 members had already received a somewhat surprising welcome – an anonymous call threatening a lawsuit. “I got a call from a guy who did not want to identify what firm he worked for,” said Stephen Weeg, the board’s interim chairman. “He just wanted to give us all a notice that within three months’ time we would all be sued for being on this board – I think he called everybody on this board, just to let us know that we were already in trouble.” Weeg said his first reaction was, “Wait a minute – we’re just doing what the law requires”/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
Question: Are you ready for the state health exchange?
Greg Falk was in a department store in the Spokane Valley Mall a few years ago, waiting in line at a cash register situated near a display of dresses. A woman, who looked to be in her early 20s, pulled a dress off the rack and said, “Oh, this dress is so retarded.” Falk, executive director of The Arc of Spokane, an advocacy and service organization for people with disabilities, didn’t say anything. But he would today. … There is a nationwide campaign urging people to stop using the “R-word” which stands for “retard” or “retarded.” In March, Gonzaga University students created a video featuring students and their friends with intellectual disabilities – all urging an end to the R-word/Rebecca Nappi, SR. More here. (Tyler Tjomsland SR photo: Megan Soldati, right, a GU student active in the university’s specialized recreation program, poses with program participant Billy Berg)
Question: Do you understand that the R-word is hurtful?
The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board calls on Congress to seize another golden opportunity for reforming immigration:
Conditions are also ripe for a bill in the House, because Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, has the credibility to persuade “Young Turk” conservatives who gained office in 2010 that reform is good for the party and the nation. Labrador is a former immigration lawyer and, as a recent National Journal article noted, his knowledge and Puerto Rican roots enable him to neutralize the immigrant-bashers in his caucus. This is the best opportunity since the 9/11 attacks to solve this complicated issue, so we encourage Congress to seize it. More here.
Question: I think it's swell that an Idaho congressman may be instrumental in solving the ongoing immigration crisis. How about you?
Item: Trustee Christie Wood calls foul on NIC meeting/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene
More Info: A North Idaho College trustee is questioning the legality of a board meeting held earlier this month, and is calling for a motion passed as a result of that meeting to be rescinded. Christie Wood has asked that the board members, when they meet next week, consider canceling the motion made by Ron Nilson and seconded by Todd Banducci. The item is on the agenda for the board's regular monthly meeting on Wednesday. “We often talk about being open and transparent and this was non-transparent,” Wood said. “There was no opportunity for the board to have input.
Question: Do you agree with the concerns raised by Trustee Wood?
Suzann Pettersen of Norway attempts to dance the hula after winning the 2013 LPGA Lotte Championship golf tournament at the Ko Olina Golf Club Saturday in Kapolei, Hawaii. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
TGIF winner: PhotoGuy w/4 likes: “During a game of Quidditch, Rajai Davis was thrown from his bat after Harry Poster cast a spell on him. The referee ruled that the spell was a legal spell and play continued despite Davis taking a tumble to the ground.” TGIF photo & all contest entries here.
SR columnist Doug Clark writes of Spokane's brush with a Boston Marathon carnage during the 2011 annual Martin Luther King Jr. march:
Three years ago, Spokane had its own brush with a backpack bomb and human evil. A novel I read recently spoke of how life and death are sometimes separated by the thinnest of circumstances. That was certainly the case here on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 17, 2011. I shudder to think how different things would have been for us were it not for three temporary workers who were pulling a shift for the city’s Public Utilities District: Mark Steiner, Brandon Klaus and Sherman Welpton. Ring a bell? Didn’t with me, either. More here.
Question: Have you ever narrowly escaped death?
No one can blame the Kootenai County commissioners for adopting a social media policy for county employees. The Spokesman-Review has one, too. But some of the 16 guidelines approved by Dan, Jai and Todd seem, well, paranoid and/or Big Brotherish. Consider Guideline No. 2 (which Huckleberries calls the anti-whistle-blower rule): “Employees are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree that their speech does not impair working relationships of the County and its elected officials for which loyalty and confidentiality are important, impede the performance of duties, impair discipline and harmony among co-workers, or negatively affect the public perception of the County”/DFO, SR Sunday Huckleberries. More here.
Other SR weekend columns:
Question: Do the county's new social media rules protect employees' right to free speech?
I haven't been glued to my television set all week watching the terrifying events in Boston unfold. I can't do the 24/7 thing when major breaking news happens. I'll check Google News for latest happenings every so often — and flip on the television set if something is happening. I can't handle the conjecture and repetition by the newscasters. I spent a half hour Friday night catching up. The professionalism of the officers who put their lives on the line to kill or capture the two monsters who perpetrated the horror is amazing. Next time you see a policeman, thank him or her. Now for your Weekend Wild Card …
This Monday photo provided by Bob Leonard shows second from left, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was dubbed Suspect No. 1 and third from left, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, who was dubbed Suspect No. 2 in the Boston Marathon bombings by law enforcement. This image was taken approximately 10-20 minutes before the blast. (AP Photo/Bob Leonard)
A barrage of gunshots erupted in Watertown, Mass., shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, with preliminary reports indicating that police had finally cornered Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The flurry of activity came less than an hour after Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick ended a Boston-area lockdown early Friday evening after a massive, day-long search of suburban Watertown, which seemingly failed to flush out the teenager. Shortly after the gunshots, media reports indicated a man had been found in a tarp-covered, trailered boat stored along the side of a residential yard on Franklin Street. Other reports indicated the man, who may have been wounded, was sitting up in the boat/USA Today. More here.
Gonzaga University's premier seven-footer Kelly Olynyk steps before television cameras and sportswriters to talk about his decision to enter the NBA draft Friday at the McCarthey Athletic Center at GU. JIM Meehan provides the SR story here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)
Former Gonzaga University point guard Dan Dickau, whose long hair and curls were a trademark during his playing days, is now running his own barbershop. After six seasons in the NBA, Dickau hung up his shoes in 2011. Last fall, he and his wife moved to Spokane from Vancouver, Wash., their hometown. Dickau, 34, said he’s focused now on developing the skills of an entrepreneur, planning to grow his new business in the town where he wowed fans with his shooting and defense. The Barbers, which Dickau opened last week at 9331 N. Newport Highway, is his first try at operating a franchise. His one previous business venture, a for-profit basketball camp in Vancouver, lasted about a year/Tom Sowa, SR. More here.
Question: Have you ever cut hair for a living?
On his Facebook wall for his trustee campaign, Coeur d'Alene School Trustee Brent Regan takes exception to comments by Coeur d'Alene council members Ron Edinger and Deanna Goodlander re: the sale of Person Field. Edinger was the lone council member voting no this week on the purchase of Person and Bryan playfields from the school district. He believes the city was buying property it already owns. Goodlander thought the property weas over-priced. Regan provides a brief background on the district's ownership of the property, dating back to 1950 when it bought the property for $1200 (deed provided on Facebook site). Later, Regan adds: “I find Mr. Edinger’s (and Ms. Goodlander’s) inability to accept a simple, demonstrable, documented truth to be both unsettling and a little sad.”
DFO: I have no problem with the way the land purchase between the city and the School District went down. I would have had a problem if that property had been sold by the district for development. I get a kick out of Councilman Edinger's comments because there's probably an kernel of truth in them. But the greater good was achieved in the final analysis. Thoughts?
In his Slice blog, Paul Turner asks readers if they know who starred in the movie, “The Cross and the Switchblade.” For those keeping score at home, I interviewed the late Pastor David Wilkerson years ago in Redding, Calif. Do you know who starred in the movie?
Top Post: Those that do not believe in miracles or even religion will have to take a step back today. Last week, a local bible study group from the Real Life Church in Post Falls, got together and decided to help Yvonne Wallis, the victim a couple of years ago of the dastardly attack by a deranged neighbor wilding a hammer. Yvonne's daughter-in-law, patty was killed and Yvonne endured two years of surgeries and long recovery periods in which she had to have twice daily antibiotics intravenously administered by friends and neighbors/Herb Huseland, Bay Views. More here.
Huckleberries numbers (for Thursday, April 18): 7642 page-views/4474 unique views
Item: GOP lawmaker calls for 'increased surveillance' of Muslims after attack/Julian Pecquet, The Hill.
More here: Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) called for “increased surveillance” of Muslims on Friday, saying the Boston Marathon bombing suspects' links to Chechnya represented a “new front” in the war on terror. “Police have to be in the community, they have to build up as many sources as they can, and they have to realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there,” the chairman of the House subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence told National Review. “We can’t be bound by political correctness. I think we need more police and more surveillance in the communities where the threat is coming from.”
Question: Shouldn't the politicizing of this terrorist tragedy wait until after the last suspect is caught — and questioned?
Genette Gabica paints a bedroom closet door on the back porch of the Bayview home of Yvonne Wallis on Wednesday while updating many features of the house, Wallis is one of four victims of an attack taht occurred December 2010. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)
Yvonne Wallis has been on a North Idaho-Eastern Washington road trip for the past week with her brother visiting friends and family. Since she's been gone, friends from her church Bible study group and others completed a major makeover of her white and yellow mobile home, which sits on a hill overlooking Lake Pend Oreille. After returning home Thursday night, she got her first look at the changes. “This is wonderful,” Wallis said. More than a dozen friends contributed their skills and labor over eight days. Wallis knew her friends would be fixing her place up, but she didn't know how much. In December 2010, Wallis, then 58, suffered major head injuries in a brutal hammer attack inside her home/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Fun news for my BFF with word that the hit television show “Glee” has cast Coeur d'Alene's own Patty Duke as well as Meredith Baxter to appear in the upcoming Season 4 finale. Baxter and Duke reportedly will return for Glee's fifth season. Glee airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox. I love that Anna, who won an Oscar as a teenager half a century ago, in her 60s is still making her mark. It's a testament to her talent and tenacity that she's earning a living in an industry that places a premium on youth. Rock on Anna Pearce!/Kerri Thoreson, Main Street, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Do you watch “Glee”?
It’s been a busy week for Congressman Raul Labrador’s spokesman. Three times, Michael Tate has alerted reporters that major new outlets have — for the umpteenth time — hailed his boss as a key player on immigration reform. On Friday, Tate circulated a cut-and-paste of the latest subscription-only story in National Journal. Headlined “Don’t Call Him Marco Rubio,” reporter Tim Alberta quotes a House GOP aide as saying Labrador is “more important to getting (immigration reform) passed through Congress than Marco Rubio” because of his influence with conservatives. Rubio, of course, is the telegenic Cuban-American senator from Florida and presidential prospect/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Is it good or bad for Idaho's image that the national media are spotlighting Congressman Raul Labrador?
Really, it's just a dressed-up scrimmage four-plus months before the season. Yet Idaho is treating tonight's spring football finale like a “real” game, with 15-minute quarters, clock stoppage and all. First-year coach Paul Petrino said he hopes to run 200 plays – or “as many plays as we can” – when the Vandals congregate at 6 p.m. at the Kibbie Dome. That's only slightly more than the team chugged through in its second of three scrimmages two weeks ago. Petrino has introduced the Vandals to an intricate playbook in daily installments. He's pleased with how the players have digested it, but he said the summer months will also be crucial/Josh Wright, SR. More here.
Question: Are you excited about the coaching change and the 2013 Idaho Vandal football season?
Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk has decided to bypass his senior season and declare for the NBA Draft, The Spokesman-Review has learned. Olynyk, who turned 22 on Friday, averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 blocks as a junior. He made 63 percent of his field-goal attempts and 77.6 percent of his free throws/Jim Meehan, SR. More here.
Toronto Blue Jays' Rajai Davis spins through air after being brushed back by Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday in Toronto. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)
Thursday Winner: DFO, with 5 likes, for: “Nadezda croons to her cuddly friend: 'Lemur call you sweetheart … I'm in love with you …'” Thursday photo & all cutlines here.
During the heated debate on the state insurance exchange, I made it a point to tell people that my chief political rival on the issue, Gov. Butch Otter, is a friend of mine, and still is. In the midst of battle during the winter, I saw Butch at a function in Weiser and we embraced and shared a laugh over our “dueling petitions”—his in support of the exchange and mine against. Then we talked about family and other trivial, light things. Butch is a friend. Wrong on the exchange, I think, but a friend. I would never seek to denigrate him over a public policy point on which we disagree, and I haven't. Outside of Idaho, politics is too personal, and unnecessarily so. But now, unfortunately even here in Idaho, a couple of news outlets and some independent commentators have sought to demonize, vilify, condemn and, indeed, destroy individuals, based on their public policy disagreements/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Do politics get too personal in Idaho?
Unlike many states, Idaho is expected to finish the 2012-13 budget year in the black — to the tune of $60 million. That’s good news. Or is it? It depends on your point of view. For the glass half-full perspective, Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey tapped an article from the subscription-only Kiplinger Letter, which reports that 30 states face a combined $40 billion in deficits for 2013, with $25 billion in deficits projected for 2014. The glass half-empty perspective comes from the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, a think tank headed by longtime state economist Michael Ferguson. Here’s what the center said in response to Popkey’s blog: “Idaho’s budget is looking good, but at what cost? Schools and other services are struggling to do more with less, compared to what they had to work with even just a decade ago”/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
Question: Do you consider Idaho's $60M surplus good news? Or evidence that Idaho has been too chintzy with public education and other important services?
This combination of undated photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The FBI says the two brothers and suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during a getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left Tamerlan dead and Dzhokhar still at large today. (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun & Robin Young)
Somebody who went to high school with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev described him as a class clown. Well, that 19-year-old class clown has somehow managed to trap 1 million people in Boston and its western suburbs in their homes as he and the police officers who think they might have him surrounded prepare for a final encounter, the outcome of which we all think we know. Dzhokhar — the American kids he went to school with pronounce it Ja-har — is alone now. Unless he has hostages. His big brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, is dead, a fate big brother must have known awaited them. He probably even welcomed it. By some accounts, he, the big brother, dragged the class clown into his huge orbit of grievance, real or perceived, about the great Satan/Kevin Cullen, Boston Globe. More here.
Question: Do you care why terrorists like the Tsarnaev brothers hate Americans?
On her Facebook wall, Cindy posts re: a conversation she had with two of her sons:
Wow. Long converations with firstborn and lastborn have me weighing the merits of private school vs. public school education. Most of you know we sent all 4 of our sons to Northwest Christian for grades K-something. Sam is the first one to attend public school on 7th grade at Mountainside Middle. We've watched him earn a 4.0 and excell in so many ways. Bottom line: Tonight he said, “I watched today in the mile run as teachers encouraged those who ran an embarrassing 14 minute mile and it made me feel good to be part of this school.” He further said his private school education seemed more about popularity than merit. I don't regret those years we paid for smaller classroom sizes but I am so very thankful for the state of public education in Washington— especially in the Mead District.
Have you struggled to decide which is the best education forum for your children — public, private, home, or some other alternative? My family did.
Itron employees Sheena Trumble, right of Australia and Janet Penz, left of Minneapolis braved the ropes course at Lutherhaven summer campsite in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. Itron donated the $35,000 ropes course that features team and solo balance activities and aerial trust jumps with safety rope belays. The Liberty Lake based company will use the course as a leadership and team-building initiative. Scott Maben SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
On Tuesday, the Coeur d'Alene City Council gave final approval to the purchase of Person Field and Bryan Field from the Coeur d'Alene School District. But two council members weren't happy about it. In her draft minutes, City Clerk Renata McLeod reports comments made by Councilmen Ron Edinger and Deanna Goodlander during the discussion:
Councilman Edinger stated that he would be voting against the agreement because he does not believe in buying something that is already owned by the City. Councilman McEvers wondered if the City voted against it, what would the neighbors say, and what is the alternative? Councilman Edinger stated that the School District would have a problem because they have already moved into their new building, and maybe they would be willing to negotiate. Councilman McEvers expressed concern that the parkland could become homes. Councilman Edinger does not believe the land would be developed as homes and that the 1995 agreement was legal. Councilman Goodlander stated that she believes the City is paying a ridiculous price for something they already own and it is hard to vote yes.
Question: Did the Coeur d'Alene School District get the better end of this deal, as Councilmen Ron Edinger and Deanna Goodlander seem to believe?
In this Feb. 6 file photo, from left, Joshua Kusterer, 12, Nach Mitschke, 6, and Wyatt Mitschke, 4, salute as they recite the pledge of allegiance during the “Save Our Scouts” prayer vigil and rally against allowing gays in the organization in front of the Boy Scouts of America National Headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Under pressure over its long-standing ban on gays, the BSA announced today that it will submit a proposal to its National Council to lift the ban for youth members but continue to exclude gays as adult leaders. Story here. (AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez, File)
From City Clerk Renata McLeod's draft minutes of the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday:
Monte Larson, 930 N. 5th Street, stated that the Coeur d’Alene American Legion Baseball Memorandum of Understanding states that replacement of the field will include equal or better facilities, restroom facilities, and that details for the design such as size, dimension, location, etc. would be agreed upon between the parties. He expressed concern that the Ramsey Park facility construction began and the dug outs are not sunk into the ground as was agreed upon previously. He stated that a recent meeting at Miller Stauffer’s office was held and they reviewed the plans for facilities that have not yet been constructed. He stated that he felt that the fencing was adequate; however, the bathroom facilities (CXT) on other side of trail had no running water and did not have multiple stations, like the McEuen facility.
Question: Is the American Legion being too finicky re: the new ballfield constructed for them by the city in exchange for leaving McEuen Field?
A divided Pocatello City Council has defeated a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, with Mayor Brian Blad casting the tie-breaking vote at a tense, packed meeting last night, the Idaho State Journal reports. The council had split 3-3 on the ordinance to ban such discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodations. However, the issue’s not dead; the Journal reports that Blad, before he cast his “no” vote, said, “I believe this has divided this community in half. I believe we can draft an ordinance that most people can accept”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
The suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were “losers” with no religious or political motivation, their uncle said Friday. The uncle, who identified himself as Ruslan Tsarni, said the brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev would have no religious or political motivations for carrying out an attack. When asked what he thought motivated the suspects, Tsarni said, “Being losers.” “Anything else, anything else to do with religion, with Islam — it's a fraud, it's a fake,” Tsarni said. He pleaded with Dzhokhar, the suspect still at large, to turn himself in/Sam Baker, The Hill. More here.
Question: Does it bug you that a lot of attention will now be given to the two brothers who apparently placed the bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line?
State Sen. Bob Nonini makes a point during a recent legislative wrap-up briefing at the American Legion Steven H. Nipp Post 143 in Post Falls (Syringa & Poleline) Saturday. (Duane Rasmussen photo)
In the Lewiston Tribune, Chris Carlson writes today:
Shame on Kootenai County Republican state Sen. Bob Nonini. It was bad enough that the ethically-challenged legislator from District 3 appeared to go unpunished by the Senate leadership for his role in helping to secure contributions and contributing himself to Tea Party challengers to Republican incumbent state senators such as Shawn Keough from Sandpoint and Dean Cameron from Rupert. The latter two are two of the hardest working members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee and are veteran, reasonable, caring and listening legislators. Nonini last year, in an apparent effort to curry favor with then-House Speaker Lawrence Denny and the Tea Party types, conspired with, among others, Avista lobbyist Neil Colwell to secure and send some substantial contributions to challengers to incumbents in his party. More here.
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Lewiston Tribune editorialist Marty Trillhaase gives cheers to …
… To former Idaho state Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home. He's calling out a member of his own team, Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene. A sponsor of the infamous Luna laws that voters overwhelmingly repealed last year, Goedde supported re-enacting portions of those laws that undermined teacher employment rights. Says Corder: “For the Greeks, hubris was a crime. Those who committed such egregious and heinous acts against the very liberties of mankind were prohibited from holding public office. Today, by public apathy, we reward (or at least fail to punish) public displays of wanton disregard for the public will (hubris) with continued terms in office - and other things.”
Question: Which state senator from Kootenai County had the worst legislative session in 2013 — Goedde or Bob Nonini, both of Coeur d'Alene, or Steve Vick, of Dalton Gardens?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Lewiston Tribune editorialist Marty Trillhaase gives jeers to …
… U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, R-Idaho. Disagreements aside, rarely have they given us reason to be ashamed of them. Wednesday was just such a day. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey had worked out a modest gun purchasing background check compromise. They needed 60 votes. Thanks to Crapo, Risch and others, they came up six votes short. What were Crapo and Risch afraid of? Not the bill. This wasn't an assault weapons ban. It didn't curtail the size of high-capacity magazines. The Second Amendment remained intact. Manchin-Toomey merely extended a law that already applies to gun sales in retail stores to those purchased at gun shows. It didn't interfere with most private sales. It banned any attempt to transform background checks into a registry. More here.
Police patrol through a neighborhood in Watertown, Mass., while searching for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings on Friday. All residents of Boston were ordered to stay in their homes Friday morning as the search for the surviving suspect in the marathon bombings continued after a long night of violence that left another suspect dead. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
The two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer and hurled explosives at police in a car chase and gun battle overnight that left one of them dead and his brother on the loose, authorities said Friday as thousands of officers swarmed the streets in a manhunt that all but paralyzed the Boston area. The suspects were identified by law enforcement officials and family members as Dzhokhar (pictured in AP photo) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, brothers from a Russian region near Chechnya, which has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, an uncle said. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1 and was seen in surveillance footage in a black baseball cap, was killed overnight, officials said. His 19-year-old brother — dubbed Suspect No. 2 and seen wearing a white, backward baseball cap in the images from Monday’s deadly bombing at the marathon finish line — escaped/AP. More here.
For good reasons, the Coeur d'Alene School Board shot down the idea of a pay-for-K program. For better reasons, the proposal to offer extra kindergarten for a fee was floated in the first place. Let's start at the beginning. District administrators brought forward the idea that parents would have the option of enrolling their kids in all-day kindergarten for roughly $350 per month per child. Officials figured that the program would need just 45 students to break even, and could soon generate several hundred thousand dollars for the district each year. Board members pointed out several problems with the proposal, ranging from ignoring the constitutional mandate to provide free public education to concerns about unfairly competing with private education providers. But we applaud the impetus behind the proposal, and encourage more of the same moving forward/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.
Question: What do you think of the pay-for-K proposal?
Item: Not-so social: Kootenai County commissioners adopt new online policy/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: He said Commissioner Nelson noticed the lack of a social media policy because she had one at her last place of employment. “Jai said Sacred Heart (Hospital) had one when she was there,” Tondee said. “We had some discussions about that and discovered that the sheriff's office had a policy, so we adapted that to fit our needs.” Nelson did not respond to requests for an interview on Thursday. Tondee said commissioners have no intent to “silence” county employees, but they needed a way to deal with employees who may use their position within the county to cause harm online.
Question: Does you workplace have a social media policy?
I watched my first real-time episode of “Duck Dynasty” last night, a show in which CEO Willy decides to buy a motorcycle as part of his midlife crisis. Then, I learned that the 3rd season of “Duck Dynasty” will conclude with a one-hour finale next Wednesday. So I'm left to satisfy my new addiction to Louisiana redneckism via re-runs? What's up with that? Now for your Thursday Wild Card …
Photos of two suspects sought in the Boston Marathon bombing are displayed during a news conference talking about the investigation of the Boston Marathon explosions today in Boston. The city continues to cope following Monday's explosions near the finish line of the marathon. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
On his campaign Facebook wall, appointed Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan reports re: a cyber task force meeting that occurred Wednesday. Seems Huckleberries and the Coeur d'Alene Press Online comment sections were mentioned in the same breath of cyber bullying. Regan posts: “Vice Chair (Terri) Seymour (pictured in Coeur d'Alene School District photo) agreed and suggested that Mr. Patrick and Mr. Olivera (sic) be approached on the subject. The question is how we can tell our children not to cyber bully others when the blogs are full of adults who cyber bully?” Regan commented that Seymour had an “excellent point.” Huckleberries heard from another source that Seymour referred to the comment sections for Huckleberries Online and Coeur d'Alene Press as “nasty” — and suggested that the papers be approached to seek to substantively change the current interaction that happens.
Question: Is it possible that the Coeur d'Alene School Board trustees are mistaking online criticism for bullying?
“Really anything right about now,” said William Coulombe of Post Falls, about the type of work he is looking for. He talked with perspective employers during the Spring Job Fair at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls on Wednesday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Marianne Love/Slight Detour writes: “On my bucket list every time I walk down North Kootenai Road: climb aboard one of those big cottonwoods, and enjoy the perspective–not only how big the tree was but also the higher view of the land surrounding it. Now, I have big feet, but this stump makes me look like Miss Mini Foot, for once in my life.” More here.
Huckleberries Online numbers (for Wednesday, April 17): 8568 page-views/4695 unique views
Is a shot glass an appropriate high school prom souvenir? That question has played out in the Twin Falls Times-News over the past two days — after Jerome High School’s prom Saturday night. The first-day story chronicled parental complaints and the district’s official reaction. District officials blamed a student group for making the change; a purchase order said mugs would be given out as souvenirs. “I think maybe the students were a little sneaky,” School Board member Don Mitchell said. “The purchase order was reviewed by several adults, but I don’t think that it was represented to the adults really what was being purchased”/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
Question: Is a shot glass an appropriate gift for a high school prom souvenir?
This image released by the FBI today shows in an image from video what the FBI are calling suspect number 1, front, in black cap, and suspect number 2, in white cap, back right, walking near each other through the crowd in Boston on Monday, before the explosions at the Boston Marathon. (AP Photo/FBI)
This image released by the FBI today shows in a image from video what the FBI is calling suspect number 2, highlighted, with a white hat walking in Boston on Monday, April 15, 2013, before the explosions at the Boston Marathon. New York Times story, including video, of FBI release of suspect photos here. (AP Photo/FBI)
This image released by the FBI today shows in a image from video what the FBI is calling suspect number 1 with a black hat walking with a backpack in Boston on Monday, before the explosions at the Boston Marathon. New York Times story, including video, of FBI release of suspect photos here. (AP Photo/FBI)
The latest newsletter of the Lake City Development Corp. includes an update on the $20M McEuen Field expansion, a tribute to the late Jim Elder, preliminary thoughts re: reconstruction of the Four Corners (NW Blvd/Garden Avenue) area; and a profile of board Chairman Dave Patzer. The newsletter reports the new McEuen Field parking structure should be ready by Nov. 19:
Hundreds of cubic tons of dirt are currently being excavated from the northwest edge of McEuen Park to make way for the new parking structure, which will increase parking spaces at the parking area from 595 to 702. Team McEuen spokesman Phil Boyd, an engineer with Welch-Comer Engineers, said the parking structure is expected to be open by November 19. Meantime, the contractor, the city, and engineers are working closely to inform the public on street closures, brief utility interruptions, and other construction-related issues that may impact the public. You can read the rest of the story & the latest newsletter here. (Duane Rasmussen photo of McEuen Field reconstruction)
Former county commission candidate Tim Herzog (re: Kootenai County's new social media guidelines): “Wow, Rule #16 requires employees to snitch on each other! I wonder what the snitch gets in return?”
Seattle Mariners center fielder Endy Chavez, left, catches a ball hit deep by Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera in the first inning of a baseball game on Thursday in Seattle. The Mariners' Michael Morse looks on at right. Seattle prevented a Detroit sweep by beating the Tigers and 2012 Cy Young winner Jason Verlander 2-0. Story here. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A little current-events knowledge can go a long way in our weekly news quiz. All entrants this week are eligible to win two movie tickets, and our overall champ takes home a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. You're 10 interactive questions from being in the running. Good luck! Take the quiz.
The federal government’s sequester spending cuts are about to take a toll on Idaho. The cuts, at this point, involve conservation programs and the Air National Guard, and could have impacted schools, but the governor’s office exercised a sequester option sparing schools and some road projects from any funding reductions. In a letter dated March 19, 2013, Tom Tidwell, chief of the U.S. Forest Service, informed Gov. Butch Otter that approximately $1.5 million of federal funds budgeted to be sent to Idaho will soon be eliminated. “These mandated cuts, known as sequester, impact a number of Federal programs including the Secure Rural Schools and Grasslands payments to your state,” Tidwell wrote to Otter/Idaho Reporter. More here. (Idaho Reporter photo of Col. Ed Marzano of the Idaho Air National Guard)
Question: Overall, do you think sequester has been a good/bad thing?
Lilac Bloomsday Association directors say they’ll require runners and walkers to show their official race tags before lining up for the start of this year’s run. Bloomsday, which occurs on May 5, is the second-largest timed road race in the country. Retired former Spokane Assistant Police Chief Al Odenthal, who now serves as Bloomsday security director, said that’s one of several changes in this year’s race to ensure greater safety for runners, walkers and spectators at the May 5 event. Those changes follow the explosions of two bombs that killed three people and injured more than 150 at this week’s Boston Marathon/Tom Sowa, SR. More here. (Colin Mulvany SR photo of Riverfront Park memorial to victims of Boston bombings)
Question: How many times have you participated in the Bloomsday run?
Tom Hearn, the Coeur d'Alene School Board candidate for Zone 4 (re: “Mary backs Handeen”), writes: “To win this election I will continue to promote a positive message of strong support for public education, listening to parents and our educational professionals, fiscal responsibility, and discuss my long history of being on various state boards and working in the Coeur d'Alene community to benefit children. I am also a hard worker apparently like Mr. Handeen and I have been walking neighborhoods in Zone 5 for the last month and I will continue until election day. I do not have a partisan political agenda. I hope Mr. Handeen will consent to being involved in the candidate forums, which he so far has not done, so we can compare our ideas and backgrounds publicly and the community will have an opportunity to make an informed decision about which of us is best to represent the citizens in Zone 5. Any questions please visit votetomhearn.com or my Facebook page. Thank you!!”
Question: Do you know which zone you live in?
In today's SR, former colleague Jim Kershner posts after introductory remarks re: the superb Interplayers theater group in Spokane: “I am waxing nostalgic about Interplayers because I recently attended the most somber season announcement in the theater’s history. The season itself is not the problem – a characteristic Interplayers mix of great classics and thought-provoking new plays. No, the ominous part arrived when artistic director Reed McColm announced that this 2013-14 season will take place only if Interplayers can raise $150,000 by May 31. That sounds to me like one hell of a lot of money to raise in one hell of a short time.” More here.
Question: Are you a fan of community theater? Why? Why not?
Walkabout snapped this photo of a garter snake during one of her cleanup cruises of Tubbs Hill last week, while I was on vacation. Walkabout's main man, Stickman, tells Huckleberries that there are numerous small boas and gartner snakes on Tubbs Hill. And that he knows of a young girl who regularly catches snakes and lizards on Tubbs to serve as pets. During that vacation, I argued with Junior and Miss Stephanie — in the middle of the Paynes Prairie swamp that was teeming with alligators, snakes, heron, wild buffalo, wild pigs, and other critters — that there aren't many snakes in North Idaho. Junior said there were plenty. He may be right.
Question: What kind of snakes do you encounter here in the panhandle?
On her Facebook wall, Cindy posts: “I pulled up to the drive-thru window, hair scrunched up in a wild ponytail, no make-up and the barista points at my hot pink jacket and says, 'That's a great color on you.'
In the Coeur d'Alene Press online comments section, Mary Souza announces her support for Constitutionalist-turned-GOP committeeman Bjorn Handeen (pictured in Duane Rasmussen file photo) for the Coeur d'Alene School Board post now held by appointed Trustee Jim Hightower. In doing so, she goes a step further than the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, who backed appointed Trustees Brent Regan and Ann Seddon but balked at Handeen. Who has been a thorn in the RRs side by working hard to elect uber-cons to the local GOP Central Committee. Mary writes that Handeen: “brings a fresh, younger family viewpoint. His kids are just about ready to start school and he's a concerned, passionate parent and citizen, willing to step forward.” Handeen is campaigning against Tom Hearn. (BTW, I wouldn't take Handeen for granted. He's organized and a hard worker. It wouldn't surprise me if he knocks on almost every door in his zone himself, including mine.)
Question: What does Tom Hearn and other challengers (Christa Hazel and Dave Eubanks) have to do to defeat the local GOP establishment candidates for school board?
Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, in Huckleberries comments section (re: Obama on gun vote: 'Shameful day'): But in the Legislature and the Governor's budget this year spending for mental health services was decreased over the year before, and millions under pre-recession levels. Health and Welfare has withdrawn MH workers from all except our urban areas due to budget restrictions, county jails and prisons are now the largest provider of mental health services in the State. We stopped funding for behavioral counselors in our schools. I tend to agree that the amendment would not have done much, but in spite of the loud cries from the NRA and pro-gun advocates that better mental health services are needed, we are making no progress. I would like to see the NRA put some effort behind improving mental health services. More below. (StateImpact file photo)
Question: Do you think the NRA should use its considerable grass-roots clout to lobby for more funding for mental health services?
LCDC announces via Facebook: “
Would you use a shuttle from Memorial Field to go downtown?
Idaho GOP Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch helped carry the day for opponents of tougher gun laws during a 2-hour string of votes late Wednesday. A filibuster-proof three-fifths vote was required for passage of amendments to the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. All seven amendments considered Wednesday failed to meet that threshold, which was agreed to by Democratic and Republican leaders. Last week, Risch and Crapo were among 14 GOP lawmakers who promised to filibuster any new gun control measures they see as infringing on 2nd Amendment rights/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Another new social guideline rule adopted by Kootenai County — No. 3 (of 16):
Employees are cautioned that speech, whether on or off duty, made pursuant to their official duties is not protected speech under the First Amendment and may form the basis for discipline if deemed detrimental to the County. Employees should assume that their speech and related activity on social media sites will reflect upon the County.
Question: Doesn't the highlighted sentence above sort of undercut the policy premise that the county “respects the right of employees to write blogs and use social networking sites”? (BTW, I wonder if the county knows the difference between writing “blogs” and posting comments on a blog?)
On his Outdoors SR blog, colleague Rich Landers posts: “A reader submitted this photo snapped Wednesday off I-90 between Wallace and Mullan. She said the eyes appeared blue like those of a husky, but the animal ran away as though it were wild. What's your guess? Wolf, wolf hybrid or husky?” More here.
Zookeeper Nadezda Radovic kisses a baby lemur at the Belgrade Zoo, Serbia, earlier today. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Wednesday Winner: Phaedrus wins again (w/4 likes): “Yes, it is a hemorrhoid, now get up, everybody is watching.” Wednesday contest photo & all cutline entries here.
The Idaho Statesman introduces a new Opinion Page editor: “Exactly three months to the day was Kevin Richert's last day at the Statesman. Meet Robert Ehlert, the Statesman's new Opinion Page editor. Bob arrived in the Treasure Valley late Monday afternoon and hit the ground running. At dinner that evening, he met Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who was not shy with his opinion regarding our editorial pages. Bob attended the annual Boise Rotary Century Scholars event meeting Tuesday night, talking to students and community leaders. Bob is an accomplished writer and editor, named one of three finalists for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in Newspaper Feature Writing while at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune for a series about a priest who abused young boys all over the Upper Midwest.” More here.
Question: Is it an advantage/disadvantage for an editorial writer to move into Idaho?
The Atlantic has an interesting profile of Idaho 1stDistrict Rep. Raul Labrador this week, headlined, “Does the Fate of Immigration Reform Depend on This Idaho Congressman? Puerto Rican-born, Tea Party-purist, GOP-leadership-defying immigration attorney Raul Labrador has confounded expectations throughout his political career.” In the piece, Labrador talks about immigration reform, saying, “Most hardcore conservatives in the House come from rural agricultural districts, so we understand the need for reform”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (AP file photo of Raul Labrador)
Question: Izzit just me, or has Congressman Raul Labrador become a major player on the Washington scene — and among the national GOP?
Huckleberries hears … that this Washington Times editorial is making the rounds among 2nd Amendment activitists re: the vote Wednesday against the expansion of background checks for gun purchases:
The president raged. The mayor of New York frothed. Joe Biden cried. But at the end of the day, common sense prevailed. The Senate killed the effort to unreasonably expand background checks for buyers of guns. The measure is not quite graveyard dead; it can be brought up again, but prospects for that are remote. The vote was a bone-jarring setback for the gun-control lobby, and a decisive victory for the National Rifle Association (NRA), which led the fight to protect the rights of all. It was most of all a resounding victory for the plain and simple language of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” More here.
Kootenai County commissioners have approved a new policy re: county employees and the social media. A copy of the policy obtained by Huckleberries Online says: “Kootenai County respects the right of employees to write blogs and use social networking sites and does not want to discourage employees from self-publishing and self expression.” It then goes on to list 16 guidelines, including a couple that I believe will have a chilling effect for social media interaction, including this one:
No. 2: “Employees are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree that their speech does not impair working reltionships of the County and its Elected Officials, for which loyalty and confidentiality or important, impede the performance of duties, impair discipline and harmony among coworkers, or negatively affect the public perception of the County.”
Who determines what “negatively affect the public perception of the County”?
Question: Are these rules a common sense protection for the county re: social media use by employees — or an attempt to intimidate employees re: use of social media?
Firefighters conduct a search and rescue of an apartment destroyed by an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas on Thursday. A massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160, officials said overnight. Updated story here. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Item: In the name of safety: County commission may revise rules for titling streets, roads/George Kingson, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: Sometimes it appears that the naming of streets is an exercise in creativity. Right here in Kootenai County, for example, we have OK Corral Road, Hat Trick Lane, Cattle Drive, Kicking Horse Lane, Easy Street and Wisteria Lane. But wait. There are rules about such things - rules that are currently spelled out in County Ordinance 301. Wednesday morning, the Kootenai County Commission met to solicit input on revising some of these rules and ultimately folding them into the proposed Unified Land Use Code. Current rules prohibit such things as the duplication of existing street names and the use of similar-sounding names. Many street names that “violate” the ordinance were long ago grandfathered in.
Question: Do you live on a street/road/avenue with an interesting name or back story?
More Info: They love their old school, but most parents and teachers who spoke to school officials Wednesday at Winton Elementary said they would prefer a new building that retains the historic character of the original 1920s-era school house that serves as the front section of the existing building. The meeting, attended by about 50 citizens, was hosted by the school district's administration and board so they could find out how important the old building is to the school community and residents of the surrounding neighborhood.
Question: Is new and functional better than old and historic, when it comes to Winton School?
Item: Idaho files suit against former CdA coin store: Complaint seeks $754,326/Scott Maben, SR
More Info: The Idaho Attorney General’s office has filed a lawsuit alleging that a former Coeur d’Alene coin store, its owner and its operator broke state consumer protection laws by failing to deliver gold and silver to customers who paid thousands of dollars in advance. The suit seeks $664,326 in restitution for 18 consumers who complained they were ripped off by CoiNuts Inc., its owner, Kevin E. Mitchell, of Hayden, and his stepdaughter and the store’s operator, Sarah M. Mitchell, of Hayden. The suit, filed Tuesday in Kootenai County District Court, also seeks $90,000 in civil penalties.
Question: Do you know someone who invested with CoiNuts and lost money?
I returned from Florida with an uneven tan — thanks to poor application of sun tan lotion (which I almost never use — and an addition for “Duck Dynasty.” After watching the top-notch NCAA Tournament final a week ago Monday, Miss Stephanie plugged in an episode of “Duck Dynasty,” which features a red-neck family named Robertson that struck it rich by making superb duck calls. Mrs. O & I got so hooked, that we bought the whole second season of DD and watched it while recuperating from jetlag Monday. Yeah, yeah, I know, I live on the wild side. Now for your Hump Day Wild Card …
U.S. Army Capt. Dan Berschinski, foreground, uses prosthetic legs to stand on the field before a baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. Berschinski lost both legs to an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan in 2009. Nearly 2,000 American troops have lost a leg, arm, foot or hand in Iraq or Afghanistan, and their sacrifices have led to advances in the immediate and long-term care of survivors, as well in the quality of prosthetics that are now so good that surgeons of