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Huckleberries Online

Archive for January 2013

Parting Shot — 1.31.13

On his Facebook wall earlier this month, Don Sausser posted: “I believe Kerri's starling or Jeanne's wax wings migrated to our window sill, checking out the kitchen.”

Wild Card/Thursday — 1.31.13

We're going to be rolling out our new Disqus comment system early this afternoon, which will require commenters to register again. Simple process. Took me about 2 minutes. Blogmeister Ryan will have the details later this morning. I'll provide them to you in a separate post. One of the new advantages to the Disqus system is that you'll be able to like/dislike an individual comment. More later. Now I'll post the Wild Card and go in search of more fodder to fill the insatiable maw of this Huckleberries beast …

Retracing Final Steps Of UI Student

Near the end, Joseph Wiederrick’s footprints cut aimless circles in the snow-covered fields. A popular University of Idaho freshman with wavy blond hair, he had walked all night, straying several miles from the heart of Moscow, Idaho, out into the open hills beyond. With a starry sky against the distant mountains, he wandered the endless stubblefields until cold and exhaustion caught up with him. Alone, he eventually came to rest beneath a small bridge, leaving a bright life unfinished and a trail of questions. In the days since, local authorities and loved ones have struggled to understand what drove him out into the unknown. Witnesses say he was drinking, but others thought him lucid. Investigators continue to reconstruct his path, piecing together cell phone calls, brief encounters and his final footsteps/Jacob Jones, Inlander. More here.

Question: Do you know someone who died too young?

PM Headlines — 1.31.13

Al Williams (left), athletic director of North Idaho College, talks with Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan (right) during the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans weekly luncheon today in Coeur d'Alene, while Matt Roetter looks on. Regan triggered a controversy at a legislative forum in Post Falls Saturday by telling an insensitive “joke” about President Barack Obama. (Duane Rasmussen photo special to Huckleberries)

CdA Coffee Hut Robbery Video

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Here's the surveillance video of the Lean Bean Coffee Hut robbery last night, courtesy of the Coeur d'Alene Police Department.


PM Scanner Traffic — 1.31.13

  • 4:30 p.m. Possible burglary suspect may be hiding behind Coeur d'Alene Library.
  • 4:20 p.m. Possible male burglar i black hurt himself by jumping off second-story balcony of apartments @ 11th & Mullan/CdA. He then took off running w/Reporting Party following him.
  • 4:07 p.m. Resident in 1300 block of E. Locust/CdA is having trouble breathing.
  • 3:45 p.m. North Lakes Fire Station No. 2/Rathdrum is responding to a poisoning.
  • 3:38 p.m. A drunk female is trespassing @ apartments 3000 block of Govt Way/CdA.
  • 3:36 p.m. Coeur d'Alene resident reports teen male hitting his vehicle, then peeling out.
  • 3:01 p.m. Probation officer reports JohnB is being cooperative re: unscheduled jail time.
  • 2:51 p.m. Patrol officer calls for backup in traffic stop on H95/MP 441 (Ohio Match Road).
  • 2:46 p.m. Caller reports her friend in Rathdrum called asking for gun to kill herself.
  • 2:41 p.m. Officer reports traffic lights showing red in all 4 directions @ H41/Prairie, Rathdrum.
  • 2:37 p.m. Caller @ Govt Way/Hayden Avenue reports a trespasser.
  • 1:59 p.m. Male @ Bonanza Ranch, east of CdA, is threatening suicide by colliding w/another vehicle.

Guv Tax Plan Could Cost NIC $793K

Kevin Richert/The EDge blog reports:

The personal property tax — and its possible repeal — touches every local government entity that collects a piece of the property tax. And since every means every, that means Idaho’s community colleges also have some skin in the game. Community colleges are funded from a pastiche of revenue sources: student fees, state funding and local property taxes. So, according to the State Tax Commission, here’s how much the three community colleges collected in 2012 from this tax on business supplies and equipment, targeted for repeal by Gov. Butch Otter and some business leaders:

  • North Idaho College: $793,338.
  • College of Southern Idaho: $554,180.
  • College of Western Idaho: $503,474.

Nuxoll Stands By ‘Holocaust’ Comment

Idaho Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, asks questions in a committee hearing today in Boise. Earlier this week, Nuxoll compared the role of insurance companies in the federal health care overhaul to the plight of Jews during the Holocaust. (AP Photo/Todd Dvorak)

Idaho Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll has made the Huffington Post, which quotes a report by Betsy Russell/Eye on Boise: The Idaho Spokesman-Review caught up with Nuxoll (R-Cottonwood) Wednesday to ask if she could clarify her comments. Nuxoll told the paper that while she meant “no disrespect” she stood by her statement. “I just want people to know the truth,” she told The Spokesman-Review. “I felt badly for the Jews – it wasn’t just Jews, but Jews, and Christians, and Catholics, and priests. My thing was they didn’t know what was going on. The insurance companies are not realizing what’s going to end up in their demise.” More here.


Regan Admits Again … ‘I Messed Up’

A woman sitting next to North Idaho College Athletic Director Al Williams asked a question of Coeur d'Alene school Trustee Brent Regan during the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans lunch meeting today. She wondered if he would have made the insensitive, anti-Obama joke if her mixed-race daughter had been in the audience. Regan replied, paraphrasing, probably not.

At the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans noon luncheon today, Coeur d’Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan addressed his controversial anecdote about President Obama – a remark some have denounced as racist – by using a little levity and taking a swipe at Vice President Joe Biden. “It’s been said that wisdom is that thing you get immediately after needing it desperately. … I had one of those moments. I was in a heated debate and I had little Joe Biden pop up on my shoulder – ‘Hey, say this!’ – and the little guy with a halo on the other shoulder, he was having a coffee break or something.” He added, “I did it, I’m sorry for it and I’m living with the results.” At the end of the meeting Regan addressed the issue again in response to a question from the audience: “We’re all human. I’m human. I make mistakes. The good news is, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’ve learned from every one of them. … I messed up, and I freely admit it, and I’m sorry to the people that were hurt by that.”


Scammer Pretends To Be Sheriff Ben

At about 11 a.m. today, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office was notified by a citizen that she was the victim of a fraud. According to the citizen she had been called numerous times today from a male stating he was an agent of the FBI; the caller was saying that she had won $600,000 from Publisher’s Clearing House in 2009, but the money had been stolen and was now in Mexico. The victim was told that she would be receiving more calls from him. About 30 minutes later, the “agent” called the victim back and said he was able to get her money and would call back with more details. About 30 minutes later, she received another call from a male identifying himself as “Sheriff Ben Wolfinger”/Kootenai County Sheriff's Office news release. More here.


Ward: Revenge Of RRepub ‘Nerds’?

Following report if from Scott MabenSR re: the Reagan Republicans weekly meeting at noon today:

Jeff Ward, president of the Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans, opened the meeting with an analogy, likening members of the Reagan Republicans to the nerds in the movie “Revenge of the Nerds.” Ward said their members who speak out “are taking a lot of crap” from people who sit back and snipe. “The reality is it has nothing to do with something we’ve done bad or anything we’ve said bad. It has everything to do with the fact that they don’t like us participating. They don’t like the nerds on campus. Because what’s happened in the last four years in this community is the powers that be have found that the nerds have started finding their own and they’ve started electing people to office. … They don’t like the fact that those people with principle and those people who want to tell the truth are crashing their party. And I think it’s very important today, and I think especially considering our speaker (School Board Trustee Brent Regan) today, that we stick together like the nerds in the movie. … We’ll be attacked for our principle, we’ll be attacked for telling the truth, and we’ll suffer for it. But we don’t care, because we’re looking for something better.”

Question: What do you make of Jeff Ward's analogy comparing the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans to the stars in the “Revenge of the Nerds” movie?

On We’re Off On New Disqus Ride

OK, we've just switched to the new Disqus system. All comments from the previous 12 hours are history. But they'll re-post when the system runs through the re-posting of the approximate 500,000 comments in storage. All comments from this point are live again. The list of new features of Disqus is pretty long, and if you want to dig in, there’s a great guide here. I’ll highlight a few things we think commenters will really like:

  • Disqus lets you reply directly to another comment, and your new post will nest right below it in that comment thread. This makes it a lot easier to follow (or hide) individual conversations, and is a feature that many readers have wanted for some time. You can even @mention other readers in your comments.
  • Readers have also asked for an editing function, so they can fix mistakes in their own comments. This is built into Disqus.
  • One more thing our readers have wanted: the ability to “like” other comments. That’s built in, too.

Oopsy: Just realilzed that I was wrong re: re-registering. SR Blogmeister MikeT sez (under this thread): “Folks don’t need to re-register — ff you’re logged in with your regular ol’ account, you’ll be able to comment as usual. If you have a Disqus account and want to show up as that from now on, you can link up your account and Disqus account as long as you used the same e-mail address for both:… ”

Today’s Comments Disabled For Now

Update: Ryan flipped the switch on new Disqus system at 2:25 p.m.

From SR Online Editor Ryan Pitts: “This morning, we updated the Disqus database with all of the latest comments from our website. Any comments left today (Jan. 31), however, won't be in the new system yet. When we switch over our comment threads, we'll immediately start an import of all of today's comments, but it may take a few hours for them to show up. We apologize for interrupting those conversations, but when you're moving more than half a million comments from one place to another, there's not really a great way to make everything perfectly seamless.”

DFO: Basically, this means that all comments to this point today will be disabled when the techs hit the switch in three/two/one … But they'll return when the system reinstalls them. Meanwhile, all comments from this point on are disabled as the new Disqus system takes hold. Patience, my dear Huckleberries, patience.

Beyonce Admits Lip-Syncing Anthem

Beyoncé speaks during a news conference today in New Orleans. Beyoncé is scheduled to perform during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game on Sunday. At a press conference today, Beyonce admitted that she lip-synced to the “National Anthem” at the presidential inauguration earlier this month. Then, she sang the anthem without music. More here. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Question: Can you sing all the words to the “National Anthem” without looking at them?

‘Recent Comments’ Disabled For Now

You'll notice that the popular “Recent Comments” feature in the right rail of HucksOnline has been disabled. The techs are trying to configure how to re-install that feature with the new Disqus comment system that goes online today. Stay tuned …

Over The Hump

The rain will splash,

the snow will fall,

and thick black clouds

cast winter’s pall;

but then one day

a pleasant shock –

it’s staying light

'til five o’clock.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Otter’s Tax Shift Plan Scares Schools

For at least three decades, American Falls School District voters have said yes to schools, approving a series of supplemental property tax levies. That burden has been borne partly by homeowners, but largely by industry, such as J.R. Simplot Co., which has operated a phosphate fertilizer manufacturing plant in Power County since 1944. But for American Falls — and other school districts — this funding formula could change significantly. The Legislature is considering repealing the “personal property tax” on business equipment and supplies, which could shift more of the property tax burden onto homeowners. Some 200 miles east of the Statehouse, American Falls Superintendent Ronald Bolinger is watching the debate closely. “I’m hopeful and I’m scared, because I know what this would mean to my county”/Kevin Richert, The EDge, IdahoEDNews. More here.


Roskelley, 96, SR Sports Scribe, RIP

Fenton S. Roskelley, who covered the outdoors for the Spokane Chronicle and The Spokesman-Review for 60 years, died today (Jan. 30) at the age of 96 with his family at his bedside, said his son, John Roskelley in Spokane. Fenton was a 1938 University of Idaho graduate in journalism, a World War II veteran, and a fly fisher to the core.  He was the editor for the Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club's book, Flies of the Northwest.

Said John:

He earned a place on that list Tom Brokaw called the Greatest Generation by taking care of his family, never missing a day of work, and by serving in Europe when his country asked him to do so. Fenton was 96, but still writing, taking photos of birds, and using facebook. More here.

Question: Do many of you remember reading Fenton's work?

SR Changing Comment System Today

The commenting system on isn’t much different than when we launched this version of our website four years ago. We’ve added a few small features here and there, but The Spokesman-Review development team is small, and we have a lot of projects vying for our time. As long as comments kept working, our development priorities have been elsewhere. But toward the end of last year, we started considering how we might improve the commenting experience here. We want to raise the level of discussion, and the first way we’re going to approach that is by giving all our commenters a much more powerful tool. This afternoon we’ll be switching our comment threads over to a system called Disqus. It’s one of the best commenting systems on the web right now, in use at large sites like CNN and NPR. We like it because it gives people far more control over the way they engage in discussions, and it provides some awesome features that we’d never have time to develop on our own/Ryan Pitts, SR. An overview of the change here.

Question: Are you ready for this comments change?

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts this photo and the comment: “Fencepost Diorama
Raindrops cling to moss and lichen growing on a fencepost along a field this morning.” See more of Robin's swell photography here.

Question (in lieu of weather change from snow to rain this week): Do you prefer rain or snow?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.31.13

  • 11:28 a.m. ISP officer stops oversized load @ e/b I-90/MP 15 (Sherman) b/c he can't see license.
  • 11:12 a.m. Resident of Hamaker/Potter, Belgrove area, reports hit-and-run involving her parked car that occurred during the night.
  • 11:08 a.m. ISP told to watch for 21YO Shoshone Co male involved in family assault earlier today in Stevensville, Mont.
  • 11:06 a.m. 54YO male is bleeding after falling on ice and hitting head along Govt Way/Hayden.
  • 10:46 a.m. Possible DUI driver in red Chevy Impala swerving @ s/b H95/Wyoming, Hayden.
  • 10:05 a.m. Owner in 2200 block of Grandview/CdA will follow officer to Kootenai Animal Hospital to identify her chocolate Labrador.
  • 9:18 a.m. CPD Blue en route to two-vehicle crash on Rosenberry Drive (Dike Road, CdA).
  • 9:12 a.m. Post Falls caller tells dispatcher she's banging her head due to frustration.
  • 9:02 a.m. Deputies help Hayden grandmother locate missing child hiding in van.
  • 8:56 a.m. Road Rager in white duelly pickup almost causes 2 crashes @ s/b H95/Prairie.
  • 8:49 a.m. Garwood Elementary concerned re: first-grader who has been missing school.
  • 8:24 a.m. Teller alarm sounds @ Idaho Trust, 622 E. Sherman/CdA. Proves to be false alarm.

Turks Want To Trademark IDAHO

Believe it or not, an ag group in Turkey has applied to the Turkish Patent Institute to trademark the word “IDAHO” for its agricultural, plant and animal products – and the Idaho Potato Commission doesn’t take too kindly to that idea. Neither did the Senate Agriculture Committee, which this morning not only introduced a resolution proposed by the Potato Commission, but put it on a fast track to the full Senate, which is scheduled to suspend its rules and take up the measure this morning/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Can you think of any greater threat to the peace and prosperity of the great state of IDAHO than for a Turkish ag group desiring to trademark the name IDAHO?

Poll: No To Modified Luna Laws

Update: I've reset today's poll as a result of a mistake made earlier. I've also added some options to poll question. You can vote for more than one option.

  • Wednesday Poll: Hucks Nation overwhelmingly opposes an attempt by some GOP legislator to resurrect the voter-rejected Luna Laws via modified versions. 94 of 111 respondents (81.74%) voted against the idea, which was embraced by the Senate Education Committee, which is chaired by Luna Law supporter, Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene. Only 19 of 111 respondents (16.52%) support legislation promoting modified Luna Laws. 2 (1.74%) were undecided.
  • Today's Question: Which statement by an official in a North Idaho elected position amazes you most (Brent Regan, Ron Mendive or Sheryl Nuxoll)?

AM headlines — 1.31.13

Jason Hunt, officer with the Post Falls Police Department, right, looks on as Coeur d'Alene Police Department's Sgt. Brett Walton takes a phone call Wednesday night while investigating the scene of an armed robbery of the Lean Bean coffee stand on Sherman Avenue. Hunt and his K-9 were called to aid in the search for the suspect who fled on foot. Coeur d'Alene Press story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

Regan To Address RRepubs Today

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Audience Response To Anti-Obama ‘joke’

Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan, seated lower right, tells the anti-Obama “joke” that got him in hot water to Idaho legislators and a crowd at the Post Falls American Legion hall Saturday. (Click on photo for expanded view)

Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan will be the featured speaker at the weekly meeting of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans today. Regan, who triggered a virtual firestorm with an offensive “joke” about President Barack Obama at a legislative forum Saturday, will speak to noon meeting of the Reagan Republicans at Fedora Pub & Grille, 1726 W. Kathleen Ave., Coeur d'Alene. He will speak about school safety, the upcoming Coeur d'Alene School District maintenance and operation levy, and the latest on the Unified Land Use Code.


Cindy: Like Losing A Neighbor

It’s like a death, really. The news that the north Spokane Fred Meyer store was closing stunned me. For more than 20 years I’ve weekly walked the store’s aisles. I’m confident I could find my way around it blindfolded. I know the cashiers, and they know me. They’ve watched my grocery store purchases evolve from diapers and baby food to cartloads of meat and potatoes. The tellers at the Chase Bank branch call me by name when I enter. My banking habits are so familiar to them, I’m in and out within minutes/Cindy Hval, SR Front Porch. More here.

Question: Has there been any store closures that have shaken you?

Bill Would Allow Armed Teachers

From KBOI Boise Facebook wall: “Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher of Meridian says he thinks there will be legislation introduced during this session to allow teachers to have firearms in Idaho classrooms. He says it would include a component that would leave the final decision up to individual school districts. Also, local police would need to be notified about any teachers who will be armed in a classroom.”

Question: Do you support this legislation?

A Nice End To January

On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson posts the photo above with the cutline: “The gray clouds have parted and a sliver of sunshine is melting the ice on the chain that hangs from the rain gutter. Nice end to the month of January.”

Question: As a mental exercise, I declare Hard Winter over on Feb. 2 (Saturday). When do you consider winter over?

Idaho Reporter Defends Nuxoll

The Idaho Reporter offers an online defense today of statement by Idaho Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, comparing the proposed Idaho health exchange to Jews being led off to German concentration camps during the holocaust:

A story in many newspapers this week contained the headline “Idaho state senator compares Holocaust to health exchange.” The story goes on to describe how Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, said that insurance companies were like “the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps.” But like a lot of newspaper articles, it lacks the historical context needed to understand what the commentator, in this case, Nuxoll, was saying. Context is important, and is an opportunity for news organizations to educate, rather than inflame. Lacking context, the article is great at the former and not the latter. More from Idaho Reporter staff here.


Vandersloot Sues Mother Jones News

From Kestrel West Morning Memo:

From a piece today in the Twin Falls Times-News: Publilius Syrus, a writer who worked in Rome in the 1st century BC, wrote that “a good reputation is more valuable than money.”  Frank VanderSloot, CEO of Idaho Falls-based Melaleuca Inc., has taken that axiom to heart in filing a defamation lawsuit against Mother Jones magazine over a Feb. 6, 2012, article.  The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Seventh District Court in Idaho Falls, alleges the magazine caused national criticism of VanderSloot in depicting the multimillionaire as a “gay-basher.”  The lawsuit asks for up to $74,999 in damages, even though VanderSloot said the falsehoods in the article have cost Melaleuca millions in lost business.  The suit is centered on the article, “Pyramid-Like Company Ponies Up $1 million for Mitt Romney,” as well as a pair of Twitter posts that promoted the article. (Wikipedia photo of Mother Jones cover)


Torn ACLs Sideline Local Athletes

Three months after surgery to repair his ACL, G-Prep junior Reed Hopkins pulls against resistance of physical therapist Craig Henneberry. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Just 22 seconds remained in the game when Molly Barnhart crumpled to the court. All she was doing was dribbling up the floor. It prompted her mom, Robin, to start yelling at her. She abruptly stopped yelling, almost hoping she could take it back. She knew something was wrong with her daughter. Molly Barnhart, a Central Valley junior, had just navigated herself through full-court pressure when she planted her left foot. “My left knee felt like it went left and then right – just like RGIII did in the playoff game against Seattle,” Barnhart said. “I just remember I came out of the game and looked up at the scoreboard and thought, ‘really?’ ” Barnhart had suffered an all-too-common injury – a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)/Greg Lee, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever torn an ACL? How long did it take for you to recover?

Otter Determined To Shift Taxes

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter began and ended his talk to the Idaho Chamber Alliance this morning by cheering Chobani, the Greek yogurt manufacturer that opened a plant in Twin Falls last month. But the real subject of his talk was the 2013 legislative session, and his priorities for the months ahead. One of those priorities is to establish a plan for eliminating Idaho’s business personal property tax. “We have a myriad of options,” the governor said, before appearing to float one of his own. He’s set aside $20 million in his budget this year, he noted, to offset the losses in tax revenue that local government will face if the tax goes away. He then took a swipe at journalists who have pointed out that $20 million is far less than the $141 million the tax generated in 2012. “If you take a 7-year transition, seven times 20 is — 140,” Gov. Otter said/Molly Messick, StateImpact. More here.

Question: Don't you wish Gov. Butch Otter was as determined to pump money into our under-funded education system as he is to shift $141M from business to Idaho taxpayers by eliminating the personal property tax?

Patrons Flock To State Of District Event

The inaugural public event hosted by a fledgling education advocacy group on Wednesday attracted more than 100 citizens to the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. Amy Evans, president of the Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership, said she was “thrilled” with the number of people who came out to listen to Coeur d'Alene School District central office administrators provide information about the district's upcoming levy, its multi-school construction project, the Common Core Standards Initiative, and the district's efforts to increase school and building safety. The forum format included several brief, moderated written question-and-answer periods.“I'm glad the community had the chance to dialogue with the administration,” Evans said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Administrator Matt Handelman presents an update on common core curriculum details Wednesday)

Question: What long-term impact with the Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership have on the Coeur d'Alene School District?

Ramirez: Danger, Will Obamason!

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

Sponge-Bob Masked Man Robs Stand

Photo from video of armed man who robbed coffee stand at 12th & Sherman/CdA. (Photo courtesy of Coeur d'Alene police)

A gunman wearing a SpongeBob SquarePants mask robbed a Coeur d’Alene coffee stand Wednesday night, escaping with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said. No injuries were reported in the 5:54 p.m. holdup at Lean Bean Espresso, 1207 Sherman Ave., according to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department. The pistol-packing robber ordered two employees of the coffee stand to hand over cash and he fled on foot north along 13th Street. The robber is described as 5-foot-8 man with a medium build and weighing about 180 pounds. In addition to the cartoon character facial mask, the robber wore a black hoodie pulled over his head and dark baggy jeans, police said. Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Coeur d’Alene police at (208) 769-2320/SR.

CdA Ed Forum Attracts SRO Crowd

Huckleberries hears from a Berry Picker embedded in the Coeur d'Alene Library tonight that a standing-room-only crowd is attending the State of the School District presentation by the Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership. Four of five Coeur d'Alene School Board trustees have attended (Chairman Tom Hamilton and Trustees Terri Seymour, Ann Seddon and Jim Hightower. (Yes, the meeting was noticed by the School District, so no forum rules are being broken by the quorum). Other notables in attendance are: Activist and former appontee applicant Zone 1 Duncan Koler,  former appointee applicant Shelley Woodard from Zone 5, former appointee applicant Luke Sommer Zone 1, former appointee applicant Christa Hazel Zone 1, retired Magistrate Eugene Marano, former legislative candidate, Anne Nesse, former candidate & 271 bus driver Jeff Tyler and KCRCC precinct committeeman Jim Pierce. An audience Q&A will take place after each of the following topics:  the upcoming M&O levy, finance/construction update, update on the common core curriculum, and a school building safety update.

Also: This will air on Channel 19 starting tomorrow according to CEP President, Amy Evans.

Parting Shot — 1.30.13

Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, parents of Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, hold hands during a news conference today for NFL football's Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Their sons will be coaching against each other in the Super Bowl on Sunday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Question: How would you approach a Super Bowl in which two sons are coaching against each other, if you were in the shoes of Jack or Jackie Harbaugh?

Hump Day Wild Card — 1.30.13

It's been quite a week so far, triggered by Brent Regan's loose lips at that legislative forum Saturday. I expect things to settle down until the next board meeting — unless something is said tonight at that Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership forum. Click here for more information. But that's okay. 'Tis nice to take a breath after a whirlwind couple of days. Now for your Hump Day Wild Card …

How Did Audience Respond To Regan?

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Audience Response To Anti-Obama ‘joke’

Huckleberries has been trying to determine how the audience at the now infamous legislative meeting in Post Falls Saturday reacted to Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan's insensitive “joke” about President Barack Obama. I've been told that the description in the Coeur d'Alene Press was dead on the money — embarrassed laughter. But one person who was there disputes that. He tells Huckleberries that the response to Regan's comment was appreciative laughter. I'm posting an audio of Reagan's comment and the audience response afterward. What do you think? (You may have to turn up volume.)

Question: Did the audience react with embarrassment or appreciative laughter?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.30.13

  • 6:09 p.m. Coeur d'Alene police using canine to track robber n/b on 13th Street/CdA.
  • 5:53 p.m. Coeur d'Alene police are searching for a male in a black hoodie wearing a Sponge Bob Square Pants mask. Apparently, he used a handgun to rob a business in the downtown area. He is described as 5-8, 180lbs, and about 18 years old. He was last seen at 13th & Sherman, CdA.
  • 5:09 p.m. Ford Taurus reported speeding @ the stateline is actually a Chevy Cavalier.
  • 5:01 p.m. Male in 1996 Honda reportedly pulled knife on someone at Stateline WalMart.
  • 4:41 p.m. A Post Falls couple is removing items from their foreclosed residence.
  • 4:38 p.m. A semi is disabled & partly blocking highway @ s/b H95/MP 427 (Cougar Gulch).
  • 10 more items + AM Scanner Traffic below

PM Headlines — 1.25.13

Earlier this month, Karin Craver,  of the U.S. Postal Service, and her pet wolf Matohota pose together in Polebridge, Mont. Craver delivers mail twice a week year-round and is frequently greeted by residents at their mailboxes. (AP Photo/Daily Inter Lake, Brenda Ahearn)

Attorney Wants NCAAP Regan Probe

At the Coeur d'Alene Press online site, the newspaper is announcing that it has received copies of two letters from Coeur d'Alene attorney Steve Bell re: the anti-Obama “joke” by school Trustee Brent Regan. One letter asks the NAACP to investigate Regan and the other, demands his resignation from the district. The first letter is addressed to Mrs. V. Anne Smith of the Spokane NAACP:

“I am asking that you launch an investigation for a civil rights violation by remarks made by school trustee member Regan.At a public forum with over l00 people present, including legislators, he made a comment that people can't figure out what an assault weapon is “it's just BLACK and it LOOKS SCARY”, to which his wife then said “WELL, SO IS OBAMA”Once again North Idaho racism is alive and well and thriving in North Idaho. Regan then digs his hole even deeper by saying that all of this was a “humorous anecdote”. There is nothing humorous about any events where someone is discriminated against”/More here.


CdA Crash Involving Cops Brings Suit

A former Coeur d'Alene police detective is seeking financial compensation from the police captain who rear-ended the detective while both officers were off duty, resulting in injuries that ended the detective's law enforcement career. Tracy L. Martin retired from the police department last Dec. 5 due to medical complications from the Feb. 1, 2011, accident on Kathleen Avenue near the police station.According to the complaint and an Idaho State Police accident investigation report, police Capt. Mike S. Calderwood rear-ended Martin around 5:20 p.m. as the two were leaving the police station after work. Martin, driving a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe owned by the police department, was at a stop waiting for traffic when Calderwood, who was distracted by his cell phone, hit the back end of Martin's car/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Photo from Coeur d'Alene Police Facebook page)

Question: Sounds to me as though this might be the poster-boy crash in the war against phoning and driving. If cops can't handle a cell phone call while driving, who really can? What do you think?

Last Of Andrews Sisters, 94, RIP

In this Oct. 1, 1987, file photo, Patty, left, and Maxine Andrews, of the famed Andrews Sisters, smile as they hold their star plaques which they received as they accepted a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Patty Andrews, the last survivor of the three singing Andrews sisters, has died in Los Angeles at age 94. Andrews died today at her home in suburban Northridge of natural causes, said family spokesman Alan Eichler. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Question: Anyone remember the Andrews Sisters?

Nuxoll Links Exchange To Holocaust

As the debate over Idaho Gov. Butch Otter's proposed state health insurance exchange heats up, a North Idaho senator has sent out a mass email and posted a message on Twitter comparing the role of insurance companies to “the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps,” saying the federal government is using private insurers and in the future will “pull the trigger” on them. Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, (pictured) defends her analogy. “I just want people to hear the truth and to be aware that what is being presented before us is a socialistic program,” Nuxoll said Wednesday.  “There is no disrespect for any group or people with the analogy/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Are you serious?!

Traps Snag Glacier Park Lion, Ranger

A mountain lion caught recently in a wolf foothold trap set on the southwestern boundary of Glacier National Park was turned loose by state wildlife officials, but the National Park Service employee who discovered the animal and reported it to game wardens was caught the following day when he sprang a second trap in the same area. The seasonal employee discovered the trapped mountain lion Jan. 19 along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River just outside of the park boundary, which is defined by the high-water mark on the north side of the river. The park employee was conducting wildlife research and reported the trapped cougar to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials/Tristan Scott, Missoulian. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Have you ever encountered a mountain lion?

Labradors Still USA’s Most Loved

The American Kennel Club says the Labrador Retriever is the nation’s most popular dog for the 22nd straight year. According to the AKC top 10 list released today, the German Shepherd still commands the No. 2 spot. The Golden Retriever has nosed out the Beagle for the No. 3 rung. AKC spokeswoman Lisa Peterson says larger breeds dominate the “pint-sized, portable pooch.” But there are still some loveable lightweights on the list. The Beagle is now fourth. The rest of the pack: Bulldog, Yorkshire Terrier, Boxer, Poodle, Rottweiler and Dachshund/Associated Press.

Question: Does your dog rank among the top 10 breeds in the country?

Bypass Collects Another Accolade

The Sand Creek Byway has another accolade for its trophy case. The American Council of Engineering Companies of Idaho has picked the U.S. Highway 95 realignment project as the first-place winner for the 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards competition for transportation. The $112 million bypass project, which was completed last July after decades of debate, was designed by URS Corporation. Parsons RCI served as the project’s general contractor. Parsons built the 2.1-mile-long alignment around the city of Sandpoint. The project consists of four steel-girder bridges, two of which span navigable waterways, and extensive erosion-control measures and mitigation of stormwater runoff into waterways/Bonner County Bee. More here. (SR file photo from last May, before bypass opened)

Question: The Sand Creek Bypass has been open for some time now. Any thoughts about it from you bypass users? Do you like it better? Or do you still wish they hadn't built it?

Idaho Legislature Enjoys Pie Day

Sen. President Pro Tem Brent Hill, center, and Rep. Jeff Thompson, right, wait for a slice of pie on Wednesday. Hill went for the banana cream pie. (Photo: IdahoEdNews)

The sweet smell of fresh flakey crusts and fruit fillings lured hundreds of people to the fourth floor of the Capitol on Wednesday for Pie Day. Sponsored by the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators every year since 1992, Pie Day has become an institution at the Statehouse. Sen. President Pro Tem Brent Hill, center, and Rep. Jeff Thompson, right, wait for a slice of pie on Wednesday. Hill went for the banana cream pie. In honor of the occasion, home school students and teachers baked more than 150 pies.  Marge Ness, Pie Day chairwoman, said there were more than three dozen flavors of pie up for grabs. Slices of apple, cherry, pecan, banana cream, peach, Reese’s peanut butter cup, blueberry, coconut cream pie and more were served up to all comers/Clark Corbin, IdahoED News. More here.

Question: Which kind of pie is your favorite? (If a la mode, which ice cream do you want on top?)

Stewart: Racial Jokes ‘Hurtful’

There's another thing worth mentioning from the presser involving the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations response to Trustee Brent Regan's insensitive, anti-Obama remark — derogatory ethnic jokes. Tony Stewart, long-time local human rights leader, said of such jokes: “One of the most harsh forms of hurtful discrimination is racial jokes. They're degrading and hurts (others') self esteem.”

Question: What do you do when you hear a joke that targets another's race or religion?

Will Raul Help Rubio Sell Reform?

Expect this week to play prominently in future presidential debates. It’s when Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Florida) first big test as a contender for the GOP presidential nomination began. Rubio and seven other senators, ranging from Republicans John McCain and Lindsay Graham to Democrats like Chuck Schumer, unveiled a controversial framework Sunday for overhauling the immigration system. It would increase border security, employment verification, and enforcement, but it would also provide a way for current illegal immigrants to become citizens. That’s what’s caught a lot of attention. But a framework is a long way from a bill, and eight Senators is a long way from 51 Senators, and passing the Senate is a long way from passing the Republican-controlled House. For that last task, the key may be Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador/Daniel Walters, Inlander. More here.'

Question: WWRD? What should Raul do?

Feds Indict Ridpath Developer

Federal authorities unsealed a 73-count indictment today, including bank fraud, money laundering and wire fraud, against a Spokane developer largely blamed for the complicated legal and financial mess of the Ridpath Hotel. Gregory D. Jeffreys, 53, is currently being held in the Spokane County Jail. Also charged is his wife, 53-year-old Kimberly Jeffreys, who faces 25 federal charges. The 51-page indictment also lists 29 counts against Shannon Stiltner, 51, who worked with Jeffreys and was previously described in court records as Gregory Jeffreys’ girlfriend. All three are expected to appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno after the indictment was unsealed this morning/Thomas Clouse, SR. More here.

Question: Anyone spend any memorable moments at the Ridpath?

Press: Regan Has Learned Lesson

Coeur d'Alene Press editorial this morning:

We're not interested in debating whether or not Regan's comment, referring to assault weapons and President Obama as both being black and scary, meets your definition of a racist or inappropriate remark. Consider this: Would Regan have made that comment on Saturday if he'd been in a room full of African-American Democrats staunchly supporting stricter gun control and heavily in favor of Obama's health care overhaul, instead of an all-white, anti-Obama, pro-gun crowd? Would he have said that if even one person of color had been there? Would you? More here.

Question: Looking for a silver lining here … do you think that the community has learned a valuable lesson re: offhanded ethnic/religious comments?

High Noon: ‘Oh, How We ♥ Idaho’

“Oh, how we love Idaho,” declared Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, as he began presenting HCR 5 in the House this morning, his resolution to name the Capitol Auditorium the “Abraham Lincoln Auditorium,” and marking March 4 as the 150th anniversary of the creation of Idaho Territory by President Lincoln. Bateman, a retired history teacher and a Lincoln buff, told of how a reporter asked Ernest Hemingway why he loved Idaho, and the author responded, “It’s the only place they haven’t changed”/AP via Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Can you count the ways that you love Idaho?

NRA CEO Testifies On Capitol Hill

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday today before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence. Supporters and opponents of stricter gun control measures face off at a hearing on what lawmakers should do to curb gun violence in the wake of last month's shooting rampage in Newtown, Conn. that killed 20 schoolchildren. Video here. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Question: Does LaPierre do a good job representing the National Rifle Association?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.30.13

  • 12:13 p.m. Hayden mother reports her sons won't behave.
  • 11:49 a.m. Wanted suspect not on CityLink bus when it stopped at 11:45 a.m.
  • 11:37 a.m. CPD Blues will be at Riverstone CityLink stop to arrest wanted suspect (11:33 item).
  • 11:33 a.m. U.S. Marshal trying to catch up to Coeur d'Alene Casino bus that's n/b on H95/MP 422. Marshal believes there's a violent, wanted male on board.
  • 11:15 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 29-30 here.
  • 10:14 a.m. Caller reports trucker speeding and driving recklessly on H53 near Rathdrum.
  • 9:31 a.m. Load has shifted on a red semi with “GTO Simmons” written on the side — and is now hanging over side. The semi exiting e/b I-90/MP 15 (Sherman Avenue, CdA).
  • 9:29 a.m. Realtor reports hearing someone in attack of house that's suppose to be vacant @ Hayden and N Circle/Hayden.
  • 9:04 a.m. ISP reports disabled vehicle on I-90/MP 7 (Highway 41). Tow company was called.
  • 8:46 a.m. Female in Coeur d'Alene Golf Course area reports father choked her and threatened mother before leaving in vehicle.

Clerk Sets Date For Levy Elections

Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes announced that levy elections for three school districts will be held on March 12. “Coeur d’Alene, Kootenai Joint, and Post Falls school districts will each have supplemental maintenance and operations levy issues on the ballot,” said Hayes. “Voters residing in each of the respective school districts will be eligible to vote in this election,” he continued. Voters have many options for casting their ballots. In-person voting will be available at the County Elections Office, 1808 N. Third Street in Coeur d’Alene, starting Feb. 25 through March 8. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. More here.

Mary Doesn’t Support Vision 2030

Mary Souza/ is back in her soapbox castigating City Attorney Mike Gridley for inviting her to be part of the Vision 2030 project. Mary, who recently was washing her hands re: Coeur d'Alene Trustee Brent Regan's insensitve remark at that legislative forum, is back claiming to speak for us Coeur d'Alene residents (hint: she doesn't). Among her statements:

Without honest, responsive and accountable government, there is no trust. And without trust, how can any visioning effort be sincere? That’s our problem in CdA right now. The citizens have been ignored, disrespected and abused.  We don’t trust our city. Now, suddenly, comes a visioning exercise? Is this an move to soften the damages done by the McEuen fiasco in preparation for this November’s City election where Mayor Bloem, Deanna Goodlander, Mike Kennedy and Woody McEvers will have to face the voters? More here.

Question: Do you see value in participating in an effort to envision Coeur d'Alene's future?

AM Headlines — 1.30.13

On his Facebook page, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., entitles this photo, “Horsing Around.” Robin writes: “A pair of horses engage in little horseplay in their pasture at a small farm near Roseburg, Ore., on Tuesday.” You can see more of Robin's outdoors photography here.

Poll: Trustee Regan Should Resign

  • Tuesday Poll: A solid majority of Hucks Nation says appointed Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan should resign his position as a result of an insensitive, anti-Obama joke that he told at a legislative forum Saturday. 157 of 284 respondents (55.28%) took that position. 118 of 284 respondents (41.55%) said he shouldn't resign. 9 (3.17%) were undecided.
  • Today's Question: Do you support the attempt by some legislators to pass modified versions of the Luna Laws?

Snow-Covered Idaho Campus

Students walk to class near the University of Idaho Administration Building on a snow-covered day this week. (Lewiston Tribune photo)

Group Opposes Land Swap w/Buell

A group of southern Shoshone County residents is looking to overturn a controversial land swap. Forty-seven residents signed a petition requesting an investigation. The group wants the land swap to be declared null and void. The petition was sent to the Shoshone County Commission and the state attorney general. On Dec. 31, the commission voted to approve the swap 2-1 with Commissioner Larry Yergler dissenting. Outgoing Commissioners Vince Rinaldi and Jon Cantamessa voted to approve the deal, which transferred 40 acres of land to (long-time Benewah County Commissioner) Jack Buell (pictured) in exchange for another 40 acres. St. Joe River Valley residents came to a Dec. 24 meeting with the then-commissioners to request that the land swap be postponed. The 40-acre swap included a former county dump, half-acre in size, surrounded by land owned by Buell located east of Calder. That land was swapped for what the petitioners say is steep logged-over land that is unusable and fairly inaccessible/Caleb Soptelean, Shoshone News Press. More here.

Question: Does it sound as though the residents have a legitimate complaint?

Sheriff, Tribe Discuss Agreement

Sheriff Dave Resser (pictured) met with Coeur d'Alene tribal officials recently to discuss changes to the cross-deputization agreement between Benewah County and tribal police. Sheriff Resser plans to add two changes to the current agreement, instituted by former Sheriff Bob Kirts. Tribal officers acting as county deputies will use the county frequency for radio communication. Second, the tribal police will share reports generated about an incident in which the county is involved. Sheriff Resser, who was elected in November, campaigned on making the changes to the cross-deputization agreement with the tribe. Sheriff Resser said he was pleased with the meeting with tribal leaders. “We discussed our views and I mentioned that law enforcement doesn’t need to be politically motivated,” he said. “Our goal is public safety, regardless of the politics”/Mary Orr, St. Maries Gazette Record. More here. (St. Maries Gazette Record file photo)

Question: Am I right in thinking that the new Benewah County sheriff may be ushering in a new era of cooperation with the tribe? Are is it too soon to be optimistic?

Task Force: Regan Apology Falls Short

Kootenai County human rights leaders stopped short of calling for Brent Regan's resignation, asking instead for a broader apology from the Coeur d'Alene school board member, and urging the public to support the school district's upcoming maintenance and operations levy. Tony Stewart and Norm Gissel, founding members of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, and task force board president Christie Wood met with members of the media Tuesday at the Human Rights Education Institute and issued a statement denouncing a comment made by Regan (pictured) last weekend when he participated in a public forum in Post Falls. “We cannot remain silent when a public official uses language to degrade and ridicule, whether it be made from ignorance or insensitivity, the ancestry of any person including the president,” Stewart said, in a prepared statement on behalf of the task force's executive committee/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

DFO: If you don't think racism is alive in Kootenai County (and possibly more mainstream than it was during the 1980s), read the comments thread under the Coeur d'Alene Press story above.

Question: Do you expect anything more from Trustee Brent Regan or the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Rights?

Trib: Idaho Doesn’t Always Rank Last

Whenever the states are ranked, Idaho sinks to the bottom - with one notable exception. Idaho pays its state lawmakers $16, 116 a year - plus $122 a day in expense money every day the Legislature is in session. There's state health insurance for those who want it and a state pension that can become quite lucrative for the legislative veteran who ends his career at a high-paying state administrative post. So when it comes to legislative compensation, Idaho scores fairly well. Last summer, the Spokesman-Review reported the Gem State scored 28th among 42 states that pay annual compensation. That puts Idaho lawmakers ahead of their colleagues in Arkansas ($15,362), Maine ($13,526), Mississippi ($10,000), Nebraska ($12,000), North Carolina ($13,951), Rhode Island ($13,089), South Carolina ($10,400), South Dakota ($12,000), Texas ($7,200), as well as New Mexico (nothing) and New Hampshire ($100). Idaho comes in behind Washington, where lawmakers earn $42,106, and Oregon, which pays $21,612/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you think compensation for Idaho legislators is too much/too little/just right?

IEA Blasts Son Of Luna Laws Bills

A second round of bills, modeled after the defeated Proposition 1, amount to another round of “teacher attacks,” according to the Idaho Education Association. On Tuesday, the House Education Committee printed three bills containing elements of Proposition 1, the collective bargaining law rejected by voters on Nov. 6. This came one day after the Senate Education Committee introduced four collective bargaining bills. The next step: stakeholder meetings. Representatives of several education groups — including the IEA and the Idaho School Boards Association, which is sponsoring the bills — are slated to meet this afternoon with Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde and House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, according to an IEA news release. The IEA opposes the seven bills/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.

Question: Have you called Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, to remind him that Idaho overwhelmingly rejected these bills in concept in November?

Ex-Vandal Iupati Now Super Bowler

Atlanta Falcons' Corey Peters (91) sacks San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick (7) during the first half of the NFL football NFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 20, in Atlanta. Trying to hold up Kaepernick is 49ers' Mike Iupati. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Mike Iupati remembers carefree days playing touch rugby and hide-and-seek with his friends in the village of Vaitogi, American Samoa, only to find himself at age 14 living in the garage of a relative in Garden Grove, Calif. He knew little English and even less about football. Eleven years later, Iupati, called “a gentle giant” by center Jonathan Goodwin, is an All-Pro guard for the 49ers. In contrast to his violent, brute-force style of blocking, Iupati (6-foot-5, 331 pounds) has a cultural predisposition toward kindness and humility. “A lot of people say I have a big heart, but that’s just a part of me,” Iupati said. “I care about others, and I want them to have what I have, experience what I have now. That’s how I see it”/Jerry Mcdonald, Oakland Tribune. More here.

Question: Are you surprised former Vandal Mike Iupati is doing so well in the National Football League?

Taggart: Otter Proposal Shifts Taxes

Tom Taggart (RE: Otter plan would blow $39M hole in public school budget): I’m glad the correct information is getting out. Even some school officials didn’t understand how this would impact them. For the huge majority there would be no revenue loss, but other local taxpayers who own real property would pay it instead. This would be property tax increase for homeowners across the state. The remaining issue with this that has not received the attention it should is including what is called operating property in the repeal. This property includes railroaad rails and facilities; power lines; pipelines; etc. It is appraised by the state and the values added to taxing district values. This benefits Burlington Northern, Idaho Power, etc. This is not the same thing as a small business struggling with a very cumbersome tax. Operating property is a big percentage of the impact this would have.

Question: Are you beginning to understand that we're going to pay for Butch Otter's attempt to shift $141M in taxes from mostly big business to local taxpayers?

Vestal: A Scary Definition Of Racism

Isn’t Obama black and scary-looking? You know he’s black, right? And scary-looking, naturally. Nothing racist about pointing that out. Goes without saying. But hey – race relations are tricky and ever-changing. It can be hard to keep track of what is, and what is not, racist. Brent Regan is here to help. Regan, a member of the Coeur d’Alene school board, has recently gone public to reassure us all that it is not racist to say Obama is black and scary-looking. Nothing could be further from racist than saying Obama is – like an assault rifle – black and scary-looking. If you think it’s racist to say Obama is black and scary-looking, it might be that you’re actually a racist yourself. Regan recently made the following comment at a forum on God-given assault-rifle rights in Coeur d’Alene, referring to supporters of gun control: “My wife and I were having this conversation and I said, ‘They can’t figure out what an assault weapon is – it’s just black and it looks scary. And she looks at me and says, ‘Well, so is Obama.’ ” Ha! In addition to being hilarious, this, Regan assures us, is not racist/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: What's your definition of “racist” and “racism”?

Heller: Border Crossing

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Tuesday — 1.29.12

Two noteworthy events will take place early this afternoon. The Coeur d'Alene School Board will meet at the district's administrative building at 1:30 to discuss a disciplinary situation in executive session. A district spokeswoman has said that no discussion of the flap involving Trustee Brent Regan's anti-Obama joke is expected. A half hour earlier, the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations has scheduled a press conference to discuss Regan's remark. I'll be there to report on the presser. Now, I'll post today's Wild Card …

Update: I'm heading to HREI to attend Human Rights Task Force presser re: Regan “joke” at 1. Will be back ASAP afterward to let you know what was said.

Parting Shot — 1.29.13

On his Facebook page, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts this wonderful photo that brings up the eternal question: Why did the chicken cross the road? Posts Robin: “One of the chickens was teasing me again. I asked her why, but she didn't answer.” You can see more of Robin's outdoors photos here.

CdA Woman Grains Diet, 40 Pounds

Alicia Troye was exhausted, and her joints hurt. “Everything hurt, all the time,” she said. She was 37. Her doctor ruled out arthritis, thyroid problems and other potential causes of her fatigue and pain. Meanwhile, in an ongoing struggle to lose weight, the Coeur d’Alene woman zeroed in on gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. “I wasn’t even thinking about the pain in my hands. I was thinking, ‘Well, what if I went gluten-free? Maybe that would help me lose weight.’ ” It didn’t. But, slowly, she began to notice other changes. “I could sleep again through the night, and it wasn’t bad sleep,” Troye said. “I didn’t feel as tired – I started exercising. And the pain wasn’t there anymore”/Adrian Rogers, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever had a diet that worked?

Lakeland Bus Crashes In Garwood

Shortly before 4 p.m. today, Kootenai County deputies responded to Rimrock Road, south of Corbin Hill Road, north of Hayden, for a school bus accident. The Lakeland School District bus, which was carrying 14 children, ages 13-17, was southbound on Rimrock Rd, when it failed to negotiate a curve on the snow/icy road and slid sideways. The bus driver, Debbie Page, 58, of Otis Orchards, Wash., was couldn't control of the bus, which slid into a tree on the rear passenger area. She estimated her speed at 5 MPH prior to the collision. Two children. ages 15 and 16, who were sitting in the rear of the bus, suffered soreness but were not transported to the hospital. The Lakeland School District notified the parents of the children and another bus picked them up at the scene an finished the route. No citations have been issued yet.

PM: Dismemberment Murder Probed

The body of a homicide victim is removed from a home at 4818 N. Lincoln in Spokane today. Police were called to the home at 4:49 a.m. and found a 19-year-old male dead from a shot to the head. The suspect, 19-year-old Jeremy McVickers, has been arrested for 1st Degree Manslaughter. After shooting his friend, McVicker then tried to conceal the crime by attempting to dismember the victim's body with a hatchet. Chelsea Bannach SR story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.29.13

  • 5:14 p.m. Motorist in gold Toyota 4Runner flipping off others @ Prairie/Ramsey, Hayden.
  • 4:01 p.m. Caller reports abandoned Mazda w/b on H53/MP 6 (Idaho Road/Rathdrum).
  • 4:53 p.m. Moose hard to see, walking along H95/Chilco is hard to see.
  • 4:46 p.m. 62YO male has been hurt in a fall on Mariah Loop/Post Falls.
  • 4:45 p.m. CPD Blues are seeking 1993 white Chrysler Town & Country w/broken grill, headlight & duct tape holding passenger vent in place. It was stolen a week ago.
  • 4:41 p.m. ISP officer has caught 2 stray dogs & wants to meet animal control @ Goodies.
  • 14 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Huckleberries Blogroll — 1.29.13

Duane Rasmussen got a bit artsy-fartsy with this silhouetted photo of Congressman Raul Labrador at the townhall meeting Monday. Huckleberries appreciates offbeat local photos like this one.

Huckleberries numbers (for Monday, Jan. 28): 13,201 page-views/6639 unique views

‘30 Rock’ Going, Going …

This image released by NBC shows Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, left, and Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney in a scene from the series finale of “30 Rock,” airing Thursday on NBC. (AP Photo/NBC, Ali Goldstein)

Question: Will you be going through “30 Rock” withdrawals beginning Friday?

Pro & Con: Insurance Exchange

There's an online petition battle going on between Gov. Butch Otter and Idaho Freedom Foundation exec Wayne Hoffman. Otter wants Idahoans to sign his petitions in support of a state-run health insurance exchange. Hoffman wants Idahoans to sign his petitions against the insurance exchange. Thanks for Melissa Davlin/Twin Falls Times News, you can see the two petition by clicking on links below:

Meanwhile the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee voted to introduce Otter's bill for a state-run insurance exchange today. Click here.

Question: Do you plan to sign either of the online petitions linked above?

Otter Plan Would Hit Schools by $39M

The Senate Education Committee heard a presentation this afternoon from Alan Dornfest, property tax policy supervisor for the Idaho State Tax Commission, on the impact of a possible repeal of the personal property tax on business equipment on Idaho school districts. The upshot: With only a couple of exceptions involving two charter school districts in Lewiston and Boise with rate-based levies and for certain capped emergency levies, there would be an automatic tax shift to real property to make up the $38.6 million a year that’s now going to schools from the personal property tax on business equipment. That’s unless lawmakers opted to provide replacement funds from the state/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Still support Gov. Otter's plans to eliminate the personal property tax?

You’re It! A 23-Year Game Of Tag?

Earlier this month, Brian Dennehy started a new job as chief marketing officer of Nordstrom Inc. In his first week, he pulled aside a colleague to ask a question: How hard it is for a nonemployee to enter the building? Mr. Dennehy doesn't have a particular interest in corporate security. He just doesn't want to be “It.” Mr. Dennehy and nine of his friends have spent the past 23 years locked in a game of “Tag.” It started in high school when they spent their morning break darting around the campus of Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Wash. Then they moved on—to college, careers, families and new cities. But because of a reunion, a contract and someone's unusual idea to stay in touch, tag keeps pulling them closer. Much closer/Russell Adams, Wall Street Journal. More here.

Question: When did you last play a game of tag?

Stewart: Back Levy, Don’t Punish Kids

In this Coeur d'Alene School District Web site photo, Trustee Brent Regan is sworn in during a meeting of the Coeur d'Alene School Board in December. Regan ignited a firestorm by telling an insensitive anti-Obama joke at a legislative forum in Post Falls Saturday.

The executive board of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations called on the public today to support the two-year maintenance and operation levy this spring — and not punish the Coeur d'Alene School District for an anti-Obama racial comment made by school Trustee Brent Regan Saturday. During a press conference this afternoon re: Regan's “joke” at a legislative forum in Post Falls, Tony Stewart, secretary of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, said: “We're 100 percent” in support of the levy,” including the $1.4 million during the first year to upgrade security at district schools. “We should never punish children for what a public official may say.” On March 12, the Coeur d’Alene School District will ask voters to consider approving a two-year levy of $12.9M with an additional $1.4M in the first year for enhancing building security and safety at all our school buildings.  The current $12.9M M&O levy expires in June 2013. More about levy here.

Question: Have you heard anyone say that they won't support the Coeur d'Alene School District levy as a result of the racial “joke” told by Trustee Brent Regan?

Gissel Seeks Views Of Other Trustees

Norm Gissel, a long-time leader in the local human rights movement and an attorney that helped bankrupt the Aryan Nations, called on the four other members of the Coeur d'Alene School Board “to publicly express their own views regarding the recent public comments by their fellow trustee.” In a short, prepared statement, Gissel noted that he has served on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees and on the board of the Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy. Said Gissel: “Serving a public education institution as a trustee is serious business heretofore reserved for serious people. School District 271 trustees have wanted our attention for some time. Now they have it.” Gissel's complete statement here. (2010 SR file photo of Norm Gissel, with Tony Stewart in the background)

Question: Do you want the four other trustees of the Coeur d'Alene School Board — Chairman Tom Hamilton, Ann Seddon, James Hightower and Terri Seymour — to make their views on Trustee Brent Regan's racial “joke” about President Obama known?

Task Force Condemns Trustee’s ‘Joke’

Moments ago, the executive committee Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations condemned a possible “racist” joke told by appointed Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan at a legislative forum in Post Falls Saturday. Task force President Christie Wood and long-time human-rights leaders Tony Stewart and Norm Gissel said Regan presented the group's official statement, saying in part:

“We cannot remain silent when a public official uses language to degrade and ridicule, whether it be made from ignorance or insensitivity, the ancestry of of any person including the President. Such a display of disrespect and intolerance flies in the face of America's democratic principles of equality, fairness and respect for our cherished differences as Americans.” Full executive committee statement here.

Later, during a question-and-answer period with the press at the Human Rights Education Institute, Stewart was asked about the apology made by Reagan to the school administration and fellow trustees. He responded by saying that the apology didn't go far enough — that Regan needs to apologize to every student, teacher and parent of the Coeur d'Alene School District hurt by his racial joke.

Question: Is the task force right to ask that Regan apologize to students and teachers, too?

Idaho D’s Unveil Voting Rights Bills

House and Senate Democrats unveiled a five-bill package of legislation this morning aimed at enhancing voting rights, from allowing online voter registration – something they said 15 states already have – to, like most other states, adopting a “Motor Voter” law requiring voter registration materials  to be provided to anyone 18 or older who does business at the Department of Motor Vehicles. “The purpose of these bills is to ensure that every Idahoan has the opportunity to vote, and to move Idaho’s election process into the 21st Century by taking advantage of technology to improve access to the ballot while protecting the integrity of the elections,” said Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Which Idaho party do you think offers more protection to voting rights — Democrats or Republicans?

Study: Cats Kill Billions Per Year

Cats kill billions of birds every year and even more tiny rodents and other mammals in the United States, a new study finds. According to the research, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds and between 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion small mammals, such as meadow voles and chipmunks. Though it's hard to know exactly how many birds live in the United States, the staggering number of bird deaths may account for as much as 15 percent of the total bird population, said study co-author Pete Marra, an animal ecologist with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute/Tia Ghose, CBS News. More here. (SCRAPS courtesy photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: What do you have to say now about that natural born killer lurking in your house?

All Eyes On A Quarterback

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith answers a question during media day for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Tuesday in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Pat Semansky)

Question: Do you care who wins the Super Bowl?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.29.13

  • 12:19 p.m. 50YO Coeur d'Alene woman arrested as burglary suspect after being found hiding under Rubbermaid storage tub @ Driftwood/Greensferry, south of Spokane River. News release here.
  • 12:09 p.m. Firefighter says mill “50 percent involved” on Blanchard Road Cut-Across. Twin Lakes and Northern Lakes fire departments also responding to fire.
  • 12:06 p.m. Firefighter at scene of mill fire reports power line is down at site.
  • 11:54 a.m. Timberlake Fire Dept tender responding on mutual-aid call to structure fire @ 2394 Blanchard Road Cut-Across, Bonner County.
  • 11:53 a.m. Possible unattended death reported in 1800 block of E. Coeur d'Alene Avenue, PF.
  • 11:42 a.m. Coeur d'Alene police are trying to find a male who was going thru McDonalds Dumpsters.
  • 11:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 28-29 here.
  • 10:59 a.m. EMTs help ailing female back into her home @ Hilgren/Janis, Hayden.
  • 10:25 a.m. Domestic dispute reported in 2500 block of West Elm, CdA.
  • 10:19 a.m. Bank of America/Hayden rep wants officers to check disturbed individual.
  • 9:39 a.m. Undisclosed suspicious situation reported in 800 block of N17th/CdA.
  • 8:52 a.m. PFPD Blues are looking for injured male involved in a fight that left KMC this AM.
  • 8:34 a.m. ISP officer reports sitting through malfunctioning traffic light on H95 thru 4 cycles.
  • 8:14 a.m. Hayden female calls off responding firefighters, stating that smoke in garage probably was result of exhaust from husband's car that was running near a garage vent.

Poll: Regan ‘Anti-Obama’ Joke Wrong

  • Monday Poll: Overwhelming, Hucks Nation said that the anti-Obama joke told by appointed Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan at a legislative forum in Post Falls Saturday was inappropriate. When asked if Regan's joke was appropriate, 183 of 328 respondents (55.79%) said “hell no,” and another 75 of 328 respondents (22.87%) said simply no — for a total percentage of 78.6% on that side. Only 67 of 328 respondents (20.43%) said the joke was appropriate.
  • Today's Poll: Would you like to see appointed Coeur d'Alene School Trustee Brent Regan resign as a result of his insensitive anti-Obama 'joke'?

A Closer View of Brent Regan

YouTube Video of Brent Regan speaking to Tea Party of North Idaho gathering on June 14, 2009.

I hadn't paid much attention to Brent Regan before the recent flap involving his insensitive, anti-Obama “joke” at the legislative forum in Post Falls. I knew that he'd spoken at a Tea Party event a few years ago because I've seen a photo of him leaving the speaker's lecturn. Also, I know that he's an activist who took to the streets to demonstrate against Kootenai County's proposed Unified Land Use Building Code and that he subscribes to the idea that the county is in danger of embracing planning concepts fostered by the United Nations (Agenda 21). Click here. Obviously, he's intelligent. A Google of his name provides this information re: his remarkable engineering work via Regan Designs. Click here. Here's what is said about him from his trustee profile on the Coeur d'Alene School Board Web site: “Brent understands that education is of paramount importance to our future prosperity. His experience as a job creator gives him a clear understanding of what knowledge and skills our children will need to be successful and happy in a changing world.”

Question: Obviously, Brent Regan is a brilliant individual. And has something to offer the Coeur d'Alene School District in terms of his vast engineering experience. But I consider his political activism while holding a nonpartisan position to be bothersome. What do you think?

AM: Labrador Speaks @ CdA Townhall

Richard Pfenneger, a military veteran who recently spoke to the North Idaho Pachyderm Club about Agent Orange, asks Congressman Raul Labrador a question during the townhall meeting at the Coeur d'Alene Library Monday night. Pfenneger is concerned about the lingering effects of Agent Orange on other Veterans. (Duane Rasmussen photo special for Huckleberries Online)

Joker: To Forgive Regan Is Divine

Joker: As an active participant in the virtual lynch mob for Brent Regan’s head yesterday, his explanation should give everybody pause to stop and think. Do we condemn the man no matter what he says after the fact? Yes that is the easy thing to do. We can take the cynical point of view that he’s only saving this to save face or to salvage his political career. We can dismiss his apologies as fake. We can scream at the top of our lungs that this man is a racist pig. Or we can stop and take a different path. We can realize that perhaps his comments were born out of ignorance instead of hatred. We can realize that perhaps this man has never encountered people of different races. Or that it never occurred to him that his words could actually hurt people. I am not sure Regan is truly sorry, but I am convinced he learned that racist jokes hurt. And that’s a start. More here.

Question: Joker brings up a good point: “Do we condemn the man no matter what he says after the fact?”

Goedde Pushing Revival Of Luna Laws

From Kestrel-West Morning Memo:

When the governor's education task force said 'no labor issues' it opened the door for the Legislature to act. And act they did. Yesterday Idaho School Boards Association Director Karen Echeverria introduced four of seven labor-related bills to the Senate Education Committee. Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, acknowledged the challenge of resurrecting ideas rejected by voters. But he also questioned the merits of doing nothing to improve the public school system.  “I don't think anyone believes the status quo is where we need to stay with schools.” Click here. Boise Sen. Branden Durst aggressively questioned Echeverria during the bill introduction, but saved his most biting words for Twitter. Here's one of several Tweets he sent during the committee hearing: “It seems to me that if the ISBA is only doing the bidding of its locally elected school boards, then we need to change those school boards.”

Question: Who do you trust more to decide what's best for Idaho schools — the voters or Sen. Goedde, who was one of the key sympathizers of the voter-rejected Luna Laws?

Labrador Not Upset By Gun Proposals

A protester stands at the back of a capacity town-hall crowd to hear Congressman Raul Labrador in the Coeur d'Alene Library Monday night. (Duane Rasmussen photo special to Huckleberries)

At a town-hall meeting in the Coeur d'Alene Library Monday, Congressman Raul Labrador appeared to agree with gun restrictions proposed in executive orders by President Barack Obama:

“I was waiting for one of (the administration's proposals) to be really objectionable,” he said. “None of them were really that strong.” The administration has come up with several proposed executive and legislative actions to limit access to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and improve background checks for gun purchases. “I read them, and they're all pretty much duds,” Labrador said. “They're things that should be happening.” For example, he said, if somebody lies on their application, they should be prosecuted. At the same time, he said, “We already have enough laws on guns; we should do what we need to do to enforce those laws.” More from Coeur d'Alene Press here.

Question: So if a conservative like Raul Labrador isn't hot & bothered re: President Obama's proposed new gun restrictions, why are so many of his followers upset?

Adamsfly: Not Buying Ap-hollow-gy

Adamsfly: I am glad regan apologized to the lady who called, but I could care less about his apology to the school board. What about an apology to all of the citizens of North Idaho, thousands who have worked for years to get rid of the stigma of us being a haven for Aryan’s and Nazi’s. People like Norm Gissel, Tony Stewart and even our own DFO worked for years to drive them out. But regan’s “innocent joke” threw that stigma back into our laps. I don’t feel his apology is credible and I don’t believe he is to be trusted or believed. He is just trying to save a seat on the school board IMHO.

Question: Do you think Regan's apology was sincere? Or simply an attempt to defuse the fire storm launched by his offensive comment re: President Obama?

GOP Solons Bringing Back Luna Laws

The House Education Committee has voted 12-3 along party lines to introduce legislation reinstating two more provisions from the voter-rejected Proposition 1: Requiring that teacher contract negotiations be conducted in public, and allowing school districts to unilaterally impose contract terms if an agreement isn’t reached in negotiations with local teachers unions by a June 10 deadline. The panel's three Democrats opposed the move. Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, (pictured) said, “It bothers me that this particular bill was basically on the ballot and our constituents, voters spoke about this. I don’t think I had a real problem with the public negotiations. But it seems to me that when you’re negotiating and one side can enforce the last best offer at a given point, it kind of puts all the marbles on that person’s side”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: In most other states, legislators who continue to flirt with voter-rejected law would be run out of office. In this state, Republican lawmakers can ignore the clear-cut will of the people and get re-elected handily. So is there anything to do about the chutzpah of Republican legislators who are bringing back the Luna Laws — other than shake our fists and gnash our teeth?

Task Force To Condemn Trustee ‘Joke’

  • Originally published at 1:59 p.m. Monday

Huckleberries has learned … that the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations will hold press conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday to condemn the offensive anti-Obama “joke” made by School Trustee Brent Regan at a legislative forum Saturday. The press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Human Rights Education Institute building, Northwest Boulevard and Garden. Tony Stewart (pictured in SR file photo), secretary of the task force, issued this brief statement moments ago re: subject of the press conference: “Addressing a disturbing public statement regarding racism attributed to a member of the Coeur d’Alene School Board made last Saturday at a town hall meeting of Idaho State Legislatures. The KCTFHR Board will issue a formal statement and take questions from the media.”

Question: How will Regan's apology change the tenor of the task force press conference this afternoon?

Regan Regrets ‘Racist’ Comment

Brent Regan (pictured) says he never intended to hurt anyone with a comment, perceived by many to be racist, that he made about President Barack Obama during a legislative forum Saturday in Post Falls. Regan, the Coeur d’Alene School District’s newest trustee, contributed to a discussion about federal gun control measures being explored by the Obama Administration. During the meeting attended by eight state legislators and more than 100 citizens, Regan said that no clear definition of “assault” rifles exists, and then shared part of a conversation he’d had with his wife on the subject: “I said, 'They can't figure out what an assault weapon is — it's just black and it looks scary.' And she looks at me and says, 'Well, so is Obama.'” Regan’s words, published by The Press Sunday in a story about the forum, elicited a flurry of comments on The Press website and other online venues. Some comment posters defended Regan, but many criticized the school board member, some calling for his resignation/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Is this the beginning of the end of the controversy triggered by the offensive anti-Obama statement made by Coeur d'Alene School Trustee Brent Regan at a legislative forum?

Wanted: Your View Of Lake City

Photographer Jerome A. Pollos of the Coeur d'Alene Press snapped this photo of McEuen Field last May. McEuen, of course, is undergoing a total overhaul, which should be complete by this fall.

What would you like Coeur d'Alene to look like in 2030? Backing up a bit, would you be willing to begin that discussion? That's what the city of Coeur d'Alene wants to know - whether the community would be interested in sitting down at the planning table to envision how Coeur d'Alene should look by 2030. Growth may be inevitable, so what should be emphasized or promoted? What should be avoided? And is the timing even right to launch such a discussion? Many questions - with as many answers. “It definitely is an opportunity for people, who might disagree on some items, to sit down and talk about what they want for the future of Coeur d'Alene,” said Mike Gridley, city attorney who pitched the idea after visiting Bend, Ore., where the “Bend 2030” vision was adopted in 2005. “The more inclusive this process is, the better. It will fail if it's not a broad, inclusive process”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: What would you like to see in Coeur d'Alene by 2030, that isn't planned now?

Poe’s ‘Raven’ Published On This Date

For those keeping score at home, Edgar Allen Poe's “The Raven” was published on this date in 1845 by the New York Daily Mirror. According to Wikipedia:

The Raven” is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow fall into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem makes use of a number of folk and classical references. More from Wikipedia here.

Question: Do you have a favorite poem?

Boy Scouts Anger Religious Right

It seems not everyone is pleased by the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) decision to re-consider its controversial ban on gay participants. A number of conservative pundits were quick to condemn the BSA's Jan. 28 announcement. The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, whose anti-gay declarations have become a near-weekly staple of his “Focal Point” radio show, minced no words on Twitter: “Jerry Sandusky is now the poster boy for the Boy Scouts of America.” Others were perhaps less inflammatory but nonetheless firm in their opposition. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, told USA Today that a policy change would be “nothing less than disastrous” for the scouting organization/Huffington Post. More here. (SR file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: How do you think this controversy will play out?

Heller: Funny Boom Boom

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Monday — 1.28.13

I'm still trying to recover from last night's episode of that delicious British soap opera, “Downton Abbey.” I won't spoil anything for those of you who didn't see the episode. But I'll say that it's been a long time since I was surprised by such a twist of the script. I don't blame anything on Lord Grantham. It's the script writers fault, I tell you. Now to re-play the Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.28.13

Birds roost on the rifle portion of a Benjamin Milam statute at dusk today in San Antonio, Texas. Milam was leading figure in the Texas Revolution. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AdamsFly: Mad Patrons Meet Tonight

AdamsFly: I just received a call and there is meeting tonight involving several people in the community about this subject. From what I heard is that the subject of said meeting is to sabotage the upcoming levy unless regan is asked to resign or is forced out. I told the caller that I couldn’t support any movement against the levy because of the kids, but I honestly think a ground swell is starting because of the actions of this school board and our superintendent.

DFO: I would absolutlely hate to see the controversy swirling around appointed Trustee Brent Regan to hurt this spring's levy election in Coeur d'Alene.

Question: Do you expect the community hold the spring school levy hostage over Trustee Regan's offensive comment re: President Barack Obama?

Malek: More Killed With Hammers

I apologize for ignoring other interesting comments made by Brent Regan and Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene, (pictured) at the legislative forum in Post Falls Saturday. Again, Huckleberries defers to the report by David Cole/Coeur d'Alene Press:

Brent Regan, a Coeur d'Alene School District board member, told the legislators and audience that gun rights are God-given, and that many gun owners take that to heart. Malek assured Regan he's already seen three pieces of legislation being developed to protect gun rights.”What is a mental health issue has become a gun issue, and that's just not right,” Malek said. “It's just a reaction that has nothing to do with the cause of what we were seeing (with recent mass shootings).” Malek added, “More people are killed with hammers than they are with assault rifles in the United States, but for some reason we're going after assault rifles.” More here.

  • Coeur d'Alene Press Web site now has recording of Trustee Brent Regan's comment at the top of story about Saturday legislative meeting. Click here.

Question: Are hammers as deadly as assault weapons?

PM Scanner Traffic - 1.28.13

  • 5:49 p.m. Female complaining of chest pain from single-car crash @ w/b I-90/MP 4, Post Falls.
  • 5:25 p.m. EMTs en route to ailing 98YO female in 3800 block of East Garwood.
  • 5:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 27-28 here.
  • 4:53 p.m. Female in 15000 block of Meyer/Rathdrum has taken overdose of Tylenol.
  • 4:52 p.m. Ambulance transporting patient from Arrowhead/CdA to Hospice care.
  • 4:47 p.m. ISP officers want I-90 readerboards to alert drivers of slick conditions.
  • 12 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link.

Boy Scouts Retreat From Gay Stand

A statue of a Boy Scout stands in front of the National Scouting Museum today in Irving, Texas. The Boy Scouts of America announced it is considering a dramatic retreat from its controversial policy of excluding gays as leaders and youth members. Story here. (AP Photo/LM Otero)


Goedde: Pay Cuts Beat Layoffs

Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, said he backs new legislation allowing school boards to cut the salaries of experienced teachers because it beats laying off teachers. “When you’re given X number of dollars to employ teachers, either you employ less teachers and increase class size,” or reduce salaries, he said. “To me, from the standpoint of the students, it’s best to have a stable classroom.” Asked if he expects more cuts in school funding in Idaho like the unprecedented cuts of the past few years, Goedde said yes – particularly if federal funding is cut as part of national deficit reduction efforts/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Can any good thing come out of the Idaho Legislature when it comes to public school support?

Reagan Repubs: Obama No MLK Jr.

In the latest newsletter of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, Jeff Ward, president of the Idaho Federation of Reagan Republcans, writes:

Last week, it was ironic that on the day set aside to honor a black man who lived and sacrificed for the civil rights of all Americans, the first black man to be President was inaugurated with an agenda that is a wholesale assault on the civil rights of all Americans. We celebrate Martin Luther King Day not only in tribute to Reverend King but to honor all those who lived and gave their lives that all Americans would know the God-given freedoms protected in the Bill of Rights.  Yet today those freedoms are endangered by the man who took office by while swearing to uphold our Constitution. More here.

Question: Do you think President Barack Obama threatens our civil rights?

Son Of Luna Laws Makes Appearance

Four new bills proposed by the Idaho School Boards Association were introduced on party-line votes this afternoon in the Senate Education Committee to roll back collective bargaining rights for Idaho teachers, echoing some of the provisions in the voter-repealed Proposition 1. On all four, the panel's two Democrats, Sens. Branden Durst and Cherie Buckner-Webb of Boise, cast the only “no” votes. “They’re all toned-down parts of what we saw in Students Come First,” said Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, who said he supports the measures/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: Will the legislators get away with passing a scaled-down version of the Luna Laws?

SR Blogs — 1.28.13

Paul Turner of The Slice blog suh-wears he hasn't eaten a marijuana brownie in 30 years. But he's wondering if the Food section of the SR should publish a recipe for them — now that pot is legal in Washington. However, he says, there may need to be a disclaimer for Idaho readers. More here. (Photo:

Question: Have you ever munched on a marijuana brownie, accidentally or on purpose?

Hamilton Responds To Regan Flap

In response to the controversy that's engulfing Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan, School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton just made the following statement in the Huckleberries comment section:

Individual Board members can never speak for the Board as a whole. Mr. Regan speaks only for himself. His comments are reflective neither of the Board of Trustees nor of Coeur d’Alene School District 271. Our Board’s focus is on the betterment of our school district; anything the distracts from our mission of providing great teaching and learning to our students is unfortunate — Tom Hamilton.

Question: Will the entire School Board be caught up in this hubbub re: Regan, if it doesn't take a stand against his comment?

Cutline Contest — 1.28.13

An elderly man walks holding an umbrella, during a snowfall, back dropped by a large poster in Bucharest, Romania, Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

News Quiz Offers Movies, Gift Card

Who's up for some free movie tickets? If you take a crack at this week's news quiz, you and a guest could be going to an area cinema on us. And if you finish atop the leaderboard, a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel could be yours. Good luck! You can take the News Quiz here.

  • Last week's winners: Jen Hamilton of Spokane ($50 gift card), Steve Goodmansen of Post Falls (movie tickets) and Albert Root of Spokane (EWU basketball tickets).

School Board To Meet Tuesday

IdahoGirl78 comments: “While I appreciate his explanation, I have to wonder where his apology to his constituents is. Mr. Regan does not show one bit of remorse for his comment, nor does he admit it was inappropriate. It looks like the School Board is having a special meeting tomorrow (29th) at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the following in Executive Session (in District Administration Office, 310 E10th, CdA). Click here. The agenda was posted on January 25th, which was before Mr. Regan made his comments but I have to wonder if they will address his comments at the meeting.”

Question: Should the Coeur d'Alene School Board take any action re: Regan's statement?

Knerl: Banff Festival Just The Ticket

Kim Knerl: Did anyone happen to make it over to the Kroc Center last night for the Banff Mountain Film Festival? One of the short films on Sunday’s agenda was a story about two young Australians who made a trip, unsupported, from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back, traveling on skis while pulling sleds. It was an amazing documentary! Click here. The Banff Mountain Film Festival continues again tonight, with a completely different line-up. If you were not fortunate enough to get tickets to this sold out show, there were a few people with extras available outside the theatre last night, so you may get lucky if you head over to the Kroc Center around 5 pm. (Photo from Crossing the Ice video at Banff Film Festival)

Question: Anyone else out there see the Banff Mountain Film Festival last night? Or plan to see it tonight?

Regan: ‘I Am Not A Racist’

Coeur d'Alene School Trustee Brent Regan (pictured) has issued the following statement to a school district patron who criticized his anti-Obama joke at a legislative forum Saturday. The patron's criticism, Regan's response, and an editorial on racism by Regan are now online at the Coeur d'Alene Press site:

Brent Regan (to school constituent): “Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I assure you I am not a racist, as people who know me will confirm. I am sure that if we got to know each other that you would also come to that conclusion. I believe that people should be judged by their actions and then their words but absolutely never by their race. This is the opposite of racism. I also believe a person is responsible for what they say, but not what others chose to infer from those words. Your suspicions of my narrow mindedness are unfounded as I rigorously encourage the consideration of all viewpoints in an attempt to craft a solution that is the best fit for a given situation. Prior to making my comments at the meeting I made a clear statement that I was participating as an individual, not as a Trustee, specifically to insulate others from my comments. It is unfortunate that was not also quoted as I would not presume to speak for others unless specifically directed to do so. More here.


Kerri: He Called Me ‘Doll’

On her Facebook page, Kerri Thoreson reports: “So this morning I talked live on the air to Dennis Miller during his syndicated radio show. Best part? He called me “doll.” I don't know why Kerri was on Miller's show. Or why he called her “doll.” But this does raise a question:

Question: Do you know someone who uses old-time familiar terms like “doll,” “sweetheart,” etc., to refer to others including strangers?

Sitting Geese

On her Facebook page, Kerri Thoreson writes: “More Canada geese grazing in the snow at Independence Point this morning in downtown Coeur d'Alene.”

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.28.13

  • 11:57 a.m. A little girl who got in trouble at home this AM is hiding in one of the Hayden schools.
  • 11:47 a.m. A dodge Dakota has crashed w/a Nissan in Macy's lot/Silverlake Mall.
  • 11:34 a.m. Deputy reports that car suppose to be in Hauser Lake is actually over an embankment but not in the water. Officer reports a tow truck needed to pull vehicle back to road.
  • 11:01 a.m. Red Audi with Montana plates passed 4 vehicles w/low visibility on H95/Dufort Road.
  • 10:47 a.m. Someone has been injured in a fall @ Fairmont/Lakeview, CdA.
  • 10:12 a.m. PFPD Blue reports slideoff involving blue GMC Saturn @ McGuire/Poleline, Post Falls.
  • 10:08 a.m. 2 people are in a vehicle stuck in a ditch south of Greyhound Park, Post Falls.
  • 9:47 a.m. Days Inn rep wants to know what to do w/personal possessions in a pickup owned by a former male guest who was taken into custody by CPD Blues.
  • 9:42 a.m. 2 deputies ask dispatcher to contact owner of mountain bike that they have found.
  • 9:29 a.m. Addis Health on Ironwood/CdA reports that worker who appeared to fall through roof on a construction project nearby seems to be okay.
  • 9:16 a.m. Caller reports vandalism to property in 800 block of N4th/CdA.
  • 9:15 a.m. CdA caller is concerned re: welfare of elderly neighbot b/c newspapers are piling up.
  • 9:02 a.m. Todd reports to CPD Blue that he's hit a fire hydrant @ 301 N1st/CdA. Hydrant OK.

Iranians Imprison Boise Pastor

A Boise pastor imprisoned in Iran for his religious beliefs has been sentenced to eight years behind bars, multiple sources including the U.S. State Department confirmed Sunday. About three years ago, after being arrested in his native Iran, Pastor Saeed Abedini agreed to no longer do missionary work there. He returned nine times to conduct non-religious, humanitarian work. Most recently, Abedini traveled to Iran last Summer to help build an orphanage. However, on that trip he was arrested by Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Family, friends, and supporters of Abedini were on pins and needles this week, waiting for the results of his trial in Iran. He's accused of threatening that nation's security with his previous missionary work/Justin Corr, KTVB. More here.

Question: Should the federal government get involved in this situation?

New Credit Card Fee Begins Today

Starting today, merchants who accept credit cards issued by Visa and MasterCard will be allowed to add a service charge to the purchase price. Visa and MasterCard had always prohibited merchants from doing this. They agreed to change the rules and allow the surcharge as part of the settlement of an antitrust suit brought by retailers.  The surcharge is supposed to equal the actual cost of processing the credit card transaction, which is typically 1.5 to 3 percent. Under the agreement, the fee is capped at 4 percent. The surcharge can vary based on the type of card. For example, it could be higher for a rewards card or premier card. Merchants still cannot add a surcharge to debit card transactions/KHQ, NBC News. More here.

Question: I generally use my credit card as a debit card, so I dodged this bullet. How about you?

AM Headlines — 1.28.13

Pocatello Police Sgt. Ralph Daniels, who supervises the School Resource Officers (SROs) on the force, shows off one of the gun safes that would be placed inside each of the high schools and middle schools in the Gate City last week. Officers would keep semi-automatic police issue rifles inside the safes in case of an emergency. School officers already carry sidearms. (AP/Idaho State Journal photo: Michael O'Donnell)

Souza Defends Regan’s Obama Jab

Mary Souza of is fully engaged in damage control for Coeur d'Alene School Trustee Brent Regan, whom she describes as “a very smart conservative and … the newest member of the CdA School Board, which puts him directly in the crosshairs of many at the Teachers Union and the (Coeur d'Alene) Press. Souza claims that the Press went out of its way to paint Regan as a racist for his comments at the legislative forum in Post Falls Saturday comparing President Obama to an assault rifle. Quoth Mary: ” Brent relayed a personal story about a comment his wife made, which he deemed to be humorous, and the Press went all out to make look racist.  He is not.  But the Union wants to paint everyone on the current conservative School Board as being radical, racist, hicks-from-the-sticks.” Actually, Press reporter David Cole mentioned Regan's comment at the bottom of a long story about the legislative forum. If anything, Cole went out of his way not to highlight the quote. You can read the rest of Mary's spin here.


Poll: Supermajority Backs Cursive

  • Weekend Poll: Hucks Nation solidly supports teaching cursive writing in Idaho schools. 145 of 219 respondents (66.21%) took that position. Only 64 of 219 respondents (29.22%) opposed cursive. 10 (4.57%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you think Coeur d'Alene School Trustee Brent Regan's anti-Obama comment at the legislative forum was appropriate?

Trustee’s Anti-Obama Joke Falls Flat

Last fall, Brent Regan (middle) is interviewed by a Coeur d'Alene Press reporter during a demonstration by United Conservatives of North Idaho, near the Kootenai County Courthouse, against the proposed Unified Land Use Code.

A forum involving 8 Kootenai County legislators Saturday in Post Falls prompted an exchange between freshman Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene, and Coeur d'Alene School District Trustee Brent Regan that's caused a buzz on the local blogosphere re: gun rights:

Regan, responding to Malek, said he hasn't heard a concise definition of an “assault” weapon or rifle. He said the legislature could help define what an assault weapon is to preserve rights of gun owners. Then, Regan added, to some shocked and uncomfortable laughter and rumblings in the audience, “My wife and I were having this conversation and I said, 'They can't figure out what an assault weapon is — it's just black and it looks scary.' And she looks at me and says, 'Well, so is Obama.'”

Question: On the Coeur d'Alene Press Web site (see link above), commenters are arguing re: the appropriateness of Regan's comment about President Obama. What do you think?


Incident w/Armed Man Upsets Solons

The intrusion of an armed open-carry advocate who blended in with an evening Cub Scout tour of the Idaho House and then used the opportunity to rifle through lawmakers desks in the House chamber, go through trash cans and photograph papers has state lawmakers considering tougher security measures in the state Capitol, Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports. “Events like that should disturb all Idahoans,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. “It certainly disturbed me.” You can see Popkey’s full report here, including a link to video of the incident.

Question: Can you believe that guns of all kinds are allowed at the Idaho Capitol?

Should Sheriff Decide What’s Legal?

The Lewiston Tribune points out the problem of some local sheriffs who have declared they won't enforce gun restrictions being handed down by the Obama administration:

Once a cop gets it in his head that he's all-knowing, it's not too long before he's all-powerful. Today it's willful violation of an unpopular federal gun law. Tomorrow, it could be ignoring parking tickets. Or drugs. Or bribery. In a culture so suspicious of centralized authority, why would we want someone with a badge and a gun be allowed to declare what the law says and who must follow it?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you want to know whether your sheriff will enforce gun restrictions handed down by the federal government?

IACI Can’t Whack Moles Fast Enough

Pity poor Alex LeBeau. President of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, LeBeau must feel like he's playing a game of Whac-A-Mole. Every time LeBeau attempts to whack away at the $141 million in personal property taxes businesses pay on equipment, another mole pops up. First, the Idaho Tax Commission outlined how repeal would inflict carnage upon Idaho's counties, cities and schools. Some would be annihilated. Caribou County, for instance, would lose 43 percent of its tax base. The city of Plummer would forfeit nearly 46 percent. No school would be hurt more than Dietrich, which would lose nearly 52 percent. Just as IACI was swinging the mallet, up popped another mole: Providing total tax relief for 90 percent of Idaho's businesses - those with no more than $100,000 of personal property in each of Idaho's 44 counties - is getting cheaper. At first, the price tag was $21.5 million. Now it's down to only $18.7 million. Whack, whack/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Have you ever played Whac-A-Mole?

Forum Focuses On Guns, Obamacare

Freshman Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene, speaks to more than 100 people who gathered for a legislative forum at the Post Falls American Legion Post 143 Saturday. Other legislators in attendance were, from left, Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Coeur d'Alene, Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, Malek, and Rep. Ed More, R-Hayden. (Duane Rasmussen photo special for Huckleberries)

In the absence of active legislation in Boise, the conversation Saturday zeroed in on President Barack Obama's health-care reform legislation and a recent package of legislation and executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence. Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, said, “I'm sure most of you here are concerned about the two primary issues that we're dealing with, foisted upon us by the federal government - gun control and this state exchange.” He said those are two of the most defining issues the Idaho Legislature will deal with in the next two years/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you conside Obamacare and federal gun control laws to be the two most important issues before the Idaho Legislature this year?

Study: Good Sleep Improves Memory

A new study in the journal Nature Neuroscience suggests that changes in the brain, which naturally occur over time, may interfere with sleep quality.  This, in turn, inhibits the brain’s ability to store long-term memories, the New York Times reported. Previous research found that the part of the brain behind the forehead – the prefrontal cortex – may lose volume as you age.  This part of the brain aids in sleep quality, which is crucial for blending new memories together. The research, conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, may answer the age-old question of why you lose memory as you age/FoxNews. More here.

Question: How good is your memory?

Legislative Service Has Its Benefits

Let's face it. Idaho state legislators collect a meager salary for their marathon three-month sessions. Legislators look forward to $16,438 a year, according to the Citizens' Committee on Legislative Compensation. But that's not to say a legislator's compensation isn't competitive. A generous insurance plan and potentially impressive pension accompany election to a state legislative seat. Many agree the benefits package beats what's found in the private sector. Opinions vary on whether that alone can inspire individuals to start campaigning. “I didn't run knowing that there were those kind of benefits. I ran because I thought it was an honor to serve,” said former Coeur d'Alene Sen. Mike Jorgenson. “Once you get in there and find out this is going on, I'd say there are people who use it for their maximum benefit.” A Nice Perk/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Are legisltor's compensated — too well/not too well/just right?

Sheriff Defends Right To Miss Rally

An Athol gun lover gave new Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger a razzberry for not attending that Second Amendment rally in Coeur d’Alene on Jan. 19. In a letter to the Coeur d’Alene Press, Michael Alexander said: “Where were you? Do you not support the Constitution which you were sworn to uphold?” On Thursday, Wolfinger provided a measured response. Of the proposals laid out by President Barack Obama to rein in gun violence, Wolfinger said: “Personally, I oppose many of them and will watch and see if the courts rule on the constitutionality of them. However, some of the proposals I don’t disagree with.” Wolfinger supports expanding background checks for firearms sales and keeping firearms out of the hands of “the wrong people,” like the mentally ill and convicted felons. Anything short of total agreement with the National Rifle Association, of course, will fail to appease gun activists. However, 68 percent of my Huckleberries blog ( readers agreed with Wolfinger’s decision to stay clear of the rally/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.


Anderson: The Patriot

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Weekend Wild Card — 1.26-27.13

We're a week from Groundhog's Day and what I call the end to “Hard Winter.” I figure Hard Winter lasts from my birthday (Nov. 20) to my Dad's birthday (Feb. 2). Before and afterward, we have to deal with the shoulder seasons. The tail end of fall. And the beginning of spring. For me, the official end to winter happens when the first pitch of a Major League Baseball spring training game is thrown. (For those keeping score at home, I haven't put studs on my cars for 3 of the last 4 winters — not that they were needed at all for the last two mild ones). Enjoy yourselves this weekend. I'll see you back here at 8 a.m. Monday. Here's your Weekend Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.25.13

Two burrowing owls peer from their underground nest entrance, watching whatever is near their home on Friday in a Cooper City, Fla. park. Officials there is a shrinking population of 3,000 owls. Expanding home and business construction has destroyed much of what was their homes. In some places, officials are trying to draw the owls to man-made holes in protected areas. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Question: Are you wise as an owl?

TGIF Wild Card — 1.25.13

Did you catch that line in the latest James Bond movie re: Idaho. The curator of Skyfall, I believe, says it, after Bond discovers the weapons that had been in the family manse had been auctioned off … probably to some gun collector in Idaho. The Gem State's reputation as a haven for gun activists is known widely enough that we warrant a line in a Bond flick. Who woulda thunk it? Now for your TGIF Wild Card …

Digger: Dealing With Darkness

Digger: As my pseudonym probably gives away, I’ve dealt on the mortuary side of this type of situation. Its devastating to all involved — family, friends, co-workers and even the police/EMS and the morticians. If a family wants to come forward and be featured, the press should, and I feel has a duty to oblige, run a story about how this is an unnecessary action. I read a plaque once that said “Your darkest hour is only 60 minutes long” and have heard the quote “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” As someone who has dealt with dark times in my life and, dare I say contemplated such a permanent solution at least twice (once at the age of 18 as I was contemplating my sexuality), its not worth it. It always gets better. I just feel fortunate enough I have friends I know I can reach out to, 24/7, to sit with me, hold me, listen to me rant, cry, whatever should I ever need it.

Question: Have you ever dealt with this kind of darkness?

PM Headlines — 1.25.13

Borah Elementary Kindergartner Alex Sande sutdied the number 6 during class recently. The school has started a new curriculum including Common Core Math. The national education standard was created so students nationwide in K-12 are studying the same stuff at the same grade level and are career or college ready when they graduate. The standards are higher than what's currently required, about a grade level higher for Washington and Idaho. The approach will teach more critical thinking. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Here’s Looking At You, Kid

Mary Jose Cristerna known as The Vampire Woman poses for a photo at the 3rd annual Venezuela Tattoo International Expo in Caracas, Venezuela, today. As many as 300 tattoo artists from a variety of countries are expected to attend the 4-day event, sharing their skills including under the skin implants and body piercings. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.25.13

  • 5:37 p.m. Motorist reports dead deer in roadway @ H95/MP 448 (south city limits of Athol).
  • 5:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 24-25 here.
  • 4:56 p.m. Two tenants of Loch Haven Assisted Living/Hayden are engaged in verbal dispute.
  • 4:54 p.m. I-90 BOSS hit on stolen, red Toyota with Washington license plates.
  • 4:51 p.m. Another group of officers being sent to River City Middle School as part of shooting drill.
  • 4:47 p.m. Golly, listening to that Post Falls drill over the scanner is spooky. People down. Shooters down. Remember the good old days when drills involved casualties from plane, car crashes?
  • 4:28 p.m. Area police agencies are engaged in a mock drill, simulating a shooting incident at a Post Falls school. The drill involves dispatch reports and descriptions of fictitious assailants.
  • 4:26 p.m. 69YO female in Anton Avenue apartments/CdA suddenly loses vision in one eye and experiencing intense eye pain.
  • 3:34 a.m. Posible wanted person reported at Merwyn's Towing, 2025 W. Dakota/Hayden.
  • 2:06 p.m. Freeway BOSS hit on stolen license Kootenai Co plates now on a blue Dodge pickup.
  • 2:02 p.m. A male in red pants and coat has entered a Midtown Coeur d'Alene store, leaving a female w/baby in stroller in parking lot. The couple has been fighting. May be same couple from 1:29 item.
  • 1:48 p.m. Female @ Post Falls apt complex reports male in pickup w/handicap sticker hit her vehicle and then drove off after telling her that she was illegally parked.
  • 1:29 p.m. A couple w/a baby in stroller are involved in verbal dispute @ 4th/Harrison, CdA.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

A Winter Spill

“I fell flat on my butt for the first time this winter. I’m quite proud of the fact that I made it all the way to January before this happened”Kaitlyn Krasselt, RAWR co-editor/Univeristy of Idaho Argonaut, Off the Cuff.

Question: Have you taken a bad spill as a result of snow and/or ice this winter?

Ah To Hell With Cigarettes

At age 67, after more than 40 years of packing around a pack or more of cigarettes in my shirt pocket, today is the third (going on the fourth) day since I had my last cigarette. The ashtrays are all emptied, and the only sign that remains to tell anyone of my previous addiction to smoking is the box of smoker's patches sitting in the bathroom closet where most medicines in our house reside. I suppose they are a medicine, after all, since without them I probably would never have the temerity to quit smoking/Dave Laird, Community Comment. More here.

Question: How many times did you try before you quit smoking?

Argonaut Explains Suicide Coverage

The editors of the University of Idaho Argonaut explain why the student newspaper provided only the skimpiest of details re: a recent suicide on campus:

The Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics says journalists should “seek truth and report it,” but also “minimize harm.” When covering sensitive issues such as student death, The Argonaut makes decisions based on this principle.There are several misconceptions surrounding the suicide on campus Jan. 19. There are also misconceptions about the way news organizations cover suicide. Suicide is a dark, personal and sensitive subject. The decision about how to report it is not black and white. More here.

Question: Our newspaper doesn't cover suicides unless there's some overriding reason that prompts us to do so — for example, the occurrence of the suicide in a public situation. I suspect most people support this policy of non-coverage. Do you?

SR Blogs — 1.25.13

Hunters and wildlife conservation groups are finding it difficult to stay out of the nation's gun control controversies, reports Rich Landers, SR Outdoors blog. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, for example, was pressured to state out of a huge sportsmen's show in the East because organizers wouldn't allow exhibits by AR-15 assault rifles. More here.

NRA Rep Raps Ad Re: Obama Kids

A National Rifle Association ad criticized by both Republicans and Democrats is now taking flak from a leader of the organization itself. Jim Baker, director of federal affairs for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, told Reuters that the ad referencing President Obama’s children was “ill-advised” and not “particularly helpful” to the group's cause. “I think the ad could have made a good point, if it talked about the need for increased school security, without making the point using the president's children,” said Baker, the NRA's top lobbyist in Washington/Mario Trujillo, The Hill. More here.


No Studs On Those Tires

A bicyclist pedals through a light snow in downtown Fort Wayne, Ind., earlier today. (AP Photo/The Journal Gazette, Samuel Hoffman)

Question: Have you ever ridden your bike during every month of a given year?

Mary Lou: Guv’s Plan Doesn’t Add Up

Right out of the chute, Idaho’s newly installed lawmakers are faced with a difficult dilemma. Gov. Butch Otter wants them to get rid of the personal property tax that his business friends hate with a passion. But where can they find $140 million to pay for the revenue lost if they do what he asks? Let me do the arithmetic: amount collected in 2012 from business personal property tax = $140,000,000; amount in governor’s budget to replace business personal property tax = $20,000,000; deficit with no revenue source = minus $120,000,000. The governor’s business friends, especially those in the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI) are exceedingly powerful and persuasive. They complain about the time it takes to prepare personal property tax reports/Mary Lou Reed, Inlander. More here.

Question: Are you starting to get the idea that Gov. Butch Otter's plans to help his rich IACI friends save a few bucks in personal property tax is going to hurt local governments?

Nat’l Frat Probes UI Student Death

The national headquarters for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has launched its own investigation into its University of Idaho chapter following the death of a student Sunday morning after he attended a party there the night before. Joseph Wiederrick, 18, (pictured) was found dead under a bridge along Paradise Creek two miles north of Moscow on Mountain View Road on Monday after a nearly two-day search. It started when his roommate reported he never returned to their Theophilus Tower dorm room after they had gone to visit a friend at the SAE house Saturday night. A coroner's report Wednesday confirmed Wiederrick died Sunday from hypothermia, but it will take up to three weeks to get the results of a toxicology screening. Moscow Police Chief David Duke said details surrounding Wiederrick's time at the SAE house are still being gathered/Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.


Hillary Must Wear Glasses For Now

The thick glasses Hillary Clinton has been wearing in public since returning from a concussion and blood clot last month are the result of lingering effects of her health problems, a Clinton aide confirms. “She'll be wearing these glasses instead of her contacts for a period of time because of lingering issues stemming from her concussion,” said spokesman Philippe Reines. “With them on she sees just fine.” During more than five hours of testimony before Congress Clinton could be seen wearing glasses that appeared to have a thick left lens with lines across it. Reines did not specify what type of lens the secretary was wearing, but medical experts say a fresnel prism is common in cases like these/ABC News. More here.

Question: Do you think glasses generally detract from a person's looks?

Pocatello Schools Get Gun Lockers

Schools in one eastern Idaho district are being equipped with gun lockers so school resource officers can keep rifles, ammunition and evidence close at hand. Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand said that the idea was adopted more than a year ago, and the gun lockers have already been purchased — it’s not a reaction to the Dec. 14 deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. All of the school resource officers in the district are already armed with semi-automatic handguns, but Marchand said schools have hallways that are 50 to 100 yards long. In the event that a shooter came to the school, a trained officer could do more with a rifle than one limited to a sidearm, he said/AP. More here.

Question: Should school districts in Kootenai County follow suit?

Gonzaga Celebrates With A Bang

The Inlander reports that Spokane police received 70 calls in a 20-minute period after 10 last night, as a result of Gonzaga shooting off fireworks after the Bulldog win over BYU. Some thought they were hearing gunshots. Gonzaga shot off the fireworks to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Gonzaga posted an apology on its Facebook page, which reads in part:

Our apologies to all who were startled by the fireworks at Gonzaga last evening. We apologize for the disturbance and hope the Spokane community will understand the exuberance behind the celebration of Gonzaga’s 125th Anniversary year. It is a privilege for Gonzaga to be part of this city and we wanted to share the excitement over this milestone with everyone. More here.

Question: Isn't a 125th anniversary worth celebrating in red-white-&-blue style?

Nothing But Net

On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson calls this photo of an outdoor basket in her Post Falls neighborhood, “Nothing but net.” Kerri snapped this photo last week.

Question: Do you see the beauty in our Inland Northwest winters?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.25.13

  • 11:41 a.m. Someone injured in fall @ Coeur d'Alene Homes, 644 W. Harrison/CdA.
  • 11:34 a.m. Male may be suffering alcoholic poisoning @ UPS Store, 2900 Govt Way, CdA.
  • 11:20 a.m. CdA father texts son that he plans to throw himself off a bridge.
  • 11:05 a.m. ISP officer advised that Boy Scout event will cause heavy traffic @ H95/MP 455 (Granite-Kelso Cutoff, north of Kootenai County line).
  • 11:01 a.m. Garwood woman reports someone has posted inappropriate photos of her on social network.
  • 10:46 a.m. EMTs are transporting 50YO male, semi-conscious & in seizure, to KMC.
  • 10:29 a.m. CPD Blue is investigating graffiti reported in 800 block of N18th, CdA.
  • 10:23 a.m. 2-vehicle crash (unknown injuries) in 5000 block of Spirit Lake Cutoff Road (5 miles from H41, near Spirit Lake Fire Station #2).
  • 9:59 a.m. Father & son involved in domestic dispute in 6600 block of Calispel/CdA.
  • 9:38 a.m. Female on Atlas Road who was suppose to have back surgery this morning is in such pain that she can't be moved.
  • 9:23 a.m. ISP officer stopping to assist stranded motorist on Mineral Drive/CdA.

Subway Adds Inch Back To Foot Long

Subway is apologizing that its “Footlong” sandwiches fell short of expectations. The world's largest fast-food chain faced widespread criticism last week after a man posted a photo online showing a “Footlong” next to a tape measure that showed it to be just 11 inches. Subway said Friday that it's redoubling efforts to “ensure consistency and correct length” in all its sandwiches. The company had already noted last week that bread length could vary when franchisees don't bake to its exact specifications and that it would reinforce policies to ensure consistency/Associated Press. More here. (In 2011 AP file photo, Robert Griffin III, before becoming Washington Redskins QB, gets Subway sandwich from preparer)

DFO: Here's hoping Subway adds back the inch to its “foot-long” sandwiches but doesn't do away with its $5 foot-long specials. I ♥ those sandwiches.

Question: Who doesn't anyone complain that potato chip companies continue to charge the same price for smaller and smaller amounts of chips inside the bags?

Sheriffs To Oppose ‘Illegal’ Gun Laws

Powell County Sheriff Scott F. Howard has promised to refuse to enforce any “unconstitutional” federal gun regulations, joining at least two other Montana sheriffs in expressing such resistance. In a letter dated Jan. 21 to Vice President Joe Biden, Howard also says he won’t permit “the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations by federal offices within the borders of Powell County.” Howard, of Deer Lodge, joins the sheriffs of Sanders and Wibaux counties, along with several across the nation, in resisting potential new regulations in the wake of the shooting of more than 20 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December/Sanjay Talwani, Billings Gazette. More here.

Question: Do you think every sheriff should make his views know re: the proposals by President Barack Obama to rein in gun laws?

Charter: Cursive Is An Art Form

When students turn in a handwritten assignment at Xavier Charter School, they know it has to be in cursive. In an era when some schools don’t teach the style of handwriting anymore, it’s still part of the curriculum at the Twin Falls public charter school. “We actively teach it in third and fourth grade as a subject,” said Xavier co-founder and lead teacher Becky Baird. Xavier — which has students in kindergarten through 12th grades — uses a European, classical model of education. Baird said the school keeps cursive in the curriculum because “it is truly an art form” and a valuable discipline for students/Julie Wootton, Twin Falls Times News. More here.

Question: How often do you write things out long hand?

Poll: Make ‘Em Get Permits

  • Thusday Poll: A supermajority of Hucks Nation don't agree with Idaho law that permits every elected official in the state to carry a firearm without applying for a concealed-weapons permit. 123 of 175 respondents (70.29%) took that position. Only 48 of 175 respondents (27.43%) agree with the current law. 4 (2.29%) were undecided.
  • Today's Question: Should Idaho schools require instruction in cursive writing?

AM Headlines — 1.25.13

Brigham Youngs's Tyler Haws, left, and Craig Cusick defends Gonzaga's Elias Harris, in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday in Spokane. Gonzaga beat Bringham Young 83-63. Game story here. And: Jim Meehan's day-after summary of the game here. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)

Tina To Become Swiss Citizen

In this 2009 AP file photo, U.S. singer Tina Turner performs on stage during her concert at the Hallenstadion venue in Zurich, Switzerland. Tina Turner is on her way to becoming a Swiss citizen. The American rock diva has lived in the Zurich suburb of Kuesnacht since the mid-1990s. The local Zuerichsee-Zeitung newspaper said on its website the local council announced its decision to grant the 73-year-old Turner citizenship in an official notice published in today's edition. (AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt, File)

Question: If you were forced to become a citizen of another country, which one would you prefer?

Sheriff Issues Statement On Guns

In part, Sheriff Ben Wolfinger's statement re: proposals by President Barack Obama to rein in gun violence:

I oppose many of them and will watch and see if the courts rule on the constitutionality of them.   However, some of the proposals I don’t disagree with.  I believe in background checks and keeping firearms out of the hands of people who suffer from serious mental illness.  I think that most people agree that we want firearms in the hands of the right people, but not in the hands of the wrong people.  We do not want the Joseph Duncans of the world, (convicted felons) being able to buy guns, nor do we want people with serious mental illnesses to buy them either.   Of course, like most proposals, the devil is in the details.  The definitions, tracking mechanisms and due process (4th and 14th amendment) rights are just a beginning of those details. Full statement here.

Question: Do you agree/disagreement with all or part of Sheriff Wolfinger's statement?

Task Force Mulls Arming Teachers

A state safety task force met Thursday to consider arming Idaho's teachers. The measures are part of a nationwide conversation held in the wake of the tragic Connecticut school shooting in December. “What we know from Sandy Hook is that that school was doing many and most the things that schools need to do to provide protection and it still wasn't enough,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Luna. The Safe Schools Task Force meeting included a variety of stakeholders, all focused on student safety: local law enforcement, state law enforcement, homeland security, division of building safety, local administrators, teachers, and a member of the legislature. One major topic at the meeting was guns in schools, and who should be allowed to carry/Stephanie Zepelin, KTVB. More here.

Question: So who gets sued if an armed teacher fires his/her gun on campus and harms an innocent bystander? And who gets sued if a student snags a gun carried by a teacher and harms someone?

Small County Fears Otter’s Proposal

Molly Messick of StateImpact offers a compelling story today re: the devastation that would be caused to a small Idaho county (Power County) if Gov. Butch Otter's reckless push to eliminate personal property taxes is approved by the Legislature. Messick interviews Power County Hospital Administrator Dallas Clinger (shown in StateImpact photo). Here's Clinger's response to one question: “Here’s the bind Power County Hospital is in: local taxpayers help keep it afloat. An unusually large amount of the total taxable property in Power County is personal property. If that personal property is suddenly exempt, 40 percent of the tax base that brings revenue to Clinger’s hospital will vanish. A break-even budget will fall into the red.” More here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with Otter's attempt to eliminate the personal property tax?

Hoffman: Don’t Mandate Cursive

When I was in sixth grade, my teachers insisted that I take calligraphy as my so-called “elective” course one semester. I was so angry that I lifted my little brown winter coat up over my head and threw it at least a meter to the floor in front of me,thereby exposing my two fatal flaws: My handwriting is terrible and I can’t throw very well. Still, being a dutiful student, for a time I managed to turn my signature scrawl into a work of art consisting of stylistic lettersand embellished loops. I made my teachers proud. For a semester, anyway. To this day, I don’t write cursive, except to sign my kids’ school permission slips. And when I’m compelled to do so, my official signature displays all the depth and skill of a sixth grader. I don’t dislike Rep. Linden Batman’s proposal to mandate cursive writing. But I’m not really a fan either/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: Do you support teaching mandatory cursive in school?

Trib Cheers Labrador Gun Stand

At the Lewiston Tribune, Opinionator Marty Trillhaase cheers … Congressman Raul Labrador:

“He's pro-gun and has an A rating from the National Rifle Association to prove it. But give him credit for being flexible in his response to the Newtown, Conn., massacre. Last week, Boise talk radio host Nate Shelman raised the topic in response to President Obama's plan to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines while also closing the gun show loophole on background checks. “The only thing that I am open to is, I have been thinking a lot about the background checks,” Labrador said. “I need to study that issue a little bit. I need to hear from my constituents on how they feel about it. We can talk about having more effective background checks.” Complete Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Do you support more effective background checks for individuals seeking to purchase guns?

A Pricey Cigar

A Bonhams employee poses for photographers with a Don Joaquin Cuban cigar, that belonged to Sir Winston Churchill and comes with a letter of provenance, during a media opportunity at Bonham's Auction rooms in London on Thursday. The cigar is estimated to fetch between 500 to 700 Pounds (euro 620 - 860; US$ 810 - 1,100) in the Gentleman's Library Sale which will be held on January 29-30. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Question: How often do you smoke cigars?

Idaho Scholarships Lag Far Behind

Idaho’s state scholarship programs for college students lag far behind most states in the region, Mike Rush, director of the Office of the State Board of Education, told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning.  “Idaho has, I think, the second-lowest amount of need-based scholarship money in WICHE’s western 15 states,” Rush said, in response to a question from Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, about how Idaho’s scholarships stack up. Idaho grants about $30 per FTE, or full-time student, Rush said. The state of Washington’s comparable figure is about $800. “So we’ve got a long ways to go”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: How have you or your family been helped by a college scholarship?

Gookin: Appointment Process Flawed

Dan Gookin (re: Gookin still votes vs. appointments): My thoughts are that a committee that approves its own members perpetuates a closed-box thinking. After all, knowing human nature, a group is unlikely to invite in new members who don't already think like the group. I don't believe that's representative of the general public and certainly wouldn't present itself as a valid cross section of concerned citizens. I know that some committees seek out new members, but I'm not certain if they all do. A step in the right direction would be the written committee recommendation presented to council. Currently we don't see that. Or I should say, <em>I</em> don't see it because it's not made available in our cubicle. That was one of the issues I discussed with the Mayor. More below

Question: Have you ever served on a local government committee?

Poolman: Rein In Gun Culture

Poolman: The gun culture in this country needs to be treated like the smoking culture was 25 years ago. It will not transform overnight or even in a few years. However, it is the responsibility of our government to push the country in the right direction to change the culture. It’s almost impossible for me to image people smoking on commercial airplanes or teachers smoking in their break rooms but they did. Now people smoking on sidewalks outside strip malls get dirty looks, how dare you infiltrate my space with second hand smoke, that could damage my health. I hope, 25 years from now we will look back and collectively appreciate the reckless culture of firearms we have at this time in our history. That would be success, but it needs to start now.

Question: Agree/disagree?

Heller: A Woman Already In Combat

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Thursday — 1.24.13

It's Thursday, which means the Gonzaga Bulldogs will be playing tonight (hosting BYU), to take a chill off the evening hours. As I've said before, Gonzaga's Job 1, as far as I'm concerned, is to take the edge off our Inland Northwest winters by playing good basketball at least twice a week. This year's team is performing that duty extremely well. Here's hoping they bounce back tonight after that tough loss at the buzzer against Butler. Now for your Wild Card …

Gonzaga 83, BYU 63

Gonzaga's Michael Hart (30) goes for a rebound over BYU's Anson Winder (20) during the first half of their men's college basketball game tonight in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzage bested BYU 83-63. ESPN game boxscore here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Kelly Olynyk scored 26 points and Elias Harris added 25 as No. 10 Gonzaga beat BYU 83-63 on Thursday, in a showdown for first place in the West Coast Conference. Olynyk shot 9-for-9 from the field and 8-for-8 on free throws to go along with nine rebounds, and Harris had 10 boards for Gonzaga (18-2, 5-0), which was coming off a last-second loss at No. 9 Butler last weekend.Josh Sharp and Brandon Davies led BYU (15-6, 5-2) with 14 points each/AP. More here.

Parting Shot — 1.24.13

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, of Russia, skate their free program to win the gold at the ISU European figure skating championship in Zagreb, Croatia, today. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

New Sheriff Opposes Most Gun Regs

Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger released a statement this week declaring his opposition to some but not all of the Obama administration's proposed gun regulations. “Personally, I oppose many of them and will watch and see if the courts rule on the constitutionality of them,” Wolfinger stated. “However, some of the proposals I don't disagree with.” Wolfinger said he supports expanding background checks to apply to all firearms sales, as currently proposed at the federal level. That includes gun shows and private sales, he said on Thursday, where background checks don't currently occur. “That way, the right people will still get them,” Wolfinger said of procuring guns. Wolfinger favors keeping firearms out of the hands of “the wrong people,” he added, like individuals with serious mental illness and convicted felons/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: New Sheriff Ben Wolfinger swears in deputies after his swearing-in this month)

Question: Do you think Sheriff Ben Wolfinger has taken a reasoned approach to President Obama's proposed new gun regulations.

PM Headlines — 1.24.13

Idaho Chief Justice Roger Burdick delivers the annual State of the Judiciary address earlier today in Boise. Burdick told members of the House of Representatives it's getting more difficult to fill judge's seats in courts across the state. You can read Justice Burdick's address here. (AP Photo/Todd Dvorak)

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.24.13

Coeur d'Alene firefighters quickly handled a fire in a house at 408 E. Sunrise Drive that was reported at 7 o'clock this morning. Fireman had the blaze under control by 7:25 a.m. and extinguished by 8. Damage was limited to the garage and attic space. Coeur d'Alene Fire Department news release here. (Photo courtesy of CFD)

  • 5:16 p.m. 2 males w/knife are stealing electronics near car stereo wall @ Post Falls WalMart.
  • 5:14 p.m. Update: Coeur d'Alene police tweet: “There was some mis-information that Ms. Lane was located in Spokane. She was not. She is still missing
  • 5:12 p.m. 80YO female complaining of chest pain @ Garden Plaza Court/PF.
  • 4:54 p.m. Someone who tried to pull floor boards up in trailer (4:44 incident) has suffered smoke inhalation. Medics on the way.
  • 4:44 p.m. Bonner County firefighters tell Blanchard family battling blaze in travel trailer to evacuate site @ H41/Stone Road. The family is trying to move a vehicle. Propane tank nearby, too.
  • 9 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Huckleberries Blogroll — 1.24.13

Jupiter kept the moon company on Inauguration Night — and Pecky Cox/As the Lake Churns was there in Priest Lake to photograph the impressive sight. Which won't happen again until 2026. You can read about the event here.

Huckleberries numbers (for Wednesday, Jan. 23): 9738 page-views/5304 unique views

Tribe: Taking Lake Artifacts Illegal

Spokeswoman Heather Keen of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe said the Coeur d'Alene's disagree with the conclusion by Ken Reid of the Idaho Historical Preservation Office that taking Native American artifacts from Lake Coeur d'Alene is legal. Reid sent a letter to Huckleberries discussing a Coeur d'Alene Press story of a hobbyist with a metal detector who has found artifacts from old Fort Sherman off the north shore. Tribal Chairman Chief Allan responded in writing to today:

Notably missing from the article was any discussion about the laws that prohibit these kinds of actions. There are a number of tribal, state and federal laws in place to protect historic and cultural artifacts. Unfortunately, the State Historic Preservation Office made a mistake in their response to the article and incorrectly assumed the gentleman profiled was on private land when in fact he was digging on the bottom of the lake, which is public land. The fact of the matter is removing artifacts from public lands throughout Idaho, including the lake bottom, is against the law. Depending on where in the state you are, there are different laws under which looting is illegal. More here.


Canine Conga Line

A circus artist performs with dogs during the opening concert in the new, 2013 season in Ukraine's National Circus in Kiev, Ukraine, today. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Question: Do poodles make good pets?

NRA Members Nearly Unanimous

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action conducted a national scientific poll of its members and found near unanimity among NRA members on a wide range of issues involving mental health reform and firearm rights. Findings include:

  • 91% of NRA members support laws keeping firearms away from the mentally ill.
  • 92% of NRA members oppose gun confiscation via mandatory buy-back laws.

  • 89% oppose banning semi-automatic firearms, often mistakenly called “assault rifles”.

  • 93% oppose a law requiring gun owners to register with the federal government.

  • 92% oppose a new federal law banning the sale of firearms between private citizen.

Question: Are these views in line with yours?

SR Blogs — 1.24.13

On his Slice blog, Paul Turner asks: “Hey kids! do you know what these are?” (

About That CdA Facebook Photo

Gotta call from a regular who didn't like the fact that the new city of Coeur d'Alene Facebook header photo featured the Coeur d'Alene Resort, marina and boardwalk. “isn't there anything else that represents Coeur d'Alene better?” the Huckleberry asked. I didn't have strong feelings one way or the other about the photo. The resort certainly has a monster impact on Coeur d'Alene — and probably is the first thing many people remember when they think about Coeur d'Alene. For the sake of argument, however …

Question: What photo should be the main one for the city of Coeur d'Alene Web site?

Pro-Telemarketer Bill Introduced

A House committee has agreed to debate a bill to lift the ban placed on the ability of telephone companies to make customer cold calls. The House State Affairs Committee introduced the bill Thursday and sent it to the Business Committee for review. The bill is being pushed by Minnesota-based Frontier Communications and Louisiana-based Century Link Inc. The companies say a 2000 law to end cold calls to customers and create a “Do Not Call” list hampers their ability to market new services to customers/Eye on Boise, AP. More here.

Question: You'd think that this bill would be dead on arrival. But remember. The Idaho Legislature adopted the Luna Laws despite overwhelmingly public opposition. Our legislators are capable of turning the telemarketers loose on us again because they know they'll always be re-elected because they have an R after their name. Am I too cynical here?

Educational Access In Idaho

ProPublica, which provides public-interest journalism, hasa analyzed federal education data from the 2009-2010 school year to examine whether states provide high-poverty schools equal access to advanced courses and special programs that researchers say will help them later in life. Not only does the analysis provide a breakdown for Idaho schools, but it also breaks down the numbers for individual school districts in Idaho, including Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Lakeland. Idaho, for example, offers free or reduced lunch to 39% of relevant students. And 42% of poorer students participate in at least one sport. In the Coeur d'Alene School District, 36% of the 9925 students get free or reduced lunch. You can see how your school district is doing to address students from poor families here. H/T: Emilie R. Saunders, StateImpact

Question: Do you think your school district does enough to help lower-income students?

Latest McEuen Field Design

From city of Coeur d'Alene's (CdA gov) new Facebook page, the latet McEuen Field design.

Question: Are you impressed with the new design for McEuen Field?

What Do You Listen To?

On his Facebook wall, Kevin Richert, of IdahoEdNews and The EDge blog, posts: “Writing, writing, writing, to today's album of the day: The Beatles, “Please Please Me.” Where it all started. And nary a sitar to be heard.” Which prompted me to think about the music to which I listened while working in my home office last night — Celtic Woman on Spotify. Those women sing little angels.

Question: Do you listen to albums while you're working? Which one?

5th-Grader’s Hands Shine On Stage

Fifth-grader Emma McLaughlin-Orton (pictured) took her spot on center stage. As the music to Katy Perry’s “Firework” began, she started signing the words with white-gloved hands; she moved her body to the music and mouthed the words. Sorensen Magnet School students carrying juggling pins surrounded her and the lights went down. The darkness set off her glowing gloves and the glow-in-the-dark pins, resembling fireworks in the sky. The performance at the Coeur d’Alene elementary school, an arts and humanities magnet school, was intended to showcase student jugglers, but McLaughlin-Orton’s hands stole the show. Three times per year the school has artists in residence. To wrap up a week with two world-class jugglers, the students were asked to come up with an act/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR. More here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Did anyone know you had talent when you were a fifth-grader?

Police Seekin Missing 25YO Woman

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Coeur d’Alene Police received a report of a missing 25-year-old female, named Jessica Lee Lane. Jessica’s mother said she last saw her daughter at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. At that time, the mother dropped Jessica off near the CitiLink bus stop at Appleway and Government Way. Jessica had told her mother she was just going to ride the bus around for a while because she was bored. Her mother stated Jessica occasionally stays gone overnight but normally calls the family daily. The mother is concerned because Jessica has health issues. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jessica Lane is asked to call the Coeur d’Alene Police Department at 208-769-2320.

Kevin: Teachers, Guns & Idaho Law

Should teachers be allowed to carry guns in the classroom, in hopes of deterring school shootings? The question is somewhat of a moot point in Idaho. That’s because, under existing state law, a school board can authorize a teacher to carry a firearm. “There’s no requirement that the Legislature pass a new law or statute,” state schools superintendent Tom Luna told reporters Thursday morning. Asked whether he considers the existing law adequate, Luna wouldn’t bite. He said he was only pointing out that the law is on the books/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.

Question: What do you think? Would a teacher have trouble getting a permit from your local school board to carry a firearm at school?

Cockroach Close-Up

On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts this photo of a cockroach, with the comment: “Downtown Roseburg, Ore., is the home to some rather disgusting creatures. On the other hand, did you know the Greeks and Egyptians used ground or boiled cockroaches for medicinal purposes and in the 1870s, many people in New Orleans drank cockroach tea as a medicinal remedy?” You can see more of Robin's outdoor photography here.

Question: Which type of creepy crawly unnerves you most?

Home Planet: A Tired, True Friend

For most of my work-from-home career, we’ve shared an office and a routine. As soon as the door closes behind the rest of the family, we go to work. I have a tendency to fuss and fidget, jumping up from my computer to answer the phone or scan a document or make another cup of tea. He is more quiet. More content. He makes himself comfortable nearby, watching me move around, paying attention to what I’m doing, especially when I wander into the kitchen. He’s always willing to join me in a snack. Occasionally he gets restless and asks to go outside, but for the most part, he’s happy to simply share the space with me.    Actually, that’s the way we used to spend our days. Things are changing now. At 14, he’s an old dog/Cheryl-Anne Millsap, Home Planet. More here.

Question: When do you know if it's time to say goodbye to an old dog?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.24.13

From Coeur d'Alene Police Department Twitter: “Patrol Officers responded to a call of a structure fire at 408 E. Sunrise at 7:02 am today. Fire personnel were hampered by two vehicles that had been parked for quite some time and plowed in with snow. We have contacted the owners and cars will be moved (or towed) This is an example of the need to contact the Police Department about abandoned vehicles so that our COPS volunteers can respond and get them removed before an emergency occurs.”

  • 11:30 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 23-24 here.
  • 11:28 a.m. ISP officer tells dispatch he's en route to county jail w/compliant female.
  • 10:53 a.m. 2 CPD Blues checking house in 2000 block of West Prairie/Hayden for missing person.
  • 10:50 a.m. Deputy asked to check welfare of student on Berven Bay Court/Hayden who hasn't been in school for about a week. She may be transferring to another school.
  • 9:57 a.m. 92YO male hurt in fall in parking lot of Fairwinds, 2340 Seltice Way/CdA.
  • 9:40 a.m. A golden retriever is running loose @ Stoneybrook Loop/Warm Springs, PF.
  • 9:33 a.m. Someone is have difficulty breathing @ Alturas Street/Post, Rathdrum.
  • 8:47 a.m. CPD Blue: “I know City Streets is extremely busy but this section of North 4th (from Lunceford to Dalton) is extremely slick.”
  • 8:31 a.m. One-vehicle accident reported on e/b I-90/MP 6 (Seltice Way). Unknown injuries.
  • 8:14 a.m. CPD Blue calls for sand on Ramsey Road, b/n Hanley & Dalton, CdA.

National Compliment Day Today

On her Twitter page, Cindy alerts followers that today is National Compliment Day. The purpose of the day is to give 5 sincere compliments to people during the course of this day.

Question: Do you want to compliment another Huckleberry in this part of the blogosphere?

Ex-Senator Crow On Move Again

Gordon Crow, a former Idaho state senator from Hayden, is on the move again after three years directing the Laramie, Wyo., Chamber of Commerce:

After three years at the helm, Laramie Area Chamber of Commerce’s Gordon Crow (shown in Facebook photo) is leaving for a similar job in Louisiana. Crow’s first day as president and CEO of the Laramie chamber was Feb. 15, 2010. When he leaves at 5 p.m. Feb. 14, he said he will have worked exactly three years. In that time, membership has increased by more than 70 percent, according to a press release. Reflecting on his time at the chamber, Crow said he is most proud of his work with staff and member businesses/Peter Baumann, Laramie Boomerang. More here.

Question: Have you ever made a job-related move to another state? Tell us about it.

Power Through: Hillary’s Example

As baby boomers glide into their 60s and remain in their jobs a lot longer than their parents did, I predict a fairly macho attitude toward sick days. Older workers are more prone to the ailments that can afflict older people in general. Back troubles, heart issues, cancers that inconvenience you but don't kill you. Hillary, 65, looked pretty darn good this morning testifying in front of Congress. Less than a month ago, they were shrinking a clot from her brain. She's tough. This we know. But again, I predict aging boomers in the workplace will be more like Hillary than like the stereotype of older people complaining all the time about their ailments/Rebecca Nappi, End Notes. More here. (AP photo of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifying during congressional hearing on Benghazi Wednesday)

Question: Do you think sixtysomethings are tougher today than they used to be?

AM Headlines — 1.24.13

Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, addresses a crowd of anti-abortion activists gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Tuesday. A crowd of more than 2,000, according to Washington State Patrol estimates, turned out for the demonstration, which is usually one of the largest of the legislative session. (SR photo: Jim Camden)

Just Say No To Horse Meat

A sign hangs at a branch of Burger King in central London today. Burger King says it has stopped buying beef from an Irish supplier whose patties in Britain and Ireland were found to contain traces of horsemeat. Officials say there is no risk to human health, but the episode has raised food security concerns. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Question: Has anyone ever eaten horse meat?

Poll: Sheriff Right Not To Attend

  • Hump Day Poll: A supermajority of Hucks Nation says new Sheriff Ben Wolfinger was correct in deciding not to attend the 2nd Amendment rally staged at Black Sheep in Coeur d'Alene last weekend. 127 of 186 respondents (68.28%) sided with the sheriff's decision. Only 51 of 186 respondents (27.42%) said he should have attended the event. 8 (4.3%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Should Idaho continue to allow elected officials to carry hidden firearms without obtaining a concealed weapons permit?

NYTimes To Report Idaho Gun Views

From Kestrel West Morning Memo:

When the New York Times is in town …By now it's well-known in the Idaho Legislature that a correspondent from the nation's best-known newspaper is in Boise to write about gun issues. One thing he is sure to find interesting is highlighted in a piece from Betsy Russell. Idaho is the lone state in the country where elected officials are exempt from laws requiring a permit for a concealed weapon. “We have the trust of our constituents,” said [Rep. Roy] Lacey, who has a small gun he’d like to carry when he rides his bike in grizzly bear habitat in the Island Park area. “I think that’s why we’re here. As part of that trust, we should be responsible with our guns.”

Question: Rep. Roy Lacey said constituents trust Idaho legislators to carry concealed weapons (without a permit). Before this story broke, did you have any idea that lawmakers could do so?

UI Student Died From Hypothermia

An autopsy Wednesday confirmed 18-year-old University of Idaho student Joseph Wiederrick died from hypothermia early Sunday morning after wandering away from a fraternity party the night before. “We know that he died of hypothermia, but we won’t have the toxicology report back for two to three weeks,” Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said. Wiederrick’s body was found Monday afternoon under a bridge two miles north of Moscow along North Mountain View Road after a nearly two-day search that began when the UI student’s roommate reported he hadn’t returned to their Theophilus Tower dorm room/Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Luna: Idaho Has Good Schools

Beginning his public schools budget pitch, state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee that much has changed since he first submitted a budget request in September – namely, the repeal of the “Students Come First” laws. “At the same time we recognize that many of the things have not changed,” he said. “The data has stated the same, and what the data tells us is that in Idaho, we have good schools.” Sixty percent of Idaho  schools met AYP, or federal adequate yearly progress, standards last year;  58 percent were rated as “four- or five-star schools” under Idaho’s new rating system, and students in just eight states outperformed Idaho 8th graders in reading, while just 11 states edged 8th graders in math/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Other legislative education coverage by Eye on Boise:

Question: So Luna's admitting that Idaho has good schools, even after voters rejected his “reform” measures?

Higher Sewage Fees For Rathdrum, PF

Post Falls and Rathdrum wastewater rates are proposed to increase 60 percent over the next five years to help fund $30 million in treatment plant upgrades needed to meet future discharge permit requirements aimed at cleaning up the Spokane River. The Post Falls City Council will hold a public hearing on the wastewater funding and improvement plan on a date to be determined, most likely Feb. 19. Mike Neher, Post Falls' environmental manager, said the city is being mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make the facility upgrades to improve the river's conditions over the next several years. “We expect that EPA will allow time to build the necessary treatment facilities to reach the lower limits (of phosphorous and metals) by 2021,” Neher said/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust CdA Press photo: Ryan Benson, water reclamation technician for the City of Post Falls waste water treatment plant, checks the depth of the sludge blanket)

Question: Would you be willing to pay more in wastewater rates to clean up the Spokane River?

Fire Destroys $2.4M Lake Home

This home at 254 Steamboat Drive suffered $2.4 million in damages after a fire this weekend. No one was home at the time of the fire. Estimated loss for the 4,500sf home was $2.4 million. Story here. (Courtesy photo from Coeur d'Alene Press)

A Quiz For All Gonzaga Fans

So you think you're a Gonzaga Bulldogs fan? John Blanchette/SR has the Mother of All Gonzaga Bulldog quizzes to determine whether or not you truly are. And it's as difficult as Gonzaga's preseason schedule. BTW, those of you who think Gonzaga basketball began with Casey Calvary had better sit this one out. Are you ready? You can take the quiz and read Blanchette's latest column here.

Question: How did you do?

Nutty Lawmakers Sponsor This Bridge

File under hogs soar, Bigfoot lassoed and hell ices over: A great notion is up for rumination in the Washington Legislature. House Bill 1051 would make it OK to sell the naming rights of bridges, highways, viewpoints, etc., to help fund the upkeep of state roadways. I can see it now. Take that rest stop on the road to Ritzville. For the right amount it could be renamed after a local industry like, say, one of our massage parlors. All that nasty business from last summer’s police raid would have to get worked out first, of course. Once this happens, however, weary drivers would find the “Asian Spa Relaxation Spot” a soothing oasis for a pit stop or cup of joe/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: What do you think of selling naming rights of bridges, highways, viewpoints, etc., to the highest bidder?

County Rolls Out Land Use Plan

Kootenai County has posted the first complete draft of its new land use code online, following a year-and-a-half-long process that had some property owners wary that their rights were threatened. The draft Unified Land Use Code aims for simpler development standards, said Todd Messenger with Kendig Keast Collaborative, the consulting firm that has helped the county write the document. It should also allow faster decisions and better notice to neighbors on proposed projects, he said. “We hope to make things easier,” Messenger said. “The existing codes we think are badly broken.” The new code is intended to streamline and update land use and development ordinances that contractors and property owners have complained are convoluted/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Are you worried that the a Kootenai County land-use plan will take away your property rights?

Bennett: Women In Combat

Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Hump Day Wild Card — 1.23.13

I'm trying to figure out which lobbyist has proposed worse legislation — the Farm Bureau one who wants to strangle the citizens initiative process of former legislator Jim Clark, who wants to turn the telemarketers loose on Idahoans again. Both are awful ideas. So they'll receive a sympathetic hearing from our legislators. Now for your daily Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.23.13

Kaitlin Ballantyne, 20, does her homework in a tent outside the McCarthey Athletic Center at Gonzaga University, in Spokane on Wednesday. Sixty-plus tents are filled with students intent on getting front row seats to Thursday's GU-BYU men's basketball game. The students, who must remain with the tents to keep their place in the ticket line, were told Tuesday night by campus police to sleep inside and return by 7 a.m. Wednesday to avoid the near single digit temperatures. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Jesse Tinsley)

Idaho Pols Don’t Need Gun Permit

With Idaho state lawmakers fired up to protect gun rights, more attention is being focused on an Idaho law that’s been on the books since 1990 permitting any elected official in the state, including legislators, to carry a hidden firearm without a concealed weapons permit. A 2011 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures showed no other state with such an exemption; most states exempt only peace officers, retired peace officers, military members, and in some cases, judges and prosecutors. Earlier this week, a three-hour evening training class offered in the state Capitol on carrying a concealed weapon drew more than two dozen lawmakers and their spouses. “I learned quite a bit,” said Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello, “and I’ve had guns all my life”/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: Should Idaho lawmakers be required to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, just like everyone else? (BTW, anyone know for certain whether this applies to precinct committeemen?)

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.23.13

  • 5:37 p.m. Dodge Caravan passed ITD vehicle into oncoming traffic @ H95/Kidd Island Road.
  • 5:20 p.m. Someone is having trouble breathing @ Hayden Country Guest Home, Reed & Lacey.
  • 5:22 p.m. F150 pickup on side after sliding @ n/b H95/MP 425 (Presley Road), driver not hurt.
  • 4:59 p.m. Disabled vehicle w/flashers on is parked @ Nettleton Gulch/Herbs Lane, CdA.
  • 4:51 p.m. ISP tells female riding bike along H95/Lancaster, Hayden, to “be careful.”
  • 4:43 p.m. Female in Julia/CdA home who just changed locks reports male banging on door.
  • 4:33 p.m. CPD is looking for bipolar female who's off her medications and may be hallucinating. She's wearing gray sweat pants and has tattoo on her lower back, birth mark on her chest.
  • 10 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Huckleberries Blogroll — 1.23.13

In his new blog, TheEDge, Kevin Richert offers a sample of Rep. Linden Bateman's handwriting (above). Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, is the guy who's pushing to protect cursive writing. More here.

Huckleberries numbers (for Tuesday, Jan. 22): 8711 pageviews/4822 unique views

SR Blogs: Photographing Food Porn

“I'm not sure it's an issue here yet, but New Yorkers for some time have been debating the practice of foodies photographing the dishes they are served in restaurants,” posts Dan Webster, Dually Notes. “Some chefs actually have banned the practice.” Find out why here.

Featured Blog: If you think Jumbotron marriage proposals are neato, you might not have any problem with the vision of romance marketed to the American public at this time of year. But if you are skeptical about the genuine link between edible panties and love, well, it might help you to know that you are not alone. Holiday creep is nothing new, of course. But a case could be made that the long lead-up to Valentine's Day is America at its most insipid/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here.

More blogs:

Question: Do you fear/embrace Valentine's Day?

Avg. Personal Property Tax Bill: $89

Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise, posts:

StateImpact Idaho is doing some analysis of state Tax Commission data on the personal property tax on business equipment, the $141 million a year tax that the state's largest businesses are pushing hard to repeal. Among the points: Among the 53,227 Idaho companies that paid the tax in 2011, the median payment was $89.64. And 6.904 companies paid less than $5 in 2011. You can see StateImpact’s full post here.

Question: Sounds to me as though the rich FOBs (Friends of Butch) are trying to get a sweetheart deal at the expense of the rest of Idaho's taxpayers. What do you think?

What Women Talk About

“It was not by design,” posts Paul Turner/The Slice. “But the S-R newsroom seating chart has a few pockets of gender clustering. I happen to sit along a fault line between a male-centric area and an all-female grouping. Now people who work for newspapers tend to have a variety of interests. So I'm not about to suggest that the conversations one hears typically break down along gender stereotypes. It's 2013. But just a few minutes ago, I listened to three or four women talking about their hair-washing regimens. You know, how often, how long it takes, et cetera. It was mildly interesting, I have to admit.” More here.

Question: Would you rather hear men talk about sports or women talk about their hair-washing regimens?

Where’s Bambi?

A deer stands in a field of heavy frost southeast of Walla Walla, Wash. at the foothills of the Blue Mountains where afternoon temperatures for Tuesday had dropped into the mid-teens. (AP/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin photo: Jeff Horner)

Idaho Sheriffs Won’t Limit Gun Rights

Idaho law officers won't help federal agents seize assault rifles or illegal ammunition – nor are they even being asked to do so, despite rumors to the contrary. Mike Kane, a former deputy attorney general turned lobbyist for the Idaho Sheriffs' Association, said the 23 executive orders signed by President Barack Obama issued last week primarily address things like background checks, education and reporting requirements. “I've read them and there's nothing that says it's up to my officers to seize guns or gun parts or ammunition,” he said. “There's a rumor going around that we're being put in a position to seize guns for the feds, but it's not in the executive orders anywhere”/William Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you support the stand of the Idaho Sheriffs Association not to help federal agents seize assault rifles and illegal ammo?

Risch Grills Clinton Re: Benghazi

Idaho Sen. James Risch used his time with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to confirm statements she made soon after the American consulate in Libya was attacked and four U.S. officials were killed in September. Clinton testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning that she “told the American people that 'heavily armed militants assaulted our compound' and vowed to bring them to justice. And I stood with President Obama as he spoke of 'an act of terror.'” That account conflicts with early reports of the attacks, characterized by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as a series of spontaneous attacks that rose in protest to an American-made video that prompted outrage among many Muslim communities. Risch asked whether Clinton was involved in selecting Rice to comment on the attacks to the American media, noting that it came at a “politically charged time”/Kip Hill, SR Washington correspondent. More here. (AP photo)


World Snow Sculpture Event Begins

Team USA/Canada member Bob Fulks, of Clawson, Mich. chips away at his team's sculpture on the first day of Zehnders Snowfest World Class Snow Sculpting Competition today in Frankenmuth, Mich. Teams from all over the world are competing in the competition which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/The Saginaw News, Jeff Schrier)

Question: Am I the only one in the Inland Northwest who has never built a snowman?

Current News Quiz Offers 3 Prizes

Who wants to go to the movies? Everyone who enters this week's news quiz can win not only two tickets to area cinemas, but four EWU men's basketball tickets and a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel are also up for grabs. Good luck! Click here for the current News Quiz.

  • Readerboard: Huckleberries readers on leaderboard are: Fort oise, Sid Frederickson, CDAJim, Sam Crawford & Gary Rhodes.

Women-In-Combat Ban Being Lifted

Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military’s ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war. The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta’s decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women/AP. More here.

Question: Do you support this move, lifting a ban on women serving in combat?

Labrador Explains Debt Ceiling Vote

Idaho First District Congressman Raúl Labrador today issued the following statement on the House vote to temporarily raise the country’s debt limit:

“I supported today's vote to temporarily raise the debt limit so Congress can focus on a package of meaningful spending cuts. We will extend the president's authority to borrow money for the next three months, which will give Congress and the president time to find a way to fulfill what both Republicans and Democrats say is the important goal of reducing spending. This bill is not just about the debt limit, it is also about accountability. President Obama is borrowing $4 billion a day, dragging us deeper and deeper into debt. Meanwhile, the Senate has continued to break the law by refusing to pass a budget. This bill requires the Senate to tell the American people how it would like to spend taxpayer dollars, as the House of Representatives has done since the day I arrived. If the president and Congress are going to borrow additional money, mortgaging the future of our children, then our spending priorities must be absolutely clear.”

Question: Is there any hope that the White House and Congress can reach a consensus to address our out-of-control debt?

Lake Metal Detection Concerns Tribe

RE: Hayden man still finds objects linked to Fort Sherman/Bill Buley, Coeur d'Alene Press

The cultural resources staff of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe has called my attention to the story that ran in your newspapers yesterday and today concerning Dennis Rachunok’s prospecting for historic and prehistoric artifacts along the north shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene, near historic Fort Sherman.   The Tribe was especially concerned at the reference to arrowhead collecting, as the area in question has been used by them for millennia. … Unfortunately, Idaho is one of the last states in the country without laws protecting its historic heritage. Under these circumstances, an educated and informed citizenry is the best protection available for our fragile past.  Mr. Rachunok’s activities are not illegal, but they are damaging and diminishing our collective sense of ourselves as a people, where we’ve been, and where we might be going. However, steps can be taken/Ken Reid, Idaho State Historic Preservation Office. Full letter here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

Question: Do you understand the concerns expressed by Ken Reid for the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe.

Richert: IdahoEdNews Is Independent

Sisyphus: I’m quite skeptical of this new media source (IdahoEdNews in Idaho Blogs & Friends blogroll to right). It’s funded by Luna reform backers, the Albertsons Foundation and housed at BSU.

Kevin Richert: Thanks, Dave, for adding me to the blogroll. I’d also like to take the opportunity to cite our editorial policy: “Idaho Education News is an editorially independent source of professional journalism. Partners and funders of Idaho Education News, and board members or staff members of these organizations, do not control or attempt to control or influence editorial content. Some of our funders and partners take strong positions on education policy and these positions may vary widely. We make it clear to all that their beliefs do not influence our editorial product.”

Question: Do you see the advent of IdahoEdNews project at Boise State University as a positive development for Idaho education?

Another Foggy Morning In Paradise

On Monday, Kerri Thoreson posted this photo on her Facebook page, with the comment: “The Spokane Street bridge over the Spokane River, photo taken from the Post Falls dam overlook platform in Falls Park. Another foggy day in our frosty paradise.”

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.23.13

  • 11:46 a.m. Someone is unconscious @ Lakeland/Vera Street, Rathdrum.
  • 11:40 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 22-23 here.
  • 11:39 a.m. Driver of red Toyota Prius possibly DUI @ e/b I-90/MP 1 (Jacklin Seed Co.)
  • 11:31 a.m. Firefighters checking alarm sounding in KMC basement mechanical room.
  • 11:27 a.m. Undisclosed fraud reported @ trailer park @ 3016 Government Way/CdA.
  • 11:21 a.m. Caller says speeding, reckless driver in Dodge Stratus  H41/Seltice Way almost hit him.
  • 11:16 a.m. Traffic flowing again @ H95/Hanley after truck breakdown (11:02 item).
  • 12 more items below

UI Wants To Expand Law School

University of Idaho administrators found themselves in a tough position Wednesday. They were lobbying for an additional chunk of state dollars – to graduate more lawyers. The U of I is seeking $400,000 to expand its Boise law school. The money would expand the satellite campus, now serving about 30 third-year law students, to serve 40 second-year students and 40 third-year students. Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee members couldn’t resist a few lawyer jokes. “I think by statute we can limit the number of lawyers in Idaho,” said Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, a physician/Kevin Richert, IdahoEdNews. More here.

Question: Does anyone — anyone! — out there think that Idaho needs more lawyers? (Feel free to share your favorite lawyer joke, as long as it's clean.)

State Of Lake City Schools Forum Set

The Coeur d’Alene Education Partnership (CEP) is pleased to present their inaugural State of the District community forum featuring a presentation from the School District 271 administration. The event will take place next Wednesday, Jan. 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Coeur d’Alene Library. Refreshments will be provided. “Our goal with this event is to foster increased dialogue between the community and the District” said Coeur d’Alene Education Partnership President Amy Evans. “As an independent non-profit dedicated to advocating for excellence in public education, we feel that an annual event like this will give the community a chance to hear directly from the District administration on current topics of interest”/Amy Evans, Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership. More here.

Question: Do you consider the emergence of the Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership to be a positive development for the Coeur d'Alene School District?

Clinton: ‘I Do Feel Responsible’

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pounds her fist as she testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Testifying before Congress for the first time since the September 11 attacks in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today took responsibility for the failures that led to those deaths, citing a “personal” commitment to improving diplomatic security abroad. But even while conceding ongoing “deficiencies and inadequacies” within the State Department, Clinton defended her own actions and those of her staff with regard to their response to the violence, and outlined the numerous steps she says have already been implemented to prevent future similar occurrences/Lucy Madison, CBS News. More here.

Question: Are you confident that the State Department has taken the proper steps to limit exposure by U.S. diplomats to another Benghazi attack?

Poll: Don’t Hamstring Initiatives

  • Tuesday Poll: Hucks Nation overwhelmingly opposes a proposal by state Sen. Curt McKenzie that would further limit the ability of Idaho citizens to pass an initiative. 128 of 145 respondents (88.28%) oppose McKenzie's bill. Only 13 of 145 respondents (8.97%)
  • Today's Question: Should new Sheriff Ben Wolfinger have attended 2nd amendment rally in Coeur d'Alene last weekend?

Idaho Has 1 Psychiatrist Per 20,000

Idaho has only one psychiatrist per 20,000 people in the state, Jeralyn Jones of the University of Washington Psychiatric Residency, a four-year program, told legislative budget writers this morning. At the same time, in 2012, more U.S. veterans died from suicide than died in combat, she said. “That’s a really sad statistic,” Jones said, and one that shows the need for mental health care and more psychiatrists.  She said the residency program is making a difference, attracting bright young psychiatrists to train in Idaho. “I’m proud of our state for doing something about this,” she said. “We’re the envy of Wyoming, the envy of Montana”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: How concerned are you that Idaho has only 1 psychiatrist per 20,000 people?

Satay Bistro Offers Eclectic Excellence

I remember when the building first went up, a few years ago. With its elaborate brick exterior and rounded front wall, it stood out on a patch of asphalt between a Taco Time and a music store on Fourth Street in Coeur d’Alene, just north of the freeway. When a sign went up announcing an Italian deli was coming soon, I waited in anticipation. And waited. Soon, the Italian deli sign went down, and the real estate signs went up. And the brand new building sat empty. Then last year, Rob Elder opened Satay Bistro in the unused space, bringing an eclectic collection of “American fusion” dishes to the Coeur d’Alene food scene. It’s a most welcome addition/Carolyn Lamberson, SR. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: Executive chef Anthony Buttice displays a dish of filet mignon at Satay Bistro)

Question: Any personal reviews out there re: Satay Bistro?

Vestal: Glimmers Of Hope Or Gloom?

How’s our economy? Improving? Turning around? That’s the conventional wisdom – that here in Spokane and in North Idaho, we are crawling toward recovery. When the economists talk about next year, they tend to predict more of the same: slow growth. Media reports – even when noting minuscule changes in the jobless rate or other factors – tend to take a similar line. The glass is not 97 percent empty, in other words. It’s 3 percent full. Two recent evaluations of the local economy – one national and one local – take the opposite view, arguing that there is reason for abundant caution in the cautious optimism/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Are you optimistic re: the federal/local economy for 2013?

AM Headlines — 1.23.13

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, center, shoots against Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) as Clippers guard Willie Green watches during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 5, in Los Angeles. Thompson, a former Washington State standout, discussed his life as a pro with Christian Caple/SR here. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Manti Te’o To Discuss Virtual GalPal

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, right, speaks with host Katie Couric during an interview for “Katie,” in New York. Te'o has told Katie Couric that he briefly lied about his online girlfriend after discovering she didn't exist, while maintaining that he had no part in creating the hoax. Pressed by Couric to admit that he was in on the deception, Te'o said he believed that his girlfriend Lennay Kekua had died of cancer and didn't lie about it until December. The interview will air on Thursday. (AP Photo/Disney-ABC, Lorenzo Bevilaqua)

Question: Has the studio tell-all replaced the confessional as the place for celebrities to 'fess up & seek forgiveness?

Stebbijo: Let DFO Run City Facebook

Stebbijo (Gookin still votes against appointments): As a citizen of CdA — I find this back and forth banter among our city leaders distasteful but necessary, otherwise some citizens might come to an undesirable conclusion. What constitutes official city business? What about the folks that are not getting this commentary? At times, it appears that HBO is the official town hall - why do we need a Facebook page? What a waste of money. I propose that HBO become a regular part of the city agenda. Just get it out there - it is what it is. Let’s have another committee that defines social network etiquette for the city council and then we can really have a great time approving members . Let’s see how that works. The only other option is to let Cindy take the helm and let DFO retire and run for a city council seat - then, DFO could take over the city Facebook page that cost us way too much money, anyway.

Question: Do you think Mayor Dan Gookin should hire your Huckleberry Hound to handle the city's social media when I retire from SR?

UI Student’s Death Raises Questions

Moscow's police chief says there are more questions than answers as to why an 18-year-old University of Idaho student apparently froze to death Sunday night underneath a rural bridge. “Why was he so disoriented?” David Duke asked Tuesday, one day after Latah County Search and Rescue trackers found the body of Joseph Wiederrick near a farmhouse on North Mountain View Road. “I don't want to speculate on that until we get a lot more information that I can verify.” Police know that Wiederrick attended a party at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity Saturday night, and left sometime after midnight. But instead of walking northwest toward his residence in the UI's Theophilus Tower, he walked east, then north, according to location information gleaned from cellphone records/Joel Mills, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Does this tragedy remind you how dangerous our cold weather can be?

Letter: Where Was Sheriff Wolfinger?

Sheriff Wolfinger, you did not attend the 2nd Amendment rally in Cd’A, even though I understand you were invited to speak. Where were you? Do you not support the Constitution which you were sworn to uphold? Sheriffs all around the country are stating they will not enforce any unconstitutional gun laws, including several in Idaho. Why have you not done so? By not attending the rally, and making your position clear, you have cast doubt on your ability to protect the people of Kootenai County. The people of Kootenai County deserve a public statement from you making clear your stance on this issue/Michael Alexander of Athol, letter to the editor, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: Sheriff Ben Wolfinger during his swearing-in ceremony Jan. 14)

Question: Should Sheriff Ben Wolfinger have attended 2nd Amendment rally at Black Sheep last weekend?

CdA District Faces $3M Shortfall

The Coeur d'Alene School District is now going over a fiscal cliff school systems nationwide began hitting at the end of 2011 when about $100 billion in federal stimulus funds for education started running out. District 271 has, until now, been able to pull away from the edge by using money from its fund balance reserve, but that revenue option has dried up and the result is a $3 million shortfall school officials have been talking about since last fall. Most of the funds in question came into the district when the federal Education Jobs Act was signed into law in 2010. The money was distributed to states to save teachers' and school employees' jobs and help maintain instructional time for students as state and local revenue funds dried up. Idaho's share was $51 million, and Coeur d'Alene received $1.8 million/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (CSD photo: School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton)

Question: What would you do if you were walking in a school trustee's shoes?

Cutline Contest — 1.23.13

A young moose takes a break in a backyard north of Pocatello Monday as one of the family cats investigates the newcomer. The moose's mother was nowhere to be seen so the moose was possibly on it's own. You write the cutline. (AP/Idaho State Journal photo: Doug Lindley )

If You Lose At Polls, Silence Voters

When he wasn't busy torturing Richard Nixon, political prankster Dick Tuck ran for the California Legislature. He lost, but not before coining the quintessential concession line: “The people have spoken. The bastards.” Tuck was joking. Some Idaho legislators are not. They seem to think Idaho voters don't know what's good for them. Case in point: Just 10 weeks ago, Idaho voters went to the polls and repealed the three signature acts of the 2011-2012 legislative term. Known as the Luna laws for their chief advocate, states schools Superintendent Tom Luna, these measures gutted teacher collective bargaining rights, imposed a rickety merit pay system and transferred assets from the classroom to purveyors of laptop computers and online instruction/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Which lobbyist-inspired proposal do you think is worse — this one, which would make the citizen initiative process harder? Or the attempt by former legislator Jim Clark to allow more telemarketing in Idaho?

Idaho Female Workers Get Shaft

Year after year, Idaho gets slapped with an unwelcome designation: It’s one of the states where women earn the least compared to men. A recent study of the “gender wage gap” came from the National Women’s Law Center, and found the typical woman worker in Idaho earns 75.2 cents for every dollar earned by her male counterpart. The gender wage gap has also been an issue at the top levels of state government. Last March, the Idaho Statesman found that women in Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s cabinet earned an average of $17,000 less than their male peers.  Following the firing of state transportation chief Pam Lowe in 2009, it was widely noted that the man who replaced her had a starting salary that was $22,000 higher/Molly Messick, StateImpact. More here.

Question: Any women out there getting paid less than men for working same job?

Press: No Budget, Then No Pay

OK, Republicans. You want Congress to adopt a budget and avoid yet another fiscal cliff-hanger with potentially catastrophic consequences, right? And same with you, Democrats and Independents. Of course, you're all on board. Then here's something maybe we can all agree on: No Budget, No Pay. No kidding. No Budget, No Pay would dock every member of Congress if the Senate fails to pass a budget on time. House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor recently offered their support to the concept, which was actually the brainchild of the nonpartisan organization No Labels more than a year ago/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: What do you think of the No Budget, No Pay concept?

Benson: Inaugural Dance

Lisa Benson/Washington Post Writers Group

Wild Card/Tuesday — 1.22.13

Seems Old Man Winter hasn't looked at the calendar to see that Winter 2012-13 is geting long in tooth. Won't be that long before the groundhog let's us know whether we get 6 more weeks of winter. Or spring is just around the corner. For me, spring begins when spring training baseball begins. I'm looking forward to Major League Baseball to begin again. But, first, I wouldn't mind seeing my S.F. 49ers win another Super Bowl. Now for the first Wild Card of the shortened work week.

Parting Shot — 1.22.13

People gather in front of a mural containing a likeness of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, right, at a candlelight memorial on the first anniversary of his death today in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Question: Am I the only one bothered by this commemoration?

Cindy: Lamaze Class + 23 Years

On her Facebook wall, Cindy posts: “I've never been much of a worrier. In fact, a friend says that's why I ended up with 4 boys. But now that some of those boys are men, I've found I didn't escape the worry gene after all. Who knew 23 years after my first Lamaze class, deep cleansing breaths would come in so handy?

Question: How much do you worrry about your grown children?

UI Student Freezes To Death

A University of Idaho student froze to death under a bridge after leaving a fraternity party this weekend. Moscow police found the body of Joseph Wiederrick, 18, of Hailey, Idaho, under the Paradise Creek Bridge about 4 p.m. Monday, according to Moscow police Chief David Duke. Alcohol was involved. Wiederrick and his roommate attended a party at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity Saturday night, and Weiderrick left sometime early Sunday morning. Police believe he became disoriented and entered someone’s home just before 3 a.m. Sunday, believing he was at the fraternity, which was actually about two miles north. The resident asked if he was all right, and he said he was and was going home. Then around 4 a.m., he knocked on the door of a second residence, Duke said. The person that answered the door later told police Wiederrick was in a state of disarray, and he asked Wiederrick to leave because he felt threatened/Chelsea Bannach, SR. More here. (Moscow Pullman Daily News photo: A helicopter from the 36th Rescue Flight out of Fairchild Air Force Base helps search for University of Idaho student Joseph Wiederrick)

Question: Your thoughts on this awful tragedy?

NIC Property Tax $$$ Raises Q’s

Lawmakers brought up a longtime sore spot during North Idaho College’s budget hearing at the state Legislature this morning: Why does the Coeur d’Alene community college get so much of its funding from property tax, compared to the state's other two community colleges, and why do only Kootenai County residents pay that tax, when NIC serves all five of the North Idaho Panhandle counties? Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint – who is from Bonner County — said, “That’s been an ongoing question from Kootenai County legislators for a long time”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you see a problem with the way North Idaho College is funded?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.22.13

  • 5:26 p.m. ISP told to look for Oregon dementia victim who may be in route to Worley in Honda.
  • 5:15 p.m. Kootenai County Sheriff's Department weekly warrants roundup for Jan. 21 here.
  • 4:47 p.m. Burglary victim tells CPD Blues he has more to add to missing list of items.
  • 4:15 p.m. Post Falls man sentenced to prison for 8 years for burglary, meth possession here.
  • 3:59 p.m. Resident @ 6200 block of E. Hudlow/Hayden reports smell of natural gas from crawl space in home's bathroom.
  • 3:40 p.m. 4 drunken males are bothering patrons in Post Falls Library, near fireplace.
  • 2:39 p.m. Female reports 2 males entered home on Lilac Court/Post Falls and broke her brother's nose in a fight. She requests ambulance, too.
  • 2:14 p.m. Hayden WalMart manager reports shoplifter pushed cart load of groceries to Ford F150 pickup w/canopy on back & fled parking lot.
  • 1:41 p.m. Elderly female possibly having stroke on 6th Street/CdA.
  • 1:27 p.m. Garwood Elementary, 17506 N. Ramsey Road/Garwood, reports juvenile problem.

Huckleberries Blogroll — 1.22.13

“An oven baked chicken is good for many meals'” posts Stebbijo/Stebbijo's Place.”This time it is creamy chicken noodle soup. Boil up a cup or so of noodles - el dente. I used one can of chicken broth, 1/2 can of evaporated milk, can of water, drippings from the chicken, one can of creamy chicken soup, cup of chopped celery and a 1/2 chicken breast — chopped, and it was delicious.” More about Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup & Stebbijo's news commentary here.

Huckleberries numbers (for week of Jan. 13-19): 51,135 page-views/28,746 unique views

Slice: Bumping Into Old Classmates

There are certain advantages to having lived in different parts of the country. For one thing, it encourages you to assess people one at a time and not rely on simple-minded regional stereotypes. This is helpful, for instance, when one starts to suspect that everyone in Idaho is nuts. Still, those of us who did not grow up in the Spokane area definitely miss out on something. We never bump into our grade school classmates. That might not sound like a big deal. But in a way, it is. I have a friend, Jeri Hershberger, who occasionally sends me a note when I mention someone she knew at Wilson Elementary back in the day. She still crosses paths with some of her old milk-money pals. And I am so jealous/Paul Turner, SR. More here.

Question: Do you still bump into elementary or high school classmates? Is it a good or bad experience?

Richert’s New Blog: The EDge

The state does not have the money to erase several years of university funding inequity in one year, a spokesman for Gov. Butch Otter said Monday evening. In his budget presentation Monday, Boise State University President Bob Kustra appealed to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee to find the “equity” money, intended to cover enrollment increases. The State Board of Education requested equity funding, including $4.96 million for BSU, but Otter did not include it in his budget proposal. “As we have indicated in other areas of the budget, as the economy continues to recover, we will continue to address this equity issue,” Otter spokesman Jon Hanian said. “But it was not possible to take a $9 million impact to the rest of the budget to address this one issue all at once this year”/Kevin Richert, The EDge, Idaho Education News blog. More here.

DFO: I'm publishing this post to introduce you to former Idaho Statesman opinion page editor Kevin Richert, in his new role as a member of the Idaho Education News project. You can read more about the project and Kevin's new blog, The EDge, here.

Lobbyist Clark Pushing Telemarketers

Former Idaho state Rep. Jim Clark of Hayden is back in the halls of the Statehouse, this time as a lobbyist, the Associated Press reports; AP reporter John Miller reports that Clark’s been hired by Frontier Communications, a Minnesota-based phone company, to help push for a revamp of Idaho’s 2000 law regarding telephone solicitation. Frontier and Louisiana-based Century Link Inc. say the law banning them from cold-calling existing customers is crippling their ability to market high-speed Internet, and things have changed since the days when the law was enacted 13 years ago/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Is there a single person out there who wants to receive more calls from telemarketers?

Idaho Twitter Politics 101

“Are you on Twitter? If not, why not?” asks Melissa Davlin, Twin Falls Times-News. “For Idaho political junkies, it's the place to be. Nearly all of the Capitol Correspondents post daily, so Twitter acts as a solid aggregation tool for statewide political news. Have I convinced you yet? Follow me at @TNDavlin for Magic Valley-centric news from the Legislature.” Melissa then provides a list of other solid political reporters and news sources across the state (in no particular order) here.

Question: Are you on Twitter?

Silverwood Unveils Wild, New Ride

An artist’s rendering of a new thrill ride set to open this year at Silverwood Theme Park in North Idaho. (Artist's Rendering: Silverwood Theme Park)

Silverwood Theme Park is adding a rotating, swinging behemoth of a thrill ride that will test riders’ courage and stomach strength, as well as a far gentler ride for kids and families. The park near Athol, Idaho, will spend $2.2 million on the new attractions and expects to have them up and running at the start of this season. The new addition to Silverwood’s extreme rides will stand 104 feet tall – 20 feet taller than the Timber Terror coaster – and sling 24 riders upside like a catapult, while also spinning them around. “Riders are upside down, sitting in their seats, upside down again, over and over and over repeatedly,” said Nancy DiGiammarco, marketing director for the theme park/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Would you ride something like this?

Gookin Still Votes Vs. Appointments

From City Clerk Renata McLeod's minutes of Jan. 15 council meeting:

Motion by Goodlander, seconded by McEvers to approve the appointment of Tom Messina and Ben Wolfinger to the Personnel Appeals Board and Barbi Harrison to the Childcare Commission.  CouncilmanGookin clarified that he has voted no on the appointments for several months and wanted to let the public know it is about the process not the people, and that he felt the process should be more transparent.  He further stated that he would continue to vote no.   Motion carried with Gookin voting No. Complete minutes here.

Question: Dan, are you out there? Can you explain why you don't think city appointment process is transparent enough?

LCDC To Post Monthly Minutes

As part of its continuing commitment to maximize public awareness, the Lake City Development Corp. this month will begin posting summaries of its monthly board meetings on its website ( under the documents tab. Here is a recap of the January meeting. As a reminder, all LCDC board meetings are publicized live on Channel 19. The board meets the third Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m. at the community room of the Coeur d’Alene Public Library/Keith Erickson, LCDC spokesman.

Question: Has Lake City Development Corp. taken most of the steps needed to inform the public about its work?

Legislator Seeks To Protect Cursive

Idaho’s public school students shouldn’t lose the ability to read cursive, warns Rep. Linden Bateman, R- Idaho Falls, a retired history teacher. “What will that do to historical research?” he asked. “Family research? Geneology? Our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence – kids will not be able to read those documents in the original. It disconnects kids from their past – weakens the connection.” Bateman this morning introduced a concurrent resolution calling on the State Board of Education to include cursive handwriting in the new “Common Core” standards for what children should learn in school. Several other states, including California, Massachusetts and Georgia, already have made that move, Bateman said. It comes as kids have less and less cause for cursive writing, often using computers or other devices instead/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (SR photo: Betsy Russell)

Question: Believe it or not, I have very good handwriting. How about you?

Michelle Wears 2nd Jason Wu Gown

First lady Michelle Obama dances with President Barack Obama during The Inaugural Ball at the Washignton convention center during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Michelle Obama and Jason Wu are a match made in heaven. For her second inaugural ball on Jan. 21, 2013, the First Lady collaborated with the same fashion designer who created her show-stopping look four years earlier. At the Southern Regional Inaugural Ball at the D.C. Armory in January 2009, the 49-year-old mother of two wore a custom one-shoulder, floor-length white chiffon gown by Wu. “I was over the moon,” the then-fledgling designer told The New York Times. “I know I am an unusual choice for a first lady. I didn't think it was my turn yet”/Zach Johnson, Us Weekly. More here.

Question: Were you wowed by the First Lady's dress & style at Inaugural Ball, too?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.22.13

  • 11:59 a.m. CPD Blues seek ISP assist re: oversized load stopped on H95/Blackwell Island.
  • 11:48 a.m. ISP seeks tow to wrench vehicle up 80-degree hillside, 45 feet down. Unknown location.
  • 11:47 a.m. Motorist sez reckless trucker @ H95/Kathleen now stopped @ H95/Blackwell Island.
  • 11:37 a.m. CPD Blue reports 2 oversized loads illegally moving w/o mirrors @ H95/Ironwood, CdA.
  • 11:15 a.m. Undisclosed suspicious situation reported in 600 block of N7th/CdA.
  • 10 more items below

Quotable Quote

I think they should tread lightly,” (Todd Hoffman of Coeur d'Alene) said of government officials seeking regulation. “Because North Idaho will become North Ireland if they take it too far.” (Coeur d'Alene Press article on 2nd amendment rally).

Poll: Want Medical Pros To Get Shots

  • Weekend Poll: A solid majority of Hucks Nation wouldn't want to be treated by a medical professional who refuse to receive vaccinations. 122 of 214 respondents (57.01%) took that position. 79 of 214 respondents (36.92%) wouldn't mind being treated by someone without vaccinations. 13 (6.07%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you want the GOP-controlled Idaho Legislature to make it harder for citizens to pass initiatives?

Arming Teachers: Is It A Good Idea?

While the idea of arming teachers, as a means to increase school safety, is catching on in some areas, there's no such momentum in Kootenai County. “It's a bad idea - even if teachers are trained,” said Bill Dean, a teacher at NewVision Alternative High School in Post Falls. “I don't think that's giving law enforcement - the professionals who have the training when it comes to using a weapon in a moment of crisis - enough credit.” Dean isn't anti-guns - he regularly packs a pistol with him when he goes into the mountains and he's a Navy veteran — but he believes teachers with guns is the wrong tactic to enhance school safety/Alecia Warren & Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think it's a good idea to arm teachers in an attempt to prevent another Newtown massacre?

Koler: We’ve Only Just Begun

Duncan Koler (pictured) believes only a battle was won last year when it was decided to phase out the International Baccalaureate Organization advanced learning program in the Coeur d'Alene School District. The war against what Koler sees as a historic trend of turning students into global citizens still remains. “It's important to understand that this has been going on for a long time,” Koler, an attorney from Hayden, told the Panhandle Pachyderm Club on Friday at Red Lion Templin's Hotel. “It hasn't stopped and it won't stop.” Koler, a member of the nonprofit Citizens for Better Education, was among those who opposed IB at Lake City High and the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the elementary version of IB at Hayden Meadows Elementary that will be terminated at the end of this year. He said more work needs to be done getting education focused on core learning and academics and less on socialization/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Does Duncan Koler and his organization represent your views on public education in Coeur d'Alene?

AM Headlines — 1.22.13

Ben and Melissa Mello, of Coeur d’Alene, started the nonprofit Coeur d’Alene Glass Recycling Co. to provide Kootenai County residents an alternative to throwing glass into the trash. They will pulverize and sell the crushed glass for landscaping and other applications. Scott Maben story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Lake City Keeps Growing Up, Up, Up

The Parkside and McEuen Terrace towers are reflected in the window at Fire Artisan Pizza in downtown Coeur d’Alene as Lauren Myklebust, left, enjoys lunch on Friday. The two towers and the Coeur d’Alene Resort are the tallest buildings downtown. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Two newer condo towers have joined the Coeur d’Alene Resort as the tallest buildings downtown, and the city recently approved construction of a luxury apartment building near City Park. Building up rather than out is an urban planning objective for Coeur d’Alene, which is hemmed in on most sides. City leaders also encourage denser residential development in the city’s core to boost the vigor of downtown shopping and night life. “I think it’s a maturing of the community that you’re seeing with these higher-density, high-rise structures,” said Denny Davis, chairman of the Lake City Development Corp., the city’s urban renewal agency. The growing skyline, however, isn’t without controversy/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Do you support the urban planning concept of growing up rather than out?

Have Guns, No Need To Deliver

Barack Obama promised to start his second term by making gun control his highest priority. Outside of the mainstream news media/Hollywood/Beltway Democrat cocoon, the clamor for gun control is probably best exemplified by the lone protester who showed up at a huge Denver gun show a couple of weeks ago. This means that the following issues will resume their position on the very furthest back burner of Obama's agenda - economic recovery, deficit reduction and entitlement reform. And that' s right where Obama likes them. Because frankly, contrary to his 2008 campaign promises regarding those issues, he has shown absolutely no interest in solving any of those problems. Would you believe that the Washington Post actually justified its endorsement of Obama for president by explaining that he was best equipped to reform entitlements? But, I digress/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you believe President Obama is using gun control as a priority issue to avoid doing something about economic recovery, deficit reduction & entitlement reform, as Costello contends?

GOP Solons Back Anti-Initiative Effort

Some Idaho lawmakers want to make it harder for citizen initiatives to qualify for state ballots. The move by Idaho state Senate Republican leaders happened Monday in the wake of Idaho voters’ rejection of three school-reform laws last November. Idaho Farm Bureau lobbyist Russ Hendricks requested the legislation from the Senate State Affairs Committee, which is dominated by Republican leaders. Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, (pictured) is the committee chairman and sponsored the measure. The legislation would require signatures from 6 percent of the residents of 22 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts before an initiative or referendum could qualify for the ballot. “The bottom line is just to ensure that there’s broad support across the state for an issue before it qualifies on the ballot,” Hendricks said/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: Do you want Idaho GOP leaders to lead a drive to make it harder for citizens to place an initiative on the ballot?

Scholarship Recalls CdA Triathlete

It was just a few minutes. David Martin and Sean Murphy chatted, then helped each other zip up their wetsuits before the start of last year's Ironman Coeur d'Alene on June 24. Both men decided they would not be part of the mass start of 2,000 or so athletes, and instead wait a minute before heading out for the 2.4-mile swim. They wished each other well, and shortly after the cannon fired, walked into Lake Coeur d'Alene and began swimming. “We started out on our own,” Martin said. A short time later, the 44-year-old Murphy was pulled from the water. The Seattle man was rushed to an ambulance, and taken to Kootenai Medical Center. There, he remained on life support until he died two days later. … Martin, 73, said he will never forget those final few minutes with Murphy/Bill Buley, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo)

Question: Am I the only one who thinks this is a terrific way to remember a casual acquaintance?

Feds Seek Speedy Action Vs. Phil Hart

Government lawyers are asking a judge to rule in their favor in a federal tax case against ex-state Rep. Phil Hart and allow them to immediately foreclose on his log home in North Idaho. In a motion filed Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Keneally said there are no disputes over the facts concerning six of the 13 years for which the government believes Hart owes back taxes, so U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge should rule in the government’s favor on that portion of the lawsuit. Keneally’s motion for summary judgment also asks the judge to disallow several categories of deductions that Hart claimed in past returns and find that he’s liable for penalties for filing late and for failing to pay taxes for various years/Rebecca Boone, AP. More here.

Question: Do you expect Phil Hart to try to regain elective office in the future?

1000 Attend Lake City Gun Show

A crowd of more than 1,000, many of them armed with rifles and pistols, rallied in support of gun-owner rights Saturday outside a Coeur d’Alene sporting goods store. It was a strong show of support for the Second Amendment on a cold and sunny day, and it came in response to sweeping new gun control proposals by the Obama administration following the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre last month. Similar “Gun Appreciation Day” and “Guns Across America” gatherings were held in state capitals and at gun shows and shooting ranges across the nation. About 800 supporters of gun rights converged on the statehouse in Boise, and another big crowd showed up outside the Washington Capitol in Olympia/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)


Dancing Through Life

President Barack Obama holds first lady Michelle Obama as they dance at an Inaugural Ball Monday at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Question: When did you last dance with your partner?

Obama Gives 2nd Inaugural Address

He did not utter the words, but President Obama suffused his second Inaugural Address with the spirit of a favorite phrase: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to heed “the fierce urgency of now.” President Obama’s address nodded to ideological inclusiveness but did not repeat his view from four years ago that it was time to end the “recriminations and worn-out dogmas” that characterized Washington battles. This was a president unbound from much of what defined him upon taking office four years ago, a man clearly cognizant of time already running down on his opportunity to make his imprint on the country and on history. Gone were the vision of a new kind of high-minded politics, the constraint of a future re-election campaign and the weight of unrealistic expectations. In their place was an unapologetic argument that modern liberalism was perfectly consistent with the spirit of the founders and a notice that, with no immediate crisis facing the nation, Mr. Obama intended to use the full powers of his office for progressive values/Richard W. Stevenson, New York Times. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Are you excited/apprehensive re; President Barack Obama's second term?

Dirne Gives Relief For Snorers, Apnea

It was Randy Parsons' children who first suggested his snoring might be worse than just its turbulent roar. “They were really concerned when I was sleeping, I was snoring at night and quit breathing,” the Coeur d'Alene resident said. “I couldn't get enough air, I kept waking up. I was getting two or three hours of sleep at night, tops.” Parsons was soon diagnosed with sleep apnea, a condition where an individual stops breathing repeatedly during sleep, depriving the brain of oxygen. But there wasn't much he could do about it. The best treatment for sleep apnea is the CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) that helps individuals breathe during sleep. But the apparatus, with oxygen mask, can cost up to $1,500. Even with his insurance, Parsons couldn't afford one. “I didn't have the option,” the 57-year-old said. That is, until a couple months ago, when he discovered the new CPAP program offered at Dirne Community Health Center/Alecia Warren, CdA Press. More here.

Question: Do yo snore?

Drug Crackdown Nothing To Sniff At

Nic Casey, of Coeur d’Alene, hasn’t purchased rubber cement for some time. But he’ll be ready with his driver’s license if he has to do so. You may think rubber cement is harmless. But someone out there doesn’t. Seems a 50-something co-worker of Nic’s was carded when she and her husband tried to buy rubber cement at a local Wal-Mart during the New Year’s weekend. Nic laughed when the co-worker told him the story. His colleague and her husband are old enough to be Nic’s parents. She said her husband challenged the clerk who demanded identification: “You mean to tell me that there are crack dealers on the street selling cocaine, and you want to see ID to sell rubber cement?” The cashier responded, “Yes.” But Nic’s co-worker assured him that modern rubber cement has a kick. “Have you smelled this stuff recently?” she said. “I nearly got high just using it for the project I was finishing.” Replied Nic: “Are you kidding me? I sniffed that stuff the whole way through my high school days.” To which the co-worker replied: “That explains a lot.” Badabump. Onward/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.

More SR weekend columns:

Question: When did you last use rubber cement?

Inauguration Day

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

MLK Weekend Wild Card — 1.19-21.13

As a fan, I've been living large during the fall and winter. S.F. Giants win the World Series. S.F. 49ers going to the Super Bowl. Doesn't get much better than that. Well, Gonzaga could have beaten Butler rather than throw away the game Saturday. But the Zags will bounce back. I'm off today, in observance to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. So we'll fire up the cyber turnstiles again Tuesday. Feel free to play this Wild Card in the meantime …

Hundreds Rally For 2nd Amendment

Dale Heimbigner of Coeur d'Alene carries an ArmaLite AR-50 at the Second Amendment rally outside Black Sheep Sporting Goods on Saturday. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Alecia Warren)

Hundreds amassed at a Second Amendment rally on Saturday, many hefting signs blazoning their stance on potential federal gun regulation. As encouraged by nonprofit Oath Keepers that organized the event, many who gathered outside Black Sheep Sporting Goods were packing. Most carried handguns and semi-automatic rifles. One touted an ArmaLite AR-50. Several legislators and activists took the stage, all condemning Congress' pursuit of a ban on assault weapons, or the creation of a gun-owner registry. “I have trained about 9,000 out at our facility (on gun use),” said Ed Santos, owner of Center Target Sports, as he addressed the crowd by a massive American flag. “I see that as 9,000 reasons for criminals to go somewhere else, or think twice before thinking to rob or injure an Idahoan”/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Did you go to the gun show?

Parting Shot — 1.18.13

After 234-240 days incubated at 84 degrees, the Komodo Dragon baby emerges from its shell at the Memphis Zoo, Thursday, in Memphis, Tenn. The babies must “pip” to start breathing the air. Some embryos have a temporary egg tooth with which to crack, pip, or break the eggshell or covering. A large clutch of 16 viable Komodo Dragon eggs are starting to hatch at The Memphis Zoo. They are the first babies born to the zoo in 2013. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Karen Pulfer Focht)

TGIF Wild Card — 1.18.13

I haven't had much cabin fever this winter as a result of almost-daily walks of 2 to 3 miles. Funny how winter weather can be intimidating if you stay inside huddled next to the fire place. However, if you get out in it, you realize how viewtiful winter can be with its variety of scenes that change daily as a result of snow, fog, temperature, etc. Lake Coeur d'Alene, with sunshine and fog working magic, was stunning yesterday. Now for your final Wild Card of the work week …

Best Slacker Jobs In The Region

Calling all slackers. Worried about what you’re gonna do if those extended unemployment benefits ever run out? Options abound for the marginally skilled in Spokane. Some call them slacker jobs but you can call them non-traditional career paths if you want. They include:

Question: Which slacker job would you be good at?

Sheriff Defends 2nd Amendment

Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler (pictured in Bonner County Web site photo) is letting the public know where he stands as the debate over gun control rages in Washington, D.C. “I’ve been a strong advocate of the Second Amendment and I’m always going to stand up to make sure that those rights are protected,” Wheeler said on Thursday. As officials around the nation react to President Barack Obama’s $500 million effort to control gun violence in the wake of last month’s Sandy Hook massacre, Wheeler said his office has fielded a number of requests from the public asking what his position is on the issue. In response, Wheeler posted a message to his department’s website which urges the public to reach out to local, state and federal officials to push back against 23 executive actions proposed by the Obama administration to enhance gun control regulations/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee. More here.

Question: Should local sheriffs be outspoken in questioning the constitutionality of President Obama's proposals to rein in gun violence?

PM Headlines — 1.18.13

Betsy Russell/Eye on Boise writes: “These Senate pages, at the suggestion of a legislative staffer, are enjoying the best view in the Statehouse — the view straight up from the middle of the rotunda. Amid the ornate concentric circles of the Capitol's center, the young legislative aides were counting the stars that decorate the ceiling of the dome.” (Photo: Eye on Boise)

Food Porn: Welcome Home Burger

Sheldon Meuer, of the SR circulation department, was treated to this $26, five-pound hamburger at the Sweet Grass Cafe at the Coeur d'Alene Casino this afternoon. He told me that a sixth of the burger, dubbed Welcome Home Burger, was the equivalent to the hamburger that you see in the foreground. Said he: “I couldn't even eat the crust on the thing.” I hear Nosworthy's grills up a bigger burger, for sports teams, but it's more meatloaf than burger. In bygone days, Spokesman-Review columnist Doug Clark and I once ate a small part of a 10-pound burger cooked up at the old Shady Lady restaurant in Wardner. Also, on a dare, I once ate the 42-ounce steak at Wolf Lodge Inn. How about you?

Question (with deference to vegetarian Stickman): Have you ever eaten a lot of meat at one sitting?

PM Scanner Traffic — 1.18.13

  • 4:58 p.m. Weaving, tail-gating car may have hit another vehicle @ e/b I-90/MP 12 (H95).
  • 4:41 p.m. Out-of-control son kicking walls, father @ H41/E. 12th Ave/PF.
  • 4:36 p.m. Local woman is afraid distraught husband will harm her & “shoot up the neighborhood.”
  • 4:32 p.m. Caller wants to see CPD Blue re: possible lewd & lascivious crime.
  • 4:18 p.m. PFPD Blue needs ambulance to get over-large prisoner to hospital for medical care. The prisoner is being cooperative but he's too big to fit inpatrol car.
  • 4:15 p.m. PFPD Blues are responding to domestic dispute in 2700 block of Slice Drive/PF.
  • 3:16 p.m. Abandoned vehicle on I-90/MP 11 (NW Blvd) is tagged for removal after dark.
  • 3:07 p.m. 19YO who's 5 months pregnant hit her head in 2-car crash @ Atlas/Industrial Loop, CdA.
  • 1:58 a.m. Possible injury accident reported @# H95/Kathleen, CdA.
  • 1:39 p.m. Spirit Lake office en route to jail w/prisoner reports slideoff in median of s/b H95/Lancaster Avenue, Hayden.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

Review: Phony “Gangster Squad”

Dan Webster/Dually Noted turns thumbs down on “Gangster Squad”:

If you’ve read Paul Lieberman’s nonfiction book “Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles,” or the series of L.A. Times stories that inspired it, you know all about the corruption that lurked at the heart of pre- and post-World War II L.A. Seriously, though, you could have learned all you needed simply by watching a pair of movies: Roman Polanski’s 1974 film “Chinatown” and Curtis Hanson’s 1997 film “L.A. Confidential.” Both are superb examples of hard-edged crime fiction, the former a vintage Private-Eye mystery, the latter a period-piece police procedural. And both are based on real Los Angeles history, respectively, the great Owens Valley water grab and the battle to clean out rogue elements of the LAPD. One thing you DON’T have to do is see Ruben Fleischer’s adaptation of Lieberman’s book. Fleischer, who directed 2009’s “Zombieland,” has given us a film that – even though it covers a fascinating period of American history – is about a phony as a spray-on suntan. More here. (AP/Warner Brother file photo)

Question: Do you plan to see “Gangster Squad”?

End Notes: Secret To Not Lying

Some “big fat liars” (to use a term we did in childhood) have been exposed this week. First, the Notre Dame scandal where many people likely are lying, not just footballl player Manti Te'o. And now Lance Armstrong finally admitting to what everyone knew. He lied and lied and lied and lied and lied. Why does it happen? How can you spot it? Well, those are questions for others, but I do have the simple formula for stopping lies within yourself. (Most all of us have done it, after all, small stretchings of the truth to look better, feel better or spare another's feelings.) Ask yourself: Does the outside story I'm telling the world match the inside story of who I really am and what I know to be true about my life? So the football player likely knew (at some point) the dead girlfriend only lived in his fantasy. And Lance knew that he was injecting himself with crap before every long bike ride/Rebecca Nappi, SR. More here.

Question: Americans forgive public figures many things. But not their lying about them. Can someone explain why we're so hard-nosed against liars?

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

Molly Cleland, two and a half, pushes her car through the snow in Jackson, Miss., Thursday. A winter storm system left 2 to 4 inches of snow in parts of central Mississippi before heading east toward Alabama, the National Weather Service said. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Question: Have you had car troubles this winter?

Minutes Of Person Field Showdown

If you missed the Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19 broadcast and haven't seen the video, you can still read the exchanges between the Coeur d'Alene City Council and School Board that resulted in a tentative deal to preserve Person Field and Bryan Playfield as recreation spaces. Coeur d'Alene City Clerk Renate McLeod sent the minutes of that important joint meeting to Huckleberries today. Click here.

SPLC: Felon Linked To NI ‘Walled City’

If you’re a band of antigovernment “Patriots” pitching a plan to build a walled city in North Idaho and manufacture handguns and assault rifles there, you might expect raised eyebrows, a little criticism. But potshots from other Patriots? Potshots, indeed, are flying at III Arms Co. and its sister land development company, Citadel Land Development, the firms behind a proposed 2,000- to 3,000-acre III Citadel complex for as many as 7,000 “Patriot” families near St. Maries, in Idaho’s sparsely populated Benewah County. The criticism is sparked by the fact that one of the key players linked to the unlikely-sounding venture is three-time convicted felon Christian Allen Kerodin, a Maryland contractor who has apparently used various aliases and whose birth name was Christian Hyman/Hate Watch, Southern Poverty Law Center. More here. (The Citadel's map of planned walled city)


JohnA: Stylin’ At A Gun Rally

JohnA (re: 2nd amendment rally set Saturday): “I can just see the crowd now. A sea of red-checked flannel and camo, testosterone-heavy and snoose a-spittin’, sporting two day old beards and an array of guns to rival any penis-envy competition. And, that’s just the women. Then, they want them packing signs? What, ‘Guns R Us’? Or, “You Can Have My Gun When You Can Pry It From My Cold, Dead Hands”? Now, there’s a challenge. Or, the burned-out hippy with the old weathered sign “Hell No, We Won’t Go”? I can’t wait to see the national coverage of this hick-stick convention. Or, wait, maybe I’ll pack the AK-47 with the twin 30-clip mags and join ‘em. Should be a hoot.” (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: What would you wear to a gun rally?

Groups Back Video Games Study

Two leading religious groups on Friday voiced support for President Obama's call for Congress to appropriate $10 million for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to study gun violence and possible links to violent video games and media images. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said more research needs to be done to understand the effect that violent entertainment content has on young children. “We know that media influences young people and their behavior,” Helen Osman, secretary of communications for the U.S. bishops' conference, said in a statement. “So it is crucial to deepen our understanding of how violent media images and video games influence them and whether there is a link to violent behavior”/Jennifer Martinez, The Hill. More here.

Question: I support this study. How about you?

Utah Business Fires 2 Obama Backers

First, the owner of a smoothie bar in Vernal is charging liberals more for a cup of juice. Now, a Cedar City business owner who let two workers go because of Obamacare costs said he picked the pair in large part because of their support for President Obama. Terry Lee, owner of Terry Lee Forensics, showed his support for the Vernal smoothie bar’s practice of trying to recoup the costs it says are incurred because of liberal policies by posting in the comments section of a story about it in Thursday’s Salt Lake Tribune. “Love it. We had to let two employees go to cover new Obongocare [sic] costs and increased taxes,” Lee wrote. “Found two Obongo supporters and gave them the news yesterday. They wanted the idiot in the Whitehouse [sic], they reap the benefits”/Vince Horiuchi, Salt Lake Tribune. More here.

Question: Seriously?

A River Runs Through It

On her Facebook page, Linda Lantzy posts: “The Coeur d'Alene River cuts a dark swath through the snowy landscape, Idaho Panhandle National Forest.”

Question: Describe your favorite North Idaho winter scene?

AM Scanner Traffic — 1.18.13

  • 11:15 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Jan. 17-18 here.
  • 10:54 a.m. Female driver suffering seizure in parked mini-van @ w/b I-90/Pleasantview, PF.
  • 10:49 a.m. Hayden WalMart/Honeysuckle security reports catching cooperative shoplifter.
  • 10:43 a.m. ISP shuts H95 temporarily while tow truck removes disabled vehicle @ Cave Bay turnoff.
  • 10:12 a.m. Motorist e/b on I-90/MP 16 (Sherman Avenue, CdA) reports blue semi tried to run his blue Honda Civic off road. (Update: Semi stops near Mullan Trail exit)
  • 9:26 a.m. Motorist reports that oversized load w/pilot car w/Alberta plates going too fast, from s/b H95 to Hayden Avenue. Pilot car reportedly weaving in and out of traffic.
  • 9:24 a.m. PFPD Blues looking for 17YO student whose father was evicted from home this week.
  • 9:13 a.m. Medical emergency re: a cardiac problem reported @ Garwood/Hooker Hill, Garwood.

Candidates To Replace Judge Luster

Following are a list of the candidates to replace retiring 1st District Court Judge John Luster:

  • Bryant E. Bushling. a deputy prosecutor for Kootenai County
  • John A. Cafferty, deputy prosecutor for Kootenai County
  • Richard Christensen, St. Maries lawyer
  • Edwin B. Holmes, Coeur d'Alene lawyer
  • Cynthia K.C. Meyer, Coeur d'Alene lawyer
  • Victoria A. Olds, former Grangeville lawyer
  • Scott L. Wayman, 1st District Court magistrate

Interviews by the Idaho Judicial Council will take place March 21.

Question: Do you have a favorite in the list above?

Mariners, Moose Invade CdA School

Macaylee Godin watches a highlight video with the Seattle Mariner's mascot during an assembly Thursday at Borah Elementary in Coeur d'Alene. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)

The Moose stole the show, as he's apt to do. The message from the professional ballplayers was important too, but it played second fiddle to the dancing rack of antlers, who worked the 280 students at Borah Elementary School into a borderline frenzy as part of the Seattle Mariners D.R.E.A.M. Team caravan tour that stopped in Coeur d'Alene Thursday to promote positive thinking and healthy living.“He always does,” said Sean Grindley, M's community program manager, on the Moose's ability to grab the limelight by high-fiving, dancing and shooting confetti across the gym. “It doesn't matter what players we bring.” Yeah, there were baseball players/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Which Mariners players have you met?

TSA To Dump Naked-Image Scanners

The Transportation Security Administration has announced that it will remove the controversial “naked image” body scanners from US airports because developers can't write software to make the images less revealing. The scanners, made by OSI Systems Inc, have ruffled feathers since they were first rolled out. In a bid to quell controversy, the TSA looked to OSI to redesign software and make the scans less intrusive—but the company has failed to meet a congressional deadline to get the job done. That means that the TSA will end the $5 million contract with OSI, reports Bloomberg. As a result, 174 of its Rapiscan units will disappear from US airports/Gizmodo. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Were you bothered by the TSA's naked-image scanners at U.S. airports?

Female Comics Nerds Fight Sexism

Heather Freeman and Kylie Martonik are completely nerding out. In the back room of the Comic Book Shop on North Division in Spokane, their voices get progressively louder as they talk superhero films. The good ones, the bad ones, the so-so ones. “Look at the movies back in the day that were coming out: Spiderman was OK for back in the 2000s. But Fantastic Four sucked. Daredevil kinda sucked. Electra, Hulk — all those movies sucked,” Freeman, in a bright red Dr. Who shirt and black cat-eye glasses, argues, matter-of-factly. “The Halle Berry Catwoman was TERRIBLE,” Martonik, with short brown hair and sporting a black Transformers shirt, adds. “All those superhero movies that come out in the 2000-ish era were horrible. But now look at the really awesome movies that we have, like Avengers, Captain America, the Batman trilogy,” Freeman says, listing each one louder than the next/Leah Sottile, Inlander. More here. (Inlander photo: Young Kwak)

Question: Which comic book superhero has transformed into the best movie superhero?

Idaho Reps Vote Against Sandy Relief

Idaho Republican Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson couldn't muster a “yes” vote when their Northeast colleagues needed them the most. Labrador and Simpson thumbed their noses at a bill designed to provide billions to Hurricane Sandy victims. Despite Labrador's, Simpson's and 178 other “no” votes, the House passed the $50 billion final bill. The $50 billion comes on top of $9.7 billion Congress approved on Jan. 4 to help pay flood insurance claims related to the October storm. All but one of the “no” votes came from Republicans, who said the legislation was too expensive. The U.S. Senate is expected to approve the measure with little debate/George Prentice, Boise Weekly. More here.

DFO: Yeah, I know this is dated. But we haven't discussed it (and U.S. Senate vote hasn't taken place).

Question: Do you agree/disagree with votes by Idaho U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador against the Hurricane Sandy relief package?

AM Headlines — 1.18.13

Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk, right, and Gary Bell, Jr., left, battle for the ball with Portland guard Oskars Reinfelds during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday. Gonzaga won 71-49. Story here. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)


NFL field goal kickers aren't the only living things that get “iced.” On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts this photo of a spider web encased in ice Wednesday morning. You can see more of Robin's outdoor photography on his Facebook wall here.

And Now A Word From Cindy …

“Is there anything more horrifying than researching WWII-era songs and discovering Kanye West has recorded a song with the same title? Somehow I doubt “How many ladies in the house without a spouse. Something in your blouse got me feeling so aroused,” are the lyrics to the song I'm looking for.”

Question: Any Kanye West fans out there?

2nd Amendment Rally Set Saturday

There will be a Second Amendment rally and gun appreciation event at 1 p.m. Saturday at Black Sheep Sporting Goods along U.S. 95 at Bosanko. Guest speakers include state legislators, Ed Santos of Center Target Sports and Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers. Attendees should bring their own signs in support of the Constitution. Open carry is encouraged/Coeur d'Alene Press.

Question: Do you plan to attend?

Budget Panel Cancels Public Hearings

There was a surprise announcement at the end of this morning’s JFAC meeting: Both public hearings that had been scheduled for this year on the state budget have been canceled, largely at the urging of House leadership. JFAC Co-Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, told the committee, “There comes times in life where we sometimes have to do things that we don’t particularly care to do, and this happens to be one of the times, for me at least”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: So much for transparency in government?

NRA: For ‘Em, Or Agin ‘Em

Normally there is something to be said for consistency in politics. No one likes a flip flopper. Just ask Mitt Romney. And when it comes to consistency, blind, unyielding, not one inch consistency, no one does it better than the National Rifle Association – the NRA. As it has accumulated political power over the last 25 years and become the most feared lobby in the country, the NRA has been nothing if not brutally consistent. For the NRA there is no room for compromise on guns and gun issues – none. If you’re in public office you are either for the NRA down the line or you are soft on the Second Amendment and not to be trusted with public responsibilities and very likely a one of those willing to standby when the government comes for the guns. Maybe, just maybe, in light of the horrors of Sandy Hook Elementary where some of the six-year-olds suffered 11 gunshot wounds, the NRA’s brutal commitment to consistency has, at last, become a liability/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Question: Is the NRA's lack of compromise on all gun-related issues an asset or liability?

Trib Also Jeers Labrador ‘Junket’

JEERS … to Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. Isn't he the last politician you'd expect to be on a congressional junket? But there he was, getting ferried about on a CODEL - shorthand for congressional delegation - trip throughout the Middle East. CODELs typically mean flying on a U.S. government jet, staying in expensive hotels, enjoying good meals and bringing along congressional staffers. It isn't cheap. Just the kind of thing the Tea Party hates. As the Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey reported, Labrador left the country on Jan. 4 with five fellow Republicans to visit Turkey, Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco and Spain.The outing was set up by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, whose chairman, Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wanted to review embassy security. Issa asked that Labrador attend. Congressional travel gets an unfair rap; you want members of Congress to know something of the world and each other. But isn't Labrador the fellow who is so serious about cutting government spending that he voted against raising the nation's debt ceiling? Besides, he's no longer on Issa's committee/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here (3rd item)

Question: Is Raul fact-finding or helping himself to a congressional perk?

Trib Awards Jeers To Mendive

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune awards Jeers to:

… to state Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d'Alene. Week 2 of the Idaho Legislature. Time for some really inappropriate, misogynistic comment from a member of the Idaho House. Attending an American Civil Liberties Union-Idaho legislative preview breakfast presentation, the freshman Republican posed this question: If the ACLU supports a woman's right to choose to have an abortion, shouldn't it support her right to be a prostitute? His remark drew “audible gasps” from the audience. It should have been Mendive's first clue, ACLU Executive Director Monica Hopkins explained that abortion is a woman's right under the Constitution while prostitution is a crime. That should have been his second. The fact is many prostitutes are victims of human trafficking. GOP Caucus Chairman John Vander Woude, R-Meridian, distanced himself from the remark. More here (final item).

Question: Do you think freshman Mendive learned anything from this controversy?

Armstrong Admits Doping, Lying

This combination image made of file photos shows Lance Armstrong, left, and Oprah Winfrey, right. After more than a decade of denying that he doped to win the Tour de France seven times, Armstrong admitted to Oprah and her large audience last night that he doped and lied. Story here.(AP Photos/File)

A hair-splitting mea culpa on a fifth-rate cable channel nobody gets on a day more people are buzzing about somebody else’s imaginary dead girlfriend. Yes, this is how I want to remember Lance Armstrong. Incomplete. In the margins. Irrelevant. Now, to get Stage 2 of his Tour de Oprah over with so he can file a lawsuit next week against himself for all those nasty things he said about Lance Armstrong. Gad. All this so he can get it on in some fringe triathlons in his golden years?/John Blanchette, SR. More here.

Question: Did you watch Armstrong's interview with Oprah? Thoughts?

Fearful Gun Owners Contact Solons

From Kestrel West Morning Memo:

When legislators are being bombarded from home with calls to act quickly, you can count on things to happen fast. That's the takeaway from this morning's lead story in the Idaho Statesman reporting on 'panic' over proposed gun restrictions. [Rep. Judy] Boyle said she’s received about 150 emails and uncounted phone calls and text messages urging her to act immediately. Meanwhile, she said, talk radio is ablaze with callers saying, “What’s the Legislature doing? They’re doing nothing!”  “I think we’re all getting the same kind of emails of panic,” Boyle said Thursday. “They’re scared, really scared, about losing their guns, or their right to purchase a gun or ammunition, or any component to make their ammunition.” With legislators heading home to things like the “2nd Amendment Rally” Saturday in Coeur d'Alene ( look for gun-related legislation to move fast over the next few weeks.

Question: Should gun owners be panicking?

Vestal: Proud To Be A Congressman?

Cathy McMorris Rodgers has not distinguished herself as one who makes a lot of bold, off-the-cuff statements. Even as her profile rises, with convention speeches and appearances on the Sunday morning shows, she often conveys the sense of someone tiptoeing very carefully from word to word. Even as she and her fellow House Republicans tack to starboard harder than Captain Ahab, she loads her verbal cannon cautiously. She was famously stumped on TV earlier this year when asked to provide an example of a program she would cut – after talking about cuts merely forever and ever – and when she took the PR lead in the War on the War on Women, even at her best moments she seemed to teeter fearfully on the edge of putting down a wrong step. … So it was interesting to see her go out on a limb recently on Twitter, when she made this frank and contrary statement: “Proud of the work we’ve done during the 112th Congress!” Proud? Well, sure, Congresswoman – you and 10 percent of the population/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Signe: The Tie That Binds

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Wild Card/Thursday — 1.17.13

My home Mac Book gave up the ghost during the Christmas vacation, so  decided to go all PC. It simplifies programming and interaction between my home and office computers. But I'll miss the Mac with its intuitive programming and cleaner design. I can see how people become Mac snobs. I'm glad I'm now fluent on both types of computers. Now for your Thursday Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 1.17.13

A man rides a horse through a bonfire in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, Wednesday, in honor of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of animals. On the eve of Saint Anthony's Day, hundreds ride their horses trough the narrow cobblestone streets of the small village of San Bartolome during the 'Luminarias' a traditional festival that dates back 500 years and is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires, and protect them for the year to come. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Question: Do you really think gentle Saint Anthony would want horses ridden through a bonfire to purify them?

Nic: Glue Sniffers Beware

A coworker was divulging a story of how she got carded at Walmart over the New Years weekend. She was surprised and her husband thought it was hilarious. Why might it be funny? First, she's about the same age as my parents. Second, she was buying rubber cement. As she retold the events as they unfolded, she quoted her husband's response: “You mean to tell me that there are crack dealers on the street selling cocaine, and you want to see ID to sell rubber cement” “Yes,” said the cashier. At this point in the tale, I asked her, “Since when did they start carding people buying rubber cement?”/Nic, Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts. More here.

Question: When were you last carded … for anything?

CPD Reports Rape Try Near NIC

Coeur d'Alene Police Department news release: At about 10:45 p.m. last Friday, a 21 year-old female reported to police that she had just been attacked by a male while walking in the area of West Hubbard Avenue and North College Drive, near North Idaho College. The victim walked from the downtown area to catch a bus that goes to the Hogfish Bar. The victim said a male approached her as he appeared from a construction area to the east. She said he spoke to her and then continued to follow her down the sidewalk. She stated she slowed to look at him, and he grabbed her from behind dragging her down to the ground. The victim said the male attempted to sexually assault her, and she was fighting him off. She said she saw headlights from a vehicle coming from the round-a-bout area and he jumped up and ran away. More here.