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Huckleberries Online

Archive for July 2013

Hump Day Wild Card — 7.31.13

We're three months from the most interesting Coeur d'Alene mayoral and City Council elections during my 30 years in Coeur d'Alene. And a question remains: Will Mary Souza or Jim Brannon blink? Mary has already locked up the Reagan Republican endorsement. Huckleberries hears that Brannon may have the backing of Rally Right organizer Bob Pedersen. That would split the campaign battle between two candidates who are supported by the county's Hard Right. Will Mary or Jim opt for a council seat run instead? Inquiring minds want to know. Now for your Hump Day Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 7.31.13

Flight crews line up to greet pilots as the Thunderbirds resume limited flight operations at Nellis Air Force Base Tuesday. The aerobatic display team was ordered to stand down April 1st because of sequestration. Enough money was found to enable the pilots to have two flights per week to maintain their qualifications. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Sun, Sam Morris)

Luna Coming To Lake City Thursday

Days after signing a controversial, 15-year WiFi contract for Idaho high schools, Superintendent Tom Luna will be in Coeur d'Alene to talk to two groups Thursday — Friends of Idaho, an anti-Common Core organization, and the local GOP women's club. Luna will speak to Friends of Idaho from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the Coeur d'Alene Library Community Room. The event is organized by Bonner County Tea Party leader Pam Stout. Then, he will be the guest speaker at the GOP women's luncheon and also take questions from the audience.

Avista Seeks To Raise Idaho Rates

Rising prices for natural gas and increased demand for energy-efficiency rebates has Avista Utilities asking for higher rates in Idaho. The Spokane-based utility is seeking a 0.9 percent increase in residential electric rates and 7.5 percent hike in residential natural gas rates, beginning Oct. 1. The request was filed today with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, which must approve any rate changes. After falling to record lows in 2012, natural gas rates began climbing this year. The natural gas rate request is based on higher wholesale gas prices, which account for about 55 percent of a customer’s bill, said Jessie Wuerst, an Avista spokeswoman/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.

Question: Is there any headline more predictable than “Avista seeks higher rates”?

PM Headlines — 7.31.13

Pamela Smart poses in her kitchen with a facebook post image of a fully colored page from her coloring book done by one of her fans, Rochelle Puffe, Wednesday. Pamela Smart hit the jackpot with her coloring books, which she self-publishes through a local printer, Caxton. The books are now being sold across the Costco chain, giving Caxton a big spike in business and helping to support Smart and her husband financially. She's also now able to donate books and other supplies to seniors with Alzheimers and veterans. Story here. (AP/Idaho Statesman photo: Kyle Green)

Cutline Contest — 7.31.13

Time 2 Vote …

Jesse Owings, 4, of Westminster, Md., rides a sheep in the Mutton Busting competition during Wild West Night at the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair in Westminster, Md., Tuesday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Carroll County Times, Dylan Slagle)

Tuesday winner — Pair of Claws, with 15 likes: “Chris Carr prepares his child for the experience of going through grade school with the name 'Octavian'.” You can see the Tuesday photograph and read all cutline entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 7.31.13

  • 5:43 p.m. Shopko security reports shoplifter in Ironwood store.
  • 5:21 p.m. Custodial interference reported in 3000 block of Howard/CdA.
  • 5:11 p.m. Female driver hit plastic furniture @ H95/H58 (CdA casino), now wedged under Subaru.
  • 4:49 p.m. Fireman on scene (4:38 item) says grass blaze about 10 feet in diameter.
  • 4:38 p.m. A grass fire is spreading @ 23465 H53 (cross of McGuire/Hauser area).
  • 4:37 p.m. Impaired male sitting in pickup w/daughter after leaving Corner Bar, 5th/Spruce, CdA.
  • 4:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for July 30-31 here.
  • 14 more items below

Still Shaking From Near Miss

A Facebook friend posts:

I have to commend the driver of the CDA Paving dumptruck, loaded, with an additional loaded trailer of gravel for his driving. I was in the Northbound left lane on Highway 95 at about 12:45pm today, at Neider Ave, and a lady driving in a new black Minivan pulled out RIGHT IN FRONT of the Paving truck. That driver did a tremendous job slamming on his brakes, and smoking the tires to avoid hitting her. She then pulled over in my lane, and I about tagged her as well. I gave her the finger, to show exactly how happy I was. If folks cant see a paving truck, logging truck, 18 wheeler, cement truck driving down the road, in my opinion, they should re think driving. I am still shaking!!!

Question: Describe your last near miss on an area roadway.

Movie Review? Meh

Dan Webster of SR's Dually Noted blog responds to friend who criticized his negative review of “Lone Ranger” movie:

Afraid I wasn’t as big a fan as you. My problem is that I see so many of these things that unless it is awesomely original and funny I tend to go “meh.” Which is what I did here. First off, I was never a big fan of the LR in the first place and was curious as to how they were going to update it. My choice would have been to go dark the way Marvel did with “Batman,” minimizing the Western myths and making him a horse-riding masked avenger (a la “The Dark Knight”). Instead, the production team – led, I suppose, by director Gore Verbinski – opted for camp. Not my taste. Second, while I did smile at Johnny Depp’s work, I quickly realized that he was just channeling Captain Jack Sparrow (but now using a dead crow as his meme). And as entertaining as that might be, at times, it’s already been done. In, by my count, at least four other movies (with a fifth forthcoming).. Complete review here.

DFO: Dan admits something that I've wondered about movie critics: They see too many movies. A scene that I may enjoy reminds critics of something they've seen before — or even several times before. They become jaded, looking for something new and impressive. That's why I read reviews. But don't trust their conclusions. I'm with Dan's friend. I enjoyed the “Lone Ranger” as fun escapism.

Question: Do you take movie reviews as Gospel?

HBO Blogos — 7.31.13

At the new Dawn of the Donut in Spokane (soft opening today, grand opening Friday), Cindy snapped this photo and quoted her son who said: “Are these Christian doughnuts?” Actually, they were coffins. Cindy tells Huckleberries that the doughnuts at the Dawn shop have zombie themes, from “Walking Dead” TV show. “The Governor,” for example, is a bacon topped maple bar, etc. Sounds to me as though the Spokane doughnut shop are copying the pattern set by highly successful Voodoo Doughnuts of Portland.

HucksOnline numbers (for Tuesday): 9813 page-views/5770 unique views

Question: Have you eaten a VooDoo Doughnut?

IDOL: Homeowner Started Fire

The Double Tree fire in Mica Bay was caused IDby a homeowner lighting a fire pit with paper, authorities said Wednesday. “We have confirmation from the homeowner that they started the fire,” said Shane O’Shea, assistant fire warden for Idaho Department of lands. “They admitted that they were starting a fire in an above ground fire pit using paper. The wind picked up the paper and that is what started the fire.” O’Shea said he will be investigating the fire to determine if there was negligent behavior. Coeur d'Alene Press story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jeff Selle)

Guard Dumps Sandpoint Armory Plans

The Idaho Army National Guard has abandoned plans to build an $8 million armory north of Sandpoint due to a lack of federal funding. The Guard also will close the temporary armory it placed on the 10-acre site in 2008, and about 40 soldiers who train there will now do so at the Post Falls armory. “Considering all of the conditions and variables, we feel this action is the most prudent option for our organization,” Major Gen. Gary Sayler, commander of the Idaho National Guard, said in a news release Wednesday. The National Guard proposed building the 33,000-square-foot “readiness center” on Bonner County property at the Sandpoint Airport and hoped to receive $8 million in federal military construction funds/Scott Maben, SR. More below.


Rep. Shea: Vito’s Radical Buddy

Reps. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, and Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, were featured speakers at a survivalist rally at Farragut State Park/Bayview last weekend. Rachel Maddow discussed Shea's presence in a blog post, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center's data about him:

In a profile of Shea, the SPLC said that he has not recently been involved in the immigration issue, but he is actively perpetuating a conspiracy that the government has plans to disarm Americans and round them up into concentration camps run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  His talk at the rally didn't mention the concentration camps, but he did urge attendees to get organized and to prepare for when the government steps in after the “inevitable collapse. When it happens, we need to look at this as an opportunity, not a crisis,” he said. “Who's job is liberty? That's our job.” (Rep. Matt Shea, 2nd from left, with Idaho Reps. Phil Hart, left, and Vito Barbieri, right, at 2012 Ron Paul rally in Spokane.)

Question: Is this the type of guy you want your representative running with?

Writz May Run For CdA Council

Huckleberries hears … that Ray Writz, a Constitutionalist who has run twice unsuccessfully for the state Legislature, plans to run again for the Coeur d'Alene City Council position this fall. In 2012, Writz ran for the state House District 4 seat now held by Rep. Luke Malek, R-CdA, winning only 3.76% of the vote.

DFO: You can dismiss Writz out of hand as a viable council candidate. But it's refreshing to have a Constitutionalist who has run as a Constitutionalist rather than a Kootenai County Republican. What do you think?

3 For 3 In July

Mack Turner, left, Boston Stokes, and Stryker Hoffman are shown Tuesday in Layton, Utah. Three sisters from Layton gave birth to three baby boys in the month of July, including two who were born about an hour apart. The cousins were all born in July. Mack and Stryker were born 65 minutes apart on July 27. Boston was born July 3. (AP Photo/Eric Betts, KSL-TV via Deseret News)

Question: Do you have any close relatives who were born within days of each other?

News Quiz — 7.29/8.1.2013

If you followed the news last week – or even if you didn’t – you could be a winner in our weekly interactive news quiz. All entrants this week have a chance to win two movie tickets, and our overall champ receives a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Good luck! For this week's News Quiz, click here.

  • Answer to 1st Question: A hiphop yoga & spinning studio
  • Merry Hucksters on Leaderboard: EddieTorreal, Another Perspective, SFredrickson, Cathyanne, Duffer, LetsTalk & Jen.

K12: Luna Hiring Talk Is ‘Not True’

Sen. Branden Durst’s claim that Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is scheming to get a job with the nation’s largest provider of online primary and secondary education prompted push back from the company Wednesday. “I read that a state senator recently claimed that K12 is planning to hire Mr. Luna,” said Jeff Kwitowski, K12′s senior vice president for corporate communications, in an email early this afternoon. “For the record, that is not true and any suggestion otherwise is just ridiculous speculation”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you believe/disbelieve K12 spokesman re: Luna's future with company, or lack thereof?

Read more here:

Blue Book Touts Bill, Tony & Norm

For all the Idaho Political junkies, The Idaho Blue Book, published by the Idaho Secretary of State, is the starting place for any research on state government, with biographical information of all state and county office holders, stats and historical information for all state institutions, and pictures suitable for meme-ing. Of interest in this latest edition is the dedication to three stalwarts in advocacy for Human Rights in Idaho, Bill Wassmuth (pictured), Tony Stewart, and Norman Gissel, who organized and confronted the Aryan Nations in North Idaho. Take some time to read this great dedication and kudos to Ben for honoring these great Idahoans while working with a Governor who attempted to dismantle the Idaho Human Rights Commission/Sisyphus' Blog.

DFO: I consider myself privileged to have known Bill Wassmuth well and to have reported on the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, beginning with its revitalilzation under Bill in the early 1980s.

Question: Did you know Bill Wassmuth?

Deanna: H12 Residents ♥ Megaloads

Deanna Goodlander: (Re: Set rules of road for megaloads): I spent a weekend in July at Three Rivers Resort with family and friends. Three Rivers Is where the Selway, the Lochsa and the Clearwater meet on the road where the megaloads pass through. Got some interesting discussion with folks who live in that neck of the woods. They are very much in favor of the megaloads. They say it helps the economy (which struggles in that neck of the woods) and does not impact the road. In fact they turn out to cheer when the loads go by. They say it is environmentalists who are more opposed to the oil industry and just use this as an excuse. If fact they are pretty angry at those who oppose the loads. Including telling us visitors not to frequent a restaurant owned by one of those who oppose, who is a fairly new property owner to the area.

Question: Do you have strong feelings one way or the other re: megaloads?

DTS: Don’t Split Moderate CdA Vote

DTSinIdaho: (re: 2013 Coeur d'Alene election: Hate vs Hope): It is way too early in the election cycle to really make any comparisons. The very vocal minority that support the anti-progress and anit-growth platform have been able to to push their agenda through the School boards. The last election brought out a larger voter response that definitely swung the Cd'A board back to a more reasonable group of individuals, with just two KKRR's left on the board. As a candidate you have until 9 Fridays before the election to put in your paperwork. I think many will be waiting till just before that deadline to see who is put out front by the group of JUST SAY NO!! However, the moderate's that want to run need to be understanding that you don't want two moderates running against one of the handpicked anti-everything persons. Don't split the vote. I just wish that all of Coeur d'Alene was represented. DTSinIdaho goes on to analyze current mayor/council candidates here.


AM Scanner Traffic — 7.31.13

From Post Falls police Facebook page: “Be on the lookout for a vehicle stolen from the Post Falls area (Tuesday) between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. (Monday). K519234, Red 1995 Ford Escort. If you see this vehicle, please contact your local law enforcement or the Post Falls Police Department at 208-773-3517.

  • 11:43 a.m. 11YO Post Falls girl calls mom @ Goodwill to say foot stuck in garage door.
  • 11:24 a.m. Someone suffering severe headache in 600 block of Kentucky/Hayden.
  • 11;22 a.m. Female driver in blue sports car speeding @ 100mph-plus on I-90/Post Falls.
  • 11:04 a.m. Undisclosed medical emergency @ Purcell Place/CdA.
  • 10:35 a.m. 73YO female has chest pain @ Hayden Lake Family Physicians, 8181 Cornerstone.
  • 10:26 a.m. Older brown Labrador captured while running loose @ Post Falls WalMart.
  • 10:15 a.m. Motorist reports impaired driver in 1700 block of Cecil/Post Falls.
  • 10:08 a.m. KMC ER reports Post Falls female drove off in white van after take prescription drug.
  • 9:56 a.m. 3 vehicles traveling together not letting people pass on n/b H97/Driftwood Bay.
  • 9:52 a.m. Honda involved in noninjury accident on H95, south of Canfield Avenue, CdA.
  • 9:25 a.m. Logging truck s/b on H41/MP 17 speeding thru Spirit Lake, logs may be piled too high.
  • 9:17 a.m. PFPD Blue find missing Post Falls boy after 5-minute search, now looking for parents.
  • 8:48 a.m. Firemen en route to check new smoke coming from area of Tuesday's Mica Bay fire.
  • 8:33 a.m. Dog running loose near Hayden Kindercenter, Govt Way/Hayden Avenue.
  • 8:32 a.m. Slash pile burning seemingly unattended at Ross Point Bible Camp, Post Falls.

Amber: I’m Not Same-O Candidate

From Amber Copeland's Facebook page:It irritates me the way people want to complain about politicians and say that they are all the same, that they have personal agendas and are out for less than honorable reasons but then stand on the opposite side of this complaint when a truly different and not cookie cutter candidate wants to step up. If you want a different result, then vote for a different type of candidate. This cycle is the definition of insanity.”

Describe your perfect City Council/mayor candidate.

Iupati Has Kaepernick’s Back

San Francisco has stressed the need of the line, including All-Pro guard and former Idaho Vandal Mike Iupati, left, to protect young QB Colin Kaepernick, right. Story here. (AP file photo)

Question: Which NFL team is your favorite? Why?

Pew: Whither Goeth GOP?

Coming off of two consecutive presidential election defeats, most Republican voters believe that their party must address major problems to be more competitive in the future. And roughly six-in-ten say improved messaging alone will not be enough – the GOP also needs to reconsider some of its positions. Yet while Republicans may agree on the scope of the problem, there is little consensus over the party’s future course on either policy or strategy. Move in a more conservative or moderate direction on policy? By 54% to 40%, Republican and Republican-leaning voters want the party’s leaders to move further to the right. Not surprisingly, conservatives and those who agree with the Tea Party overwhelmingly favor moving in a more conservative direction, while moderates and liberals would like to see the party take more centrist positions/Pew Research. More here.

Question: Should national Republicans go all in — and move further to the right?

Speeding Driver: Idaho Or Bust(ed)

A Spokane County, Wash., sheriff's spokesman says a parked deputy was watching traffic in the Spokane Valley when a vehicle zoomed by at what the deputy estimated was nearly 90 mph in a 35 mph zone. Two deputies gave chase with emergency lights flashing but the speeding driver kept heading east on Monday. Liberty Lake officers set out spike strips but the driver avoided them. The vehicle finally stopped at a gas station once it reached Idaho. Deputy Craig Chamberlin says once the driver was in custody, he acknowledged he knew he was being chased by law enforcement officers. Asked why he didn't stop, Chamberlin says the man replied: “because I wanted to come to Idaho and get out of Washington”/AP via Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think the driver was in a hurry to get to the beach?

Poll: Woody Can Win Again

  • Tuesday Poll: Hucks Nation says incumbent Woody McEvers has a decent chance to win re-election to his Coeur d'Alene City Council seat. But weren't as optimistic re: incumbent Deanna Goodlander (who announced Tuesday afternoon that she wouldn't seek a fifth term. 40 of 148 respondents (27.03%) said both council veterans were re-electable. However, an additional 39 (26.35%) said Woody was re-electable but Deanna wasn't. 5 (3.38%) said Deanna was re-electable but Woody wasn't. 54 of 148 respondents (36.49%) said neither incumbent was re-electable. 10 (6.76%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you expect both Mary Souza and Jim Brannon to be on the ballot in the Coeur d'Alene mayor's race in November?

2013 CdA Election: Hate Vs. Hope

Joker's view of major themes of the 2013 Coeur d'Alene mayor and council elections:

“The 2013 Coeur d’Alene city elections boils down to this: Hope versus Hate. Kiki Miller, Amy Evans, Amber Copeland, Woody McEvers and Steve Widmyer seem to be genuinely nice people. They may have individual flaws, but they don’t ooze hate. While we don’t know who the Recall CDA /Reagan Republicans are going to roll out, it’s safe to predict they’re going to be angry, bitter individuals.  Just look at them. They don’t inspire a warm fuzzy. One of their ring leaders epitomizes hatred and rage. Mary Souza is an original hater. She cut her teeth railing against the city and urban renewal for years as a columnist for the Coeur d’Alene Press.  Did she ever have a nice thing to say about anybody? I certainly don’t remember it”/Joker. More here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with Joker's premise that the 2013 Coeur d'Alene city elections will match hope versus hate?

Idaho #1 In Breastfeeding Moms

Health officials say breast-feeding rates continue to inch up: Now more than 3 in 4 mothers try to breast-feed their newborns. Breast-feeding rates remain highest in Idaho and lowest in Mississippi. Experts attribute that to regional differences in culture and workplace policies that support breast-feeding. Wednesday's report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 77 percent of moms tried breast-feeding in 2010. A decade earlier it was 71 percent. The percent still breast-feeding a year later rose to 27 percent from 16 percent in 2000. The report comes from a national telephone survey of more than 8,000 parents and caretakers of small children/Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Why is Idaho first re: number of breastfeeding moms, when it's last or close to last in so many other areas?

A-Rod, Others Face Suspensions

Major League Baseball has met with the MLBPA regarding the Biogenesis scandal and told union officials that the suspensions of Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees and eight other players will be announced this week, reports the New York Daily News.'s Jon Heyman confirms the initial report and adds that the players in question are presently deciding whether to accept the suspensions or appeal. Some, Heyman notes, are expected to accept their suspensions without a fight. Rodriguez and the others are, of course, accused of obtaining banned performance-enhancing drugs from the now-shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in South Florida/CBS Sports. More here.

Question: Do you remember when Alex Rodriquez mattered to Major League Baseball fans in the Northwest?

Goodlander Won’t Seek 5th Term

Item: Goodlander won't run: Cd'A City Council member says four terms is enough/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Coeur d'Alene City Council member Deanna Goodlander said Tuesday she will not seek a fifth term on the council. Goodlander said she's leaving the post on her terms, confident that qualified candidates will replace her and continue moving the city toward a vision of progress. She listed a number of accomplishments she's proud to have been a part of in her 16 years, including the construction of the Coeur d'Alene Library, three new fire stations, partnering to build Kroc Community Center and creating a positive working environment at City Hall.

Question: How will the departures of Mayor Sandi Bloem and council members Mike Kennedy and Deanna Goodlander change the tone of the 2013 Coeur d'Alene city elections?

SR: Set Rules Of Road For Megaloads

Once again, Idaho is choking on megaloads, and its fractious relationship with the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Hauler Omega Morgan has two giant water purification vessels staged at the Port of Wilma in Clarkston, awaiting Idaho permits for the trip up the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers to Lolo Pass and, ultimately, the tar sands region of northern Alberta. Montana has already approved an application for the two units, as it did for other megaloads two years ago. The earlier shipments were strongly opposed by environmental groups and residents along the river route whose travel along U.S. Highway 12 was periodically blocked by refinery equipment more than 200 feet long, 20 feet wide and weighing more than 600,000 pounds. Although a few loads went through, the resistance ultimately forced that manufacturer to cut most down enough that they could travel on Interstate 90/SR Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Why are we still having this debate re: megaloads & Highway 12?

Bill Hall: Baby Faces Better On Babies

I am grateful for the arrival of a tiny Winston Churchill look-alike who has overwhelmed cable television's usual dreary obsession with homicide trials. The baby I refer to, of course, is that little bundle of royal joy born to William, Britain's future king, and to his affable bride Kate Middleton. When word went out that the new baby was about to be displayed before the world, I wondered what the smallest future king looked like. I was disappointed at first when the couple walked out of the hospital door with a large blanket full of baby with nothing showing but the top of a little bald head. The photographers on the scene were yelling, “Show the baby's face.” And I sat here in Idaho in front of our television, yelling from inside my little bald head, “Show the baby's face.” Finally, the proud parents briefly complied. I was instantly embarrassed because, of course, you don't need to see a British baby's face to see who the kid resembles. As Winston Churchill, the wise and savvy World War II prime minister of Great Britain, once said of himself, “Madam, all babies look like me”/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you think all babies look like Winston Churchill?

$30,000 In Trading Card Stolen

Alan Bisson, owner of Spokane Valley Sportscards had $30,000 in merchandise stolen in March including Roger Maris, Ted Williams and 25 Mickey Mantle baseball cards. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

When Alan Bisson hobbled on crutches into his Spokane Valley Sportscards trading shop following knee surgery in March and discovered his windows broken and collectibles missing, it was immediately apparent the culprit was a regular. “They knew what they wanted, and they got it,” Bisson said. Bisson’s fairly certain he knows who stole the favorites of his collection, including several cards featuring the smiling visages of Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle and actress Marilyn Monroe. But four months later no arrests have been made and none of the cards – priced at more than $30,000 – has been returned/Kip Hll, SR. More here.

Question: Did you collect baseball trading cards? Remember the bubblegum that came with them?

Press: Celebrating Maj’s Life

One of North Idaho's bright lights was snuffed on Friday. Maj StormoGipson, a highly respected pediatrician and outdoors enthusiast, died in a Salmon River kayaking accident. Just 57, she was surrounded by family on a six-day rafting trip. The word “brilliant” has been diminished in this age of cheap superlatives, but Maj StormoGipson was brilliant. Equally, and what made her so rare in North Idaho, she was compassionate. Maj and her husband, Justin, graduated from Dartmouth Medical School. Before they specialized — Maj in pediatrics and Justin in ophthalmology — they were general practice doctors for two years. As distinguished Ivy Leaguers they couldn't be blamed for wanting to rush out and recoup as much of their educational investment as possible, in as short a time as possible. But that's not what motivates them/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.


Liberty Lake Call Center Lays Off 578

Item: Center Partners to lay off 578 Liberty Lake workers/John Stucke, SR

More Info: Center Partners will lay off 578 workers at its Liberty Lake call center by Oct. 1, the company announced Tuesday. The firm also announced plans this week to lay off 600 workers and close an office in its headquarters city of Fort Collins, Colo. The company’s chief operating officer told the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper that the layoffs were the result of “changing business needs.” In both cases the layoffs were large enough to require official notice to state agencies.

Also: The future of the company’s call center in Coeur d’Alene – with 1,700 employees as of late last year – is unclear.

Question: Any scuttlebutt out there re: the Center Partners call center in Coeur d'Alene?

A Serious Problem

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Tuesday — 7.30.13

We now have four candidates for Coeur d'Alene mayor and four candidates for 3 council spots, including incumbent Woody McEvers. Three other incumbents (Mayor Sandi Bloem and council members Mike Kennedy and Deanna Goodlander) have announced they won't seek re-election. Wholesale changes are ahead. Now, we'll wait to see who from the Mary Souza/RecallCDA group comes forward to challenge for the seats and try to forge anti-urban renewal majority with Dan Gookin and Steve Adams on the new council. Interesting times ahead. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 7.30.13

“Clowns can be scary,” said Shawn Byers, 9, of Coeur d'Alene as he painted his face during “clowning around” performing arts class at Hayden Meadows Elementary in Hayden, Idaho on Tuesday. The class is part of Art on the Green's Art Shop 2013. The students will perform at Art on the Green Friday at noon. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Starbuck: Can-Do Moms On Move

Starbuck99: “It appears to be a good time in CdA to be a woman/mother. I believe this new era kicked off with Decline to Sign organizers Sara Meyer and Jennifer Drake. Since then, a younger set of involved moms seem to be taking CdA by storm. Either in elected office or civic involvement, it is great to see the Can-Do Mom involved in CdA. Or am I the only one to see this?”

Question: Do you see the same thing that Starbuck99 does — that young, can-do mothers are moving toward leadership roles in Coeur d'Alene, as veteran elected officials step down?

Private Guilty 19/21 Wikileaks Counts

Bradley Manning, the Army private who sent hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks, was found not guilty on Tuesday of the most serious charge against him — aiding the enemy — but guilty of several other charges at a military trial in Fort Meade, Md. Conviction on aiding the enemy carried a possible sentence of life in prison without parole. Col. Denise Lind, the military judge in the case, made the ruling. Manning had requested that a judge, not a jury, determine the verdict against him. Lind found Manning guilty of 19 of 21 charges, including five counts of theft, six counts of espionage, a computer fraud charge and other military infractions. Manning's sentencing hearing is set to begin Wednesday. He still faces a potential 128 years in prison if he receives the maximum sentence for the charges on which he was convicted/USA Today. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Do you agree/disagree with the verdicts?

PM Scanner Traffic — 7.30.13

Detectives are investigating a shoplifting case (13C21776) involving a Coeur d'Alene Jifi Mart at 201 W. Appleway, and Coeur d'Alene police need help in identifying this person. Theft took place about 2 a.m. Sunday, July 14. People with information can call us at 769-2320, on the TIPS line at 769-2296 or by e-mail at or (Click on photos for better view)

  • 5:21 p.m. Fireman battling Mica Bay fire not feeling well after being stung by a horney.
  • 5:10 p.m. Fireman on Mica Bay reports retardant drops by helicopter doing a good job.
  • 4;55 p.m. Firefighter reports that the western section of the Mica Bay fire has been knocked down.
  • 4:27 p.m. A pine tree full of pitch is down outside fire lines on Mica Bay, causing problems.
  • 4:02 p.m. PFPD Blues seek red Washington pickup w/canopy, involved in burglaries, WalMart theft.
  • 3:51 p.m. Mica Bay area wildland fire has “jumped road,” firemen still having water pressure trouble.
  • 13 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Cutline Contest — 7.30.13

Time 2 Vote …

New Orleans Saints defensive back Chris Carr (40) puts his shoulder pads on his son, 21-month-old Octavian Carr, after their NFL football training camp in Metairie, La., Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Monday Winner — Psalm37: “”Great,” thinks baby Ashlyn, “Just when I'm ready to take my first steps everyone else goes back to crawling!” You can see Monday photo & read all 10 cutline entries here.

PM Headlines — 7.30.13

KHQ Twitter photo of five-acre fire burning above Mica Bay this afternoon. Firefighters are having a hard time controlling blaze. And are fighting poor water pressure.

HBO Blogos — 7.30.13

On his Facebook wall, outdoor photographer Robin Loznak of Roseburg, Ore., posts: “Picked a couple gallons of blackberries today. I left this one in the thicket.” You can see more of Robin's photos here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Monday, July 29): 10,250 page-views/5673 unique views

Mag To Feature PFPD Cop, Car, Dog

On its Facebook page, the Post Falls Police Department explains this cover photo: “Law Officer Magazine will feature PFPD Officer (Jason) Hunt and PSD Andor on the front cover of the August edition of the magazine. The magazine is spotlighting the Dodge Charger, and they requested to use the photo taken by the CDA Press of the PFPD team with the Charger. The magazine will be out in the next few weeks and has a subscription of approximately 100,000 readers nationwide. (Photo: Jerome A. Pollos, Coeur d'Alene Press)

Question: Have you ever had your photo or something written about you in a magazine?

Deanna: ‘I’m Not Running’

Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander just sent Huckleberries this message:

“Not running … I decided after a long weekend with lots of prayers and thought that it was time to move on. I felt like I would have a big, giant target on my back, and I have strongly felt that I would not be a spoiler. We have some very good people running. I have encouraged Kiki to run in my spot. I think that she will do a great job. I know that we accomplished great things for this city during my time on the council. And feel very privileged to have been a part of the process. I am thrilled that Woody is running. He does so much for the EMS program and CDA-TV. We need to keep him and his institutional knowledge will be very valuable to a new mayor and council.”

Question: Do you expect someone(s) to emerge from RecallCDA effort to run for council?

Kiki Miller Announces Candidacy

Update: Kiki told Huckleberries moments ago that she would seek Deanna Goodlander's seat.

Kiki Miller, a longtime Coeur d'Alene resident and community activist, announced today that she is a candidate for the Coeur d'Alene City Council. Miller has lived in Coeur d'Alene since 1975 and has been involved in numerous civic and leadership projects over the past several decades. “I'm running for city council because I've spent the last 30 years being involved in multiple aspects of community service, promoting our region, and civic projects that have helped to create our great city,” said Miller. “We have challenges in the near future, but we can have positive outcomes if we involve the creative vision of the entire community.” Miller's vision for the city includes a quality education system, a diverse offering of sustainable jobs, responsible planning, and strong fiscal management in order to grow the local economy, while protecting the natural resources and (the city's) quality of life. Full news release here.

Question: How do you think Kiki Miller will fare in her run for the City Council?

All Eyes On Obama

Workers at an Amazon distribution center photograph President Barack Obama after he spoke to the group, Tuesday in Chattanooga, Tenn. Obama spoke on his proposals for private sector job growth and ways to strengthen the manufacturing sector. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

This Is The End?

Leah Sottile/Inlander tweets: “Post Falls Car Wash Plaza blaring the Doors 'The End.' Wasn't expecting that.”

Question: Have you encountered an odd combination of music and place?

Durst: Luna Getting Ready To Bail

“And now, Luna has signed a multiyear contract with ENA to provide wireless internet in Idaho high schools, despite not having the legislative authority to do so and ENA clearly not having the best bid. Luna has also appointed Quarles, his longtime ally to become Deputy Superintendent. But the other shoe is yet to drop. Despite recent reports to the contrary, the fact is that Luna has already informed key State Department of Education staff he has no plans to seek re-election. Instead of running Luna will likely be hired by ENA or K12 to attempt to push the same policies to other unsuspecting GOP dominated statehouses and Quarles will no doubt run to replace Luna and continue the duping of Idahoans. The picture is becoming clearer by the day, I just hope we wake up and see it before it is too late”/Idaho Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise. More here.

Question: What do you think of Sen. Durst's scenario, predicting Superintendent Tom Luna will be hired by ENA or K12 and his deputy superintendent/ally will take his place?

IFF: Big Brother Watching … In Idaho

After Edward Snowden revealed that American phone records were under federal surveillance, the former Homeland Security chief explained to news stations the need for such a program thusly: Searching for terrorists is like finding a needle in a haystack. Phone records are haystacks. No haystack, no needle. Turns out, we’re nothing but haystacks to the government. A couple of stories from in recent days illustrate the point. Police departments in Idaho, having received federal grants to do so, have been systematically recording license plate information of passing vehicles—vehicles of people presumably innocent of any crime. Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Idaho Falls all use technology that reads license plates of passing cars and stores the record in a database/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here. (AP file photo: Edward Snowden in Hong Kong)

Question: Do you feel as though you're being watched?

Court: NYC Soda Ban Unconstitutional

New York City’s crackdown on big, sugary sodas is staying on ice. An appeals court ruled Tuesday that the city’s Board of Health exceeded its legal authority and acted unconstitutionally when it tried to put a size limit on soft drinks served in city restaurants. In a unanimous opinion, the four-judge panel of the state Supreme Court Appellate Division said that the health board was acting too much like a legislature when it created the limit, which would have stopped sales of non-diet soda and other sugar-laden beverages in containers bigger than 16 ounces. The judges wrote that while the board had the power to ban “inherently harmful” foodstuffs from being served to the public, sweetened beverages didn’t fall into that category/Associated Press. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Which soda is your favorite type? How much of it do you drink?


Yesterday, Cindy tells Huckleberries Central, “I set off the alarms in two different courthouses. Didn't make it down to the federal building to complete the trifecta, but I did perfect my wand pirouette.”

Question: When did you last set off an alarm?

Paddleboard Yoga Challenging

Rachel Rowley, Amy Gates, Jenni Niemann and instructor Katie Fitzgerald participate in paddle board yoga at Lake Coeur d'Alene. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Katie Fitzgerald’s yoga students, instructed to close their eyes and notice their surroundings at the start of a class last week, had much to be mindful of. The gentle breeze. The warm sun. The calling birds. The speeding boats. The buzzing seaplane. The water underneath, rocking their mats. The fact that they were beginning a class afloat, four students and an instructor each perched on a stand-up paddleboard anchored 20 yards from shore, and that if they lost their balance and fell from a warrior pose or headstand – as did happen several times – it was into Lake Coeur d’Alene. Luckily, the water was warm off the beach at North Idaho College. And the water was key to their practice for the day, a 90-minute session of stand-up paddleboard yoga, aka SUP yoga/Adrian Rogers, SR. More here.

Question: Is this type of group exercise something that would interest you?

AM Scanner Traffic — 7.30.13

  • 11:54 a.m. Officer wants agency assist on commercial traffic stop on H95/Kathleen.
  • 11:46 a.m. Mother of toddler (11:34 item) located.
  • 11:34 a.m. 1YO boy in diaper found wondering in front of day care on Seltice Way/Post Falls.
  • 11:15 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for July 29-30 here.
  • 10:58 a.m. 2-vehicle, non-injury accident reported @ Old H95/Gardwood.
  • 10:48 a.m. Female driver, possibly impaired, rear-ended boat trailer @ H95/Lacey, Hayden.
  • 10:27 a.m. Benewah County alerts ISP, Kootenai County authorities re: 30YO male in blue 2007 Honda who is suspected of battering wife and child in St. Maries area. May be en route to Post Falls.
  • 10:05 a.m. Female @ 11th/Lunceford, CdA, has taken overdose of depression medicine.
  • 9:52 a.m. Deputy asked dispatch to tell resident to meet him outside b/c he's wary of big dog.
  • 9:18 a.m. Diabetic employee @ Post Falls biz complained of dizziness & then fell.
  • 9:15 a.m. Female reports neighbor fired 4 shots w/rifle from porch; ongoing problem.
  • 9:03 a.m. Someone suffering chest pain on Pembrook b/n 16th & Echo Glen/CdA.
  • 8:47 a.m. Runner on Post Falls High track bitten by stray dog.
  • 8:18 a.m. Driver of '98 white Camero w/Washington plates possibly DUI @ e/b I-90/Spokane, PF.

Survey: McDonalds Can Pay More

McDonald's can afford to pay its workers a living wage without sacrificing any of its low menu prices, according to a new study provided to The Huffington Post by a University of Kansas researcher. Doubling the salaries and benefits of all McDonald's employees — from workers earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to CEO Donald Thompson, whose 2012 compensation totaled $8.75 million — would cause the price of a Big Mac to increase just 68 cents, from $3.99 to $4.67, University of Kansas research assistant Arnobio Morelix told HuffPost. In addition, every item on the Dollar Menu would go up by 17 cents/Huffington Post. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: I don't recommend doubling the wages of fast-food workers. But a wage half gain as much as the minimum federal wage wouldn't affect fast-food prices that much. I'd be willing to pay more for a burger. How about you?

Popkey: Idaho Gave Romney Love

Idaho was Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 4th-best state, so it should be no surprise that Romney carried 31 of 35 of Idaho’s legislative districts. But new data posted Monday on the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest is fun to look at. Romney’s best showing was in District 34, home to Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg. Romney carried 92 percent of the vote to President Obama’s 7 percent in the district including all of Madison County and a slice of Bonneville. … Romney’s top state was Utah, where he carried 72.8 percent of the vote, followed by Wyoming at 68.6 percent, Oklahoma at 66.8 percent and Idaho at 64.5 percent/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: I'm not surprised that Romney received a higher percentage of the vote in Utah than Idaho. But I am surprised that three states gave Romney more of the vote than Idaho. How about you?

Food Porn: Capone’s ‘Fun Guy’

On his Get Out! North Idaho Facebook page, OrangeTV posts: “A Late July Tuesday at almost lunchtime calls for some greasy burger-n-fries porn. Here's the Fun Guy with garlic fries from Capone's. Um, I'll need a to-go box, please…”

Question: What do you usually order at Capone's?

Poll: Most Haven’t Attended Julyamsh

  • Monday Poll: Most of Hucks Nation hasn't attended the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe's giant powwow at the Greyhound Park in Post Falls — Julyamsh. 69 of 109 respondents (63.3%) said they haven't attended the big event, which took place over the weekend. Only 40 of 109 respondents ( 36.7%) said they have attended Julyamsh.
  • Today's Poll: Are Coeur d'Alene council incumbents Woody McEvers and Deanna Goodlander re-electable?

Slice: What Survivalists Hope For

Paul Turner/The Slice offers this range of options re: “What do survivalists hope for”:

A) They hope they are wrong and all their gathering of ammo and food stores will have been unnecessary. B) They hope for the total collapse of the U.S. economy and the opportunity to shoot people they consider a potential threat. C) They hope for a societal breakdown that will make them valuable members of the new order even though they have virtually no formal education. D) Other.

Question: Can you add to “other” above?

Cops Outnumber KKK In Spirit Lake

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held a membership eat, greet, and meet in Spirit Lake, Idaho Saturday. They asked for their supporters to “come out and meet the Aryan Nations” and to “get involved.” 12 members of law enforcement from Spirit Lake Police, Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, Idaho State Police and U.S. Secret Service were all there to assist. There were no major disturbances except for a minor incident when a protestor unplugged the speaker's microphone. Eleven protestors and 6 KKK members were there and no new members came to take part/Shawn Chitniss, KREM2. More here.

Question: Why do Aryan Nations/KKK stage rallies in out-of-the-way places that attract few people? Media exposure? To let people know that they haven't totally gone away? What?

AM Headlines — 7.30.13

A firefighter pours water into the basement of the burned-out Colville Confederated Tribes Headquarters Monday in Nespelem, Wash. The three-story administration building, which housed tribal records, historical artifacts, chiefs and royalty photographs and a hand-crafted flute collection was a total loss. Story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Separated At Birth?

I'm not the only one who sees resemblance between Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan and Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership president Amy Evans, who has announced her candidacy for the Coeur d'Alene City Council.

Question: Do you look like an actress, singer or any other kind of celebrity?

Melissa: So Tired, Tired Of Waiting

Melissa Luck/KXLY tweets: “If a dentist sends you 5+ text messages reminding you of your appointment, you shouldn't still spend 15+ minutes in the waiting room.”

Question: How long do you usually wait in waiting room for your dentist or doctor?

Costello: Weiner Folos Familiar Script

Well, I've got to hand it to Anthony Weiner, aka “Carlos Danger.” While the consensus of opinion holds that Weiner is an undisciplined, narcissistic, megalomaniacal fool, I'm thinking that he might be the Democratic Party's preeminent political genius. After all, we're talking about the Democratic Party. That's an alternate universe that normal people don't understand. The Democratic Party is the party of dysfunction. The party panders to dysfunctional people and the party is strengthened as more and more Americans embrace dysfunction/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Can Weiner survive this latest bout with sexting?

Christie: Grateful For Union Presence

Christie Wood (re: Press: Confront city union issue): Although I do not represent the Police Association as a spokesperson I am a member of the Association and don't mind articles that encourage conversation with the public. That is healthy for any organization but I do like them to be specific with our titles. The Police Association is not a union. We do not have union representation or solidarity with other LE organizations in the state. We represent ourselves in all discussions with the City leaders. The firefighters are union members and follow all collective bargaining laws established by the state. However they too represent themselves without union representation when they bargain with City leaders. It is a respectful process we share with the City and we are grateful to our citizens for giving us the right to speak to our leaders about pay, benefits, and working conditions. The City leaders are far from push overs. All of them have worked hard to keep the appropriate balance with tax payer funds.

Question: Why are Idahoans so opposed to unions, especially public ones?

Pope On Gays: ‘Who Am I To Judge?’

Item: Pope Francis on gays: 'Who am I to judge?'/Nicole Winfield, AP

Mike Kennedy: Two non-Catholics I talked with today separately told me that the read about Pope Francis's Brazil trip. Both were stunned and smiling when they expressed their positive feeling about this man and his comments. As a Catholic I told them that I believed this to be the feeling of so many of my fellow parishioners (and many loyal parish priests) who have suffered in silence or simply left the church over the past decades. There is a long road ahead and many man-made rules in the church with which I struggle. But I'm personally grateful for Pope Francis's serious steps of healing and outreach. I expect backsliding and word-parsing from less charitable clerics, but it's a start and every journey begins with a humble first step.

Question: How does the pope's statement about gays affect your view of the Roman Catholic Church?

Remembering Maj StormoGipson

Maj StormoGipson, who died in a rafting accident on the Snake River over the weekend, frequently volunteered with her husband at medical clinics in Latin America. (Courtesy of StormoGipson family)

A Saturday memorial service will honor of the life of Dr. Maj StormoGipson, a local pediatrician who made frequent trips to Latin America to help people in need. StormoGipson, 57, died Friday in a rafting accident during a family outing on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene, 1765 W. Golf Course Road. StormoGipson became trapped underwater when her inflatable kayak struck a partially submerged tree, according to an account provided by her family/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.

Question: Why do bad things happen to good people?

Let’s Hear It For The Beard(brand)

Beardbrand founder Eric Bandholz, right, gathers for a meeting with co-owners Lindsey Reinders and Jeremy McGee earlier this month at a coffee shop on Spokane’s South Hill. They sell their own all-natural beard oils and other grooming products online. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

If anyone were qualified to launch a business like Beardbrand, it would be Eric Bandholz. An entrepreneur and former Merrill Lynch analyst, Bandholz has a business degree from the University of South Carolina and a well-groomed, 6-inch red beard paired with a mustache that covers his mouth as he talks. His startup, Beardbrand, formed with partners Lindsey Reinders, 28, and Jeremy McGee, 31, launched early this year. The trio are marketing their own all-natural beard oils, formulated on Bandholz’s kitchen table, while also selling other grooming products and accessories on their website, Ocker, SR. More here.

Question (for males of HucksOnline): Do you look good in a beard?

Diamond Cup Needs Volunteers

Item: Little help please: Diamond Cup Regatta seeking volunteers for Labor Day weekend event/Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: S.O.S. Well, it might not be an emergency call, but Diamond Cup Regatta organizers are sending out the signal they need volunteers, more than 100 of them, to help make the hydroplane race's return to Lake Coeur d'Alene a roaring success. Diamond Cup Spokesman Herb Huseland told The Press the group has 125 people who have committed to helping out, but is aiming for about 300 by the time the boats hit the water over the Labor Day weekend.

Question: Are you interested in being a volunteer for the Diamond Cup Regatta?

Clark: Tempest In A C Cup

Some pervert sent me photographs of nubile, near-naked young women. Wait a second. This email did not come from a pervert. This email came from the office of Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan, who wanted to brief me on the fleshy activities at the XXXtreme Espresso stand on Northwest Boulevard. This may be a new low in City Hall correspondence. Not to dance on former Mayor Jim West’s grave. But for all his peculiarities, Mayor West always had the decency to use the telephone whenever he asked someone out for a naked swim. Ah, but I know what Fagan is up to, of course. This is all part of the great Anal Cleft consternation that Fagan stirred up while I was away. I had never heard of the term “anal cleft” until Fagan exposed me to it. Then again, why would I? As a lifelong musician, I spend my time pondering the treble clef/Doug Clark, SR. More here.


Ocean Of Tomorrow?

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

Wild Card/Monday — 7.29.13

It's nice to be back after a rocky four days dealing with a family emergency. I thank all of you for your well wishes and prayers to and for my family. We're on the mend. Here's your first Wild Card of the week …

Parting Shot — 7.29.13

A firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service jumps through a backburn fire started to combat the 8,200 acre Fir Grove Fire along Highway 46 north of Gooding on Sunday. (AP Photo/Times-News, Ashley Smith)

GOTV Review: Art On The Green, Etc

Art on the Green is rather pretentious and snotty, with high-priced, useless “crap” that only Richie Rich bitches can afford to put on their husband's American Express Platimum cards and have two-day delivered via FedEx to their homes in Santa Monica. Kudos to the artists, apparently the same people year after year, who sit in their little tents selling their wares (and yes, many of them are quite talented) and have to deal with these snobs and also the HOARDS of other obnoxious people (and their wild-ass kids) who could never afford to buy any of their items even if they saved up their plasma donation money for an entire year. But then there is the food. And the music. Two solid reasons to actually spend an hour finding a parking spot and fighting the maddening crowds trampling the grass on the historic Fort Grounds area/OTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here.

Question: What do you like/dislike most re: Art on the Green, Taste of Coeur d'Alene, Downtown Street Fair?

PM Scanner Traffic — 7.29.13

Idaho Dad got this photo of the vehicle that knocked out power near Fred Meyer late this afternoon. See 5:44 p.m. item.

  • 5:44 p.m. Vehicle hit Avista power pole @ Kathleen/Schreiber, CdA, knocking out traffic lights @ Ramsey/Kathleen, and maybe n/b lights on H95. Traffic hazard at Ramsey/Kathleen.
  • 5:41 p.m. CPD Blue taking suspected shoplifter caught at Burger King back to Hayden WalMart.
  • 5:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for July 28-29 here.
  • 5:16 p.m. CPD Blue en route to detain wanted male on burglary warrant, w/$25,000 bail.
  • 5:03 p.m. EMTs report 20YO female have allergic reaction to bee sting on her thigh.
  • 4:44 p.m. Motorist behind ISPer calls dispatch to say trooper's back lights are on.
  • 4:26 p.m. Motorcyclist in crash arrested after falling down hill in trying to run from scene (3:48 item).
  • 4:06 p.m. Injury accident reported on H95/Homestead Loop/Hayden.
  • 14 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 7.29.13

Here's another Duane Rasmussen photo of the old railroad bridge, which is not part of the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, at the mouth of the St. Joe River.

Cutline Contest — 7.29.13

Time 2 Vote …

Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman, second from left, along with his wife, Krissie and daughter, Brooklyn, kiss the yard of bricks after Newman won the Brickyard 400 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday. Sitting next to Krissie is daughter Ashlyn. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

Wednesday winner — Fort Boise, with 5 likes: “Geico tried out a number of animal acts for the “Hump Day” commercial before going with the camel.” You can see photo and read all 7 cutline entries here.

HBO Blogos — 7.29.13

Lindsey Rasmussen, a junior at the University of Idaho, tries her hand at herding sheep at a farm outside Coeur d'Alene.  Dog Jack was up to the task but Lindsey and her brother, Ben, a junior at Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle, Wash., got animals clumped up. Duane Rasmussen, who snapped this photo, reports: “I think the brother and sister got more training than the dog.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of July 21-27): 43,843 page-views; 26,070 unique views

Otter Sides w/Wifi Contract Critics

Add Gov. Butch Otter to the roster of Republicans criticizing the controversial high school WiFi contract signed last week by GOP state superintendent Tom Luna. “It’s not necessarily how I would have done it,” Otter said in a prepared statement Monday afternoon, five days after Luna announced the contract with Education Networks of America. The contract to install WiFi in Idaho high schools is funded for 2013-14 with a $2.25 million budget line item, approved by the Legislature and signed by Otter. But the contract will run for at least five years. And the state has options to extend the contract to 15 years — at a total value of $33.3 million. Some key legislators have questioned the deal, saying they did not realize Luna envisioned a multiyear contract/Kevin Richert, The EDge, IdahoED News. More here.

Question: Do you think Republican leaders are getting tired of Superintendent Luna's schtick, too?

Can Mary Count On 4100 Votes?

In watching the dance card for the mayor and City Council races in Coeur d'Alene fill up, your Huckleberry Hound wondered this PM how many votes can mayoral candidate Mary Souza and her future council candidate allies bank on. Can the 4100 individuals who signed recall petitions over the McEuen Field controversy be counted on by Mary & Co. to automatically vote for their ticket this fall? Or is the McEuen Field factor diluted by the fact that Mayor Sandi Bloem and Councilman Mike Kennedy have decided not to seek re-election? Three candidates who have announced or tentively announced for mayor and council spots — Steve Widmyer, Amy Evans and Kiki Miller — have no ties to the McEuen Field controversy. Nor do they have ties to the antidiscrimination ordinance controversy. Incumbent Woody McEvers, who contaced Huckleberries this PM to say he will seek re-election, had 4,060 signatures against him in the recall attempt. So what do you think?

Question: How many votes from the 4100 petition signers for the McEuen Field recall election can Mary & Co. count on?

Your Fave Sandpoint Festival Show?

The Indigo Girls, shown here in 2004, are part of this year's Festival at Sandpoint lineup, which includes Rosanne Cash, Cake, the Steve Miller Band, the Avett Brothers, the John Butler Trio, and more.

Question: What's the best performance you've ever seen at the Festival at Sandpoint?

Woody’s Running, Too

Councilman Woody McEvers just informed Huckleberries Online that he will run for re-election for the Seat 2 position he now holds. Official announcement pending.

Supers To Luna: We’re Starving

Idaho state schools chief Tom Luna met with school district superintendents from around the state this morning, reports Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News; he was asked about everything from the budget to Common Core to the state’s controversial new high school WiFi contract. Richert reports that American Falls Superintendent Tom Bollinger put Luna on the spot about the state’s decision to park $85 million of surplus money in its rainy-day fund, the Budget Stabilization Fund. “We are starving to death in our districts,” Bollinger said. Luna responded that there’s some “wisdom” in replenishing the savings/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you support replenishing the stabilization fund over better funding for education?

Evans Announces Council Candidacy

Amy Evans press release announcing her candidacy for Coeur d'Alene City Council:

Amy Evans today announced her campaign for Coeur d’Alene City Council. She will be running for an open seat on the council. “Public service is important, and I am passionate about Coeur d’Alene and our city's future. My husband Doug and I are raising our two children to be contributing members of our community and we want Coeur d’Alene to provide opportunities for them and all of our city’s kids by offering competitive jobs, education, and recreation.” Evans said. “I believe it is vitally important that Coeur d'Alene attract and foster businesses to strengthen our local economy. It's essential to advance our outstanding education system which is a driving force in attracting businesses and families to our city. Coeur d'Alene needs to continue to offer families a bright future and vibrant quality of life to raise their children. I am running to push for
a better future for Coeur d’Alene.” Amy Evans announcement.

Question: Two good candidates have emerged today for Coeur d'Alene City Council races — Amy Evans and Kiki Miller. That means one of them will run against an incumbent, if Deanna Goodlander and Woody McEvers both decide to seek re-election. You know what that means, of course. A Souza ally could benefit by a split vote in a three-way race. Thoughts?

Widmyer Coming To Door Near You

Widmyer for Mayor news release:

Coeur d’Alene Mayoral Candidate Steve Widmyer is taking it to the streets. Literally. Beginning Monday, Aug. 5, Widmyer will walk every street in Coeur d’Alene to meet residents and learn more about the city. Up close and personal. Block by block covering all 253 miles of streets within the city limits. “Although I have lived in Coeur d’Alene for over 50 years, our community is growing and there are neighborhoods where I have not spent time, so we thought, what better way to get to know the community than walking the streets,” he said. “I look forward to getting to know the people and become better acquainted with the challenges facing the various areas of our town.” Preparations for the Neighborhood Walk Program are currently being finalized and a daily schedule will be posted on Widmyer’s website,, for citizens wishing to meet the candidate in their neighborhhood.

Question: Do you enjoy meeting candidates who come to your door?

Biking Along Coeur d’Alene Trail

Duane Rasmussen photographed bicyclists on the old railroad bridge that goes across Coeur d'Alene Lake at the south end of the lake at the entry to the St. Joe River, along the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.

Question: Have you ever ridden the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes?

Poll: Little Support For Luna Wifi Pact

  • Weekend Poll: 224 of 273 respondents (82.05%) to the poll say they don't support Superintendent Tom Luna's unilateral decision to award a 15-year contract for high school wifi service to a Tennessee firm that has contributed to past campaigns. Only 34 of 273 respondents (12.45%) agree with Luna's decision. 11 (4.03%) were undecided. And 4 (1.47%) answered, “What's wifi?)
  • Today's Poll: Have you ever attended Julyamsh?

Idaho #10 In Imprisoning Citizens

Last year, 1.57 million Americans served prison sentences in state or federal penitentiaries, a slight decrease from nearly 1.6 million in 2011, according to figures released Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Despite the decline, the United States still incarcerates people at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world. According to the BJS report “Prisoners in 2012,” for every 100,000 Americans, an estimated 480 people were serving at least a one-year sentence in a state prison during the year. In some states, the rate of incarceration was much higher. Louisiana, the state with the highest rate, sentenced 893 people to a state prison for every 100,000 residents. Based on the BJS release, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states that send the most people to prison/Yahoo! Finance. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that Idaho is No. 10?

Bank Cleans Out Wrong House

“I told him I wasn't running a yard sale and asking them to make me an offer. I told him I don't keep receipts around for everything I have just in case a bank comes by and steals my stuff” — Katie Barnett.

A woman in McArthur, Ohio, about 70 miles south of Columbus, said a bank mistakenly cleared items from her home, confusing it for a foreclosed house across the street, then demanded receipts when she asked to be compensated for her missing possessions. Katie Barnett, 36, a nurse, said her family had left for about two weeks last month and returned to find the locks on their home had changed and many of their belongings had been taken. “We called the cops and they said they thought it was a squatter,” she said. Two dressers and clothing for her five children were taken, as well as items from outside their home, including pool cleaning supplies and patio furniture, she said/ABC News. More here.

Question: What would you do now, if you were in Katie Barnett's shoes?

Joker: ‘Patriots’ Fantasize Re: Chaos

Joker offers his thoughts on the recent Patriots confab at Farragut State Park:

The joyful glee exhibited by those attended this weekend’s apocalypse-palooza is profoundly unnerving.   They want to see death and suffering.  They want to see society breakdown into chaos. They’re rooting for a second civil war to break out. They want everybody with a skin tone darker than healthy tan expelled from this country.  They want to have kangaroo tribunals with summary executions of those they disagree with politically. They want madness.  They want violence.  They dream of pulling the trigger on their fellow Americans. It’s sick. You have to wonder how a person arrives at such demented perspective on the world and why they revel in the idea of a total collapse of America. That’s not patriotic, it’s perversion. More below.

Question: Do you really think, as Joker does, that “Patriots” fantasize re: war against the federal government?

OTV: Oh, Monday, Mondays

On his Facebook wall, OrangeTV posts:Oh, Monday. Literally tripped over the cat on my way into the bathroom this morning and almost killed us both to death. On my way to work, some kid on a skateboard appeared out of nowhere in front of my car and I missed killing him to death by 1.00056 inches, nearly giving me an acute myocardial infarction. Now, a short work day, then off to my final meeting of the McEuen entrance public art selection committee, then later some karaoke at Mik's. Hopefully everyone survives.”

Question: Are Mondays really the worst day of the week for you?

Jackson Wraps Up ‘Hobbit’ Filming

Actor Richard Armitage, left, and two unidentified actors stand as they face with a green screen set on the final day of shooting “The Hobbit” in Wellington New Zealand. Peter Jackson has wrapped up filming “The Hobbit” trilogy and shared pictures of his last day on the set with his Facebook fans. The New Zealand filmmaker provided a steady stream of updates and photos from the set of the final film, “The Hobbit: There And Back Again,” on Friday. The second film, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” will be released in December, and the finale appears in 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Jackson)

Question: Are you happyhappyhappy that Peter Jackson broke “The Hobbit” into a triology?

AM Scanner Traffic — 7.29.13

  • 10:43 a.m. Someone is suffering chest pain in 2900 block of N7th/CdA.
  • 10:39 a.m. 4 kids are loose in trailer being pulled by truck from Wolf Lodge Bay onto w/b I-90.
  • 10:34 a.m. Older male in blue Oldsmobile w/b on I-90/MP 7 (H41, Post Falls) may be DUI.
  • 9:42 a.m. 57YO male coughing up blood on South Way/PF.
  • 8:53 a.m. Post Falls owner reports someone just stole vehicle and left on McGuire Road.
  • 8:50 a.m. Log truck lost trailer & spilled logs all over s/b H3, b/n MP 90-91 (St. Maries area).
  • 8:34 a.m. Undisclosed medical emergency reported @ Kentucky/Alaska, Hayden.

Vito: Be Ready For ‘Big Changes’

State Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, was one of the featured speakers at the Patriot rally at Farragut State Park over the weekend. Jeff Selle/CdA Press reports:

(Barbieri's) talk was about the constitution and what it was. “It was a restriction on the power and authority of the federal government,” he said, adding it was also written to protect the states and the citizens of the United States. Now, he said, the federal government is systematically eliminating the restriction the constitution placed on it “for the collective good — not the individual. They are empowering tyranny. Rules and regulations are eliminating our freedoms. It's social engineering.” He pointed to the second amendment, saying it is no longer protecting the individual's right to bear arms. “I am convinced the only thing protecting your right to bear arms is the fact that you own one and it's loaded,” he said. “The constitution isn't protecting your rights anymore, you are.” Barbieri urged the attendees to be prepared for change, “big changes”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Gabe Green CdA Press photo: Leah Purdom of Bonners Ferry practices a combo move with instructor Michael Foley at the Patriots Preparedness Rally)

Question: Are you more concerned about the federal government taking away your rights or with individuals with Barbieri's viewpoint representing a swath of North Idaho?

Kiki Miller Considers Council Run

On her Facebook wall, Kiki Miller posts:Looking like a bid for Cd'a City Council is in my future. Anyone who has input on the topic feel free to private message me. (p.s., skip the “are you crazy?” comments as that part has already been established.)

Question: We've heard a lot about the mayor's race. But not too much about the council races this fall. Council members Deanna Goodlander and Woody McEvers still are considering re-election bids. Kiki Miller is the type of new blood council needs. At least, that's what I think. How about you?

Officials: Common Core Here To Stay

Item: State officials: Common Core here to stay/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Most top education officials in states that have adopted the Common Core standards don't think resistance to the math and English benchmarks will derail the effort, according to a new survey. Released last week by the Center for Education Policy, a nonpartisan research organization at George Washington University, the survey also found that a majority of state education leaders would welcome federal aid, including funding, to help implement the standards. Education officials in 40 of the 45 states that have adopted the core standards participated in the poll, although the report did not release the names of the states. Idaho's state education department was one of the participating agencies.

Question: Will efforts to derail Common Core stands work in Idaho?

Breast-Feeding Moms Try For Record

Item: 'Latch on,' and be part of a world record try: Saturday event for moms - and babies - part of World Breast Feeding Week/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: And while Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and all other local mothers can be a part of making the top score topple, a baby is required. In recognition of World Breast Feeding Week, Kootenai Health and Mothers Haven are hosting The 'Big Latch On' this Saturday. Latch on? That's where the baby comes in. For the second year in a row, mothers are invited to bring a blanket or lawn chair and sit down and breast feed their babies together. The goal is to raise awareness for young mothers on breast feeding during its recognition week Aug. 1-7, but also to break the world record for the most mothers feeding their kids at once.

Question: Don't look at me, I'm not qualified to take part in this. Are you?

AM Headlines — 7.29.13

Broken bits of pottery used in the World War II Japanese internment camp at Kooskia were recently found during a archeological dig on the site. Story here. (AP Photo/Lewison Tribune,Steve Hanks)

Jeers To … Superintendent Tom Luna

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column Friday, Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune gave jeers to …

… Idaho schools Superintendent Tom Luna. Idaho's master of deception just stuck you with a long-term contract to buy Wi-Fi networks for your high schools. Luna took $2.25 million in money state lawmakers assigned for one-time school technology projects and parlayed it into a five-year obligation that could extend into 15 years and $33.75 million. Lawmakers say Luna caught them flatfooted. You're surprised? This is a fellow who first blind-sided and then vilified his fellow elected officials on the State Land Board in order to raid the Endowment Fund - and look like a public education hero on the eve of his 2010 re-election campaign.He's the guy who rode to victory by praising the schools but upon winning a second term declared war on teachers and passed - without ever seeking public support - three measures aimed at undermining educators' collective bargaining rights and siphoning dollars meant to pay teachers toward the for-profit online instruction and laptop computer industries. More here.

Question: Do you trust Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna?

Kayak Accident Claims Local Doctor

Item: Area grieves loss of popular doctor: Maj StormoGipson dies in tragic kayaking accident/Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Family and friends are grieving the loss of Maj StormoGipson, 57, who died Friday in a tragic kayaking accident while with her family on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. According to an email message circulated by family members and friends, StormoGipson, a pediatrician at the Valley Young People's Clinic in Spokane Valley, was in the fifth day of a six-day wilderness whitewater rafting vacation when the tragedy struck. Because the rapids on that stretch of the river were expected to be relatively mild, StormoGipson decided to join other family members in riding them out in inflatable kayaks.

Feel free to extend your sympathy to the family …

Wild Harrison Calming Down

On any given weekday, this quiet little town nestled on the eastern shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene is sprinkled with a handful of tourists enjoying the lake and the trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. But come to town on any summer weekend and Harrison is transformed into, well, a boater's party town. “It really is a tale of two towns,” explains Paul Hoskinson, president of the Harrison Chamber of Commerce. “If you want backwater come down here mid-week, but if you want the rodeo, come on a weekend.” Over the years, Harrison has become known for its weekend wildlife, but recently the town's leaders have made it a point to temper some of the wildness with structured events almost every weekend of the summer. “This was the wild, wild west in the '70s,” Hoskinson said. “But we've had about three or four years now where the civil unrest has come to an end for the most part”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: When did you last visit Harrison?

Tribes Gather To Enjoy Julyamsh

Beneath orange strands of fabric representing the Hopi tribe wafting in the breeze Saturday morning, Billy McDermitt sat among Native American friends and gestured to the pine branches supporting his teepee lodge. “These represent the different churches of the world,” he explained. “All of our prayers, they’re tied up at the top.” According to traditional beliefs, a visitor leaving the lodge is absolved of their sins, he said. McDermitt, a Hopi from southern Nevada, was just one of the far-flung tribal members who gathered this weekend for Julyamsh, the midsummer event billed as the largest powwow in the Northwest and hosted by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe for the past 18 years. The four-day celebration brings together tribal cultures from throughout the United States for song, dance, traditional parades and storytelling/Kip Hill, SR. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: Ike BlackWolf of Pendelton, Oregon participated in the horse parade at Julyamsh Powwow in Post Falls Saturday)

Question: Did you attend this year's Julyamsh? If not, have you ever attended Julyamsh? Impression?

Press: Confront City Union Issue

Kootenai County doesn't have one. Neither does Post Falls. Or Hayden. Or Rathdrum, Spirit Lake and Athol. But the city of Coeur d'Alene does, in triplicate. Coeur d'Alene is the only municipal entity in Kootenai County that allows its employees union membership. In fact, the city negotiates with three unions: One for members of the police department, one for firefighters and one for the remaining personnel. As has been documented on the pages of this newspaper over the years, the city of Coeur d'Alene pays its employees very well. Recent stories have noted that a salary survey showed Coeur d'Alene employees, on average, are paid 11.5 percent more than their counterparts working for other governmental entities, including the state of Idaho. Is there a relationship between that higher pay and union membership, leading, of course, to higher taxes? Absolutely. But hold on just a moment before you pick up the phone and bark at your city councilman or woman/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you support the city's three employee unions?

Patriot Games: Collapse Is Near

Garrett Bosworth spars with instructor Melanie Warner during a women's self-defense lesson Saturday during the Patriot's Rally at Farragut State Park. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Gabe Green)

Hundreds of self-described patriots turned out for a three-day patriot rally here this weekend to learn how to organize and prepare for what they consider to be the imminent collapse of our economy. Hot button speakers, including many from the patriot movement, rallied attendees Friday and Saturday night to form militias, and stock up on ammunition and supplies. The message was, be prepared for when the government can no longer provide services after the collapse. “We need to prepare for the inevitable collapse that is going to happen,” said Washington state representative Matt Shea. “You know it's going to happen. That's right, I am a politician and I am standing up here and saying that.” Shea was introduced as one of the 10 most hateful politicians featured on the Southern Poverty Law Center's website. He called that a badge of honor/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you believe a collapse of some kind in this country is near?

4 Bus Drivers Leave School District

Item: Four bus drivers leave Cd'A district: New employees are being sought to replace them/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: After a year of uncertainty for the Coeur d'Alene School District's bus drivers, several have decided they won't be climbing behind the steering wheels of the big yellow buses again when school starts in September. At this point, four drivers have officially resigned, and the district is seeking new employees to replace them. “It is a slightly higher number than we've seen in years past,” said school district spokeswoman Laura Rumpler. The turnover follows months spent by the board and district administration considering whether to privatize the district's transportation department. It was believed the move could have potentially saved the district about $1 million.

Archives: July 18 SOS from CSD transportation director Jill Hill/Huckleberries Online

Question: Can this be blamed on previous board? Or is it simply natural attrition?

Stone: City Backs Events Center

To Duane Hagadone and his newspaper staff:

We are truly sorry that you are opposed to the effort to bring a new sports and community facility to Cd’A for use in our high school and college athletics programs as well as a gathering and venue space for the community at large. This facility could help so much in providing jobs and economic stimulus for our local businesses (projected at $15 million annually) … and your company could help so much by supporting it. We know that your company believes in this type of facility because of your support for a similar project that you are contributing to located across from your hotel in Moscow. We continue to view the Hagadone Corporation as the creator of the high end tourism in Coeur d’Alene, for which we are grateful, as it not only benefits The Cd’A Resort and the shops downtown, but it also helps to ensure that we have the money coming into the community that we need in order to give those who consider this their home a chance to survive and be successful.

Question: Are you surprised that the Hagadone Corporation doesn't support events center?

Weiner Dilemma

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Weekend Wild Card 7.27.13-7.28.13

For me, the best thing about living in the Inland Northwest is we have four distinct seasons. Winter (I am so sick of snow. I'm freezing. People drive like jerks). Spring (It's raining. I hate rain. Do I have to take my snow tires off?) Summer (It's not hot enough. It's too hot. I'm sunburned!). And Fall (Summer went too fast. It's too gray. . Do I have to put my sandals away?)

Here's hoping you're still loving the blue skies of July. Keep sending good thoughts and prayers to DFO and his family. Hopefully he'll join us on Monday.

Parting Shot: Animal Behavior

 Avery Kiser, 2, front center, of Post Falls, acts like a tiger during Princess Dance Camp at The Tree House Center in Post Falls on Thursday. The three-week class is offered through Post Falls Parks and Recreation. Kathy Plonka, SR, photo

Did you ever attend dance class?

TGIF Wild Card 7.26.13

DFO is taking today off to deal with a family emergency. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. Life can turn on a dime. Be kind to each other.

Here's your Wild Card.

Why I don’t camp reason #93

Plague infected squirrels.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Authorities have evacuated and shut down a section of a national forest outside Los Angeles for at least a week after a ground squirrel was found there infected with the plague, county public health officials said on Thursday.

The squirrel tested positive for plague after it was trapped in the Angeles National Forest during “routine surveillance activities,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a written health advisory. Health officials said that as a precaution, visitors were ordered to leave three campgrounds and a recreation area of the Angeles National Forest, which encompasses some 655,000 acres in the San Gabriel Mountains just north of metropolitan Los Angeles. More here.

Do you enjoy camping?

Washington Post picks up Idaho mom lawsuit story

Anna Smith is a mother of two who lives in rural Idaho, works the night shift as a nurse and goes to the gym often. She rarely follows the news and knows little about the debate over government surveillance and privacy that has rocked Washington in recent weeks.

None of that is stopping her from suing the president of the United States.

Smith is the plaintiff in one of six legal challenges that have been filed over the government’s far-reaching collection of telephone and Internet records. Her attorney is her husband. She doesn’t understand the legal technicalities and worries that the case could distract from her job and parenting duties.

But the Idaho native knows how she feels about the prospect of anyone tracking calls from her cellphone: She’s outraged. “It’s none of their business what I’m doing — who I call, when I call, how long I talk,” Smith, 32, said in a telephone interview. She added, “I think it’s awesome that I have the right to sue the president. I’m just a small-town girl.” Full story.

Do you think it's awesome that you can sue the president?

KKK hosting event at Spirit Lake reports:

SPIRIT LAKE, Idaho — Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are holding a membership eat, greet, and meet in Spirit Lake, Idaho. They asked for their supporters to “come out and meet the Aryan Nations” and to “get involved” in a flyer. The rally is July 27 at 1:00 p.m.

The Aryan Nations released a flyer that appealed to people who, in their words, are “tired of illegal immigration,” or of “hate crime legislation designed to target whites,” and the “under reported non-white crime rate,” among others Klan talking points.

Demonstrators have said that they will be attending the rally in protest.

What kind of turn out do you expect this event to have?

Pink Floyd guitarist’s racist display

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters has found himself in hot water after he insulted the Jewish community with a seemingly anti-Semitic display at a recent concert.

The incident happened Saturday, July 20 at a concert in Belgium, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. A giant, pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with the Star of David, as well as dictatorial symbols, dropped from the ceiling while Waters performed. His attire reportedly consisted of a long leather jacket and red-and-white arm band, “reminiscent of a Nazi uniform,” per JTA. He was also carrying a fake machine gun. Full story. Huffington Post

Were you a Pink Floyd fan? Are you still?

Whatcha Readin’?

I really, really wish I was reclining in our shady gazebo and reading this book. It's a young adult book, but I'm finding 'How I Live Now' engrossing. From Goodreads: “Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.”

What's on your summer reading list?

Seattle: America’s hardest working city?

I’m sure you’ve heard the adage, “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.” Well, maybe that used to be true, but nowadays, if you really want put your money where your mouth is and work your tail off to get ahead, you’ll need to move to Seattle, aka America’s Hardest Working City.

What’s this you say, New Yorkers? I’m crazy? You might be half-correct. After all, I am the guy who writes stories about the value of fictional homes such as Hogwarts and Tony Stark’s mansion. But in this case, I think I’m right on the money.

A while back over the Fourth of July weekend, I got to thinking about what traits make America, you know, so American. One that kept sticking in my head was the idea of the American work ethic. Full Story. David Cross, Motovo

Well duh. It rains all the time and they have all that coffee. What else is there to do besides work? How do you think CdA or Boise would rate in terms of hardest working cites?

Library budget raises concern

The proposed budget for the Community Library Network is raising Glen Seely's eyebrows.

Seely, one of the network's five board members, said he's concerned over a proposed 15 percent increase ($335,400) in total personnel costs.

Those include 2 to 7 percent raises for employees, an increase in hours for some workers and expanding benefits to where the network would pay for 25 percent of the health insurance cost for employee family members.

“We're jumping the moon on the total (personnel) line,” Seely said. “We shouldn't be giving raises that can't be sustained in the coming years. Once you increase wages, it's very difficult to take them away.

“I'm going to ask the board if it will re-open the salary line again.” Full story, Brian Walker, CdA Press

Do you think the 15% increase it out of line?

Idaho: Rich grow richer, poor grow poorer

Idaho and its two largest counties have experienced a redistribution of income over the past couple of decades. The slice of the income pie grew for the richest households and shrank for the poorest.

Data provided to the Idaho Statesman by the U.S. Census Bureau shows how income inequality has risen in Ada and Canyon counties since 1989. Full story, plus graph. Audrey Dutton, Idaho Statesmen


Read more here:

Quotable Quote: Mike Kennedy

On Mike's Facebook page, he writes:

Eagerly anticipating the establishment of the law firm of Wiener, Filner, and Spitzer. Specializing in Junk Lawsuits.

Oh my. Perhaps Mike should pursue stand-up with all his free time once he's no longer on the City Council.

Joker: Teachers & School Board may need Dr. Phil

The honeymoon is over? What happened to all the love and respect between the newly elected school board members and the teachers? All the hugs and kisses are gone? Do the gifts have to be returned too?

Quick somebody call Dr. Phil and get this relationship back on track.

It’s fairly obvious the teachers have unrealistic expectations regarding this relationship. Did they really think giving the right-wing lunatics the heave ho was going to change the financial realities of Idaho?

Teachers don’t get paid much in Idaho. That fact is not going to change in the next twenty years. Even if the board wanted to give the teachers big fat raises they couldn’t do it right now because where would the money come from?

As a taxpayer, I want to know: Is the district’s administration is top heavy? Do we have too many administrators? Are they making too much money compared to other districts of similar size? Hazel Bauman’s salary seemed outrageously high. How can the district improve the conditions in the classroom without spending more money?

I can tell you giving them more collaboration time is not the answer. The current late Monday start is a burden to parents. Are there retired experts who could volunteer in the classroom? The teachers union has bristled at this in the past and I think it’s time to revisit the notion.

I wish the district and the teachers can find out of the box solutions because at the end of the day the most important thing is student success.

 Update: CdaMomof4 reports: Wow. I was there for about 2 hours. Of that two hours, they were only negotiating for about 45 minutes, the rest of the time they were caucusing - so we the rest of us didn't get to hear any of that. It doesn't seem like they are much closer than they were when I walked in. :( I would have already agreed to the district's offer by now, so I guess CEA won't be asking me to negotiate for them any time soon.

Mike Leach: Geronimo!

CULVER CITY, Calif. – Mike Leach expanded Friday on comments made earlier this week about his disdain for college football’s new targeting rules.

The Washington State coach, speaking at the podium during his session at Pac-12 media day at Sony Pictures Studios, said he doesn’t believe a rule can be effective if it is difficult to enforce. And that’s how he sees the new rules, which dictate that a player can be ejected for a hit that results in any contact to another player’s head, regardless of whether the defensive player actually targeted the head. More here. Christian Caple, SR

The article goes on to say Leach spent the summer writing a book about Geronimo with WSU prof Buddy Levy.

Two questions: Could you write a book if you had the summer off? And what do you think of college football's new targeting rules?

Help Wanted: Fighter Pilots

Air Force Col. Roderick L. Cregier is the 412th Test Wing director at Edwards Air Force Base.

Help wanted: At least 130 veteran military aviators for nine-year commitment to fly fighter jets.

Salary: Pay range $34,500 to $97,400. Plus good benefits and a $225,000 signing bonus – guaranteed.

Contact: U.S. Air Force by Sept. 30.

That’s the offer from the Pentagon, which is so short of Air Force fighter pilots that it’s boosting its salary package to make the job more enticing. It may be hard to imagine that life as a high-flying fighter jock has lost its swagger, but the Air Force revealed it has a shortage of 200 fighter pilots this year. And if something isn’t done, the Air Force, which has about 3,000 fighter pilots, fears it may face a shortfall of 700 by 2021. Read more.

Do you have what it takes to be a fighter pilot?

Bad cat news

Visitors to one of France’s most beautiful tourist areas were today warned to be on their guard after a pack of feral cats launched an attack on a young woman.

About six cats pounced on the unnamed dog owner as she walked her poodle in the city of Belfort, in the popular Franche-Comte region, on the Swiss border, dragging her to the ground and mauling her.

She was bitten repeatedly and left with a torn artery which could have proved fatal, while the dog was also badly hurt.

It is thought that particularly high summer temperatures may have made the cats far more aggressive than usual. Read more. The Telegraph

I get cranky when I'm hot too. My kitties (above) just chill out. But seriously, feral cats are the result of not spaying and neutering. So irresponsible.

PS: Don't tell Dave about this.


Western artist ‘Boots’ reaches trail’s end

Artist Roy “Boots” Reynolds Jr. became famous among horse people for his comic spirit and colorful images. Reynolds died recently in his Bonner County home at age 78.

Boots Reynolds got cowboys right. That’s how he made them laugh.

Over decades as a cartoonist and painter, he became famous among horse people for his comic spirit and colorful images. But his artwork thrived on a deep, lived sense of Western authenticity – from the droopy brim of a cowboy hat, to the drag and drape of chaps, to the sometimes cantankerous bond between horse and rider, to the effects of time and gravity on a face or a body. Boots got it right.

On the KSPS show “Northwest Profiles” several years ago, he said his greatest satisfaction came when cowboys approached him and said – as they often did – “I’ve been there. I’ve done that. This is real.”

Roy “Boots” Reynolds Jr. died recently in his Bonner County home at age 78. One of the country’s most well-known and prolific cartoonists in the Western vein, his visual style is likely even more familiar than his name.  Shawn Vestal, SR

Are you a fan of Western art or literature?

Noted sex researcher Johnson dies

ST. LOUIS – In an era when even talking about sex was virtually taboo, Virginia Johnson had a way of putting research subjects at ease, persuading them to participate in groundbreaking investigations that changed the way human sexuality was perceived.

Johnson, half of the renowned Masters and Johnson team, was remembered Thursday as one of the key figures in the sexual revolution. Johnson, whose legal name was Virginia Masters, died Wednesday of complications from several illnesses at an assisted living center in St. Louis. She was 88. More here.

Have you read 'Human Sexual Response' by Masters and Johnson?

Idaho sees 1st human case of West Nile Virus

Right on the heels of news this morning that two horses, one near Parma and one near Meridian, have tested positive for West Nile Virus, the state now has its first human case of West Nile for the season.

A Payette County man in his 40s has been hospitalized with a confirmed diagnosis of West Nile encephalitis. “About one in 150 people infected with WNV develop severe illness, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), as in this first positive case, or meningitis (inflammation of the linings of the brain and spinal cord),” said Jennifer Tripp, program manager for Southwest District Health. Betsy Russell, EOB

How many mosquito bites have you endured so far this summer?

Celebration mingled with remembrance

When the largest outdoor powwow in the Northwest begins tonight in Post Falls, participants will feel the absence of two substantial figures of the annual gathering.

Clifford SiJohn, a Coeur d’Alene Tribe elder and storyteller who helped keep tribal customs and culture alive, died last Christmas Eve at age 67. His cousin, Spokane Tribe member and nationally known artist George Flett, died Jan. 30 at age 66.

SiJohn and Flett were closely involved in presenting Julyamsh, the three-day powwow hosted by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. It runs through Sunday at Greyhound Park on the west end of Post Falls. Read more. Scott Maben, SR

Have you been to Julyamsh?

Ariel Castro agrees to plea

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for about a decade agreed to plead guilty Friday in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

In exchange, Ariel Castro would be sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years, prosecutors said.

Castro was in court Friday morning to enter the guilty plea. When asked if he understood he would never be released from prison, Castro said: “I do understand that, your honor.”

He added, “I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me.” More.

Have you been following this horrific story?

Officials: Don’t judge wireless pact on price

Idaho officials concede the five-year, $2.1 million annual contract the state Department of Education signed Wednesday with a Tennessee company to install Wi-Fi service in public high schools may cost more per-school than deals districts negotiate on their own, the AP reports, but they insist that simple numbers don't tell the whole story.

For instance, the Coeur d'Alene School District was planning to spend $18,000 annually from local tax collections to hire a company to install and manage three high schools' wireless service, or about $5,666 per school, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Under Idaho's pact with Nashville-based Education Networks of America, by comparison, the per-school cost could run nearly four times that amount, or nearly $23,000, on average, based on 93 high schools state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said have so far signed up. More here. Betsy Russell, EOB

“If all 340 high schools in Idaho were to participate in the ENA contract, the average per-school charge would drop to $6,200.”

Sold yet?

Honeymoon over in teacher contract talks

COEUR d'ALENE - Observers of teacher contract talks Thursday in Coeur d'Alene might say the honeymoon is over for the Coeur d'Alene School District's newest trustees and new superintendent.

During a three-hour negotiating session at Lakes Magnet Middle School, the discussion veered away from the usual bargaining table topics of budget, salaries and benefits. Talk turned tense, following a financial presentation and proposal by the Coeur d'Alene Education Association's negotiating team.

“The proposal that you're making, I don't think it does anything to balance the budget as we're legally required to do,” said board chair Tom Hearn

Hearn said he understands that teachers have gone without a raise for several years, but he acknowledged that most of them kept their jobs during the recent recession, unlike many in the private sector. Full story. Maureen Dolan, CdA Press


U of I gets ‘best value’ ranking in Forbes

The University of Idaho was ranked 25th in the newly released Forbes Magazine list of “Best Value” colleges across the country.

U of I was one of four universities in the western U.S. to make the list. The other 3 are Wyoming, BYU and University of South Dakota.

Any Vandals out there?

Sounds of Sandpoint

Rosanne Cash will perform Aug. 3 to close out the Festival at Sandpoint’s first weekend.

Year after year, the Festival at Sandpoint has proven to be one of the best and most reliable concert series in the region. Now in its 31st summer, the fest continues to bring major musical acts to Bonner County.

A wide array of acts highlighted last year’s event, from the South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the radio-friendly folk rock of the Counting Crows. That variety continues this year, with a lineup of artists from a number of genres and eras. Nathan Weinbender, SR

Have you ever attended the Festival at Sandpoint?




Parting Shot: No sense crying fowl

Taking a gander: Geese take a very leisurely stroll through a crosswalk as traffic backs up in Alton Baker Park this week in Eugene. Honking horns didn’t seem to concern the fowl as they stood in front of the cars for more than a minute before slowly walking to the other side of the road.

I was chased by one along the banks of the Spokane River. I really, really don't like geese.

Do you have an opinion about geese?

Wild Card/Thursday — 7.25.13

Cindy is going to step in for me today, on an emergency basis. Something's come up that will take me away from the blog much of the day. I hope to be back tomorrow. Here's your Thursday Wild Card …

Quotable Quote: Gookin on cursive

On Facebook Dan Gookin opines:

Parents: Remember when our kids were little and we used to spell things to keep them unaware? Today you have another option for your adult children: Write in cursive. They'll never figure it out!

I know my kids can't read my handwriting. I can barely read it myself. Can your kids read cursive?

CdA Disability Action Center: Attacking barriers

COEUR d'ALENE - Patrick Blum and Virgil Edwards, of the Coeur d'Alene office of Disability Action Center, say as advocates their ultimate goal is working themselves right out of a job.

“That would mean the world is equal, and that people are being treated with respect and dignity,” said Blum, an independent living specialist for the disabled. The nonprofit, which survives on federal and state funding, has offices at 3650 N. Government Way at the Northgate Mall.

DAC, among many other advocacy actions, has worked to help disabled residents of North Idaho bring service animals into college classes and gain wheelchair access to public spaces like Tubbs Hill.

Edwards said, “We're not here to make things better than - we're here to make an even playing field, that's what people need to understand.” Full Story. David Cole, Cda Press

Do you think the Cda area is easily accessible for folks with disabilties to navigate?

Mad Bomber Brewing to open in Hayden

The name of North Idaho’s next brewery may sound a bit wacky, but its inspiration is deadly serious.

Mad Bomber Brewing is a project of Tom Applegate, a recently discharged Army explosive ordnance disposal technician, and two of his bomb squad buddies.

They’ve secured space on Government Way in Hayden for their 1.5-barrel nanobrewery and have filed for federal and state brewing permits, with plans to open this fall.

The beer names reflect their vocation: MK84 Porter, Lonely Walk Brown, Powder Keg India Brown. Decorations will include photos of EOD techs at work, and a bomb suit.

“We wanted to have an identity that we could relate to, and we thought people would be interested in coming to someplace that’s meaningful,” Applegate said.

Mad Bomber will support such causes as the Wounded Warrior Project, and Applegate added: “An emergency responder is never going to pay full price for a pint.”

One of the beers will be the Saint Nicholas Pale, named in honor of Staff Sergeant Nicholas Reid, an original Mad Bomber partner who was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan last December. Rick Bonino, SR

Great news for area brew fans. We will be sure to pay a visit this fall. How about you?

Idaho gets 3rd $1 million Powerball winner in 3 weeks

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Lottery officials say a ticket sold in Bonneville County in southeastern Idaho has won $1 million in Wednesday's Powerball drawing. It is the third time in five drawings that a ticket sold in Idaho has won $1 million.

Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson says the winning ticket matched the first five numbers, but not the Powerball. On July 10, Audrey and David Eckert of Boise won $1 million while a Salt Lake City-area man, Mike Middlemiss, and his son, Chris, won a $1 million prize in the July 13 drawing.

I've never purchased a lottery ticket in my life. Perhaps, I should start.
How often do you buy Powerball tickets?

Morrison to join Zags coaching staff

Adam Morrison is set to join the coaching staff of Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball team, head coach Mark Few told on Thursday.

Morrison’s star power at Gonzaga was unmatched. He was a co-player of the year along with Duke’s J.J. Reddick in 2006, averaging 28.1 points per game.

His new stint with the team will be as a student assistant, Few told the sports website.

“It’ll be great,” Few is quoted in the story. “The players really respect him.” Morrison also is reportedly set to take classes.

He was a first-team All-America player and led the Zags to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. The mustachioed forward starred at Mead before taking his talents to Gonzaga.

He was the third pick in the 2006 NBA Draft and spent four years in the NBA.


Best cat news

Thor relaxes on our deck.

A research team from Cambridge University discovered how cat-related allergens are detected by the immune system, which could lead to the development of new treatments, the BBC reported.

Researchers said this is “a big step forward” in the understanding of cat allergies.

The team examined proteins from cat dander, which is the most common culprit when it comes to cat allergies.

They were able to pinpoint the pathway of the body activated by the allergen when in the presence of a bacterial toxin. Read more. HNGN

Are you or anyone in your family allergic to cats? How about dogs?

CdA/Post Falls cops have got your number

In the aftermath of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) releasing a lengthy research project about U.S. law enforcement agencies’ use of domestic surveillance technology, new details have emerged about police departments in Idaho and their utilization of license plate scanners.

“The program allows for us to track stolen vehicles, locate fugitives, aid in Amber Alerts, runaway juveniles, missing persons, etc.,” said Sgt. Christie Wood, spokesperson for the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.

In an email exchange, Wood acknowledged what had been told to last week by a spokesperson of the Idaho State Police (ISP): The Coeur d’Alene Police Department uses technology that scans and records the images of vehicles’ license plates, making a record of the time, date and location that the image was recorded. Full story. Idaho Reporter

Does this bother you at all?

Front Porch: Blue again

My hubby and sons at Old Mission State Park. Zach obviously thinks he sees an eagle. Or something.

We got the blues again. All four of us.

Last year’s pilgrimage to Wallace for the Historic Wallace Blues Festival was such a hit, our sons clamored to return again this year. Anytime a 13-year-old and an 18-year-old actually WANT to do something together is special.

Turns out we weren’t the only ones to think the event was something special. The Inland Empire Blues Society voted it the Best Blues Event of 2012. Pretty remarkable for a first-time outing, put together in 90 days and hosted by a town of 784!

We found out how quickly the word had spread when I phoned the Wallace Inn in April to reserve our room. There was no room at the inn, though the Festival wasn’t until July 12-14. The helpful woman at the desk referred me to a Kellogg hotel, adding, “A trolley will shuttle guests back and forth to Wallace.”

Now, that’s good planning. Cindy Hval, SR

Couple questions: Have you ever been to Old Mission State Park? And, what's the deal with Cda restaurants not opening 'til 4 on Sundays?

Speakers explore human rights history

COEUR d'ALENE - The history and impact of human rights advocacy in the region will be the subject of a five-part weekly speaker series hosted in August by the Kootenai County Democratic Club.

“The Story of Human Rights in the Pacific Northwest: A Look Back at the Past Three Decades” is being coordinated by local human rights leader Tony Stewart at the request of the Democratic Club.

“The goal of the series is to tell the three-decade story of how the region's many human rights groups through their leaders and supporters successfully defeated the purveyors of hate with the establishment of successful community models advancing human rights,” Stewart said. “These models have been adopted by communities across America to promote human rights and counter bigotry.” Full story, Cda Press

Do you plan on attending any of these events?

Editorial: Luna owes explanation

“Students Come First” was the name of Idaho state schools chief Tom Luna’s controversial school reforms, which included a dramatic increase in online learning. But the lesson he has failed to learn is that communication comes first in pushing significant change.

First, teachers complained they weren’t sufficiently consulted when Luna introduced his reforms two years ago. Nonetheless, lawmakers adopted them, but voters repealed them. Then, last session, lawmakers passed modified versions and made it more difficult to launch voter initiatives.

Now, Luna has befuddled his legislative allies by awarding a 15-year contract worth up to $35.5 million to set up Wi-Fi networks in Idaho schools. SR Read more.

Are you interested in hearing Luna's explanation?

Joker: Goobers Propose Purity Tests

Joker: I have theory about all these purity tests and goobers who want them. These are the former kids in high school who were so weird even the nerds rejected them.

Question: What do you think of Joker's theory?

Cutline Contest

The Olate Dogs dance on the stage at the Lane County Fair Wednesday in Eugene, Ore. Richard Olate has been training dogs for more than 40 years and taught his sons Juan Olate and Nick Olate to train dogs.You writre the cutline. (AP/Eugene Register-Guard photo: Kevin Clark)

Wednesday Winner — Pair of Claws, with 16 likes: “To Mock a Killing Bird.” You can see Wednesday photo + other cutline entries here.

Pastor’s decision to donate kidney leads to 2nd match

The Rev. Michael Blackburn, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, in his Spokane church Friday. Recently, Blackburn donated a kidney.

The Jan. 20 photo of Megan Dunnagan on the front page of The Spokesman-Review caught the Rev. Michael Blackburn’s eye. He scanned the headline, “We’ve been waiting long enough” and saw the story was about a 28-year-old woman in desperate need of a kidney transplant.

But Blackburn, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, didn’t read the article.

A few days later, he perused the classified ads. “I noticed an ad: kidney needed,” he recalled. The coincidence struck him. “I’d never thought about being a kidney donor – I didn’t know anything about being a living donor.”

But after reading the ad, he couldn’t get it out of his mind. “The thought wouldn’t go away,” he said. “I’ve learned that’s God trying to get my attention.”

He retrieved the newspaper from the recycling bin and read the story about Dunnagan. Then he went online and did some research about being a living kidney donor. Blackburn said, “They have videos of the surgery on YouTube.” He shook his head, “I didn’t watch those.”

Instead, he picked up the phone and called the number listed in the ad. More here. Cindy Hval, SR

Would you ever consider being a living donor?

CdA Summer Theatre: all about the Romance

Matt Wade and Joy Martin, top, and Andrew Ware Lewis and Darcy Wright star in “Romance/Romance.”

Four actors will take to the stage tonight in Coeur d’Alene and tell stories about love.

They’ll sing about love. They’ll even do a little polka and some soft-shoe hoofing.

In “Romance/Romance,” which opens today at Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, two sets of couples in two different countries and two centuries explore what it means to love and be loved. Carolyn Lamberson, SR.

Sidenote: Andrew Lewis was drama teacher to 3 of my sons.

Are you a fan of CdA Summer Theatre?

Aquarium case leaves Idaho man facing prison time

A 20-year-old Eagle man is facing up to 20 years in federal prison after being convicted of obstruction of justice in Florida in connection with wildlife from the Florida Keys illegally purchased for display at the Idaho Aquarium in Boise.

Federal authorities say Peter Covino had no involvement in the illegal purchases, but he made two phone calls in February to a Florida wholesale marine life dealer, asking the dealer to delete all text messages, emails and other evidence linked to purchases by his uncle, Ammon Covino. Unbeknownst to Peter Covino, the dealer was cooperating with federal authorities and the phone calls were recorded; Ammon Covino was arrested Feb. 21 on charges of conspiracy and violations of the federal Lacey Act by purchasing and transporting wildlife from the Florida Keys to Idaho, including spotted eagle rays and lemon sharks. Read more. Betsy Russel, EOB

Up to 20 years for 2 phone calls? Does that seem too harsh for the crime?

Speaking of data collection…

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., comments about the vote on the defense spending bill and his failed amendment that would have cut funding to the National Security Agency’s program that collects the phone records of U.S. citizens and residents, at the Capitol on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON – After furious lobbying by the Obama administration and Republican leaders, the House on Wednesday narrowly defeated an amendment to curtail the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. phone call records.

But the breadth of support in both parties for the amendment, which lost 217-205, underscored the extent of the disquiet in Congress with the notion that the NSA is collecting information on nearly every call made by nearly every American.

The strongest backers of the measure were an oil-and-water mix of deeply conservative Republicans and some of the chamber’s most liberal Democrats. More.


Kennedy picked as envoy to Japan

 WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced he would nominate Caroline Kennedy, a close friend and key political ally, as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan.

The daughter of President John F. Kennedy, the 55-year-old Kennedy is president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. She has written and edited a series of books, most of them related to the Kennedy family and its legacy, but has never held a government post. More.


Eden & Ron … BFFs?

I don't know anything about this photo — other than Eden Irgens, one of the founders of Balance North Idaho, is shown with Reagan Republican leader Ron Lahr. Eden posted it on her Facebook page. Do you suppose that Reagan Republicans have quit trying to marshal conservatives into one strong unit & us moving toward the middle? Inquiring minds want to know.

FishinJay: Weiner Distasteful, But …

FishinJay (re: Carlos Danger): As distasteful as this guy is, there's something almost refreshing about a politician standing up and owning his actions. He's creepy, but I can almost respect that instead of trying to deny it all and make excuses he's just standing there smiling and saying: yup, those are naked pictures of me.

Question: Do you agree with FishinJay that Weiner deserves some credit for admitting his sexting?

Luna Picks TN Firm Over 2 Idaho Ones

Idaho state schools chief Tom Luna on today defiantly issued a 5- to 15-year contract to a Nashville, Tenn. firm to run WiFi networks in Idaho high schools, dismissing criticism from lawmakers that they never authorized the multi-year contract, and passing over two home-grown Idaho companies seeking the contract. “As a state, it is our goal and our responsibility to ensure every child has equal access to the best educational opportunities, no matter where they live,” Luna declared. “To accomplish this, we have to equip every public high school with the advanced technology and tools necessary to create these opportunities”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.


Dog Sets Good Example

On his SR Outdoors blog, Rich Landers posts why his English setter is better than most people: He lists the dog's many qualities:

  • Start the day without caffeine.
  • Always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains.
  • Resist complaining and boring people with your troubles.
  • Eat the same food every day and be grateful for it.
  • Understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time
  • Overlook it when those you love take it out on you when through no fault of yours, something goes wrong.
  • Take criticism and blame without resentment.
  • Ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him/her.
  • More here.

Question: Why do you think your dog is better than most people? Why?

LCDC: Event Center Out Of Bounds?

Item: Out of bounds? Proposed event center would require LCDC boundary modification/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info:  If a proposed event center is built, the city's urban renewal agency would have to modify its district boundary to help pay for it. But if Lake City Development Corp. wants to alter a boundary to include the land where a $15 million to $20 million center could sit, the Coeur d'Alene City Council would first have to approve the alteration. One thing is clear: The two possible sites being considered by North Idaho College don't fall completely within LCDC's River District.

Question: Should LCDC alter its boundaries to support the proposed events center?

Man shot by Idaho trooper grabbed gun after questioning

A Montana man shot and killed by an Idaho State Police trooper last month had been questioned by the trooper and a Shoshone County sheriff’s deputy for about 45 minutes before he retrieved a handgun from his car, prompting the deadly confrontation. Alexander L. Mandarino, 26, of Whitefish, Mont., died from a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to a preliminary autopsy report. Trooper Todd McDevitt fired the shot as Mandarino and Deputy Adam Durflinger wrestled over possession of the gun along Interstate 90 near Lookout Pass, according to an investigation by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.

Cock Of The Walk

A giant blue rooster is unveiled in central London's Trafalgar Square, today. A giant blue rooster was unveiled Thursday next to the somber military monuments in London's Trafalgar Square. German artist Katharina Fritsch’s 15-foot (4.7 meter) ultramarine bird, titled “Hahn/Cock,” is intended as a playful counterpoint to the statues of martial heroes in the square. It is the latest in a series of artworks to adorn the vacant “Fourth Plinth” in the square that is home to Nelson's Column. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Question: Do you enjoy public art?

Honoring Tom Foley

H.T. Higgins remembers Tom Foley coming to his parents’ house in the early 1960s, smoking and talking politics for hours with his dad, Hank.

“It was so smoky you could hardly see across the room,” said Higgins, who was then just a young cousin to Foley. His dad and Foley munched on milk and cookies – they weren’t coffee drinkers – fresh from the oven.

H.T. Higgins and his mother, Mary Lou, sat in the front row of the Bing Crosby Theater in downtown Spokane on Wednesday night, its lobby transformed into an exhibit honoring the Eastern Washington Democrat who rose to the highest ranks of Congress during a tenure that spanned seven presidencies. But the overwhelming picture painted during the living tribute to Foley, 84, was of a vivid storyteller, a political straight shooter and a rare beacon of bipartisanship absent in today’s political climate. Kip Hill, SR

When I was a baby Tom Foley came to my parent's house and delivered an baby care book. He autographed. I still have it.

Are there currently any political statesman like Tom Foley serving in Congress?

Enviro Groups Sue BNSF

Item: Groups sue BNSF, say coal trains pollute waterways: Open-top rail cars the source, they say/Becky Kramer, SR

More Info: BNSF Railway Co. is polluting Washington’s waterways with releases of coal dust and chunks of coal from open-top rail cars, a lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges. The Spokane Riverkeeper joined the Sierra Club, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and other nonprofit groups in filing the suit in U.S. District Court in Spokane. A companion lawsuit was filed in Western Washington.

Question: Do you support this lawsuit?

Carlos Danger

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Hump Day Wild Card — 7.24.13

In a way, all the political fighting in Kootenai County is annoying. In a way, it's refreshing. The locals are fully engaged in the political process. Conservative hardliners, of course, want to transform Kootenai County into their own private Idaho. Most simply want to enjoy what we have here and watch it continue to prosper. The key is to pay close attention to the political radicals. At. All. Times. Just a thought. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 7.24.13

Two security guards tackle a man who ran onto the field during the ninth inning of a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Minnesota Twins, today in Anaheim, Calif. The Angels won 1-0. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Wifi Contractor’s Money Trail

Education Networks of Idaho — the recipient of a state WiFi contract that will be worth more than $2.1 million in 2013-14 and could run for 15 years — has been an active player in Idaho campaign finance. The Nashville, Tenn.-based company contributed $38,750 in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. A few fast facts:

  • The biggest benefactor was state schools superintendent Tom Luna, who announced the contract Wednesday. He received $5,500 during his 2010 re-election campaign, and has received another $500 since then.
  • Gov. Butch Otter received $3,000 during the 2010 campaign, and has received $1,250 since then.
  • The biggest benefactor in the Legislature: Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, who has received $2,250 from ENA. More from Kevin Richert/The EDge here.

Curiouser & curiouser?

PM Scanner Traffic — 7.22.13

  • 5:46 p.m. Wrong-way driver on I-90/MP 11 (NW Blvd), going e/b in w/b lanes.
  • 5:23 p.m. Couple w/history of Post Falls WalMart shoplifting may be trying to steal TV.
  • 5:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for July 23-24 here.
  • 5:02 p.m. Female suffers crushed leg, bleeding when caught between boat & dock; possibly on Spirit Lake.
  • 4:53 p.m. Deputy requests back up on traffic stop @ Fast Trip, Govt Way/Hayden.
  • 4:51 p.m. 75YO female in 32000 block of Clagstone/Athol suffering chest pain.
  • 4:47 p.m. Motorcyclist suffers minor injuries in single-vehicle crash @ H41/Prairie.
  • 4;46 p.m. Someone is unconscious @ Trading Company pharmacy/Post Falls.
  • 4:44 p.m. Older female lost, confused & has flat tire on e/b I-90/Wolf Lodge area.
  • 16 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 7.24.13

A sign at Ali Salem Air Base in Kuwait less than 40 miles from the Iraq border depicts the distance to Kalispell, Mont. Gov. Steve Bullock is on a three-day trip to Kuwait and Afghanistan to visit with the Montana troops deployed there. Story here. (AP Photo/Montana Governor's Office)

Cutline Contest — 7.24.13

Time 2 Vote …

A hawk is harassed by a mockingbird in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tuesday. Nearby business workers said the sight has gone on for weeks with the mockingbird not giving up and the hawk holding his ground. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Dusty Compton)

Tuesday Winner — Jen, with 9 votes: “Maybe if I bite my tongue, I'll stop saying things I'll regret when I grow up.” You can see Tuesday photo and read all 11 cutline entries here.

HBO Blogos — 7.24.13

At Slight Detour, Marianne Love posts several photos of her viewtiful corner of this paradise that we share, including the one of the old fence gate above. You can see the rest here.

Luna Awards Possible $33.3M Wifi Pact

Idaho state schools Superintendent Tom Luna has awarded a multimillion-dollar wireless contract to Education Networks of America, choosing the Nashville, Tenn. firm to provide WiFi in every Idaho high school for up to the next 15 years; the contract could cost the state up to $33.3 million over that time. “Wireless internet access is a critical component of the 21st century classroom so teachers can integrate the technology they need in the classroom,” Luna said in a statement; you can read his full statement here/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Eye on Boise rdp of Luna wifi contract activity today:

Question: And Idaho lawmakers followed Luna slack-jawed over the cliff when he announced his failed education reforms why?

Bush Shaves Head For Cancer Victim

President George H.W. Bush with Patrick (last name withheld at family's request), 2, in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush this week joined members of his Secret Service detail in shaving his head to show solidarity for Patrick, who is the son of one of the agents. The child is undergoing treatment for leukemia and is losing his hair as a result. (AP Photo/Office of George Bush)

Question: Do you think you'd look good with a shaved head?

Columnist Defends Race Slang Words

I see where Paula Deen has admitted that she had probably used the N-word a few times in the past. She wasn't that good of a cook. She used that Southern cooking where grease is the central player. But, my God, are they going to stone her to death before this mess has ended? Well, I too have used the N-word on occasion. I may use it again for those youthful gangs in south Chicago who hold big communities in a state of siege — shooting innocent women, young boys and girls, babies or anyone who gets in the way of their drug-dealing activities. … I have used the word “wop” a few times in my life, and I now have three beautiful and intelligent Italian granddaughters and am very proud of them. I have used the words “spick” and “greaser” in the past and now have two half-Mexican great-granddaughters whom I love very much/Vic Deering, Lewiston Tribune. More here.


Ties Between Luna, Wifi Contractors?

I’ve had lots of readers asking me if there are any ties between Idaho state schools Superintendent Tom Luna and the companies bidding on the multimillion-dollar WiFi contract for Idaho high schools, which could run up to 15 years and cost the state up to $35.5 million. Among the three finalists – Tek-Hut Inc., Education Networks of America, and Ednetics Inc., all of which were brought in for interviews - only ENA has ties to Luna that I could find. The company, based in Nashville, Tenn., donated  $6,000 to Luna’s campaign between the 2009 and 2012, and its top Idaho employee, Garry Lough, worked for Luna at the Idaho State Department of Education before joining ENA in 2012/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: What will be the political fallout from Luna's unilateral move to approve a 15-year wifi contract for Idaho's high schools?

Mary Lou: Idaho Keeps Its Poor Down

An old Frank Sinatra song puts the American Dream to music: “You could be better off than you are, you could be swinging on a star.” But stars to swing on are not in the skies of the 31,000 Idaho workers who eke out a living on jobs paying the $7.25-an-hour minimum wage here. At that rate, one employee working full time will only pull in $15,080 a year. The result is a borderline poverty-level existence and eligibility for food stamps — that is, if the U.S. Senate restores the food stamps that the House of Representatives just voted away. Idaho, along with several other states, raises the minimum wage only when Congress chooses to do so. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set the first minimum wage in 1938, at a mere 25 cents an hour. The $7.25-an-hour rate, set by Congress in 2009, has rapidly become outdated/Mary Lou Reed, Inlander. More here.

Question: Do Idaho policies help/hurt poor?

Kendama Craze Arrives In Lake City

Several elementary and middle schools have banned the game from classrooms. They are out of stock in stores. There are even professional teams, and one such team will have its own documentary with a stop in Coeur d’Alene today. It’s Kendama — essentially a Japanese ball-in-cup toy. This morning’s meet and greet with the Kendama Co. Pro Team, hosted at Figpickels Toy Emporium, will be featured in their documentary, The KenCo Story. Fanatics will not only have the chance to get their toy signed but afterward will be able to head over to the Coeur d’Alene Resort to participate in workshops where they can learn from the experts/Anna Clausen, Inlander. More here. (Inlander illustration)

Question: Have you tried your hand at Kendama?

Poll: Only 12% Approve Of Congress

A new Wall Street Journal poll finds that only 12 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing and 83 percent disapprove – an all-time low for the survey. Fifty percent of the 1,000 people polled disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing while 45 percent approve. That’s just one point away from the all-time low for Obama in this survey. The survey also found that 57 percent of those polled say it’s time to vote out their current member of the U.S. House of Representatives in next year’s mid-term election/KING 5. More here.

Question: If only one-eighth of USA approves of Congress, why do we keep electing the bums and bumettes?

Right Girl: Use ‘Courthouse’ Carefully

Right Girl (re: County workers not happyhappy): “It is the County building in total and not just the courthouse. The courthouse is just one wing of the County building. So please do not lump everyone as County “court” employees.”

DFO: “I've used Kootenai County Courthouse to mean entire county government on those grounds for almost 30 years. The commissioners may work in the county administrative building but they're part of the Kootenai County Courthouse complex.”

Right Girl: “I understand you have used for 30 years it but it is an old and archaic term that harkens back to the Mayberry days. No one uses that term anymore, especially at the County Administrative Building. Just wanted to point that out.”

Question: What do you mean when you refer to the “Kootenai County Courthouse”?

Lean Bean Robbery Reward Offered

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Video still from Coeur d'Alene Police Department, of robber brandishing gun at Lean Bean.

Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest has offered a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of a male responsible for the Lean Bean Espresso Robbery that occurred on Tuesday at 1820 North West Boulevard at 5:28 p.m. A white male described as wearing blue jeans, grey hooded sweatshirt and red shoelaces displayed a gun and demanded money.  The clerk gave the male an undisclosed amount of cash and the suspect fled on foot into the 1000 block of Emma Avenue. Video surveillance of the suspect is attached to this press release. Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 208-667- 2111 or 1-800-222-TIPS. Information can be submitted on line here. Callers are asked to use a code name or number and do not have to use their own name to be eligible for a reward.

DFO: Let's catch this punk.

A Lot Of History With City Beach

“I came to this beach when I was a teenager,” said Bonnie Erickson of Coeur d'Alene as she kept an eye on her 10-year-old grandson at Coeur d'Alene's City Beach on Tuesday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Did you teach your children to swim on Lake Coeur d'Alene?

SR News Quiz — 7.21-25.13

You don’t have to be an expert on current events to win our weekly news quiz, but it can’t hurt! All entrants this week are eligible to win two movie tickets, and our overall champ – drawn from among the top scores – will take home a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Good luck! You can take this week's News Quiz here.

  • First answer: Detroit.
  • Berry Pickers on Leaderboard: SFredrickson, Rational Universe, NativeCDA, Eddie Torreal, Sibulsky, Fishinjay, Letstalk

MEJDAE: PFalls Workers Paid Poorly

MEJDAE (re: Coeur d'Alene city salaries in spotlight): Isn't Post Falls having the opposite problem? They have paid so little that people just take all the training and knowledge that PF provided and head out as soon as a similar job opens up nearby. I don't know about the administrative salaries, but I don't mind if they are aver 100k as long as that is the going rate in the region. I would rather have the best people here, and keep them here, than have to settle with incompetence or a revolving door.

Question: Anyone know how well/poorly Post Falls city workers are paid?

Luna Pushing Ahead w/Wifi Contract

Idaho schools Superintendent Tom Luna still plans to go ahead with awarding a multi-year, multimillion-dollar contract for high school WiFi today, according to his spokeswoman, Melissa McGrath. “I hope it’s today – we’re just finalizing it, but hopefully within the next couple of hours,” McGrath said just before 2 p.m. Boise time. She said the contract, with an initial term of five years and two options to extend up to 15 years, will be at a fixed price per year, regardless of how many Idaho high schools participate. “As of yesterday, 44 districts have opted in,” McGrath said. “We don’t know, to be honest, how many are going to opt in the first year. … They ultimately have the choice at the local level”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Izzit just me — or is Superintendent Luna out of control … again (and this time he doesn't have GOP apologists circling the wagons around him)?

County: Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)

Here's what Kootenai County employees said in the “job satisfaction” portion of the recent courthouse survey:

  • I love the work that I do
  • We deal with a lot of crap and get paid crap
  • If I can find something that pays more I won’t hesitate to take it
  • Looking for another job crosses my mind daily
  • Why go out of the way when we don’t have commissioners that support the department
  • Low confidence about job security.
  • Employees have no rights
  • Employees are afraid to be friends or voice their opinions for fear of losing their job
  • I love my job EXCEPT for the pay• Love my job, but I’m on food stamps just to make it

Question: Do you love your job & pay?

The Hydros Are Coming

Pointing to the return of hydroplane races, off Silver Beach, east of Coeur d'Alene planned for Labor Day weekend, Miss Spokane was displayed in front of the Coeur d'Alene Resort Tuesday. (Photo: Don Sausser)

AM Scanner Traffic — 7.24.13

  • 11:55 a.m. Female driver stopped under I-90/Spokane overpass/PF reports vehicle smoking.
  • 11;42 a.m. Post Falls MS administrator reports hit-and-run driver on school grounds.
  • 11:24 a.m. Male reports male w/restraining order is at his girlfriend's home.
  • 10:58 a.m. Several Budget rental trucks are traveling together causing hazard @ 97/Beauty Bay.
  • 10:54 a.m. Male @ 6th/Lakeside, CdA, reports another male pushed him and ran off.
  • 10:26 a.m. Someone injured in a fall in 2200 block of Ironwood Place, CdA.
  • 9:55 a.m. PFPD Blue reports 2 dogs running loose w/b on Mullan, near Lincoln/PF.
  • 9:27 a.m. Someone has suffered trauma injury in 2800 block of Howard/CdA.
  • 9:03 a.m. ISP officer en route to noninjury crash on H95/Lancaster, Hayden.
  • 8:49 a.m. Motorist uninjured after hitting deer on H95/MP 437 (Lancaster/Hayden).
  • 8:47 a.m. Offduty officer reports dump truck pulling trailer speeding/reckless @ H95/Hayden Ave.
  • 8:15 a.m. Large tow truck wanted for loaded dump truck involved in crash @ H41/Wyoming/Rathdrum.

Meet George Alexander Louis

Britain's Prince William carries his new born son, the Prince of Cambridge, who was born on Monday, into public view for the first time, outside the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, in London. Royal officials say Britain's new prince has been named George Alexander Louis. Palace officials said Wednesday that the 2-day-old baby and third-in-line to the throne will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. (AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool, File)

DFO: George Alexander Louis — GAL?

Question: Were you named after someone?

Keough: Take Stock Of School Tech

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, says Idaho needs to be taking stock of what it already has as far as technology in its schools, in order to sensibly plan for additions. “A majority of legislators agree that we need our public K-12 schools and all of our schools to keep up with technology,” said Keough, a 9th term senator and vice-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.  “I think that we need to be prudent in properly planning that buildout, however.” Her comments came after she learned yesterday that the State Department of Education is planning to award a 15-year contract for WiFi service in Idaho’s high schools – but the state doesn’t know how many schools already have it/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Izzit just me — or has Idaho done a poor job of actually taking stock of school tech capabilities now, before plunging ahead with wifi contracts and imposition of failed Luna Laws?

Banks Keep Building Despite Online

Northwest Bank CEO and President Rob Perez says he drives by all of the bank branches on Boise thoroughfares and wonders what customers ever go into them. There are 20 branches on Fairview Avenue alone. “Why are there so many branches, given that most of the up-and-coming banking customers are perfectly content to do all their banking online or through some sort of teller machine?” Perez says. “Why do large institutions like Key Bank, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank continue to build branches? I don't understand it.” Perez has tailored his business bank to cater to clients through its website and phone service/Zach Kyle, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you prefer the presence of brick-and-mortar banks? Or do you do all your banking online — or through teller machines?

Quotable Quote — Bjorn Handeen

“In my six-year engagement with this party, I have noticed there are two types of party activist. There are those, and I count myself one of them, who see that our country is in rapid decline, and so we are doing our best to organize somewhat of a defense. But there is another, more common sort of party activist, and you will never catch them doing something useful — unless it is for a liberal news blog, I guess. These cocktail conservatives will never stick their neck out for anything other than bashing someone to their right” — Bjorn Handeen, author of the failed resolution for local GOP party purity at the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee meeting. Full story here.

Question: Um, which online site do you think Bjorn was referring to as “a liberal news blog”?

County Workers Not HappyHappy

Huckleberries has obtained the results of the recent survey of Kootenai County employees. Judging by summarized remarks, county employees aren't happy. Here's some of the responses when asked about “elected officials”:

  • The only elected officials who would have positive marks in this section is the Sheriff
  • County officials do not respect us as employees
  • I hope commissioners and other elected officials will take negative feedback to heart
  • I respect the officials, but not their decisions
  • Elected officials butt heads and the employees pay the price
  • There is no true oversight over the county. Elected officials are free to do whatever they want with little regard to the county as a whole. We have 7 individual kingdoms instead of a unified body of government. This is impacting us more than ever.
  • Some seem to work for the public as a whole, others seem to work to support an ideology regardless of the public’s majority views
  • Elected officials are the reason the county has a horrible morale and such negative workplace right now. Choices they make are not being made to protect and help employees
  • Individually the elected officials have leadership skills. But those are morphed when they get together and the total leadership approach is ineffective

Question: Are these (and other complaints listed in link) merely employees seeing only negative re: their workplace? Or is there something wrong at the Kootenai County Courthouse?

AM Headlines — 7.24.13

Firefighters work to contain a fire at the unoccupied Grove apartments complex in Pullman on July 14. Firefighters responded to the blaze that took almost two hours to contain. The apartment complex was about two weeks from completion. Bryan Kitchen, 31, who is suspected of starting the fire, told police that he was drunk and a voice told him to start the fire. Story here. (AP photo)

Poll: Plurality Backs Common Core

  • Tuesday Poll: A plurality of Hucks Nation supports Common Core standards for Idaho schools. 61 of 123 respondents (49.59%) support the standards, adopted by the Idaho Legislature and supported by Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent Tom Luna. 29 of 123 respondents (23.58%) oppose Common Core. 25 respondents (20.33%) said they didn't know enough about Common Core to vote. Another 8 (6.5%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you support State Superintendent Tom Luna's decision to sign a long-term contract for wifi in state high schools?

Widmyer For Mayor On FB, Twitter

Steve Widmyer's candidacy for mayor, in what is now a four-way race, has hit the social media. Widmyer, owner of the Fort Ground Grill, has started a Facebook page. Which announced today that Widmyer is also on Twitter. You can check out the Facebook page here.

Question: Has social media had an impact in recent local elections?

Press Discontinues Column For A Bit

Coeur d'Alene Press explains why it will discontinue Main Street column for awhile:

Because Main Street columnist Kerri Thoreson is running for mayor of Post Falls, publishing her column during campaign season would provide an unfair advantage. Kerri's column will take a break until after the Nov. 5 election. However, she will continue to provide weekly birthday updates, which we'll faithfully pass along to readers.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with this decision?

Jeff Ward: Purity Tests ‘Horrendous’

Jeff Ward: Jennifer (Locke), that component of our horrendous state election laws (that Central Committees can decide whether a candidate in a GOP primary is truly a Republican)  is a holdover from the days before party registration. In the current environment I oppose any attempt to deny the voters a choice on election day. It is inconceivable that the Central Committee would have the power to declare opponents to incumbent precinct committeeman “non-republicans.” Had that power been executed four years ago many of the current Committee members like Bjorn Handeen and Phil Hart, would have been disallowed because a history on involvement in other political parties.

Question: Are you surprised that the purity test resolution proposed by Precinct Committeeman Bjorn Handeen failed so badly?

Solons At Odds w/Luna Wifi Contract

Idaho state schools chief Tom Luna is about to sign a 15-year, multimillion-dollar contract for a private company to set up Wi-Fi networks in every high school in the state, even though the Legislature never approved the move. Luna is scheduled to award the contract today. The finalists include Education Networks of America, a company that was awarded a contract, later canceled, under the voter-rejected Students Come First laws last year to do the same thing. “It was part of a Senate bill that we should do a statewide contract,” said Melissa McGrath, Luna’s spokeswoman. But the bill she cited was Senate Bill 1200, the public school budget. It allocated $2.25 million to set up wireless infrastructure in Idaho high schools next year and said nothing about a long-term contract. The request for proposals doesn’t include amounts, but if the contract stayed at $2.25 million a year, it would cost the state $11.25 million over five years and $33.75 million over the full 15 years/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: I ♥ wifi. But I can't help but think that Luna has stepped beyond bounds of standard operating procedure by pulling this rabbit out of his hat without keeping Legislature in the loop. What do you think?

Sagebrush Rebellion: Act 4, Scene 5

About the only thing more cyclical on the public scene than the James Bond film franchise is the Idaho land grab phenomenon. Every 17 years or so, a group of Idaho politicians jump up and down about the injustice of having so much of their state owned and managed by the federal government. … Seventeen years ago, the angst was over Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, President Clinton's alleged “War on the West,” and a federal attempt to update the Mining Act of 1872. In each case, the locals mounted a campaign for state ownership under the banner of something like the Sagebrush Rebellion. Then ordinary citizens would discover how state ownership would lead to more lands falling into private hands, choking off public access. And the issue would go away. Well, here we go again/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Are you ready for another Sagebrush Rebellion?

County GOP Dumps Party Purity Test

Item: Republican committee: No vetting: Only two members stood in favor of resolution/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Committeeman Bjorn Handeen (pictured) proposed the resolution to establish an endorsement event to endorse candidates for the 2014 election cycle - but only after it was determined that the candidate would abide by the platform. He read a statement from a prepared text that essentially chastised what he called the “Stockholm Syndrome Republicans” who sit on the central committee. “In my six-year engagement with this party, I have noticed there are two types of party activist,” he read. “There are those, and I count myself one of them, who see that our country is in rapid decline, and so we are doing our best to organize somewhat of a defense. “But there is another, more common sort of party activist, and you will never catch them doing something useful - unless it is for a liberal news blog, I guess.

Question: So are Bjorn Handeen and Carol Goodman the only true Republicans in Kootenai County?

Fresh Prince

A selection of British daily newspapers on Wednesday headlining the news of the birth of a son to Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It was announced on Monday that Prince William's wife Kate has given birth to a baby boy. The baby was born at 4:24 p.m. and weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces. The infant will become third in line for the British throne after Prince Charles and William. (AP Photo/Tony Hicks)

City Salaries In Spotlight

Item: Cd'A salaries in the spotlight: City contracts with three collective bargaining groups/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: It's sure to be hot political fodder this fall. When Coeur d'Alene City Council and mayoral candidates hit the campaign trail leading up to the Nov. 5 general election, what the city should do about employee salaries could be tops among stumping points. Keep the status quo? Reduce pay slightly? Or, whack wages completely? Three City Council seats and the mayor's chair are up for election. That's the majority of the seven-member panel, so the salary answer should depend on November's outcome.

Question: How big of an issue will city employee salaries be in the fall municipal campaigns?

Common Core Battle Heats Up

Item: War at the Core: Formation of Idahoans for Excellence in Education announced/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The Idaho Core Standards are the Gem State's version of the Common Core standards, an effort to elevate and align education benchmarks across the states. Supporters say it will add academic rigor and improve the state's dismal college completion rate, and create a stronger workforce. Detractors claim educators were not involved in the development of the standards, that the creation of the standards was motivated by private, corporate interests and driven by a federal government that wants to create a national curriculum and a national database of citizens' personal information. Opponents also claim the standards represent a loss of local control of curriculum. They dismiss the backers' claim that the Common Core effort is “state-led,” rather than led by the federal government.

Question: Do Common Core foes have much of a chance to stop implementation of the standards?

Heir Heads

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Wild Card/Tuesday — 7.23.13

Wild ending to work day. Lean Bean on Northwest Boulevard robbed at gunpoint around 5:30 p.m. Reagan Republican leader Jeff Ward announces opposition to resolution for local GOP purity to be considered tonight by Kootenai County GOP Central Committee. And Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna blindsided legislators by negotiated with private company for 15-year wifi service to state's high schools. Check below. Here's your reposted Wild Card …

  • Free Entertainment Tonight: Coeurimba band @ Sherman Park Square, 4th & Sherman/CdA.

Parting Shot — 7.23.12

A boy jumps from a diving platform in the cool water of the swimming pool 'Schwanseebad' in Weimar, Germany, earlier today. Meteorologists forecast the hot and sunny weather to continue in Germany. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Little Old Lady From Cut Bank

On his Facebook wall, Casey Irgens posts: “Anyone else have an 83 year old mother that on her way back to Cut Bank after lunch in Whitefish, talks her way out of a speeding ticket by telling the trooper 'My kids tell me that I shouldn't think my age is the speed limit!' 84 in a 70.”

DFO: Go, granny; go, granny go …

Question: Who's the leadfoot in your family?

Luna Shocks Solons w/15yr Wifi Pact

Idaho state schools chief Tom Luna is about to sign a 15-year, multimillion-dollar sole-source contract for a private firm to set up WiFi networks in every high school in the state – even though the Legislature never approved the move, and legislative leaders who learned of it from a reporter Tuesday were shocked. Luna is scheduled to award the contract Wednesday; the three finalists include Education Networks of America, a firm that was awarded a contract, later canceled, under the voter-rejected Students Come First laws last year to do the very same thing. ENA was a subcontractor to Hewlett-Packard, which would have provided laptop computers to every Idaho high school student/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.


Scanner: Gunman Robs Coffee Hut

  • 6:14 p.m. Salesman says homeowner on Suma/CdA showed gun & told him to get off property.
  • 5:59 p.m. Juveniles on Spirit Lake cursing one another over motorbiked being ridden on beach.
  • 5:28 p.m. Lean Bean coffee stand, 1820 Northwest Blvd, CdA, just robbed at gunpoint by male in gray hoodie sweatshirt, ballcap, Carhart-type jeans, a tennis shoes with red laces. Barista didn't see tats or piercing. Nor did she see any writing on sweat shirt. The robber ran off onto 1000 block of Emma Avenue.
  • 5:23 p.m. Undisclosed trauma reported in 200 block of Harrison Street/Harrison.
  • 5:22 p.m. 22YO Rathdrum male in Nissan Frontier pickup gave suicide threat to grandparents.
  • 5:06 p.m. 2-vehicle crash near Auto Zone, 2625 Government Way, CdA.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for July 22-23 here.
  • 4:28 p.m. Northbound lane of H41 closed as result of 4:09 crash.
  • 4:25 p.m. Deputy asked to stand by in civil dispute in 8700 block of Parks/Athol.
  • 4:19 p.m. 2 female drivers involved in Seltice Way crash in front of Post Falls Super 1.
  • 4:13 p.m. 80YO male dislocated shoulder in fall @ Hayden Cinema 6 discount theater.
  • 14 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 7.23.13

Spokane Indians catcher/DH Joe Jackson is a descendant of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, which makes him a hit with autograph seekers. Story here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Cutline Contest — 7.23.13

Time 2 Vote …

US singer Miley Cyrus winks during an interview at a radio station in Bad Vilbel near Frankfurt, central Germany, Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/dpa, Boris Roessler)

Monday Winner — Flatlander, with 10 votes: “Ryan ponders how great it is to have seniority at this year's Kiwanis pancake breakfast and getting to catch the pancakes. It is soooo much better then last year when he had to catch the butter and maple syrup.” You can see photo & all 9 cutline entries here.

Carlos Danger Name Generator

Slate magazine is offering a widget that enables users to get a name like Anthony Weiner's alleged sexting pseudonym: “Want a fantastic online sobriquet like Carlos Danger? You’re in luck. Type your first and last names into the fields below and click “Get My Name” to find your personal pseudonym.” Click here.

DFO: Moi? I'm Julio Cesar Kill.

Question: What's your Carlos Danger-type name?

Jeff Ward: Local GOP Is Not A Cult

 The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee is considering a resolution to create a “party purity” committee to purge the Kootenai Republican Party of those, it alone, deems insufficiently adherent to someone's narrow idea of conservatism. The best argument against this folly was outlined by our namesake, Ronald Reagan, in his ground breaking 1977 “New Republican Party” speech  at the 4th Annual Conservative Political Action Committee Convention: “… If there is any ideological fanaticism in American political life, it is to be found among the enemies of freedom on the left or right — those who would sacrifice principle to theory, those who worship only the god of political, social and economic abstractions, ignoring the realities of everyday life. They are not conservatives.” More here.

DFO: BTW, the Reagan Republicans have endorsed Coeur d'Alene mayoral candidate Mary Souza more than a month before the filing period begins for the city of Coeur d'Alene. Wonder how Jim Brannon feels about that?

Question: I predict that the Kootenai County Central Committee will pass the resolution before it tonight calling for an ad hoc screening committee for GOP primary candidates. How about you?

Obamacare: Oh, How They Posture

Every so often - about 38 or 39 times now - the House GOP votes to overturn Obamacare. It's all for show. Repeal is a non-starter in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Standing in the path of any repeal is a presidential veto. Wednesday the House did it again. It voted to acknowledge the Obama administration's one-year delay in imposing mandated insurance coverage for employers of 50 workers or more. Then it voted to extend the same one-year postponement to the individual mandate.The first vote is largely symbolic. Large private employers already provide insurance for 96 percent of their workers. But delaying the individual mandate is a proxy for disrupting coverage for individuals and small businesses as well as destabilizing the pharmaceutical and hospital sectors. Washington's Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Idaho's Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson followed up with sweeping condemnations of the health care reform act/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you think Obamacare opponents know that repeal of federal health system is a nonstarter?

NIdaho Militia Story Elicits Response

In response to a New York Daily News photo essay, published by the New York Daily News last week, human-rights activist Tony Stewart wrote to the newspaper. His message read in part:

“We were deeply concerned with the story yesterday in your newspaper that could give the impression that Idahoans are either supportive or that we at least ignore such groups as those in your story. We have a record of great opposition to such messages or activities. May we request that you go to our website and review our history of human rights stories and victories. We would deeply appreciate your review and we would be very willing to talk with one of your reporters. Our work has been covered by media from all over the United States and even some other countries. We have been interviewed several times over the years by the New York Times and most recently we were part of a human rights story in the Wall Street Journal regarding the passage of anti-discrimination ordinance in the City of Coeur d’Alene.” Full letter here. (SR file photo)

Question: What do you make of militia activity in North Idaho's back woods?

Quotable Quote — MikeK

Now that I've announced that I'm not running for Mayor, I'd like to also announce that I'm legally changing my name to “Carlos Danger” effective immediately. The name recently surfaced as being available and thus I've reserved the rights to it. And we're off” — Mike Kennedy, via Facebook, re: announcement today that former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner continued to sext under pseudonym Carlos Danger.

Question: How did you think of your pseudonym?

Weiner Admits To New ‘Texts, Photos

New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner speaks during a news conference alongside his wife Huma Abedin at the Gay Men's Health Crisis headquarters today in New York. The former congressman says he's not dropping out of the New York City mayoral race in light of newly revealed explicit online correspondence with a young woman. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress in 2011 amid a sexting scandal, admitted Tuesday to more sexually charged Internet shenanigans. Weiner, who is married to an aide to Hillary Clinton, issued a statement after a gossip website called The Dirty published an interview with an anonymous woman who claimed she had a six-month online relationship with him that continued after his earlier online activities were exposed. “I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have,” said Weiner, who has been leading some polls for the Democratic nomination for mayor/Tracy Connor, NBC News. More here. (AP file photo: Anthony Weiner and and his wife Huma Abedin at 2011 ceremonial swearing in of the 112th Congress)

Question: Why is Huma standing by her dirtbag husband?

Massachusetts Punishes Photographer

In this Friday, April 19, Massachusetts State Police file photo, 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsamaev, bloody and disheveled with the red dot of a sniper's rifle laser sight on his forehead, raises his hand from inside a boat at the time of his capture by law enforcement authorities in Watertown, Mass. Sgt. Sean Murphy, the state police photographer who released this photo and others of the bloodied Tsarnaev during his capture was placed on restricted duty today. (AP Photo/Massachusetts State Police, Sean Murphy, File)

Question: Did the Massachusetts state photographer make the right decision to release these photos, despite possible repercussions?

Quotable Quote — Cindy

Today I'm going to totally ignore Fleetwood Mac. I'm going to Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” — Cindy, on her Facebook wall.

Question: How often do you think about the future?

Pro-Common Core Coalition Forms

A group of Idaho businessmen and women, educators and politicians — whose members have stood in opposition on other education issues — has formed a coalition to support the successful implementation of Idaho Core Standards. The standards were developed with the support of state schools superintendent Tom Luna. The coalition includes the Idaho Education Association and Idaho Parents and Teachers Together, two groups that instigated the repeal of Luna’s Students Come First laws. “Our coalition represents all the major stakeholders who care about the success of Idaho’s students — parents, teachers, school administrators, child-advocate groups and the business community,” said Skip Oppenheimer, chairperson of Idaho Business for Education (IBE), a nonprofit group that helped organize the coalition/Jennifer Swindell, IdahoED News. More here.


Joker: Big Brother Is Watching

I went to the grocery store last night and I got this funny feeling I was being watched. Inside the store, I still felt uneasy. I looked up and there were cameras everywhere. I felt so invaded. Then when I paid for my groceries — I swiped my Fred Meyer rewards card, which gives the store access to what I buy (fruit popsicles, grape no less). Then I paid for my popsicles with my debit card, which gives my financial institution, information about where I shop and what I buy. As I was driving home on U.S. 95, I looked up at the stoplights and I saw more cameras.  It was like being violated all over again.  I know somewhere someone is being tempted by money and power because they know that I buy grape fruit popsicles. More in drop-down box below.

Fighting Post Falls Grass Fire

Water is dropped from a bucket as crews help fight the wildland fire near Q'Emiln Park from the air on Monday in Post Falls. An investigation into the cause of the blaze will be performed by the Idaho Department of Lands. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

Health Hazard: Skipping Breakfast

If you’re prone to skipping breakfast, you might want to reconsider that choice as a new Harvard study shows that avoiding breakfast many increase your chance of heart disease. The research showed that older men who skip breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack or developing heart disease that those who eat breakfast. The researchers analyzed eating and lifestyle data from 27,000 health professionals dating back to 1992/Judy Oehling, More here. (AP Business Wire file photo)

Question: Do you eat breakfast?

160 Idaho Schools Protest Star Rating

Nearly 160 Idaho schools are appealing their state “star ratings” — a crucial report card that determines whether a school needs to file a plan for improving student growth and student achievement, and whether a school is struggling and needs help from the state. The number of appeals is up considerably from previous years. The one- to five-star ratings are Idaho’s yardstick for measuring traditional and charter schools, with the results made public annually. The next round of ratings will likely be released in early August, state Department of Education spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said Tuesday. But first, the Education Department has to sift through the appeals; here’s a list of the schools that filed appeals/Kevin Richert, The EDge, IdahoEd News. More here.

Question: Do the protesting schools have a legitimate beef?

Simpson Wants To Slash EPA 35%

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson put forth an appropriations bill today that would slash the EPA’s budget by $2.9 billion next year, a 35 percent cut that would drop the agency to a funding level below what it had in 1978 and block the Obama Administration’s climate change agenda. The Interior and Environment Appropriations bill includes a total of more than $5 billion in cuts, including major cuts to the Forest Service, BLM, national parks and more, but EPA would bear the biggest brunt/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Is Simpson wooing reactionaries with this bill, which has zero chance of success, now that he's being challenged with a Club for Growth candidate?

Which Countries Hate USA?

To figure out which countries dislike the U.S., one quick way is to simply look at which ones are getting the largest dollops of U.S. aid. This wasn't the focus of a . But it did emerge when Pew spoke to people in 39 countries about the U.S. and China, asking respondents if they had a favorable view of these two countries. Overall, the U.S. fared better than China. Worldwide, 63 percent said they had a positive view of the U.S., compared with only 50 percent who said the same of China. This general trend was true in every region except in the Middle East. There, animosity toward the U.S. runs high, and the also tended to be some of the most antagonistic toward the U.S/NPR. More here. (AP file photo: Tunisian protesters burn USA flag last fall)

Question: Remind me again why we contribute aid to countries that hate us?

Yes, There Is A Mr. Mary Souza

Because you — or more specifically Cindy — asked … here's a photo by Duane Rasmussen of Coeur d'Alene mayor candidate Mary Souza and her husband, Rick, from Mary's water campaign Sunday.

I'm posting this photo as a result of a blog discussion between Cindy and Duane. Cindy launched it with this comment: “I'm just curious. Is there a Mr. Mary Souza? How come male pols always have an adoring spouse by their side during their campaigns, but ladies not so much. Unless you count Mr. Sarah Palin. He was a pretty good accessory.” Duane responded: “I guess you have never met Rick. He was with Mary all the time during the boat parade.He is very nice and very intelligent. He would make a good Mayor but he has a business to run.”

  • DFO: I'm curious re: what percentage of Portuguese is Rick Souza. Souza, after all, is a Portuguese name.

Question: What role should spouses play in local political races?

AM Scanner Traffic — 7.23.13

  • 12:03 a.m. Kootenai Fire Station reports male suffering possible heart attack entered station.
  • 11:33 a.m. 1/4- to 1/2-acre grass fire reported 500 yards behind mill @ H41/MP 30 (Roberts Cut-Across Road, north of Blanchard). Individuals with heavy machinery fighting blaze.
  • 11:29 a.m. Resident reports column of smoke from Q'emiln Park area of grass fire Monday.
  • 11:16 a.m. Driver of red vehicle speeding, reckless on e/b I-90/MP 11 (NW Blvd, CdA).
  • 11:01 a.m. Army Reserve Center, 1662 W. Wyoming Ave/Hayden, reports alarm going off.
  • 10:51 a.m. CPD seeks stolen 1991 Acura Integra, last seen 12:01 a.m. today. Keys left in car.
  • 10:45 a.m. Passerby reports smoke coming from Baptist Church, 1608 Spokane St/CdA.
  • 10 more items below

Royal Baby Makes Debut

Britain's Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge hold the Prince of Cambridge Tuesday as they pose for photographers outside St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London where the Duchess gave birth on Monday July 22. The Royal couple are expected to head to London’s Kensington Palace from the hospital with their newly born son, the third in line to the British throne. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Question: Are there any other sourpusses out there besides Phaedrus who aren't excited about the Royal Baby?

Poll: Trash ULUC

  • Monday Poll: A supermajority of Hucks Nation sez county commissioners should trash the proposed Unified Land Use Code and start over. 87 of 119 respondents (73.11%) supports dumping ULUC. Only 24 of 119 respondents (20.17%). 8 (6.72%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you support Common Core standards for Idaho schools?

Hearn: Fear Drives CCore Opponents

On his Facebook wall, new Coeur d'Alene School Board Chairman Tom Hearn writes re: attending anti-Common Core meeting at Candlelight Church Fellowship last evening:

An interesting though clearly one sided and biased presentation about Common Core. As I was listening to the speakers and questions from the crowd I was struck by the fear and lack of trust that some people in the audience seemed to have of government at all levels….even a very conservative Idaho state government. Educators I have talked to believe these standards are higher than we have in Idaho and would be an improvement over Idaho's current standards. These standards are now Idaho law and the school board retains control over curriculum and lesson plans. I think some of the people in the audience would be more willing to be supportive of these high educational standards if the federal government and Idaho state leaders were opposed to them.

  • DFO: I've posted Vice Chairman Christa Hazel's full statement via Facebook re: Common Core in the comments section below.

Question: Are you tired of the fear-mongering in Idaho?

AM Headlines — 7.23.13

A firefighter sprays water onto a burning tree Monday as crews from several area agencies responded to a wildland fire near Q'Emiln Park in Post Falls. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

Wanted: Protection From Protectors

From the Coeur d'Alene Press story re: Common Core discussion Monday evening:

The presentation at (Candlelight Church Fellowship) was hosted by a group called the Friends of Idaho, introduced by Sage Dixon. Dixon said Friends of Idaho is a newly formed non-governmental organization focused on preserving and maintaining Idaho's sovereignty.

Question: So who's going to protect the majority of Idahoans from all these self-appointed groups that say they're protecting us?

Edit: Otter Wise To Protect Surplus

Mow, hoe, trim and water. That's Rep. Maxine Bell's routine during the summer at her home in Jerome. It also describes her role as a co-chair of the Legislature's budgeting committee - with a lot of whacking and slashing thrown into the mix. In recent years, the slashing has gone through the summer with holdbacks, or the threat of holdbacks. That's not the case this year, which makes Bell and others involved in budgeting rest easier these hot summer days. Thanks to an improved revenue picture, Idaho at long last has some predictability and stability in state government and there will not be a holdback this year. “That's a relief,” Bell said. “At the end of every session, we can only hope that we did our job well enough to avoid a midyear budget holdback”/Idaho Statesman Editorial Board. More here.

Question: What do you think the state should do with its $92.5 million budget surplus?

Read more here:

DTS: Souza Gang ♥s Kellogg Appeal

DTS (re: LCDC spurs East Seltice Way surge): No, I do not think it would have grown as fast. If you look at the area now with all of it's revitalization, you can see what a progressive town looks like. You want to see what a Gookin/Adams/Souza town will look like? Please take an afternoon and drive over to Kellogg Idaho. That will give you a hint. Is LCDC the giant evil Gookin and co. think it is. NO. Should it ALWAYS be under tight reins… YES. That being said, it is time to ignore the heel dragging, pouting KCRR's and go forward making Coeur d'Alene a growing, prospering jewel of the north west, and not just a sociopathic neo-conservative run Ecoslum that is the goal of the conspiracy mob surrounding the “so called” conservatives that now OWN the local Republican Party.

Question: What will Coeur d'Alene look like if Mary Souza and allies take over the City Council?

Labrador ♥s Attention, Microphones

Raul Labrador has a thing for microphones. Supporters and critics alike describe the Idaho Republican congressman as a self-confident firebrand eager to speak out, especially in private meetings with his fellow Republicans. Labrador “practically lunged at the microphone” in one 2011 meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the House GOP conference, according to Robert Draper's 2012 book Do Not Ask What Good We Do. In another meeting, Draper wrote, Labrador “rushed to the open microphone.” At yet another, Labrador listened to Boehner speak and then “immediately went to the mike.” Labrador — a 45-year-old Mormon father of five, tea party congressman, and Puerto-Rican-born only child of a single mother — is a man in a hurry, friends and associates say/Jon Ward, Huffington Post. More here.

Question: Is Raul Labrador more concerned about his political career than he is serving Idaho?

Trustees Attend Common Core Meet

Confusion re: whether Trustee Terri Seymour “hosted” the anti-Common Core discussion at Candlelight Church Fellowship last night stems from this Facebook invitation that went viral locally after it was circulated to friends of the two women.

From Coeur d'Alene Press story re: Common Core discussion:

Coeur d'Alene School District Trustee Terri Seymour (pictured) was one of three of that district's school board members to attend the presentation. Tom Hearn and Dave Eubanks also attended. Last week, Seymour asked Coeur d'Alene Superintendent Matt Handelman to forward an invitation to attend the Common Core talk to all school district employees. Seymour told The Press Monday afternoon that she wasn't promoting the presentation, and that she doesn't have an opinion on the standards yet. … She said she is not hosting the event, and acknowledged that she had Becky Funk help her set up a Facebook event so she could invite her friends to attend the talk. … Trustee Christa Hazel told The Press she did not attend because she did not think the presentation would be objective. Hazel said she has discussed the topic at length with Sen. Goedde and with local teachers. She attended the state's Education Task Force meeting last spring, and said she supports the standards. Full story here.

Question: Should all Coeur d'Alene School Board trustees have attended this presentation by out-of-state individuals opposed to Common Core?

CityLink Transit Center Plans Advance

Martin Burke, of Coeur d'Alene steps off a Citylink bus Monday as it drops off passengers at the transit center in Riverstone. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

Land for the first phase of a permanent public transit center in Riverstone is expected to be acquired by September and construction is pegged to start next year, a county official said. “There's renewed enthusiasm in the project,” said Christine Fueston, the county's Federal Transit Administration grant administrator. Kootenai County commissioners today are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with The Coeur d'Alene Tribe to cooperatively work on the project. The site for the permanent center will be where the existing temporary center is at the southwest corner of Seltice Way and Riverstone Drive in Riverstone/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Have you ridden CityLink?

Common Core Foes Keep Up Fight

The Common Core standards will be in place in Idaho schools this fall, but the controversy over them appears to be far from over. A pair of Washington-based anti-Common Core activists spoke Monday to about 70 people at Candlelight Christian Fellowship. “If you have concerns, do something about it,” said speaker J. Wilson, following his part of the presentation, “Common Core - the Next Step.” Wilson is an advocate with Truth in American Education, an organization that describes itself as “a nonpartisan group of citizens concerned about the centralization of education through the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Assessment Consortiums and Data Mining”/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: This article reveals that a new group has formed to “protect” Idaho's sovereignty and that three of the five Coeur d'Alene trustees attended the discussion, including new ones Tom Hearn and Dave Eubanks. Thoughts?

County GOP Eyes Political Purity

Item: In search of party purity: Republican Central Committee mulls new resolution/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Another resolution will come before the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee tonight that if passed, would create a sub-committee charged with screening candidates to ensure they are true Republicans. The resolution points out that an important responsibility of the KCRCC is to promote Republican philosophy, but the KCRCC has failed to show any concern regarding whether or not a Republican candidate has promoted or opposed the Republican philosophy. The drafters of the resolution are asking the committee to establish an ad hoc subcommittee to develop an endorsement event for the 2014 Kootenai County Officer elections, and they want to urge the Republican candidates to abide by the party's endorsements.

Duane Rasmussen: “I am completely opposed to this,” (Duane Rasmussen) said Monday. “It is just silliness.” He said the Congressman Ron Paul followers are dominating the party and now they want to start picking the Republican candidates.

Question: How do you think this resolution will play out tonight?

Royal Baby

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Monday — 7.22.13

The fire alarm was ringing in The Spokesman-Review building was ringing for the second straight work day as I arrived to work today. This time, it began ringing before I got here, so I couldn't get in the building until 8:30. Thus, the late start. But I'm fairly caught up now after blogging at the speed of light for the last 45 minutes. Now for your first wild card of the work week …

Parting Shot — 7.22.13

Mexico perform their routine in the synchronised swimming team free preliminary event at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, today. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Twitter Trending, Facebook Fading

If you want to know social media, ask a teen. Better yet, ask a bunch of them. A group of Spokane teenagers who took part in a social media engagement project at Hoopfest – the Digital Street Team – agree that Facebook is fading and Twitter is trending. The team of 24 high school students was deputized to collect stories, photos and video at Hoopfest, and that material was posted to the event’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest accounts. Some of those teens, along with one of their social media mentors at Hoopfest, recently assessed the fast-moving social media landscape/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR. More here. (Tyler Tjomsland SR photo: Jenna Carroll, 28, right, reacts as Chelsie Hadden, 22, shows her her phone while Liz Hooker, left, checks her phone for updates during a meet-up for social networkers last week at Boots Bakery in Spokane)

Question: How many of you have made the jump to Twitter or other social media beyond Facebook?

PM Scanner Traffic — 7.22.13

  • 5:45 p.m. Semi parked w/o cones & trailer partly on I-90 @ e/b Huetter rest stop.
  • 5:39 p.m. Fireman on canyon fire tells buddy that 2 young boys are watching canyon fire slightly above him, adding: “Sorry to give you extra work (to chase them off). Second fireman responds that “a cold sports drink would go a long ways right now.”
  • 5:35 p.m. Male sitting in disabled, black Ford Explorer in dangerous spot @ I-90/Idaho bridge, PF.
  • 5:25 p.m. Female at “splash pad” — unknown location — yelling, trying to hit children.
  • 5:09 p.m. 6 inches of loose gravel reported @ s/b H95/MP 413.9 (Vogel Road).
  • 5:06 p.m. Vehicle reportedly ran over female pedestrian's leg @ Prairie/Meyer, Rathdrum.
  • 4:55 p.m. USFS “fleet crash” reported on USFS Road 239/Old River Road.
  • 4:39 p.m. Post Falls brush fire slowly moving up ridge toward houses on other side.
  • 4:13 p.m. Motorcyclist in orange helmet speeding @ 100 mph on H41/Seltice Way.
  • 4:06 p.m. Theft of wallet reported in 600 block of E. Haycraft/CdA.
  • 16 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 7.22.13

Dr. Wayne Melquist,PhD removes a juvenile opsrey form a nest on Lake Coeur d'Alene on Saturday, July 13. He was banding nestlings as part of a long-running research on the population of osprey. North Idaho has the largest nesting population of osprey in the Western U.S. Becky Kramer story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Cutline Contest — 7.22.13

Ryan Williams, 11, goes to catch a pancake to serve during the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days free pancake breakfast sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Cheyenne at the Cheyenne Depot Plaza this morning. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Blaine McCartney)

  • Time 2 vote …

Weekend Cutline winner: Cheryl-Anne Millsap, 11 votes: “Recently waxed Brazilian synchronized swim team reacts to heavily chlorinated pool” You can see the Weekend Contest photo + all cutline entries here.

Farris Eyes Legislative Run

Democrat Jimmy Farris said Monday that he’s leaning toward running for the Legislature in Boise next year, acknowledging that a rematch with GOP Congressman Raul Labrador would be a long shot. Farris got 31 percent of the vote against Labrador last year, running his first race after a career with several teams in the NFL. The Lewiston native and former All-American receiver  at the University of Montana is renting a house in Meridian, but said he’s planning to move to Boise soon. He said he expects an incumbent Democrat to retire, giving him an opportunity to seek an open seat. He declined to specify the district, except to say it would likely be in one of the Democratic districts in Boise: 16, 17, 18 or 19/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Would the Idaho Legislature be a good fit for Democrat Jimmy Farris?

Read more here:

IFF: Yogurt A Federal Mandate?

I don’t know whether Idaho’s public schools should be serving Greek yogurt or not. But I wonder if I’m the only one who views negatively the announcement this month that Idaho would get to be a pilot state for a federal program to serve Greek yogurt in school lunchrooms. U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo applauded loudly the decision from our federal overlords. “Our masters in the land of Washington, D.C., doth proclaim that Greek yogurt hence forth shall be served throughout the land. Huzzah!” Crapo said. All right, he didn’t actually say that. That’s just what I read him to say/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: Do you have any problem with letting 'em eat yogurt?

Trib: Wither Goest Raul?

Everybody has a theory about Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador's next career move. Does he take on Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter in next spring's GOP primary? Is he angling for a Senate seat? There's even a theory that Labrador would run for a lower-tier statewide office - such as lieutenant governor - to establish a statewide launching pad. Is Labrador going to seek a third term and make his mark in the U.S House? And then there's this: Is Labrador going to follow in the footsteps of former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R- S.C., who left office for a lucrative job running the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, or former Congressman Chris Chocola, R-Indiana, who now heads up the conservative Club for Growth? Chocola's group, incidentally, has targeted Labrador's colleague, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, for termination/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you think, as I do, that Congressman Raul Labrador is too ambitious to remain a U.S. House member?

HBO Blogos — 7.22.13

“Before Annie left for her return to Seattle yesterday, we took a dip in Lake Pend Oreille at one of our favorite spots,” posts Marianne Love/Slight Detour. “Used to be this place on the north shore of the lake with the spectacular view of Schweitzer Mountain could almost be called our 'own private Idaho,' but it's been discovered. Of course, when the place was invaded by all of three other parties of people during the hour or so that we were there, that's a crowd for us.” More here.

HucksOnline numbers (week of July 14-20): 43,994 page-views/26318 unique views

Costello: Evergreen, Gender Neutral

Surely you will be as relieved as I was to learn that the term “manhole cover” survived the purge. Try as they might, the finest left-wing minds in the business could not concoct a suitable, gender neutral, non-oppressive replacement for those two words. Although I have no doubt that, somewhere, a state employed drone is toiling away somewhere still trying to crack that stubborn nut. For the past six years, the state of Washington has been cleansing its books of 40,000 offensive, sexist terms that have kept women's studies majors from enjoying a good night's sleep. As the drones uncovered intolerable sexist language such as “freshman” or “fisherman,” the laws of the state were rewritten and re-passed by the Legislature for the governor's signature. This year the final result was signed into law by Gov.Jay Inslee, and, as you read this, Washington has been transformed into a dominion of gender-neutrality/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More below.

Question: What do you think of Washington's move to cleanse “offensive, sexist terms” from its books?

Sizzling On Lake Coeur d’Alene

Last week, Don Sausser had camera in hand when someone — owner Duane Hagadone? — took Hagadone's sailboat, Sizzler, out for a cruise on Lake Coeur d'Alene.

LCDC Spurs East Seltice Way Surge

Years ago, a tract of property along the old section of Interstate 90 just west of Coeur d’Alene lay mostly dormant. Not much could be done with the sleepy stretch of land because there were no utilities. No water. No sewer. The land valuation along the Seltice Way corridor situated between the existing freeway and Spokane River was about $3 million. Fast forward. Today, the 115-acre area, which is now within the city of Coeur d’Alene, is thriving with commercial and residential development. A call center that employs 500 people. A public ice skating rink. Affordable senior housing. Riverfront homes. Condominiums. And perhaps most importantly, a park that provides direct access to the river/LCDC News & Review. More here.

Question: Do you really think East Seltice Way would have developed organically without help from Lake City Development Corp?

Jewish Cafe Opening In Post Falls

Watch for the “Now Open” sign for the new Tree of Life Organic Bakery & Deli. This unique Jewish cafe should open this week in the building that formerly was Horizon Credit Union between Trading Post Grocery and the empty Hot Rod Cafe building on the south side of Interstate 90 in Post Falls. The wide menu includes burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, soups, side dishes, steamed vegetables, kale chips, desserts (cheesecake too) and breakfasts. Stressing no GMO (genetically modified) ingredients, even the beverage menu is completely organic. Owners John and Linda Miller and sons Jacob and Zachary came to North Idaho from Orange County, Calif., 20 years ago. Seating 34 customers, hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except closed Saturdays/Nils Rosdahl, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you plan to check out this bakery & deli?

End Notes: What Do I Do Now?

In her End Notes Blog, Catherine Johnston posts:

After 23 years of working for the same organization, I have resigned my position and am now…home. Retirement? Refocus? Renewal? Rethinking possibilities for the future? Relaxing? Time will tell. Seem to be having trouble with the relaxing thing. If there is no other formal employment (aside from writing projects), what steps should be taken for a healthy, enjoyable retirement or transition time? Here is what I have been told so far:

  •  Make no long-term commitments for one year (Johnny)
  •  Think of retirement as simply choosing when and how you want to work (Johnny)
  •  Stay involved in some things as it adds to longevity and makes life interesting (Bill)
  •  Don’t be in a hurry to create a new routine – it will emerge (Mitzi)

Question: What helpful advice do you have to offer when someone ends work and lands at home?

Putting Cherry On Cake Sans Cake

The University of Idaho is getting poked from any number of directions. Politicians would rather extend tax breaks to high rollers and corporations than repair the damage they inflicted upon higher education during the Great Recession. Budgets are being balanced on the backs of students at a time when Idahoans are less able to afford it. Student debt is rising and enrollment is flat. Not to mention the fact buildings and grounds are aging with no money to properly maintain them. In southern Idaho, UI gets as much attention for dangerously intoxicated students falling out of buildings or freezing to death as it does for its research programs. …The institution's drift compares unfavorably to an ascendant Boise State University, where the football team wins, the campus is expanding and enrollment is growing. So what is UI's response? How about new digs for the next president?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.


AP: It’s A Boy!

Broadcaster Natalie Morales, of NBC, broadcasts a live report, across from St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London today. The Associated Press has reported that Prince William's wife, Kate, has given birth to a boy. The baby will be third in line for the British throne _ behind Prince Charles and William _ and is anticipated eventually to become king or queen. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Palace officials say Prince William’s wife Kate has given birth to a baby boy. Officials said Monday the baby was born at 4:24 p.m. and weighs 8 pounds 6 ounces. The infant will become third in line for the British throne after Prince Charles and William. Kate checked into a private wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in central London early Monday morning/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Excited?

Ice Tea: Uhm-Uhm Good

On his Facebook wall, Councilman Dan Gookin posts: “Somewhere in blissful heaven, atop a serene cloud, cooled by the winds of favor and appreciation, sits a marbled pedestal. Upon that pedestal resides the saint who invented iced tea. It's a position most deserved.”

Question: Is there any drink, that isn't water, that's more refreshing than a glass of ice tea on a hot summer's day?

Speakers To Target Common Core

Sharon Hanek, a former Washington state candidate for treasurer, and J.R. Wilson, Truth in American Education, will be discuss their opposition to Common Core at a meeting at Candlelight Christian Fellowship, 5725 N. Pioneer Drive, Coeur d'Alene. Huckleberries hears that this is the second time in the last four months that Hanek has spoken in Coeur d'Alene area residents about Common Core.  No one from the district or Superintendent Luna's office will be presenting official information as a counterbalance. The meeting will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Trustee Terri Seymour and Becky Funk are hosting the event. You can read more information here.


By Land And By Water

Coeur d'Alene mayoral candidate Mary Souza (back of boat piloted by Ron Dayton) took her campaign to the waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene Sunday — and photographer Duane Rasmusson was their to capture the moment.

DFO: Dunno how she'll do this fall. But gotta give Mary props for her aggressive campaign, right?

AM Scanner Traffic — 7.22.13

  • 12:09 p.m. Occupied disabled vehicle @ I-90/MP 16 (Potlatch Hill, CdA).
  • 11:53 a.m. Log truck w/load crashed onto side on St. Joe River Road/MP 16; driver transported out.
  • 11:22 a.m. Hit-and-run crash on I-90/MP 45, Pinehurst, involving white Lexus “run” vehicle.
  • 11;04 a.m. Baby not responsive after mother checked on him 15 minutes before; unknown location.
  • 10:51 a.m. CPD seeks stolen 1999 Harley-Davidson w/purple & orange flames, skulls on tank.
  • 10:49 a.m. 85YO female suffering chest pain @ Coeur d'Alene Homes.
  • 10:40 a.m. 40ish transient female screaming at entrance to Walgreens, H95/Appleway, CdA.
  • 10:39 a.m. Deputy seeking Montana man in 1978 Subaru wanted in cash heist in Kalispell.
  • 10:22 a.m. Possible injury accident involving vehicle/pedestrian @ 2nd/Harrison, CdA.
  • 10:21 a.m. Noninjury crash b/n white Suburban/silver car @ n/b H41/Hayden, Rathdrum Prairie.
  • 9:46 a.m. MedStar launched from Spokane to handle 9:42 item.
  • 9:42 a.m. Caller reports unconscious person @ Wild Meadows/Spirit Lake Cut-across Road.
  • 9:29 a.m. Patient evaluation asked for victim of one-car crash @ H54/MPLewellen Creek/Athol).
  • 9:20 a.m. Female may be going into shock after falling, hitting hear on Woodlawn/Hayden.
  • 9:04 a.m. Male walking pitbull in Post Falls reports being chased by dog that left its yard.

Poll: Widmyer For CdA Mayor

  • Weekend Poll: A supermajority of Hucks Nation prefers owner Steve Widmyer of the Fort Ground Grill to be the next mayor of Coeur d'Alene. 173 of 225 respondents (76.89%) picked Widmyer over three other candidates who have announced their candidacies for mayor. Mary Souza was a distant second with 42 of 225 votes (18.67%), followed by Jim Brannon, 7 votes (3.11%) and Joe Kunka, 3 votes (1.33%).
  • Today's Poll: Should Kootenai County commissioners trash the proposed Unified Land Use Code and start over?

AM Headlines — 7.22.13

Jim Grassi (in his Post Falls home) works with 3 NFL teams and wrote, “Guts, Grace and Glory: A Football Devotional.” Steve Christilaw SR story here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

No Way To Reason w/Yellowjacket

Here’s why a “live and let live” policy doesn’t always work with yellow jackets. Location, location, location: Sometimes they build nests right above your back door or beside your garage door. Then they get all huffy if you have the temerity to want to come and go as you please. Unreasonable territorial demands: Their insistence on enjoying free, unrestricted access to the entirety of your backyard while you supposedly cower indoors is simply not the basis for a lasting peace. Priorities: You would prefer not to kill anything. And employing chemical weapons is not your idea of natural living. But certain members of your household have a borderline phobia about flying insects armed with stingers. In the end, the choice is clear/Paul Turner, SR. More here. (SR file photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: I have yellowjackets all over my back yard this year but haven't declared war on them b/c no one has been stung yet. I'm sorta live and let live that way. How about you? Have you been stung this year?

Hiawatha Trail Treats Visitors

Bordered by flowing water in the gutters, mountain bikers ride through Tunnel No. 26 — one of nine tunnels visitors pedal through on the Route of the Hiawatha rail trail near Lookout Pass. (SR photo: Rich Landers)

When out-of-state friends dropped in for a few days recently – an active couple on their summer vacation – the Route of the Hiawatha immediately came to mind for treating them to a unique local adventure. It’s a slam dunk for a host: Something for everybody. The 15-mile rail trail for hiking or mountain biking near Lookout Pass offers a convenient package of exercise, scenery and history that appeals to a wide range of interests, ages and physical abilities. Want a better workout? Pedal the route both ways for a 30-mile round trip/Rich Landers, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever pedaled both ways on the Hiawatha Trail? How hard was it to go uphill?

Corkill: Kill ULUC & Start Over

In recent weeks my wife and I have had to spend over $3,000 on legal and consulting fees to protect our ownership of what is already ours. This is a direct result of the Unified Land Use Code that is being pushed ahead by Commissioners Tondee, Green and Nelson. I have been assured by Commissioner Green that I really have nothing to worry about. But let me ask this of the residents of Kootenai County, both urban and rural: If the industrial zoning classification, which has been in place since 1973, of your manufacturing plant is being replaced with a conditional use permit, or something similar, and your home is going to be classified as a “non-conforming entity” would you be worried? If the government says, “things will be OK,” would you believe it? I think not/Brad & Mary Corkill, Kootenai County. More here.

Question: Would it be wiser to deal with the problem that the Corkills are describing, rather than dump the whole code that is years in the making?

The Patriots Are Coming …

If a natural disaster were to strike or the economy were to collapse, would you be prepared to survive? John Mackey might. He is one of the organizers of the Northwest Patriot and Preparedness Rally that will take place over three days in Farragut State Park next weekend. The event begins Friday from noon to 4 p.m. with a series of educational presentations on how to prepare “bug-out” bags, which are bags of survival supplies in case you have to leave in a hurry. There are classes on how to operate a HAM radio system, or how to start a fire. You can even learn to make your own colloidal silver. There is a 45-minute lecture on Operation Sleeping Giant, which is an Oathkeeper's preparedness strategy for when disaster strikes and there is an interruption in the convenience services/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you feel safer knowing that regional Patriots have a preparedness plan in case of a natural disaster or economic calamity?

How Safe Is Ironman?

Some parts of the wreck are foggy for Ken Marker (pictured), and other parts just aren't there. For the life of him, the 71-year-old Hayden man can't recall the moments right after he crashed so badly on his $3,500 bicycle that the handlebars bent completely around. “I hit like a sack of rocks,” said Marker, whose goal to complete the Ironman Coeur d'Alene triathlon June 23 was quashed after his race-ending bicycle accident on the U.S. 95 Blackwell Bridge. “I was out cold.” He eventually came to and realized event volunteers were pulling him off the course. Bicyclists raced by. Cars in the adjacent traffic lane stopped. The 28-foot-wide bridge is one of the narrowest points of the race, with two bicycle lanes and two traffic lanes taking up the entire crossing/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

Question: If you had the skill and ability to complete an Ironman, which of the three legs would concern you most re: safety?

Press: Deep Six Event Center

If Coeur d'Alene is ever going to have an event center, the time isn't now and Riverstone certainly isn't the place. This week, the city's urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp., agreed to fund $10 million toward construction of a multi-purpose event center at Riverstone if North Idaho College, the primary beneficiary of the center, can raise an additional $5 million for the project. We're stunned that NIC would step so far outside its educational mission as a community college - and beyond the 17-acre corridor it purchased five years ago at a cost of $10 million - to prioritize this ill-conceived project and push it into hyperdrive. And we're disappointed that LCDC, perhaps in political panic mode, would even consider committing almost every future penny it could generate in the River District to such a risky venture/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that the Coeur d'Alene Press is so opposed to North Idaho College involvement in the proposed events center?

40 Years Of Studying Region’s Osprey

This juvenile osprey was nesting above Lake Coeur d'Alene on Saturday. North Idaho has the largest nesting population of osprey in the Western U.S. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

As an adult osprey circled overhead, Wayne Melquist perched an extension ladder against a piling in Cougar Bay and scrambled up to the nest. “There’s two here – one big enough to band,” he called down to others in the pontoon boat. As Melquist attached an aluminum band to a wriggling young osprey’s leg, boat operator Ross Walkinshaw worked to keep the craft from rocking in the wind that swept across Lake Coeur d’Alene. For more than 40 years, Melquist has been making precarious ascents to band juvenile ospreys. The long-running research project offers valuable insight into the lives of the majestic birds, which raise their young on the region’s lakes and rivers but winter in Mexico and Central America/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever watched an osprey drop and snare a fish on Lake Coeur d'Alene?

Epidemic Points To Vaccination Import

My son got whooping cough last year. He didn’t whoop much. He didn’t miss much school. It wasn’t a big deal. But he had a lot of company in that brief and minor misery. More than 4,900 cases of pertussis were reported in Washington state in 2012. The largest rate of infection was among infants, who cannot be vaccinated against the disease. One infant’s death was attributed to the disease. It was a genuine epidemic, and it was helped along, in part, by people who chose not to vaccinate their kids. That was the bad news regarding vaccine-preventable disease in Washington state last year. The good news was this: Fewer people chose not to vaccinate their kids than the previous year. Which was better than the year before. Which was better than the year before/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Do you have any reservations re: vaccinations?

Hucks: Training Militia’s Misses

North Idaho’s fringe, right-wing groups captured another 15 minutes of fame, courtesy of the New York media. On Thursday, the New York Daily News featured a photo essay of the Light Foot Militia, snapped by Reuters photographer Matt Mills McKnight. The article showed North Idaho and Spokane militia members drilling and bonding at their third annual retreat near Priest River – some 73 in all, at peak time. A mother brought her 12-year-old daughter and another girl to the testosterone-fest. Sasha Goldstein of the Daily News reports that the girls shot “large weapons.” And that militia members got “extensive training to expect the unexpected: rifle and pistol shooting, first aid, mines and close quarter combat.” Close quarter combat? Now there’s something that’ll come in handy at those Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving/DFO, Sunday SR Huckleberries. More here.

SR weekend column roundup:

Question: Do you think 73 participants in a backwoods North Idaho militia drill is worthy of New York media publicity?

Like A Rock

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Weekend Wild Card — 7.20-21.13

The “Recent Comments” feature continues to co-exist peacefully with the Disqus comment system. I'm still nervous mentioning this. But I want you to return to using the “Recent Comments” system, which does as it says — gives you a preview of the latest comments from all the various posts. You can also follow individual threads to get a better idea re: the dynamic of certain discussions. I may exhale, if “Recent Comments” is still working Monday. Now for your Weekend Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 7.19.13

A spectator sits in the sun in front of an advertisement board during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield, Scotland, Thursday. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

Huckleberries Ripening In Mountains

Huckleberries, designated Idaho’s state fruit in 2000, have been ripe for picking for a couple weeks in the low areas of Priest Lake, and the crop is gradually ripening up the mountain slopes throughout the Inland Northwest. Don’t set your purple-tongue ambitions too high, yet. Outdoors editor Rich Landers found ripe huckleberries for the first hour of hiking up Scotchman Peak Trail 65 northeast of Lake Pend Oreille on Thursday with lots of green berries above that to satisfy berry pickers in the prime picking period of August. Savvy huckleberry pluckers know certain high areas, such as the Roman Nose Peak region in the Selkirks, are harvest-perfect in September/Rich Landers, SR. More here.

Question: What is your preferred way to eat huckleberries?

PM Scanner Traffic — 7.19.13

  • 5:34 p.m. PFPD officer citing handicap-parking violator in red Chevy Tahoe @ 701 Spokane/PF.
  • 5:19 p.m. Male driving suspected hit-and-run Subaru having psychotic episode @ H95/Silverwood.
  • 5:09 p.m. Motorcyclist almost hit barrier leaving Wolf Lodge Inn area, possibly DUI.
  • 4:52 p.m. Male bleeding from head is on dock at Higgens Point, conscious.
  • 4:48 p.m. Five males are drunk & disorderly by Mudgy/Millie statue on Independence Point, and they are touching passing females.
  • 4:38 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for July 18-19 here.
  • 10 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 7.19.13

“It's challenging” said Nancy Beam, 13, of Rathdrum as she played her violin during Otis Orchards Strings Camp in Otis Orchards on Tuesday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

HBO Blogos: And In The Other Corner

Coeur d'Alene mayoral candidate Mary Souza speaks to the Panhandle Pachyderm Club at Templins ersort in Post Falls during the lunch hour. Photographer Duane Rasmussen tells Huckleberries: “One matter she discussed was the city of Coeur d'Alene's practice of paying for research and then not allowing copies to be made of the conclusions. One, read-only document was retained.  Souza promised there would be transparency when she became mayor.”

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, July 18): 7974 page-views/4722 unique views

McEuen Field Web Cam

It has been awhile since we visited the Lake City Development Corp. Web Cam (available by clicking on LCDC tile ad in upper lefthand corner of Huckleberries Online). This is what's going on this afternoon at the new and improving McEuen Field. The construction, I believe, is part of the underground garage along Front Avenue.

KCGOPCC Resolution Seeks Purity

Seems some members of the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee aren't satisfied that real Republicans are running in their primaries. On Tuesday, the local Elephants will consider a proposed resolution calling for an ad hoc committee to screen primary candidates to ensure that they're really Republicans (and not Libertarians, Ron Paulers and Constitutionalists, like more than a few precinct committeemen). The resolution reads in part:

  • Whereas, Promotion of the Republican philosophy cannot be done while simultaneously supporting candidates who oppose the Republican philosophy; and
  • Whereas, The KCRCC has failed to show any concern regarding whether or not a Republican candidate has promoted or opposed the Republican philosophy; and
  • Whereas, This failure has created a vacuum that has been filled by special interest grops and the meida, who often obfuscate a candidate's philosophy; and blah, blah, blah (full resolution here).


Question: What do you think of the resolution's attempt to screen GOP primary candidates?

Group Rips Simpson For Stones Show

The political silly season is off to an early start with the anti-tax group Club for Growth throwing its financial weight behind Idaho Falls lawyer Bryan Smith in his challenge to eight-term GOP Congressman Mike Simpson. Among Simpson’s outrages, says the club, is attending a 1999 Rolling Stones show in the MCI Center skybox of a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm. Simpson and his Oregon colleague, GOP Rep. Greg Walden, paid $165 for the seats, a step they didn’t need to take under House rules. Having ponied up for the ducats, it appears Simpson’s true transgression is showing an interest in Mick Jagger and the boys/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo, of Mick Jagger)

DFO: Don't tell Club for Growth that I have several early Stones vinyls.

Question: Are. You. Kidding. Me? Does this type of nonsense play in Mormon-dominated southern Idaho? Or are already LDS friends more in tune with modern culture than Club for Growth?

Read more here:

Labrador, Simpson Oppose NCLB

Idaho’s two House members joined 219 other Republicans Friday, voting for a bill to reverse components of the No Child Left Behind education law. Supporters of H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, say it will return educational control to states and school districts. The change represents “a complete U-turn, policy-wise, from the existing federal school accountability law,” says Alyson Klein of Education Week. Friday’s bill passed 221-207, on nearly a party-line vote. Twelve Republicans broke ranks to vote against the bill, and no Democrats supported it. “I am proud to support this legislation that will restore federalist principles by eliminating the one-size-fits-all federal mandates established by No Child Left Behind,” 1st Congressional District Rep. Raul Labrador said Friday/Kevin Richert, The EDge, IdahoED News. More here.


Son Volt Coming To Venue Near You

Alt-county/traditional American music act Son Volt performs Tuesday night at the Knitting Factory. Son Volt will be playing at the Knitting Factory on Sprague in Spokane Tuesday. Features Editor Carolyn Lamberson interviewed Son Volt guiding force Jay Farrar for the improved Spokane7 section in today's SR. You can read all about this alt-country/traditional rock group here.

Question: Do you follow Son Volt?

Otter Still Has Hots For Gun Makers

Idaho wants gun and ammo makers. Gov. Butch Otter did his best to roll out the welcome mat in May when he announced the state was courting 79 gun and ammo makers to relocate part or all of their operations to Idaho. Commerce Director Jeff Sayer continued beating the drum Wednesday while speaking at an Idaho Firearms and Accessories Manufacturers Association forum in Boise. “One of Idaho’s strengths is the Rocky Mountains are in our backyard,” Sayer said. “There’s no reason we can’t make what Idaho is known for as one of our core business strengths. Meshing (the outdoors) with the firearm industry is a perfect fit”/Zach Kyle, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Should Otter be pursuing gun manufacturers?

Read more here:

Inmate Sues Over Baloney Sandwich

Condemned double murderer Timonthy Dunlap is suing Idaho state prison officials, contending that the elimination of baloney sandwich lunches on weekends in 2011 constitutes “cruel and unusual” treatment, and that he's lost weight and suffered a heart attack due to low sodium since the change, the Idaho State Journal reports. In documents filed in court, Dunlap offered a solution: “Return to when lunches were served with bologna sandwiches on Saturday and Sunday,” the newspaper reported/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

DFO: This guy sounds as though he has too much time on his hands. Oh wait.

Question: Hey, I enjoy an occasional baloney sandwich. How about you?

CST To Debut ‘Romance, Romance’

Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre debuts “Romance/Romance” next week at the Schuler Performing Arts Center on the North Idaho College campus. Opening night is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. “Audiences will love this unique show, where they get two love stories in one show,” said Roger Welch, CST artistic director and director of Romance/Romance. “This show has lots of sparkle and intelligence; it will keep audiences entertained with romance, and the music is beautiful.” Romance/Romance consists of two separate one-act plays with only four actors. The first act takes place in turn-of-the-century Vienna, while the second act is set in modern day in the Hamptons. Both acts take a look at varied romance seekers/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Gabe Green photo: Matt Wade, left, and Joy Martin act out a scene from “Romance Romance”)

Question: Do you plan to see this play?

Bent: The Grill’s Ready

And now a word from Bent:

“Locked and Loaded! Jay and I spent this week cutting up about 600 pounds of top sirloin steaks for the St. Vinny's Steak Fry tomorrow. All the prep is done and we will be grilling up a storm tomorrow… Get your tickets because this is going to be the best year yet for this fundraiser. Kelly Hughes and the Acuff's are going to be filling the air with some jamming country music, and we will be filling some stomachs with some of the best steak you've ever eaten. Our business, Bent's Pitchamps is also donating two cooking classes to teach you how to cut and cook your own spectacular steaks, and we supply enough steak for about 15 people. Each class is a $250 value and it will be auctioned off at the event.”

DFO: Bent no longer hangs his BBQ shield at that little food court @ 6th/Best. If you've missed his amazing BBQ, you have your chance here to satisfy your taste buds — and help our friends at St. Vinny's, too.

Question: Anyone out there who hasn't eaten Bent's BBQ?

Staying Icy Cool

Staying icy cool on a hot day, Aliah Mendiola uses a bag of ice for making homemade ice cream to stifle temperatures near 100-degrees Thursday at the Walla Walla YMCA in Walla Walla, Wash. The ice cream making was part of a kid's activity day that included hulu hoops, paper airplane design and flying, and GaGa ball, a type of dodge ball. (AP/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin photo: Jeff Horner)

Question: What are you doing — or planning to do — this weekend to beat the heat?

Summer Weekend Chock Full ‘O Fun

Carolyn Lamberson, features editor of the SR, provides this run-down on coming festivals, music & fun happening in the Inland Northwest:

Mobius, for instance, is taking us “Back to the Future” – three times. Two Spokane neighborhoods are highlighting their best with popular festivals: The Garland Street Fair and the South Perry Fair. Winthrop, Moscow and the Two Rivers Casino are stacking the deck with music festivals. You can celebrate mules in Dayton, pioneers in Davenport, art in Pullman, onions in Walla Walla and community spirit in Rathdrum. Fans of country music have some choices as well, as the Knitting Factory brings in Son Volt and Randy Houser. Later next week, two Coeur d’Alene theater companies will begin new shows. “Romance/ Romance,” at Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, is essentially two one-act plays. … At Lake City Playhouse, they’re getting set for “Bat Boy: The Musical,” the 1992 off-Broadway play about, you guessed it, the Bat Boy made famous in the old Weekly World News tabloid. Both shows begin their runs on Thursday. Full report here.

  • HucksOnline recommendation: “Back to the Future” trilogy marathon & science extravaganza that starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Bing, 901 W. Sprague, Spokane — for $15. Click here.

Question: What's on your entertainment to do list in the coming days?

AM Scanner Traffic — 7.19.13

  • 12:01 p.m. Possible crash reported by resident on Cherry Hill Road.
  • 11:57 a.m. Animal bite reported in 1100 block of E. Walnut Ave/CdA.
  • 11:48 a.m. Driver from black Mazda dumping trash along H41/Priest Lake Road.
  • 11:33 a.m. Caller in 2800 block of Julia/CdA reports unwanted person on property.
  • 11:31 a.m. Blue Ford from Washington w/Spanish-speaking occupants disabled on I-90/Post Falls.
  • 11:28 a.m. 2-car injury crash reported @ H200/MP 32.42 (Whiskey Jack Road/Kootenai.
  • 11:19 a.m. Female w/small child has disabled vehicle @ e/b Huetter rest stop.
  • 10:41 a.m. Driver of black 2-door car speeding/reckless @ 4th/Linden, CdA.
  • 10:12 a.m. Couple panhandling in unknown roundabout claims female lost purse.
  • 9:47 a.m. Male in red 1987 Ford Ranger who may be DUI & headed for Hayden Holiday Express.
  • 9:25 a.m. Someone threatening suicide in 1300 block of E. Lancaster/Hayden.
  • 9:21 a.m. Single-car crash has dumped 15 gallons of fuel into creek, unknown location.
  • 9:17 a.m. Male hit his girlfriend & threw her across room in 2700 block of Fruitland/CdA.
  • 9:02 a.m. Someone injured in a fall @ North Star Retirement Community, 2340 Seltice Way, CdA.
  • 8:33 a.m. Caller reports disorderly person on water @ Spirit Lake.
  • 8:22 a.m. Male in older Crown Victoria drinking beer & has marijuana pipe @ I-90/stateline.
  • 8:13 a.m. Someone injured in a fall in 300 block of W20th Avenue/Post Falls.
  • 8:16 a.m. Responses personnel are on 5th Avenue/PF trying to locate source of smoke.

Waiting For Royal Baby

Royal supporters, right, look on as a couple impersonate Britain's Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge as they pose for photographers, during a publicity stunt for a daily newspaper, outside St. Mary's Hospital in London today. The media are preparing for royal-mania as Britain's Duchess of Cambridge plans to give birth to the new third-in-line to the throne in mid-July, at the Lindo Wing. Cameras from all over the world are set to be jostling outside for an exclusive first glimpse of Britain's Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge's first child. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Question: How closely are you following news re: the pending arrival of the Royal baby?

My 2 Cents: Welcome To Fray, Steve

I've been waiting to exhale since I learned that anti-City Hall activist Mary Souza was running for mayor. I knew someone would step forward to oppose her — and I don't mean Jim Brannon or Joe Kunka. However, I was hoping it wasn't some self-diluted individual who would pull votes from a stronger, nonpartisan candidate. Now, that Steve Widmyer has stepped forward, I can exhale. Widmyer, the owner of the historic Fort Ground Grill, has a solid business background and deep roots in the community. Also, he's his own man, without ties to the divisive Far Right politics that threatened to tear this community apart before voters erected a resounding stop sign during the recent Coeur d'Alene School Board elections. Given the alternative choices, Widmyer's bandwagon is worth jumping on. However, Widmyer's decision to step forward is only the first step in keeping our City Council out of the hands of radical ideologues. It'll also be important to keep the free seats now held by Woody McEvers, Deanna Goodlander and Mike Kennedy. Kennedy has already announced his decision not to run again. McEvers and Goodlander are testing the political waters for possible re-election bids. I like the incumbent council members. But it is possible that they acquired too much baggage in their decisions to back the McEuen Field makeover, urban renewal, and the controversial antidiscrimination ordinance. The strongest nonpartisan candidate for those seats should get support, whether it's one of the incumbents or someone else. The Far Right will certainly have its own candidates for those seats. Widmyer has a good chance to keep the mayor's seat out of radical hands. Now, it's time to focus on the best nonpartisan candidates for the three council seats/DFO.


Poll: Rolling Stone Made Bad Call

  • Thursday Poll: A large majority of Hucks Nation is bothered by the curent cover of Rolling Stone magazine that shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a rock star pose. 78 of 123 respondents (63.41%) said the cover bothers them. 35 of 123 respondents (28.46%) said the cover doesn't bother them. 10 (8.13%) were undecided.
  • Weekend Poll: Who would win the race for Coeur d'Alene mayor, if the voting took place today — Jim Brannon, Joe Kunka, Mary Souza or Steve Widmyer?

Owners: ‘We’re Not Anti-Environment’

Item: 'We're not anti-environment': Lakeshore property owners group wants more flexibility in land use code/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: CLPOA Vice President Bruce Cyr explained the association's position on the code and urged about 150 lakeshore owners in attendance to make sure to educate themselves on the issue. Cyr has been trying to influence the issue since 2010. He said that is when the county started to rewrite its land use code. He said the association is primarily concerned with setback regulations that could wind up preventing any dock, deck or landscaping activity within 25 feet of the waterfront. “Instead of infringing on the regulations, we wanted them to give us some flexibility in the rules,” Cyr said. “Stopping all activity in the area didn't make sense.”

Question: Does the Coeur d'Alene Lakeshore Homeowners Association have a legitimate beef about the proposed Unified Land Use Code?

AM Headlines — 7.19.13

“The greeting party was there, as usual on top of Scotchman Peak on Thursday, rewarding my daughter and me for our steep 7-mile-round-trip hike from the northeast corner of Lake Pend Oreille,” writes Rich Landers, SR Outdoors. “Mountain goats that live on the Idaho peak towering above Clark Fork, Idaho, have become an attraction in themselves” You can read more here. (SR photo: Rich Landers)

Cutline Contest — 7.19.13

The Brazilian synchronized swim team perform their routine during a training session ahead of the FINA Swimming World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, earlier today. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Thursday winner — Pair of Claws, with 9 votes: “Moments after this photo was taken, (Spokane Councilman) Mike Fagen rushed in, having been informed that there were a pair of hooters being displayed in public.” You can see photo and 15 cutline entries here.

John A. Finch Arboretum (Spokane)

Oak trees and hornbeam and maple and yew,
dogwood and willow and hundreds more too,
a bright little brook that runs clear and swift —
thanks Mr. Finch, it's a mighty nice gift.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Trib: Jeers To Labrador’s Family Biz

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune gives …

… Jeers to Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. When the freshman put his wife Becca on the campaign account two years ago, it looked like a rookie mistake. But in examining Labrador's latest campaign finance report, the Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey noticed nothing has changed.Labrador, who pulls down $174,000 as a member of Congress, paid his wife $6,045 for the last three months to handle the campaign's books. In addition, the campaign covered $4,224 in federal income and payroll taxes as well as another $1,188 in state taxes. Were those taxes paid on behalf of Becca Labrador? In an email, Labrador's deputy chief of staff, Mike Cunnington, stated: “As we have said before, Becca receives a monthly salary of $2,500 and the campaign pays all taxes that are required.” Marty's complete column here.

Question: Should Labador's wife, Becca, be paid for handling the congressman's campaign books?

Press: Slow Start To Hydro Races

All right, so the celebratory bottle-smack was a bust. The 2013 Diamond Cup Regatta hydroplane races won't be. On Wednesday, a staged media event in downtown Spokane to promote the hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d'Alene this Labor Day weekend drew all of one media outlet: The one you're holding in your hands right now. So when Spokane Mayor David A. Condon whacked Miss Spokane — the hydroplane, not the beauty queen- with a champagne bottle that refused to explode, there were no national TV cameras or live web feeds to make the red-faced moment go viral. Bad luck that almost nobody showed, and that embarrassed smiles, rather than champagne bottles, were all that were cracked? Hardly. It ended up feeling like the kind of good fortune that big events like these can always use to ramp up momentum/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Excited yet?

Event Center Challenge: Raise $5M

To build an event center in Riverstone, North Idaho College will have to break its fundraising record. The college's president thinks it can. Not only that, but he thinks NIC could secure the $5 million total in about a year. “I'm absolutely confident we can raise that,” NIC President Joe Dunlap told The Press Thursday. “I do have some commitments. I can't tell you who from or for how much, but we do have some commitments.” The $5 million would go to operational costs to run a multi-use event center in Riverstone off Seltice Way. On Wednesday, the city's urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp., agreed to fund $10 million to help build the arena. But before the college can capitalize on LCDC's pledge, it would have to raise and spend $5 million on the project first - a college record/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo: Joe Dunlap)

Question: Do you think North Idaho College can raise $5M in private donations to match $10 from urban renewal, to build an Events Center?

Widmyer Running For CdA Mayor

Longtime businessman Steve Widmyer, 52, threw his hat in the ring Wednesday, saying he is definitely going to run for mayor of Coeur d'Alene. Widmyer is mostly known as the owner of Fort Grounds Grill, but he also owns two women's boutiques with his wife and several commercial and residential buildings in Coeur d'Alene. He said he has been kicking the idea around for the past month or so, but one phone call pushed him over the top. “I got a call from an 80-year-old resident of Coeur d'Alene this week, and he told me that he was worried about the future of the city,” Widmyer said. “That's when I thought I need to be paying attention to that”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Facebook page photo of Steve Widmyer)

Question: Who will win in a four-way battle among Steve Widmyer, Mary Souza, Jim Brannon and Joe Kunka?

Spokane, CdA Carriage Tours Offered

Five-year-old Layla Armes watches the city of Spokane move past while riding on Bruce Spencer's horse-drawn carriage last fall. Free rides are offered Friday evenings through the end of August, now on a bigger, wagon-bench carriage, in downtown Spokane. They'll be offered in Coeur d'Alene, too, starting Aug. 9. Story from the SR's 7 section today here. (SR file photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Question: Have you ever taken a carriage ride through downtown Coeur d'Alene? I have.

Idaho Cities Face Discharge Mandate

Idaho cities will be required to cut the amount of phosphorus they discharge into the Spokane River by more than 90 percent over the next decade to protect water quality, according to draft wastewater permits released Thursday. The new limits will require millions of dollars in improvements to treatment plants, operated by the cities of Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls and the Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board, which pump treated sewage into the river. The stricter permits are designed to comply with the federal Clean Water Act and protect water quality in both Idaho and Washington stretches of the river, said Michael Lidgard, a permit manager for the Environmental Protection Agency/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.

Question: Now do you see why it was important for Coeur d'Alene to push ahead with wastewater expansion, despite the attempt by Councilman Steve Adams to thwart the funding process?

Biden Chief Of State Touts CdA Roots

Growing up a Democratic activist in conservative Idaho shaped Bruce Reed’s life in national politics, much of it spent in the White House and on the campaign trail. “Out here I learned that you can’t take anybody’s vote for granted. You have to earn it,” Reed told a roomful of Idaho lawyers and judges Thursday in Coeur d’Alene. Addressing the Idaho State Bar’s annual meeting, the 53-year-old Lake City native and chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden reflected on his childhood, early days in politics and nearly three decades of working in Washington, D.C. “The truth is, almost everything that I know about the way I see the world comes from what I learned growing up here,” he said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: How did your birth place shape you?

Train Wreck!

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Thursday — 7.18.13

The morning began at HBO Central with a visit from the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department. Our fire alarm decided to go off shortly after I got to the office. I was able to post a few things before joining the rest of the Spokesman-Review building denizens on the lawn outside. The CFD arrived in short order to check things out and reset the alarm. My ears are still ringing. So we'll credit any typos to ringing ears and, of course — blogging at the speed of light. Now for your Thursday Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 7.18.13

John Hensley emails this to Huckleberries Central. He spotted it at Hayden WalMart about an hour ago.  Anyone know anything about this?

Christa: Popcorn & ‘Sharknado’

Via Facebook, Christa Hazel posts/brags: “Am I the only one excited that Sharknado is re-airing tonight? In a few mere hours, I will know what the rest of you have been yapping about for a week. And I just might have a new appreciation for a chainsaw. Like I said — EXCITED!” Seems it's on the SyFy Channel of DirecTV as we speak

Question: I'm beginning to believe that the world is divided between those who have access to “Sharknado” and we have-nots who don't. What do you think?

Detroit Files Bankruptcy

Detroit on Thursday became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, as the state-appointed emergency manager filed for Chapter 9 protection. Kevin Orr, a bankruptcy expert, was hired by the state in March to lead Detroit out of a fiscal free-fall and made the filing Thursday in federal bankruptcy court. A number of factors — most notably steep population and tax base falls — have been blamed on Detroit’s tumble toward insolvency. Detroit lost a quarter-million residents between 2000 and 2010. A population that in the 1950s reached 1.8 million is struggling to stay above 700,000. Much of the middle-class and scores of businesses also have fled Detroit, taking their tax dollars with them/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, left, at a news conference today)


Cutline Contest — 7.18.13

Two young Snowy Owls sit next to each other at Hannover Zoo in Hannover, Germany, recently. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/dpa,Jochen Luebke)


Wednesday winner — JohnA with 14 votes (to Powder Farmer's 13 votes): “The Jets immediately sign the security guard, noting he's the first guy in several years to make a clean tackle in New York.” You can see the Wednesday Cutline Contest photo and read all 14 entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 7.18.13

  • 5:09 p.m. Undisclosed structure fire @ Academic Way/Howard Street, CdA.
  • 5:08 p.m. One of two males in fist fight has bloody nose in 8800 block of Meadow Brook/Rathdrum.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for July 17-18 here.
  • 4:38 p.m. Bloody male w/o shirt or shoes left white vehicle in 3800 block of Carolwood Court/Post Falls and walked on foot into traffic. Officers noted upon contact that he had a large cut on his wrist.
  • 4:21 p.m. 27YO female hurt ankle in fall from Twin Lakes boat dock, 22117 Rose Lane.
  • 4:10 p.m. 2 males w/gun pinned 3rd male & then put him in red pickup on Penn Avenue/CdA.
  • 10 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Wanted: CdA School Bus Drivers

All that talk by the previous Coeur d'Alene School Board may have chased some of the old hands to the sidelines. Huckleberries Online has just received this SOS circulated by CSD Transportation Director Jill Hill at interim Superintendent Matt Handelman's request looking for four new, full-time drivers ASAP:

“Just wanted to send a note and let you know that I really, really, really need to hire people. I currently will need to hire 4 driver’s and 1 aide to begin the school year. I am hearing rumors that one more of the drivers will not be returning so if that’s the case I will need to hire 5 driver’s and 1 aide. Although I do have subs that I assume will move into the benefitted positions, I am still very low on subs. See below for the current pool of people that we have. If Martin, Todd, Don, and Steve all apply then I will be 4 short on the sub list. I am worried because I will not have enough people available to cover everything that we do. If we can’t get new hires then we are going to have to come up with a plan B. Just a thought. (No trips until after 4:00 ish) What I need is to fill the 4 vacant positions (Possibly 5) and fill the one (1) aide position. In addition I need to hire 12 – 15 people that would be interested in a sub driving position. Things that we have done: There has been an ad placed in the paper and on Craig’s List.”

  • Huckleberries hears … that School District is no longer considering idea to privatize bus drivers.


HBO Blogos — 7.18.13

Leslie, a long-time friend of mine, got such a chuckle out of the “ObamaCare Survival Guide” that she saw at the Hayden WalMart book section, among the fictional titles, that she bought it — and posted the photo of her Facebook Page. Where I saw it.

HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday, July 17): 8282 pageviews/4815 unique views

‘Sandlot’ + 20 Years

This film image released by 20th Century Fox shows Tom Guiry as Scotty Smalls, being licked by The Beast in a scene from the 1993 film “The Sandlot.” The iconic film is celebrating it's 20th anniversary. Members of the cast and crew are returning to Utah for events on July 19-20, including an outdoor screening of the movie at Spring Mobile Ballpark. (AP Photo/20th Century Fox)

Question: Which member of the “Sandlot” do you most identify with?.

Joker’s Hard Q’s re: Events Center

Lake City Development Corp.’s announcement that they will fund $10 million for a new North Idaho College arena raises big concerns about the project. Before you buy what the Yea CDA crowd and the LCDC advocates are selling, think about these questions.

  • 1. Do we need it?  It’s not clear Coeur d’Alene or North Idaho College actually needs an expensive arena. For starters, the college already has a very nice auditorium that plays host to Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater.  NIC ‘s athletics are nice, but is there any evidence that thousands of people would show up for a basketball game? Or a wrestling match? If the college were to host tournaments that would draw more people to the region, but can those tournaments offset the substantial operating costs?  Where’s the proof that we need it?  The feasibility study? Ok, how often does a commissioned study comeback with a, “No.”   Wanting something cool doesn't mean its a good idea.
  • Questions 2-5 here.

Question: Do you have a hard question to ask re: events center?

Rally Right Trying To Rally

As I mentioned to you before, Rally Right is attempting to re-energize by scheduling a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, at Nate's Pizza, H41 & Mullan, Post Falls. For $5, you get a large piece of pizza and a drink — and all the heated rhetoric you can take. The pizza should be good. No guarantee on the rest. The photo above was taken of ads produced in this week's Nickel's Worth.

  • Christian Conservative Creed here.
  • DFO: I have a red Tea Party Patriots seat cushion that you can borrow, if you're interested in attending the Rally Right reincarnation and want to impress the Powers That Be re: your sincerity.

Question: Do you think Rally Right got permission from Reagan Republicans to use that mug of the Great Communicator? Or is it the other way around. Remind me again — which side ♥s Ronnie more?