Archive for March 2013
I appreciate all of you who offered kind words and remembrances of past pets these last few days, as Mrs. O and I processed the loss of our own pooch, Snoopy, Wednesday. Friday was better than Thursday. And Thursday was better than Wednesday. Tomorrow will be better still. I should be back up to speed Monday to resume my duties as ring master of this three-ring cyber circus. Until then, I'll post this Wild Card …
Item: Personal politics: Coeur d'Alene City Council members look to put personality conflicts, testy meetings behind them/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: The longest tenured city councilman said he has never served on a council where arguing has been so commonplace. Disagreements in politics are par for the course, Councilman Ron Edinger said, but never has he served on a council where personality clashes and personal digs have occurred so frequently. “I think that sometimes it gets a little carried away,” Edinger said Friday, a day after an at-times testy council workshop on Thursday in what has been a month full of testy city meetings. “Personal things get involved, and I think that's wrong.”
DFO: I can't blame the majority of the council for being testy toward Councilmen Dan Gookin and Steve Adams, who rode into office by trashing the City Hall and the McEuen Field project — and then sat back arms crossed while allies of theirs led a recall effort. Is the majority of the council suppose to grin and bear it when Adams throws a monkey wrench into a well-devised plan to pay for a sewer expansion because he's received some sort of divine insight into the Idaho Constitution? Civility is nice. But I also want elected officials to challenge colleagues when they are doing — or have done — something that the public should know about.
Question: Do you agree with Edinger that City Council members need to be more civil to one another?
I'm looking forward to a Good Friday service at church tonight. But even more to the Easter Sunday service when Christians of all denominations celebrate the foundation of our belief. As we deal with all the political, local and personal issues that tend to weigh us down, it's nice to pause occasionally, lift our eyes to heaven and get over ourselves. Here's wishing you, both my believing friends and my friends who don't believe, a wonderful next three days. Now for today's Wild Card …
KCres: A couple of months ago my 18 yr old cut his finger (well, one of them) while cutting some kindling. My wife freaked out and insisted he have it looked at in case he needed stitches. At that time of the evening, at least at the time we told her what had happened, the only place open that we were aware of was KMC. He was told that he did indeed need stitches, and got all 2 of them there and then. Fast forward to today and his bill arrives. 2 stitches, $681. $340 per stitch. Apparently this extraordinary number is generated by charging $287 for the doctor (which in itself is high), $13 for the supplies, and $525 for just walking through the door. This is then reduced because we have insurance, although the insurance does not actually pay out anything because his deductible hasn't been met yet. World class medical treatment or just top of the range rip-off? (SR file photo of local nurse removing stitches from patient's head)
Question: When were you last shocked by a medical bill?
On his Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts blog, Nic offers the “Separated at Birth” post above (featuring Duane Rasmussen's photo of CdA trustee candidate Bjorn Handeen and, I believe, actor Alan Rickman) along with a thorough, thoughtful analysis of local politics, including the Coeur d'Alene School Board races this spring. Click here.
Huckleberries numbers (for Thursday, March 28): 8150 page-views; 4634 unique views
When several House Republicans sought to defect to the Senate during the 2012 elections, the conventional wisdom held that this shift would make the Senate more conservative — and more like the House. The verdict: Yes and no. The newcomers certainly had a profound impact Wednesday, when the Senate rejected the 2013-14 public schools budget. The six Republican newcomers all voted against the budget: Cliff Bayer, Boise; Jim Guthrie, McCammon; Marv Hagedorn, Meridian; Bob Nonini, Coeur d’Alene; Jim Patrick, Twin Falls; and Steven Thayn, Emmett. Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde and fellow budget opponents needed every one of these votes, since the $1.308 billion budget was voted down by a 17-18 margin/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
Question: Why am I not surprised that Bob “No Comment” Nonini joined Goedde in this rebellion against the $1.3B Education budget?
KCRes: We received a 6 page newsletter from CHS yesterday about graduation and the run-up to it. Not long to go now for our seniors. Upon closer inspection though it is about 1 page on the run-up, and 5 pages on what to wear and how to behave (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration). Any misdemeanor will see you up before the school board to plead for your diploma. Apparently the tassel must be worn to the left, except for when you are being photographed when it must be worn to the right. Or maybe it's the other way around. It can be summarized by 'All behave and look the same or else'. Nice way to finish high school. (SR file photo of CHS graduation by Jesse Tinsley)
DFO: Seems like only yesterday that my kids were graduating from high school here — Junior in 1997 from Coeur d'Alene High and Amy Dearest in 2004 from Lake City High. Then, it doesn't seem that long ago when I was graduating from Gridley (Calif.) High in 1967. Then there were the college graduations. And I'll be attending another in June when Amy Dearest graduates with a masters in family counseling. Graduations are fun family occasions.
Question: How many graduations have you been to?
Stanford players toss balls in a drill during practice for a regional semifinal game in the women's NCAA college basketball tournament Friday in Spokane. Stanford plays Georgia on Saturday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Question: Are you going to follow the NCAA Women's Tournament regional action this weekend in Spokane?
Had it passed, I believe the $1.3 billion spending plan for Idaho’s public schools would have been a disaster. State lawmakers were right to reject it days ago on an 18-17 vote. And much as I wish the Legislature would adjourn for the year, I’m glad they’ll stay to get this appropriation done correctly. The bill would have provided a blank check to school districts to fund pay-for-performance and school technology—two areas that I believe are critical to the future success of Idaho’s public schools. But the bill before the Legislature failed to fill in key details and looked to be nothing more than a giveaway to schools with little expectation of a return on investment. This could have resulted in few student achievement gains from tech and merit pay, leading future policymakers to view either proposition through jaundiced eyes/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Do you suspect, as I do, that the 2013 Idaho Legislature will end up taking more money out of education as a result of the Sen. Goedde-led rebellion against the House-approved Ed budget bill?
Bill Wassmuth's appearance on the Geraldo Rivera show 25 years ago wasn't the only time the flamboyant TV host had contact with the Coeur d'Alene area. In the Coeur d'Alene Press file photo by Jerome A. Pollos, Rivera is shown in April 27, 2006, with Steve Groene, center, father of murder victims Slade and Dylan Groene and attorney Chuck Lempesis.
From DFO's files 25 years ago: The Rev. Bill Wassmuth shared a television spotlight with flamboyant producer Geraldo Rivera this week in a “Donahue-type” look at victims of violence. The syndicated show, tentatively called “Geraldo,” is being marketed to television networks. … “He's quite a character,” said Wassmuth of Rivera after a whirlwind trip to New York City. Chairman of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, Wassmuth will be shown with four other victims of violence in an hour-long program. In mid-1986, the St. Pius X Catholic Church priest narrowly escaped injury when his home was bombed. Two men with ties to the Aryan Nations are awaiting trial on charges stemming from the incident.
Question: Were you here when Bill Wassmuth's home was bombed?
They say that when God closes a door, he opens a window. Well, when Jerry Jensen closes a Subway, which is unusual, he opens another - and likely another and another. The owner of six Subways in Coeur d'Alene and Hayden sat inside his newest store on Seventh and Sherman that opened Monday. “Obviously in the summertime we're going to get a ton more traffic, and that's a big thing,” he said. The 1,700-square-foot store is in a prime location to continue drawing big weekday lunch crowds, as well as increasing customer count for dinners and weekends. “I think that really was the driving force behind this,” Jensen said/Bill Buley, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Sandwich artists Patrick Runkle, left, and Brad McNelis work on a customer order Tuesday at Subway in Coeur d'Alene)
Question: This is the site of the old Senor Froggy's, right? Is that a good location for a Subway?
From the files of Huckleberries 25 years ago …
Freeman Duncan, the man with two last names, actually has three. His middle one is Bonnot. The GOP legislative wannabe received the middle one from his godfather. Frat brothers made it easy on themselves by dubbing him “Dunk,” says wife, Diane, of Better Homes Realty, who calls her man, “Bonnot.”
Question: What's your middle name? Moi? Franklin, after my father.
Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell has lost his second appeal over a 2010 elk poaching charge, with the Idaho Court of Appeals ruling unanimously that two lower courts correctly upheld Rammell’s misdemeanor conviction. He challenged it on multiple grounds, nearly all centering around his contention that the state didn’t prove he intended to unlawfully kill an elk in the Tex Creek Zone on Nov. 30, 2010. But the high court found that the offense requires no specific intent/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (Eye on Boise file photo)
Question: Anyone out there admit that they've voted for Rex Rammell at one time or another?
Pure unadulterated balderdash. Pure B.S. That’s the only way to describe the baloney Coeur—the Precious Metals Company is serving up as its excuse for relocating its corporate headquarters from Coeur d’Alene to Chicago later this year. It’s bad enough that most corporate Chief Executive Officers (CEO’s) and Presidents are grossly overpaid by compliant boards, even when the CEO has failed miserably but is still given the proverbial golden parachute. When boards though give way and acquiesce to pure CEO vanity, shareholders ought to sue. Make no mistake, folks, this move is an exercise in personal vanity by Coeur’s president and chief executive officer, Mitchell Krebs. He and his wife both hail from the Chicago area and want to get closer to home. So let’s just pick up the corporate headquarters and move, ma!/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.
Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19 provides an interesting video 4:45 minutes in length in which LCDC executive director Tony Berns and anti-LCDC Coeur d'Alene Councilman Dan Gookin discuss urban renewal philosophies. To Gookin's credit, he admitted that he supported urban renewal money for infrastructure at Riverstone and the Education Corridor — and that LCDC had been “more focused” on correct things in recent years. Toward the end of the video, Gookin is challenged by Councilman Mike Kennedy after he uses the term “crony capitalism” to describe some of LCDC dispersals. Gookin stands pat, stating: “Giving public money to people who already have a ton of money is crony capitalism.” Enjoy:
House Republican leaders on Friday moved quickly to denounce Rep. Don Young's racial slur against Hispanics. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said there was “no excuse” for the comment, in which Young described Latino workers on his family farm as “wetbacks.” “Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds,” Boehner said in a statement. “I don’t care why he said it. There’s no excuse, and it warrants an immediate apology”/Justin Sink, The Hill. More here.
Question: And you wonder why Republicans have a problem attracting Hispanic votes?
In a delightful give-and-take, Lake City Development Corporation board member Dave Patzer rebuffs Councilman Dan Gookin, who'd asked about future troubles the urban renewal agency might face. (Video provided by Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19, per request of Huckleberries Online)
A Spokane jury awarded $813,000 this week to a woman whose foot was amputated following the wrong diagnosis by a local physician. It was the second time a jury heard Darlene Turner’s medical malpractice suit against now-retired Dr. Nathan Stime. The first action, in 2008, was declared a mistrial after jurors made what a judge perceived as racist comments against the woman’s attorney, Mark Kamitomo. “There is no question that justice was delayed, but it wasn’t denied in the end,” Kamitomo said. “All I wanted from the start was to have Mrs. Turner get a fair shake,” he said. “But with the comments and the strength of the case, we didn’t feel like she got a fair shake”/Thomas Clouse, SR. More here.
Question: Have you ever sought a second opinion from a doctor?
The debate over the fatal shooting of a car thief in East Spokane is now heating up online. On Monday, 25-year old Brendon Kaluza-Graham was shot and killed while he stole an SUV. The owner of that SUV, Gail Gerlach, told investigators he fired at Kaluza-Graham because he thought he pointed a weapon at him. On Wednesday, a Spokane woman, who has been the victim of a burglary, launched a Facebook Page to show support for Gerlach. The creator of the page has asked to remain anonymous. But, agreed to an interview as long as KXLY didn't use her name or show her face. “I hope he understands that we are here for him, for the community,” she said/Annie Bishop, KXLY. More here.
Question: How would Gerlach's use of deadly force been received by the community, if it had happened in Kootenai County rather than Spokane County?
Barb Colegrove, a substitute teacher at Bonners Ferry High School in North Idaho’s Boundary County, has taken on the role of restroom monitor as school officials try to put a stop to a rash of fake bomb threats. Scott Maben story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
This is for dog lovers who have had to put their best friend down, at some point in the past. How do you deal with the guilt that comes from such an act? Mrs. O and I know deep down that we did the right thing. But there's still the sense that we took our little, trusting buddy to his execution — and watched him eat the chow that tranquilized him for the needle. We've gone over in our minds several times the need for this final act — painful glaucoma, blindness, tumors, painful warts, etc. But we know that we could have gotten a few more months and maybe a year more out of him. A few years ago, I remember rushing him to the vet in the middle of the night, bleeding after he'd clipped a vein on his stomach. I couldn't stop the bleeding. And I didn't want him to die helplessly like that when a quick operation could prevent the problem. This time, we willingly took him to the vet, knowing that the vet might tell us those awful words: “It's time.” Which the vet did.
Question: How did you deal with the guilt after you put a beloved pet down?
A swimmer gets out of the water next to a snowman with bunny ears at the snow covered beach of Strandbad Lake Wannsee lido in Berlin, Germany, earlier today. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/dpa, Rainer Jensen)
Thursday winner — DFO (w/3 likes): “No matter how hard they try, supporters of Idaho public education can't get the attention of state Sens. John Goedde and Bob Nonini.” OK, OK, I was the only entry. But I did get 3 likes, which is one over the minimum amount to be declared the winner. Photo here.
From Kestrel West Morning Memo: A defeated measure designed to protect health care workers from assault highlighted a simmering feud. “It sure appears as a conflict that Luke Malek did not disclose that he was doing this as a favor to his father and KMC. Young Luke needs to understand that we expect more transparency in government that Luke is willing to concede,” [Bob Nonini wrote} … Malek said of Nonini, “This isn’t the first time he’s impugned my character … I think what we are seeing in Bob’s case is mostly frustration with an inability, once again, to create any sort of coherent legislative agenda …” Story here.
Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Larry Kenck says Republicans in the Legislature are scared to take up Medicaid expansion bills because they fear “blowback from their ‘return to the gold standard’ faction.” With Friday’s hoped-for adjournment dashed by Wednesday’s Senate defeat of the K-12 budget, Kenck urges citizens to pressure lawmakers over the weekend to reconsider and agree to take up two bills that a state-commissioned study estimates would save property taxpayers $478 million over 10 years. The expansion would add federally subsidized health insurance for about 100,000 low-income Idahoans, lifting the burden from county taxpayers. Delaying six months beyond Jan. 1, 2014, will cost taxpayers an estimated $41 million, according to Gov. Butch Otter’s Medicaid Expansion Workgroup/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Are Republican legislators too afraid to take up an issue that will help the state's poor but alienate the noisy Fringe Right in their party?
It's going to a vote. The Coeur d'Alene City Council agreed Thursday to ask voters for the authority to borrow up to $36.3 million for federally mandated upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant. The City Council begrudgingly voted 4 to 1 to put the up or down question on a ballot for the May 21 election as a way to prevent one councilman from handcuffing the city's options by tying the issue up in court. It means the city all but will abandon its preferred route — judicial confirmation — which would be the less expensive option. But the council said an election is the best route to take to prevent the project from possibly stalling. “This is ridiculous. We shouldn't be here,” said Mike Kennedy, councilman. “Steve put us all in a very bad position over an ideological matter that I think is a misunderstanding of Idaho state law”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust Coeur d'Alene Press photo: City Attorney Mike Gridley explains bond vote to City Council)
Question: What will be the political fallout for Councilman Steve Adams in all of this?
Marc Lyons, attorney for the Coeur d'Alene School Board, has told a parents group that the trustees want respond to their grievance re: the disbanding of the IB/PYP programs in the district. Here's parent Ashlie Unruh's response to the board's inaction:
The fact that the Board “exercised its governance authority” to end PYP is not the problem. We never questioned the authority of the board to end a program, rather, we asked for accountability for what we considered unethical decision-making that was not based on policy or facts. Essentially, the message they are sending is that they removed a program simply because they had the authority to do so, not because they thoroughly researched unbiased resources, conducted a fair survey like they promised, utilized policy-based information, considered all available facts, or really listened to teachers and parents. This is not the way a school board should operate. The courtesy response from their attorney only highlights the Board’s consistent and pervasive pattern of evasiveness and lack of accountability for their actions. If the Board was at all interested in restoring trust, they would have responded to these 200 citizens instead of avoiding us. Full news release here.
Question: Is the Coeur d'Alene School Board being transparent here?
In the letters to the editor section of today's Coeur d'Alene Press:
Question: Has your view of Adams changed since the flap over judicial confirmation for the wastewater treatment plant expansion?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune cheers … to Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg: “He didn't just block Sen. Bob Nonini's barely concealed ploy to spend tax dollars on religious schools. Hill drove a stake through its heart. Nonini was engineering an end run around Idaho's constitutional ban against using public dollars for religious instruction. He suggested giving taxpayers a credit when they contribute toward private school student scholarships. Estimated cost: $10 million. Not so fast, said Hill. When he's not running the state Senate, Hill is a CPA. Said Hill: For every $100 contributed to a scholarship, the taxpayer would net “at least $107” and the state would pay another 10 percent for administrative costs. Down Nonini's bill went on a 7-2 Senate tax committee vote/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Huckleberries is trying to figure out how someone as opposed to public education as Sen. Nonini could be appointed first to chair the House Ed Committee & now a member of the Senate Ed Committee? Anyone?
Strange night and morning at Casa Oliveria Wednesday and today sans Snoopy (who BTW was named after rapper Snoop Doggy Dog not Charlie Brown's Snoopy). Mrs. O & I caught ourselves several times stumbling over little rituals that we had done automatically as a result of having a dog. Getting up to let him out. Then, moments later, getting up to let him in. Being careful not to kick Snoop's water dish on the way out to the garage. Watching him sleep on the landing of our stairs. I didn't go get the mail last night. That'll come today. Any way, I have my wits about me somewhat more today than yesterday. It's nice to have something to keep me busy. Now for today's Wild Card …
The Coeur d’Alene City Council agreed Thursday to put on an election May 21 for the authority to borrow up to $36 million to pay for federally mandated upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant. Councilman Ron Edinger voted against it/Coeur d'Alene Press.
Question: Anyone know whether there was fireworks b/n City Attorney Mike Gridley and City Councilman Steve Adams at the meeting?
Bjorn Handeen, left, a candidate for Coeur d'Alene School Board, makes nice with former GOP legislator Gary Ingram during the Reagan Republican luncheon at Fedora today. Handeen and Ingram or on opposite sides of the power struggle in the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee. Handeen has worked to get Ron Paulers elected to precinct committee posts, while Ingram represents the more traditional wing of the party. Behind the two men, Ruthie Johnson, right, talks with Mary Souza. Handeen is running against Tom Hearn for the trustee seat now held by James Hightower. (Duane Rasmussen photo for Huckleberries)
Huckleberries numbers (for Wednesday, March 27): 9622 page-views; 5274 unique views
Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, a former Kootenai County deputy prosecutor whose first bill as an Idaho state representative was defeated on a tied Senate vote today – a tie that was broken by a no vote from Lt. Gov. Brad Little – said, “I’m disappointed that it was defeated this year, but confident that once we iron out the misconceptions voiced in the floor debate, we will be successful next year.” Malek said Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, was mistaken when he said the bill would make it a felony to just assault a health care worker with words. “There is no such thing as verbal assault,” Malek said. He pointed to Idaho Code 18-901, which includes the “by word or act” phrase to which Nonini referred in the Senate debate/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Later, Betsy Russell/Eye on Boise reports: Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, declined to respond to questions from a reporter about his debate against HB 292, the health worker assault bill, or his response to Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, the bill’s sponsor, who said Nonini questioned his ethics for sponsoring the bill. “I told you ‘no comment,’ and let’s leave it at that,” Nonini said.
Question: What do you make of Nonini questioning Malek's ethics?
In this July 20, 1993, SR file photo, Tyler Ferguson, left, and Joey Jones get acquainted with greyhounds from Canadian Kennels at Coeur d'Alene Greyhound Park. Students and staff of the Coeur d'Alene Association for Handicapped Recreation visit the park as part of a summer program for the handicapped.
Another story that I wrote 25 years ago for the Coeur d'Alene office of the Spokesman-Review:
Playing second fiddle to Coeur d'Alene is one thing; doing so to the tiny community of State Line is quite another. Some Post Falls business people feel their town has been doubly snubbed by developers of a greyhound race track on its western flank. Not only is the track to be named Coeur d'Alene Greyhound Park, but now, Post Falls Chamber of Commerce members have learned track promotional material will identify its location as State Line, Idaho. “Hopefully,” chamber President Jim Kickinson said addressing a luncheon meeting Tuesday, “the race track will be a smashing success and we will get the overflow in terms of lots of jobs and people moving into the area.” A number of chamber members groaned when Dickinson pointed out that developer Duane Hagadone wasn't going to change his mind about the track's name.
Question: Am I the only one who ever won money at the greyhound park (during the one day that I attended races there)?
It’s the core of Coeur d’Alene, and city officials are trying to figure out what to do with it. The so-called “4 corners” area is where Northwest Boulevard runs into Sherman Avenue downtown at the intersection of Government Way and Mullan Avenue. Crews tore down a warehouse in the area last year, paving the way for new development. Now … what to do? During a joint meeting between the LCDC and City Council on Thursday, officials discussed options ranging from leaving it as green space, to developing townhouses, or dormitory housing for nearby college students. The field is wide open, officials agreed, and will involve input from the city, urban renewal agency, North Idaho College, the county and Fort Grounds residents.
What would you like to see done with the 4 corners area?
Huckleberries hears … that there was a fun exchange at the end of the joint meeting between the Coeur d'Alene City Council and the Lake City Development Corporation today. Seems Councilman Dan Gookin asked the LCDC if there were any issues that would impede the future work of the urban renewal agency. With skipping a beat (and we paraphrase), LCDC board member Dave Patzer said: “Well, yeah. You said if elected mayor, you’d kill the LCDC. That’s a major mine field for us.”
The City of Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission is seeking artists for the McEuen Park Entry Arch. The renewed and revitalized McEuen Park has been a project long in the making for the community of Coeur d’Alene. This prime location in the heart of downtown has evolved greatly over the years, and is currently being developed into a destination park, with compelling and memorable features that are designed to serve the greatest number of uses for the greatest number of people, of all ages and abilities, throughout all seasons. The new park will also support regional events and was designed in recognition of the legacy of the McEuen Park area.
The arch will be over the main pedestrian entrance to McEuen Park. The goal for the Entry Arch is to significantly beautify the entrance to the revitalized park/Amy Ferguson, Coeur d'Alene Today. More here.
In this 2007 SR file photo, Lake City High principal John Brumley, left, is charged by Coeur d'Alene High principal Steve Casey as the two duke it out during halftime of the junior varsity game between their two schools. The schools have started a spirit competition for the game, dubbed, the Fight for the Fish. The “sumo” match ended in a draw.
From the files of my print Huckleberries 25 years ago (spring 1988): All those bomb threats phoned in to North Idaho College a week ago reminds me of a gag gift presented to Lakes Middle School principal John Brumley last year. His staff presented him a bottomless 30-gallon plastic trash can, equipped with suspenders. t was to be worn as protection during bomb searches.
DFO: Brumley, of course, went on to become the first principal of Lake City High when it opened in 1994.
A federal judge refused on Thursday to dismiss a Federal Election Commission lawsuit that accuses former Sen. Larry Craig of misusing $217,000 in campaign funds for his legal defense after his arrest in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting. Craig had argued that the airport bathroom trip fell under his official duties as senator because he was traveling between Idaho and Washington for work, and therefore the legal fees could be paid for with campaign money. But U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected that argument. She wrote in her ruling that the charge against Craig didn't relate “to his conduct as a legislator, but only actions undertaken in the privacy and anonymity of a restroom stall.” Jackson set a scheduling conference in the case for April 26/Associated Press. More here.
Supporters for gun rights gather outside the National Shooting Sports Foundation headquarters in Newtown, Conn., today. Search warrants released today revealed that an arsenal of weapons including guns, more than a thousand rounds of ammunition, a bayonet and several swords was seized at Adam Lanza's home. Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza in their home before he forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn, killing 26 people.(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Huckleberries is still amused by appointed Trustee Brent Regan's reference to some challengers for area School Board elections as “recently minted conservatives.” On his Facebook page, he listed himself among the “solid conservatives” along with Ann Seddon, Glorie Ward, Carol Goodman, Bjorn Handeen. Possibly Regan wasn't living in the Coeur d'Alene area when his opponent, Christa Hazel, was working for the Queen Mother of All Conservatives, the late Helen Chenoweth-Hage. Or when Christa was working on the campaigns for Phil Batt and Butch Otter — or serving as constituent coordinator in the Coeur d'Alene office for then Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. Regan is using the routine trick of local Hard Right in denouncing reasonable Republicans as “libruls.” Meanwhile, he, the Reagan Republicans and others even further to the right readily embrace trustee candidate Bjorn Handeen, who was a Minnesota Constitutionalist only a few years ago. Huckleberries doesn't mind Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Birchers or Ron Paulers running as Republicans. That's certainly their right in Kootenai County. But these candidates should at least have the integrity to tell voters what they really are.
Question: Are you as tired as I am of the Hard Right questioning the Republican and conservative credentials of anyone who isn't in his/her camp?
It somehow amazes me when the Ideologues are so wrapped up in their practice of preaching to the Choir, that they forget an important ingredient for good government. Yes, political philosophy is important, but only to a point. That point is first, that the philosophy is not destructive as it was when Adams was elected to the Coeur d'Alene city council. Secondly, and a point that has been glossed over, is that the candidate be qualified for the office he or she seeks. The School board trstee election is a case in point. On the one hand there are two candidates that appear to have only membership in the falsely named Reagan Republicans as their sole qualification. With a lobby of same thinkers behind them we are in danger of turning our institutions into funny farms. The school board elections in Coeur d'Alene are supposed to be non-partisan. The Reagan Republicans didn't waste any time smearing Christa Hazel with the hated librul label, this a woman that worked for Helen Chenowith, who is certainly not left of center/Herb Huseland, Bay Views. More here.
Question: Do you know which School Zone you're in — and whether you have a trustee election this spring?
On party-line votes, the House approved two school board association-backed bills aiming give to districts more leverage during negotiations as well as require the teachers union to prove it represents a majority of a district's educators before it can bargain for them. The two measures, pushed by the Idaho School Board Association after similar provisions were dumped as part of voters' rejection of the “Students Come First” laws in November, each cleared the chamber on 57-13 votes, with Democrats against the measures/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
Question: Izzit just me or do Idaho Republican legislators have as much respect for citizens & their initiatives as they do for the Idaho Education Association?
A shadow sliced the sunlight. The white metal table wobbled as he dropped a sheaf of papers next to my brimming cup of café au lait. “It’s brilliant!” he said. “It’s something only you could write.” Carefully, I removed my wide-brimmed straw hat and looked into George Clooney’s baby blues. “I’m so glad you liked it,” I said. “I am really looking forward to …” “Zack’s still not home. I’m going down there.” George’s eyes faded. The sunshine and the Seine melted into darkness. My husband loomed over me as I tried to transition from Parisian dreams to wakefulness. “Wha? Huh?” Blearily I gazed at the clock – 1:15 a.m. I’d only been in bed a half hour. I hate to brag, but I excel at sleeping. It’s one of my true talents. In fact, when filling out résumés and job applications I’ve often wished I could include “sleeps soundly” under skills, but it’s never seemed appropriate/Cindy Hval, SR. More here.
Other stories by Cindy: Love Story: Marriage marked by adventure
Question: How many hours of sleep do you get each night? How many do you need?
Lyndsey Frank, 10, gives her friend Hannah Lakey, 10, a ride on her battery-powered moped after getting out of school Friday at Skyway Elementary in Coeur d'Alene recently. (AP Photo/Coeur d'Alene Press: Jerome A. Pollos)
I believe the 2013 legislative session has been a dysfunctional session as far as education issues are concerned. There is a lack of common direction, agreed upon goals, or methods needed to accomplish these undefined goals. The legislature is drowning in information without direction. This confusion has lead to conflicting policies. The Legislature is restoring some of the cuts to teacher salaries while at the same time making it easier for the school districts to reduce teacher salaries. Also, there is a desire to give parents choice in education but opposition to funding charter schools. This confusion is to be expected with the defeat of the propositions in November/Sen. Steven Thayn, IdahoED NEWS. More here.
Question: How would you like to stand in an Idaho teacher's shoes?
Sara Meyer of Citizens for a Positive Coeur d'Alene provides this photo of work this morning along Front Avenue. Seems those railroad ties, which once were traversed by trains going to the old Rutledge Mill (Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course) were buried under pavement somewhere).
The general contractor, Contractors Northwest Inc., is currently removing asphalt, curb and sidewalk from Front Avenue. CNI started removing sidewalk Wednesday on the north side of Front Avenue to prepare for waterline work. The contractor sent out a notice to affected properties around the Fourth Street and Front Avenue area to let them know that water would be temporarily shut off while lines are re-routed on Friday. The same will be happen at the affected properties around the Fifth Street and Front Avenue area next week. Notices will be sent out on Monday, April 1 and water will be temporarily shut off Wednesday, April 3/Kristina Lyman, Coeur d'Alene Today. More here.
Question: Do you remember the train runs through Coeur d'Alene that picked up material at the old Rutledge Mill?
The Coeur d'Alene City Council will meet with the Lake City Development Corporation at noon today in the Coeur d'Alene Library Community Room. By necessity, as a result of Councilman Steve Adams' eleventh-hour flipflop and stubborn stand against judicial confirmation, an item has been added to the LCDC agenda. The city will discuss a special $33 million bond election for sewer treatment plant expansion that would be conducted on May 21 as a result of Adams' threat to appeal any attempt to go ahead with the federally mandated project without a public vote. The city has budgeted $75,000 to conduct the election. You can read today's agenda here.
Question: Does the city have enough time to alert residents to the necessity of an bond election?
University students use sticks to hit the police truck outside Greece's parliament during a demonstration against education reforms, in Athens earlier today. The reform will see roughly one in five universities and polytechnic faculties closed or merged. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Wednesday winner — Ruralway & Nic each had 6 likes but Ruralway wins b/c Nic had 2 dislikes, too). Ruralway's cutline: “Obama says, “I can make this ball float so why can't I float a budget?” Photo & all cutlines from Wednesday here.
“… the practice of spiking legislation has a long and cherished history in both bodies. It's part of a reasonably effective system of checks and balances. If lawmakers truly have a problem with how the system works, they might want to amend the rules, instead of playing games. I'm reminded of Aristotle's claim that if people just act virtuous, they'll eventually become virtuous. Perhaps the same is true of these good gentlemen: If they ever start acting like statesmen, maybe someday they'll become statesmen” — Reporter/columnist Bill Spence in today's Lewiston Tribune. More here. H/T: Kestrel West Morning Memo.
DFO: I might consider Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, to be a statesman but I'm still shaken by her ridiculous vote to rein in the citizen initiative/referendum process this year.
Question: Is there anyone in the Idaho Legislature you'd consider to be a statesman.
Coeur d'Alene School Board candidates Bjorn Handeen and Ann Seddon will speak at the luncheon today of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. Huckleberries hears that Ron Pauler Handeen has privately asked the Reagan Republicans for support in his upcoming Zone 5 race against challenger Tom Hearn for the seat now held by appointee James Hightower. Handeen, a GOP CC committeeman from Precinct 52, is a former Constitutionalist chairman for a Minnesota congressional district. Seddon is making the rounds of the local Republican clubs in trying to gain support to hold her nonpartisan Zone 4 seat from a challenge by Dave Eubanks. She appeared at the Kootenai County Republican Women's luncheon with fellow Trustee Brent Regan recently.
Question: Do you suppose the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans will give lifelong Republican Christa Hazel a chance to speak?
It could go to a vote. Coeur d'Alene's legal department said Wednesday it's recommending the city hold an election to get approval to pay for up to $36.3 million worth of federally mandated improvements to its wastewater treatment plant — a move that comes in response to one councilman's pledge to tie the matter up in court if the city didn't ask voters. Staff has crafted a proposed bond ordinance that it will ask the City Council to approve during a special meeting at noon today that would put the issue before voters on May 21. It means the council could decide on whether to hold an election on wastewater treatment plant upgrades before it even knows the fate of its judicial confirmation — the way it originally sought to secure the money to pay for the project/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
DFO: This might be the day that Judge John Luster rules that the federally mandated sewer plant expansion is a necessary expense, not requiring a public vote.
Question: Has anyone called Councilman Steve Adams to inform him that he represents more people than just the OpenCDA.com crowd in this matter?
An email exchange b/n state Sen. John Goedde, one of his constituents comes to mind this morning, now that Goedde has spearheaded a successful rebellion to block the Education budget in the Senate.
The constituent emailed Goedde:
We know you'll be pulling the same punches with public education soon - trying to get around recent voters defeating certain anti labor, teacher, public education propositions. Some things never change in this one party state!
As to public schools, the repeal of the reforms damaged education. It cut $30M out of the current school budgets; it cut $4M in additional funding of math and science teachers; it cut professional development for teachers; it cut funding for dual credit classes for high school students; it cut funding of pay increases based on additional education of educators to name a few. Yes, we are trying to get them back into education, against the will of the voters.
When Huckleberries Online asked Goedde about the quote that's underlined above, he responded that he was trying to protect money that had been earmarked for education under the Luna Laws. He wanted to make sure that it and other good parts of the Luna Laws were preserved.
Question: Anyone know what “Atlas Shrugged” Goedde is doing by knocking the Education budget sideways?
According to the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, Idaho ranks 6th in terms of “Freedom in the 50 States” — and is considered the most improved state from 2009-11. Here's what the report says re: Idaho:
As an extremely conservative state, Idaho scores very well on economic freedom but poorly on personal freedom. Idaho wins the title for “most improved state” between the years 2009 and 2011. All that improvement came from enhanced economic freedom, especially regarding fiscal policy. After Wyoming, Idaho has the lowest government debt ratio in the United States. Its tax burden of 8.2 percent is also among the lowest, and it has fallen from 9.6 percent since 2001. However, state government is overly dependent on federal grants, and as a result government consumption plus subsidies and government employment are both above average (11.7 percent of personal income and 14.1 percent of private employment, respectively). More here.
Question: Do you agree that Idaho cherishes freedom?
I was sorry to hear that after a 32-year run, the Easter Bunny won’t be hiding any plastic eggs filled with tooth-rotting candy this weekend at Riverfront Park. Apparently there was a lack of a sponsor or a problem with the Easter Bunny’s agent. This isn’t the only Easter eggstravaganza going on around town, of course. But also I think we will be missing a huge opportunity if we don’t use this civic letdown to give all the disappointed kiddies the same words of comfort that my dad gave me whenever things didn’t work out. “Douglas,” he’d say in a firm, fatherly tone … “Quit bellyaching. Sometimes life isn’t fair!” Ah, the “life ain’t fair” gambit/Doug Clark, SR. More here.
Question: Do you still dye and hide eggs at your home?
A lawsuit filed to prevent a Colorado company from building a high-rise condominium in downtown Coeur d'Alene was dismissed Tuesday, although the ruling doesn't shut the door on litigation completely. But the company proposing the project, One Lakeside LLC., said it's pleased with the judge's decision and it's ready to apply for building permits this summer, and break ground on the 14-story building by November. “Obviously, we're pleased the judge saw it our way,” said Greg Hills, principal of the real estate development firm Austin Lawrence Partners proposing to build the retail and residential building at the corner of First Street and Lakeside Avenue. “We're going to keep moving forward, just like we have been”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Are you ready for another downtown high-rise?
This is a rough day at the Casa Oliveria. Just got back from putting our beagle, Snoopy, down. Poor little guy got an eye disease that he couldn't shake. Plus he had other ailments of age. And was suffering quietly. He's no longer doing so. But Mrs. O & I aren't in that great of shape. But we soldier on. Now for your Wild Card …
After the Idaho State Board of Education approved the University of Idaho's request to seek membership in the Sun Belt Conference, athletic director Rob Spear confirmed via Twitter that UI will join its old conference in football only in 2014. Spear tweeted: “I want to the thank our State Board of Education and Regent of the UI for approving football membership in the Sun Belt.” Idaho was a Sun Belt member from 2001-2005, before joining the WAC — a league that lost most of its core members through conference reshuffling in the past year/Josh Wright, SR. More here.
DFO: I wouldn't have said this a year ago, but I'm glad to see this happen. As a result of the discussion we had earlier this year re: Idaho's determination to remain a top division school, I changed my mind re: whether they should return to the Big Sky Conference. AD Rob Spear has pulled a rabbit out of the hat by finding a conference to handle football and putting the rest of UI's sports programs in the Big Sky.
Question: Have you ever changed your mind re: a subject as a result of the discussion here?
Borah Elementary 5th graders from left Morgan Wingham, Madelyn Engels and Jazmin Winn, front toured Lakes Middle Magnet School in Coeur d'Alene recently.The group will make the transition from elementary to middle school in September. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
HB 176, Coeur d’Alene GOP Rep. Kathy Sims’ bill to ban Idaho voters who’ve moved overseas from voting in state or local elections, has been defeated by a single vote in the Senate. The bill was just voted down, 17-18, after senators raised concerns about how it might affect Peace Corps volunteers, students studying internationally or young people serving religious missions. “We’ve got the best system in the world, but it’s only that way because people have the right to vote, and I don’t think we should take that away,” declared Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa. Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, described his son’s Peace Corps volunteer service. “The idea that my son would be deprived of the right to vote while he was off doing service to his country is something that I can’t accept, and I urge you to vote no,” he said/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: On Twitter, Sen. Branden Durst called this legislation the “I Hate Mike Kennedy Bill.” Actually, it was an attempt by Reps. Sims & Ed Morse and our old friend Sen. Bob Nonini to address the 2009 Coeur d'Alene City Council election. Thoughts?
Don Sausser provides another sure sign of spring … feeding the gulls at Coeur d'Alene's City Beach.
Huckleberries numbers (for Tuesday, March 26): 10,014 page-views; 5424 unique views
The State Board of Education announced today that Don Burnett will serve as interim president at the University of Idaho. Burnett, who is dean of the college of law, will lead the school as it searches for a successor to Duane Nellis. The Texas Tech Board of Regents officially hired Nellis Friday as its next chief executive, and he will leave the UI at the end of June after four years at the helm. The board also authorized the formation of a search committee that will work over the next several months to permanently fill the position. That committee will be made up of no more than 16 diverse UI stakeholders/Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Randy Stapilus, long-time observer of Idaho politics, posted this comment re: Your Huckleberry Hound Tuesday:
There was a time not so long ago that Dave Oliveria, the Spokesman-Review‘s columnist/blogger for northern Idaho, was clearly sympathetic with the area’s ascendant Republican politicians. He’s a self-described himself conservative, as in one interview where he recalled, “In 2004, we had the presidential election and I was probably one of the few in the newsroom who supported Bush. I wanted an outlet. I wanted to provide a conservative voice online to counter some of the liberal voices.” I mention this by way of setting up the bonafides when Oliveria, as he has done increasingly in recent years, takes on the local Republicans. More here.
Question: Do you think George W. Bush would have been conservative enough to win the 2012 Kootenai County GOP caucus?
Here's a graphic by SR's Molly Quinn showing some of the plans for the expansion of John Stone's Riverstone development. A 5,000-seat sports arena, regional transit center and technology-based “discovery center” are among the features planned for the Riverstone development, along the Spokane River in Coeur d'Alene. Story here.
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 movie tickets, and the overall champ will win a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Good luck! You can take this week's News Quiz here.
With blood running down his face, Latah County GOP Chairman Walter Steed had a clear message for his fellow Republicans on Tuesday night - “I am not resigning.” Twelve Latah County Republican precinct committeemen last month passed a vote of no confidence in Steed after he signed a letter to the Legislature as president of the Moscow City Council recommending ways of curbing gun violence should it take up the issue this session. Those rallying for his resignation say he didn't uphold the party's values in the Second Amendment. Steed didn't even get a chance to call for a prayer and recitation of The Pledge of Allegiance before Precinctman David Klingenberg called for a point of order. “Do we even have a chairman?” he asked. “We took a vote”/Brandon Macz, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. H/T: Digger.
Kevin Richert of IdahoED NEWS analyzes the historic Idaho Senate vote rejecting the education budget:
JFAC must write a new budget — and as a matter of procedure, the committee will have to come out with a different bottom-line number than the $1,308,365,400 general fund budget proposed Wednesday. That may be little more than a cosmetic change, Cameron said. But with most other money already allocated for 2013-14, the committee may have only one direction to go: downward. As Cameron noted in debate, Wednesday’s public school budget proposal was still $110 million below the 2009 public schools budget. But the thornier issue, illustrated in Wednesday morning’s debate, is not the bottom-line dollar amount. The debate will likely focus on the language of the school budget — and whether a rewrite would again direct money into professional development, pay for performance, classroom technology and the teacher salary grid. More here.
Question: It sounds as though the Goedde-led move to reject the Education Budget, supported by Nonini, Vick & Nuxoll in North Idaho, will mean less dollars for education. Thoughts?
A basketball clears the net during La Salle practice for a regional semifinal game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Los Angeles Wednesday. La Salle plays Wichita State Thursday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Question: Now that Gonzaga's gone … who do you think will win the NCAA Tournament? Who do you want to win the NCAA Tournament?
Neil Oliver, chairman of the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee, sent out this email at 11:20 Tuesday night:
As you have probably heard, Tom Malzahn has decided not to retire. Therefore, the special meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, to nominate three candidates for County Treasurer is cancelled.
DFO: Score one for good local government?
… That the Uber-Uber-Cons of the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee denied a vacant precinct seat to Jeff Ward of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans last night on a 35-20 vote. A handful of proxy votes went to Ward's successful challenger in the Precinct 23 contest. Seems the winner, Gerald Dale, advertised himself as someone who agreed with what Ward said during an impassioned speech prior to the vote. However, Dale (who was nominated by Melanie Vander Feer of United Conservatives of North Idaho) gave this reason for voting for him : “I'm the conservative.” The implication being that Ward was not a conservative. Which Huckleberries finds absolutely absurd. And frightening. Just how far to the right is the controlling faction of the county GOP CC?
Question: If I'm reading the tea leaves right, it appears as though the Tea Party group is more in control of the local GOP CC than Jeff Ward's Tea Party Lite Reagan Republicans. Anyone?
On his Facebook site, appointed Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan comments re: being well received at the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee last night. The evening started with a legislative update via teleconference. Then, Regan posts, “The five solid conservatives (not the freshly minted ones) running for Trustee positions were graciously given time to address the committee. Ann Seddon, Glorie Ward, Carol Goodman, Bjorn Handeen and I were all warmly received.” Seems that Regan is inferring that his School Board opponent Christa Hazel is “freshly minted.” As someone who has known Christa since her days as a North Idaho College student body officer, I'd say that Christa was active in the local GOP long before some of the activists at the levers of control of the local GOP machine were even living in this state.
Question (for Brent Regan): What's your definition of a conservative?
The man who shot a car thief Monday is 56-year-old Gail Gerlach, according to a search warrant returned Wednesday. Gerlach, of 1419 N. Lee St., owns a plumbing business and has no criminal record. Spokane County Prosecutors have not charged Gerlach in the shooting death of 25-year-old car thief Brendon Kaluza-Graham. Police say Kaluza-Graham drove away in a 1997 Chevy Suburban left idling in Gerlach’s driveway. … Gerlach has been vocal on his social media accounts about his support of the Second Amendment. In his biography on his personal Twitter account, Gerlach describes himself as a “right-wing conservative”/Jennifer Pignolet, SR. More here.
Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, who led the historic move in the Senate to defeat the public school budget today – after it had cleared the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on a 15-5 vote and passed the House 52-16 – said after the vote that he believes the germane committees in both houses, the House and Senate education committees, need to hold hearings on proposals like merit bonuses for teachers and technology pilot project grants. “I think leadership’s going to have to carve out time for that to happen,” Goedde said. “We’re here to do it the right way. … There was no public input on policy changes”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: I don't know how to read this move. Is Goedde doing something to help education funding? Or something else? Anyone?
Christie's scientific specialist James Hyslop holds up a chicken egg to scale the size of a sub-fossilised pre-17th century Elephant Bird egg as he poses for photographs at the auction house's premises in London, Wednesday, March 27, 2013. The Elephant Bird egg, which is estimated to fetch 20,000 to 30,000 pounds ($30,210 to $45,315 and 23,645 to 35,467 euro) in the forthcoming Travel, Science and Natural History sale on April 24, measures over 100 times the average size of a chicken egg, and stands at 21cm in diameter and 30cm in height. The extinct Elephant Bird species was native to Madagascar and among the heaviest known birds. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
… That at least one candidate for an elective office at the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee meeting last night said s/he is running to get rid of Communists and socialists in the system. P'haps Communist witch hunts and loyalty oaths are in order again. Paging Senator Joe McCarthy.
Controversial Councilman Steve Adams was well received at the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee meeting last night. In fact, the Powers That Be invited Coeur d'Alene School Trustee Brent Regan, Chris Fillios and Adams to count the ballots for a vote to fill a vacant precinct committeeman position. On his Facebook page, Regan reports that a committeeman joked when Adams' name was announced as a counter: “But Gridley says he is a moron. Can he count?” Regan reports that the room erupted in laughter. And that Adams smiled broadly. Sounds like Adams' support among the dysfunctional local Republican Party remains solid.
Jeff Selle, one of Huckleberries own, is returning to the journalism game, after years of wandering in the public relations wilderness. Jeff will rejoin the Coeur d'Alene Press. I first met Jeff years ago when he was pounding the Post Falls beat for the Press. Good reporter. Many of you know that he's also a superb BBQ cook. Jeff let his Facebook friends know about his transition in a post Tuesday: “I know this may shock a few of you, but before you hear it from someone else, I took a job reporting again at the Coeur d'Alene Press. However, I am going to continue catering and possibly some vending this year. I'm actually pretty excited to jump back into the game, so watch out North Idaho.”
DFO: Please join me in a big salute to our back-to-the-future local journalist.
Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. announced this morning that it will move its corporate headquarters to Chicago in the third quarter of 2013. The company, which had been located in downtown Coeur d'Alene since 1985, had disclosed late last December that it was considering the move. Coeur spokeswoman Stefany Bales says about 60 people work in the corporate headquarters, and all of those employees have been offered the opportunity to transfer with the company. Roughly a third of them have opted to move to Chicago. Bales says most of the other employees will continue to work for the company in the Coeur d'Alene office until final separation on Sept. 30/Journal of Business. More here.
Question: Should the company change its name to Chicago Mines?
Breaking (from Eye on Boise): The Senate has defeated the public school budget, HB 323, by one vote; it was 17-18.
Debate: After comments from Sen. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, against HB 323, the school budget, Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, has begun his closing debate. “It is our highest priority to fund public education,” he told the Senate. “This isn’t an easy budget. It’s not easy because it contains many pieces and factors that in the past myself personally have stood and opposed. … It seems almost a little bit surreal that I’m standing here with a budget that has money in it for excellence in education awards, when I have opposed that in the past, and some of my friends who were supporters of that concept are now opposing this budget”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
How they voted:
Question: 4 of 5 North Idaho senators opposed the public education budget. Only Shawn Keough, of Senate District 1, supported it in North Idaho. Thoughts?
Dorothy Dahlgren, director of the Museum of North Idaho in Coeur d'Alene, places a map against a wall Tuesday while working on an upcoming exhibit. The museum's first membership drive ends in April. Story below. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)
Local Republicans had the opportunity for celebration and soul-searching in equal measure at the annual Lincoln Day dinner Friday night. Party leaders and members alike gathered at the Bonner County Fairgrounds to socialize and get a sense of where the party is at and where it is headed. Speaking was Idaho Republican Party Chairman Barry Peterson, who traveled from Boise to Sandpoint for the occasion. Inspired by the conservative ideals expressed by Barry Goldwater during the 1964 presidential campaign, Peterson said he felt the GOP was the party that best advocated personal liberty and a reverence for God. “It makes my heart hurt that we have turned aside from the deity that gave us the opportunity to pursue liberty,” he said. He also encouraged attendees to maintain their efforts in promoting the conservative agenda and North Idaho values/Cameron Rassmusson, Bonner County Daily Bee. More here.
Los Angeles Kings hockey coach Darryl Sutter, right, and others, watch as President Barack Obama bounces the soccer ball off his forehead during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, honoring the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and the Major League Soccer champion LA Galaxy for their 2012 championship seasons. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Tuesday Winner — Nic, again (w/3 likes): “Due to his short stature, this giraffe has been ousted from the Giraffe Party after voting for a gazelle. Other young giraffes call him a GINO - or a giraffe in name only. “Real giraffes would never associate with a gazelle,” they said.” Photo & all cutline entries here.
Notable examples of jobs left incomplete: The telephone carrier that offers only incoming calls. The electrical utility that provides service only on weekdays. The fire department that calls it a day at 6 p.m. The 911 dispatcher who asks you to leave a message while he takes a lunch break. The 2013 Idaho Legislature. Idaho's 105 lawmakers are so fixated on closing down their session Friday they'll leave unfinished the most important piece of business on their plate. Millions of tax dollars will go wasted and hundreds of Idahoans could die in the process. At issue is Idaho's opportunity to extend Medicaid coverage to impoverished adults. Obamacare gives Idaho that option beginning Jan. 1. No state has a better reason to take this deal/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Sen. Bob Nonini's florid style makes his turn in floor debates must-listen moments for reporters. But when Nonini confessed last week that he regretted spending thousands in last spring's primary to defeat a fellow Republican, all eyes were on the Coeur d'Alene lawmaker. Nonini's mea culpa was directed at the Senate floor sponsor of Gov. Butch Otter's bill on a state-run health insurance exchange, Sen. John Tippets, R-Montpelier. “I have really grown to respect the senator from (District) 32 and will publicly say embarrassed by my actions last May in something that you're probably all aware of,” Nonini said. “He's quite the gentleman.” Yes, his colleagues are well aware. They're also surprised that the Senate freshman, who served eight years in the House, waited until the waning days of the session to fess up. And they remain puzzled that he didn't tip his hat to the other five Republicans he tried to unseat/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you think Nonini's apology on the Senate floor, in the waning days of the Legislature, was sincere?
Public Defender John Adams says he has been handed his walking papers from Kootenai County's Board of Commissioners. There ought to be a law against that, many in our community argue. Kootenai County Commissioners Dan Green, Todd Tondee and Jai Nelson should take a deep breath and find a way to work out whatever difficulties exist and retain Adams, rather than push him out by Sept. 30. Why? Because Adams is among the very best at what he does, with an outstanding track record spanning almost two decades working for the county. His dedication is partly reflected by the fact that he could make far more money in private practice. This isn't exactly a glamour job, either. When it's your solemn duty to ensure the rights of people like Joseph Duncan are protected, folks aren't patting you on the back as you walk down the street or lining up at the bar to buy you a beer/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.
Question: Do you think Jai Nelson and the other Kootenai County commissioners are adult enough to admit they made a mistake?
Local developer John Stone talked about the exciting additions to Riverstone during a tour on March 5 in Coeur d’Alene. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
After more than a decade of setbacks and stalled progress, the 155-acre (Riverstone) development at the Lake City’s front door is springing to life with new shops and restaurants, hundreds of residents and plans to build out the west end with apartment buildings, a regional transit center and possibly a new indoor sports arena for North Idaho College. There’s also serious talk of adding a technology discovery center for kids and families, and finding a new home for the 90-year-old carousel that once spun fun at Playland Pier on Lake Coeur d’Alene. And community speculation about when specialty grocer Trader Joe’s will land here never seems to fade. Stone, who turns 70 next month, is making the final brush strokes on his masterpiece/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Is it safe to say now that the Great Recession was the only reason that Riverstone hasn't boomed before now?
Item: Public hounds Humane Society: People seeking answers about turnover of KHS executive directors/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: Emotions were heated Tuesday night at the monthly meeting for the Kootenai Humane Society board of directors, where members of the public demanded answers for the recent turnover of three KHS executive directors. Of the roughly 30 who filled the meeting room at the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, some were staff and volunteers defending the Humane Society's mission. But many were investors in the nonprofit who worried about it being run responsibly.
Question: Are you concerned re: turnover of Kootenai Humane Society executive directors?
Does self-defense extend to your SUV? And if it does, let me pose another question: Is it just car theft that good guys with guns can punish? Or could I, say, shoot to death someone I caught stealing my bike? Or my newspaper? The slope, it is slippery. The fatal shooting of a car thief by a Spokane homeowner is a sad tale for all involved – including, I would argue, the man whose case was closed extrajudicially – and there is a lot we don’t know. But it extends the boundaries of our debate about gun ownership and self-defense, because the homeowner shot the car thief as he was driving away. Which means that it’s possible, if not probable, that no self was really being defended/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.
Question: Did we talk this topic out yesterday?
Developers have big plans for the final phases of Riverstone in Coeur d’Alene, including the high-profile west entrance along Seltice Way. Here are the highlights: An arena for college sports and community events is an idea that has been kicked around for several years. It emerged again in recent months, with North Idaho College looking at possibly owning and operating the venue. The 5,000-seat arena under consideration would cost an estimated $12 million to $15 million. Riverstone developer John Stone is enthusiastic about the project as an anchor on the west end of the development. The arena would provide an economic boost in the winter months when tourism falls off, he said/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: Rita Sims-Snyder of the Coeur d’Alene Carousel Foundation talks about plans for the vintage carousel)
Question: Other proposals for the Riverstone site include a transit center, discovery center and site for the old Coeur d'Alene carousel. Are these things you could support for Coeur d'Alene?
The Legislature is still in session as March winds down, which means that bad law still can get approval at any minute. The only good thing that can be said about the 2013 Legislature is that it doesn't appear to be as bad as the 2012 Legislature. But that isn't say much. Last year's session was dreadful. With that happy thought, I'll post today's Wild Card …
On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts: “A large nutria feeds on aquatic vegetation while floating in a pond in Roseburg (last week). I went looking for an otter which has been hanging out at the pond, but found the nutria instead. You can see more of Robin's wildlife photos here.
Marianne Love/Slight Detour doesn't mind the ear wax that comes with aging. Or the bowing neck. But the prospect of a growing nose? Shazam! Here's how she reacted to such info in Monday's Boomer section:
The nose? That's always been a particularly sensitive part of my body. I know it's already big, and I fear for the day when it gets longer and thinner and starts to droop. That's gonna be pretty ugly. I think after I leave this computer I'm gonna go get the ruler, do some measuring, take some side nose view photos and start comparing. Just plain awful to think about these things happening to our very own selves, especially our noses, which, in my mind and on my face, is bad enough to begin with. There IS a plus to this elderly nose growth. It might be a lot easier extending my tongue to the tip of my nose. That's always been an icebreaker in really boring meetings when another person across the room is just as bored as you are. And, as I get older, I'll probably be looking for ways to humor myself. More here. (AP photo: Singer Barbra Streisand, who is known for her one-of-a-kind probiscus, is shown biting her nails)
Question: Would physical change bugs you most as you age?
… That the city of Coeur d'Alene is going ahead with a bond election for wastewater treatment plant expansion, rather than risk losing EPA funding for the $33 million project. An insider tells Huckleberries that city staff has been working on ballot language since Councilman Steve Adams flipflopped and threatened to appeal the judicial confirmation process the city was using to move ahead with the project. The insider told Huckleberries that the city is confident that the judge will approve the federally mandated project as a necessary expense. But city officials don't want to take the chance that it would lose federal funding and loans if Adams' appeal dragged out for a year, as expected. The insider said: “. Obviously the risk is that the people could say no and that leaves us with a mess.” The city could face federal fines of $37,500 per day/$1 million per month, if residents oppose the bond election — and a possible sewer hookup moratorium, which would shut down the local construction industry. The city has budgeted about $75,000 for the election. The City Council will discuss the authorization to proceed with the special sewer bond election at a special meeting at noon Thursday. If approved, the bond election will be held on the same day as the school/hospital elections, May 21. See agenda.
Question: Do you think the RecallCDA activists from 2012 might be called upon to collect signatures near the polls for Councilman Steve Adams' possible recall? Oh wait …
Four-year standout Casey Stangel throws the ball during practice at Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday. She is headed to the University of Missouri. Greg Lee SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
“It's a time of rebirth of inner energy and a time for birth of cute, young creatures waiting for momma to bring the goods,” posts Marianne Love/Slight Detour. “We marvel at welcome hints of color popping from still brown, cold ground.” More here.
Top Post: Conservatives often whine and moan that the “drive-by media” is against them… against us, as a nation. “All media except Fox News, that is. ALL media including regional and local news producers, staff and reporters.” That's the accepted mantra. (And in my experience this is inaccurate regarding the local and regional media.) Chief among the voices chanting such national sentiments is Ann Coulter, attorney, writer, somewhat-iconic conservative political commentator. She's Fox News' fox. (Or at least someone there used her as the archtype for their many blonde-babes.) /Dennis Mansfield. Much more here.
Huckleberries numbers (for Monday, March 25): 10,106 page-views; 5451 unique views
Question: Do you think any national commenter — conservative or liberal — who makes his/her money stirring up the masses really gives a hoot about the vox populi?
A bill to grant $10 million in tax credits to support scholarships in private schools was killed by an Idaho senate committee today. Coeur d’Alene GOP Sen. Bob Nonini pushed the bill as a way for the state to save millions of dollars, because he predicted that hundreds of students would leave public schools and transfer to private schools. “There’s a projected savings overall of $5.8 million” a year, Nonini told the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee, between his estimates of savings to the state and to local school districts. Others said the public schools wouldn’t save any money if only one or two students left each class. Opponents also noted the Idaho Constitution’s requirement that the Legislature fund public schools and its strict ban on any funding for religious schools/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Other Eye on Boise posts:
Question: A fitting ending, right?
Boise comedian Pete Peterson, the former gubernatorial candidate who has twice failed to force a recall vote to remove Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna from office, just can’t seem to take “no” for an answer. Although Luna will face re-election for a third term in 2014, Peterson has formed the 2013 Luna Recall Committee to make another go. On Thursday, he’s planning a rally at the Capitol on the Jefferson Street sidewalk. The rally has a new wrinkle: a $50 prize for the “funniest, most original sign,” and a $50 prize for the “funniest, most original slogan or song”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Why waste time, with the election a year away?
A Dietrich science teacher is being investigated by the state’s professional standards commission after a complaint from parents over his teaching methods. Tim McDaniel is being investigated after a complaint was filed by a handful of parents who objected to how McDaniel taught the reproductive system, Dietrich Superintendent Neil Hollingshead said. “It is highly unlikely it would end with his dismissal,” Hollingshead said. “Maybe a letter of reprimand from the school board.” According to McDaniel, four parents were offended that he explained the biology of an orgasm and included the word “vagina” during his lesson on the human reproductive system in a tenth-grade biology course/Kimberlee Kruesi, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.
Question: Should the state's professional standards commission investigate this complaint?
Sen. Chuck Winder’s drone privacy bill, SB 1134, has been killed this morning in the House State Affairs Committee. “I think this is certainly a laudable attempt to try and address an upcoming issue, but I see serious issues in this bill still,” said Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise. “We have a body of law already that protects us from invasion of privacy and I see this as actually undermining that protection, because of the liquidated damages in this. … I think it’s one of those unintended consequences.” He added, “There’s still a whole lot of work to do”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Nike is causing a social media storm with its latest online ad, seen here, showing a picture of Tiger Woods overlaid with a quote from him, “Winning takes care of everything.” Woods has used the phrase with reporters since at least 2009 when they ask him about rankings. The ad, posted on Facebook and Twitter, is supposed to allude to the fact that the golfer recovered from career stumbles to regain his world No. 1 ranking on Monday, which he lost in October 2010. But some say it's inappropriate in light of Woods' past marital woes. (AP Photo/Nike)
Question: Do you have a favorable impression of Tiger Woods again, now that he's winning again?
The decision by veteran Treasurer Tom Malzahn to withdraw plans to retire should serve as a warning to all Kootenai County Republicans that something's very wrong at the Central Committee level. Malzahn rescinded his retirement because he isn't confident that the Central Committee would pick at least one qualified person among the three names it would send to the County Commissioners to fill his vacancy. Everyone knows that Treasurer Malzahn considers his able assistant, Laurie Thomas, to be the most qualified person in the county to fill his shoes. But rumors abound that a subgroup within the Central Committee was lobbying actively behind the scenes to make sure that Laurie's name wasn't among the three sent to the commission. The in crowd wanted a party hack instead. The GOP Central Committee no longer can be trusted to act in the best interests of the public. Rather, it has become a vehicle for Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Ron Paulers, and various other elements of the local Tea Party to push their extreme agendas under the name of the Republican Party. For the past year, we have watched as “Republican” activists have created turmoil on the Coeur d'Alene City Council and Coeur d'Alene School Board. Councilman Steve Adams, a former North Idaho Patriot for Ron Paul, won office as a “Republican” and now has Coeur d'Alene facing an economic disaster as a result of his flipflop stand against wastewater treatment expansion. The Coeur d'Alene School Board, including three appointees, all of whom have Republican Party backing, has bounced from one self-inflicted controversy to another in the last 9 months. Malzahn's decision puts a fine point on the radicalism of the local GOP CC. Anyone who stands up to this new version of the Grand Old Party will be denounced as a “liberal” and trashed. But that's a small price to pay to take our Kootenai County communities back from the right-wing RINOs/DFO.
It appears that the 911 call by Councilman Steve Adams is going viral. Here's how Glenn Church presented the situation on his Web site Foolocracy: Government by Fools, Silliness & Unintelligent People:
Idaho politics might be a little too intense for Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Steve Adams. In a city council meeting, city attorney Mike Gridley got within a foot of Adams while using some profanity and calling Adams a “moron.” The topic was how the city will pay for an overhaul of a sewage treatment plant. Gridley never touched Adams, threatened him or raised his hands in an intimidating manner. Vehemently disagreeing with Adams and questioning Adams’ intelligence was enough to inspire Adams to call police. Afterwards, Adams said that he overreacted. While calling Adams a “moron” isn’t going to settle any political issues, Adams reaction to calling the police doesn’t do anything to dispute Gridley’s observation. More here (including KREM video from Monday newscast.
Question: Adams admits on the KREM video that he overreacted. Does he owe his constituents a public ap-hollo-gy?
The number of abortions among Idaho women rose 36 percent between 2001 and 2011, according to a report from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The figure for Idaho residents peaked at 2,348 in 2009 and fell to 2,005 in 2011. There was, in recent years, a slow uptick in repeat abortion seekers and a fast uptick in women using nonsurgical means to end their pregnancies. But a couple of things haven't changed: Idaho has about two-fifths the national average of abortions per live births. And a large share - about 40 percent, on average - occur in other states. Every Idaho county had women traveling to another county or state to end their pregnancies in 2011. For the Panhandle, at least, that was likely because the nearest Planned Parenthood clinics are just across the state line in Spokane and Pullman. Washington made up about 72 percent of the out-of-state abortions between 2001 and 2011/Audrey Dutton, Idaho Statesman. More here.
The Idaho Vandals will not be without a football conference for long. Idaho, which will play the 2013 season as an independent, plans to join the Sun Belt as a football-only member in 2014, Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear told the Idaho Statesman on Monday. “There's a sense of relief, but we have a lot of work to do to get this program where it needs to be facility-wise. This is a positive step for sure,'' Spear said. Spear has repeatedly said football independence was not a long-term solution. But the move to independence allowed Idaho to buy time for the college football conference landscape to sort itself out. And that's what happened/Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: I'd consider this a good day for Idaho football. How about you?
First, I must confess to you that I've never voted in a Kootenai Hospital District election. I didn't know the issues — and, therefore, didn't want to cast an uninformed ballot. However, this year I'm paying attention because our friends the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans will be involved, for some reason. Reagan Republican board member Jim Pierce and erstwhile local Republican Party office holder Donna Montgomery are two challengers for four seats. Jim and Donna aren't the wild-eyed variety of “Republicans” that we see in other nonpartisan races. They're true Republicans. They're running against incumbent Liese M. Razzeto (pictured) and Dr. Neil L. Nemec. I can't imagine why the Reagan Republicans would be interested in these races, other than to extend their influence. Or, as rumor has it, for some kind of rear guard action to fight Obamacare at the hospital level. Bottom line? Hucks Nation needs to focus on this race, too. All registered voters are eligible to vote in this race. If the Reagan Republicans are interested in these seats, we need to find out why.
Georgia's Anne Marie Armstrong, left, battles Iowa State's Anna Prins, right, for the ball late in the second half of the NCAA second round game Monday at McCarthey Athletic Center at Gonzaga University. Georgia edged Iowa State 65-60. Story here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)
Maybe not exactly. But sort of. State Superintendent Tom Luna In defending one of Tom Luna’s key initiatives — Idaho Core Standards, or “common core” — spokeswoman Melissa McGrath calls out conservative pundit Glenn Beck for spreading “misinformation” about the initiative to establish uniform math and English language arts standards. McGrath decried the misinformation in an email sent to Idaho reporters this morning. Here’s the chronology. On March 14, Beck devoted his talk show to common core as a leftist movement that would devastate public education/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
Question: I simply can't imagine that Superintendent Luna would embrace anything “liberal.” Can you?
If I'm reading the tea leaves correctly, the Kootenai County Republican Women are already on board in support of appointed Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustees Ann Seddon and Brent Regan — and candidate Bjorn Handeen. On the Republican Women Web site, Duncan Koler of Citizens for Better Education (CBE), which was instrumental in the elections of Trustees Tom Hamilton and Terri Seymour, is calling for help in supporting these candidates. Koler wants ground troops to begin walking precincts as early as April 6. Quoth Koler: “We need to be super-organized because the liberal opposition is fully mobilized. Both sides view this as a critical election.” You can read the rest of the post here.
Question: Are you happy with the work of the current Coeur d'Alene School Board?
The House Education Committee has approved SB 1147a on a divided vote, to ban so-called “evergreen” clauses in teachers union master agreement contracts that carry on from one year to the next. Paul Stark, attorney for the Idaho Education Association, said the bill violates the Idaho and U.S. constitutions by banning multi-year contract clauses retroactively to Nov. 21, 2012, the date that the voters’ rejection of Proposition 1 took effect. “We’re seeing a cut-and-paste from the repealed laws,” Stark told the committee. “The Legislature constitutionally is forbidden from nullifying contracts.” Two Idaho school districts, Twin Falls and Coeur d’Alene, had signed Memorandums of Understanding with their local teachers unions saying that if Proposition 1 and the “Students Come First” laws were voted down, they’d reinstate previous master agreements, including multi-year clauses/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Republican legislators know what's best for Idaho, even when their constituents disagree at the ballot box, right?
Kootenai County commissioners voted to end a contract with longtime public defender John Adams three weeks after he made a harassment claim against a commissioner and two weeks after telling the board he’ll need a day off each week for cancer treatment. Adams has run the public defender office for 17 years and earned broad respect from the region’s legal community. During his tenure, he was the lead attorney on 26 murder cases and seven death-penalty cases, including the state trial of child killer Joseph Duncan. Adams, 59, said he was stunned by the decision, but the reaction of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho was even more forceful. The organization complained his firing comes at a time when Idaho’s overall system of public defense has been deemed deficient, lacking resources and in some counties falls short of its constitutional obligations/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Do you think the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners botched the firing of long-time Public Defender John Adams?
A baby giraffe stahds in front of its mother Gambela at an enclosure of the zoo in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday. The zoo searches for a godfather or godmother for the new giraffe, who can then pick the name of the animal. The name shall start with a 'z': either Zuli, Zikomo or Zebenjo are under consideration. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/dpa, Bernd Thissen)
Monday Winner — Nic (w/8 likes): “Steve Adams prepares for the next City Council meeting.” Photo & 9 other cutline entries here.
The Supreme Court waded into the fight over same-sex marriage Tuesday, at a time when public opinion is shifting rapidly in favor of permitting gay and lesbian couples to wed, but 40 states don’t allow it. The court’s first major examination of gay rights in 10 years began with a hearing on California’s ban on same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, the justices will consider the federal law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of benefits afforded straight married Americans. Actor-director Rob Reiner, who helped lead the fight against California’s Proposition 8, was at the head of line Tuesday morning. Some people waited since Thursday — even through light snow — for coveted seats for the argument/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo: Sandy Stier, left, and Kris Perry of Berkeley, Calif., stand outside the National Archives in Washington today)
Spokane County prosecutors will have to decide whether to file charges against a homeowner who shot and killed a man allegedly stealing his vehicle Monday morning near East Mission Avenue and North Lee Street. The homeowner in the 1400 block of Lee called 911 just before 8 a.m. to report that his vehicle had been stolen, that the alleged thief was armed, and that he had fired at the thief, according to Spokane police. The back window of the SUV was knocked out, which police think is from the single shot fired by the homeowner, said Lt. Mark Griffiths. He would not comment on where the vehicle was when the shot was fired at the driver. The suspected thief, who hasn’t been identified, crashed the green Chevy Suburban about two blocks away/Jennifer Pignolet, SR. More here. (Colin Mulvany SR photo: Richard McKinley said he didn’t hear the commotion but looked out his bedroom window to see a green Chevy Suburban sticking out of his garage)
Question: The homeowner who defended his property by shooting an alleged car thief to death could face second-degree murder charges. Should he?
Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin announced he'll seek a fourth term in November. “I know it's way early, but people have been asking me to consider running again and I have no problem with telling people now,” Larkin said Monday. Larkin was appointed mayor more than 12 years ago to fill Gus Johnson's seat when Johnson became a Kootenai County commissioner. He has been elected three times to the four-year, part-time position. Larkin, 77, was slowed with a medical issue this winter, but has recovered. “I got on it early, had a pacemaker put in the day after Christmas and I'm feeling really good now,” he said/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
DFO: Nice to see one of the good guys in local politics hanging in there.
Question: Why has the Post Falls council avoided the political turmoil that hamstrings Coeur d'Alene's council?
I keep wondering when Councilman Dan Gookin is going to have a “come-to-Jesus” meeting with his Sancho Panza (Councilman Steve Adams). Adams is well on his way to becoming the Poster Child for all that's wrong with radical conservatism in the Inland Northwest. An individual who opposes all federal funds on principle doesn't belong on the city council — especially one who may cost all of us a mint by gumming up the sewer plant expansion. Now we need to make sure no more Adamses are lurking among the Reagan Republican/United Conservatives of North Idaho partisans running for nonpartisan office this spring. Here's your Wild Card …
Afghan National Army soldiers roll up the red carpet after the hand over ceremony of the Parwan Detention Facility from U.S. military control to Afghan authorities in Bagram, outside Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday. The handover of Parwan Detention Facility ends a bitter chapter in American relations with Afghanistan's mercurial president, Hamid Karzai, who demanded control of the prison as a matter of national sovereignty. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
One would think Tom and Patricia Power are busy enough. They own The Cellar in downtown Coeur d'Alene. They own Sunshine Minting Inc., which has operations in the Lake City, along with Nevada and China. Then, there's Power Audio Video, which specializes in home theater and integrated home systems. And we haven't even mentioned their real estate holdings company. Add another business venture to the list, this one, a key to the future of downtown Coeur d'Alene. The Powers recently purchased the former home of Wiggett's Antique Marketplace at Fourth and Lakeside, “because,” as Patricia said with a smile, “we don't have enough to do.” The 27,000-square-foot building has been sitting empty for about five years/Bill Buley, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos photo of the Powers in their downtown Coeur d'Alene restaurant, The Cellar)
Question: The Powers aren't sure what they want to do with the old Wiggett's Antique Marketplace building. What would you like to see it become?
A worker listens to tunes while he spreads manure — er, fertilizer — on a field in the Rathdrum Prairie. Duane Rasmussen provided Huckleberries Online with the photo.
DFO: I never spread manure, as this young fella is doing. But I spent my Saturdays scraping out my Uncle Manuel's dairy cow corrals from age 14-16. Then, I escaped the dairy for a job as a grocery story clerk. At that point, clerking was the easiest job I ever had. Newspapering is far easier than life on a dairy, too. I'd like to think that shoveling manure was good preparation for writing columns and editorials. ;-)
The Idaho Judicial Council has sent Gov. Butch Otter three candidates to consider for appointment to replace retiring 1st District Judge John P. Luster. They are 1st District Magistrate Judge Scott Wayman, Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor John Cafferty, and St. Maries lawyer Richard Christensen. They were selected from seven candidates interviewed by the council last Thursday. Luster’s retirement is effective May 1/SR.
From the files of Huckleberries (nee Kootenai Grapevine) 25 years ago:
The new barroom brawl policy of Curley's Tavern has caused ripples elsewhere around Hauser Lake. Recently, it was the subject of intense debate at the Rainbow Inn nearby. Patrons didn't think Curley's should bounce everyone involved in a fight, just the main culprit. The barkeep disagreed. Apparently, Curley's message that brawlers no longer are welcome is getting around.
Question: Have you ever seen a barroom fight?
From my files 25 years ago, I wrote this story re: Frank Henderson seeking a 3rd term as a Kootenai County commissioner. It was published March 28, 1988:
Commissioner Frank Henderson has decided “it's just too soon to retire” in announcing his re-election bid for a third term today. The announcement Monday ended months of speculation about the 65-year-old commissioner's plans. He is in his sixth year as a Kootenai County commissioner and second as board chairman. He also considered running for a legislative post, but said “there are several projects I'd like to complete” as commissioner. He listed those projects as siting and development of a new landfill, development of a new juvenile justice program, more public access to lakes and rivers, and revision of the county's comprehensive plan. (2009 SR file photo of Henderson testifying as an Idaho legislator)
Question: Would you say that former Commissioner Henderson has provided a decent amount of public service to Kootenai County?
The Kootenai County Board of Commissioners have issued a press release, announcing plans for a comprehensive study of the “public defender delivery system.” The odd part? The release says that fired Public Defender John Adams is eligible for reappointment. Here's the nut graph:
The Board recognizes that the current public defender, John Adams, has provided this service for in excess of 16 years and has served his clients well. The term of office for a public defender has a minimum of two years. Mr. Adams continues to serve as Kootenai County public defender and is eligible to be reappointed for another term. Full press release here.
Question: Can anyone read between these lines?
Cows on the Rathdrum Prairie enjoy salt, emails Duane Rasmussen, who provides this photo for Huckleberries Online.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved HB 292, legislation from Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, to make assaults and batteries on health care workers a felony with up to a five-year prison term. Malek proposed the bill at the prompting of Kootenai Medical Center and other health care providers around the state who say violent assaults on health workers are a growing problem, often from drug-seeking patients who show up at the emergency room/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
More Eye on Boise posts today:
Councilman Steve Adams says he's been inspired by libertarian Ron Paul. “They call him Doctor No,” Adams says. (Inlander photo: Mike McCall)
“McEuen field isn’t the main issue. Not anymore,” Goodlander says. “It’s a philosophical difference.” Goodlander says she’s been a lifelong Republican, but Adams isn’t conventionally conservative. “There was a lot of stuff going on in Coeur d’Alene that was a microcosm of the federal government,” Adams says. “Just tax-and-spend, liberal, Machiavellian, ends-justify-the-means governing.” Describing his political philosophy at Calypsos Coffee & Creamery, Adams cites his discovery of libertarian Ron Paul. “They call him Doctor No,” Adams says. “It was amazing. There were hundreds of votes where he was the only guy to vote no.” Adams has also repeatedly voted no. Any time there’s a tax increase or use of federal money, he votes no. “The federal government’s broke,” Adams says. “Why should we perpetuate the problem?”/Daniel Walters, Inlander. More here.
DFO: I missed this one, from last week's edition of the Pacific Northwest Inlander.
The Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has sent a three-page “open letter” to Kootenai County commissioners, decrying the firing of longtime Kootenai County Public Defender John Adams. “Individuals familiar with both Mr. Adams and his office have noted that the decision to end his tenure as the Kootenai County Public Defender is ‘disastrous,’ ‘shameful,’ and ‘catastrophic,’” the letter says. “We too must add our voices to those who recognize that it is the people of Kootenai County that will lose if your decision stands”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you know someone who was served well by the Kootenai County Public Defender's Office?
Kootenai County Commissioners last week voted to terminate the Public Defender contract with John Adams, the county’s longstanding public defender who has served as the public defender for the last 17 years. The news reached the ACLU of Idaho over the weekend. In a letter sent to Kootenai County Commissioners today the ACLU expressed dismay with the decision by the county to terminate the contract with Mr. John Adams, who is one of the best public defenders in the entire state. “We are not surprised that the press described the legal community’s reaction condemning your decision as “swift and loud” said the joint letter of the ACLU of Idaho and the ACLU’s National Office in New York City. “Coming, as it does, almost exactly 50 years after the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, guaranteeing all Americans’ right to be defended against their government, your effective termination of one of Idaho’s best public defenders will serve as an especially ominous illustration of the grave failures of this state’s unconstitutional indigent defense system”/spokesman Leo Morales in Idaho ACLU press release. More here. (2006 SR file photo: Public Defender John Adams speaks to then Prosecutor Bill Douglas during the murder trial of Joseph Duncan)
Danielle Owens walks through a display of wedding dress Friday at Storybook Bridal in Coeur d'Alene as she begins her wedding planning consultation with Cameo Events. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)
Glamorous, reality-TV-caliber weddings aren't packing the books like they used to at Storybook Bridal, said owner Misty Ceriello. Where ecstatic girls were dumping $20,000 to $40,000 planning their big day five years ago, budgets are now scaled back to $500 and under, Ceriello said. And some couples just aren't bothering at all. “I've definitely seen a slow down,” Ceriello said of girls squeezing into wedding dresses at her shop. “I was blaming it on the black bridal market, how brides can order dresses overseas.” It might be something else. In 2011, Idaho's rate of marriage slid to 8.6 per 1,000 people, the lowest it has been in 60 years, according to the Idaho Vital Statistics Report/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: How much would you be willing to pay for a wedding for your daughter?
SB 1160, the budget for the state’s Liquor Division, has passed the House on a 36-29 vote. Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, noted that the budget includes no state general tax funds and reflects a 1.2 percent increase over this year’s level; it includes funds to relocated and expand five existing liquor stores, and to expand hours at stores in Boise to make them uniform, and at stores in Stateline and Kellogg, to allow for Sunday hours/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you support Sunday hours for liquor stores at State line and Kellogg?
Tom Hearn (Coeur d'Alene School Board candidate): I hope in this school board race that Mr. Handeen and I can focus on a good discussion about what is best for the Coeur d'Alene schools and stay away from the partisan political nonsense that has too often characterized our local non-partisan elections in recent years. I can guarantee you that if I am elected to the school board I will NOT be pursuing a partisan political agenda. I only want to work for what is best for our students, parents and teachers. If you have any questions about my background and qualifications for the school board check out– http://votetomhearn.com/
Question: Is it legitimate to look at someone's past political activism in these nonpartisan local elections?
It was at a detox center where Dan Lynch's life began to change. As a former police officer in San Francisco, the Post Falls resident turned to alcohol to deal with the trials of his job. “My captain sent me to detox and, while I was there, I said, 'I don't believe in God, but if there is one, I asked that my life be taken because it had gotten out of control,'” Lynch said. “That night I slept 8 hours for the first time in 10 years and I had no dreams. I have never had the desire to drink since and I left the center 10 days early.” Lynch is a former staff member at Real Life Ministries, a nondenominational church in Post Falls that has about 7,000 attendees each weekend. He still teaches Bible classes at the church and has served as a chaplain for the Post Falls Police Department for several years. … As Easter approaches … Lynch is thankful for the second chances he's been given and a softening of his heart/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Has life given you a second chance?
Daffodils are covered with wet spring snow in Lancaster, Pa., Monday morning as a storm stretching from the Midwest to the East Coast is burying thoughts of springtime weather under a blanket of heavy wet snow and slush. (AP Photo, Intelligencer Journal / Lancaster New Era, Richard Hertzler)
Question: Any spring flowers up in your yard this year?
Here's a post that I made Oct. 6, 1911, after attending a Coeur d'Alene City Council candidates forum, involving Councilman Steve Adams. It's not like he didn't warn us that he had radical views:
One more thing before I leave Coeur d'Alene City Council candidate Steve Adams today. After the meeting, I asked Adams about the introduction he used to describe himself to the 155 other North Idaho Patriots for Ron Paul 2012 on the group's Web page: “I am a temperamental, fundamental, right wing, Christian wacko and don't want to miss out on any action.” He said he'd written that in jest. But he was able to quote it from memory when I asked him about it. Adams was the only one who mentioned God in the Coeur Group candidates' forum last night, opening his remarks with “I thank God for the freedom to do this.”
First the firing of the best public defender in Kootenai County History over personal attacks and council bullying, now a country treasurer not daring to retire for fear far right politics will skew what has been twelve years of smooth operation. Perhaps it is time to stop Spencer candidates from being elected from the hinterlands of what ever planet his political persuasion originates from. Jai Nelson (pictured) is misusing the power bestowed upon her and the other two are going along with her. When doing a good job interferes with a political agenda, it is time to replace the political thorn in the county's side. I urge those of you that have been outraged by the antics of the few, guided by the most far right and power hungry of our Republican Party, to select new candidates or even recall those that have abused their positions to settle personal issues/Herb Huseland, Bay Views. More here.
Question: Forget about Nelson for a minute … why did Tondee and Green go along with the firing of competent Public Defender John Adams?
In the Zone 5 Coeur d'Alene School Board race, Tom Hearn will face Ron Paul activist Bjorn Handeen. Here's a Coeur d'Alene Press photo from Oct. 28, 2012, discussing Handeen's activism:
Ron Paul's North Idaho supporters in the 2008 presidential election have regrouped for 2012. Now calling themselves “North Idaho Patriots for Ron Paul 2012,” they have been meeting regularly for the past few months. A scheduled gathering Thursday evening at the Donut House in Hayden attracted 40 people. An age-diverse group turned out to hear guest speaker Idaho State Rep. Phil Hart. Bjorn Handeen's baby daughter giggled and bounced on her father's lap as Hart spoke. “Many of the Ron Paulers from the last election have now been elected themselves, or joined other grassroots efforts,” said Handeen, now a precinct committeeman in Coeur d'Alene's “Borah Triangle.” “We need to cultivate a new group of activists.” Things have changed since they first began grassroots campaigning for Paul in North Idaho, Handeen said. “Now, we're pretty integrated into the Republican party,” he said. More here. (Duane Rasmussen photo of Bjorn Handeen)
Question: Phil Hart? Ron Paul? 'We're pretty integrated into the Republican Party”? Do you think Handeen is a clear endorsee for the Reagan Republicans?
Originally posted at 9:49 a.m. Saturday, March 23
(Treasurer Tom) Malzahn (pictured) chose to remain, he said, out of concern that the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee would not choose an adequate replacement for him. “It's not about me. It's about the citizens of Kootenai County,” said Malzahn, treasurer for 12 years. “It's the fact that the person qualified to fill the position would not be that person (selected). That's my concern.” State statute requires the county commissioners appoint Malzahn's replacement, from a list of three candidates recommended by the county Republican central committee. Malzahn is convinced the central committee isn't up to the task/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: I trust neither the activists running the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee to provide a list of 3 qualified individuals for the position of county treasurer — nor the County Commission to choose a qualified person if one accidentally was on that list. Therefore, I tip my cap to Treasurer Tom Malzahn for serving his county one last time by delaying his retirement. Thoughts?
Idaho players watch the final seconds of a first-round game in the women's NCAA college basketball tournament against Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., Saturday. Connecticut won 105-37.
Story: Idaho finds value in humbling loss here. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Who will take care of us when we are old and frail? The answer has remained constant for centuries: Your grown children. Maybe not in their home, but in their hearts, minds and actions until the day you die. You took care of them as babies, toddlers and teens. It’s payback time. The baby boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, might be the first generation unable to count on their grown children as caregivers, if they even had children. It’s a new world, future oldsters. Get ready/Rebecca Nappi, SR. More here. (SR photo: Becky Tiller’s paternal and maternal grandparents are pictured here in 1988 when they were in their late 70s and 80s. “They were my royalty,” said Tiller, a geriatric care manager in Spokane)
Question: Do you know who will care for you when you're old & frail?
Ring-tailed lemurs sit in their enclosure in the zoo in Straubing, Germany, this morning. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/dpa, Armin Weigel)
Friday Winner: We had only one vote for any of the four entries in Friday's contest. Therefore, I'm not declaring a winner. You can see the photo & cutlines from Friday here.
Let’s hope our city council doesn’t become like our Congress, held hostage by a few. It is sad when individuals in the minority are unable to get what they want, then decide to paralyze the system with petty accusations, so nothing gets done. Time and money is being wasted. They have the gall to call themselves Reagan Republicans. President Reagan worked with others and got things done. Be careful who you elect to represent you/William Miller, Coeur d'Alene Press letters to the editor.
Question: Are you starting to wake up to the fact that political radicals on nonpartisan boards are shaking the stability of local government in Coeur d'Alene?
After almost a year and a half of on-the-job training, the Adams saga just gets weirder. It reached a low-water mark last week in yet another heated debate over the city's wastewater treatment plan, this time a post-meeting whizzing match first with City Attorney Mike Gridley and then with Mayor Sandi Bloem. Bad words, pointy fingers and clenched fists all reportedly were wielded. Feelings ended up being the only articles that were actually bruised in the final act of this particular high schoolish drama, but some very real concerns are emerging among the electorate. When it comes to ideology vs. policy, is Adams just playing devil's advocate, or is he actually the devil?/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.
For the second consecutive year, Idaho lawmakers may siphon dollars from underfunded schools, colleges and health care - and extend a tax cut to businesses. It could have been worse. Far worse. That's cold comfort, but a political reality in a legislature that loves only one thing more than the business lobby — cutting taxes businesses pay. By an overwhelming 67-to-2 vote the House Tuesday voted to exempt the first $100,000 of taxable value from the personal property tax any business pays on its equipment in each of Idaho's 44 counties. Moscow Democrat Shirley Ringo voted no. The change adds up to about $20 million worth of relief for 49,000 small businesses. Because the money to pay for it comes from the state treasury, city and county budgets will not be cut/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: It's a sad day when we're relieved that the Idaho Legislature didn't do as much damage to schools as they could have, right?
Former longtime Idaho state chief economist Mike Ferguson argues in a new op-ed piece that the importance of a state insurance exchange is “dwarfed” by the ramifications of whether or not Idaho expands its Medicaid program, “yet we have heard almost no consideration of that issue by Idaho's legislature.” He writes, “Medicaid expansion … has enormous impacts on Idaho and Idahoans. It will impact how many people in Idaho die over the next year. It will impact Idaho’s ability to fund other essential public services (education, public safety, and other aspects of health and human services). And it will impact Idaho’s overall economic performance.” Click below for his full op-ed piece. Meanwhile, Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation has issued a press release calling Medicaid expansion “a bad choice for Idaho”/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: If Wayne's against this, the correct position to take is to be for it, right?
Gonzaga's coach Mark Few walks arm-in-arm with players Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk, with Mike Hart trailing, after losing to Wichita State in their third round NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Championship game Saturday at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)
Question: Gonzaga got me through the winter in fine style this year. I didn't like the ending. But overall, I'm happy with the Zags' accomplishments. How about you?
Do you suppose that the hard-working 911 dispatcher bit her tongue when Coeur d’Alene Councilman Steve Adams SOS’d to tattle on City Attorney Mike Gridley? A short version of the two-minute 911 call made by Adams after the testy council meeting Tuesday: He’s bigger than me, and he called me names (“moron” being the only printable one). The two have been dueling over the councilman’s attempt to sidetrack a federally mandated $33 million expansion of the city’s sewer plant. The dispatcher coulda told Adams to call a Wahhhmbulance. Or lectured him not to use 911 except for emergencies. But she remained professional throughout. Which is something that can’t be said for Adams or Gridley/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.
Orginally posted at 9:42 a.m. Saturday, March 23
Item: Public defender John Adams to be history/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: The Kootenai County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday to end his term this fall. “It's absolutely a termination,” Adams said. Adams said the termination notice comes three weeks after he made a formal complaint against Commissioner Jai Nelson, saying she had allegedly harassed him since she joined the board. The notice comes two weeks after Adams, 59, told Commission Chairman Todd Tondee that he has cancer and will be undergoing chemotherapy and will need a day off each week for the treatment. Facing the loss of his health insurance is scary, Adams said.
Question: John Adams is recognized by many as one of Idaho's best public defenders. What does this say for the county commissioners?
First, I'll provide two stories that should ease your minds re: the Gonzaga Bulldogs as we enter the second round of the NCAA Tournament today. John Blanchette tells us why we shouldn't be freaked out re: that tight win over Southern Thursday here. Many teams have already been upset. Secondly, Zag Sam Dower tells Jim Meehan and Christian Caple/SR that the team has gotten the message that no one should be taken lightly here. Thirdly, the Gonzaga women kick off their NCAA Tournament at The Kennel in Spokane as a No. 12 seed against No. 5 seed Iowa State here. Finally, the WAC conference champion Idaho Vandals, seeded No. 16, will face No. 1 seed Connecticut in a first-round game at 10:35 this morning (PDT) in Bridgefort, Conn. You can see the women's brackets here. Let's root some winners home this weekend. Your weekend Wild Card …
Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk, center, is sandwiched between Wichita State's Carl Hall, left and Demetric Williams during the first half of a third-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Salt Lake City on Saturday. Gonzaga's season ended with a 76-70 loss to Wichita State. ESPN boxscore here. (AP Photo/George Frey)
Gonzaga's gone. Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker scored 16 points apiece and Wichita State hit a season-high 14 3-pointers, including seven straight late, to knock the top-ranked and No. 1 seeded Bulldogs out of the NCAA tournament 76-70 on Saturday. The Shockers (28-8) advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time since 2006, while Gonzaga becomes the first top seed to be eliminated. Gonzaga survived a scare in the second round against Southern but couldn't hold up against a fellow mid-major from Kansas whose motto is “play angry.” The Shockers face the winner of Sunday's game between La Salle and Ole Miss/Associated Press. More here.
Question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how disappointed are you?
After a wedding photo shoot in front of the Salt Lake Temple, groom Evan Call carries his bride Samantha to help keep her dress from getting muddy. “Her feet were freezing too,” said Call as the newlyweds heading back the temple to join their wedding party on Friday in Salt Lake City, Utah. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)
DFO: If this doesn't put a smile on your face, you're hopeless. Put your hands together for my SR photog buddy Colin Mulvany, who saw this photo op while hanging out in Salt Lake City to cover the Zags.
Gonzaga's head coach Mark Few calls in a play in the first half of their second round NCAA men's college basketball tournament game on Thursday at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)
Question: Do you yell or throw things at the TV set when the Zags are playing poorly — or the refs blow a call?
Digger: So I'll open this up today. I'm emceeing and auctioneering for a charity auction tomorrow night to benefit Moscow's low power FM community station. I've been to plenty of charity fundraisers so I kinda have an idea of turn ons/offs when it comes to the emcee and auction. Any advice you fellow Hucksters can offer?
Question: Can anyone give Digger any tips re: emceeing?
Kootenai County Chief Deputy Clerk Pat Raffee released the final list of candidates who have filed for taxing district offices in the May 21 election. The filing deadline was 5 p.m. today. Many candidates have filed in recent days. Details are provided on the final Candidates Filed roster here. And: Coeur d'Alene Press story here.
Key races (Coeur d'Alene School Board):
Key races (Kootenai Hospital District Board Member — top 2 of 4):
Also: You have 2 contested Post Falls School District races, and 1 contested Lakeland District race.
H/T: Elections chief Carrie Phillips & clerk's officer for getting this names out so quickly after deadline.
One of the bills reviving selected provisions of voter-rejected Proposition 1 regarding rolling back teachers’ collective bargaining rights was defeated in the Senate today on a 14-19 vote, reports Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News. SB 1148 was the bill to let school districts raise or decrease teacher salaries or add or eliminate contract days from one year to the next, eliminating a law that prevents such year-to-year decreases. The Idaho Education Association opposed the bill/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Score one for the good guys, right?
From Lake City Development Corporation board meeting minutes from Wednesday:
Also during its regular monthly board meeting, Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association Manager Terry Cooper reported that a parking plan is in place to alleviate inconveniences imposed by the McEuen Park upgrade project. A free shuttle bus service from the Memorial Field area to the downtown is under evaluation, and other downtown lots managed by Diamond Parking will be open for public parking to accommodate for lost parking during construction. Cooper said notices will be provided to downtown business owners and visitors.
Question: Can anyone imagine the downtown parking mess we're going to have this summer?
In her latest OpenCDA.com newsletter, Mary Sousa rips into the new Balance North Idaho group, which has been enthusiastically endorses by the Coeur d'Alene Press and Huckleberries. Sez Mary: “The group claims their mission is to 'endorse and promote candidates and issues in local non-partisan elections.' They state they want people who are fiscally responsible. So I looked up the board members of this group and almost fell off my chair. These people seem to have one very big thing in common, and it’s not balance. They do NOT want the public to have a vote!” Mary then goes on to rip 3 of the 5 leaders of the Balance group — Sara Meyer and Eden Irgens, for stopping Mary's recall attempt in its tracks last year, and former NIC board member Mic Armon. Owner Steve Widmyer of the Fort Ground Grill and Elva Allan, wife of Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribal Chairman Chief Allan, escaped Mary's considerable wrath. This time. More here.
Question: I wonder what Mary's definition of balance is?
Update: My informant nailed it. Otter's office has released a press statement confirming that he has appointed Glen Bailey to a Bonner County commissioner opening. Click here.
Huckleberries hears (originally posted at 1:54 PM) … That Gov. Butch Otter has selected 1st District Court bailiff Glen Bailey to fill the Bonner County commissioner vacancy created when Joyce Broadsword accepted a job as regional chief of the state Health & Welfare. Former Commissioner Cornel Rasor was also on the short list. Don't take this one to the bank yet. But my source has been very accurate in the past.
Question: Anyone know anything about Bailey, who was considered a dark-horse candidate by the Bonner County Bee?
At The Slice blog, Paul Turner writes: One of my favorite moments from “Mystery Science Theater 3000” … Joel or one of the 'bots speculated that when there was a break during shooting of “The Big Valley” and Barbara Stanwyck would be telling stories about the making of “Double Indemnity” or “Sorry, Wrong Number,” Peter Breck kept quiet about “The Beatniks.” (Photo: www.artskooldamage.blogspot.com)
Top Post: As I woke this morning, the temperature a cool 42 degees, I realized that I was on the eve of being three quarters of a century old. Sunday, arch 23 1938 I came squalling into the world preparing for war. The Germans had been at war with England and most of Europe for a year or so at my birth. I grew up in a war atmosphere with dad going to work at Todd's Shipyard, building wooden decks on destroyers. At four I had climbed a cherry tree in our back yard and proceeded to fall, landing on my head. That may explain a lot. Somehow I survived childhood, though it must have been a close thing/Herb Huseland, Bay Views. More here.
Other local blogs:
DFO: Please put your hands together w/me as we wish Herb a happy 75th birthday this weekend?
Berry Picker Mike reports that two, thirtysomething men have set up a “hotdog-type stand” at the Coeur d'Alene post office, 7th & Lakeside, that implores bystanders to help impeach President Barack Obama. Sounds like those guys who invaded from the Puget Sound area in recent years — and set up shop at the Hayden post office. They have the same posters now as the other protesters did then — one of Obama with a Hitler mustache. Just another typical afternoon in viewtiful downtown Coeur d'Alene …
Huckleberries'd like to have been a fly on the wall — or maybe in the maple syrup — during the breakfast rush at a Sherman Avenue eatery, one morning a week ago, when the following were seen hobnobbing: Councilman Steve Adams, Councilman Dan Gookin, OpenCDA.com host Mary Souza and a semi-retired attorney. You don't suppose they were discussing how nicely the McEuen Field project was coming along, do you?
March Madness is in full swing, and we're not talking about the college basketball version. In the Idaho Legislature, March Madness is the time when bills come to the floor like popcorn out of a chute. The last weeks of a session are mind-numbing for legislators, who have little time to think about - let alone read and digest - everything that's in front of them. This is the worst possible time to be considering the white-hot topic of education reform, or specifically, a series of bills promoted by the Idaho School Boards Association that have the flavor of Proposition 1, which was soundly defeated by voters last November/Idaho Statesman Editorial Page. More here.
Question: The Idaho Statesman is repeating the advice given by Gov. Butch Otter to the 2013 Idaho Legislature — Don't try to ramroad any “education reform” through, in the closing days of the Legislature. Good advice?
Kootenai County’s unemployment rate fell to 6 percent last month. That is nearly as low as in the summer of 2008, when the Great Recession was beginning to grip the Northwest. The February rate dropped from 6.4 percent in January and was nearly 2 percentage points lower than one year ago. Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly to 6.2 percent in February, the lowest rate since December 2008, the Idaho Department of Labor said today. While employers in most private-sector industries hired more workers than usual for the month, total employment in the state fell by 400, department spokesman Bob Fick said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Do you know anyone who has gotten employment recently, after looking for work for quite awhile?
You can thank the following “yes” votes (North Idaho representatives underlined) for making it more difficult for Idahoans to pass initiatives/referendums:
Voting yes: Reps. Anderson(31), Anderst, Andrus, Barrett, Bateman, Batt, Bedke, Bell, Bolz, Boyle, Collins, Crane, Dayley, DeMordaunt, Denney, Eskridge, Gestrin, Gibbs, Hartgen, Hixon, Holtzclaw, Horman, Kauffman, Loertscher, Luker, McMillan, Meline, Miller, Monks, Moyle, Nielsen, Packer, Palmer, Perry, Raybould, Romrell, Shepherd, Stevenson, Thompson, Trujillo, VanOrden, Vander Woude, Wood(27), Wood(35), and Youngblood.
Voting no: Reps. Agidius, Barbieri, Burgoyne, Chew, Clow, Erpelding, Gannon, Hancey, Harris, King, Kloc, Malek, Mendive, Patterson, Pence, Ringo, Rusche, Sims, Smith, Ward-Engelking, and Woodings.
Absent: Reps. Anderson(01), Henderson, Morse and Wills.
The House has voted 49-18 in favor of SB 1117, the statewide extra-heavy trucks bill. “This is about local control, and we’ve pointed out that the state highway (department) does have jurisdiction on the state highway going through your community,” Rep. Marc Gibbs, the bill’s sponsor, told the House. “But we also have spoken many times about the fact that local communities have the ability to set speed limits … I don’t think that there’s any way if the local community is dead-set against it, that the highway department's going to come in here and create this route for you. But there are places where … I think 129,000 pounds is going to make more sense. … It can be done, it can be done safely”/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
When you see extra-heavy trucks going through your North Idaho communities, you can thank the following representatives (particulary from North Idaho) who voted yes:
Voting yes: Reps. Anderst, Andrus, Barbieri, Barrett, Bateman, Batt, Bedke, Bell, Bolz, Clow, Collins, Crane, Dayley, DeMordaunt, Denney, Erpelding, Gibbs, Hancey, Harris, Hartgen, Hixon, Holtzclaw, Horman, Kauffman, Loertscher, Malek, McMillan, Meline, Mendive, Miller, Monks, Moyle, Nielsen, Packer, Palmer, Patterson, Perry, Raybould, Romrell, Shepherd, Sims, Stevenson, Thompson, Trujillo, VanOrden, Vander Woude, Wood(27), Wood(35), and Youngblood.
Voting no: Reps. Agidius, Anderson(01), Anderson(31), Boyle, Burgoyne, Chew, Eskridge, Gannon, Gestrin, King, Kloc, Luker, Pence, Ringo, Rusche, Smith, Ward-Engelking, and Woodings.
Absent: Reps. Henderson, Morse and Wills.
Randy Myers: I was thinking that there could be a TV show or movie maybe called “Mayor and Council” and was thinking of Alec Baldwin for Mike Kennedy and Helen Mirren for Sandi Bloem … Now that I've seen and heard Dennis's post….I'm re-thinking….a cartoon show might be better. Who would be whom ?
DFO: I absolutely ♥ potential of this post. I propose Maggie Smith to play Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander in a made-for-TV mini-series based on the current Coeur d'Alene City Council. Mike Kennedy's role? Sean “Samwise Gamgee” Astin, of course.
Question: Which actors do you propose to play the various characters on the City Council?
The scene at the site of the Freedom Tree after it was cut down this morning. (Duane Rasmussen photo for Huckleberries Online)
Duane Rasmussen offers this description of what he saw this morning after the Freedom Tree was cut down on McEuen Field:
“A television cameraman stopped by a few minutes before ten o'clock with his camera. I told him that they have taken the tree down earlier, probably in an attempt to avoid protesters. He agreed and said that he had been there at 9:10 AM and the tree was already down. I suspect he had circled back to see if any protesters had gathered. Nick Goodwin was the worker who gave me pine cone I gave to you. I said, Hey mister, and he walked over to the fence. I said, can you get me two pine cones from the tree. He said, that is easy, walked over and picked out two pine cones for me. He was a tall guy probably in his twenties. He was friendly enough and seemed pleased to satisfy my request. He said he worked for Parks.”
Question: I suspect that the city will honor the memory of the Freedom Tree — and build a bigger and better veterans' memorial spot on the new McEuen Field. What do you think?
The Texas Tech Board of Regents has confirmed the hiring of Duane Nellis to be the university’s new president starting June 15. The board had to wait 21 days under Texas state law before voting to approve Nellis’ hiring, and the University of Idaho president’s imminent departure was announced March 1 to fall under accordance with the statute. A Texas Tech spokesman said the board discussed Nellis’ employment in executive session before convening in open session and voting unanimously. Nellis is scheduled to be in Lubbock, Texas, on Monday to address the campus and local media/Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.
DFO: Idaho's loss, Texas Tech's gain. Thanks, Idaho Legislature. Thoughts?
As the House continues its debate on the statewide heavy-truck bill, Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, told the House she couldn’t believe that big trucks would roll right through the center of towns. “Even in the little town that I live in, we have a truck route that goes around the town,” she said. Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, said, “We don’t have truck routes in Sandpoint. We don’t have ‘em in Laclede, we don’t have ‘em in Priest River. … We don’t have a truck route in Bonners Ferry either.” Rep. Cindy Agidius, R-Moscow, said, “It’s being brought from the north by a few companies. There’s just as many companies that don’t want it”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Another very, very bad bill being forced on North Idahoans by the very, very bad Legislature. But state Sen. Bob Nonini, representing the Post Falls area, supports it. So perhaps I'm wrong on my analysis?
A Berry Picker couldn't resist adding a little background music to the 911 call from Councilman Steve Adams, seeking permission to make a citizens arrest on City Attorney Mike Gridley. The whole situation struck the Berry Picker as cartoonish …
Dustin Ainsworth photographed the remains of the Freedom Tree being carted off through downtown Coeur d'Alene from its long-time spot on McEuen Field. Meanwhile, Duane Rasmussen brought a sap-filled pine cone from the Freedom Tree to Huckleberries Central. Wonderful smell. I've placed the pine cone among my memorabilia.
Dave Eubanks is challenging Ann Seddon for the Zone 4 seat on the Coeur d’Alene School District Board of Trustees. Eubanks filed a petition for candidacy late Wednesday. Seddon was appointed to the Zone 4 seat in May and announced last week that she is seeking election to the position. The election will be held May 21. The deadline for candidates to file their paperwork is 5 p.m. Friday. To seek election to a seat on a school board, an individual must be a registered voter and reside in the zone connected to the position/Coeur d'Alene Press.
Question: Eubanks or Seddon?
Duane Rasmussen reports from shoreline that downtown Coeur d'Alene that workers didn't wait until 10 o'clock to level the Freedom Tree at McEuen Field. It's down. He's going to try to get a photograph from the top of the Coeur d'Alene Resort garage for us. Stay tuned.
I wasn't able to post the audio of Councilman Steve Adams' 911 call until late yesterday afternoon — you know, the one claiming that City Attorney Mike Gridley had threatened him after the City Council meeting Tuesday. It's definitely worth a full day of discussion today. You can read the actual text of that discussion here.
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune jeers state Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene:
Nonini wants to suck $10 million from the traditional schools serving more than 95 percent of Idaho's kids - and pump it into private schools. Passed Wednesday by a 35-to-33 House vote, Nonini's bill extends credits to people who contribute toward the scholarships of 3,000 private school students. Nonini asserts this will save public schools $5.7 million by pulling more students out of their classrooms. But he glides past some realities. Hiring one teacher for 24 second-graders costs as much as hiring that teacher for a class of 25 students. Building lighting and heating costs are constant. Same goes for transportation costs.Less money for Idaho's already lean public schools means more money for religious-operated schools/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Last year, Nonini used his position as House Education Committee chairman to push the Luna Laws through the Legislature. This year, he pushes a bill that sucks another $10M from public education. Can you think of someone in the Legislature who has done more harm to public education in the last year?
The Idaho Freedom Foundation Friday urged lawmakers to reject Medicaid expansion and instead consider alternatives to save taxpayer money and improve care. The foundation provided Senate and House Health and Welfare committees with information packets that contradict the argument that the state will save money and improve health care through expansion. The information packets were provided because Idaho Freedom Foundation, nor other groups or individuals opposed to expansion, were expected to be allowed to testify in committee Friday morning/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
DFO: I personally like Wayne Hoffman. I've had coffee with him in the past. And enjoyed the conversation. I also appreciates the stands he takes on issues. I know that I'll be correct if I take the opposite stand. In this way, he provides a valuable service to us at Huckleberries Online.
Question: Do you support Medicaid expansion for Idaho?
Butler's Blue II stands on the court before an NCAA college basketball game. Butler beat upset-minded Bucknwell 68-56 Thursday to advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament. You write the cultine. (AP Photo)
Thursday's Winner — Retro (7 likes): “Manny 'Three Fingers' Sanchez demonstrates the windup for his signature “Three strikes you're out” pitch.” Yesterday's photo & all contest entries here.
“If you posed the question to Idaho citizens whether they want a state exchange or federal exchange, the answer overwhelmingly is state exchange” — Sen. John Goedde, during debate Thursday prior to Idaho Senate approval of the state health exchange. More here.
In a strident grievance, the local left shout their unhappiness with the Cd’A School Board for axing their program — IB/PYP. They’re so upset, they sent copies to Human Rights groups, U.S. Department of Justice, and even set up a Moveon.org petition so leftists across the country can sign. With such a severe case of righteous indignation, how have they managed to keep cool over the 5 1/2 months since the board ended PYP? Answer: It’s school board election season. Complainants Ashley Unruh and Nicole Olson worked with IB/PYP activist Katie Kladar to keep the program. Kladar formed Coeur d’Alene Education Partnership (“CEP”) the day after the judge voided Wanda Quinn’s illegal appointment by Edie Brooks, who supported IB/PYP. Kladar and CEP, including past board members, are supporting liberal school board candidates Christa Hazel, Dave Eubanks and Tom Hearn, trying to take back control of the board. Many of the grievance petitioners are Kladar’s associates and/or members of CEP/Jacqueline Mayo, Coeur d'Alene, Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor. More here.
Question: Does this sound like a letter chock full of Reagan Republican talking points to you, too?
Down the stretch, Gonzaga coach Mark Few began treating it just like a road game. The majority of the 14,176 inside EnergySolutions Arena had gravitated to underdog Southern University, sensing the possibility of a 16-seed knocking off a No. 1 for the first time in NCAA tournament history. They roared with every clutch Jaguars’ play – a ridiculous fadeaway 3-pointer by Derick Beltran, a pair of game-tying free throws by Brandon Moore, another score-knotting jumper by Beltran. Few hunkered down with his players during the last three timeouts. “Hey, it’s fine,” he told them. “We’ve been in this (situation), where the whole place has kind of turned. I kept telling them, ‘It doesn’t matter. The crowd doesn’t get a say in this, the officials don’t get a say in this. Nobody gets a say in what happens next except us’”/Jim Meehan, SR. More here. (Colin Mulvany SR photo: Kelly Olynyk elevates to shoot)
Question: I'm of the opinion that the tight game with No. 16 meant as little as a blow-up would have. The won. On to the next game. They'll do better. What do you think?
I have returned with the CD of Steve Adams ' call to the 911 center on Tuesday, asking to place City Attorney Mike Gridley under citizens arrest. That's the good news. I've heard the tape. Interesting. The bad news is that I have to figure out how to transfer it from CD to an MP3 file for your listening pleasure — and my usual techs aren't available. Meanwhile, I'll post a few things while we wait the tipoff of the Gonzaga game …
Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk, bottom, gets tangled up with Southern University's Javan Mitchell during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Salt Lake City today. Gonzaga won 64-58. (AP Photo/George Frey)
Question: Anyone disagree that Olynyk took charge in the second half?
Here's the text of Councilman Steve Adams' 911 call Tuesday, asking to put City Attorney Mike Gridley under citizens arrest:
Dispatcher: 911, your emergency?
Adams: My name is Steve Adams, Coeur d’Alene city councilman and I’m at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. I would like an officer to respond. I’d like to place somebody under citizens arrest.
D: And what’s going on?
A: Ah, the city attorney Mike Gridley is threatening me.
D: Are you in the library or City Hall building?
A: In the library, community room.
A: (Adams to Gridley who is standing nearby) Where will you be Mike?
D: City community building. Or community room, you said?
A: Yes, ma’am.
D: And what’s that phone number for you, Steve.
A: Number given.
D: And what types of threats? I mean, bodily harm. What exactly did he say?
A: He approached me after the meeting. He got within a foot of my face. He called me a moron. And told me I could (expletive deleted) – you stupid moron. He was inches from my face. He is … I’m 5 foot 8, He’s probably 6-3. He was shaking. He was leaning in toward me. I perceived it …
D: I’m sorry, what’s your last name again, Steve?
D: That’s right. All right, I’ll have an officer make contact with you there. OK?
A: OK, thank you very much.
Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk, second from left, fights for a rebound with Southern's Christopher Hyder, left, Madut Bol, second from rightm and Brandon Mioore, right, in the first half during a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Salt Lake City on Thursday. (AP Photo/George Frey)
Still don’t think Gonzaga deserved that No. 1 seed? There might be a few more doubters now. Entering the NCAA tournament top-seeded and top-ranked for the first time in program history, the Zags nearly made another kind of history Thursday — coming only a few minutes and a rimmed-out shot or two from becoming the first 1 to lose to a 16. Gonzaga prevailed 64-58 over Southern University in a game that wasn’t safely in hand until the final buzzer sounded. No. 1 seeds improved to 113-0 since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The Bulldogs (32-2) will play No. 9 Wichita State on Saturday/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Did you remain confident that the Zags were going to win, throughout? Or were you yelling at the refs, like I was, in the final 5 minutes?
The modern Republican Party has a major problem with Hispanic voters and watching the party struggle to address that problem increasingly reminds me of the great Muhammad Ali’s “rope-a -dope” strategy during his bruising fight in Zaire in 1974. In this case Barack Obama is playing Ali and the GOP is cast as George Foreman, the guy who punched himself out of contention, swinging wildly while Ali crouched against the ropes and survived/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: What would the Republican Party have to do to truly reach out to minority voters?
The Idaho Legislature has made it official – Gov. Butch Otter has won his biggest legislative victory in his seven years in office, persuading reluctant GOP lawmakers to approve his plan for a state-based health insurance exchange. After more than three hours of debate, the Idaho Senate voted 23-12 in favor of the bill Thursday and sent it to the governor’s desk; the measure, HB 248, had earlier passed the House on a 41-29 vote. Despite the long debate, no senators changed their votes from a month earlier, when they passed an earlier version of the bill by the exact same vote. Coeur d’Alene GOP Sen. Bob Nonini said he picked out his darkest suit to wear for today’s debate. “I believe this is a dark day for Idaho,” he told the Senate/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Does this bolster Otter's chances for a possible third term?
Here's another view of the Freedom Tree, photographed by Duane Rasmussen for Huckleberries Online today. You might think it's overkill this afternoon to run 2 such photos. But the tree will be gone from its spot in the emerging new McEuen Field by this time Friday. So Huckleberries is giving it a send off.
The House has voted 55-13, a GOP-led party-line vote, in favor of HCR 22, the resolution demanding that the federal government cede title to all federal lands in Idaho to the state. “There’s a few things that I’ll come out of the chair to debate and this is one of those,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke. “This is worth trying”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: After watching the Otter administration and Idaho Legislature damage public education, the last thing I want to see is the state in control of federal lands. Simply. Can't. Trust. Elected. State. Officials. Agree?
Gonzaga's Mike Hart (30) knocks the ball from Southern University's Malcolm Miller (33) in the first half during a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Salt Lake City today. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Let's use this thread for comments re: today's game between Gonzaga and Southern. The Bulldogs lead with13:02 left in first half — 20-19 with 8 minutes left.
Question: Piece of cake, right?
Other things happened at the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting, besides the showdown over the wastewater treatment plant and the throw-down between Councilman Steve Adams and City Attorney Mike Gridley. City spokeswoman Kristina Lyman provides this example:
Alcohol can now be served at weddings and other special events at the Jewett House. City Council voted to amend the current city ordinance regarding alcohol on public property to allow for alcohol to be served at the Jewett House by permit only. Money received from the permits will assist the Jewett House Board in raising funds. Only a licensed caterer will be allowed to serve alcohol at the House. No alcohol will be allowed on the beach. You can read a roundup of council action here.
Question: Have you ever attended an event at the Jewett House?
Appointed Trustee Brent Regan and challenger Christa Hazel each have Facebook pages for perusal as they compete for Regan's seat this spring. You can find Regan's page here. And you can find Hazel's Facebook page here. The filing deadline for the School Board is 5 p.m. Friday Above, Christa picks up her signs for her trustee campaign.
Businesses in the burgeoning Garland District have more in common than just their location. Most of them – from Tinman Gallery to Celebrations Bakery to the Garland Sandwich Shoppe – are owned by women. “We call it ‘Girls on Garland,’ ” said Bonnie Quinn, owner of Quinn Group Advertising and Marketing. Her father started the Quinn Group in 1969 and the business moved to the Garland locale in 1976/Cindy Hval, SR. More here.
Question: Do you think there's any difference between women-owned businesses and male-owned businesses?
The Powerball jackpot has hit $320 million, and players have until Saturday night to buy a ticket, according to the Idaho Lottery, which is reminding people to “play responsibly.” “Big Powerball jackpots are a lot of fun and we want to remind everyone that when they do play, to only spend what they can afford not to go overboard,” said Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson. “It does only take one ticket to win”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
After more than three hours of debate, the Senate has voted 23-12 in favor of HB 248, Gov. Butch Otter’s state health insurance exchange bill. That’s the exact same vote split as on the earlier version of the bill, SB 1042, on Feb. 21; no senators changed their votes. The House-passed bill now heads to the governor’s desk/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise.
Question: Do you expect the dissenters to give up and go away?
Paul Kjellander’s paintings hang in places like Bardenay and the homes of and offices of the notable Idahoans he has captured in oil. Now a painting of the Idaho Public Utilities Commissioner hangs in the State Capitol. Kjellander hopes it will be the first in a series of paintings that tell the story of the legislative process that will hang permanently in the hallowed halls. First I will tell you my conflict. I’m in it and I was born in the same Galesburg Illinois hospital as the artist. Kjellander, a former Republican lawmaker and director of Gov. Butch Otter’s Office of Energy Resources, appropriately painted the two chairman of the Legislature’s Interim Energy Committee, Republican Rep George Eskridge of Dover and Republican Sen. Curt Mckenzie of Nampa as I and Spokesman Review Reporter Betsy Russell were interviewing them. The painting, named “The Media and the Legislature,” is designed to tell the story of the press and its role/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Idaho Statesman photo)
Question: What kind of special paintings do you have hanging in your house?
The John Stockton statue titled Theading the Needle” by artist Brian Challis was installed in 2005 outside the Energy Salutions Arena in Salt Lake City and visited by his son, David, before practice on Wednesday afternoon. (SR photo: John Pelle)
SALT LAKE CITY – He shot baskets with his brothers on the court here at EnergySolutions Arena while their dad iced his knees and custodians cleared the detritus of another Utah Jazz game. Maybe it was the trainer treating them to a Gatorade, or comparing shoe sizes with 7-foot giants, but for David Stockton there is a memory attached to everything in this building. That banner, this seat, that echo, this Coke machine. Coke machine? “I bet we walk right by it on our way into the building,” he said. Before they do, Stockton and his Gonzaga Bulldogs teammates will walk into the NCAA tournament past the statue of his father, John, in the plaza at the arena’s southeast corner, commemorating a Hall of Fame career with the Jazz. But this is David Stockton’s Hall of Fame story/John Blanchette, SR. More here.
Question: Who is your favorite Gonzaga role player?
“In my eight-plus, almost nine years here, I’ve never seen an issue like this touch on as many emotions as it has,” Nonini told the Senate. He said he picked out his darkest suit to wear for today’s debate. “I believe this is a dark day for Idaho. I believe this is a dark day for this building,” he said. “I’m just so frustrated by this – I feel like I’m in mourning. Because we’re losing something here this morning. We are losing our freedom. We are giving up our sovereignty to the federal government”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
BTW: Nonini goes on in the blog post to ap-hollow-gize for his actions last spring in working unsuccessfully to unseat some incumbent senators.
Question: Speaking of dark days, I believe, Nonini ushered in some dark days last year when he helped push through the Luna Laws — only to see them repealed by the voters. The legislators are dealing with those 'dark days' by undermining initiative/referendum law and bringing back Luna Laws piecemeal. I consider “dark days” to last from January to April, when our arrogant legislators are in session. What do you think?
Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, spoke out against HB 248, Gov. Butch Otter’s state health insurance exchange bill, saying he rejects the idea that health care reform is “the law of the land.” Said Vick, “Those states that opposed slavery, did they say, well I guess the best we can do is when those slaves get into our free states, is make sure that we take care of ‘em well, clean ‘em up and send ‘em back home to their slave owners? No they did not. They formed the underground railroad and they got those people to Canada.” He brought up civil rights icon Rosa Parks and her resistance to segregation laws/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Are you bothered that exchange opponents are invoking name and memory of Rosa Parks this session?
I’m not coming to the defense of Kent Leiss here. Not in the way you might think anyway. The Coeur d’Alene boys basketball coach who resigned under pressure with three games left in the regular season was essentially fired last week. From my vantage point – and I’ve followed this closely – this was a situation that was fumbled from the beginning by the principal and athletic director. They caved to irate parents, conducting a closed-door meeting with them late in the regular season. Then after meeting with them, the principal cornered Leiss and all but asked for his job. He didn’t so much tell him to resign, but he hinted in strong words that if he didn’t resign he wouldn’t be around long. I’m all for protecting athletes. But in this situation where the allegations were about a coach who directed foul language toward the players, the administrators should have ridden it out until the season concluded/Greg Lee, SR. More here.
Gonzaga guards Gary Bell, Jr., left, and Kevin Pangos take aim during Wednesday’s practice on the Energy Solutions Arena floor. The SR reports today that No. 1 Gonzaga isn't taking No. 16 Southern lightly. Story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)
The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory produces Gonzaga Bulldog-themed items at the store in River Park Square shown Wednesday. Among the items are the one-pound assortment with a GU-themed chocolate bar. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)
Cravens Coffee Co. began selling its Zags Blend coffee in 1999 – the same year Gonzaga University’s men’s basketball team ended up in the Elite Eight. All 1,500 of the school-branded coffee bags sold out in two months, said Cravens owner Simon Thompson. This year, Zags Blend is going out the door in record volumes. Credit belongs to GU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, both of which steamrolled their way into the Division I championship tourneys, he said. “We already expect to sell 1,000 bags of Zags Blend this month,” Thompson said. “It’s a different animal this year. It’s a big phenomenon”/Tom Sowa, SR. More here.
Question: What kinds of Zag merchandise do you own? Moi? 2 ballcaps, sweats and a hoodie.
The Idaho State Board of Education announced that Peter Morrill, longtime general manager of Idaho Public Television, is retiring. Morrill will continue to serve while the state board launches a search for a replacement by the end of the summer, and will assist through the transition; he's been general manager at IPTV since 1996. “Peter has been an exceptional leader, and our state has been truly fortunate to have a person of his caliber at the helm of Idaho Public Television,” said Don Soltman, state board acting president. “Under Peter's direction, IdahoPTV has garnered national acclaim for excellence in providing programming that informs, educates and inspires”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: How often do you watch Public TV?
After months of self-examination following last year's election losses, the Republican National Committee released a self-assessment this week. The R-N-C issued a 100-page report that outlines dozens of recommendations to make the GOP a more welcoming and inclusive party. The report says Republicans “must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform,” and reach out to Hispanics. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo says the Republican Party has an opportunity to better explain itself and its rationale for its approach to the debt crisis, immigration policy, and other issues important to the Hispanic community/Boise State Public Radio. More here.
Question: I find this amusing. Nationally, Republicans are discussing reaching out to Hispanics, as their defeats in presidential elections mount up. Locally, Republicans are defining themselves ever more narrowly, eschewing moderate Republicans as “liberals.” Which group really reflects the true heart of Republicans?
Eastern Idaho's Madison County has the healthiest residents in the Gem State, according to the fourth annual County Health Rankings, released this morning by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Bear Lake County, in southeast Idaho, was deemed the least healthy county. According to the new rankings, the five healthiest counties in Idaho are Madison, Valley, Franklin, Latah and Blaine. The five counties in the poorest health are Bear Lake, Shoshone, Boise, Benewah and Lemhi/George Prentice, Boise Weekly. More here.
Question: Are you leading a healthier life style today than you did five years ago?
The lone city councilman who opposes the city's request for a judicial confirmation said his opposition to the issue earned him threats from the mayor and city attorney following a meeting late Tuesday - claims the two officials deny. Steve Adams, the second-year councilman who opposes paying for $33 million in upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant, said City Attorney Mike Gridley told Adams to “(bleep) off” following the four-hour meeting and Mayor Sandi Bloem said she wanted to punch the councilman's nose off. “For the City Attorney to verbally assault me, twice now, with inflammatory and derogatory comments, is a violation of his attorney code of ethics and, according to the city's personnel rules, is insubordination,” Adams stated in a press release, calling for Gridley's termination and an apology from Bloem. Bloem and Gridley said they didn't threaten the second-year councilman/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: How do you think this is going to play out?
San Francisco Giants coach Russ Morman holds baseballs during batting practice before an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Wednesday Winner — Powder River (w/2 likes): “Something is fake and it isn't on Heidi's body.” Photo here.
DFO: I re-started the Cutline Contest at a request from someone attending Blogfest 2013. I'm relying on those of you who are interested in the contest to vote like/dislike to decide the winners. However, few of you are doing so. If you want the contest to continue, you need to vote, so I know there's interest. It takes time to find good photos for this contest. If there's no interest in the contest, I can use that time to do something else.
The optics are not good on this one. Not quite four months since Sen. Michael D. Crapo was arrested in Virginia and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, the Idaho Republican apparently feels right at home heading to a fundraiser at a private townhouse owned by a liquor conglomerate … Crapo spokesman Lindsay Nothern said the fundraiser was planned before Crapo’s arrest. “He has used the facility for quite some time for various fundraisers,” Nothern said. “My understanding is the event was booked prior to the incident over the holidays”/Heard on the Hill, Roll Call's Gossip Blog. More here.
How much do you love the Zags? Oh, sure. You talk big. You’ve been known to hoot and holler during games and even heave the occasional heavy object through the TV after a bum call. But everyone knows there is no scientific way to precisely measure a person’s basketball affection. Or ( cue the dramatic organ music) is there? Just in time for this afternoon’s game with Southern, I’ve come up with the following NCAA-approved quiz, which will determine your level of fandemonium. Circle the answers that best suit you. At the end we will crunch the numbers and determine just where you fit on the GU love meter/Doug Clark, SR. More here.
Question: How big of a Gonzaga fan are you?
“Lobbyists play on fears, emotions to sell their agendas.” … the Statehouse is more like a dealer's showroom: It's less a place where things are made than a place where things are sold. And like any good salesman, lobbyists know how to play on their customers' psychological vulnerabilities. The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, for example, has done an outstanding job selling its initiative bill as a “rural fairness” issue … This skillful, if misleading, sales pitch proved quite potent … Tapping into the Legislature's rural inferiority complex helped steer the debate down irrelevant byways”/William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
DFO: This tactic even buffaloed an otherwise good legislator, Sen. Shawn Keough, R- Sandpoint.
Question: Can you think of any bill aproved — or heading toward approval — that's worse than the Farm Bureau/Idaho Legislature's attack on the initiative/referendum process?
I think I'm becoming addicted to Woody TV — and the Coeur d'Alene City Council meetings. I couldn't take my eyes off my home office TV last night, as City Attorney Mike Gridley, sewer plant manager Sid Fredrickson and fellow council members tried to talk sense to Councilman Steve Adams. Or as Adams sought in vain at the end of the meeting — yes, I watched beyond that late executive session — for a second to a motion to force Gridley to answer questions why he should be viewed as an adverse party in court action involving the sewer plant. Way better than any sit-com, except “Modern Family.” Now for today's Wild Card …
Gonzaga players including Kelly Olynyk huddle following practice for a second-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament today in Salt Lake City. Gonzaga is scheduled to play Southern University Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Question: How do plan to see the Gonzaga game that tips off in the middle of the work day, just after lunch?
Brent Regan is seeking election to the Coeur d'Alene school board seat he’s held since December. Regan filed paperwork declaring his candidacy for the Zone 1 trustee position late Tuesday. He is being challenged by Christa Hazel. Regan was appointed to the five-member board following the resignation of Jim Purtee. The deadline for candidates to file their paperwork is Friday at 5 p.m./Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Hazel or Regan?
Lots to ponder this first morning of spring. The birds would like to know why their sunflower seeds are all wet and mushy. The horses would like to know how much longer they have to slog around in the slop. The cats would like to know why they can't have two consecutive days of lying in the sun under the bird feeders, catching an occasional stray gluttonous finch, pecking around on the ground for extra seed. The humans would like to know why they still have to climb the cold, wet ladder next to the house with a broom to sweep snow off the satellite dish. Eventually, if we're lucky, all questions will become moot points, or we'll stay in wonderment and in bad moods/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.
Question: Are you in a bad mood today because spring has sprung a leak? Or in a good mood because the Gonzaga Bulldogs will tip off in the NCAA Tournament Thursday afternoon?
Misty Tolman talks to members of the Joint Senate and House Affairs Committee at the Idaho Legislature earlier today. Members of the community and area business leaders spoke regarding the need to expand human rights protection. Sen. Cheri Buckner-Webb and Rep. Grant Burgoyne are attempting to add language to the Idaho Human Rights Act that recognizes that everyone deserves the right to have a job, contribute to Idaho communities and feel secure in their housing. (Idaho Statesman/AP photo: Chris Butler)
KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus snapped the photo above while checking out a tree down over the road on Cloverleaf, north of Cathleen, Hauser Lake.
“Wedding license sent over by (Spokane County) Tuesday - “Donald D. Duck and Daisey D. Dancer” — was a system test. #ThankGodWeDidn'tPublish — City Editor Addy Hatch, SR
From my Huckleberries (Kootenai Grapevine) column 25 years ago (published March 21, 1986), under the heading, “Line 'Em Up”:
Engineers are studying ways to use attorneys as part of landfill liners, deadpans Dave Salois, the county waste stream guru. The concept has three major benefits, he says: There will be no public outcry, attorneys are impermeable, and there's an endless supply of them.”
Question: Anyone remember Dave Salois?
Another story that I covered 25 years ago (published March 26, 1988 in the SR):
Sitting with his grandmother in a restaurant overlooking Lake Coeur d'Alene Friday, 5-year-old Grant Helgeson predicted the fate of the Seeweewana. It's probably going to go like this,” he said. Then he plunked a 3-inch toy boat bow-first into his water glass. About 20 minutes later, the Seeweewana, the last of the wooden tour boats to ply the lake, did just that. In front of a crowd of hundreds, the boat sunk about a quarter mile offshore, west of the Coeur d'Alene Resort boardwalk rest area. Sinking was the best solution diver Tom Michalski could find for the boat, after the city of Coeur d'Alene and Museum of North Idaho refused to accept it as a memorial to the boats that helped establish the city as a lakeside tourist spot. The sinking, he figures, will preserve the boat, if only for divers. (Coeur d'Alene Press file photo of the Seeweewana)
Question: Do you remember any of the great boats that once navigated the waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene?
Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander: Mr Adams has his facts a little skewed. He was out of control and Mike Kennedy along with Ron was trying to get him to calm down. He shook his fist not two inches from the Mayors face and she reacted telling him to back off, when he did not do so she in her words “lost it” She later felt badly that she had allowed him to make her so angry. I find it sad that Mr Adams fans find it acceptable for him to abuse staff members, the Mayor and other members of the council as well as the potential damage that he could cause to the citizens of Coeur d'Alene. I also find Mr Adams search for constant publicity for his behavior and his lack of respect for the professionals that work for the city a matter of deep concern.
Question: Hmm. Sounds like there are a number of eyewitnesses to the incident involving Adams, Gridley and later, Mayor Bloem. What do you think?
Councilman Steve Adams is demanding an apology from Mayor Sandi Bloem and the immediate firing of City Attorney Mike Gridley for an incident that happened after Tuesday night's council meeting. The Coeur d'Alene Presss Online just filed a story. Here's Adams' explanation of the incident:
“While still in the community room after last night's city council meeting, City Attorney Mike Gridley approached me and asked if I was going to provide him with a copy of the ethics complaint I filed against him. I told him the Idaho State Bar would likely send him a copy with a request to respond. He then proceeded to get in my face and told me was a “moron”. I asked him If he was threatening me, he said no, but that in 30 years of practicing law he had never had anyone make a complaint against him, and again he told me I was “moron”. He was still in my face at this point, just inches away, leaning in on me. I again asked if he was threatening me and he said no, but that I could “(bleep) off you stupid moron.” At this point I grabbed my cell phone and called 911 to ask for officer assistance as I perceived this as an assault. Mr. Gridley walked away saying he was going to his office and then home. I walked through the library and into the ante room where the Mayor, Mike Kennedy, Deanna Goodlander, Wendy Gabriel and Jon Ingalls were standing. Mike Kennedy told me I should calm down. I told him about the exchange I had with Mr. Gridley and he responded with surprise and expressed dissatisfaction. I turned to the Mayor and pointed at her exclaiming that she should take disciplinary action against Mr. Gridley. She told me not to point at her, so I apologized for pointing. She then said not only would she not be disciplining Mr. Gridley but, raising her fist at me, she said she had half a mind to 'punch my nose off of my face'.” More of Adams' statement below. More of Tom Hasslinger's Press report here.
Question: Who owes whom an apology here?
For years I have taken good water for granted, first in the Seattle area then North Idaho. I didn't realize how privileged we are. Great clean water and good sewage disposal policies.Hey, even our irrigation water is better than the drinking water of central California. I had a recent conversation with my daughter-in-law who felt that early puberty and an inordinate amount of twins born in this area is due to polluted water.So far, no two headed babies, but that is probably not far off. Nobody actually drinks the stuff. Some install filters so that they don't even have to shower in the local water, and this water has gone through a public utility filtration process/Herb Huseland, Bay Views. More here.
Question: Do you take the purity of North Idaho water for granted?
How much do you know about NASA's Curiosity Rover, Pope Francis and other stories in the news? Take our weekly interactive news quiz and find out. Simply by entering, you could win movie tickets or a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel! You can take the News Quiz here.
In the Lincoln Auditorium this morning, the House and Senate State Affairs committees are assembled for a presentation about amending the Idaho Human Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, though no bill is before the committees. “Many of us feel impatient about it, and I know that the progress cannot be made without … good understanding,” Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, told the committees. “We have before you five people who will be doing presentations and a number of people from our community that are able to answer questions”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you think the Idaho Legislature will 'Add the Words' in the next 3 to 5 years?
After much debate, the House has passed HB 292, to make attacks on health care workers a felony with up to a five-year penalty, on a 40-27 vote. Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, sponsored the bill in response to concerns from Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene about increasing violent attacks against workers there, along with similar concerns from others around the state in the health care industry. It requires that the attack be made with intent to trigger the enhanced penalty, to ensure that a mentally ill patient isn’t unduly penalized. Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, spoke out against the bill/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Other Eye on Boise posts today:
In this video provided by Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19, Councilman Mike Kennedy expresses amazement at the pickle that Councilman Dan Gookin finds himself in re: the purchase of Bryan Field.
In this video provided by Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19, City Attorney Mike Gridley explains to Councilman Steve Adams why he's an adverse party in the judicial confirmation process for the wastewater treatment plant expansion.
Question: Do you understand what City Attorney Mike Gridley is telling Adams? And/or: Do you understand what Adams means by “circular reasoning,” in this situation
In this Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19 video, Coeur d'Alene Councilman Steve Adams waves off warnings from City Attorney Mike Gridley and wastewater treatment manager Sid Fredrickson that a delay in expansion of the sewer plant could cost Coeur d'Alene $1 million per month in fines — and a possible hookup moratorium that would shut down local construction.
From Parks Director Doug Eastwood: “We met with Team McEuen and Contractors Northwest this morning. One of the agenda items was the contractors construction schedule. The Freedom Tree is scheduled to be removed this Friday (at about 10 a.m.). The entire park area, including Front Street, will be closed for construction by the end of the day today. The contractor will leave an opening on Fourth and Front Street all day Thursday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. for anyone that would like to take a photo of the Freedom Tree before it is removed. The contractor will salvage approximately 40 feet of the trunk of the tree and transfer the trunk to the Parks Department for future use. Attached are ideas that we have received from people throughout the community on how we might use the wood from the Freedom Tree. Also attached is a historical overview of the tree by Scott Reed, Scott and others planted the tree around 1962. The Freedom Tree is a Norwegian Spruce and it will be replaced with another Norwegian Spruce in the vicinity of the new Veterans Memorial. The new Freedom Tree will be approximately 30 feet in height when it is planted.”
Question: Are you interested in taking a photo with the Freedom Tree before it comes down?
President Barack Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, are photographed through a window and the crowd as they are greeted by children waving Israeli and American flags upon their arrival at the Peres' residence on Wednesday in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Question: Do you think President Barack Obama is concerned enough for Israel's safety and welfare?
The private school scholarship tax credits bill, HB 286, has barely squeaked through the House, on a 35-33 vote. Two members of the House were absent for the vote, Reps. Fred Wood, R-Burley, and Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise.
DFO: This takes money away from public schools. I would have voted no.
We saw again last night why ideologues are bad replacements for competent elected local officials who put community needs and values ahead of personal agendas. Councilman Steve Adams, until now an interesting distraction who refuses to support any budgetary item tied to federal funding, placed the financial stability of Coeur d'Alene in danger by flipflopping on judicial confirmation of the federally mandated expansion of the wastewater treatment plant. He supported it. Then, he didn't. I was amazed, as I watched Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19, how Adams waved off warnings from City Attorney Mike Gridley and wastewater treatment plant manage Sid Fredrickson re: his threat of appeal for pending judicial confirmation of the project. They said he could be subjecting the city of Coeur d'Alene to fines of $37,500 per day and $1M per month with his demand for a public vote on the scheduled expansion. More below.
The staff of Moss Adams show off their locks Tuesday on Kelly Olynyk Hair Day, part of the March Madness fun at the Spokane accounting firm. At far right is managing partner Rick Betts. Ali Marshall, fifth from left, stands atop two large plastic buckets to simulate the Gonzaga 7-footer’s height. SR story here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)
Question: I'm a ha-huge Kelly Olynyk fan. And I admire the way he has re-invented himself to become a first-round NBA basketball pick. But his hair style is worse than Adam Morrison's wispy stache. That's my 2 cents. What do you think?
“Project Runway” host Heidi Klum poses for photographers at the launch of her Heidi Klum for New Balance active wear collection at Lady Foot Locker last week in Culver City, Calif. You write the cutline. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Tuesday Winner (Rhodetrip w/3 likes, 2 dislikes): “Running completely out of qualified humans that want to serve in his administration, President Obama turns to Flat Stanley to be in the cabinet. (File cabinet, that is.)” Only 3 cutline entries Tuesday. You can see photo and read them here.
We recently moved to Idaho and a lot of locals have told us people in Idaho have more freedoms (compared to people in Washington). A lot of letters to the editor are concerned with the freedom to own and carry guns. However, sometimes it seems like that’s the only freedom people here care about. I just read that Idaho legislators are considering a bill that will restrict what is shown on TV. They quoted the Idaho Constitution that says, “The first concern of all good government is the virtue and sobriety of the people, and the purity of the home…” What? Are they kidding? I’m a responsible adult and I don’t need the government concerning themselves with my virtue or my sobriety, or the purity of my home/Ellie Emmanuel, Post Falls. More here.
Question: How would your TV viewing be affected if the FCC cracked down on shows that flaunt sex?
About a month ago, Inland Northwest Oath Keepers invited Sheriff Wheeler of Bonner County to appear at a town hall, billed as a “support your local sheriff” town hall. The question and answer period was respectful and informative, and Sheriff Wheeler took the opportunity to proclaim to his constituents that he will help protect the citizens of Bonner County from illegal intrusion from federal agencies like the IRS, ATF, DHS, etc. based on the state constitution. A couple of weeks ago, the local chapter of Oath Keepers contacted Sheriff Wolfinger of Kootenai County to address another “support your local sheriff” town hall, scheduled in Kootenai County at his convenience. The purpose was to discuss the sheriff’s role and responsibility to his constituents. His response through his secretary was “the Sheriff is not interested”/Scott Whitehurst, Inland Northwest Oath Keepers, Athol, letter to editor, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Should Sheriff Wolfinger meet with the Oath Keepers group?
Enter Balance North Idaho, stage left. BNI is a possible antidote to the poison of rampant partisanship in Kootenai County elections. We say “possible” because, if Balance North Idaho ends up endorsing and supporting strictly a Democratic slate in nonpartisan elections, it won't be furthering its stated purpose of backing the best candidates regardless of political affiliation. It would therefore provide perceived balance only by lending its entire weight to the side of the teeter-totter opposite (Kootenai County Reagan Republicans). In any election, not just nonpartisan polls, we urge voters to reject any faction's efforts to promote their slate of candidates based on the candidates' political party. Learning that a candidate is a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian or any other party has little or no actual value. More here.
Question: What advice would you give the leaders of the Balance North Idaho movement?
Possible change of course. The city of Coeur d'Alene is considering asking voters for approval for millions of dollars in upgrades for its wastewater treatment plant instead of getting the go-ahead from a judge because of one councilman's pledge to tie up the matter in court. The City Council voted 4 to 2 Tuesday for staff to begin crafting what language on the ballot could look like if the city should send the issue to ballot in May. A couple months ago, the city unanimously sought a judicial confirmation that would allow the city to spend at least $33 million in upgrades to the plant in light of stricter federal discharge requirements. But Councilman Steve Adams - who voted in favor of the judicial confirmation - reversed his stance about a month ago and said he would appeal 1st District Judge John Luster's decision should Luster rule in favor of the city/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
DFO: This reckless action by Councilman Adams could cost the city $1 million per month in EPA fines and lead to a moratorium on sewer hook-ups, stopping the resurgence of the local housing industry. Also, it could lead to sewer fees in five years of $70 per month. It was amazing to watch Adams stubbornly shrug off those warnings from the city attorney and wastewater treatment manager last night.
A U.S. Marine watches a statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled in Firdaus Square in downtown Baghdad on April 9, 2003, file photo. Today marks the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Story here. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)
Question: Is the Middle East more stable today than it was 10 years ago?
Kevin E. Mitchell, the owner and operator of Coinshop.com and now-closed CoiNuts in Coeur d'Alene, was dumped earlier this month by his attorney - for not paying his fees. According to court documents in 1st District Court, attorney Michael E. Ramsden was representing Mitchell in a recent civil case in which a former CoiNuts customer complained of getting ripped off for tens of thousands of dollars by Mitchell. Mitchell's attorney, Ramsden, started seeking to withdraw as Mitchell's attorney late last year. He was granted withdrawl by the court on March 12/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Thinking back, it was maybe 10 minutes into the impossibly fun tale of Gonzaga basketball that the Zags evolved from humble, lovable underdogs into something less appealing in the eyes of a not insignificant segment of the studio audience. Underachievers. There. We said it. Underachievers. Is it true? Oh, hell no. But if AM radio has taught us anything, it’s that everybody has to believe something – and once they do, they won’t let go. And with the 75th NCAA basketball tournament under way, it’s more of a talking point than ever what with the Bulldogs seeded No. 1 and in a perfect position to live up to this trumped-up expectation that they won’t live up to expectations. It’s a virtual mathematical inevitability/John Blanchette, SR. More here.
Question: Will you be embarrassed if Gonzaga stumbles anywhere short of the Elite Eight?
Some of you complained about the “Recent Comments” feature that occasionally shows that Disqus is updating comments. The news system updates comments every five minutes. If you encounter the annoying message, wait for half a minute and try again. I know. I know. We didn't have that annoyance with the old system. But we all have to learn to live with it. Now for today's Wild Card …
T.J. Lane unbuttons his shirt during sentencing today in Chardon, Ohio. Lane was given three lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole for opening fire last year in a high school cafeteria in a rampage that left three students dead and three others wounded. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. Investigators have said he admitted to the shooting but said he didn't know why he did it. Before the case went to adult court last year, a juvenile court judge ruled that Lane was mentally competent to stand trial despite evidence he suffers from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies. During the hearing, Lane flipped off the victims' families in the courtroom.(AP Photo/The News-Herald, Duncan Scott, Pool)
Schada Alkamari, a freshman at Bingham Young University of Idaho, talks about her experience being a Muslim student at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owned university in the Taylor Chapel in Idaho Falls. More here. (AP Photo/Post Register, Pat Sutphin)
This undated photo provided by Shawn Moore shows his son Josh, 11, holding a rifle his father gave him as a birthday present, at their home in Carneys Point, N.J. The Moore family claims this photo, posted on Facebook, led the state’s child welfare agency to the family’s house last Friday, demanding to be let inside to inspect their guns. Story here. (AP Photo/Shawn Moore)
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid on Tuesday declared politically dead the effort to ban military-style assault weapons, a setback for President Obama and gun-control advocates who are pushing the Senate to move quickly on bills to limit gun violence. Reid (D-Nev.) is preparing to move ahead with debate on a series of gun-control proposals when the Senate returns from a two-week Easter recess in early April. Although he has vowed to hold votes on measures introduced after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December, Reid told reporters Tuesday that the proposed assault-weapons ban isn’t holding up against Senate rules that require at least 60 votes to end debate and move to final passage/Ed O'Keefe & Philip Rucker, Washington Post. More here.
A two-man race for Coeur d'Alene School Trustee Zone 5 between Tom Hearn and GOPrecinct Committeeman Bjorn Handeen is the only contested race in that election, according to filing released this afternoon by the Kootenai County Clerk's Office. Other candidates who have filed so far are: Christa Hazel (for the Zone 1 seat now held by appointee Brent Regan) and appointee Ann Seddon for her Zone 4 seat. Deadline for all spring elections is 5 p.m. Friday. You can see all the current filings for all the offices here. In the race for Kootenai Hospital District seats, incumbent Marc Wallace of Hayden Lake has decided not to run. Dr. Neil Nemec has filed for Wallace's seat. Scuttlebutt has it that a Reagan Republican heavyweight will challenge Nemec. Incumbent Leisa M. Razzeto has filed for the other seat.
Question: I suspect that the anointed uber-cons will wait until the last minute to file for school, hospital, library, etc., offices. What do you think?
At Slight Detour, Marianne Love offers several spring scenes from her rural Lovestead here.
Huckleberries Online numbers (for Monday, March 18, 2013): 8337 page-views/4558 unique views
Despite any real prospects for a settlement of the federal government’s fiscal crisis, President Barack Obama‘s numbers continue to look strong, according to a new poll by Zogby Analytics. The online survey of 1000 likely voters, conducted March 13-14, shows the President’s job approval holding steady at 52%, with 45% disapproving. This is a point better in each direction since the February 27-28 Zogby Poll. Mr. Obama’s approval actually rose from 86% to 88% among Democrats and 14% to 20% among Republicans – but it slipped 3 points to only 41% among independents, with 53% disapproving. The President’s re-election was boosted by his majority support among independents in November/John Zogby, Forbes. More here.
Question (for Republicans): Overall, Obama approval among Republicans has risen from 14% to 20%. Are there any of you who view Obama more favorably today than when he first took office?
The Senate Commerce Committee has overwhelmingly approved HB 248, the governor’s state insurance exchange bill. Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, moved to approve the bill, sending it to the full Senate with a recommendation that it “do pass.” “I believe that our only option is this option, and I cannot in good conscience acquiesce to the federal government on those decisions,” Cameron said. “I am convinced that if the state does not act, the federal government will act”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Is that the Fat Lady I hear warming up on the Idaho Senate floor?
Boston's own “Boston Rob” Mariano declared “Kiss Me, I'm Smooth Shaven!” onboard the Gillette float at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Boston, reminding guys to K.I.S.S. — Keep It Smooth Shaven, on Sunday. A recent study revealed that 85% of women prefer to kiss a man who's smooth shaven, and that two out of three women said men will have better luck with them if they are stubble-free. (Photo by Aynsley Floyd/Invision for Gillette/AP Images)
Question (for the women of Huckleberries Online): Do you prefer to kiss clean-shaven men?
… The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans are targetting the three positions that are up for election on the Consolidated Free Library Board (county library) and two on the Kootenai Hospital District Board of Trustees — Secretary/Treasurer Liese Razzeto and attorney Marc Wallace. Razzeto is the only woman on the board. BTW, the takeover attempt on the hospital board is weird b/c the board hasn't taxed in more than 20 years and doesn't plan to do so in the foreseeable future. Maybe it's a target of the Reagan Republicans simply because it has the potential to tax.
The Senate Commerce Committee has opened its hearing this afternoon in the Abraham Lincoln Auditorium on HB 248, the House-passed version of the governor’s state health insurance exchange legislation. Committee Chairman John Tippets, R-Montpelier, said the committee has only until 3 p.m. for its hearing today; it’ll hear from David Hensley, Gov. Butch Otter’s chief of staff, to introduce the bill, and from Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, to criticize it; then, the public will be allowed to testify with a 3-minute limit until 2:45/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Gotta give Hoffman credit for going down fighting, right?
You can find Thursday's discussion of a proposed events center at Riverstone, between the City Council and NIC trustees, in City Clerk Renata McLeod's draft minutes. Here's a sample:
Councilman Gookin stated that he likes the idea of an event center. He has seen the proposal for the center and is concerned that it is too small. He believes that there should be a countywide recreational district created, so that the College could focus on education. President Dunlap stated that NIC does have an educational relationship to it, specifically their recreational teams would use such a facility, and another huge need is the graduation ceremony. Trustee Banducci stated that NIC would need scheduling priority and that it was a major issue for the College. Councilman Gookin stated that he believes it should be a civic project and that it would not make money, so a way to find out if the community is willing to support the project would be through a bond. Additionally, he is uncomfortable with the LCDC funding option. Complete draft minutes (2nd item) here.
Question: If Gookin and Trustee Ron Nilson support an events center, I believe, it has a chance. What do you think?
In a meeting between the Coeur d'Alene City Council and the North Idaho College Board of Trustees last Thursday, the subject of the Dike Road trees surfaced. The Army Corps of Engineers has been pushing for removal of the trees. City Clerk Renata McLeod provides the draft minutes:
“Trustee Howard asked Mr. Dobler to clarify what the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) position is regarding the trees. Mr. Dobler stated that the Corps has previously stated that the existing vegetation did not meet any of the current standards, which is still their position; however, there are cases where they have made exceptions. One example is Milton Freewater, Oregon, who had the same contractors the City recently hired. Mr. Dobler stated that there will be some current work at the seawall, but it would not preclude travel on Rosenberry Drive and he intends to do work before or after the summer rush.” Full draft minutes (1st item) here.
Question: if you read the entire discussion on the link that I provided, it sounds as though 50 percent of the trees are in jeopardy under a best-case scenario. Am I reading that right?
I believe the soul of Coeur d'Alene is at stake this year, as the uber-cons try to stretch their tentacles from Post Falls and Hayden and finish the job of putting ideologues in School Board and council seats. They were successful in overthrowing the Coeur d'Alene School Board via the ballot box two years ago and appointments since. Now, they have to defend those three appointments on School Board that has stumbled from one controversy to another — this, while targetting Mayor Sandi Bloem and three council incumbens to grab control of the City Council. The out-of-town uber-cons and their anti-progress allies in Coeur d'Alene will latch onto the unsuccessful RecallCDA campaign of 2011 and residual unhappiness with McEuen Field in an attempt to stamp their ideological brand on the council. Consider what a council of six Steve Adamses would be like. The School Board and Coeur d'Alene City Council elections this year are the most important ones in my 29 years in Coeur d'Alene. If Coeur d'Alene falls to the ideologues, the bright light of progress that we have experienced under the Bloem administration will go out for at least four years. Maybe a lot longer.
Question: What are you doing to combat political radicalism in Kootenai County?
In this March 31, 2011, AP file photo, Jefferson High School librarian Diana Inch displays her winning NCAA tournament bracket from Yahoo.com's online contest in Jefferson, Ore. Story here. The odds of completing the perfect bracket by picking the higher-seeded team are 35 billion to 1. Story here. (Democrat-Herald, Mark Ylen)
Question: Do you fill out NCAA Tournament brackets for fun and/or profit? How well do you usually do?
The House has voted 57-13 in favor of HJM 2, a non-binding memorial calling on the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on indecency on television. Rep. Darrell Bolz, R-Caldwell, said an individual from Canyon County has been pushing for several years for the Legislature to pass a law on the matter, but he conferred with the Idaho Attorney General’s office and determined that a non-binding memorial would be more appropriate/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
More Eye on Boise stories from today:
This year's Sports Illustrated covers feature four key players and teams that snagged No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament. Above is the Sports Illustrated cover for the West, featuring Gonzaga Bulldog big man Kelly Olynyk, who led the Zags to a 31-2 record. You can see all the SI covers here.
Question: Is Olynyk your favorite player on current Bulldog team?
In a poignant column for this week's Wallace Street Journal, David Bond discusses the bittersweet task for going through your parents things after they're gone — or going:
“My beloved mother died a year ago last October, and my father is fading away in a nursing home in Anchorage these days. But I now have pictures of them, from back when they were the handsomest of couples, and me as a squalling child in my mother's arms, maybe 6 months old, waiting to go on his first airplane ride. When you sift through this kind of stuff, the temporary nature of life starts screaming in your ear. In another decade or two, God willing, my kids will have to go through this same process. There are memories that will break your heart in your recollection of them. And there's also a ton of junk, but too nice to throw out, so you leave it to your kids so they can leave it to theirs. Complete column here.
Question: Have you had this experience of going through and cleaning out your parents' things after they're gone or going?
A Coeur d'Alene School District workshop is scheduled this afternoon to discuss the Core Knowledge program. In late January, the Press reported the following:
“The push to consider Core Knowledge in Coeur d'Alene schools came from Brent Regan, the district's newest trustee. He suggested Tuesday that they encourage teachers throughout the district and beyond, who are familiar with Core Knowledge, to come together to brainstorm. Regan said he agreed it's important that the decision whether to put the program in place at Borah be based on whether teachers like the program and want to use it.” More here.
The agenda includes two speakers. Nicole Olson and Gene Malvino. Nicole Olson is one of the signers of the recently filed district grievance. She uses Core Knowledge with her children in a home school setting and is familiar with the program. Gene Malvino has taught international business and recently spoke in front of the Panhandle Pachyderms on “Radical Islam in America”. More here.
Laura Cohen, left, races her own Snake Pit Derby Dame teammates on Thursday before their St. Patrick's Day match, “Hit Me I'm Irish,” Sunday at Skate Plaza. Cohen admits she enjoys the intensity and adrenalin of Roller Derby. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shane Bell)
This design was pulled from the city of Coeur d'Alene's McEuen Field page, which offers a detailed design of the different amenities in the project.
While Contractors Northwest Inc. will begin construction on the McEuen Field project this week after landing the $14.8 million bid, the city of Coeur d'Alene has budgeted the project to cost $20.2 million when all is said and done. The $20 million figure includes every expected expense for the project over two fiscal years, including savings the city is setting aside as contingency costs, design contracts and architectural and engineering fees. What accounts for the roughly $5.4 million difference between the reserved cash and winning contract bid? The city has slotted around $1 million to pay for equipment for the park. Splash pad equipment, park benches, garbage cans and the like aren't the contractor's responsibility, but the city's. The $1.9 million contract with the park's designers, Team McEuen, is included in that total, as is the $1.2 million contract for the east end parking lot work that has already been completed/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
A mini-thread among Monday's many threads argued the pro-cons of sex before marriage:
Until recently, coffee was part of the glue that holds couples together. Previously, when two people moved in together, they were, without realizing it, creating several subtle tests of whether they could exist as a permanent pair. Coffee, for instance. If he likes his coffee dark and strong and she likes hers light and bland, they are confronted with a choice: They can each make their own separate pot of coffee. Or they can compromise on something halfway between the two.Or maybe it's not coffee. My wife doesn't care for coffee. I do. So coffee was not our test when we decided to pair up for life. Granted, her distaste for coffee seemed a bit strange to me. What kind of grown woman doesn't like coffee?/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you and your mate share the same taste for coffee?
Idaho is poised to have its own state-based health insurance exchange. But getting that far required a unique coalition - Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter, a libertarian governor who broke with many of his fellow GOP governors; a freshman class of Idaho House Republicans and a solid House Democratic caucus. The measure cleared the House Wednesday on a 41-29 vote - after another version won Senate passage by 23-12. It involved the most unlikely of bills - creation of a state-based exchange is part and parcel of Obamacare. And it came in the most unexpected of places - the same Legislature that only two years earlier so detested Obamacare that it openly flirted with nullifying the federal law in open defiance of the U.S. Constitution. One man stitched it all together, House Speaker Scott Bedke (pictured), R-Oakley/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Is the 41-29 House vote on a state-run exchange an indication that the uber-cons aren't as strong as they were two years ago?
Update: Anti-pot resolution clears House/Eye on Boise
“Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States,” Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, told the House State Affairs Committee this morning, pitching his SCR 112, a Senate-passed resolution declaring that it’s the position of the Idaho Legislature that the state should never legalize marijuana for any use. “I think what this resolution is trying to do is just to make a statement that Idaho recognizes the problems that marijuana is creating in other states,” Winder said. “This is just a statement, it doesn’t change the law. … It’s just a statement on behalf of the Legislature of Idaho”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
DFO: The bat signal for Brent is official lit.
Question: Why waste time making a statement re: pot when some future Idaho Legislature and the people of Idaho might legalize it some day?
An audience member holds up a “Flat Stanley” as President Barack Obama, rear, greets guests at a Women's History Month reception in the East Room at the White House in Washington Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Monday winner: Jen (w/4 likes): “Fido's owner was praying for his health. Fido was praying that he'd never have to wear this outfit again.” Monday photo & all entries here.
Last week’s run of Spokane crime news made the “Psycho” shower scene look almost subtle. There was the hatchet attack on a homeless man by two other indigent men. Police charged a man for assaulting his neighbor – with a machete. Convicted killer Michael West Jr. was given a half-century behind bars for gouging out the eyes of a fellow prison inmate. And just when I thought the landscape couldn’t get any uglier, the king cockroach showed up on Friday’s front page. Robert Yates (pictured in AP file photo), I mean. Cue the screeching violins/Doug Clark, SR. More here.
Question: Anyone concerned about the fate of Robert Yates?
Candidates seeking election in nonpartisan races in Kootenai County will now have an opportunity to receive endorsements and campaign funds from a newly formed political action committee. The founding board of the PAC, Balance North Idaho, announced the committee's formation Monday in Coeur d'Alene. “The name that we've selected is very meaningful to our cause,” said Eden Irgens (pictured), a downtown business owner and the PAC's board president. Several nonpartisan elections, with ballots that do not indicate the political party affiliations of candidates, will take place in Kootenai County on May 21. … Irgens said political party members tend to take their voting cues from candidates' party affiliations rather than the individuals' qualifications. “Everything is moved very far to the right in this town,” Irgens said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Does this mean that the Reagan Republicans will have to work harder to foist their Hard Right “Republicans” (see: Steve Adams) on unsuspecting Coeur d'Alene voters?
We got through the weekend with not one but two teams in the NCAA Tournament. The Gonzaga men nabbed their No. 1 seed to the tournament, as expected (although the fourth No. 1 seed was a bit close for comfort). But who saw that tournament bid coming for the Idaho Vandal women's team. The Vandals will probably be a No. 16 seed and get knocked off in the first round. But it's nice to see some success for a UI team. It has been awhile. Now for your first Wild Card of the work week …
Members of the Idaho womens basketball team react on Monday in Moscow, Idaho, after learning they will play Connecticut in Storr, Conn., in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday. (AP Photo/Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Geoff Crimmins)
Question: Anyone believe in modern-day David-vs-Goliath outcome here?
All schools in the Boundary County School District were closed Monday morning after a bomb threat was called into 911 dispatch. The threat did not name a specific school, so after conferring with law enforcement, the decision to shut down all five schools in the district was made by the Superintendent. Law enforcement, including the Border Patrol, were called in to search all five buildings, however nothing was found. The Superintendent told KHQ Monday afternoon that this is the ninth bomb threat in the district since May 2012/KHQ. More here.
Question: Have you ever been inconvenienced by a bomb threat?