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Huckleberries Online

Archive for May 2013

Parting Shot — 5.31.13

A hawk and a crow interact while flying above the Buffalo Bills practice field during an optional NFL workout during the warm spring weather in Orchard Park, N.Y., today. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

TGIF Wild Card — 5.31.13

I told photographer Kathy Plonka this morning that I sometimes view the unexpected rides I receive daily at the helm of the U.S.S. Huckleberries to be along the lines of a bull rider. I never know how wild this thing is going to swing on a given day — today, for example. I'm minding my own business — as much as I can — and Dan Gookin and Mary Souza poke their heads into Huckleberries Central. The key is to ride the cyber bull to the bell every day. I haven't been bucked off yet today. But I was thrown sideways. Now to replay the Wild Card …

Sandpoint HS Hosts Paranormal Probe

Is it possible that Lake Pend Oreille High School is housing more than students? For believers in spirits and the paranormal, the answer just might be yes. Just ask the ghost-hunting McCommas family, including father Kent, mother Tonya and daughters Katie and Kieri. The four attracted a large crowd of LPOHS students May 23 as Kieri presented the findings of an investigation they conducted for her senior project. “I really wanted to do this for my project because I probably won’t get a chance to do it again,” Kieri said. “I’m going to become a nurse and probably won’t have as much time for it”/Cameron Rasmusson, Bonner County Bee. More here. (AP file illustration)

Question: Do you believe in ghosts?

PM Scanner Traffic — 5.31.13

  • 5:33 p.m. Traffic is a mess on e/b I-90, backed up 4 miles from Huetter area car crash.
  • 5:23 p.m. 1 driver trapped in black pickup on its side, female complaining of chest injuries.
  • 5:14 p.m. Vehicle on side after 5-car crash on e/b I-90, west of Huetter rest stop; highway blocked.
  • 5:04 p.m. Resident reports Coeur d'Alene neighbor has same license numbers on 2 cars.
  • 4:39 p.m. Drunk male bicyclist falling off bike in 200 block of W. Seltice Way/PF.
  • 4:26 p.m. Silverwood employee reports reckless driver spotted en route to work.
  • 4:08 p.m. Turn signals @ H95/Garwood Road didn't recycle for at least 3 cycles.
  • 15 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Cutline Contest — 5.31.13

Time 2 vote …

Jury member and casting show host Heidi Klum stands on stage with an actor dressed in a robot costume during the final show of the German television model casting show 'Germany's Next Topmodel' in Mannheim, Germany Thursday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/dpa, Uli Deck)

Thursday Winner — JohnA/with 11 likes: “In a grave new undertaking to increase their readership levels in a dead market, the Press reaches out to old neighborhoods, but residents there don't dig the new approach.” You can see Thursday's photo and all cutline entries here.

The Citadel: Will They Come?

They call it III Citadel, and they say they’ve already lined up “hundreds” of extreme-right gun lovers to join them in the walled city they’re planning for a lonely tract in northern Idaho. The end game, they say, is an ideologically pure settlement of 7,000 “Patriots” built around a huge arms factory. But there’s no sign that the latest fantastic plans from antigovernment extremists will ever come to much. Dave Resser, the sheriff of sparsely populated Benewah County, calls the whole thing a “scam.” They say they’re not racists and welcome any and all comers, so long as they promise to follow the rules and they’re devoted and well-armed defenders of the Constitution — “liberals, Marxists and blue voters” need not apply. But in practically the same breath, the man who with others recently purchased the land enthusiastically described how Latinos and Muslims will be “purged” and “culled” by “fed-up Americans” in the not-so distant future/Bill Morlin, Southern Poverty Law Center. More here.

Question: Do you worry re: another Aryan Nations compound relocating to North Idaho?

PM Headlines — 5.31.13

Brad Corkill, former two-term chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, left, reads the inscription on the mug of chocolate candy he was given this morning at North Idaho Pachyderm Club. Corkill spoke re: his opposition to the county's proposed plans for rural Kootenai County property owners.  He was Corkill opposes the regulatory taking of value from his land and the land owned by numerous other rural residents and business owners. Former county coroner Bob West applauds Corkill. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

DOTC: It Won’t Be Me, Babe

Dan of the Community answers the question on many lips re: his possible run for municipal office, now that he's a Coeur d'Loonian again: “Nope, not a chance for anything this cycle. I am engaged more than full time in my role at CASA and I am giving it everything I have to give. I do intend to stay involved in many aspects of my community and that includes a longtime interest in local politics. In fact I enjoyed being able to attend Mary's announcement this morning since it's just a few blocks from my office and who ever is running may end up representing my hometown. Of course at the time I went I thought it would be Dan Gookin announcing but hey, if you can't have a little fun along the way, even in politics, then what's the point?”

Question: We need to start asking about the rest of the lineup. I suspect Woody & Deanna will run again. However, if they don't, who would be good candidates for the council seats? I'd like to see someone run from the Decline-to-Sign gang of Sara Meyer, Jennifer Drake or Eden Irgens. Sara and Jennifer have young babes, however. Eden?

A Kiss Is Just A Kiss

And here's Reason No. 539 why you tune in to Huckleberries Online. Where else are you going to find the action behind the action at breaking news events? I don't know if photographer Duane Rasmussen shot this photo before Mary Souza announced her candidacy for Coeur d'Alene mayor on the waterfront this morning. Or after. But it shows Councilman Dan Gookin, right, clowning around with conservative activist Larry Spencer.

The Dorm At NIC

Silent and empty,
with no one about;
somber and dark since
the students moved out.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Bloem Reaffirms Decision Not To Run

Mayor Sandi Bloem told Huckleberries moments ago that she is standing by her decision not to seek re-election to a fourth term, despite announcement today that arch rival Mary Souza will run for her post. She was adamant. “I'm tired of all this,” she said. During their visit to my office today, Mary Souza and Councilman Dan Gookin said they expect as many as six candidates to run for mayor. Since then, I have heard that former Kootenai County Commissioner Rick Currie has expressed interest in the job. Huckleberries also is told that Councilman Ron Edinger might consider his old job if no one else steps forward.

DFO: I'm sorry for changing the text on you. But thought it was appropriate after talking with the mayor.

Question: Would you support either Edinger or Currie, if they ran for mayor?

Cutline Contest That Wasn’t

Shoulda posted this photo for today's Cutline Contest (although I just noticed it on the AP wire a few minutes ago). However, one of you clowns woulda offered: Dan Gookin, left, makes nice to DFO during morning interview with Coeur d'Alene mayor candidate Mary Souza. And I woulda thrown you in the cooler. It's best to simply offer this oddball photo in this venue.

Jill: Save Me From Worthy Causes

On her Facebook wall, FF Jill Kuraitis posts:Blasphemy — I can no longer listen to NPR. There are so many catastrophes, hell-in-a-handbaskets, we're-doomed, causes to care about but the list is endless so which one, starving people, rape victims, war refugees, torture and abuse, Congressional screw-ups, disappearing-bees stories that I start to cry. Frustrated is an understatement times one godzillian.”

Question: Do you ever get overwhelmed by the many worthy causes crying out for your support?

Kenck Rips Idaho GOP Ed Policies

In his latest post on The EDge, Kevin Richert writes of criticism by Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Larry Kenck, of Post Falls, for Republicans re: issue of education funding:

Kenck mocked Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, who recently suggested that family size is a factor in Idaho’s next-to-last ranking in per-pupil school spending. Wrote Kenck: “Luna was elected to be the captain of our education system. Remember last year when the Costa Concordia cruise ship hit a reef and sunk off Tuscany’s coast? That captain abandoned ship while his passengers remained on board desperate for help. Sometimes you just get a bad captain.” Full post here.

Question: Will detrimental education policies and funding ever snag the Idaho Republican Party?

IFF: Don’t Mess With Statist Lottery

Philip Allaire had a really great idea. Using his skills as a businessman, Allaire posed a plan to help the Nampa School District escape from a $5 million deficit. He created a nonprofit, Enriching Endowments, proposed selling raffle tickets for homes he purchased and would use the proceeds to pay down the school district's accounting mess. The Idaho Press-Tribune opined on Friday that Allaire's proposal was not grounded in reality, magnanimous but not fully vetted, because the proposal got sideways with Idaho state lottery officials who say the plan violated state regulations. Because the state lottery objected, Allaire gave up on his proposal. “The irony of the situation is that the same form of bureaucracy and incompetence of government that created the financial crisis we currently face is now preventing a common sense and cost effective solution,” he wrote in a press release. “Had it not been for the obstinate attitude and positions of the Idaho lottery, the generosity of the community would have provided a solution to the financial troubles that have threatened the future of Nampa’s students.” He's absolutely right/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More to come.

Question: I agree with Wayne again. What do you think?

AM Scanner Traffic — 5.31.13

  • 12:39 p.m. CPD officer stops male walking w/baby involved in domestic dispute, in front of Pink Spot coffee hut on Government Way. Mother of baby following in blue vehicle.
  • 12:38 p.m. 87YO male extremely sick @ Citruswood/Hedgewood, Post Falls.
  • 12:37 p.m. Older beige van speeding, passing in gravel @ e/b I-90/State Line.
  • 12:36 p.m. Someone is unconscious @ Emeritus assisted living, 205 E. Anton, CdA.
  • 12:17 p.m. Jack Buell truck is disabled, with cones out, @ H95/MP 424 Kidd Island Road.
  • 12:16 p.m. Security @ Hayden WalMart/Honeysuckle Avenue reports undisclosed theft.
  • 10 more items below

Huckleberries Talks To … Mary Souza

Mary Souza announces her candidacy for mayor near the Third Street dock this morning in Coeur d'Alene (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Mary Souza and Councilman Dan Gookin are at Huckleberries Online HQ at this moment for a Q-and-A interview. (You can read Mary's informational statement here):

  • Huckleberries: Some people think you have too much baggage to win a race for mayor. Obviously, you don't think so?
  • Mary Souza: I wouldn't call it baggage because I think I've really been out front with people. People know where I'm coming from.
  • Huckleberries: What issue will resonate the most with Coeur d'Alene voters?
  • Mary Souza: It's going to be the fact that there was no vote on McEuen Field. It was a massive project, costs so much money, and changes a key part of our community history. I know it's going to look beautiful. And I'm sad that we're not all feeling a sense of cohesion and excitement together because it could have been that way. It has been very divisive. Regular people in town were asked to be part of that project by having a vote. They were denied that.
  • DFO: How does the decision by Mayor Sandi Bloem (to not run for mayor) change the dynamics in this race?
  • Mary Souza: I don't think it affects it. It doesn't matter who's running on the other side. I'm running to change the way things are done in our town. I made my decision to run before Mayor Bloem made her announcement.
  • DFO: Are you going to be part of a ticket?
  • Mary Souza: No, just me.
  • DFO: How will Jim Brannon's presence in this race affect you?
  • Mary Souza: This is  — 100 percent — not about R's and D's. This is the whole rest of the community that has been left out of the process. They wanted to be part of the process and the doors are closed. There are so many Democrats who have been supporters — and even were at the announcement. My treasurer is a Democrat (Jim Doty).
  • DFO: If you are elected mayor in November, what will be the first order of business in January?
  • Mary Souza: The most important thing to start with is to bring people together. We have to heal some of the rifts that have happened. I will come in warm and friendly and try to build relationships within City Hall.
  • DFO: How would you vote on the antidiscrimination ordinance?
  • Mary Souza: If it's the exact ordinance that they were discussing at the General Services Committee (same as Boise ordinance), I would vote no. I am absolutely, completely in favor of equal protection for everyone under the law. And I believe that discrimination is never acceptable. However, that law, the way its written, has what I perceive to be serious problems. There are some items in there that are unenforceable. There are exceptions for certain groups that don't have to follow that law. How is that fair when its a law about discrimnation and yet it's discriminating?

Poll: Yes To Anti-Bias Ordinance

  • Thursday Poll: 155 of 255 respondents (60.78%) of Hucks Nation supports the antidiscrimination ordinance that will go before the Coeur d'Alene City Council Tuesday. The ordinance would extend discrimination laws re: employment, housing & public accommodations to the gay community. 93 of 255 respondents (36.47%) oppose the ordinance. 7 (2.75%) were undecided.
  • Weekend Poll: Do you think Mary Souza can win the race for Coeur d'Alene mayor this fall?

Mary Souza Is Running For Mayor

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Mary Souza Announces For Mayor

Mary Souza, long-time critic of the Bloem administration, announced her candidacy for mayor of Coeur d'Alene this morning near the Third Street dock. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

In the, reporter Joe Newby writes about today's mayoral announcement by City Hall critic Mary Souza:

Speaking at the Third Street boat launch — also in need of repair — Souza said she's running for mayor to “include everyone.” “Let’s start to heal the divides. We can bridge the gaps and work together. And when there are major issues that will cost a great deal of money or change something sacred to our history, we’ll have a public vote,” she said. She also promised to hold city council meetings that are respectful and professional. “We won’t allow name-calling or juvenile behavior, and we’ll listen to citizens when they speak, and they’ll be treated well,” she said. Full article here.

Question: Can Mary Souza win a race for mayor in Coeur d'Alene? Or does she have too much baggage?

Kelly: Cursing Thieves

Cecil Kelly III of Coeur d'Alene wrote the following letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press editor:

Those of you who stole the flower baskets off my parents’ and brother’s graves — I curse you. I curse you, your family, your dog, your home, your car. I curse you in this life and the next. I curse you before God and Satan. May you rot in hell ‘til the end of time.

DFO: I knew Cecil's mother. She and Betty Stone, as part of the Cemetery Committee, were instrumental in saving the Forest Cemetery from privatization during the Fromm administration.

Question: If this happened to you, would you share Cecil's mind set?

Initiative To Target Minimum Wage

A nonpartisan group is kicking off an initiative drive to raise Idaho's minimum wage to $8.10 by Jan. 1, 2015, to $8.95 by Jan. 1, 2016, and more afterward. Idaho's current minimum wage is $7.25. Five speakers will launch the initiative drive during a rally from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8, at Riverstone Park. Speakers will be Father Roger LaChance, Anne Nesse, Patrick Lippert, Liz Moore, and Dr. Rolf Nesse. You can read the proposed initiative here.

Question: Would you sign a petition supporting an initiative like this?

Tunnel For Underground Garage?

At least one downtown property owner is asking permission for its own access point into the Front Avenue parking garage tied to a redeveloped McEuen Park. Blackridge Properties LLC. wants to construct a pedestrian tunnel into the parking garage from the property it owns, 401 Front Ave., where the Bank of America building sits. The company would pay for the tunnel, and it would make for easier connection into the $20 million redeveloped McEuen Park and the garage, it says. “There's no reason to have the tunnel, (but) we thought it would be a worthwhile investment for potential future interconnections as well as convenience of the users,” said Chris Meyer, of Blackridge Properties. The company is seeking an easement from the city to allow access. The General Services Committee isn't recommending the idea, which is headed to the City Council for a decision at 6 p.m. Tuesday/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Workers construct underground parking garage at McEuen Field)

Question: Good idea or bad idea?

Sheriff Undecided On Scout Charter

Ben Wolfinger, the sheriff of Kootenai County, said he has not decided to keep or drop the Boy Scout troop chartered by the sheriff’s office. But he said his Christian faith and what the Bible says about homosexuality are weighing heavily on him as he struggles with the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to end the organization’s membership ban on gay youth. “I don’t think I can make any decision in my life without bringing my faith into it,” Wolfinger, an elder in the large, evangelical Real Life Ministries church, said in an interview Thursday. “My faith influences what I do every day.” Wolfinger indicated last week he was compelled to drop the charter with Troop 911, saying it would be inappropriate for the sheriff’s office to continue the association because Idaho’s “crimes against nature” statute prohibits sodomy/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (SR file photo of Sheriff Wolfinger in February)

Question: What would you tell the sheriff to consider as he reaches a decision re: the Boy Scout charter?

‘Bon Jovi Arena’ Angers Local Vets

Singer Jon Bon Jovi performs on stage earlier this month in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/dpa, Marc Mueller, file)

A promotional stunt met community resistance Thursday when unhappy military and civic boosters took to the Web and the streets to protest the temporary renaming of the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena to the Bon Jovi Veterans Arena. In celebration of an Oct. 6 concert by rock group Bon Jovi, which was announced early Thursday, the Public Facilities District has temporarily renamed the arena. After the concert, the arena will go back to its former name. But some commenters on local media and the arena’s Facebook page called the move disrespectful and extreme, while others praised the district’s efforts in booking the classic rock band/Kaitlin Gillespie, SR. More here.

Question: Is this situation a total brain cramp on the part of the Public Facilities District? Or do you see logic to its move?

Trib Jeers Kootenai County Sheriff

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

… Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger. Peeved at the Boy Scouts of America national office's decision to admit openly gay boys, Wolfinger is ending his department's sponsorship of a Boy Scout troop. Bad enough that a man in his position would practice open discrimination against boys. That's on Wolfinger's conscience. But Wolfinger justifies his decision on Idaho's 1972 anti-sodomy law. “It would be inappropriate for the sheriff's office to sponsor an organization that is promoting a lifestyle that is in violation of state law,” he said.It may be on the books, but it's not the law. Ten years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an anti-sodo-my law in Texas - and with it, the statute in Idaho and the 12 other holdouts. How can Kootenai County's top cop be so ignorant of the law? What else doesn't he know? Complete Cheers & Jeers column here.


Local Property Values Edge Upward

Item: Property values inching upward: Assessor: Increase can be linked to homeowners exemption adjustment/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: For the first time in six years, county property values have increased. It was a slight increase at 1.9 percent, but an increase nonetheless, Kootenai County Assessor Mike McDowell said Thursday. “Most of the increase can be attributed to an adjustment in the homeowners exemption,” he said, adding that the maximum homeowners exemption was reduced this year to $81,000 from $83,974 last year. The homeowners exemption is tied to the Idaho Housing Price Index by law, he said.

Question: How much did your property valuation go up?

Shield Law

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Thursday — 5.30.13

On Wednesday, a long-time friend called to accuse me of having too much fun as ringmaster of this 3-ring cyber circus. She was referring to Jim Brannon's decision to run for Coeur d'Alene mayor this fall. But she also mentioned the many controversies that Huckleberries always seems to be in the middle of. She imagines, at times, that I'm laughing my head off when the various political factions are up to their arm pits in pixels here. I enjoy laughing. And compiling this blog provides much opportunity to do so. But it might be a stretch to say I laugh my head off (although there's an occasional guffaw). Thanks for continued good times and challenges. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 5.30.13

Graduating 2nd Lieutenants give each other a high five after receiving their diplomas, during the commencement ceremony for the class of 2013, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, in Colorado, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Recallers To Attend Gookin Reveal

In the comments section, Randy Myers posts re: an email he received from Frank Orzell, head of a new organization called “Reclaim Coeur d'Alene”:

“You may have read in today’s Press that Dan Gookin will be making an important announcement related to the November election in CdA. Dan, Mary Souza and a number of us from Recall will be there and we are hoping you will join us. Construction has things pretty well shut down; the best parking will likely be in the resort parking garage or at the newly laid out parking spaces south of the city hall. We are requested not to bring signs.”

DFO: Randy, many thanks for posting this.

Question: So RecallCDA activists are going to be part of the Gookin announcement tomorrow? This just got even more interesting.

PM Scanner Traffic — 5.30.13

  • 5:32 p.m. Construction firm on I-90 b/n MP 11-13 (NW Blvd-7th Street) may be setting up traffic cones half an hour early.
  • 5:26 p.m. Coeur d'Alene resident reports dogs abandoned in vacant home 3 weeks ago.
  • 5:19 p.m. Caller willing to sign complaint vs. red BMW driver speeding @ H95/Hayden.
  • 4:49 p.m. Adults & children living in vehicle in 1000 block of Park Place/CdA.
  • 4:36 p.m. Emerald Drive/Hayden resident complains re: neighbor who plays drums.
  • 4:29 p.m. ISP officer reports H97 near Carlin Bay/Lake CdA (3:55 item) is open again.
  • 4:17 p.m. Worried parents discover that child on school bus got off at wrong exit.
  • 4:11 p.m. Caller was cut off on w/b I-90 near State Line by purple semi carrying steam roller.
  • 12 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 5.30.13

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is flanked by Republican Idaho state lawmakers Rep. Christy Perry of Nampa, left, and Sen. Marv Hagedorn, right, of Meridian earlier today, at a Perry's family's gun shop in Boise. Crapo touted legislation that would re-authorize federal funding for mental health courts and other efforts to help the courts deal with individuals with mental illnesses who commit crimes. With his visit, Crapo is re-directing his focus to policy and from personal and campaign miscues that include a December drunken driving arrest and his disclosure this month that his campaign lost $250,000 on an ill-advised real estate loan. Story here. (AP Photo/John Miller)

Cutline Contest — 5.30.13

Time to Vote …

On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson posts: “As we were leaving Memorial Day ceremonies at Evergreen Cemetery, (husband) Bert noticed the Press box at the entrance and wondered which of the 'residents' was a subscriber.” You write the cutline.

Wednesday Winner — DFO/with 5 likes: “Felix the Feline admits life is nice in Houtong. But he dreams of going to America, where he hears that his cousin, Milo, is pampered and worshipped by an eccentric Cat Lady, with four sons and an indulgent husband, who writes tear-jerkers re: how old people fell in love.” You can see the photo and all cutline contest entries here.

AG: Trustees Can Impose Contracts

As school districts and local teachers’ unions try to reach contract agreements by a July 1 deadline, the law appears to give management an upper hand. Districts probably can issue teacher contracts based on their last best offer, if local school boards and union negotiators fail to come to terms by July 1, according to Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office. Wasden’s office was asked to wade into the thorny negotiations issue by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and his staff. In a pair of letters — including one issued just last week — Deputy Attorney General Andrew J. Snook spelled out the steps for imposing a last best offer/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.

Question: Will new trustees of the Coeur d'Alene School Board, who take office July 1, be able to cut a decent contract with teachers, given the limited dollars available?

HBO Blogs: Queen Of The Fest

Here's a better photo of Priest Lake blogger Pecky Cox/As the Lake Churns, serving as queen of the recent Priest River Huckleberry Festival.

Huckleberries numbers (for Wednesday, May 29): 9719 page-views; 5398 unique views

Carlson Pens ‘Medimont Reflections’

Book cover for “Medimont Reflections,” photographed by Chris Carlson's wife, Marcia. The book also includes several photos by my old Lewiston Tribune buddy, Barry Kough.

The people are familiar, many of the stories, however, have not been told before. Chris Carlson drew on 40 years of experience in public life to publish his second book, “Medimont Reflections.” The book comes two years after his first book, “Cecil Andrus, Idaho’s Greatest Governor,” a biography of the former governor hit book stores. “This book is a compilation of 13 essays on issues and notable Idahoans who I have been involved with in 40 years of being in the public arena,” said Mr. Carlson. The Medimont resident taught at Kootenai High School before going to work for Cecil Andrus. He served as press secretary for Governor Andrus and had the same role when the governor served as Secretary of the Interior. In addition to his career in politics, Mr. Carlson served on the Northwest Power Planning Council, was the public affairs director for Kaiser Aluminum in Spokane and founded a regional public affairs business that thrives today/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette Record. More here.

Question: Name the last book that you read about Idaho history?

Food Porn: Noodle Express

On his Get Out! North Idaho Facebook page, OrangeTV posts re: this photo he snapped an hour ago at the Hayden store: “Noodle Express is a regular haunt of ours for grabbing a quick bite during our lunch break from work. Always fresh, fast, and faboo! Today's hot choice was the sweet and sour chicken bowl.”

OTV's post prompted these responses:

  • LG: too bad the servings aren't really like this, they're more rice veggies then anything else
  • OTV: Portion size was just fine, maybe it depends on who is working in the kitchen, that kind of thing happens…
  • LG: yes it does, way too often
  • MP: We need the full restaurant here in North Idaho…A Mustard Seed! That is what they should put in Riverstone instead of a McD's…

DFO: I was excited when Panda Express opened up shop at 4th & Best/CdA. But haven't been there in quite awhile because portion size and freshness weren't up to snuff 2 visits in a row. Get better bang for the buck at Safeway deli. Are LG & I the only one who feels this way toward Noodle Express and Panda Express, respectively?

Councilman Offers ‘Nontroversy’

On his Facebook wall, Councilman Mike Kennedy posts: “I NEED A LAWYER!! I have coined a new word and I'd like to protect it via patent, trademark, or copyright. Legal help will be compensated by a small piece of ownership of this trademark (and I mean small). Here's the word: Nontroversy (noun?): A ginned up scandal, controversy, or otherwise politically inspired nonsense by some political partisan (from either side). I think I have a winner, here, Madame or Mr Lawyer who will do this work gratis!! Bring it on!”

Question: What is something that's happened locally, in the political realm, that you would describe as a “nontoversy”?

Crapo Returns Firing re: Gun Control

Sen. Mike Crapo held a press conference at a Boise gun shop today, where he blasted Congress' and President Barack Obama's bid to tighten gun laws while promoting reauthorization of a 2004 law that, among other things, directs federal taxpayer money for mental health courts. The AP reports that Crapo is using the latest congressional recess to emphasize his reputation as a serious policy maker, not a man on his heels after his December drunken driving arrest and this month's disclosure that his campaign lost $250,000 on a loan-gone-sour/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Will it take Sen. Crapo long to put scandals behind him?

Adults Spellers Take To Bee

Mindy Patterson of the Queen Bees of North Idaho College ponders the word “intelligible” during the Kootenai County Adult Spelling Bee at NIC on Thursday. The bee is sponsored by the Coeur d'Alene Area Branch of AAUW (American Associate of University Women) to raise money for scholarships at North Idaho College. Last year's bee earned $2,300 and funded two scholarships. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: How many rounds would you last in an adult spelling bee?

Weekly SR News Quiz — 5.28.13

If you followed the news last week – or even if you didn’t – you might do well in this week’s news quiz. Top entries will go into a drawing for a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel, and all entries go into a drawing for movie tickets. Good luck! Click here.

  • Answer to 1st question this week: ricin.
  • Merry Hucksters on Readerboard: SFredrickson, Duffer & Fort Boise.

Tax Surplus Filling Rainy Day Fund

Here’s a surprising turn of events: With April’s strong state tax revenues, if current trends hold, statutorily required transfers to Idaho’s Budget Stabilization Fund, the state’s main rainy-day savings account, will fill that fund to its statutory cap by the end of the current fiscal year. The stabilization fund, by law, is capped at 5 percent of the state’s general-fund budget. Beyond that point, surpluses would just stay in the state’s general fund/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: I'll start singing, “Happy Days Are Here Again,” when the stabilization fund is full — and the guv finds room in his heart to consider properly funding education and Medicaid?

Coin Toss To Decide May 21 Contest

Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes will toss a coin tomorrow to decide the winning  Board Member for the Alpine Meadows Water & Sewer District.  An Idaho quarter will be tossed 10 a.m. Friday in the board room of the county administration building, 451 Government Way, Coeur d’Alene. In the May 21 election, a total of 19 ballots were cast for the Alpine Meadows Water & Sewer District race.  Candidate Melissa DeMotte was listed on the ballot,  and received 9 votes.  Write-in candidate Toni Sumerlin also received 9 votes.  “Ten write-in votes were cast, as is reflected on the Unofficial Results on the County’s Elections homepage,” said Raffee.  “However, one write-in vote was not valid as an incorrect last name was written in”/News Release, Kootenai County Clerk's Office. More here.

Question: Anyone know which candidate was supported by the Reagan Republicans?

Damianos Part Of Senate Probe IRS

As part of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s investigation into alleged Internal Revenue Service (IRS) harassment of Tea Party and other conservative organizations, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has submitted documents and testimony from a Coeur d’Alene-area couple.  Crapo will meet Friday with Phil and Leslie Damiano, of Hayden Lake, who submitted the documents, during a special meeting of the Panhandle Pachyderm Club in Post Falls.  The meeting at Templin’s Red Lion Inn is free and open to the public. The Damianos submitted copies of letters written to their Tea Party Patriots of North Idaho group from the IRS.  The group had applied for 503 (c) (4) status with the IRS on the recommendation of their CPA who stated that the group clearly fit into the description of the status. The letters asked seriously invasive questions about the group, speakers and donors/News Release, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo's office. More here.

Question: Now is the IRS scandal starting to hit closer to home?

Pastor Urges Fight Vs. Anti-Bias Law

On his Facebook wall, Pastor Jim Putman of Real Life Ministries urges Facebook Friends, church members and others to combat the antidiscrimination ordinance recommended for passage by the Coeur d'Alene General Services Committee. Putman posts: “The city of CDA is trying to promote an anti discrimination law to protect the rights of homosexuals and transgenders — the problem is the bill takes away the rights of believers to do business with who they want to. Not only is this a violation of the rights of some to promote other peoples rights it is a pathway to promoting sin. As believers we love the sinner but we hate sin.” More here. (Jim Putman's Facebook photo)


Bug’s Life

On his Faecbook page, outdoor photographer Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts: “A spider and a beetle share a daisy in a field near our house this afternoon. The spider seemed uninterested in attempting to eat the beetle and the beetle seemed to be eating pollen.You can find more of Robin's photography here.

AM Scanner Traffic — 5.30.13

  • 11:56 a.m. White SUV Cadillac e/b @ I-90/Huetter rest stop area, disabled by flat tire.
  • 11:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report May 29-30 here.
  • 11:39 a.m. Two-vehicle crash reported @ Government Way/Aqua, CdA; unknown if injuries.
  • 11:31 a.m. A metal chair is laying on highway @ w/b I-90, west of H95/CdA.
  • 11:29 a.m. Someone injured in fall in 1700 block of Government Way/CdA.
  • 11:27 a.m. Strange odor in building @ 550 W. Neider Ave/CdA.
  • 11:16 a.m. Female driver complaining of neck pain after being rear-ended in H41 turning lane onto Seltice Way/State Line Village.
  • 10:26 a.m. CPD is seeking a stolen 1994 Honda Accord with Idaho Plates K491273.
  • 10:16 a.m. Sand-and-gravel truck s/b @H95/MP 452 (Careywood Road), leaking brown substance.
  • 9:35 a.m. Stolen vehicle located in front of Post Falls Cenex, 606 Mullan Ave.
  • 9:18 a.m. Deputies serving papes in 200 block of E3rd Avenue/PF spot suspicious situation.
  • 8:26 a.m. Someone injured in a fall in 2100 block of Sherman Avenue/CdA.
  • 8:25 a.m. A bag of trash is laying on w/b H53 near McGuire Road/Hauser Lake.
  • 8:11 a.m. CPD officers seek tall, thin male in baseball cap last seen @ 13th/Walnut, CdA.

Looking Good But Not Staring

A Facebook Friend posts: “I hate when I'm admiring my good looks from a car's window reflection and the people inside think I'm staring at them.”

Question: How often do you look at yourself intently in a mirror or any other reflecting surface? What are you looking for?

Grange Observes 100th Anniversary

The Five Mile Prairie Grange hall looks great for 100, and it’s about to look even better. On Saturday, a brightly colored 8-by-8-foot quilt block will be unveiled on the east side of the building. The unveiling is part of an ice cream social celebrating the hall’s 100th year of service to the Five Mile community. Grange secretary Chris Hamp got the idea when she and her husband visited Pennsylvania. “They have these large quilt blocks on buildings,” she said. “It’s huge there. They have a quilt block trail.” Last week, Grange members met at Norm Hamilton’s barn to put the finishing touches on the Turning Star quilt block. As they painted, Hamilton reflected on the changes he’s seen in the neighborhood/Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (SR photo)

Question: Have you ever belonged to a grange?

Guv Wants Harder Medicaid Rules

Gov. Butch Otter wants to make it harder for people to benefit from Medicaid unless they make healthy choices. It's one of the options he's weighing as he ponders whether to add Idaho's poorest adults to the program. A plan in the works by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare carries the same theme - personal responsibility - but takes a different path. During the last legislative session, Otter said he wouldn't support going along with the national expansion of Medicaid right away. That means Idahoans won't be eligible when the expansion kicks in next year and offers coverage to all adults up to 138 percent of the poverty line/Audrey Dutton, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you support the governor's stand to make it harder for people to benefit from Medicaid unless they make healthy choices?

Read more here:

AM: Kids Read To Pound Pups

Brayden Rogers, right, and Grace Kravik spent part of their Wednesday afternoon, reading to dogs at the Bitter Root Humane Association shelter in Hamilton, Mont. The two were participating in one of the many programs offered by the Keystone to Discovery After School program. Story here. (AP Photo/Ravalli Republic, Perry Backus)

‘Gladiator’ School Shuts Out Public

Corrections Corporation of America doesn't want you knowing too much about the “Gladiator School” it's operating out of the Idaho Correctional Center near Boise. Even though it's taking more than $29 million of your tax dollars every year, the company went to court last week to keep you in the dark about a lawsuit inmates in the violence-ridden ICC have filed. Were ICC managed by Idaho's Department of Correction, the institution's management would be accountable to the public. But as a private company, CCA answers to no one but its shareholders. As such, it has no problem shutting the public out/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Did Idaho make a bad decision by privatizing this prison?

Front Porch: Tombstone Epitaphs

The sun warmed my shoulders and a breeze ruffled the flags that stretched out along the horizon. I laid the red, white and blue bouquet next to a pot of yellow roses, and Sam stuck a pinwheel into the ground that soon spun in a blur of colors as the wind reached it. Tombstones jutted in orderly rows like soldiers standing at attention. The Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake is a beautiful spot and my father-in-law’s final resting place. For 18 years, my husband, sons and I have paid Memorial Day weekend visits to my father’s grave at Fairmount Memorial Park. My father-in-law’s death two years ago added this new destination to our pilgrimage of remembrance/Cindy Hval, SR Front Porch. More here.

Question: What will your epitaph say?

Reed: Right-Wing Takeover Averted

Blow the trumpets! Bang the drums! The sound of joy in Coeur d’Alene over last week’s election of three new school board members should be heard ricocheting down the I-90 corridor all the way to Spokane. All three of the super-conservatives in the Coeur d’Alene School Board election battle ran as Republicans in nonpartisan races. “REPUBLICAN” blared out in large type on yard signs and all campaign material. But Christa Hazel, Dave Eubanks and Tom Hearn won anyway in a landslide of transparency and responsiveness over right-wing policies and blatantly partisan tactics. … In this issue, you’ll read about the right-wing migration from Orange County to North Idaho, raising the question of whether conservatives here have gone too far in seeking to control every facet of local government. The answer from the voting public was clearly yes, the right-wingers have indeed gone too far/Mary Lou Reed, Inlander. More here.


Question: Do you consider Coeur d'Alene more moderate than the rest of Kootenai County?

Lake City Moderates Counter-Punch

After a string of victories for the far-right wing candidates they endorsed, it may have seemed like the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans were the only major force in North Idaho politics. But in last week’s election, the script changed. Neither Reagan Republican candidate won a Kootenai Hospital District board seat. And voters rejected the Reagan Republican-endorsed incumbents on the Coeur d’Alene school board in favor of a moderate Republican, an independent and even a Democrat. “On Tuesday night, it’s like we ripped back the curtain and found the Wizard of Oz was shorter and less powerful than we had feared,” Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Mike Kennedy says. The far-right had been bested by an alliance of moderates/Daniel Walters, Inlander. More here.

Question: Inquiring minds want to know: Will the Empire strike back in November?

Man Blows Cork Over Misspelling

A sign is shown in the parking lot of the state Teacher Standards and Practices Commission in Salem, Ore., on Wednesday. An upset man brought a pressure cooker he claimed was a bomb into the state Teacher Standards and Practices Commission office on Wednesday and informed employees he had tried to blow up their sign because it was misspelled, a state official said. This side of the sign is missing the letter “d'' in the word “and.” Story here. (AP Photo/Statesman-Journal: Timothy J. Gonzalez)

Question: Do you get upset by typos?

2 Sites Possible For Event Center

Item: Two sites possible for NIC event center: Possible site at Riverstone valued at $2.5 million/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Organizers hoping to build an event center in Riverstone have identified two parcels of land in the multi-use development where the 5,000-seat arena could go. One site is about 10 acres and the other about 6. The 6-acre site is west of West Riverstone Drive and the 10-acre site is east of the drive. The 6-acre site is where Citylink's parking lot now sits. Riverstone developer John Stone estimates the land's worth at $2.5 million, but he says he'll sell the land at its appraised value if North Idaho College moves forward with a purchase.

Question: I sense that the idea of an events center is gaining momentum. What do you think?

Post Falls Still Looking For Downtown

Next up on Post Falls' quest to create a downtown: Spokane Street. The north-south corridor from Interstate 90 south to the Spokane River bridge will receive a makeover featuring raised landscaped medians, a pedestrian/bike trail on the west side, gateway monuments at both ends, decorative lighting and on-street parallel parking. The improvements will start late this summer with traffic signals at Fourth and Spokane next to City Hall. The rest of the $2.2 million project funded by the Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency will be done starting next spring. “We want minimal impact to traffic and don't want to tear up Spokane Street in two different construction years,” said Matt Gillis, project engineer for Welch Comer Engineers. “It's like ripping off a Band-Aid quickly instead of slowly.” The project is the latest aimed at creating a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly city center, Gillis said/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Where would you say downtown Post Falls is?

Mag: Their Own Private Idaho?

The Inlander has published that longp-awaited article from High Country News re: the political take over of Kootenai County by uber-conservative emigres. Here's a sampling of Sierra Crane-Murdoch's report:

Despite (Rally Right organizer Bob) Pedersen’s delight in the conservative takeover, some Republicans told me they feared speaking out against what the conservatives defined as the party line. “The more the party gains power,” one told me, “the less dissent it seems they’re allowing.” Gookin blamed this on a lack of effective leadership: “We don’t have anyone saying, ‘Knock it off, we both believe in the same thing. Get back there. We have enough room to tolerate different opinions.’ No one wants to do that. And by being silent, you encourage it.” Full story here. (High Country News photo, via Inlander)

DFO: There's plenty of juicy quotes to fill a blogging day at HucksOnline. Feel free to share them in the comments section.

Question: How does the May 21 local elections play into the theme of dominance outlned in this article?

Hanging ‘Em Up

Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Hump Day Wild Card — 5.29.13

Who woulda thunk it. A week after all the fireworks should be over, from the spring election that returned Coeur d'Alene to some normalcy, we're still up to our arm pits in controversy. This time, we're dealing with Coeur d'Alene's proposed antidiscrimination ordinance. And the return of Frank Orzell and the freshly minted Reclaimers. Now, if we can only get a few hats officially tossed in the local political ring, we can really get things going at this three-ring cyber circus called Huckleberries Online. And you thought we were going to take the summer off? Pshaw. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 5.29.13

The view from inside the gunner seat of a WWII B-17 bomber flying 1,000 feet above Nampa, Idaho Tuesday. There are only eleven B-17 bombers that can fly. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Adam Eschbach)

That Missoula Male ‘Look’

On his Facebook wall, FF Daniel Walters of the Inlander posts: Every man in Missoula looks like either the brothers from “Supernatural” or the guidance counselor on “Freaks and Geeks.”

Question: Do Coeur d'Alene area males have a certain look?

St. Maries Resident Dies In Accident

A St. Maries resident weas killed and four others injured at 5:18 this morning when a GMC Suburban, driven by Ronnie M. Quintana, 27, of Spokane, fail to negotiate a curve on Highway 5 at Heyburn State Park, hit an embankment and rolled several times before coming to rest on its top in the westbound lane. Jamie C. Kirkland Rivera, 33, was killed in the crash. Quintana was ejected from the vehicle and transported to KMC by air ambulance. Others hurt in the crash included Mary Zurcher Christian, 26, of Tensed; Stevie Klimpel, 26, of Butte, Mont.; and Cherie E. Lawson, 19, of St. Maries. No one in the vehicle was wearing a seatbelt.  The highway was blocked for five hours. You can read the ISP news release here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 5.29.13

  • 5:25 p.m. CPD looking for white Nissan Maxima rental from South Dakota, stolen today in CdA.
  • 5:24 p.m. Post Falls Super 1 security reports containing cooperative adult shoplifter.
  • 4:59 p.m. Caller reports following possible DUI driver from Spokane to H53/MP 8 (Hidden Valley).
  • 4:42 p.m. PFPD looking for red '91 Nissan pickup w/canopy & rear-end damage; ignition doesn't work.
  • 10 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Cutline Contest — 5.29.13

Time 2 vote …

Tourists stop to view one of the hundred or so resident cats resting on a wall in the small town of Houtong, Taiwan. Cat lovers arrive by the dozens to fondle and photograph the felines of Houtong, one of Taiwan's former coal mining communities. Local residents welcome the unexpected rise in tourism due to the large feline population by building feeding points, lounging pedestals and have gone as far as constructing an elevated bridge for cats and visitors to roam across the passing railroad tracks. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Tuesday Winner — Arpie and Photoguy (photoshopped photo)/with 5 likes apiece: “The soldiers really enjoy the new Russian Calvary water ballet, but the horse doesn't like it much.” You can see the photo & 9 cutline entries here.

Farmers Market Downtown Tonight

Tonight is the Downtown Wednesday Farmers' Market in Downtown Coeur d'Alene. The market has moved north by 2 blocks to the North side of Sherman. There is plenty of parking along Lakeside Avenue including several Diamond Parking Lots (only $1 for 2 hours). On its Facebook wall, the market proclaims: “Our hard working vendors will be there with lots of spring produce, plant starts, breads, cheese, crafts and food. See you there!”

Question: What products do you get at the local Farmers Markets?

PM: Old CSD Office Comes Down

A Berry Picker emails this photo of work crews tearing down the old Coeur d'Alene School District office today, to make room for the expansion of Sorensen Magnet School.

HBO Blogsphere — 5.29.13

Huckleberries has asked Pecky Cox of the As the Lake Churns blog for a clearer photo than this, of Pecky serving as queen of the annual Priest River Huckleberries Festival. I love it when someone from Hucks Nation is honored like this.

Huckleberries numbers (for week of May 19-25): 59,177 page-views, 32,408 unique pages

Sarah Palin’s Biggest Fan

The closest Tyler Weyer has been to Sarah Palin was dressing as her — red blouse, auburn wig, rimless glasses and all. About a month ago, before his classmates, teachers, principal and mother, the 17-year-old senior wobbled on high heels, purchased from the “11 plus” shelf at Value Village in Spokane. He towered over a blonde eighth-grade girl in a pantsuit on the Republic High School stage as they discussed the role of sexism in the 2008 presidential campaign. “So please,” implored Tyler to the audience, “Stop photoshopping my head on sexy bikini photos.” “Stop saying I have cankles,” the eighth-grader deadpanned/Deanna Pan, Inlander. More here. (Young Kwak's Inlander photo: Republic High School teacher Liz Bremner dolls up Tyler Weyer, who played Sarah Palin for a school event)

Question: Name someone whom you are a big fan of?

Resident Faces Manslaughter Charge

Item: Spokane homeowner to be charged with manslaughter for shooting car thief/Spokesman-Review

More Info: Spokane homeowner Gail Gerlach will be charged with first-degree manslaughter today in the fatal shooting of the thief he caught stealing his SUV in March, according to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s office. Gerlach, 56, killed 25-year-old Brendon Kaluza-Graham with a single shot from his 9mm handgun as the thief sped away in the 1997 Chevrolet Suburban that had been left idling in the driveway at 1419 N. Lee St. Gerlach told police that he saw the thief raise his arm and point what he thought was a gun at him while driving away. No firearms were found in the SUV, which had tinted windows, authorities have said.

Question: Do you agree with the Spokane County prosecutor's decision to charge a homeowner with manslaughter for killing a thief who was stealing his vehicle?

CdA’s Anti-Bias Debate Makes WSJ

How big is that discussion occurring this week re: Coeur d'Alene's possible decision to extend anti-discrimination protections to the gay community in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations? The story was picked up by the Wall Street Journal today. Coeur d'Alene's General Service Committee voted 2-1 Tuesday to recommend approval of the ordinance to the City Council. (Photo: Thom George)

From WSJournal article by Jim Carlton: “Council President Mike Kennedy, who supports the proposal, said he plans to schedule it for a vote sometime in June. Three other council members said in interviews they either plan to vote for the ban or lean to doing so, while a fifth declined to comment and the mayor, Ms. Bloem—who votes only to break ties—said she would pass it.” Complete article here.

Question: Will the vote on this controversial issue have repercussions for the November city election?

Incubating Quints

Twenty three-year-old Alexandra Kinova from Milovice, about 30 km east of Prague, smiles as she waits for the delivery of quintuplets at Prague's maternity hospital in Podoli Wednesday. The babies are expected to be born by Caesarean operation on Sunday. (AP Photo,CTK/Stanislav Zbynek)

McGruber: Brannon Not Qualified

McGruber (re: Brannon announces candidacy): From an outsider (as in outside CDA but in Kootenai Co.) who has had some contact with Brannon, he's not ready for prime time of the mayor's seat. No council or city commission experience, no leadership experience within community organizations and with an abrasive arrogance that doesn't play well in winning people to your side enough to vote for you. In a two way council race with Kennedy he came close, getting the anybody but Mike vote. I'd give Gookin pretty good odds no matter who's in the race. Mary might have a bit too much Open CDA and RECALL CDA baggage to be effective or successful but if it was Brannon and Souza, Mary wins big. Brannon should check his ego at the door and run for a council seat, which he'd have a much better shot at winning than mayor.

Question: What do you think will be the nature of Councilman Dan Gookin's announcement this week?

Mike: Too Busy For Election Decision

Mike Kennedy (re: possible run for mayor or for re-election): At the moment I am completely focused on tending to my family, catching up on my work, and being a chauffeur to exotic places like Idaho Falls for soccer tournaments. Oh, and there is still business to do at the City besides politicking! I have seriously not made a final decision about running again for council, mayor, or dog catcher. I still wish Mayor Bloem would run again, but she's firm that she's a no. I'm avoiding any major decisions for the immediate moment since I have had quite a bit of unexpected tumult and have some time to let things settle and consider the best for my family, my staff, and me.

DFO: When Mayor Bloem announced she wasn't going to run for re-election to a fourth term, I thought she raced a steep uphill battle, with uber-cons in ascendancy. Now, I think she could win re-election despite the continuing McEuen Field controversy, especially if she faced three-way competition.

Question: Would you like to see Mayor Bloem change her mind re: running for a fourth term?

Locke: What’s Ordinance End Game?

Jennifer_Locke (re: City OKs anti-bias ordinance 2-1):  If these discriminations are wrong period, then why are they exempt? They teach individuals certain principles on this matter? Is the ultimate end game to eventually pull these exemptions for churches, Christian daycare/schools, and religious organizations? What about the KROC center? I don't know much about them or if they practice these policies already, but don't they have a church on their facility and are some what of a religious organization, along with a gym and an event center? To expand further on that matter, what about a Christian business owner of a gym? These are just the many questions that are coming to mind after quickly reading through this proposed ordinance.

DFO: I've asked city spokeswoman Kristina Lyman for a copy of the proposed city ordinance, once it's available. It's my understanding that the one approved by the General Services Committee was similar to the one adopted by Boise.

Question: Is there areas of the proposed ordinance that you believe needs to be tweeked before it becomes city law?

Up & Over

Conner Hepler, 4, jumps from a log along the shoreline of the Spokane River near the former Atlas Mill site in Coeur d'Alene, during a Memorial Day outing with his uncle Monday. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)

Question: When did you last jump over something?

Judge Narrows Student-Fee Lawsuit

And then there was one: a single Idaho school district facing a lawsuit over student fees. On Friday, a district judge dismissed 65 school districts from a case alleging that student fees violate the state Constitution — and its mandate that the state “establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” Boise-based District Judge Richard Greenwood allowed the case to continue against the Meridian School District, since plaintiffs Russell Joki and Sarah Holt have paid fees to Meridian schools. Greenwood’s decision does not address the constitutional questions about the student fees — raised by the plaintiffs and their attorney, Robert Huntley, a former state Supreme Court justice and gubernatorial candidate. But the decision does, in effect, further dismantle the case by narrowing its scope/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.


Mag: Payette CPA Was Racist Author

A longtime CPA in Payette whose firm audited many school districts, cities and other government agencies was also secretly the author of “dozens of racist and anti-Semitic tracts” under the pseudonym Farnham O’Reilly, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports in the latest issue of its quarterly magazine, “Intelligence Report.” The article, by the group’s Intelligence Project director, Heidi Beirich, entitled “The Aryan Accountant,” reports that Timothy Folke was a member of the white supremacist National Alliance, espoused creating an “Aryan homeland,” and started a website to entice like-minded folks to move to his area; you can read the article here/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you know who your CPA is?

AM Scanner Traffic — 5.29.13

  • 12:05 p.m. EMTS en route to 75YO male who has had hiccups for 11 hours.
  • 11:43 a.m. Caller reports auto burglary in 500 block of E. Rose Lane/CdA.
  • 11:30 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for May 28-29 here.
  • 11:07 a.m. Disabled semi is blocking Highway 3 @ Honeysuckle Junction.
  • 11:03 a.m. ISPer en route to county jail w/2 prisoners from probation office, 202 Anton, CdA.
  • 10:55 a.m. PFPD officer reports that a husband wants wife to bring gas after he ran out.
  • 10:46 a.m. Someone is suffering a seizure in 1900 block of W. Appleway, CdA.
  • 9:58 a.m. Coeur d'Alene female going thru eviction is threatening to kill everyone.
  • 9:54 a.m. Someone unconscious after undisclosed trauma injury @ 10th/Montana, CdA.
  • 9:48 a.m. 72YO female suffering chest pain 8n 500 block of W. Neider Avenue, CdA.
  • 9:37 a.m. CPD officer wants back up to check welfare of person @ 316 Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive.
  • 9:16 a.m. ITD reports male has set up camper trailer for summer of fog line of s/b H97/MP 83 (Driftwood Drive, north of Harrison). ITD wants trailer tagged for removal.
  • 9:08 a.m. Someone is unconscious in 300 block of S. Sublimity Trail/Harrison.
  • 8:31 a.m. ISP officer has tagged a disabled Chevy pickup @ e/b I-90/MP 6 (Seltice Way) for removal.
  • 8:15 a.m. Post Falls caller reports red Chevy van has been abandoned for days on 19th Avenue.

AM: Robber Hits Spokane Pot Shop

An armed employee works the counter at Herbal Connection Tuesday. The Spokane pot shop was robbed of $5000-$7000 and medical marijuana products Monday. Story here. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)

Brannon Announces Candidacy

Update: Jim Brannon has announced his intention to run for Coeur d'Alene mayor on the Web site, stating in a comment: “My goal as mayor is to bring government back to its primary responsibilities and return control to the citizens of this great city. Today, I am announcing my candidacy for mayor and have appointed Doug Balija as treasurer.” More here.

… That Jim Brannon was telling others at the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee meeting last night that he won't make a formal announcement re: his candidacy for Coeur d'Alene mayor. But he still plans to file the paperwork to name a treasurer. Seems he was emphatic re: his intent to run. Also, my Berry Pickers overheard Mary Souza trying to set up a meeting with Rally Right kingmaker Bob Pedersen. Sez a Berry Picker: “If Mary is willing to talk to Pedersen, she is running (for mayor).

Question: Can Brannon win?

Poll: Run For Mayor, Mike

  • Tuesday Poll: Exactly one half of Hucks Nation wants Coeur d'Alene Councilman Mike Kennedy to run for mayor in November. 86 of 172 respondents (50%) supported that position. Another 23 (13.37%) want him to seek re-election to the council; and 16 (9.3%) want him to run for the Legislature instead. 42 of 172 respondents (24.42%) don't want him to seek election at all. 5 (2.91%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Should the Coeur d'Alene City Council OK the antidiscrimination ordinance approved by the General Services Committee?

Huckleberries Also Hears …

… That the Republican Central Committee almost forgot to buy flags to distribute at the 4th of July Parade.  A remedy however seems to have been fashioned at the last minute.  Seems some were concerned that they wouldn't get a good price on flags at this late date.  There was also concern as to whether they would  be able to buy enough flags and if the flags would be flags made in the United States. An insider tells Huckleberries: “The new group that took over the Republican Central Committee seems to be unfamiliar with local Republican traditions.  They are acting like deer caught in the headlight of an oncoming train.  It appears that Libertarians and Constitutionalists are just not used to being in charge of much.”

Farragut Shooting Range To Reopen

The shooting range at Farragut State Park will reopen Saturday after a prolonged legal fight over noise and safety concerns. The range last was used in the fall 2006, and has been closed under a court injunction since 2007 while nearby homeowners pursued a lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Fish and Game over firearms noise and the danger of errant bullets. Last November the Idaho Supreme Court lifted an injunction that has kept the shooting range closed since early 2007, and this morning First District Judge John Mitchell signed an order allowing Fish and Game to operate the range again. The agency, however, is limited to 500 total range visits a year/Scott Maben, SR. More here.


What Should We Call ‘Em?

I'm beginning to think that we need a name for all the political activists who have moved into Kootenai County and are trying to show us rubes the way by transforming our bit of paradise to conform with their utopian dreams. After the Civil War, southerners used the term “carpetbaggers” to describe the opportunistic political figures from the north who migrated seeking power. Maybe we should call the political emigres trying to take over Kootenai County local and legislative government “Reclaimers” or “Tranformers.”

Question: What do you think?

Letter: Why Does Ward Want Control?

I wondered why I received information from the Reagan Republican candidates asking me to vote absentee, now I understand why. It was so they could look at my ballot and target me and now apparently my neighbors. Where is our privacy? Legal or not, it is a violation and makes me wonder too why so much effort for a school board race? They must have spent a fortune on at least two mailers and of course the “urgent taxpayer alert” that was completely full of lies, but meant to scare people into voting for his “puppets.” Why? Why does Jeff Ward want control over our community?/N. Wood, of Post Falls, Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor. More here.

Question: Will the Reagan Republicans rise from the ashes of their inglorious spring 2013 election waterloo?

Koler: Conservative Voters, Shame

After giving the victors in the Coeur d'Alene School Board elections unenthusiastic congratulations, Duncan Koler of Citizens for Better Education writes in a Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor:

“To the thousands of conservative voters who did not vote — shame on you. You have likely prevented real conservative changes from being made in our schools, to improve academics, restore acceptable standards of behavior and preserve local control. You can expect a supplemental tax levy as a reward for your lack of commitment. We will continue to fight for our students and the taxpayers. Anything short of excellence in academics and the most value for our taxes is unacceptable. We have a long way to go to improve academics. But as to budgeting, it is fortunate for the incoming trustees that the board and Mr. Wardell have made great strides over the past year. Don’t mess it up!” More here.

Question: And when did Mr. Koler move to the Coeur d'Alene area — and begin trying to fix our education system?

Total Recall Evolves Into ReclaimCDA

Blast from the Past: In this Coeur d'Alene Press file photo from April 2012, Jeff and Pam Tyler stand under their umbrella as supporters of a recall of Coeur d'Alene's mayor and half of the city council chant outside of city hall Wednesday. (Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)

Item: Reclaim Coeur d'Alene PAC is formed/Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Recall CdA's organizer has formed a political action committee for the November city elections. Frank Orzell, who led the Recall CdA effort, formed the new committee, Reclaim Coeur d'Alene. He said in a press release Tuesday the group will provide information on relevant issues through its website and public events for direct interaction with candidates. “We are in the process of identifying potential candidates for voter consideration. Qualified individuals willing to step up to the challenge should make themselves known to the group by email.” (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo of Decline To Sign's Jennifer Drake encountering a RecallCDA protester last spring)

Question: So does Orzell want to reclaim Coeur d'Alene of six or seven years ago when he arrived in town? Or reclaim it as it was in the 1990s? Or rebuild the softball fields & American Legion Field on McEuen? What?

Sheriff Mum On Scouts Charter

Item: Sheriff mum after meeting: Wolfinger may end Boy Scout charter after gay ban pulled/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A meeting between the Inland Northwest Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Kootenai County sheriff didn't appear to change anything Tuesday. Kootenai County Sheriff's Lt. Stu Miller said Sheriff Ben Wolfinger had no further comment on Friday's decision to pull the KCSO's Boy Scout charter. The sheriff announced he was pulling it because the BSA National Council passed a resolution last week that removed a ban against openly gay members in the scouts. On Friday, Wolfinger said “It would be inappropriate for the sheriff's office to sponsor an organization that is promoting a lifestyle that is in violation of state law.” He said sodomy was illegal in the state of Idaho.

Question: How do you think this will play out?

Council Panel OKs Anti-Bias Law

Item: Cd'A fights discrimination: Rule would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The city of Coeur d'Alene moved forward Tuesday with an anti-discrimination ordinance that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The proposed rule would prohibit anyone from discriminating in areas of housing, employment and public accommodations based on “sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.” Any violation would be a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. … The committee voted 2-1 in favor of sending an ordinance to the full city council for approval.

Question: How will the council vote on this proposal?

Signe: No Comment

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Wild Card/Tuesday — 5.28.13

Someone needs to tell the weather man that summer has unofficially begun in the City by the Lake. Memorial Day traditionally is the beginning of summer in Coeur d'Alene. There were a number of people frolicking at City Beach and City Park on Saturday when Mrs. O and I went for a bike ride along the waterfront. But that picture changed somewhat by Monday when bad weather moved in. Oh well, my summer plants survived two nights of chilly weather last week because I covered them. The weather outside seems like a typical late May/early June day. Now for the first Wild Card of the week …

Parting Shot — 5.28.13

Before the memorial service for three Fairchild Air Force Base personnel who died in a KC-135 Stratotanker crash May 3 in Kyrgyzstan, Spokane Fire Department's Deputy Chief Bob Hanna unfurls the American flag after it wrapped itself around the fire truck's ladder is was displayed today, near the INB Performing Arts Center in Spokane. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Wayne Hoffman Is Now A Meme

I suppose it was only a matter of time. Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Wayne Hoffman is now a meme: Idaho Freedom Man.  (Don’t know what a meme is? Here’s a run-down from Wikipedia.) The memes poke fun at Hoffman’s ideology, saying things like “Thinks he knows what’s best for Idahoans/Isn’t even from Idaho” and ” Claims he’s non-partisan/Can’t understand why people laugh.” There are a couple dozen pictures, and judging by the time stamps, someone did them in the middle of the night last night. One of them got a bit nasty and brought up his family. (C’mon now, guys.) Others give criticism on Idaho Reporter and issues on which the Freedom Foundation has (or hasn’t) commented/Melissa Davlin, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: I still can't wrap my head around the concept of meme. What does itmean that Wayne Hoffman is now a member? 25 words or less?

PM Scanner Traffic — 5.28.13

  • 5:53 p.m. Father tells investigating deputy he's fine, kids are fine & he wants no further contact with immediate family.
  • 5:30 p.m. Deputy responding to trespassing call on H3/Larch Road, St. Maries area.
  • 4:50 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for May 27-28 here.
  • 4:43 p.m. Female in silver Grand Cherokee @ Revilo Court/Hayden Lake wants deputy assist to exchange guns with a former boyfriend.
  • 4:37 p.m. Someone is unconscious in 1800 block of Legends Parkway/CdA.
  • 12 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link

PM Headlines — 5.28.13

“It's like a beauty pageant,” said Jacqueline Fargey of Lacombe, Alberta Canada as she groomed Lottie, her miniature poodle during the Coeur d'Alene Dog Fanciers all breed dogs show obedience and rally trials at the Kootenai County Fairground in Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Cutline Contest — 5.28.13

Only 2 or 3 have voted so far; time to vote …

Russian border guard veterans pose while bathing in a fountain in Moscow's Gorky Park as they celebrate the Border Guard's Day in Moscow on Tuesday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

Friday Winner — JohnA/with 5 likes: “As its members flee following Tuesday's election, Jeff Ward struggles to carry the party all by himself.” See the photo and 10 cutline entries here.

‘Taps’ And A Tear

Vietnam veteran Mark Whitlow, center, sheds a tear as “Taps” is played at the end of the Memorial Day ceremony at Hayden Lake's Honeysuckle Beach Monday. Whitlow served in Vietnam 1972-1973. The Faragut Base Submariners group and the City of Hayden Veterans Commission put on two events, one at the lake and one at Hayden City Hall Monday. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Gookin To Announce Mayor Bid?

Above, you'll see the letter sent to news outlets, including Huckleberries, by Councilman Dan Gookin announcing his plans to announce his plans for possible mayoral bid this fall.

Dan Gookin appears to be ready to run for mayor. The second-year city councilman sent a letter to media outlets stating he’s ready to announce his intention to vie for the mayor’s seat come November. The letter didn’t say he will for sure run for mayor, only that he will announce whether he will or not. So, would he call everyone out to the Third Street boat launch at 10 a.m. Friday to announce he’s not running? He told The Press today he didn’t want to “pre-announce his announcement.” But, he added, “I will not be wasting your time. I wouldn’t do that. That would be a joke, but I don’t want to pre-announce this announcement”/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Gookin versus Brannon versus ???, oh my. Thoughts?

Kennedy Discusses Anti-Bias Law

In the Huckleberries comments section, Councilman Mike Kennedy posts: “Tony Stewart said something today that resonated with me (paraphrasing): “the law can't compel us to love one another, but it can compel is to treat one another lovingly” - in this case - with basic equal rights. This is a secular matter in a multi-cultural, multi-religious world. And if I have to err, I will err on the side of human equality, human dignity, and basic human rights. Everything else is window dressing. The preamble to the Constitution refers to our permanent goal of striving to form a more perfect union. I think this ordinance, small, unnecessary, and inconsequential as it may be to some, is working toward that larger goal. And to some people, I know this ordinance could well rekindle the hope that the system works for them, too. That's America to me.” Full comment here.


Recall Leader Begins Reclaim Group

Frank Orzell, a leader of the failed Recall Coeur d'Alene effort in spring 2012, has sent the following to The Spokesman-Review:

Following up on Recall CdA in which more than 5,000 signatures were collected to remove the mayor and three council members from office, Reclaim Coeur d’Alene has launched a campaign to put in place a local government that will:

  • Represent the will of the people  —  calling for a public vote on major issues (such as McEuen)
  • Effectively manage city staff with accountability and reasonable compensation practices
  • Replace arrogance with respect for all;
  • Attract new business and job opportunities.

According to Chairman, Frank Orzell, who led the Recall CdA effort, the group will provide information on relevant issues through its web-site and public events for direct interaction with candidates. More here.

Question: Will we see Balance North Idaho return this fall to do battle with the Recallers?

Proposed Anti-Discrimination Law

Tony Stewart, of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, dropped a copy of the proposed anti-discrimination LGBT ordinance by Huckleberries HQ moments ago. You can read the ordinance here.

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations Board preamble supports the principle tht all persons are created equal and we recognize the dignity and worth of every human being. All law-abiding individuals should enjoy the fruits of freedom and be free from discrimination based on such characteristics as sexual orientation, gender identity/expression. Our city has the opprunity to take yet another major step forward in guaranteeing the fundamental rights of all its residents by the passage of this anti-discrimination ordinance in housing, jobs and public accommodations — KCHRTF board of directors, including Christie Wood, president. More here.


Nampa Pulls Plug On House Raffle

After three days — and after 47 people bought tickets at $100 apiece — a house raffle to support the ailing Nampa School District has come to an abrupt halt. The Middleton nonprofit group Enriching Endowments Inc. shut down its Internet site Saturday, after receiving a letter from the Idaho Lottery that said the fundraiser “may be in violation of several state and federal laws.” The ticket proceeds will be refunded, said Philip Allaire, the Middleton retiree who proposed the house raffle. “I’m not going to be accused to taking anybody’s money,” Allaire said in a telephone interview Tuesday/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.

Question: Are you beginning to see how desperate Nampa School District is to increase funding?

Committee OKs Anti-Bias Proposal 2-1

Update: From Sara Meyer Facebook page: This passed in committee by a 2-1 vote from the three council members on the General Services Committee. Councilman Adams voted against it.

Christie Wood and Tony Stewart of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations will propose today that the city of Coeur d'Alene pass an anti-discrimination ordinance to protect the gay community on issues of housing, employment and public accomodations. Wood and Stewart will make the presentation to the General Services Committee when it meets at noon today in the Coeur d'Alene Library Community Room. Four cities have already passed a similar ordinance — Boise, Sandpoint, Moscow and Ketchum.


In Memory Of Lost Sailors

Ron Silver drops a wreath into Hayden Lake in memory of lost sailors in the submarine service before “Taps” is played at the end of the Memorial Day ceremony at Hayden Lake's Honeysuckle Beach Monday. The Faragut Base Submariners group and the City of Hayden Veterans Commission put on two events, one at the lake and one at Hayden City Hall Monday. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Deputies Find Drunk, Burned Juvenile

At about 6:30 a.m. Sunday, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 16000 block of Danielle Road/Hayden to check on a male. The caller reported that he saw two young males dragging a third male, that was possibly intoxicated into an adjacent yard. Once deputies arrived on scene, they found a 16-year-old male that was semi-conscious and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The male appeared to have been suffering from hypothermia and he had a severe burn to his arm. The male was transported to Kootenai Health for treatment. The deputies contacted several juveniles at the residence where the male was dragged from and learned that there had been an underage drinking party while the homeowners were out of town/Lt. Stu Miller, Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. More here.

Question: Did you ever attend an under-age drinking party in your teen years?

Hearn: Thanks To Facebook Friends

On his Facebook page, Trustee-elect Tom Hearn writes: “I took a few days off for some badly needed rest at our little lake cabin after the election campaign. While cutting grass that was up to my knees, (since I hadn't been there for a couple of months) I was thinking this weekend of all the people I have yet to thank for their help in this election. Many of those people are “friends” on Facebook. I just want to thank all of you for your help. Many people gave advice, money, their time working on the campaign, walking door to door with me or for me, distributed literature, made phone calls, gave words of support, sent me interesting article to read, wrote letters to the editor, showed up at the Fort Grounds Tavern last Tuesday night to cheer us on, “shared” Facebook posts, etc., etc.” More here.

Question: What role did social media play in the recent Coeur d'Alene School Board and Kootenai Hospital Board elections?

Riverstone McDonalds?

I've always had the theory that you can accurately determine an area's population growth rate and level of prosperity by how many Macdonald's exist there. The first CdA area McDonalds appeared on former farmland on Appleway at some point in the early-mid 1970's, when Appleway was basically considered to be somewhere out in the boonies on your way to Hayden Lake. Actually, things had picking up a bit in that part of town for a little while with the opening of Cd'A's tiny first indoor shopping mall a few years earlier, but I don't think Appleway was even paved until a couple of years prior. Flash forward to 1993, and the significantly larger (but still not so huge) Silver Lake Mall has been been a few miles north of Appleway on Hanley Ave in an area that was once again considered to be the outer edge of civilization for those living close to downtown. McDonald's is to shopping malls as flies are to a fresh potato salad at a summer picnic/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here. (AP file photo of McDonald's quarter pounders)

Question: Are you looking forward to having a McDonalds at the entrance to Riverstone?

Experiencing Loss

On her Facebook wall, Cindy writes: “I have several friends who've never experienced loss. The loss of a parent, a child, a sibling … They have no concept of cemetery visits, of mourning what once was and is no longer. And so they can offer nothing on weekends like this, when some of us are filled with longing for all we've lost. And yet I do not envy them.”

DFO: I was dry-eyed when I laid my father to rest in 1976. But I can't visit his grave today without breaking down a bit. His grave is a short distance from the graves of two of my uncles and two of my aunts in a cemetery outside of Manteca, Calif. When I think of all the good times I had as a child with the six of them, I realize how quickly time passes. Now I'm 8 years older than my father. In visiting cemeteries, I realize that I must make the most of the time I've been given.

Question: Do you ever visit the graves of loved ones or cemeteries in general, just to reflect?


A soldier's cross, a rifle, boots and helment symbolizing a fallen soldier, is displayed at the Memorial Day ceremony Monday at Honeysuckle Beach in Hayden. The Farragut Base Submariners group and the City of Hayden Veterans Commission put on two events, one at the lake and one at Hayden City Hall Monday. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

AM Headlines — 5.28.13

Michelle Bristow greets her daughter, Kaytlynn, after school at Atlas Elementary School in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday. Bristow, a North Idaho College graduate, was named a Coca-Cola New Century Scholar through the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Poll: Hazel For School Board Chair

  • Weekend Poll: Trustee-elect Christa Hazel received 113 of 204 legitimate votes 55.4%)  from Hucks Nation, which wants to see her become the next Coeur d'Alene School Board chairwoman. Current Chairman Tom Hamilton was second, 37 of 204 (18.1%); Tom Hearn third w/34 of 204 (16.7%), Dave Eubanks fourth w/19 of 204 (9.3%) and Terri Seymour last with 1 of 204 votes (0.5%). Hazel had more than 60% of the vote Friday evening when someone hacked in 160-170 votes in a short period of time. I removed 160 votes.
  • Today's Poll: What do you want Councilman Mike Kennedy to do re: re-election plans?

AM Scanner Traffic — 5.28.13

  • 10:51 a.m. Pickup w/b on I-90/MP 15.5 (Sherman Avenue) is against barrier after losing wheel.
  • 10:45 a.m. 2 students en route to Silverwood from Quincy, Wash., reportedly drinking in vehicle on I-90 passing through Post Falls.
  • 10:32 a.m. Crash b/n Sentra & Ford pickup w/firewood blocking @ s/b H95/MP 437.5 (Boekel).
  • 10:28 a.m. Female wants her property back from Coeur d'Alene police.
  • 10:04 a.m. PFPD is looking for an extended cab pickup w/camper shell stolen Monday.
  • 10:01 a.m. Caller from 900 block of Kyler Avenue (cross of Reed) reports hit-and-run crash.
  • 9:49 a.m. ISP officer @ H95/Neider responding to vehicle w/flat tire w/flashers on.
  • 9:46 a.m. Undisclosed animal noise in the 16600 block of Cape Horn/Bayview.
  • 9:39 a.m. Minor 2-vehicle crash in DMV office on Railroad Avenue/Post Falls.
  • 9:07 a.m. Undisclosed theft reported @ Atlas Road/Seltice Way, CdA.
  • 9:03 a.m. PFPD Blue staying at site of domestic dispute to “calm things down,” female in handcuffs.
  • 8:15 a.m. Principal @ Canyon Elementary/Cataldo wants officer to speak to boy who was harassing other children on school bus.

Huckleberries Hears …

… That Jim Brannon is telling people that he will announce his candidacy for mayor of Coeur d'Alene this week, possibly Wednesday, by filing his paperwork for treasurer. Brannon was a central figure in a long lawsuit contesting the results of the 2009 city election race. Brannon lost his 2009 council race against incumbent Councilman Mike Kennedy by five votes. After a legal battle, the margin of that defeat was reduced to three votes. Mayor Sandi Bloem has already announced that she won't seek re-election to a fourth, four-year term. No of the other incumbents who face election — Kennedy, Deanna Goodlander and Woody McEvers — have announced whether they will seek re-election. Bloem and the three council members facing re-election survived a recall attempt last year when political opponents failed to get enough signatures to put the matter to a vote.

Nampa’s Melting Down, Who’s Next?

Any Idaho school district teetering toward financial distress is a concern for all. But what happens in Nampa — Idaho's third-largest school system - has the potential of swamping the rest of the state. That district is undergoing wave after wave of seemingly intractable maladies. Last August, the district discovered it has double-counted federal and state revenues - putting it $2.3 million behind. A month later, the deficit deepened to $4.3 million. New Superintendent Thomas Michaelson, brought in to fix the mess, reported in March the situation was even worse - now the district was $5.1 million short. Plus it turned out $1.2 million that was supposed to be repaying bonds had gone into covering ordinary bills and had to be repaid/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: And Butch plans to hold onto an approximate $162M for dear life? Maybe he should save some of Idaho's school district that are in dire straits. Thoughts?

Press: Summer Of Our Discontent

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial launching point for summer. There's a very good chance this summer will be one of the most memorable in Coeur d'Alene's history - and not in a good way. McEuen Park, that 15-acre municipal magnet of both adoration and condemnation, is the focal point of construction that has closed a hunk of Front Avenue and with it, the Third Street boat launch will be closed for the entire season starting this Saturday. While the city has taken great strides to find free parking for 300 or so vehicles, two painful phenomena await. One is that there is going to be great consternation for locals and visitors alike to access their favorite downtown Coeur d'Alene places this summer/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Will the inconvenience of downtown maneuvering and parking this summer be forgotten when we see the fine park we'll have this fall? Or will it be the final straw for some people at the ballot box this fall?

Costello: Media In Bed With Obama

What does it say about the mainstream news media culture when a multiple award-winning journalist like Sharyl Attkisson, who has spent the last seven months as a voice in the wilderness, finds herself in peril of losing her job? According to Politico, Attkisson's bosses at CBS have decided to terminate her contract with the network. Her crime was her dogged pursuit and exposure of the Obama administration's flagrant lies regarding the terrorist attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Before that, she was nearly alone in her reporting of the Obama administration's Fast and Furious gun smuggling operation.The Benghazi smoke hadn't even cleared before she caught the scent of rats. But even though she documented a clumsy coverup originating from the highest levels of the U.S. government, few mainstream journalists showed even a flicker of curiosity. Her network broadcasted little of her work and relegated her reporting to its website/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with premise of Costello column that the nation's media are linked too closely with President Obama?

Looking for The Fallen

Hailie Velasco searches for familiar names on the bricks at the Hayden City Hall during the Hayden Memorial Day observance Monday  She was accompanied by her mother Lindsey Osborn. They were looking for two names in particular, Sgt Nate Beyers and Spc Nicholas W Newby. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Hayden — Children tiptoed around Monday morning on the memorial pavers that line the ground in front of Hayden City Hall. Nearby, an older veteran moved slowly along the sidewalk bricks. Like the children, he was head down, reading the names engraved into the walkway, all part of the city's PFC Robert J. Gordon Veterans Memorial Plaza. A man walked over, another leading him to look at a particular brick. “That's me,” he said, smiling. “My wife didn't want to wait.” Then, Jay Lee Lillefloren, Master Gunnery Sgt., United States Marine Corps, moved along, reading the other names around his. His wife, Diana, leaned over the inscription of her husband's name, rank and dates of service, and held a cell phone out to capture an image of it. “It's the first time we've seen it,” she said, before apologizing for the tears on her face/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Did you attend a Memorial Day service yesterday?

Contemplating The Fallen

Hailie Velasco's shadow falls on familiar names on the bricks at the Hayden City Hall during the Hayden Memorial Day observance Monday —  Sgt Nate Beyers and Spc Nicholas W Newby. The two North Idaho members of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat team died July 7, 2011, in Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn when their convoy was attacked by insurgents using an improvised explosive device. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Press Readers ‘Jubilant’, Too

Some have said that Coeur d'Alene Press Online readers are the conservative ones and Huckleberries Online readers are the more liberal ones — especially for candidate polls. However, the recent election results of the Coeur d'Alene school board and hospital board elections produced similar reactions on both sides. In a weeklong poll, 61% of the Press Online readers described itself as “jubilant” re: the results of last Tuesday's election. Only 27% described itself as “downright ill.” Another 12% of the Press respondents described itself as “win some, lose some.” In a recent Huckleberries Online poll, 79% described itself as “giddy with job.” And 7% of the respondents said they were in a “Fedora funk.”

SR: Obamacare Not That Costly

Concerns about the Affordable Care Act being unaffordable for those purchasing policies through health care exchanges were understandable, because the law didn’t do enough to contain costs. But the worry that people would be priced out of the market looks to be overblown. Washington, Oregon and California have released the prices of policies on their exchanges, and the results are encouraging. Transparency and competition have served to keep prices below forecasted levels. California’s prices, which were released Friday, beat the 2009 Congressional Budget Office’s projection by a fairly comfortable margin, according to the Washington Post. CBO pegged the monthly premiums for a silver plan (70 percent coverage) at $520. A more recent estimate from the consulting firm Milliman put the price at $450. But the actual cost for a Los Angeles County resident ranges from $225 to $325, depending on which of the 13 insurance company plans are selected/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Do you still oppose Obamacare?

Hucks: Mack Won’t Face Another Vote

Sheriff Richard Mack, the tea party darling from Texas/Arizona, will return to North Idaho in July – and he didn’t need an invitation from the dysfunctional Kootenai County GOP Central Committee this time. Mack will be a headliner at the Northwest Patriots and Self Reliance Rally at Farragut State Park July 26-28. As you recall, controversial Mack was invited to speak at the 2012 Lincoln Day banquet by the Kootenai County GOP. Then he was disinvited on a split vote of the Central Committee. Finally, he was re-invited when Mack fans in Central Committee leadership threatened legal and criminal action over questionable proxy votes. We’ll see if the second coming of Mack is less eventful than Proxygate/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Question: What do you think of the Northwest Patriots rallying at Farragut State Park?

Heller: Obsession

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Helping Out On Memorial Day

Two-year-old Benjamin Pontes helps his mom Cindy place flags on veterans' graves at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, Calif., on Saturday. They were with Anaheim Police Officer Brennan Leininger's group of several volunteers. (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Mindy Schauer)

Memorial Day Wild Card — 5.25-27.13

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. Time to reflect on those who have served and protected this country — and in too many cases been scared, physically and/or emotionally, as well as those who paid the ultimate price. Memorial Day Weekend ushers in the unofficial beginning of summer. But it doesn't look like summer weather ahead. When we return Tuesday, we'll start discussing how we're going to fill our time until the first mayor or council member throws his/her hat in the ring. Then, we'll pounce. Now for your Memorial Day weekend Wild Card. Stay safe …

KCSD May Cut Boy Scout Ties

The Kootenai County Sheriff said Friday that he is compelled to drop the department's Boy Scouts of America charter because the organization is promoting a lifestyle that is against state law. “It would be inappropriate for the sheriff's office to sponsor an organization that is promoting a lifestyle that is in violation of state law,” Sheriff Ben Wolfinger said. Sodomy is against the law in Idaho, he added. “I have talked with Chris Peterson about this and sent him a copy of the law,” Wolfinger said. Peterson, who works in the Hayden office of the Inland Northwest Council of Boy Scouts, could not be reached for comment on Friday/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


Busy Summer To Meet Downtown Mess

Folks maneuver their way through the construction site for the McEuen Park renovation on Monday. The project is sure to cause congestion for upcoming events in Coeur d'Alene including Car d'Lane, Ironman Coeur d'Alene, Downtown Street Fair/Taste of the Coeur d'Alene/Art on the Green, Coeur d'Alene Triathlon and the Diamond Cup hydro races. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

This is shaping up to be one of the busiest summers in the Lake City, with the planned return of hydroplane racing over Labor Day weekend capping a full schedule of events that draw crowds from around the Inland Northwest. It also will be one of the most challenging seasons for traffic flow and parking due to major construction on the south edge of downtown. McEuen Park is being rebuilt at a cost of $20 million, and the work has closed four blocks of Front Avenue and wiped a large public parking lot off the map. It also will close the busy Third Street boat launch for the summer. And just this week downtown merchants learned the city will close several more blocks to traffic and parking for a three-week stormwater project set to begin Monday night. The work had been scheduled for July but was moved up/Scott Maben, SR. More here,

Question: Do you have a game plan to find downtown parking and attend events, like Car d'Lane and the Fourth of July Parade and fireworks, this summer?

TGIF Wild Card — 5.24.13

I moments away from a three-day Memorial weekend break. You're probably ready for one, too — after the wild week we had with the local elections on Tuesday and then fallout from them for the remainder of the week. It'll be challenging to keep you entertained in the coming weeks sans fodder from campaigns and elections to fill the insatiable maw of the Huckleberries Online beast. I'll worry about that next week, however. For now, I'll re-post the Wild Card …

PS: One Shot At A Time — 5.24.13

Kiersten Kerr, coach of the two-time champion Coeur d'Alene High Skeet & Trap Team, explains the photo and poster by Bruce Twitchell above: “We did just win state and our kids are very excited about it. The competition was in Boise on May 17th and 18th. There were 9 teams and 68 kids competing on teams from around the state. Our kids won first place overall, as well as first place in skeet, trap and sporting clays. We are very proud of them and look forward to next year. This our second state title (we won last year as well). The team was formed at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.” Kiersten coaches the team with Bill White. (Click on photo to enlarge)

Question: Have you ever shot skeet?

Crumpled Flag Flusters FFriend

A Facebook Friend posts: “I've mentioned it. I've left notes. But this memorial day I seriously am mustering the courage to walk over to the neighbors house, with a ladder, and remove the American flag they've left, laying in a crumpled heap, in all kinds of weather, on their porch roof for months. I know the landlord, so fair warning!”

Question: What would you do?

PM Scanner Traffic — 5.24.13

  • 5:07 p.m. Possible DUI driver in hit-and-run crashes on Govt Way stopped @ Prairie/Meadowlark.
  • 5:05 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for May 23-24 here.
  • 4:58 p.m. Hit-and-run driver hits at least 2 vehicles on s/b Government Way/Prairie, Hayden.
  • 4:51 p.m. Possible slash pile burning along H95, opposite Cedar's restaurant, CdA.
  • 4:39 p.m. Officer wonders how many times CPD has dealt today w/male trespassing on his mother's property in 500 block of W. Neider Ave/CdA.
  • 4:25 p.m. Road rager in e/b silver Toyota e/b on I-90 exists @ MP 12/H95, CdA.
  • 4:22 p.m. PFPD Blue responds to undisclosed suspicious situation @ Post Falls City Hall.
  • 15 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Cutline Contest — 5.24.13

Contemporary French artist Fabien Merelle poses for photos in front of his creation in five meters high sculpture “Pentateuque” in Central, business district of Hong Kong, Tuesday. The artwork brings to real life the fantastical and seemingly impossible act of an average man balancing a gigantic elephant. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Thursday Winner — Sibulsky/7 likes: “Soft kitty,/Warm kitty,/Little ball of fur./Happy kitty,/Sleepy kitty,/Purr, purr, purr.” You can see Thursday photo and all 10 cutlines here.

Time2Vote …

Reflections Of The BikeCrash Kid

It’s National Bike Month, which got me thinking about a neighbor kid from my childhood. We grew up in the woods outside Sandpoint, and there weren’t many other kids around, so we had to make our own fun. Most of that revolved around bikes, and my brother and I were pretty tame on two wheels — the most daring feats involving what seemed like precipitous jumps, but which were probably no higher than a foot off the ground. Well, this neighbor of mine, his idea of a good time was to ride his beat-up old Huffy to the top of a high hill on our dirt road, teeter at the top and pedal as furiously as he could to the bottom. At the magic point, just before the hill started to level off and his speed was at its greatest, this kid would let go of the handlebars and push himself off the seat — hanging in midair for a frozen moment as the bike continued racing, suddenly riderless, into the ditch/Zach Hagadone, Inlander. More here. (Inlander photo)

Question: What is the most daring thing that you've done on a bike?

PM Headlines — 5.24.13

Bailey Andrews, aquatic lifeguard supervisor for Sliverwood Theme Park filmed the Spin Cycle at the amusement park near Athol earlier today. The Spin Cycle is Silverwood's newest addition. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

HBO Blogosphere — 5.24.13

Bear hunters in high country of North Idaho search among blackened tree stumps and dense woods for game during bear season earlier this month, from left: Chris Quagliana, Orville Grabeal and Rich Piazza. Photographer Duane Rasmussen reports that hunters shoot 400 yards or more to bring down a bear.

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, May 23): 10,788 page-views/5,371 unique views

Huckleberries Hears …

… That negotiations between the Coeur d'Alene School District and the Coeur d'Alene Education Association have been suspended until new trustees are sworn into office July 1. An insider tells Huckleberries: “Due to new board members joining the CdA School Board of Trustees and the many end of school year activities that impact schedules, both negotiations teams have decided to postpone negotiations. The Tuesday, May 28th negotiations session has been cancelled.”

Malek Addresses Pachyderms

State Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene, addresses the North Idaho Pachyderm Club at Jonesy's restaurant on Sherman Avenue this morning, discussing the state-run exchange, which has upset some local Republicans who oppose Obamacare entirely. Malek also discussed his bill to protect emergency room doctors, which passed the Idaho House but narrowly failed in the Idaho Senate during the 2013 session. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Question: Do the archconservatives in the local GOP still have Malek targeted for defeat in the 2014 primary — for siding with the guv on a state-run exchange? Anyone?

Canfield Remodel Bid Comes In Low

T. W. Clark Construction of Spokane Valley, Washington was awarded the Canfield Middle School Remodel and Additions general construction project for $5,818,600 which is a base bid of $4,964,000 plus alternate bids 1 and 2 for $854,600.  The Coeur d’Alene School District Board of Trustees awarded the project to T.W. Clark during a special board meeting held at 12 noon today. The original project budget for Canfield was $8.2M.  “We are ecstatic that we’ve had a great competitive environment with four contractors vying for the Canfield project,” stated Chief Operating Officer Wendell Wardell/Laura Rumpler, Coeur d'Alene School District. More here.

Question: Great deal, hunh?

IFF: Shoshone County Did Right Thing

Shoshone County taxpayers reached a notable conclusion in the May 21 election: More government won't mean more economic opportunity and prosperity. I suspect that advocates of urban renewal will try again. I'm more hopeful that advocates of urban renewal in other parts of the state, including those in Nampa, will take note: If your project is so wonderful, you ought to have no trouble presenting it to voters. Voters in Shoshone County rejected the creation of a new urban renewal agency by a 3-1 margin. The electorate simply didn't buy the sales pitch about the urban renewal agency and its related promise of “jobs, jobs, jobs”/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.


Cis: Bonner County Gas Now $3.66!

I thought of this Joe Heller/Hellertoons political cartoon when I saw Cis Gors following post on her Facebook wall: “gas at my local station went up 11 cents since early am …it is now $3.66!! and it is the second cheapest in our area…” I think I paid $3.67 per gallon at Zip Trip on corner of 15th & Best last time I gassed the 4Runner. How about you?

Question: What are you now paying for gas?

PFPD: Steer Clear Of Unknown Place

On its Facebook wall at 1:15 p.m., the Police Falls Police Department warns motorists: “Post Falls Police currently enroute to a 2 vehicle injury accident. Please take another route of travel until the roadway is clear.” Only the post doesn't say where the accident is. It may be a two-vehicle crash with injuries at H41/Mullan that was reported on the police scanner at 1:12 p.m. Maybe not. Maybe motorists should stay in their homes until they get an all-clear warning via social media. Remember kids — Who, what, when, where, why … and sometimes how much.

Idahoans Grab Cheap Park Passports

Idaho's sold more than $500,000 worth of its new $10 state parks passports in the first six months of the program, and state parks officials have high hopes the low-priced passes tied to Idahoans' vehicle registrations will take off big and help fund the park system. “The process is a little more complicated, but I think Idahoans have been so receptive,” said Jennifer Okerlund, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman. “I think sales are on track”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: How often do you visit Idaho state parks?

Crapo Defends Ex-Campaign Manager

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is defending his former campaign manager who lost $250,000 in campaign funds in a risky investment, while also calling the incident “discouraging” and “deeply distressing.” Crapo’s then-campaign manager, Jake Ball, loaned $250,000 in campaign funds in 2008 to a longtime friend’s now-defunct investment company, Blueberry Guru LLC, which invested it into real estate ventures in Nevada and California that promised a quick profit. Instead, the money disappeared. Crapo said he wasn’t informed about the bad loan until late 2010; he worked with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office to try to pursue the matter, but to no avail; now, he’s filed amended campaign finance reports for 2008 and 2009 to reflect the loss/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Should Crapo have thrown this guy under the bus?

Trib & Leadfoot Wayne Battle

Do you recall that speeding ticket that Wayne Hoffman of Idaho Freedom Foundation received while in Kootenai County recently? Seems he got into a war of words with the Lewiston Tribune over it:

And he's not happy with the Tribune, which said the lobbyist and political insider was seeking to game the system.”I have recently discovered that there are not enough hours in the day to correct the misinformation from the Lewiston Tribune,” Hoffman wrote Monday. “No kidding, I would have to hire additional staff just to supervise the nonsense and misinformation, both from the Tribune's reporters and its editorial page.”Well, it's true the Tribune's recent editorial about Hoffman's speeding incident glossed over the fact that he's a lead-footed recidivist. So in the interest of transparency, here's what the Idaho Supreme Court data repository shows:

  • July 1, 1995 - Hoffman was stopped and ticketed in Twin Falls County for the same speeding offense he's accused of committing in Kootenai County. He paid a $102 fine.
  • Dec. 8, 1996 - He paid a $48 fine in Cassia County for failing to obey a traffic sign.
  • Dec. 16, 1997 - He paid a $53 fine for speeding in Minidoka County.
  • June 5, 2003 - He paid a $53 speeding ticket in Madison County.
  • Dec. 24, 2003 - He paid a $53 fine for failing to use a turning signal in Ada County.
  • Nov. 21, 2006 - He paid $141.50 for speeding in an Ada County school zone.

Oops. We missed that. Pardon us. - M.T. Today's Cheers & Jeers column

Question: Izzit just me, or do you also think Hoffman should quit digging now the hole he's dug re: this issue is reaching sinkhole proportions?

A Face In A Crowd

A member of the 2013 graduating class of the United States Naval Academy peeks over the shoulder of a fellow graduates to listen to President Barack Obama during the commencement ceremony at the Academy in Annapolis, Md., Friday. The president urged new graduates to exhibit honor and courage in tackling incidents of sexual assault as they assume leadership positions in the military. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Question: Do you think it was appropriate for the president to bring up sexual harassment in the military at a joyous occasion as the U.S. Naval Academy graduation?

AM Scanner Traffic — 5.24.13

Post Falls police are asking drivers to avoid the intersection of Seltice Way and Greensferry, where a vehicle has crashed under a semi (8:14 item). KREM2 story here. (Courtesy photo: Post Falls Police Department)

  • 11:45 a.m. Caller reports a male with rifle in vehicle outside home @ Meyer/Huetter, Rathdrum.
  • 11:17 a.m. 4 males, including one w/rifle, walking along w/b I-90/MP 24, west side of 4th of July.
  • 10:31 a.m. PFPD officers have cleared intersection in truck-vehicle crash (8:14 item).
  • 10:26 a.m. Road Hazard: An office chair is laying on e/b I-90 b/n MP18-19 (Yellowstone Trail).
  • 9:56 a.m. Spirit Lake male reports wife suicidal after leaving house Thursday night.
  • 9:24 a.m. Disabled vehicle blocking intersection of Seltice Way/Ross Point Road/PF.
  • 9:22 a.m. Dog running at large in city park off Lunceford Avenue/CdA.
  • 9:21 a.m. Motorist concerned for safety of small dog playing w/ball along w/b I-90/Huetter.
  • 9:18 a.m. Someone injured in fall in 10200 block of Triumph Avenue/PF.
  • 9:11 a.m. 2 black dogs are running loose in w/b lane of w/b I-90/MP 15.5 (Sherman Avenue).
  • 9:07 a.m. Sprinklers are on inside business on Cobblestone Loop/Harrison.
  • 9:06 a.m. Deputy en route to Kootenai High School/Harrison to deal with problem student.
  • 9:03 a.m. Fuel is leaking from boat moored at Templins Red Lion marina/Post Falls.
  • 8:31 a.m. CPD officer following up on domestic in 900 block of W. Emma/CdA.
  • 8:14 a.m. A sedan is stuck under a semi in the area of Seltice Way/Greensferry, PF. No injuries.
  • 8:13 a.m. ISP officer has removed undisclosed traffic hazard @ e/b I-90/MP 25 (4th of July).

My 2 Cents: Dysfunctional Local GOP

The Wednesday morning quarterbacks are busy breaking down the local election results in the Coeur d'Alene School Board and Kootenai Hospital Board races. Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans blames old-fashioned, over-the-fence campaigning for his candidates' lopsided losses in the Coeur d'Alene trustee elections. Joker claims the quality of Reagan Republican candidates were less than stellar. I'll add another possibility. A growing number of area Republicans are tired of the radical politics and dirty tricks of the local Republican Party. They want quality candidates serving in nonpartisan positions. Not archconservatives with an agenda. I've been voting in elections 1971. I have never voted for a Democrat for president. I registered and voted as a Republican in the 2012 closed primary forced on Idahoans by the state GOP. Yet I have had a bellyful of local and state politicians who put party and ideology ahead of the citizens — and who fight like juveniles among themselves. Take the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee … please. The Rally Right and Ron Paul factions are in control of it. In 2012, the warring factions gave us the proxygate fiasco which almost led to a lawsuit and criminal action  before Tea Party “Sheriff Mack” was allowed to speak at the Lincoln Day Dinner. Almost all factions of the local GOP slime others outside their little circle as “libruls” and “Democrats” — even if they're center-right Republicans, like Christa Hazel. The disrespect shown Christa (a former campaign worker for conservative Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-Hage) during at least one GOP lunch/dinner is clear evidence how off-the-wall party activists have become. Christa's pedigree in local Republican involvement is more extensive than any of the three “Republicans” who ran for the school board. Obviously, Christa, Dave Eubanks and Tom Hearn won their seats with a lot of Republican votes. The Balance North Idaho PAC was successful in promoting good candidates because a number of local Republicans who don't want to align with the Democratic Party were looking for a standard bearer who supported quality candidates over ideologues. BNI attracted Independents and Democrats, too. If the local GOP wants to continue to live in a small tent and act like 12-year-olds pulling dirty tricks on one another and on opposing candidates, BNI will play a larger and larger role in Coeur d'Alene area politics/DFO.

Trustee Hunt: You Can’t Hide, Nonini

Senator Bob Nonini is still a liar! In our homes and schools we teach our children accountability for their actions, so why can’t we teach cowardly politicians accountability in front of an impartial judge and in the polling booths? It is Bob Nonini’s signature on the “From the Desk of Senator Bob Nonini” slanderous letter that was sent out right before the Post Falls School Board election. Now he claims he didn’t write the letter, but agrees with its content. WHAT? How cowardly is that? TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS! Whether it was Nonini’s “rubber stamp” signature on the letter containing the slanders does not make them true. By the way, why would the Reagan Republicans have an Idaho State Senator’s rubber stamp and letterhead anyway? Is that legal or ethical? Or did the Regan Republicans forge his letterhead and signature?/Post Falls Trustee Julie Hunt (pictured). More here.

Question: Has Nonini and the Reagan Republican leaders stirred up a hornet's nest in their own back yard?

AM Headlines — 5.24.13

And now a message from Berry Picker Don Sausser: (and photographer for photo above) “Memorial Day next Monday — fly your flags! There will be a memorial service at Independence Point, 0900 hrs.” Any questions?

Joker’s Election Postmortem

Jeff Ward’s feeble attempt to explain what went wrong with the Coeur d’Alene School Board election and the Kootenai Health Board of Director election is eerily similar to Karl Rove’s exasperation after President Obama was re-elected. Ward was paid a nice chunk of money by the candidates and their supporters to win. Rove was paid an exorbitant amount of money to make sure Mitt Romney won. Neither paid political consultant were successful. The underlying reasons weren’t lies or some underground political activity.  The best candidates won. The Reagan Republicans got sloppy and arrogant. They mistakenly believed they could send anybody in front of the voters and walk away with a victory.  They foisted radical and unqualified candidates on the school board and it bit them in butt. More below.

Question: Will founders Ron Lahr and Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans be able to hold their star-struck followers together if they keep losing elections?

Poll: Hucks Nation Giddy Re: Elections

  • Thursday Poll: Hucks Nation is giddy re: the results of the local elections Tuesday in which four of five Balance North Idaho candidates won office in Coeur d'Alene.173 of 218 respondents (79.36%) said they were “giddy” re: the results. Only 16 (13.3%) said they were in a “Fedora funk” re: the results. And 16 (7.34%) voted “was there an election Tuesday?”
  • Today's Poll: Who should be the next chairman of the Coeur d'Alene School Board?

Quotable Quote — Jeff Ward

“Relationships trump ideology. Relationships trump partisanship. Relationships even trump the truth,” he said, explaining how he believes his opponents used their neighborhood relations to perpetuate a “lie.” “The lie was simple,” he said. “They told everyone that disaster would happen if our people were re-elected. The impact of that was tremendous” — Reagan Republican founder Jeff Ward of Post Falls. More here.

Question: I'm trying to figure out what the “lie” was here. Anyone?

Some Love For Overshadowed Guv

“Medimont Reflections” is written by Chris Carlson, who served nine years as spokesman for former Gov. Cecil Andrus. In it, former Idaho Gov. John Evans receives some well-deserved attention. Evans assumed the governor's office in 1977 when Andrus became President Jimmy Carter's interior secretary, taking Carlson with him to Washington. Far less flashy than Andrus, Evans served for 10 years and might have upset GOP Sen. Steve Symms in 1986 had it not been for a late campaign visit from President Ronald Reagan. Andrus was narrowly elected to his third term that year. Between them, Andrus and Evans maintained an unlikely Democratic grip on the governor's office for 24 years. No Idaho Democrat has come within 8 percentage points since Andrus chose not to seek a fifth term in 1994/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Anyone out there remember Gov. John Evans? Any reflections to share?

Read more here:

Ward: Teachers Didn’t Sway Elections

For the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, Tuesday's school board elections were all about education - and they were the students. “On election night I was totally confused,” Jeff Ward, treasurer of the Republican group, told about 30 of his members during a Thursday debriefing at Fedora Pub and Grille. “Ann (Seddon) and Brent's (Regan) races were well run, but that didn't achieve a victory.” Ward said he spent Wednesday in a foul mood until his wife told him to snap out of it, and then it came to him. “It wasn't until late at night that it finally began to gel,” he said, explaining how he has analyzed the absentee ballots. “We had about 500 to 700 new people enter the race and they showed up in very conservative precincts”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Duane Rasmussen photo: Jeff Ward at Reagan Republicans luncheon Thursday)

Question: Ward goes on to say that the opposition “exploited” neighbors talking to neighbors in rejecting Reagan Republican candidates. Exploited?

I-5 Bridge Collapses In Mount Vernon

A car, lower right, and what is believed to be a travel trailer lie in the Skagit River with debris from the collapsed portion of the Interstate 5 bridge Friday in Mount Vernon, Wash. A truck carrying an oversize load struck the four-lane bridge on the major thoroughfare between Seattle and Canada, sending a section of the span and two vehicles into the Skagit River below Thursday evening. All three occupants suffered only minor injuries. At an overnight news conference, Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste blamed the collapse on a tractor-trailer carrying a tall load that hit an upper part of the span. Story here. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Question: How safe do you consider our nation's bridges?

Tight-Fisted Otter Earns Jeers

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

… Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter. When it's time to dole out cash to his corporate cronies via tax cuts, the governor is a spendthrift. But when it comes to helping out the schools, the governor spontaneously becomes a tightwad. The steadily improving economy has yielded Idaho a bonus. By the time lawmakers meet in January, former Chief Economist Mike Ferguson expects they'll have an extra $162 million. Not so fast, Otter says. “There's no reason to go back to the old way of doing things; because we got a little money, let's spend it,” Otter told the Idaho Statesman's editorial board. Otter is engaging in historical revisionism here/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Is Gov. Otter's stand on keeping a tight rein on a $162M budget surplus, when schools are struggling financially, a responsible position?

Press: Voters Don’t Want Extremism

Reagan Republicans thumped their chests because they had vaulted their guys to upset wins, but is that really what happened? Smarter money might say Gookin and Adams won because they ardently opposed a McEuen Park plan that many citizens, D, R and I alike, felt had been dictated to them. No, that's putting it too mildly; they thought a park plan had been crammed down their throats. A last-minute slip on a banana peel is all that separated an upset citizenry from a recall election that might have knocked out the council's remaining McEuenites. You don't have to be a Carnegie to realize that pushing too hard in any direction — right, left, on local parks or international educational programs — is certain to lose friends and influence enemies. And you don't have to be an Einstein to see that if you play that way, you'd better plan on plenty of pushback/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: What kind of candidates do you want to see emerge for the local municipal elections this fall?

Press Freedom

Lisa Benson/Washington Post Writers Group

Wild Card/Thursday — 5.23.13

I just received 2 complimentary copies of the High Country News, featuring the article by Sierra Crane-Murdoch re: the takeover of North Idaho politics by archconservative emigres. There's a nice photo of Jeff Ward and Dan Gookin at election headquarters for the Coeur d'Alene City Council elections. And another nice photo of CSB Chairman Tom Hamilton with Brent Regan and Ann Seddon at a Reagan Republican luncheon at Fedora. Plus much more. Note to self: Follow-up with High Country News to tell them that uber-cons in Coeur d'Alene aren't feeling so hot this week. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 5.23.13

Carol Kawaykla salvages items at her tornado-ravaged home Thursday in Moore, Okla. Cleanup continues three days after a huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb, flattening a wide swath of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Boy Scouts Vote To Allow Gay Youth

In one of their most dramatic choices in a century, local leaders of the Boy Scouts of America voted Thursday to ease a divisive ban and allow openly gay boys to be accepted into the nation’s leading youth organization. Gay adults will remain barred from serving as Scout leaders. Of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal. Casting ballots were about 1,400 voting members of BSA’s National Council who were attending their annual meeting at a conference center not far from BSA headquarters in suburban Dallas. The vote will not end the wrenching debate over the Scouts’ membership policy, and it could trigger defections among those on the losing side/Associated Press. More here.


PM Scanner Traffic — 5.23.13

  • 5:03 p.m. Undisclosed road rage incident reported @ e/b H58/MP 1 (near Coeur d'Alene Casino).
  • 4:59 p.m. ISP can't locate white Yukon reportedly speeding from Washington into Idaho on I-90.
  • 4:33 p.m. Caller seeking extra patrol to prevent speeding @ 11395 Hauser Lake Road.
  • 4:03 p.m. White Dodge pickup w/b on I-90/MP 7 has logs tied to cab that are coming loose.
  • 3:30 p.m. Bicyclist suffers broken arm after rear-ending vehicle @ 1024 4th b/n Birch & Mills/CdA.
  • 12 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

HBO Blogos: RRepub Postmortem

Defeated Coeur d'Alene school Trustee Ann Seddon, left, and Becky Funk, campaign manager for defeated Trustee Brent Regan, listen to Reagan Republican leaders explain why all four group endorsees lost in the Tuesday local elections. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Duane Rasmussen reports from Reagan Republican luncheon: Jeff Ward said he has already done an analysis of yesterdays election results in which Ann Seddon lost her seat to Dave Eubanks. Ward said generally, the Reagan Republicans failed with its networking. It a relationship campaign.  He also noted that both newspapers were against the Reagan Republicans.  Ron Lahr said that generally, the CDA Press is a good conservative paper, but this time it was against the Reagan Republicans. Lahr also said that the Spokesman Review has always been, and is, a liberal paper.   Lahr said he has always known the SR was Liberal because he grew up in Spokane and read the paper there.  Ward also said that he was so upset Tuesday night, that failed to fully recognize the fact that his wife had won.  It was a bitter sweet evening for Ward.  Sharon Culbreth suggested that Ward buy his wife some flowers.  Ward acknowledged that is would be a good idea.

HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday, May 22): 12,698 page-views/6,903 unique views

PM Headlines — 5.23.13

Folks maneuver their way through the construction site for the McEuen Park renovation on Monday. The rproject is sure to cause congestion for upcoming events in Coeur d'Alene including Car d'Lane, Ironman Coeur d'Alene, Downtown Street Fair/Taste of the Coeur d'Alene/Art on the Green, Coeur d'Alene Triathlon and the Diamond Cup hydro races. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Cutline Contest — 5.23.13

Time2Vote …

Vernon Yates, founder of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, lays his hands on Ty, a 400-pound tiger, as staff prepare to surgically extract a 4-pound hairball from the big cat on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Clearwater, Fla. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Courtesy BluePearl Veterinary Partners, James Judge)

Wednesday Winner — Nic/with 6 likes: “Ain't no Tea Party like Godwin Tea Party because a Godwin Tea Party don't stop” You can see Wednesday photo & all 10 cutline entries here.

Adams: No On Fed $$$ For New Cops

In the draft minutes for the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday, City Clerk Renata McLeod reports the discussion that led to a 5-1 vote (w/Councilman Steve Adams dissenting) to accept $125,000 in federal money to add officers to understaffed Coeur d'Alene Police Department:

Finance Director Troy Tymesen stated that the grants were the same and that leveraging dollars is an efficient way of managing staffing levels.  He clarified that the City does not know when these grants are going to be available, so they have to be responded to quickly.  Councilman Gookin stated that he understands that there are strings that come with a grant; however, the City needs the police positions and he will support this item.  Councilman Adams stated that he has made his position clear, and clarified that as a fundamental fact government does not produce anything; therefore it has nothing to give.  Anything the government gives away it must take from somebody else to do, therefore violating their rights.  He believes it is a liberty and moral issue.  He believes modest restructuring within the budget could cover the positions.

Question: Do you consider the ongoing, anti-federal government position by Adams to be principled or unreasonable?

Flashback: Attack On George Sayler

In the current issue of High Country News, an article by Sierra Crane-Murdoch re: Take over of North Idaho politics by archconservative emigres touches George Sayler's acknowledgement that he was an Obama supporter during the 2011 City Council race with Dan Gookin:

“A week later, Strategery reprinted the quote on a flier beside headshots of Sayler and Obama, and dropped it on peoples' doorsteps. Sayler lost by 15 percent. The City Council election aggravated an ideological conflict within the local Republican Party — not between conservatives and moderates, but between those who believed, like (Tina) Jacobson, that only conservatives counted as Republicans, and those like (Ron) Lahr, who believed that any Republican, moderate or conservative, was better than a Democrat, and those like Gookin, who believed that there was still a sacred place for nonpartisanship. The flier unsettled Gookin — Sayler's politics, though no secret, struck him as “just one of those things” that needn't be mentioned. (You can read article re: How Right-Wing Emigrants Conquered North Idaho, with subscription, here.)


Vandal Could Face Felony Over Punch

An Idaho football player could face a felony assault charge for his part in an altercation that ended the career of former Washington State receiver Mansel Simmons. Pullman Police announced in a press release Wednesday that they are recommending a second-degree felony assault charge against Idaho receiver Roman Runner for allegedly delivering the punch that fractured Simmons’ face and caused a severe concussion in the early morning hours of March 24. Whitman County prosecuting attorney Denis P. Tracy will decide whether to file charges in the case. Runner also allegedly displayed a knife, according to the release, but put it away before Simmons charged at him, which is when Runner punched Simmons in the head and knocked him to the ground/Christian Caple, SR. More here.

Question: Are you as tired as I am of all the football players from the University of Idaho and Washington State who get in trouble with the law?

Otter: Beware Of Fox News

A reflective Gov. Butch Otter says depending on news from sources that one agrees with can complicate problem solving, citing a dysfunctional Congress, the state-run health exchange under Obamacare and the “Common Core” debate as examples. “My primary portal for looking into the world is Fox News,” Otter said. “So I get a certain contamination — maybe ‘contamination’ is the wrong word — get a certain feeling of relief that they agree with my conservative philosophy.” Otter said the practice of seeking news from outlets with an ideological slant also applies to the left. In recent months, Otter has led the enactment of the state-run exchange and supported adoption of Common Core education standards over objections of Fox News loyalists in the Legislature and the public/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Do you rely on a news source that you agree with politically?

Read more here:

Richert: Nonini Remains Unrepentant

Politics is a “full-contact sport,” Republican state Sen. Bob Nonini told his hometown Coeur d’Alene Press this week. And at least he’s consistent in applying this principle. Last spring, when Nonini was seeking to move from the House to the Senate, his political action committee poured nearly $15,000 into campaigns targeting six GOP incumbents, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dean Cameron of Rupert and Vice Chairwoman Shawn Keough of Sandpoint. All six candidates won. If Nonini was chastened by the experience — or by the awkwardness of serving alongside fellow Republicans he targeted for defeat a few months earlier — there’s no visible sign of it/Kevin Richert, TheEDge (IdahoEd News). More here.


Cindy Hval’s Graduation Profiles

Hannah Cvancara, Miss Spokane 2013, stands on a patio by the Spokane River on May 9. Cvancara is a senior at The Oaks Classical Christian Academy. See link below in “Other senior profiles by Cindy Hval.” (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

It’s easy to overlook Michelle Kazuba in the halls at East Valley High School. Her small stature can make her seem swallowed up in the crowd. Yet counselor Heidi Youseph said Kazuba has “made a huge impact at our school.” Kazuba has achondroplasia dwarfism, but she’s never let the condition get in her way. “I figure I can do most things by myself because that’s the way I’ve lived my life”/Cindy Hval, SR. More here.

Other senior profiles by Cindy Hval:

Question: Do you know a high school senior who has overcome hardship to graduate? Can you describe him/her?

Downtown Bike Patrols Ready To Go

From the Coeur d'Alene Police Department Facebook wall: “We hope that all of you have a safe Memorial Day weekend. PD starts our summer reserve officers this weekend. You will see an added police presence ( bicycle/foot patrols) in City Park and downtown area. Full time officers ride with the reserve officers. Be safe and have a fun weekend.”

Question: Have you ever had an interaction with a member of the CPD bike patrol? Describe incident?

Sherman Avenue To Shut Monday

As part of the McEuen Park Reconstruction Project, improvements to Third Street will begin at 9 p.m. Monday with the installation of traffic signage and closing of Sherman Avenue from  Second to Fourth streets. The contractor will then begin milling asphalt from Front Avenue to the alley north of Sherman Avenue on Third Street that evening and into Tuesday morning.  This portion of the project should end with the finishing of paving on Thursday, June 13.  Third Street will be open for Car d’Lane on Friday, June 14.  During this three week period the contractor will be installing new stormwater manholes and 36” stormwater main down the center of Third Street from Front Avenue to the alley north of Sherman Avenue.  The boat launch will still remain open until June 1/Coeur d'Alene Today.

7 HBO Readers On Quiz Leaderboard

You don't have to be an expert on current events to win our weekly news quiz, but it can't hurt! All entries this week are eligible to win two movie tickets to area cinemas, and our overall champ will earn a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Simply enter, and you're eligible. Good luck! You can take the News Quiz here.

  • 500 is answer to 1st question: “How many fewer firefighters will the Forest Service have working during the fire season this year than last year, according to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack?”
  • Leaderboard — Huckleberries readers on Leaderboard are Big Mac, Snowkane, Cathyanne, Sibulsky, Duffer, SFredrickson and nativeCDA.

Thatsa Big Pillow

People carry the filling for a giant pillowcase during their attempt to create the world's largest pillow for the Guinness World Record in downtown Prilep, central Macedonia, on Thursday. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

Question: I have only one question to ask of this Guiness Book attempt: Why?

AM Scanner traffic — 5.23.13

  • 12:45 p.m. 2-vehicle crash at intersection of H95/H53, Garwood, is blocking one lane.
  • 12:42 p.m. Deer hit by vehicle on w/b I-90/MP 14 (15th Street/CdA) is in ditch still alive.
  • 12:32 p.m. Silver Chevy Cavalier is swerving off shoulder @ 80 mph @ e/b I-90/Pleasantview.
  • 12:09 p.m. Female, w/purse full of stolen items, is at counter of Idaho Youth Ranch on Seltice Way/PF.
  • 11:59 a.m. Motorist driving vehicle recklessly & speeding @ Diagonal/Brunner, Athol.
  • 11:44 a.m. 20YO female suffering intense leg pain in front of Fresh Start,15th/Sherman, CdA.
  • 11:19 a.m. 14YO male bleeding extinsively after crashing bike on Sourth Road hill near Whitehead Campground in Farragut State Park.
  • 11:05 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for May 22-23 here.
  • 10:47 a.m. Possible robbery occurring on onramp of I-90/Spokane Street/Post Falls.
  • 10:27 a.m. ISP stops Chevy Suburban pulling boat w/o license plates @ I-90/MP 31 (4th of July).
  • 10:02 a.m. Possible illegal burn off Fernan Hill Road.
  • 9:37 a.m. Undisclosed city code violation reported in 1000 block of N2nd/CdA.
  • 9:31 a.m. Hayden WalMart security reports someone trespassing on premises.

DFO: Outrage In Post Falls

I understand what Trustees Dave Paul and Julie Hunt of Post Falls are going through this morning. After years of dedicated service to the Post Falls School District, they got blindsided by a campaign trick pulled by the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, involving state Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Idaho. I'm not going to try to decipher what happened re: an attack letter sent out under Nonini's letterhead and signature (which the legislator says wasn't written or authorized by him). I'll simply accept Nonini's claim in the Coeur d'Alene Press that he supported the intent of the letter that included a claim that he'd met Paul and Hunt several times — and knew they only were concerned with making the teachers union happy. Paul and Hunt say they haven't met Nonini and deny the truth of his union claim (which is absurd on the surface). You can drawn your own conclusions. We in Coeur d'Alene have seen these propaganda tactics by the Reagan Republicans before. The organization founded by Ron Lahr and Jeff Ward, with their PR wing Strategery, blindsided Coeur d'Alene two years ago when they used their political muscle. partisanship and surprise to win two seats on the School Board (Tom Hamilton and Terri Seymour) and two seats on the City Council (Dan Gookin and Steve Adams). Both of those local boards have been in turmoil ever since. The Reagan Republicans won two more seats on the North Idaho College board (Ron Nilson and Todd Banducci) last year. And appeared headed for more gains until they were stopped in their tracks Tuesday, with their candidates losing all four seats in Coeur d'Alene. The Balance North Idaho group and Coeur d'Alene residents said enough to the divisive partisanship and archconservative ideology that the Reagan Republicans have exported for four years. It was only a matter of time until the two Post Falls leaders of the Reagan Republicans turned their focus to their own back yard. Post Falls school patrons were caught off guard by the Reagan Republican machine and the Nonini mailing mailing with its dubious content. Post Falls has now sampled what Coeur d'Alene has been tasting for years — the nasty incursion of archconservative politics into nonpartisan races. Here's predicting that the hard-working competent Post Falls School Board will become as divisive as the Coeur d'Alene School Board has been for the last two years. The silver lining? Post Falls is now aware of the threat posed by ideological king makers and should be ready for them next time/DFO.

AM Headlines — 5.23.13

House Judiciary Committee members Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, right, and Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev. talk on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, during the committee's hearing on immigration reform. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Give It Up — For PE

Students hold their position during a yoga class at Capri Elementary School in Encinitas, Calif. Reading, writing, `rithmetic _ and PE? The prestigious Institute of Medicine is recommending that schools provide opportunities for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day for students and treat physical education as a core subject. The report says only about half of the nation's youngsters are getting at least an hour of vigorous or moderate physical activity every day. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

Question: Should P.E. return as a core subject in schools?

Get OutNI! Hayden Cinemas Reopen

From the Get Out! North Idaho Facebook Wall, OrangeTV reports: “From the Department of Awesome News: The recently closed Hayden Cinemas are being revived as a discount cinema and the first movie is The Great and Powerful Oz for only $2! Bazinga! We needed something like this so desperately in our area and we hope they are able to make it take off!”

Question: Is this swell, or what?

Paul Responds To RRepubs, Nonini

Post Falls Trustee Dave Paul sent the following letter to Huckleberries Online this morning:

How can we let Mr. Nonini, Mr. Ward, Glorie Ward and Carol Goodman get away with slander and lies?  Sure Nonini will continue to back track – unbelievable.  You can use any of the following you like, this kind of politics have to stop on school board elections because this is what we end up with and Post Falls deserves better. I hope the people of Post Falls now understand why partisan politics have no place in school board elections.  Two extremely hard working dedicated people with a combined 30 years of volunteer experience were not elected and 2 candidates endorsed by the Kootenai County Regan Republicans (KCRR) with NO experience in the district were elected. It is not that I lost that has me upset, it is the KCRR tactics of lies, of deceit and most recently the letter from the Desk of Senator Nonini was just plain over the top.  This is a school board election for crying out loud.  Two days after the election and it is still confusing with regards to who wrote the defaming letter. Full letter here.

Question: I'm trying to read the tea leaves here, too. Nonini sez he didn't write the letter; yet, he agrees with it. So somebody else wrote it and sent it out without his final authorization. And that's OK?

How Many Books In Kindle Queue?

A Facebook Friend posts: “I have 104 books in my Kindle queue. That does not include real books in various piles. OMG! When I retire I will never have to wonder what I will do with my time.”

DFO: I have a dozen of so books in my Kindle queue, not including the complete Frank Baum “Wizard of Oz” library that I'll never get around to reading.

Question: How many books do you have in your Kindle queue? Which one are you reading now?

Idaho: 1 Bar Per 4,726 Residents

Dunno exactly where Idaho falls on the grand scale of bars/resident. But it couldn't be too far outside of the Top 10. The Cap Times reports that North Dakota (1 per 1,580 residents) and Montana (1 per 1,633) run one-two in the number of most watering holes per residents. Alaska is 10th with 1 per 4,171. (Notice how all these states are in cold climates?) Idaho probably falls in the next 5 to 10 places with 1 per 4,726 residents (total population: 1,549,987). Of Idaho's bars, 175 have one to 4 employees; 102 have 5 to 9 employees; 37 have 10 to 19 employees; 13 have 20 to 49 employees; and one has 50 to 99 employees. You can see a map re: Top 10 information and relevant info for all states re: presence of bars here.

Question: Do you think Coeur d'Alene has too many/too few bars?

Hamilton: Challenges Face Newbies

Board chair Tom Hamilton said he's not sure what to expect from the trustees-elect. Hamilton and Trustee Terri Seymour were elected in 2011 with the support of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans and anti-International Baccalaureate activist Duncan Koler. By December 2012, three Republican activists, including Regan and Seddon, had been appointed to fill out the five-member board. Hearn, Eubanks and Hazel were supported by Balance North Idaho, a new political action committee that does not align itself with any one political party. “The business of the board goes on, and elections happen every four years,” Hamilton said. “I hope they take the time to educate themselves on the issues, to learn the depth and complexity of the issues rather than handling things the way they did during the campaign”/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think hold-over Trustees Tom Hamilton and Terri Seymour are going to play well with the new trustees?

Hunt Responds To ‘Nonini Letter’

Following is a portion of the letter that Post Falls Trustee Julie Hunt dropped off at the Coeur d'Alene office of the Spokesman-Review Wednesday re: a letter circulated in the closing days of the Post Falls School Board election, under Sen. Bob Nonini's signature:

The one that really ticks me off … as a mom, as a woman, as a 22-year resident of Post Falls, and a voter … is the letter sent “From the Desk of Senator Bob Nonini” dated May 17, 2013. May 17, 2013 … are you kidding me? Four days before the election the letter was sent so that there was no chance for me to refute Senator Nonini's lies! That's cowardly, even for the worst of politicians. I received a copy of Nonini's letter the afternoon of the election after it had been circulated privately for maximum effect. Senator Bob Nonini, you sir, are a bold-faced liar! You claim in that letter that “…I have had many opportunities to meet with their opponents…” (referring to me as one of the 'opponents'). The truth is (not that you would know it if it slapped you in the face), that you and I have NEVER met. Not once! Full letter here.

Question: You thoughts on Hunt's response?

Nonini’s Trustee Letter Causes Stir

A letter signed by Sen. Bob Nonini that arrived in some Post Falls voters' mailboxes a few days before Tuesday's school board races is stirring a post-election debate. Nonini said he was caught off guard when he was the only lawmaker who had a signature on the letter. It was dated May 17 and in support of candidates Carol Goodman and Glorie Ward, both endorsed by the Reagan Republicans and election winners. “There was a misunderstanding behind the letter,” he said, adding that he didn't send the letter. Nonini said, had he known he would have been the only legislator to have his signature on the letter, he would have given it a second thought as to whether to allow to have it sent. However, Nonini said he signed off on the content in the letter. It says “From the desk of Senator Bob Nonini” on the top. Jeff Ward, treasurer of the Republican group and Glorie's husband, said he did the footwork on the letter in collaboration with the candidates/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

DFO: Some of you have asked about the letter that was sent out in Sen. Nonini's name. SReporter Scott Maben tried to contact Nonini last night about this issue, leaving a message on his cellphone. Nonini didn't call back.

Question: Why am I not surprised that the Reagan Republicans are also involved in this?

Vandals Trash Classic Car Collection

This 1948 Cadillac was just one of several classic cars that were vandalized at the home of Don Martin of Coeur d'Alene. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Don Martin surveyed the damage and could only shake his head in disgust. Late one afternoon last week, he heard what he thought were gunshots on his rural property near Coeur d’Alene. Martin, 87, drove around back to investigate and discovered someone had been smashing the windows, headlights and taillights out of his classic cars. They got to his Volkswagen Karmann Ghias. They got to the ’55 Ford Crestline, the ’59 Cadillac, the ’37 Packard 120. And they shattered the glass of the 1960 four-door Caddy hard top. “It’s a nice car – it was, till they busted the windows,” Martin said. “I was pretty mad. I was mad.” More than two dozen cars were vandalized in all, and the only people he found trespassing on his farm were two boys who had ridden there on their bicycles/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever owned a classic car?

Clark: ‘Red Dawn’ For Weak Minded

Whoever came up with the supermarket “impulse buy” had a sucker like me in mind. I can’t stand in a checkout line without grabbing a candy bar or a tube of lip balm or another box of mints from the goodies that have been put there to tempt the weak and simple-minded. That’s how I wound up owning a copy of “Red Dawn,” the documentary about Spokane being invaded by North Korea. It was in a box of “previously viewed” DVDs that was located suspiciously close to my checkout line. A few minutes later, I was $7.99 poorer and cursing my lack of willpower/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: What unnecessary product displayed near a checkout counter are you most likely to buy?

Landers’ Recipe For A Skunked Dog

Any hunting dog with gift for finding birds also has a nose for trouble. It’s in the contract you accept when a pup joins your world. That’s why I’m always prepared for the day my bird dog sniffs the business end of a skunk. I’ve packed home dogs with broken legs, wounds from barbed-wire and snouts full of porcupine quills. Traumatic? Yes. Toxic? No. A dog that returns to the hunting rig after rolling in a steaming cow pie or wallowing in putrid roadkill is relatively pleasant compared to a cur that’s taken a full-bore load of skunk musk at close range/Rich Landers, SR. More here.

Question: Have you or one of your pets ever been hit by skunk musk at close range? What did you do?

Nothing To Fear

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

Hump Day Wild Card — 5.22.13

Hmm. It's after 2 in the afternoon the day after the local elections … and not a creature is stirring at or the Reagan Republicans Facebook page. We've had Councilman Dan Gookin's analysis of the election. Now we need to hear from Mary, Jeff & Ron. Crickets. Now for a re-posted Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 5.22.13

In this Duane Rasmussen photo from Tuesday, Christa Hazel leaves her SUV to greet volunteers who were holding her signs near Bryan Elementary. Hazel, who was denied appointment to Zone 1 vacancies three different times, led a sweep of candidates endorsed by Balance North Idaho over appointed trustees who were endorsed by the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. One of the three winners — Hazel, Dave Eubanks or Tom Hearn — likely will replace Tom Hamilton as the Coeur d'Alene School Board chairman after s/he takes office next month.

How Does Election Change Things?

On her Facebook wall, Coeur d'Alene Trustee-elect Christa Hazel alerts her FFs of the anti-bullying film that will be shown at the Kroc Center tonight: “Tonight at the Kroc Center, the CdA SD Anti-bully Task Force will be showing the documentary, Submit, and will hold a Q&A discussion afterwards. The event starts at 6:30. If you have middle school or high school students, bring them along and see what discussion transpires….”

Question: How do you think the election of a Balance North Idaho majority will affect such topics as — a new chairman, a new superintendent of schools, the budget, the long-range planning committee, etc.?

PM Scanner Traffic — 5.22.13

  • 5:21 p.m. Caller reports loose dog @ Honeysuckle/Shadow Wood, CdA.
  • 519 p.m. BOSS cameras to locate stolen vehicles are down on e/b I-90.
  • 5:05 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for May 21-22 here.
  • 4:55 p.m. Gerald has lost track of his father who was driving Budget rental truck in Spokane.
  • 4:47 p.m. Montana mother en route to pick up her runaway child (4:11 item) told to stop at Silverwood Theme Park to retrieve his backpack.
  • 4:42 p.m. Drunk male in undisclosed Coeur d'Alene store grabbed caller's daughter.
  • 10 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 5.22.13

Reagan Republican founder Jeff Ward is interviewed by reporter Jeff Selle of the Coeur d'Alene Press during an organization election watch at Fedora restaurant Tuesday night. Ward hasn't posted anything today on the Reagan Republican Facebook page today re: the group's worst defeated in local elections since it organized in 2009. (Photo Duane Rasmussen)

Hazel: Time To Get Over Negativity

On her Facebook page, Coeur d'Alene Trustee-elect Christa Hazel posts: “I received a gracious phone call last night from Trustee Regan congratulating us on our win. His call to me was classy and I appreciated it. Regardless of political views or personal opinions, Trustee Regan has served our community by giving his time and energy without pay or benefit. I recognize his efforts and I thank him for his service. I hope you will consider doing the same. Our district needs to come together and move past negative divisiveness. We begin to do that by thanking those that have served on our school board while we waited for the election.”

Question: Will the Coeur d'Alene School Board now be able to get past the negativity and divisiveness of the past two years?

Turnout 19.3-26.6% In CdA Races

Scott Maben did some number crunching for voter turnout in the three Coeur d'Alene School Board races. Here's his analysis: “One in four voters cast ballots in the three contested Coeur d’Alene School Board zones. Turnout was 26.6 percent in Zone 1 (Regan/Hazel), 26.5 percent in Zone 4 (Seddon/Eubanks) and 19.3 percent in Zone 5 (Hearn/Handeen).”

Question: Is that a decent turnout for school board races?

Trustee Regan Gracious After Loss

On his campaign Facebook wall, Trustee Brent Regan (shown walking to a post @ 15th & Hazel Tuesday (in this Duane Rasmussen photo), posted the following, after his loss to Trustee-elect Christa Hazel last night:

First I would like to congratulate the victors in the School Board race, Tom Hearns, Dave Eubanks and Christa Hazel. You each ran a good campaign and won the day. Now, for you, the real work begins. Next I would wish to express my heart felt gratitude to the volunteers and donors who worked tirelessly on my behalf. … Finally I would like to thank the voters who endured the mailings, door knocks, and phone calls and, despite these annoyances, took time from their busy day to go to the polls and vote. The vitality of our Republic depends on active and engaged citizens and you have set a fine example for others to emulate.

DFO: A Coeur d'Alene School Board with Brent Regan and Christa Hazel serving on it would have been a strong one. Unfortunately, the two were matched against each other. For all his baggage, Regan was a decent man who offered outside-the-box ideas. I'm glad Christa won. But I'm sorry to lose Regan's input in school matters.


Handeen Congratulates Hearn

Bjorn Handeen, who lost his Zone 5 Coeur d'Alene School Board campaign to Tom Hearn, sent this message to Huckleberries moments ago:

Though I am disappointed I did not win enough votes to be elected, I still consider it worthwhile to have spread the message that we need to ensure that our students have some idea about how to make a living by the time they leave our school system. My supporters agreed with this message, and agreed that revitalized vocational instruction- along with a more honest and robust career counseling program- is the first step in organizing an economic defense of this country.  While it is true that Tom Hearn and I had clear and significant ideological differences, the people of Coeur d’Alene can be proud that at no time did either campaign resort to the mud-slinging that characterizes modern political races. Mr. Hearn ran a strongly ethical campaign, and I thank him for that. We are lucky to be represented by a man of his caliber, and I congratulate him on his victory. Full statement here. (Facebook photo: Bjorn Handeen)

Question: Do you agree that the candidates were civil to one another in their campaigns?

Patriots Set Summer Farragut Confab

It looks like Sheriff Richard Mack, the Northwest Patriots and others are planning for a major confab in Farragut State Park at the end of July. Dunno who's organizing this locally.

Question: Do you suppose the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee will welcome Sheriff Mack back with open arms?

Silver Valley Rejects Urban Renewal

Shoshone County overwhelmingly rejected formation of an urban renewal agency to attract mining related businesses to the area. By a vote of 965 against to 332 for, the county turned thumbs down on the idea, promoted by Commissioners Larry Yergler. Who wanted to create an urban renewal district in Big Creek. According to the Shoshone News Presds, the goal of the district was “to turn the area into a mining district that attracts more mining-related businesses to the area — creating jobs, increasing property value and bringing more wealth to Shoshone County as a whole.”

Question: Are you surprised that urban renewal crashed and burned in Shoshone County?

Gookin: Why Challengers Won

The dust has settled on Tuesday’s School District 271 election. Let the Wednesday morning quarterbacking begin. I am not immune from this practice. First, I think it’s wonderful that for the first time in about 20 years, we have a School Board that is 100 percent elected, not appointed. That’s a marvelous thing. Second, the reason the challengers won Tuesday is simple: They received more votes. Third, they received more votes because the current school board is unpopular. Too much change too quickly and without transparency led to a great amount of frustration among the parents and general public/Councilman Dan Gookin, Coeur d'Alene Press Online. More here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with Gookin's analysis?

More Upheaval At ‘Gladiator’ School

Corrections Corporation of America - the people who gave you Idaho's 2,100-bed “gladiator school” - is sending its third warden to the Idaho Correctional Center near Boise in as many years. First went Phillip Valdez, whose departure in 2010 came after CCA essentially admitted violating its contract with the state of Idaho when it settled an inmate class action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. Valdez's replacement, Timothy Wengler, retired last week, although CCA says it was a personal decision that had nothing to do with how his administration falsified nearly 5,000 hours of staffing records last year. It's the latest piece of upheaval involving a prison that is responsible for:

  • Inmate violence that occurs three times more often than in the prisons Idaho manages on its own.
  • A videotaped incident of inmate Hanniu Elabed being beaten while guards looked on.
  • Allegations that CCA has turned to gangs to police portions of the prison.
  • Confidential settlements in which CCA hands over sums of money to injured inmates who bring lawsuits against it.

More here

Question: Did Idaho make a mistake by privatizing the Idaho Correctional Cener near Boise?

Waves are In

Alisha Levine gets her hair fixed with a wavy beach-like style at Dream Dry salon in New York. When it comes to hair, the grass often seems greener on the other side, but experts say both curly and straight looks require a little work. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Question: How much time do you spend grooming your hair? And/or: Which hair style do you wear?

AM Scanner Traffic — 5.22.13

  • 12:02 p.m. Male in beige Legacy waved gun @ driver of black Jeep @ H95/Appleway, CdA.
  • 11:27 a.m. CdA female reports being harassed by neighbor she doesn't know by name.
  • 11:01 a.m. White Chevy ran stoplight @ Seltice Way/McGuire before speeding @ 25 in 35 mph.
  • 10:38 a.m. Caller reports possible fraud in purchase of grave headstone.
  • 10:37 a.m. Silent holdup alarm sounds @ Holiday gas station @ 8100 Cornerstone/Hayden.
  • 10:03 a.m. 911 hangup reported in 900 block of E. Woolsey Ave/CdA.
  • 9:16 a.m. CPD officer transporting a female from Lake City High to KMC.
  • 9:04 a.m. Audible front-door burglar alarm in home @ Molly Lane/Dillar Beach Lane, Twin Lakes.
  • 9:01 a.m. Caller from 17533 H53 reports male who burglarized him Sunday is back on property.
  • 8:37 a.m. Motorist in silver hatchback on w/b I-90/MP 1 (Beck Road) outside car, yelling.
  • 8:21 a.m. Coeur d'Alene female reports ex has stolen her identity.

DFO: The Shire Is Saved … For Now

Coeur d'Alene residents who have watched with growing concern as archconservatives have stolen one local government seat after another should celebrate today. The radicals of the Hard Right who have targeted the Lake City and Kootenai County for political takeover were stopped in their tracks last night. Reagan Republicans lost in all four races that they endorsed in Coeur d'Alene elections. The winners deserve to take a breather and get reacquainted with their families. However, the job isn't finished. Our viewtiful shire isn't completely saved. The next focus for Balance North Idaho and residents who support good, nonpartisan, local candidates now takes center stage: the Coeur d'Alene City Council elections. The Reagan Republicans successfully made inroads two years ago by backing former Libertarian Dan Gookin and Constitutionalist Steve Adams. Gookin backed archconservative candidate Ann Seddon in the Coeur d'Alene School Board races. Adams, with his illogical, anti-federal government stand, almost cost Coeur d'Alene millions of dollars by temporarily throwing a monkey wrench in the proposed expansion of the wastewater treatment plant. The archconservative radicals need to win one or two seats on the council and/or the mayor's seat to gain control of the most important local government in Coeur d'Alene (depending on whose side Councilman Ron Edinger is on next year). Mayor Sandi Bloem has decided not to run for re-election. Until Tuesday night's results, the smart money was that Reagan Republican candidates would overthrow the council and stop urban renewal. Now, it's apparent that the Reagan Republicans aren't invincible, if Coeur d'Alene citizens are educated and engaged. The results Tuesday should encourage the incumbents to run again — or fresh, nonpartisan new blood to step up. Coeur d'Alene needs to continue good, progressive government by holding the four municipal seats up for election. Coeur d'Alene District 4 also needs to change two of its legislators. But that's a job for 2014/DFO.

Otter Not Planning To Spend Surplus

Gov. Butch Otter is rejecting the notion that a projected $162 million in unexpected revenue means the 2014 Legislature should aim to boost spending. Otter said he’s “bound and determined that the government is not going to grow back at the same rate that the economy grows” and said the lessons of the Great Recession prove government can do with less by exercising fiscal discipline, co-locating agencies and engaging in partnerships outside of government. “That all suggests to me that there’s no reason to go back to the old way of doing things: because we got a little extra money, let’s spend it,” Otter said in a Tuesday afternoon meeting with the Idaho Statesman editorial board/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Sounds like Gov. Otter is proud of Idaho's ranking as second-to-last state in the nation for spending per capita on public school students. Am I reading this right?

Read more here:

Brit Columnist Opines On ‘The Thaw’

Columnist T.F. Charlton of the British Guardian newspaper opines on “The Thaw,” a video produced in Kootenai County by Gary Brown's Reach America organization that has gone viral:

Fears of marginalization because of Christian faith, even persecution, have deep roots in white American evangelical culture, dating back to the Scopes Trial and before. As with Representative King's comments, they're often steeped in white racial anxiety and resentment. This persecution complex is also taught – actively promoted and reinforced through fearmongering aimed at youth. One example: “The Thaw“, a modest viral hit produced by Reach America, a “Christian youth leadership program” based in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Full column here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with columnist Charlton's view?

AM (5.22.13): CdA Challengers Win

Dave Eubanks celebrates with his wife Sherrie at the Fort Ground Grill after unofficial results Tuesday showed him winning the Coeur d'Alene School District board of trustees seat for zone 4. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)

Quotable Quote

Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee-elect Christa Hazel: “We needed a win. We just needed a win. We finally figured out that you have to put up a good political fight to beat these guys (Reagan Republican endorsees). There candidates have been able to skip debates and win by simply going to political club luncheons. Coeur d'Alene took a stand tonight.”


Poll: IRS Scandal Will Stick Most

  • Tuesday Poll: Hucks Nation sez the scandal that will stick with the Obama administration longest is the one involving the IRS targeting of the Tea Party. 50 of 132 respondents (37.88%) said that was the worst of the current scandals, followed by the uncertainty over Affordable Health Care (30 of 132, 22.73%); Justice Department wire tapping of AP (29 of 132, 21.97%); Benghazi fallout (18 of 132, 13.64%); and other (5 of 132, 3.79%).
  • Tuesday's Poll: Are you happy with the Coeur d'Alene school/hospital election results?

Cutline Contest — 5.22.13

About 100 people supporting the Myrtle Beach Tea Party protest at the Internal Revenue Service office in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Tuesday. Tea party activists held rallies outside federal buildings across the country Tuesday to protest the agency's extra scrutiny of conservative groups. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Sun News, Janet Blackmon Morgan)

Tuesday Winner — Nic/10 likes: “The python is introduced to three University of Florida staffers, otherwise known as Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner” You can see Tuesday photo + 14 cutline entries here.

Vandals Damage Classic Car Fleet

Item: Vandals have ball with 26 classic cars: Owner observes two men smashing windows of vehicles/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Donald R. Martin said he wants the culprits castrated. It all started about 5 p.m. Thursday when Martin was sitting inside his home at 5414 N. Huetter Road and heard what he thought were gunshots being fired in his wooded backyard. Martin left his home to see exactly what was happening and saw two young men smashing the windows of his fleet of classic cars. It looked to him like they were using a metal rod.

Question: What would be a fitting punishment for these two punks?

Winners & Losers?

It's time for Winners & Losers — the game Huckleberries Online plays after every election. The goal of the game is to pick the winners and losers from the election the day before. I'll get us started. Obviously, those who actually won elections were the winners. But there are a number of others with skin in the game who were winners. And losers. Balance North Idaho was a winner. The Reagan Republicans were the biggest loser. Now it's your turn.

Question: Who were the winners and losers in the School/Hospital board elections?

Tom Hearn Speaks …

On his Facebook wall, Coeur d'Alene school Trustee-elect Tom Hearn tells his supporters this morning:The people spoke. They said they were tired of divisiveness, partisanship, negativity, and persons on the board who seemed to be doing this important job for the wrong reasons. We historically have had schools in Coeur d'Alene we have been proud of and with your help we will have them again.”

DFO: I'm told that the Portuguese precincts in Zone 5 all went to Hearn …

Question: Do you realize that Tom Hearn is the first Democrat to be elected to any position in Coeur d'Alene since Mike Kennedy won re-election four years ago? What's that say re: a return to balance?

RRepubs Denied Hospital Seats, Too

Kootenai County Reagan Republicans failed in their attempt to gain a seat on the Kootenai Health District Board Tuesday night. When the final votes were counted, Dr. Neil Nemec and incumbent hospital trustee Liese Razzeto took the two open seats, with Jim Pierce coming in a close third and Donna Montgomery pulling up the rear with less than 15 percent of the vote. Nemec (4,811 votes) led the pack with nearly 34 percent, Razzeto (3,918) took 28 percent and Pierce (3,291) secured 23 percent. Pierce was the only candidate in this election to earn the nomination of two Political Action Committees (PACs) who squared off in the non-partisan race/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

  • Fun Factoid: In the HucksOnline poll Monday, Hucks Nation picked the two winners of the Kootenai Medical Board — Razzeto and Nemec.

Question: I'm still trying to figure out how Doc Nemec, with no endorsements from Reagan Republican or Balance North Idaho, emerged as top vote getter in this race. Anyone?

Organizers Mum On Hydro Races

The latest word from an organizer spearheading hydroplane racing's return to Lake Coeur d'Alene said the races will go on as scheduled Labor Day weekend. Doug Miller told The Press three weeks ago that The Diamond Cup Regatta is close to securing “major contracts” that would ensure the races will happen. “We're not in trouble at all,” Miller said in a May 1 phone message, referring to rumors that the race will be canceled, as it was last year. “We're just finishing up some major contracts right now that should be done in the middle part of next week that will be major announcements for us.” But the middle part of that week passed, and despite numerous calls from The Press, nobody is offering an update on sponsorships or ticket sales. In a previous interview, Miller estimated it would cost $400,000 to host the event/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: It has seemed to me all along that there's little to no momentum for these races. Things should be in full swing at this point. Yet you can't get a peep our of organizers. What's up?

Not Happy Campers

Reagan Republican founder Jeff Ward (at the microphone), Coeur d'Alene Councilman Dan Gookin and Brent Regan campaign manager Becky Funk weren't happy campers at the results of the Coeur d'Alene School Board and Kootenai Hospital District elections Tuesday night at Fedora restaurant. The four candidates supported by the Reagan Republicans in those two races all lost, as did a fifth candidate who had archconservative Republican support. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Balance Wins PAC Duel w/RRepubs

Item: Balance North Idaho wins PAC duel/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Kootenai County Reagan Republicans were shocked when the early results of the non-partisan races trickled in Tuesday night. About three dozen of them gathered in the back room of the Fedora Pub and Grille to watch the results come in. When the first ones arrived, only two of their candidates - both seeking seats on the Post Falls School Board - were winning. While they cheered for their Post Falls candidates, the mood changed as the results of the Coeur d'Alene School District and Kootenai Hospital District races came in. Jeff Ward, co-founder of the Reagan Republicans, said the results were a little confusing. He wasn't sure if the absentee ballots had been counted or if they had started counting precinct votes first.

Question: Is there a new sheriff in town?

Trustee Winners Form New Majority

There will be three new faces on the Coeur d'Alene School District Board of Trustees come July 1. Christa Hazel won the Zone 1 seat with 1,414 votes, representing 63 percent of the 2,237 votes cast. Brent Regan received 823 votes. This is the first time voters have selected a Zone 1 school trustee since 2009, when Edie (Brooks) McLachlan defeated Jim Purtee by seven votes. Since then, there have been three appointments to the seat, and Hazel sought, and was denied, the appointment each time. “I think the Coeur d'Alene School District voters felt we needed more than a party label,” Hazel said. “They took a stand to say we need qualifications and transparent motives”/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Who should be the new School Board chairman?

Christa Speaks …

Originally posted at 10:24 p.m. Tuesday

Earlier today, Christa Hazel holds sign in front of Canfield Middle School, urging Coeur d'Alene School District voters in Zone 1 to support her candidacy for trustee. They did, as Christa unseated appointed Trustee Brent Regan handily, leading a sweep of Balance North Idaho candidates into office to form a new majority of the School Board. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

  • Huckleberries: The people have done what the Coeur d'Alene school trustees and Kootenai County commissioners refused to do — vote you into office. How does that feel?
  • Christa Hazel: I really felt good in going before the voters because I never got a far shot in front of the trustees or the Kootenai County commissioners. Who deferred to the trustees.
  • Huckleberries: When do you take office?
  • Hazel: July 1.
  • Huckleberries: What's number one on your agenda?
  • Hazel: We need to discuss a new board chair.
  • Huckleberries: You face a tough challenge in dealing with a budget with a $3M deficit, don't you?
  • Hazel: We'll get through that. We'll take our time and study all aspects.
  • Huckleberries: What happened tonight?
  • Hazel: We showed that you need to have more than a political club and party affiliation when you're working for these nonpartisan offices. And you have transparent motives. There were times when it was confusing when you looked at this board. Also, you need to be responsive to the public you serve.
  • Huckleberries: Final thought?
  • Hazel: We needed a win. We just needed a win. We finally figured out that you have to put up a good political fight to beat these guys (Reagan Republican endorsees). There candidates have been able to skip debates and win by simply going to political club luncheons. Coeur d'Alene took a stand tonight.

Priorities, Priorities

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

RRepub Candidates Take Drubbing

Reagan Republican founder Jeff Ward and appointed Trustee Ann Seddon look at results in the Coeur d'Alene School Board elections, at Fedora restaurant Tuesday night. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Candidates backed by a group of Republican activists were defeated Tuesday night in unusually lively races for the nonpartisan Coeur d’Alene School Board and Kootenai Hospital District board. In a shakeup on the school board, challengers knocked off incumbents Brent Regan and Ann Seddon, both of whom were backed by the conservative Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. Christa Hazel and Dave Eubanks will join the five-member board along with Tom Hearn, who won an open seat. All three were backed by Balance North Idaho, a political action committee whose slogan is “Qualifications over ideology,” and their wins will swing control of the board away from a solidly conservative majority that took hold over the past year/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

DFO: As Jackie Gleason would say: How sweet it is.

Question: How does the results tonight figure in the Coeur d'Alene mayor and City Council races this fall?

Hazel, Eubanks, Hearn Win

PRECINCTS COUNTED (OF 80):                         100.0
BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL     .  .  .  .  .  .   8,859 


Brent Regan.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       823   36.79
Christa Hazel .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     1,414   63.21
        Total .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     2,237


Ann Seddon .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       813   40.49
Dave Eubanks  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     1,195   59.51
        Total .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     2,008


Bjorn Handeen .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       364   30.36
Tom Hearn  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       835   69.64
        Total .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     1,199

Nemec, Razzeto Win Hospital Seats

PRECINCTS COUNTED (OF 80) --- 80   100.0
BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL.  .  .  .  .  .  .     8,859


Neil L. Nemec .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     4,811   33.73
Jim Pierce .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     3,291   23.07
Liese M. Razzeto .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     3,918   27.47
Donna L. Montgomery .  .  .  .  .  .  .     2,244   15.73
        Total .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    14,264

Ward, Goodman Win In Post Falls

PRECINCTS COUNTED (OF 100).  .  .  .  .        80   100
BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL.  .  .  .  .  .  .     8,859


Dave Paul  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       112   36.60
Glorie Ward.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       194   63.40
        Total .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       306


Carol Goodman .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       231   51.22
Julie Hunt .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       220   48.78
        Total .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       451

HucksOnline To Cover Elex Results

I'm leaving early today — to vote in Precinct 51 and to take a break prior to handling the election results tonight here at Huckleberries Online. Deputy county clerk Pat Raffee has told Huckleberries that the first results will be in by 9 p.m., with the final results expected by 11 p.m. As I mentioned before, the Balance North Idaho supporters are meeting at Fort Ground Grill, while the Reagan Republicans and their candidates will be at Fedora. I'll return to my post around 8:30 p.m. See you back here then …

Parting Shot — 5.20.13

Lake City High School students watch as senior Jacob Wilkinson is transported to an ambulance during a mock DUI accident near the school in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho this morning. Coeur d'Alene Fire and Police worked along with Kootenai County Sheriff's Department, Idaho State police and Spokane Air 1 to provide graduating seniors a graphic reminder that with celebrations just around the corner not to get behind the wheel drunk. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Election Day Wild Card — 5.21.13

Huckleberries Online, of course, will be manning HBO Central tonight, to report on Election Day results throughout Kootenai County. Balance North Idaho will be hanging out at Fort Ground Grill on River Avenue in the Fortgrounds area. Reagan Republicans will be gathering at Fedora. Here's your Election Day Wild Card …

PM Scanner Traffic — 5.21.13

  • 5:13 p.m. CPD report: Spokane bomb squad declares suspicious items found @ 4th/Foster, CdA, to be safe but believe they were intended to be an explosive (1:54PM item). Offers recovered 2 bottles w/substance that were sent to State Lab for testing.
  • 4:42 p.m. Woman chasing small dog on onramp @ e/b I-90/MP 13.5 (4th Street/CdA).
  • 4:31 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for May 20-21 here.
  • 4:15 p.m. Kootenai County Sheriff's Department weekly warrants roundup here.
  • 4:13 p.m. ISP report: H41 crash, near Blanchard, kills 19YO Oldtown woman. Click here.
  • 10 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 5.21.13

Idaho singer-songwriter Carole King poses for photographers before an event to honor her with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, at the Library of Congress earlier today in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Question: Which Carole King song do you like better: “(You Make Me Feel) A Natural Woman” or “You've Got A Friend”? Explain answer.

Cutline Contest — 5.21.13

At Gainsville, Fla., University of Florida staffers provide some idea how long this dead Burmese python is — 18 feet, 8 inches, weighing 128 pounds. It is the longest snake ever caught in Florida. You write the cutline. (AP photo)

Monday Winner — Photoguy/2 likes: “Tejay Van Garderen asked the ladies to help him makeup his mind, although they misunderstood and put makeup on his cheek.” See Monday photo & all 5 cutlines here.

It's Time to Vote ..

H41 Crash Kills 19YO Oldtown Woman

A 19-year-old Oldtown woman was killed in a head-on crash north of Blanchard this morning that closed Highway 41 for five hours. According to ISP reports, Anna M. Hurst was northbound in a Ford Stratus attempting to pass another vehicle when she crashed head on into a 2008 Kenworth truck driven by Michael L. Radan, 41, of Newport, Wash. Radan was injured in the crash, which occurred at 8:02 this morning. Full ISP report here.

Election Day Roundup — 5.21.13

Let's use this Election Day Roundup post to stay up to speed re: today's School/Hospital board elections:

  • 4:37 p.m. Casey Irgens reports: “So I was voter 79 out of over 600 in pct. 62.” Poll workers said that trustee election seemed to be slower than school bond election.
  • 3:44 p.m. Huckleberries hears Zone 4 candidate Dave Eubanks and Ann Seddon supporter Mary Jo Finney are holding up opposing signs @ Appleway/H95.
  • 2:47 p.m. Reconcile reports: “I was number 49 at my polling place at 2:30pm. I could only vote for the hospital board positions (frowny face).”
  • 2:17 p.m. Christa Hazel Facebooks: “Christa Hazel has voted!” Number 138 in precinct 47.
  • 1:41 p.m. Becky McIntire Boifeuillet reports: I was #43 in District 15 at Hayden Meadows.
  • 12:55 p.m. Baby brother Frito Ray votes in Zone 5 CdA School Board election.
  • 12:51 p.m. Paula Marano reports: “I received some phone calls last night about who to vote for in Zones 1, 4, 5. And, stood on the corner of Sherman and 21st near Fernan this morning for 1 1/2 hours. I had lots of smiles, thumbs up and horn honking for Christa Hazel, Zone 1. Encouraged!”
  • 12:07 p.m. Spudbob reports: “Precinct 4: Thirty people had voted by just before 10:00.”
  • AM Election Day roundup reports below

Quotable Quote

Facebook Friend Erin Daniels Bangle, former SR colleague and Sandpoint High Cedar Post advisor, posts: “Student Quote of the Day: 'What was Woodstock?' I quit.”

Question: What do you think of when you here the word 'Woodstock'?

Thumbs Up For Hazel

Three guys who serve on the PTO board with Christa Hazel were out on street corners supporting her today: from left, Thomas Hall, Tony Norris and Ben Peressini. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Looking Through Tassels

Heather Coye looks through the tassels on her sign at the northeast corner of Prairie and Highway 95 in Hayden. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Clark: Fly Fishing Tests Patience

A river of emotions ran through me on Sunday. Foolishness. Humiliation. Shame. That about covers them. My return to fly fishing after a 30-year absence wasn’t what anyone would describe as triumphant. “It looks like bait,” exclaimed my lovely wife, Sherry, between gasps of laughter at my catch of the day. I can’t understand it. The movie in my head had me hauling a monster trout out of Black Lake after a prolonged, Hemmingwayesque battle. Reality, as you can see from the photograph, turned out to be a sardine that, judging by its stunted growth, was probably a smoker. True, it probably didn’t help for me to yell “Fish ON!!” like an excited little girl/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

DFO: The first and last time I flyfished was during the first week after my arrival in Kalispell, Mont., a guest of the last newspaper publisher C. Patrick King. We did so behind the Hungry Horse reservoir in Northwest Montana. Fun day. Got in some huckleberrying, too.

Question: When did you last flyfish?

Andrus Calls Risch ‘Obstructionist’

Former Democratic Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus called Republican Sen. Jim Risch an “obstructionist” for stopping Republican Rep. Mike Simpson’s Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill. The two men fought regularly when Risch was Idaho Senate Pro Tem and Andrus was governor in the 1980s. So Andrus got personal when he chided Risch for withdrawing his support for Simpson’s bill, describing Risch as “this little short guy” who stopped Simpson’s Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act from getting out of the Senate. “I apologize, not for what I said previously, but that I said he was short,” Andrus said. Because of Risch, he has supported having President Obama designate the 500,000-acre Boulder-White Clouds and Jerry Peak areas as a national monument/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo: Singer and environmental activist Carole King testifies during 2005 Boulder-White Clouds hearings in Washington, D.C.)

Question: Should Boulder-White Clouds be designated as a wilderness area?

Read more here:

Hazel Family Seeks Votes

Zone 1 challenger Christa Hazel and her two children, Emma and Cooper, were trolling for votes this morning on the opposite corner of Canfield Middle School, 15th & Dalton Avenue, this morning (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Greeting Voters

At 8 o'clock this morning, Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan and his campaign manager, Becky Funk, were photographed by Duane Rasmussen at the corner of Lake Coeur d'Alene Drive and Sherman Avenue, across the street from the public art near Michael D's.

Absentee Turnout Light, But …

Pat Raffee, deputy county clerk, tells Huckleberries that the countywide turnout for the school/hospital board elections is light, 3 percent of the total registered voters so far. But it was better than two years ago. According to Elections Manager Carrie Phillips, the elections office has received 2,450 absentee ballots — 1754 by mail and 496 in person. However, the number represents about 700 more absentee ballots than were cast in 2011. Earlier this month, Raffee told Huckleberries that the first results she come in by 9 p.m. and the last by 11 p.m.

Crapo: IRS Targeting Just Happened?

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, asks: U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew: “Are you or is the IRS taking the position that somehow this coalition of audits that focused on people from these political perspectives just happened accidently?”

The man who led the Internal Revenue Service when it was giving extra scrutiny to tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status told Congress on Tuesday that he knew little about what was happening while he was still commissioner. Douglas Shulman, who vacated his position last November when his five-year term expired, told the Senate Finance Committee he didn’t learn all the facts until he read last week’s report by a Treasury inspector general confirming the targeting strategy. In his first public remarks since the story broke, Shulman said: “I agree this is an issue that when someone spotted it, they should have brought it up the chain. And they didn’t. I don’t know why”/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Do you think this targeting of Tea Party groups just happened?

Jennifer: Love The Smell Of Freedom

Jennifer Locke: “I had fun sign waving for Brent at different locations this morning with my friend, my little Tucker, and Isabella. It was fun to get a lot of honks on 95 and see how many truck drivers would pull their horns. I love the smell of Freedom in the morning …”

DFO: I'm hoping that freedom is spelled H-A-Z-E-L tomorrow morning …

Question: Have you ever waved a sign on a corner for a candidate on Election Day? Describe your experience.

Seatbelt Emphasis Under Way

Local law enforcement agencies kicked off the “Click It or Ticket” seat belt emphasis campaign on Monday and will continue the program through June 2. Local motorists should be prepared for the stepped up program activities that will take place around the clock. If law enforcement finds a driver or passenger on the road unbuckled anytime or anywhere, you can expect to get a ticket, not a warning.

Question: Do you wear your seatbelt 100 percent of the time? When don't you?

Huckleberries Hears …

… That Mary Souza of was told by the Coeur d'Alene School District to remove the district logo from her recent newsletter castigating Balance North Idaho for — and I quote Mary — sending out an emailing “filled with twisted, manipulative information that amounts to nothing but campaign trickery.” At the top of her newsletter, entitled “Dirty Tricks vs. Honest Integrity,” Souza posted three images, including one encouraging readers to vote in today's election and the School District emblem. A check of the newsletter post on today shows only the image encouraging school patrons to vote remains today. Seems the district considers use of school property (and that's why it considers unauthorized use of its logo) to be a no-no.


Baucus Pledges Complete IRS Probe

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. left, accompanied by the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, questions ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller, former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, on Capitol Hill, in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Top lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee are broadening their probe of the Internal Revenue Service’s practice of targeting conservative groups, asking the agency to turn over an extensive batch of communications detailing who was involved in the program. In a letter sent Monday to acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sought details on how the agency reviewed applications for wide range of tax exemptions — not just the requests for 501(c)(4) status at the center of the current scandal/Lauren French, Politico. More here.

Question: On its online edition, the Lewiston Tribune asks which of the political scandals now plaguing the Obama administration will haunt it most: 1. IRS targets Tea Partiers, Associated Press phone tapping, fallout from Behghazi attack, or uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act?

AM Scanner Traffic — 5.21.13

  • 11:18 a.m. Possible animal abuse reported on College Drive, near NIC.
  • 11:17 a.m. Horses are loose in trailer of flatbed pickup pulling trailer @ w/b I-90/Spokane Street.
  • 11:11 a.m. Injury accident reported in head-on collision @ H57/MP 2 (near CdA casino).
  • 10:58 a.m. 38YO female on Cloverleaf/Hauser Lake complains of severe chest pain.
  • 10:47 a.m. Undisclosed medical emergency reported in 5300 block of Royal Drive/PF.
  • 10:44 a.m. Female driver of gray Chevy possibly DUI, driving 52 mph on I-90/MP 7 (H41).
  • 9:59 a.m. Owner tells KCSD that fired employee won't leave business premises.
  • 8:44 a.m. CPD Blues seek silver 2003 Honda Civic w/chrome wheels & crack across windshield.
  • 8:19 a.m. Caller from 400 block of N4th Street reports receiving suspicious package.
  • 8:11 a.m. Some sort of crash involving truck & fatality reported (may be mock disaster near LCHS).
  • 8:09 a.m. Reckless driver of Toyota Corolla from Spokane County now @ e/b I-90/MP 3.
  • 8:05 p.m. Female who dropped child off at CdA school smelled of alcohol, has 2nd child in car.

Poll: Razzeto, Nemec For KMC Board

  • Monday Poll: Hucks Nation says Dr. Neil Nemec and incumbent Niese Razzeto will win the four-way race for two seats on the Kootenai Hospital Board today. Incumbent Razzeto received 94 of 225 votes (41.78%) from the Huckleberries Online crowd. Dr. Nemec received the second most votes with 75 (33.33%), followed by Jim Pierce with 47 (20.89%) and Donna Montgomery with 9 (4%).
  • Today's Poll: Which of the following scandals that plague the Obama administration will haunt it most: IRS targets Tea Party, Associated Press phone tapping, fallout from Benghazi attack, or uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act?

Bad Things About Oregon?

On his Facebook wall, Ryan Collingwood, formerly of Coeur d'Alene and now reporting sports for the East Oregonian in Pendleton, Ore., posts: “Two bad things about Oregon: 1. The Ducks; 2. Getting gas. Everything else is dandy.” I'm a default fan of the state or Oregon, after 17 years of my kids attending school/living in the Portland area. I enjoy the weird vibe of Portland — and the beauty of the Oregon Coast. If I was to pick two things I didn't like about Oregon, I'd put gas attendants as one of them. I'd have to think about the other. Mebbe aggressive panhandlers in Portland.

Question: What don't you like about Oregon?

Nicole: Vote In Regular Precincts

Nicole Seguin Olson: “I was out this morning in various places (15th, 7th, and 4th), and fielded a few questions about polling places. People were wondering if they can still vote at any school, which is not the case. Voters need to vote at their regular Kootenai County Elections polling location, unless the elections office sent you a notice of an alternate location (I believe only 2 polling places have alternate locations today.) BTW — I saw Jennifer Locke out looking for a place to wave signs this a.m., and I truly appreciated her friendly smile - so glad to know we can disagree about a lot of things and still be friendly and polite.”

DFO: Jennifer is one of the best things the archconservatives have going for them. Young mother/friendly smile. Some of the rest of Jennifer's allies appear to be in desperate need of prune juice.

Question: Will we be able to bury the hatchet once the school/hospital board elections are over? Or is this simply the preliminary for the battle royal that's coming this fall during the Coeur d'Alene mayor/City Council races?

Silver Lake Mall Attracts Bakery

From Get Out! North Idaho Facebook wall: “Sweet Moments Bakery just opened in the Silver Lake Mall, and it perhaps finally provides a reason to go to that mall (along with the new JoAnn Fabrics and Sports Authority stores). We could make some seriously short work out of that cheese Danish at the top of their facebook page. Uh…yum!”

Question: How often do you visit the Silver Lake Mall? Why do you go there?

AM Headlines — 5.21.13

Sydnie Shanley, front, and Hannah Silvaz participated in The Kroc Center's third grade swim program in Coeur d'Alene on Monday. The two are students at Ponderosa Elementary in Post Falls. About 700 area third graders are registered to participate in this year's program made possible in partnership with the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Center, area school districts and community grants. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Idaho Ed Spending 2nd To Last Again

Idaho remains stuck at the bottom of public education funding, ranking second to last of all states in per-student spending for a third straight year, the U.S. Census Bureau said today. Idaho spent $6,824 per student in the 2010-11 school year, above only Utah, according to the latest available figures. Neighboring Washington ranked 30th – up two spots from the previous year – with $9,483 spent per student. Both Idaho and Washington fall below the national average of $10,560 per student. And that is down 0.4 percent from 2010 – the first decrease in per-student spending since the Census Bureau began collecting data in 1977/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Am I the only one who thinks we owe neighboring Utah a debt of gratitude for spending less than Idaho — and keeping us out of the cellar?

Nonini Sends Out Endorsement Letter

State Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, poked his nose into the Post Falls School Board races at the last moment by authoring a letter in favor of two challengers to the incumbents. Predictably, Nonini favors the archconservative candidates in the race and doesn't even mention the incumbents who have given Post Falls years of public service. One paragraph, however, stands out as over-the-top, even for Nonini: “I have had many opportunities to meet with their opponents over the eyars and one thing has become apparent. Their only concern is the teacher's union and keeping the union members happy without any regard for the residents funding Post Falls public education.” Seriously, that's the only concern that Dave Paul and Julie Hunt have had? Not the kids? Ever? This from an individual who, as a former House Education Committee chairman was rebuked at the polls when Idaho voters rejected Propositions 1-3, which he supported wholeheartedly. And which would have devastated Idaho education? Bad form, Bob. Bad form. Full Nonini letter here.


Doors Keyboardist Manzarek, RIP

Ray Manzarek, a founding member of the 1960s rock group The Doors whose versatile and often haunting keyboards complemented Jim Morrison’s gloomy baritone and helped set the mood for some of rock’s most enduring songs, has died. He was 74. Manzarek died Monday in Rosenheim, Germany, surrounded by his family, said publicist Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald. She said the musician’s manager, Tom Vitorino, confirmed Manzarek died after being stricken with bile duct cancer. The Doors’ original lineup, which also included drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robbie Krieger, was only together for a few years and they only made six studio albums. But the band has retained a large and obsessive following decades after Morrison’s death, in 1971. The Doors have sold more than 100 million records and songs such as “Light My Fire” and “Riders On the Storm” are still “classic” rock favorites/Associated Press. More here. (AP file photo: The Doors, from left, John Densmore, Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison, pose for a portrait)

Question: How did anyone from The Doors live to be 74?

Oklahoma Death Toll Revised Down

Rescuers dug through the debris of destroyed homes, schools and businesses Tuesday in a desperate search for survivors of the murderous tornado that blasted through this Tornado Alley town, killing at least 24 people and injuring scores more. There was a strand of good news Tuesday: Authorities dramatically reduced the confirmed death toll after earlier reporting that at least 51 people had died Monday. Amy Elliot, spokeswoman for the state medical examiner's office, said she believes some victims were counted twice in the early chaos after the storm cut a path more than a mile wide through this Oklahoma City suburb of 41,000 people. She said nine of the dead were children, and that the death toll could climb/USA Today. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Do you know individuals in the Oklahoma City area, affected by the tornado?

Senior Prank Targets CHS VP

A funny thing happened to Coeur d'Alene High School Vice Principal Troy Schueller this morning. Seems graduating seniors at the high school targeted his pickup for their annual Student Prank. Huckleberries is told that the lugnuts for the pickup tires will be returned to Schueller throughout the day, so he'll be able to drive home this afternoon.

Question: Were you or your kids involved in a Senior Prank at high school?

Mock Disaster To Shut CdA Streets

On its Facebook page, the Coeur d'Alene Police Department announces: “Hanley Avenue and part of Courcelles Parkway will be closed from 0700-1100 as we, along with several agencies, work together to present a mock DUI crash to the students / faculty of Lake City High School. This mock crash will include Fire agencies, ISP, KCSO, and Air 1. We will try to post some photos later on.”

Question: Have you ever participated in a mock disaster?

Lake CdA Drive Decision Delayed

Item: Lake Coeur d'Alene Drive delay: Coeur d'Alene City Council in no hurry over ITD road offer/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The decision to take over East Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive will have to wait another day. Following a two-hour workshop on the road offer the Idaho Transportation Department pitched to the city of Coeur d'Alene, an answer might not come for two more weeks yet. Until June 4, likely. That's when the issue that was pitched last year will go before the City Council.

Question: Do you want the city of Coeur d'Alene to own Lake Coeur d'Alene Drive?

It’s Election Day

Polls for today's Kootenai County taxing district election will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are school board races in the Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Lakeland districts. There is also a countywide Kootenai Hospital District trustee election, a Plummer-Worley school supplemental levy and a seat on the Alpine Meadows Water and Sewer District Board north of Hayden up for grabs. Information, including where voters should vote and sample ballots, is available at or by calling county elections at 446-1030. A sample ballot and all of the polling sites also ran in the Legals section on Page C6 in Thursday's Press. On school board races, voters must live in the particular zone of the race to vote on it. A photo ID is required to vote. If a photo ID can't be shown, the voter will be given the option to sign a personal identity affidavit/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: When do you plan to vote today?

IRS Audit

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Monday — 5.20.13

I'm more than a little surprised that no candidate or his ground troops came to my door looking for my vote this weekend. The only mailing that I received was from Zone 1 candidate Tom Hearn. I was expecting a last-minute mailing from someone. All I received on Saturday was my weekly Sports Illustrated a day late. I see Mary Souza is bellyaching about an 11th-hour, mass e-mailing by Balance North Idaho. So some of you received literature over the weekend. One day to go before we head to the polls to see whether the Reagan Republicans expand their political sphere of archconservatism. Or whether Balance North Idaho protected the shire. Here's today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 5.20.13

A child calls to his father after being pulled from the rubble of the Tower Plaza Elementary School following a tornado in Moore, Okla., today. A tornado as much as a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school. Oklahoma City Police confirm that 7 of the 37 confirmed dead in the disaster were children at the Tower Plaza Elementary School. Story here. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Letter: Keep Online Haters Out

On behalf of the many Democrats I know, I thank you for your recent decision to exclude from participation on your blog those few participants who use hateful, inflammatory language. Such trash-talk serves no purpose other than to degrade the civil standards of our community and perhaps give license to other disturbed folks to do the same. We are grateful for your taking a principled stand and saying no to these hate-filled people. Your action is especially appropriate and, I am sure, applauded by many others beyond us Democrats, as this is the community which originated the Human Rights Task Force/Chairwoman Paula Neils of the Kootenai County Democrats, letter to the editor, Coeur d'Alene Press.

Question: Have you noticed an improvement in the dialogue at the Coeur d'Alene Press Online site since Editor Mike Patrick cracked down on troublemakers?

PM Scanner Traffic — 5.20.13

  • 5:24 p.m. Caller on Nixon Loop/Rathdrum reports daughter has stolen $140 from her.
  • 5:19 p.m. Caller reports vicious dog in 8300 block of Boysenberry Loop/Hayden.
  • 5:09 p.m. CPD Blue is checking welfare of someone @ Coeur d'Alene Skate Plaza.
  • 4:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for May 19-20 here.
  • 4:19 p.m. Drunk female stumbling along H41 under I-90 overpass.
  • 4:16 p.m. Elderly female having trouble breathing  @ Garden Plaza Center/Post Falls.
  • 16 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 5.20.13

Borah Elementary 4th grader Winter Haler auditioned for the upcoming talent show at the school in Coeur d'Alene recently. The talent show is on June 4. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

HBO Blogosphere — 5.21.13

Another Duane Rasmussen photo shows the extensive work near the Brazilian Steak House on what used to be Front Avenue.

Huckleberries numbers (for May 12-18): 50,661 page-views/27,920 unique views

Tornado Devastates Oklahoma Town

woman carries her child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., earlier today. A tornado as much as a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school. (AP Photo Sue Ogrocki)

A mile-wide tornado slammed into Oklahoma on Monday afternoon, leveling neighborhoods, starting fires and causing, as one storm chaser put it, “total destruction.” Two elementary schools were destroyed, and an untold number of homes and businesses sustained heavy damage near the cities of Moore, Newcastle and Oklahoma City. CNN reported that rescue crews swarmed over Plaza Towers Elementary School, where 75 students and staff had sought refuge in a hallway. Britane Diacon-Boese of Oklahoma City was worried about students she works with. “I have clients who can't be found,” she said. “I'm terrified; I'm completely terrified,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “There's no power, it's all down”/Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times. More here.

Question: Have you ever been involved in a natural disaster?

My 2 Cents: Vote & Save The Shire

Do I have to twist your arms to get you to the polls Tuesday to vote in the Kootenai Hospital Board and local school board elections? The Reagan Republicans and Bjorn Handeen's Ron Paul ground troops will be beating the bushes for votes to extend ultraconservatism deep into the heart of Coeur d'Alene. We've already seen the silliness of what one Reagan Republican endorsee, Councilman Steve Adams, can do in an elected position on a criticial board. Adams, as you know opposes any proposal attached to federal dollars, including the hiring of two more desperately needed police officers. Some individuals from the same side of the ideological divide as Adams are running for local school boards. We've seen how far to the right that the Coeur d'Alene School Board lurched since the County Commission and other trustees have made three appointments to pack it with archconservatives.  The Reagan Republicans have targeted local elections because they traditionally have a poor turnout, which means a motivated force can win seats for their candidates. Balance North Idaho has done as much as it can to provide loyal opposition to the Reagan Republican power brokers. Now, it's your turn to not only vote against partisan politics in nonpartisan races. But get friends, family and neighbors to do so, too. If you need motivation, consider the 2009 race for the Coeur d'Alene City Council seat still occupied by Councilman Mike Kennedy. Kennedy ultimately won by 3 votes. Those 3 votes meant the difference between a new McEuen Field and a tired, old one. Between the expansion of the Education Corridor and business as usual at landlocked North Idaho College. I want every Berry Picker who is qualified to vote in the school and hospital board elections. And tell Grandma and your siblings to do so, too/DFO.

What’s Ahead For Class Of 2013?

Question from the Inlander: “Do you think this year's high school graduates have it easier or harder than you did?” Anyone?

Poll: IRS Scandal Boosts Tea Party

A new poll shows a rise in approval for the Tea Party movement, amid a growing scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups. A CNN/ORC poll released Monday found 37 percent of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party, up 9 points from their 28 percent positive rating in March. The 37 percent approval rating is just one percentage point below the movement’s all-time high in CNN/ORC’s polling. A plurality of respondents, though, still hold an unfavorable view of Tea Party groups. Forty-five percent have a negative view of the movement, but that figure is down 3 points from March/Daniel Strauss, The Hill. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Has your view of the Tea Party changed in light of the IRS scandal?

New Zoning Regs Worry County Biz

Just west of Rose Lake on Highway 3 lies the old township of Lane. It was subdivided into residential lots years ago and platted with streets. The town never took hold, and was sold off. That's how the Scheffelmaier family got hold of a large chunk of it back in the 1950s. Since then, Fred Scheffelmaier has developed a good portion of the property into a thriving custom butchery. In 1991 he applied with Kootenai County for a conditional use permit to operate the meat plant on his rural property. He has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and employs half a dozen people. With an approved permit, he had a reasonable expectation that if the county ever decided to rezone the area, his now-successful business property would be classified commercial. He was wrong/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (In Duane Rasmussen file photo, Commissioner Todd Tondee, left, speaks to crowd at Grange Hall near Medimont re: proposed zoning regs, while Scott Clarke listens)

Question: Are you concerned re: proposed new county zoning regulations?

Butchering The Star Spangled Banner

Imagine: You're tapped to sing The Star-Spangled Banner at the , a Canadian hockey tournament being held in . Midway through, you realize you don't know the words. What do you do? Well, on Saturday, the Canadian Jazz singer Alexis Normand decided to just keep going and mumble the rest. It's cringe-inducing, but also really funny/Eyder Peralta, NPR. More here.

Question: Do you know all the words to “The Star Spangled Banner”?

Sheriff Mack Heading Back To Idaho

Former Sheriff Richard Mack will be back in Idaho in August, following up last year’s controversial appearance at the Kootenai County Republican Party Lincoln Day with a speech to the Gem State Tea Party’s 3rd “Liberty Summit” in Burley. Mack, who won two terms as the Democratic sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., also has run for office as a Republican and a Libertarian. Some Kootenai County Republicans tried to cancel his speech but an allegedly forged proxy ballot was tossed by party officials and Mack was invited again. He drew about 400 listeners and appeared with Congressman Raul Labrador/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you consider Sheriff Mack fans to be mainstream Republicans?

Read more here:

Nappi: Aging Has Positives, Too

Some readers have gently criticized this column for being a downer about aging. They have a point. Last week, for instance, I wrote about the reasons boomers may not live into great old age (chronic illnesses and high suicide rates). So this week, I counter with a more hopeful report. Aging expert Wendy Lustbader, who has written “The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Older,” will be in Spokane this month for a half-day seminar at The Lincoln Center. Lustbader – in her book and in her media interviews – points out that life gets better for older people because:

  • We spend less time with people who suck our energy, say no to events that waste our time, stop comparing ourselves to others, and we get away with our choices.
  • Relationships deepen.
  •  We finally have some time for other things that feed the spirit.

Question: What benefits do you see re: aging?

Hoffman Too Mighty For Speed Ticket

When a cop stops an ordinary person for speeding, here's what happens: Perhaps the driver asks for a warning. He might contest the ticket in court. Or he pays up. But Wayne Hoffman is no ordinary person. As executive director of the libertarian-leaning Idaho Freedom Foundation, Hoffman bestrides an organization with an ample but mysterious source of cash that at times has proven to be among the most influential legislative lobbies in Idaho. His Idaho Freedom Index rates lawmakers from high to low on their conservative credentials. The rating can help or break Republicans running in a low-turnout, closed GOP primary. Hoffman also supervises, an online news service that some criticize as serving IFF's political agenda. And his own weekly column gets picked up by a handful of Idaho newspapers. That's a considerable political arsenal in the hands of a man who sounds like he may use it. Why? Because Hoffman got a speeding ticket and he's not happy about it.

Question: What do you make of Hoffman continuing to fight a speeding ticket for going 71 in a 55 in Kootenai County?

BNI Letter That Angered Mary

The mass-mailing letter from Balance North Idaho that attracted Mary Souza's wrath:

Your vote is Crucial on May 21:  Just how crucial is your vote on May 21?  It is VITAL to the direction of our School Districts and Hospital Board of Trustees. 

CDA School Board: 

  • 1.     Should Boosters be able to control their own funds?
  • 2.     Do you want Sorensen Magnet School's successful, creative curriculum offering to stay?
  • 3.     Should our kids learn beyond just Rote Memorization?

These are a few issues you can be sure to hear about should this current Board maintain leadership.  Vote for Christa Hazel (Zone 1), Dave Eubanks (Zone 4) and Tom Hearn (Zone 5).

Question: Why does this letter have the archconservatives up in arms?

Jet-Boating On The Joe

A jet-boater takes a turn in the St. Joe River, near St. Maries, as the annual races took place over the weekend, as a result of last-minute pressure on the U.S. Coast Guard by Gov. Butch Otter and the Idaho congressional delegation. The Coast Guard issued a permit at the last minute after denying one, as a result of environmental concerns. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Why Do They Live In Tornado Alleys?

A Facebook Friend asks: “Why do people choose to live in tornado areas where their whole life's work can be wiped out with one monster storm and even lose their life and/or lose their livestock and pets then have to rebuild? Do insurance companies keep insuring them? Whole towns and neighborhoods can be wiped off the map in a matter of minutes and scenes on TV of houses looking like splintered match sticks have convinced me that is not the place to venture. That does not sound like anyplace I would want to visit much less live.” (AP photo: Alli Christian, left, helps Jessica Wilkinson as she looks for her dog Bella after Wilkinson returned to find her tornado-destroyed home in Norman, Okla., on Sunday)

Question: Can you name a place in the United States that you absolutely would not live?

Balance Defends Letter Bullet Point

Balance North Idaho provides its side to the story re: Booster Fund Escrow Account:

There has been some recent discussion about an email that BNI sent out regarding voter concerns. One of the concerns, is a Booster Fund Escrow Account. For those that are interested in the facts and the back story on where this concern came from, please see the links below. Booster Club funds were discussed at the March board meeting. You can hear audio here.

Question: I can't quite get my head around this controversy. Anyone willing to explain it to the rest of us? And why we should care about this situation?

Poll: Hazel, Eubanks, Hearn

  • Weekend Poll: Hucks Nation says the Balance North Idaho ticket will sweep the Coeur d'Alene School Board races Tuesday, with Christa Hazel emerging as top vote getter. When asked who will win the Coeur d'Alene School Board elections, Hucks Nation said: Christa Hazel, 143 of 528 respondents (27.08%), followed by Tom Hearn, 132 (25%) and Dave Eubanks, 126 (23.86%). Of the remaining candidates, Trustee Ann Seddon received 50 votes (9.47%), Brent Regan 49 (9.28%) and Bjorn Handeen 28 (5.3%).
  • Today's Poll: Who will win the Kootenai Hospital Board elections (pick 2)?

Scanner Traffic — 5.20.13

  • 12:03 p.m. Unconscious male reported behind Farragut Mini Storage, 6522 E. Trinity/Bayview.
  • 11:41 a.m. 28YO male suffered diabetic problem in 700 block of E. Foster Ave/CdA.
  • 11:30 a.m. Male & female arguing louldy in 600 block of East Haycraft Avenue/CdA.
  • 11:24 a.m. Female trashing home on H53, breaking windows & then holding knife to her throat.
  • 11:21 a.m. Elderly male driving recklessly in orange Toyota on I-90/MP 16 (eastern CdA limits).
  • 11:11 a.m. Female trespassing on father's property near Charlie's Acres Bar/H53, Rathdrum.
  • 10:48 a.m. 92YO male injured in fall in 8600 block of Starr Loop/Hayden.
  • 10:47 a.m. Scott asks to see Marine deputy re: boat inspection @ CdA resort marina.
  • 10:44 a.m. CPD officers looking for male on bike named Michael near Street Dept building.
  • 10:37 a.m. Medical patient having chest pain @ 925 Polston Ave/Post Falls.
  • 10:25 a.m. Tracy en route to 15700 block of Pinewood Way/Hayden to handle garage door alarm.
  • 10:10 a.m. Caller in 1400 block of E. Miles Avenue/Hayden reports undisclosed animal noise.
  • 9:50 a.m. Motorist reports North Dakota trucker swerving on w/b I-90/MP 34 (east of 4th of July).
  • 8:49 a.m. Undisclosed threat  reported in 8800 block of Wyoming Avenue/Hayden.

AM (5.20.13) — Racing The Joe

Two jet-boaters race into a wall of spray from another boat during the annual “Race the Joe” jet-boat races on the St. Joe River near St. Maries this weekend. The races were allowed to go on, after political pressure prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to issue a permit after having denied one earlier for environmental reasons. (Photograph: Duane Rasmussen)

Cutline Contest — 5.20.13

Tejay Van Garderen gets kissed on the podium after winning the Tour of California cycling race in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Sunday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

TGIF Winner — Photoguy: “These cutlines are getting lemur and lemur by the minute.” You can see TGIF photo + all 9 cutline entries here.

Balance Mailing Upsets Souza

At, Mary Souza is upset by a recent mailing by the Balance North Idaho group: “The Balance North Idaho group has sent out a letter filled with twisted, manipulative information that amounts to nothing but campaign trickery.  And they’ve done it at the very end of the school board campaign, when there’s no time left to respond by mass media before the election Tuesday. Who is this new Balance North Idaho?  Their web site shows the small Board of Directors includes Sara Meyer and Eden Irgens, who were so active against a Public Vote on McEuen and against the Recall.  Also on their Board is Mic Armon, the former NIC Trustee who was against a public bond vote on the $10 million dollar Mill site land purchase.” You can read the rest of Mary's complaint here.


Carlson: Risch On Cruise Control

“Where have you gone ?” Hum these lines to the tune of the Simon and Garfunkel song that became the theme music to that '60s classic movie, “The Graduate”: “Where have you gone Junketing Jim?/Idaho turns its needy eyes to you?What's that you say, Junketing Jim?/Hard workers have up and gone away./So those that stay might as well play?/Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey hey.” That, my friends, is essentially what Idaho's junior senator, Jim Risch, told Idaho Statesman political reporter Dan Popkey in a story that appeared May 6. Because nothing gets done in the nation's capital and everything is stalemated, a senator may as well sit back, not work hard, enjoy international travel and coast along/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question: Do you think U.S. Sen. Jim Risch is working hard for Idaho interests?

Yard Sales Similar To Colonoscopies

Overheard across the back fence: “Yard sales are hell.” I hear you, neighbor. I know plenty of people who have been cleaning out their closets and garages for months now, bemoaning the fact that, “I've got to get rid of some of this junk.”Even the realization that a person can make money on old castoffs - say, 25 cents for a pair of jeans that cost you $80 brand new - is small consolation. We approach getting ready for the annual yard sale with the same enthusiasm we have for getting a colonoscopy. And, when you think about it, there are some similarities between yard sales and colonoscopies. In both cases you're getting rid of a bunch of crap/Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Would you compare a yard sale to a colonoscopy?

Austin: Urban Renewal & Outsiders

A funny thing happened to Silver Valley residents on their way to a decision on whether or not they want an Urban Renewal Agency (URA) in their county. They've heard from their neighbors to the west, including two elected officials angry over Coeur d'Alene's agency and its investment in McEuen Field. The newest change to urban renewal law requires approval from local residents before their elected officials can form a URA. Previously, in over four dozen cities and at least one county, those officials needed only proof of deterioration within their boundaries to authorize the URA and appoint its members. As a result of the law change, Shoshone County Commissioners have scheduled a vote on the issue for this Tuesday. What they could never have imagined was the interference of residents outside the Valley, but that is exactly what has happened/John Austin, Coeur d'Alene Press op-ed article. More here. (Idaho Legislature photo: Rep. Kathy Sims)

Question: Should state Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, and Coeur d'Alene Councilman Dan Gookin be trying to export their anti-urban renewal philosophy to the economically depressed Silver Valley?

Trustee Races Highlight Con Roots

Brent Regan’s yard signs identify him as a Republican. His challenger, Christa Hazel, has “common sense conservative” on hers. Political persuasion is on full display in the race to sit on the Coeur d’Alene School Board, even though the ballots make no reference to party. It’s one in a series of election showdowns here forming a politically charged battleground for offices long seen as strictly nonpartisan. Ever a conservative stronghold, Kootenai County looks to be swinging even further to the right with a wave of party faithful targeting city councils, school boards, the Kootenai Hospital District board and even lowly highway districts. Firing the salvos is the Reagan Republicans, a group that formed in 2009 with a clear focus in mind: Make elected Democrats and moderates as rare as the giant Palouse earthworm/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: Brent Regan’s election sign adorns the front yard of a home in Hayden)

Question: So which side did better in promoting its candidates during the School Board/hospital board campaigns — Reagan Republicans or Balance North Idaho?

McEuen Field Work Continues

Councilman Woody McEvers and Huckleberries photographer Duane Rasmussen photographed the work under way at McEuen Field Friday afternoon. Woody took video. Duane stills. Above, construction workers are busy at the bottom of a pit dug for the reconstruction.

Clark: Too Much Prison Hanky-Panky?

Not to frighten any of you, but I predict the entire region will soon be clobbered by a tsunami-sized crime wave. And all because of what’s been going on at Airway Heights Correctional Center, the horndog hoosegow of Eastern Washington. Mark my words. Criminals will be getting themselves purposely arrested so they can get in on some of that Airway action, and who can blame them? For the second time this spring, one of the prison’s female staff members has been accused of having carnal relations with an inmate. So much for prison as a deterrent/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Huckleberries can't figure out why prison staffers would get entangled with prisonsers. Can you?

Hucks: Emigres Drive NIdaho Politics

On Tuesday, we’ll learn whether Kootenai County archconservatives who call themselves “Republicans” for politics’ sake will keep total control of the Coeur d’Alene School Board. And establish beachheads on the Post Falls School Board and Kootenai Hospital Board. The end game for the ideological radicals is the overthrow of the Coeur d’Alene City Council this fall. How did the uber-cons annex the GOP Central Committee and Kootenai County politics? Reporter Sierra Crane-Murdoch connects the dots in the new issue of High Country News in her article, “How right-wing emigrants conquered North Idaho.” That’s right – Far Right – operatives have migrated from California (Tina Jacobson, John Cross, Dan Gookin and Bob Pedersen), from Washington state (Ron Lahr and former congressman George Nethercutt aide Jeff Ward) and from elsewhere to grab power in the Coeur d’Alene area. All six mentioned above are included in Crane-Murdoch’s extensive article, which traces the archconservative invasion back to the late Ron Rankin, the father of Idaho’s anti-property tax movement who moved his family from Southern California to Coeur d’Alene in the mid-’60s/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Question: Why have relative newcomers made such an impact on Kootenai County politics?

Benghazi Talking Points

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Weekend Wild Card — 5.18-19.13

I'll venture out for the first time today to see what deals are available at the local nurseries. I planted potatoes and have onions, garlic and asparagus waiting in the wings to be planted. I've been trying to decide what to tear out of the back yard to simplify a bit. Also, I'm looking forward to attending my first home-school high school graduation today. So the weekend will be full. Then, we'll see what happens with the school and hospital board races. Now for your weekend Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 5.17.13

First-timer Jacky Daughenbaugh rappels down the EverBank building with her sister Lori Liberatore (background) during the Over The Edge event to benefit the Boy Scouts of America today in downtown Jacksonville, Fla. The sisters rappelled together in honor of their father, John Daughenbaugh, who died last year. (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey)

Question: Would you do something like this to benefit a worthy cause?

SR Looks At Trustee Races Sunday

Here's a little sample of an extensive story by colleague Scott Maben re: the Coeur d'Alene School Board races that'll be in Sunday's SR:

This week's closely watched school board election comes at a tumultuous time for the district and its 10,000 students. Teachers are incensed over a district proposal to slash their health care benefits to close a wide budget gap, and Superintendent Hazel Bauman is leaving after almost three decades with the district to oversee a Western Washington school district. The transition to Common Core has hit a bumpy stretch, with some school board members expressing reservations about the new academic standards a few months before they're scheduled to take effect. And some parents are still smarting over board votes last year to drop the International Baccalaureate and Primary Years Program at a pair of schools — decisions criticized for the motives as well as the delivery …

Watch for article in Sunday's SR …

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.17.13

  • 5:57 p.m. Patrol officer spots 2 subjects locked behind gate in 3600 block of Ramsey Road.
  • 5:42 p.m. Male on bike is having alcoholic jitters in front of Liquor Store on NW Blvd/CdA.
  • 5:19 p.m. Driver & passenger of weaving red Honda arguing @ s/b H41/Prairie/Rathdrum.
  • 5:12 p.m. 54YO male revives after getting CPR in buffet area of Coeur d'Alene Casino/Worley.
  • 5:03 p.m. Officer stops to check on someone near railroad tracks near Seltice Way Elementary.
  • 15 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 5.17.13

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson speaks to reporters today in front of the federal building in Boise, following the initial arraignment hearing of Fazlidden Kurbanov. Kurbanov, an Uzbek national living in Idaho, was indicted on Thursday on terrorism-related charges. Speaking with help of an interpreter and his court-appointed defense attorney, Kurbanov, pleaded not guilty to three federal felony charges. (AP Photo/John Miller)

Cutline Contest — 5.17.13

Time to Vote

Seven weeks old ring-tailed lemur twins take a ride on the back of their mother 'Lobatse' in the Zoo in Erfurt, Germany earlier today. You write the cutline (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Thursday Winner — Phaedrus: “Looking for Siegfried & Roy in all the wrong places.” You can see the Thursday Cutline Contest and all 13 entries here.

Cheers & Jeers: Crapo ‘Clintonesque’

In his Cheers & Jeers column today, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune gives Jeers … to U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, who's still explaining a bad investment by his treasurer that cost his campaign $250,000:

“It took Crapo two years to learn about the transaction and another three to alert the Federal Election Commission. That Ball had control of the campaign checkbook was an anomaly. As a safeguard against abuse, a treasurer - even a team of treasurers - usually sign off on campaign transactions. Crapo explained: “This circumstance occurred during a period of transition between treasurers.” That's an artful political phrase worthy of Bill Clinton. But here's the curious thing: Boise CPA William Corbett remained Crapo's campaign treasurer of record when, on Oct. 14, 2008, he filed and affirmed as “true, correct and complete” an FEC campaign report covering the preceding three months. Nowhere did the report mention the $250,000 loan. Full Cheers & Jeers column here

Question: Has the DUI received by Sen. Crapo earlier this year and now the strange loss of $250,000 from his campaign warchest affected your view of him?

Coming To A Mailbox Near You

I received this mailer at home Thursday — the only piece of campaign literature that I've gotten in the Coeur d'Alene School Board/Kootenai Hospital Board elections this spring. However, I suppose, Coeur d'Alene School District mailboxes will be loaded with literature this weekend. Reagan Republican candidates are known for last-weekend campaign material strikes before Tuesday elections. If you get some material, email it to me at It'll be interesting to see how often the Reagan Republican candidates call their challengers “libruals” and “progressives” in the literature.

Question: Whose campaign literature have you gotten so far this spring?

HBO Blogos: History Gets Graphic

After working a series of jobs that dried up, David Munson, 37, of Coeur d'Alene, returned to school to get his GED. Then, he enrolled in welding classes at North Idaho College. Today, he was one of about 400-500 NIC students to get their associate of arts degrees at ceremonies at the Coeur d'Alene campus. Munson told the NIC Press Room that he already has two job interviews lined up. The NIC Press room provides this story about Munson that was written a year ago. Click here.

Top Post: There’s no quicker way to lose a teenager’s interest than to bring up the subject of history. But say the words, “Graphic violence,” and suddenly they’re paying attention again. History is already filled with violence (seriously, take all the wars out of a history book and you’re left with a thin pamphlet). Now all you have to do is make it graphic, and you have a brilliant way of teaching history to kids. That’s the aim of a new book by Wayne Vansant, The Graphic History of Gettysburg. It’s an exciting, fast-paced telling of the landmark Civil War battle, told in comic book form. And, yes, it’s got guns and explosions and blood spraying everywhere. Just enough to keep kids tuned in like it’s an episode of The Walking Dead/Idaho Dad, A Family Runs Through It. More here. (Gettysburg cover: Zenith)

Other HBO blogosphere posts:

Huckleberries Online numbers (for Thursday, May 16): 9930 page-views/5171 unique views

Question: Would you have been more interested in history in school had it been presented in a graphically violent way?

Becky: 28 Years And Counting

On her Facebook wall, colleague Becky Nappi writes: “So 28 years ago today, Tony and I said “We do.” A family member and her boss bet $500 it wouldn't last five years. My family member voted in favor of it lasting and indeed, she collected the $500 in1990. So tonight at dinner we will talk about our 28-year relationship, as we always joke we do. It's lasted through thick and thin, sickness and health, rich and poor and I would bet we'll make it to the death do us part phase, though I hope it's a ways off. Any $500 bets on that?”

Question: Did people expect your marriage to last when you started out? How long has it lasted?

Do Our Cops Behave Better?

Earlier today, the Spokane Police Department announced that it was putting an officer on administrative leave as a result of allegations of misconduct. And the Spokane County Sheriff's Department announced that a deputy had been arrested on assault charges. This sort of stuff seems to go on regularly in Spokane law enforcement. But not so much in police agencies in Kootenai County. Which begs the question:

Question: Are police officers in Kootenai County better behaved than those in Spokane County? Or do police bosses in Kootenai County more skilled at quietly getting rid of bad apples?

Regan Questions Partisan Label

On his Brent Regan Trustee Facebook wall, Trustee Regan says the Coeur d'Alene School Board is diverse and doesn't display a partisan balance. In part, he says:

The ONLY way you can claim the current Board is not diverse is if you put on partisan goggles that filter out everything but political affiliations. You must have a partisan perspective in order to claim there is a POTENTIAL for partisan behavior. But where is the evidence? Where is the proof that this Board has made ANY decision that advances one political party over the other? Where is this imagined party bias? You can read the rest of the post here.

Question: Why would/wouldn't you describe the Coeur d'Alene School Board as diverse? Can you point to any party bias in the board's dealing over the last 12 months?

NIC Graduates Record Number

A record number of graduates participated in commencement ceremonies at North Idaho College today. About 400 to 500 students participated in the graduation ceremonies. Some 1,100 were eligible to do so. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

DFO: I'll be attending one graduation this summer — that of Amy Dearest, who will be receiving a master's degree in family counseling from Portland State. How about you?

Question: How many — and what kind — of graduations will you attend this summer?

Ginno Wins Sorensen Remodel Pact

Ginno Construction Inc. of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was awarded the Sorensen Magnet School Remodel and Additions general construction project for $3,368,700 which is a base bid of $3,260,000 plus alternate bids 2 through 6 for $108,700.  The Coeur d’Alene School District Board of Trustees awarded the project to Ginno during a special board meeting held at 12 noon today. The original construction budget for Sorensen was $3.6M.  “I believe we are in a terrific fiscal condition,” stated Chief Operating Officer Wendell Wardell/Laura Rumpler, Coeur d'Alene School District. More here.

Minnick To Lobby For Gun Control

Former Idaho Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick has been hired by his former colleague Gabrielle Giffords’ to assist her effort to expand background checks on gun purchases. Minnick’s Washington, D.C., firm is Majority Group LLC, which he founded in 2011 after losing his first re-election bid to GOP challenger and now-Rep. Raul Labrador. Minnick and two others from Majority Group registered as lobbyists effective March 31 and filed their disclosure report April 12 as the Senate was preparing to vote on background checks, which were ultimately rejected. The filing is available on the Sunlight Foundation website. Minnick has had his differences with the NRA, getting a “D+” grade when he defeated Republican Bill Sali in 2008. Two years later, the NRA boosted his grade to a “B+,” while Labrador got an “A”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo, of Walt Minnick)

Question: Can't trust those dern Democrats with guns, can you?

Read more here:

Wayne Fights Kootenai County Ticket

It seems I offended a great number of people with last week’s column regarding my speeding ticket that a quick follow-up appears appropriate. First, as an update, I entered a plea of “not guilty” a few days ago. It seemed problematic for me to admit I violated Idaho Code 49-654(2)(E) for excessive speeding when that statute doesn’t exist. So I didn’t. Based on the comments, I know some people will be offended by my decision. Oh well. We all learn in fourth grade Civics that our system of government is comprised of three branches: legislative, judicial and executive. The legislative branch writes the law. The judiciary adjudicates the law and the executive carries out the law. The legislative process involves lawmakers agreeing on public policy and asking the executive branch to consent to those policy proposals by signing their legislation into law/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: I pleaded not guilty — and lost — to the only speeding ticket I ever received, when I was 18 years old. Have you ever fought a traffic violation?

Vision 2030 Seeks $15K From LCDC

Spokesman Keith Erickson of Lake City Development Corp. provides this report from recent LCDC board meeting:

So … what will the Coeur d’Alene area look like 20 years down the road—and what efforts can be made to ensure it remains a vibrant community? That’s what Visioning 2030 is all about. Officials are seeking financial assistance from the LCDC to help fund a study to plan for the community’s future. Advocates of the plan are seeking $15,000 in funding from the LCDC to shoulder the costs of a consultant to devise a plan. The process will weigh strongly on community participation, support and input, city attorney and project advocate Mike Gridley told the board. “What we want to determine is, ‘what do we need to do today to get long-term goals in place to make the community as healthy as it can be in the future’” Gridley said. He emphasized that this study would not be a “dust-gathering” report away , but a working document to help community leaders shape future growth in a structured and beneficial way.  “The plan is to establish goals, assign tasks and make it happen. Ultimately, there will be assigned responsibilities that will be followed up on. This will provide a road map to follow future growth that benefits the whole community,” Gridley told the board.

Complete report here

Question: Is this a project that should get LCDC money?

Spencer: Repub But Not Conservative

  • Larry Spencer: I won't disagree that she (Christa Hazel) is a Republican but even moderate Republicans think of her as a left leaning type. Why on earth would you say she is conservative?
  • Sam Crawford: Larry, in Kootenai County being conservative is a relative thing. Compared to me Christa is very conservative. Compared to you very few people are conservative.

Question: Does “conservative” mean anything today archconservative Kootenai County today?

Powerball Jackpot Hits $600M

Sheila Sutton updates the Powerball prize money sign at the Super C convenience store in Lincoln, Neb., today. Powerball officials say the jackpot has climbed to an estimated $600 million, making it the largest prize in the game's history and the world's second largest lottery prize. Sutton sold a million dollar powerball ticket on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Question: How much money have you spent on the current Powerball lottery, so far?

AM Scanner Traffic — 5.17.13

  • 12:15 p.m. Caller reports vicious dog in 1300 block of Front Avenue/CdA.
  • 12:05 p.m. CPD officer reports dead cat laying on Ramsey Road, north of Kathleen Avenue/CdA.
  • 11:59 a.m. Small dog contained @ 8820 Heavenly View Lane/CdA.
  • 11:58 a.m. Potential, unattended illegal burn reported on Breezy Way/McGuire Road, Post Falls.
  • 11:30 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for May 16-17 here.
  • 10 more items below