Archive for February 2014
It looks like we'll be dealing with another winter's blast this weekend, cold and windy today giving way to a bunch of snow Sunday and Monday morning. Oh joy. Well all the wintry weather in February has us caught up on the snow pack. And I suspect spring is about the break out on the other side of this storm. Now for the Weekend Wild Card …
California Towing tow truck driver Fernando Silva high steps his way through a flooded area of Valley Blvd. east of Mt. Vernon Avenue to get to a vehicle stuck in flood waters in Colton, Calif., today. The first wave of a powerful Pacific storm spread rain and snow early Friday through much of California, where communities endangered by a wildfire just weeks ago now faced the threat of mud and debris flows. (AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise, Terry Pierson)
14 Days & Counting (to affiliate with the Republican Party to vote in the closed GOPrimary in May): For the 2nd time this month, I received a call from a sibling to say that a male cousin has died. I haven't been close to the two men in adulthood, especially since moving to the Inland Northwest 37 years ago. But I grew up with them. Neither took care of themselves as they aged. So the deaths weren't surprising. Still it's a sobering reminder of my mortality. The key is to love God, make the most of your days and bless those around you. Now for your TGIF Wild Card …
Idaho Fish and Game, in cooperation with the USDA Wildlife Services, killed 23 gray wolves from a helicopter near the Idaho-Montana border during February in an effort to relieve predation on the struggling elk herds in the remote Lolo Zone. The agency said in a just-issued media release that the wolf-control effort has been completed. “The action is consistent with Idaho’s predation management plan for the Lolo elk zone, where predation is the major reason elk population numbers are considerably below management objectives,” the agency said in the release/Rich Landers, SR. More here.
Gov. Butch Otter said his campaign is taking steps to boost voter turnout as he faces his first closed Republican primary after winning 11 of 12 open contests in a political career spanning 42 years. “On May 20 when you go in (to the polling place), they’re going to have a piece of paper there that says, ‘I am a Republican,’” Otter told a sympathetic audience of Farmers Insurance agents at the Capitol Thursday. “Well, there are a lot of folks that may not want to sign that.” He added: “When I think about how many people have been disenfranchised — which was maybe, I’m sure was an unintended consequence. Every state employee is supposed to be nonpartisan…Now when you sign this piece of paper it says that ‘I am a Republican’ and it’s the only way you can get a Republican ballot”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you feel Butch's pain?
Time 2 Vote …
An unidentifed guest wears stockings ornated with Eiffel Towers after Dior's ready-to-wear fall/winter 2014-2015 fashion collection presented in Paris on Friday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Thursday Winner — Flatlander, with 7 likes: And the Oscar nominees for the “Best Overreaction in a Sporting Event” are Mike Budenholzer in “Chicago Bull Slip.” You can see Thursday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.
“My signature today reflects my confidence in their desire to responsibly act in the best interest of the animals on which that livelihood depends,” Otter wrote in a statement. “No animals rights organization cares more or has more at stake than Idaho farmers and ranchers do in ensuring that their animals are healthy, well-treated and productive” — Gov. Butch Otter re: ag-gag bill. More here.
Damage to an apartment complex on the 4200 block of Crown Avenue in Coeur d’Alene. Story here. (SR photo: Becky Kramer)
Question: Don't you wish “none of the above” was an option in all races on all Idaho ballots?
The old saw is that dying is easy but comedy is hard. That may be so, but unintentional comedy is as easy as it comes. I was reminded of that fact while attending a late-night screening Thursday of “Non-Stop.” Billed as an action/mystery/thriller, “Non-Stop” is as ridiculous an excuse for an empty-headed movie offering as Hollywood has produced in some time. Put it this way, “Non-Stop” makes “Snakes on a Plane” look like an Errol Morris documentary/Dan Webster, 7 Blog. The 10 reasons here. (AP/Universal Pictures photo)
DFO: Dan Webster is one of the best reviewers around. Not only does he share his reviews on 7 Blog but also on Spokane Public Radio. I have a link to his blog along the right-hand rail. You should check him out and follow him regularly.
Question: Were you planning to watch “Non-Stop”?
After a more than seven-hour hearing today, the House State Affairs Committee has voted 11-3 in favor of SB 1254, the guns-on-campus bill, sending it to the full House for debate and possible final passage. Close to 50 people testified on the bill today, the overwhelming majority opposing it, including university presidents, police chiefs and more. The only “no” votes came from the panel’s three Democrats, Reps. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, John Gannon, D-Boise, and Holli Woodings, D-Boise. Those voting in favor included GOP Reps. Loertscher, Batt, Andrus, Crane, Palmer, Sims, Barbieri, Holtzclaw, McMillan, Monks and Packer/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
DFO: Hmm. Sims, Barbieri and McMillan listened to the NRA siren call, ignoring all the major stakeholders opposed to this legislation. Feels a bit like Luna Laws revisited. Pretend you're listening & then go ahead and vote for something Idahoans oppose. Maybe it's time to embarrass the gullible Idaho GOP legislators with another citizen's initiative? Short of that, I have another reason to vote for Rep. Sims opponent in her House District 4 GOP primary race.
An op-ed piece in the Coeur d'Alene Press by state Sen. Russ Fulcher, who is running for governor against Butch Otter in the GOPrimary:
Governor Otter, usually silent during the legislative session, recently sent an opinion piece to Idaho's newspapers encouraging lawmakers to focus on the priorities of their constituents, including being accountable and transparent. The question I have for Idahoans is this: Has this governor in his two terms of office represented your priorities, been accountable, or established a history of transparency? Last fall in a plea to a lobbyist group, Governor Otter indicated his main priority for the 2014 legislative session was “Gettin' me re-elected.” As I've traveled the state meeting with thousands of Idahoans, I’ve learned that their priorities are greatly different. A senate colleague and I drafted a bill this session to focus on a very real priority of Republican and Democrat Idahoans alike - ending the regressive sales tax on food. Governor Otter has been silent on this issue. More here.
Question: I may be looking for a third party candidate to vote for in this GOPrimary. You?
Gonzaga's starters react from the bench as the pull away from the University of Portland during a college basketball game last week at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. The Gonzaga women's basketball team won its 10th straight West Coast Conference title last night by beating St. Mary's 75-65. Story here. (SR file photo: Tyler Tjomsland)
Question: Which Gonzaga basketball team will go further in the NCAA Tournament — men or women?
Governor Otter has failed Idaho and the American people. By signing this (ag-gag) bill into law, he has sided with those who seek to keep Idaho's corrupt factory farming practices hidden from public view and created a safe haven for animal abuse and other criminal activity in the state. Mercy For Animals is exploring all legal avenues to overturn this dangerous, unconstitutional, and un-American law. Not only will this ag-gag law perpetuate animal abuse, it endangers workers' rights, consumer health and safety, and the freedom of journalists, employees, and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply. This law is bad for consumers, who want more, not less, transparency in food production/Nathan Runkle, Mercy for Animals executive director. More here.
Question: Do you return shopping carts to the appropriate areas after removing groceries? Every time?
HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, Feb. 27): 8103 page-views/4714 unique views
Question: Favorite Seuss book?
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed a bill threatening people who secretly film animal abuse at Idaho's agricultural facilities with jail and fines. Otter inked the new law Friday, two days after it cleared its final hurdle in the House. Otter, a rancher, said the measure promoted by the dairy industry “is about agriculture producers being secure in their property and their livelihood.” The bill came in response to videos released by Los Angeles-based vegetarian and animal rights group Mercy for Animals showing workers at Bettencourt Dairy beating, stomping and sexually abusing cows in 2012/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Coeur d’Alene Police and Fire investigators have determined the apartment fire that occurred this morning in the 4200 block of Crown Ave. was accidental. A log rolled out of the fire place and ignited the carpet and furniture. A 28 year-old male and a 29 year-old female were injured in the fire, and have been flown to Harborview Medical Center due to the extent of their injuries/Sgt. Christie Wood, Coeur d'Alene Police Department.
Retro (Avista's profits up 42%): Perhaps it would help if Avista were broken up into separate gas and electric companies. There is no “natural monopoly' between gas and electric. On the contrary, gas has more in common with water and sewer since they all involve pipes buried in the ground. An independent “Baby Avista” gas company could compete with its sibling electric company by promoting use of gas-powered fuel cells (maybe made by another baby Avista company), gas powered generators as well as solar and wind. Another possibility would be to have neighboring electric cooperatives in the various Avista territories annex the Avista service areas. Socialism you say? Only as socialist as the Grand Coulee Dam.
Question: Do you think the Avista monopoly should be broken up to increase competition and prices?
It’s amazing how gun-rights advocates seemingly forget the meaning of opening paragraph of the United States Constitution. We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America. The definition of Tranquility is the quality or state of being calm, peacefulness, quiet. Guns are loud and they're designed to kill human beings. Carrying a weapon sends a message to everyone that you are capable of killing them. Domestic tranquility does not mean creating an environment of fear. Allowing guns on college campuses creates fear and anxiety for students and instructors/Marc Stewart. More here.
Question: Do you agree with Marc that the U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee absolute personal freedom?
Let’s just stop with the fat jokes and fat shaming already. This past week was the 27th annual National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and while not everyone struggles with an eating disorder and not all of us know of someone who does … we can all take steps to stop contributing to a culture that helps create these struggles for so many women and men. Around 70 million people worldwide are affected by eating disorders. Of those, over one-third — 24 million — reside in the U.S., according to the Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders. That says something about our social environment/Kaitlin Maroney, UI Argonaut. More here.
Question: Do you make fun of chubby people?
Hoping to come out the big winner Sunday night in your Oscar pool? It’s not as easy as it sounds. Picking the winners for the big categories — best film, director, actor, actress — that’s one thing. There is no shortage of expert predictions for those. But it’s all those little categories, like sound editing, production design, best foreign film — categories that might be filled with names and films never heard of — that can trip you up and separate you from Oscar pool glory. We can’t tell you who to vote for. But what we can give you are a few things to think about when you fill out your ballot, a few tips, shall we say, for your consideration/CTV News. More here. (AP file photo: An Oscar statue is covered in plastic as preparations are made for the 86th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday)
Question: Are you involved in an Oscar office pool? Which film did you pick to win Best Picture?
On her Facebook wall, Councilwoman KerriT posted earlier this week: “Took a break from words on deadline to accompany Aaron Luna Kxly to the Third (South) Channel dam at Q'emiln Park for a story that will air at 5 and/or 6 p.m. tonight on KXLY 4. He might have earned the nickname Danger Luna for risking life and limb to get a shot of the dam, just past the prophetic Slippery When Wet sign.”
Question: Have you ever appeared on a newscast involving one of the Spokane stations?
Discussions on a possible deal between gay rights advocates and religious conservatives are so new that the Legislature’s two leading Democratic proponents of Add the Words were in the dark until they read about such talks in the media. Senate Minority Caucus Chairwoman Cherie Buckner-Webb said she emailed Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill on Wednesday to ask that she be included. “He responded that he’ll be in touch,” said Buckner-Webb, a Boise Democrat who is the lead Senate sponsor of a draft bill that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act. The 1969 law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin and disability/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: What sort of compromise can two groups as divergent as gay rights advocates and religious conservatives reach?
An attractive Donor Wall planned for McEuen Park in downtown Coeur d’Alene provides the opportunity for citizens to make a permanent impression, while supporting citywide parks. The Panhandle Parks Foundation has made the initial payment of $25,000 to the city of Coeur d’Alene to construct the wall, with an additional $17,000 promised as donations are received. The granite donor wall will be placed at the western end of the park near the Fourth Street entrance to McEuen Park. For a donation of $500 per line you can have your family name, business or a loved one’s name engraved in one of six granite plaques. There are only 380 lines available and many have already been sold/Keith Erickson, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Today: Donor Wall sketch)
Question: Is this something you'd be interested in?
Ed Wolf packs finished sausages in a box so they can be taken to the smoker in Uniontown on Thursday. The town's annual sausage feed will be held on Sunday. Story here. (Moscow-Pullman Daily News photo: Ed Wolf packs finished sausages in a box so they can be taken to the smoker in Uniontown on Thursday. The town's annual sausage feed will be held on Sunday)
Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh announced today that officers with the Coeur d'Alene Police Department were justified in their use of force relating to the Sept. 29, 2012, shooting that resulted in the death of Christian Nicholas Buquet (aka Mallon). In a letter to Detective Brad Maskell of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department, who lead the investigation relating to the use of force, McHuch detailed the reasons for his decisions. See letter here.
On Thursday, Huckleberries Online mentioned that a prospective candidate for the House District 4A seat held by state Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene, featured the wrong banner on his Web site. Toby Schindelbeck (www.toby4Idaho.com) still had up the “Common Sense for Chico” banner that he presumably used two years ago when he ran unsuccessfully for the Chico (Calif.) City Council. I noticed last night that the site was pulled down for maintenance and continues to be inaccessible this morning. Yes, Huckleberries snagged screen shots and printouts for the campaign trail. Here's Thursday's post.
Coeur d’Alene Police and Coeur d’Alene Fire Department responded to a large structure fire in the 4200 block of Crown Ave. at 5:50 am on today’s date. The apartment complex was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. Kootenai Fire, Northern Lakes, and Mica Fire Department also responded. Twelve people were evacuated from their apartments by firefighters. Two dogs were also rescued. Eight of the 12 people who lived in the four apartments were transported to Kootenai Medical for treatment. Six of the eight people were children. All of the children have been treated and released. An adult male and adult female sustained critical injuries due to burns and smoke inhalation. The Red Cross is currently on scene assisting with the victims displaced from their homes. The apartment complex sustained extensive damage. Police and Fire investigators are working to determine the origin of the fire. More information will be provided as it becomes available/Sgt. Christie Wood, Coeur d'Alene Police Department.
In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, a Boise State University professor Greg Hampikian wants to know, tongue firmly cheeked, when it would be OK to shoot students under the proposed guns-on-campus legislation:
I assume that if a student shoots first, I am allowed to empty my clip; but given the velocity of firearms, and my aging reflexes, I’d like to be proactive. For example, if I am working out a long equation on the board and several students try to correct me using their laser sights, am I allowed to fire a warning shot? If two armed students are arguing over who should be served next at the coffee bar and I sense escalating hostility, should I aim for the legs and remind them of the campus Shared-Values Statement (which reads, in part, “Boise State strives to provide a culture of civility and success where all feel safe and free from discrimination, harassment, threats or intimidation”)? Full op-ed column here.
Question: Do you think this is far-fetched?
Item: Ed board tries to disarm campus gun bill: In letters of opposition, members contend legislation is not a good move for Idaho's universities and colleges/Elizabeth Rudd, Lewiston Tribune
More Info: The state board took its opposition a step further Thursday, unanimously agreeing to send letters to the members of the House State Affairs Committee outlining why they do not think the bill is a good idea for the state's colleges and universities. The House is taking public testimony regarding the proposed legislation starting at 8 a.m. Mountain time today in the Lincoln Auditorium in Boise. Board members Milford Terrell and Rod Lewis agreed Thursday that it made sense to send a letter clearly outlining the board's opposition to legislators.
Question: Are all the stakeholders talking to a brick wall (as they did when the Legislature passed the Luna Laws)? Or do you think some GOP House members are getting the message that many constituents think Campus Carry is a really, really bad idea?
Don Burnett's passion for collaboration did not go unnoticed during his brief tenure as the University of Idaho's interim president. Boise State University President Bob Kustra commended Burnett for his work leading UI and as chairman of the Idaho Universities Presidents' Council following his final report to the Idaho State Board of Education Thursday in Boise. Burnett was appointed to serve as UI's interim president last year when former President Duane Nellis resigned to take the helm of Texas Tech University. The former College of Law dean will conclude his presidential service Saturday when President-elect Chuck Staben officially takes the reins/Elizabeth Rudd, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: How long do you think the next UI president will last?
David Duke, chief of police for the city of Moscow, spoke against the (guns on campus bill during a House State Affairs meeting this morning). “We regularly respond to fights in and around the Kibbie Dome,” he said. “Inserting a firearm into this confrontation,” he said, would lead to injuries and deaths among those involved and innocent bystanders. Rep. Gayle Batt, R-Wilder, asked Duke how police handle the issue elsewhere, of distinguishing “who the good person is and who the bad person is” when people are shooting. He said they don’t know. He noted that when an armed student tried to respond to a shooting incident in Moscow several years ago, he was immediately shot by the perpetrator, and said if police had arrived and seen him, he likely would have been shot by police mistaking him for the perpetrator/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Bayview resident Alan Rebeck uses his cell phone in Ralph’s Coffee House on Wednesday. “In an emergency, you’d be up the creek,” said Rebeck of the lack of cellular service in Bayview. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Gabe Green)
Locals call it the “dead zone” or “the hole.” Cuddled into a geographic bowl on the southwest shore of Lake Pend Oreille, Bayview is one of the few remaining places in Kootenai County with no - or extremely limited - cell phone service. “Depending on who your carrier is and which direction you stand, you can sometimes get bars,” Bayview resident Norma Jean Knowles said. Knowles and more than 300 of her neighbors in Bayview have signed a petition asking Verizon Wireless to build a cell phone tower to improve coverage. For the people who live there, the lack of cell coverage poses an inconvenience. Many still use landline phones. Tourists who visit Bayview — the population swells in the summer months — are often caught off guard and out of luck. Not only is there no cell coverage, there isn't even a pay phone/Taryn Thompson, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Are there other cell phone “dead zones” in the county?
Item: H1: 'Looking for a long-term solution': Debt payment proposal from Diamond Cup organizers being evaluated, official says/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: H1 Unlimited is evaluating a proposal by Diamond Cup officials describing how Coeur d'Alene's hydroplane race officials can pay debts from last summer and make future races financially viable. Sam Cole, H1 Unlimited hydroplane racing's chairman, said Thursday he has forwarded the proposal to H1's attorney and its executive committee. The proposal, Cole said, describes how Diamond Cup officials like president Doug Miller can pay debts racked up last year, including a $71,000 bad check given to H1 after the 2013 event.
Question: It's probably not a good thing to go into the next season of hydroplane racing $71K in debt, is it?
Item: City, LCDC ponder east Sherman revitalization/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: Davis said the LCDC does not have plans to create a new district on east Sherman, but the community is talking about it, so he put that issue on the workshop agenda to begin the discussion. “If we could find an economic engine to land on east Sherman that would create enough increment to do something, what would we want to do, what would the community want to do, what would the east Sherman stakeholders want to do?” said LCDC Executive Director Tony Berns. “That is the beginning of the conversation.”
Question: How would you measure success in terms of what LCDC has accomplished to date?
15 Days & Counting (to affiliate with the Republican Party to vote in the closed GOPrimary in May): Chief Deputy Clerk Pat Raffee's name keeps popping up as a possible political candidate in the GOPrimary election this spring. But not for county clerk. I've heard her name linked to a possible run for county commissioner and for county treasurer. The first possibility seems to be a better option. Maybe Pat's content where's she at, assisting new County Clerk Jim Brannon, who has already drawn a challenger. We'll have to wait and see how the political dance cards fill up. Now for today's Wild Card …
Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, rear, looks out from the Idaho Senate's office suite after being blockaded inside by gay rights protesters seeking to add anti-discrimination protections to the Idaho Human Rights Act on Thursday in Boise. In all, 46 people were arrested and taken by law-enforcement bus to jail, bringing the total number of demonstrators arrested to at least 122 this month. (AP Photo/John Miller)
While he wouldn’t comment on what he would have done had a similar bill reached his desk, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said Thursday that he congratulates Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer for her veto Wednesday of a bill that would have given business owners the right to refuse service to gays and lesbians on religious grounds. “I tried to call her this morning to congratulate her on making a decision and to support her in the decision she made about Arizona,” Otter said. “I think that’s her prerogative, I think she did the right thing.” But Otter declined comment on a question from KBOI-TV’s Scott Logan about whether he would have done the same thing had Boise GOP Rep. Lynn Luker’s House Bill 427 passed the Legislature and reached his desk/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo, of Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona)
As the Tea Party turns five years old, some of its stars gathered Thursday to argue the movement is still growing and not on the wane. Hundreds of activists met in Washington, D.C., to mark the cause’s advent, acutely aware their nascent movement faces challenges. But together, they sought to reassure themselves they’re as vibrant as ever even in the face of building criticism. The event was hosted by Tea Party Patriots to mark the fifth the anniversary of CNBC contributor Rick Santelli's on-camera rant against the federal government's “promoting bad behavior” with its housing market bailouts and calls for a new “tea party” protest against President Obama, comments that many credit with sparking the movement/The Hill. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Do you think the national Tea Party movement is still growing? Or waning? How about the local Tea Party?
Time 2 Vote …
Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer reacts as Chicago Bulls shooting guard Kirk Hinrich (12) falls to the floor after being fouled by Hawks' DemArre Carroll in the final moments of the second half of an NBA basketball game on Tuesday in Atlanta. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Wednesday Winner (tie, with 8 likes apiece): SLFisher: Orange you glad we legalized marijuana? Gives 'getting juiced' a whole new meaning, and — JohnA: After Mary won a high office, she shows the whole joint how her orchard had gone to pot during the drought and says as a nation weed be a dope if we didn't grow something else. You can see Wednesday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.
From Post Falls Police Department Facebook wall: “Detectives need help in identifying the male pictured below. He's suspected of shoplifting a television from Walmart in Post Falls. The suspect's white vehicle, also pictured, is believed to be a 2010 Ford Explorer with sunroof. If you have any information, please contact Det. Goodwin at 208-773-3517 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Some of the dozens of “Add the Words” protesters are taken to a waiting bus, to be transported to jail. (Eye on Boise photo: Betsy Russell)
Forty-six “Add the Words” protesters, including one juvenile, one man in a wheelchair, and three others who use walkers or other assistive devices to get around, were arrested this afternoon after blockading the Senate garden-level hallway that leads to all Senate committee hearing rooms, closing off access and forcing the cancellation of two 1:30 p.m. committee hearings. The protesters were taken to a ground-floor Capitol visitor room for processing, where they were searched and their wrists bound with large plastic zip ties, and their belongings placed in plastic bags. Then they were led out to a bus waiting in front of the Capitol for the ride to jail, where they may post bond/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Will the 2014 Legislature be able to ride out the “Add the Words” protests?
And the answer is — Toby Schindelbeck. The question: Who is the candidate that the Rally Right/UCNI wing of the Kootenai County GOP will field to run against state Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene? In a Coeur d'Alene Press ad today, Bob Pedersen's Rally Right organization invited people to come hear from Schindelbeck at a meeting scheduled for Nate's Pizza, H41/Mullan, at 6 p.m. Monday. On his toby4Idaho.com blog, Schindelbeck is described as “a principled conservative leader.” He goes on the attack against Malek immediately by pointing out that the freshman legislator supported Obamacare. You can read the campaign material (under news/blog) here. I suspect that Schindelbeck hasn't been in Coeur d'Alene long because he ran for the Chico (Calif.) City Council in 2012. Before Schindelbeck officially launches his campaign, he might want to change the banner at the top of the Web site — you know, the one that says “Toby Schindelbeck: Common sense for Chico.”
About 300 people gather on the steps of the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, Idaho to protest SB1254, a bill seeking to allow concealed weapons on the state's college campuses today. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Darin Oswald)
Despite the rain, roughly 230 college students, faculty members and supporters gathered on the Statehouse steps during the noon hour to rally against SB 1254, the guns-on-campus bill, while a knot of about 20 counter-protesters stood off to one side and tried to out-shout them. “As far as we can see, every major stakeholder in Idaho is against this bill,” organizer Emily Walton told the crowd. Clyde Moneyhun, an associate professor of English who said he grew up with lots of guns and has shot every kind, said, “Being pro-gun doesn’t mean voting yes on every lame-brained gun rights bill that comes down the pike.” The crowd cheered/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Larry and Terry Reeves have seen twin calves born on their Onstot Road ranch, but this winter they got a surprise. One of their cows, No. 93 to be specific, gave birth to a second calf - five days after the first one was born. Having twins arrive almost a week apart is quite uncommon, they said. “We've never had this situation before,” said Larry, a lifelong cattle rancher. “It's pretty rare.” On Jan. 22, a small, red bull weighing about 55 pounds was born to No. 93. The second calf, a normal-sized 85-pound red heifer, was born Jan. 27. “I thought it was crazy,” Terry said, recalling the strange event/Kerri Sandaine, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Are there twins in your family?
While the 2014 Legislature debates K-12 funding, the issue will hit home across the state on March 11. That’s when school districts from Meridian to Lakeland to Firth will go to voters seeking supplemental property tax levies. Across the state, the message from advocates is basically the same: As schools dig their way of out the recession, the “supplemental” dollars are needed to maintain programs and head off drastic cuts. Certainly, school levies have become more common. In 2013-14, 94 of the state’s 115 school districts are relying on supplemental levies to shore up budgets, up from 61 districts in 2008-09. “I think it’s pretty good evidence of the Legislature underfunding education,” said Jim Weatherby, a Boise State University professor emeritus and longtime Idaho political observer/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here. (IdahoED NEWS photo: Lauri Wright works with her fifth-graders at Meridian’s Discovery Elementary School. The state’s largest school district is seeking a two-year, $28 million levy on March 11)
Question: Do you view school levies as indications that the Idaho Legislature isn't properly funding public education?
A Lebanese journalist holds a placard, to show her solidarity with detained journalists by Egyptian authorities during a sit-in, at the Martyrs square in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday. Journalists and their supporters across the globe are protesting the detention of four Al Jazeera staffers in Egypt. From London’s Trafalgar Square and Lebanon’s Martyrs’ Square, media workers and free speech advocates gathered with masking tape stuck across their mouths. Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, and Abdullah Al Shamy, are among 20 defendants being tried on charges of belonging to and aiding a terrorist organization for their coverage of the Muslim Brotherhood. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Question: Anyone beg to disagree w/woman holding sign?
On her Facebook page, Taryn Thompson announces: “After 12 years, I am back in the newsroom at the Coeur d'Alene Press and even sitting at my old desk. Start sending news tips my way! I'm happy to be back! email@example.com or call 208-664-8176 ext. 2011.”
Question: So you can come home again?
Veteran game-show host and animal activist Bob Barker (pictured) is asking Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter to veto a bill that jails people who secretly film animal abuse at Idaho’s agricultural facilities. Barker in the letter on Thursday tells Otter that more than a dozen other states have rejected similar bills, and it could damage Idaho’s image among consumers across the nation. Barker refers to himself as a lifelong Republican, and says it’s crucial for police to have access to everything they need to enforce the law/Associated Press. More here. (AP file photo: Bob Barker)
Question: Should Gov. Otter veto the Legislature's “ag-gag” bill that makes it a misdemeanor to photography or videotape anything on a farm that's not open to the public?
The political and social fault lines in the modern Republican Party have been showing again for the last several days in Arizona. The Republican governor, Jan Brewer, vetoed a piece of legislation this week that was widely seen as opening a path of overt discrimination against gays. The veto came after days of increasingly negative attention focused on Arizona; attention that included corporate worries about the legislation’s impact on business and threats to cancel next year’s Super Bowl game in suburban Phoenix. Brewer, an often erratic politician who once championed most causes of the far right of her party, took her time in doing it, but she ultimately saved the state’s Republicans from themselves/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Post. More here.
In January, gyms are flooded with new members hoping to keep their New Year’s fitness resolutions. By February, the crowds have thinned as the reality of combining regular exercise with busy lifestyles hits. Exercise videos are an alternative for those who don’t want to have to leave home to work out, but even those are sometimes discarded after a few viewings. But what if you could exercise anywhere with minimal equipment and no DVDs to keep track of? That’s the idea behind Workout Anywhere, an online fitness program created by Justin and Jessica Rundle. “We want to help people have the best workout possible,” Jessica Rundle said. “This program is transportable and affordable”/Cindy Hval, Front Porch. More here. (SR photo: ustin and Jessica Rundle have launched Workout Anywhere, an online fitness program that takes participants through various workouts)
Question: How often do you exercise per week?
On her Facebook wall, Councilwoman KerriT writes: “I received a package of wrist bands with the name of the only American POW being held by the Taliban. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, US Army, has been a prisoner of war since June 30, 2009, almost five years. We need to bring this Idaho soldier home! Message me if you'd like one of these wristbands.”
HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday, Feb. 26): 8740 page-views/4703 unique views
After a lengthy “sheepherder’s” retelling of Idaho history from Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, the Senate, like the House before it, has voted unanimously in favor of HB 378, legislation from Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, to establish a new “Idaho Day” holiday each year on March 4. It wouldn’t be a paid holiday or a day to close government offices; just a day to highlight Idaho’s history and heritage. On March 4, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed a congressional act creating Idaho Territory/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Wouldn't you be more impressed with the “Idaho Day” holiday, if the Legislature made it a paid holiday?
The Idaho Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee endorsed a transfer of $1 million from Idaho's general fund to the Constitutional Defense Fund — a request made by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow (pictured), a member of that committee, opposed the move, which will allocate money to defend the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions.“I wasn't interested in spending money on supporting a bad decision,” Ringo said Wednesday during a state legislative teleconference hosted by the Moscow Chamber of Commerce. “It won't hold up constitutionally”/Terry Harber, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.
Question: Do you support/oppose decision by budget committee to transfer $1M to defend Idaho's ban on gay marriage?
In her latest newsletter, Mary Souza offers this comment re: the possible effect of the Four Corners project on Memorial Field: “At last week’s City Council meeting, the acting director of the Parks Dept, Bill Greenwood, was asked about Memorial Field by Councilman Dan Gookin. Bill seemed to tap dance around, saying the old grandstands are not in the best of shape, and they might want to reposition the field … etc. (In other words, they have plans to seriously change Memorial Field.) It sounded like the same old style from the recent past, of having a back room plan in place before talking to the public. So I was glad to hear new Mayor Steve Widmyer tell Bill Greenwood that the grandstands hold great historic value for people, and much of the history of the Fort Grounds has already been taken away, so he hopes the grandstands will be preserved. (In other words, no way Bill).” Full newsletter here.
DFO: I don't agree that the Memorial Field grandstand is sacrosanct. Those bleachers are dilapidated and need to be replaced. OTOH, I wouldn't mind seeing a new facade that looks like the current grandstand.
Question: Do you think the Memorial Field grandstand should be preserved for historic value? And what do you think re: relocating or reconfiguring Memorial Field elsewhere on the same site?
Gonzaga coach Mark Few disagrees with the call of a referee during the second half of Gonzaga's 69-66 loss to San Diego in a NCAA college basketball game Saturday in San Diego. Gonzaga, which lost both road games last week, can clinch another West Coast Conference title by beating Pacific tonight in Stockton, Calif. Sportslink post here. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
Item: Avista’s profits up 42 percent/Becky Kramer, SR
More Info: Avista Corp.’s profits shot up 42 percent in 2013, following higher demand for heat and air-conditioning during a year that featured a colder-than-normal winter and a hot summer. The Spokane-based utility reported net income of $111.1 million for 2013, compared with income of $78.2 million in 2012. Rate increases for utility customers that took effect last year also helped Avista’s bottom line, company officials said.
Question: Aren't you glad that you did your little part to increase Avista's profits?
Opponents of SB 1254, the guns-on-campus bill, are planning a big Statehouse rally today at 12:30 in front of the Capitol. Boise State University Student Body President Bryan Vlok said, “There isn’t one major stakeholder in Idaho who supports SB 1254. From the Idaho State Board of Education to the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association, Idahoans have made it clear they don’t want this bill passed.” Vlok is part of a coalition that also includes student leaders from the University of Idaho, North Idaho College, Lewis-Clark State College, and has dubbed itself the “Coalition to Keep Guns off Campus”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Are you with the protesters in spirit?
That's some cynical game Idaho's Republican leadership is playing in Boise. It plans to expand Medicaid coverage to about 100,000 of Idaho's impoverished adults. Not now. Next year. By then, the dummies in the GOP primary election will have been lulled to sleep by Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter's promise not to implement this feature of the dreaded Obamacare. There will be fewer Tea Party members motivated to challenge incumbent lawmakers in the closed GOP primary - and those who do won't have the Medicaid issue at their disposal. Even the base, suffering from what journalist Jonathan Alter calls “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” can't get worked up over a vote that hasn't happened. Yet. But it's coming/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you think legislative leadership will expand Medicaid next year, in an off-election year?
Hope hung suspended in silvery letters from ribbon in Rachel Devlin’s hands. A friend gave her the ornament in 2005. The friend told her, “Never give up hope,” Rachel, 53, recalled. Devlin had fled an abusive marriage years earlier. The experience left her doubtful she would ever find true love. Instead, she focused her time and energy on raising her daughter. “But hope springs eternal,” she said, smiling softly. With the encouragement of friends she explored online dating and in December 2012, she met Tim Devlin. It turns out there were so many places they could have found each other over the years. … Instead, it took the online dating site Christian Mingle to introduce them./Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (Colin Mulvany SR photo: Rachel and Tim Devlin met through an online dating service)
Question: Have you ever used an online dating site? Would you if you were single?
Robin Dare (pictured in SR photo) doesn’t know whether to be mad, flattered or try to call for those art-rescuing “Monuments Men.” And why is Dare, one of my favorite Spokane artists, in such a state of bemused befuddlement? Blame the letter that came the other day informing Dare that one of his works – “The Other Theory of Evolution” – has mysteriously vanished from its wall space inside the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle. “Dear Robin,” wrote Esther Luttikhuizen, the curator for King County’s 4Culture public art collection. “I am writing you with the unhappy news that your very delightful 1988 lithograph … has come up missing for two inventory survey cycles, and believing that it has been stolen, we are moving forward with deaccessioning it from the Collection.” Dare sighed/Doug Clark, SR. More here.
Jim Chmelik, an Idaho County (Grangeville) commissioner who is running in the GOP primary race for lieutenant governor, attracted 21 people to hear him speak at the Coeur d'Alene Inn Wednesday night. With Chmelik in this photo is Republican County Clerk Jim Brannon. You can learn more about Chmelik from his Web site here. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)
More Info: College and university leaders throughout Idaho say state lawmakers' push to allow concealed weapons on college campuses will require schools to upgrade their security measures, and the cost will likely be felt by taxpayers and students. North Idaho College officials estimate the changes could cost between $221,000 and $291,000 per year. “These figures are very fluid as we learn more about the implications of the bill, and discuss different strategies,” said Alex Harris, the college's director of student development. Senate Bill 1254 would allow retired law enforcement officers and anyone holding an Idaho enhanced concealed weapons license to carry firearms on college grounds.
Question: Hmm. We're trying to save $600,000 by dropping North Idaho College to a lesser conference. Yet, it could cost the college half that to provide security if the Campus Carry law passes the Legislature. Does this make as little sense to you as it does to me?
Item: NIC trustees need more time: Decision on changing athletic conferences delayed two weeks/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: The North Idaho College board of trustees decided Wednesday night they need two more weeks to digest a major proposal for the school's sports teams to switch conferences for budget reasons as enrollment shrinks and the school brings in less money. “We know that there is a problem, but for some of us that are just getting our arms around this, we would love to be able to be in a position where we had some time to talk about it,” said Trustee Ron Nilson. He added the conference-change proposal surprised the board. “The board does need that time to process,” said trustee Christie Wood. “We'll look at the entire budget, what everything means, all the ramifications, all the moving parts.”
Question: What do you think of the decision by the North Idaho College Board of Trustees to postpone action on the athletic department decision?
16 Days & Counting (to affiliate with the Republican Party to vote in the closed GOPrimary in May): I'm thinking about some friends who moved here from Hawaii last year — and have experienced their first winter in North Idaho. It has been a mild winter, to be sure. But I don't think they see it that way. Mebbe I'll take them a fruit basket and a lei, to help them through the final weeks of our mild-before-it-turned-dicey winter. That might cheer them up. Here's your Hump Day Wild Card …
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday that she has vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses that asserted their religious beliefs the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers. Opinions have been sharply divided over the politically charged measure, with both sides ramping up pressure on Brewer after the state's Republican-led legislature approved the bill last week. Brewer said she made the decision she knew was right for her state. “I call them as I see them, despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd,” she said, calling the bill “broadly worded” and saying it could have unintended consequences/CNN Politics. More here.
A.J. Balukoff, Democratic candidate for Idaho governor responds to Lewiston Tribune editorial wondering where he's been campaigning): Hi, Marty Trillhaase. I understand that you have been looking for me. My apologies for being a little hard to track down. It's true, I've been all over the place, talking with a lot of our fellow Idahoans. These past few weeks I have been visiting Idahoans in Bonner, Kootenai, Bonneville, Bannock, Canyon, and Bingham counties. Since my launch and throughout my visits, I have been engaging with Idahoans about their concerns with education and our economy. I have been talking with community and business leaders about what Idaho must do to turn things around. All are concerned with Idaho's crash to 50th place in education and wages, but there are great ideas and people in Idaho that are going to help turn that around! Yet a better question is, where is Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter? Full comment here. (AP file photo)
Question: Has anyone attending an event where A.J. Balukoff, Butch Otter or Russ Fulcher were campaigning?
Ramsey Elementary first-grader Sophie Bailey shows a picture from “Mudgy and Millie” by Susan Nipp Tuesday morning in Casey Campbell’s class as students met with a first-grade class from New York state via live video using the Idaho Education Network. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Gabe Green)
The answer is: Mark Knapp and Tim Herzog. The question: Who are the speakers for the dueling GOP luncheons at noon Thursday. Firearms attorney Mark Knapp (self defense instructor,competitive shooter and founding president of Armed Defense Training Association) will speak on “Economic and Firearms Freedom” at Reagan Republicans lunch/Fedora. County commissioner candidate Herzog will discuss his campaign and ideas at Bjorn Handeen's Precinct 52 lunch/IHOP. Handeen tells Huckleberries he may also discuss the local GOP Central Committee dust-up Tuesday night.
In her latest newsletter, Mary Souza takes issue with the process re: the move to dump North Idaho College sports into a lesser conference: “It’s all about the process! Seems that college President Joe Dunlap and Athletic Director Al Williams are doing an end run around normal procedure. They are going behind the scenes to ask faculty to support changing to the NWAACC. I’ve also been told there were threats of job loss if coaches or athletic staff talked with anyone about their opinions, and that the Booster Club was caught completely off guard by this proposal.” Dunno about job threats. But it does seem that this significant change in league status has caught many off guard. I can't believe I'm saying this … but Mary might be right about slowing things down re: a final decision. Full newsletter here. (However, Mary switches subjects to the Four Corners project, going on to say that the historic Memorial Field grandstands should be spared any move to reconfigure or reposition the field. I disagree. Those grandstands were decrepit 15 years ago when I was still playing softball. They should be upgraded and replaced, maybe with something that looks similar).
Question: When did you become aware that North Idaho College was thinking about switching the athletic programs into a lesser league?
On her Facebook wall, Trustee Christa Hazel of the Coeur d'Alene School Board posts of this photo shot from inside the Idaho Capitol: “The opportunity to advocate for our public schools with other trustees from all over the state was beneficial. We made contact with our local representatives, as well as legislators from other parts of Idaho, to urge them to reverse course and restore education funding as an Idaho priority.”
An 11-year-old girl shot a cougar that was following her 14-year-old brother to their home at Twisp, in north central Washington, the state Fish and Wildlife Department said. You've got to admire the girl: Not only did she have a cougar tag, but she put it to good use. Read the story here. The female cougar killed last week was about 4 years old and weighed about 50 pounds — half of what it should weigh, said Officer Cal Treser. It's the latest in a rash of cougar incidents in the Methow Valley this season/Rich Landers, Outdoors. And: More here.
Boise — The Coalition to Keep Guns Off Campus announced an event on the steps of the Capitol on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. The coalition is made up of students, student associations, professors, parents and community members who oppose SB 1254. One of the event organizers, Bryan Vlok, Student Body President of Boise State University (BSU) stated: “There isn’t one major stakeholder in Idaho who supports SB 1254. From the Idaho State Board of Education to the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association, Idahoans have made it clear they don’t want this bill passed.” Max Cowan, the Student Body President of University of Idaho, stated: “This is an issue that affects students directly and we’d like this decision made close to home, on our campuses”/Emily Walton, Coalition to Keep Guns Off Campus. More here.
We have another North Idaho winner this week — Sibulsky, who attended Blogfest 2014 and is a regular Leaderboard contender. He won our $50 Davenport gift card prize. Here's our spiel for this week's quiz: “How much do you know about Boeing production locations, police cruiser models, tax revenue from pot sales and other items in the news? Take our weekly quiz and find out. You could win movie tickets or a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel simply by entering. Take New Quiz here.
My former SR photog buddy Brian Plonka provides another of his film studies (remember the mayfly last fall?) This time he photographed under Hauser Lake and recorded the frozen sounds of the lake. He explains: “I used a hydrophone on a long cable to record the sounds of shifting and settling ice in Hauser Lake, Idaho. Changing the levels of depth with the hydrophone under the lake produces different sound results. Just a simple combination of video and stills to accompany the sound driven piece.” Enjoy.
The House has voted 56-14 in favor of SB 1337, the dairy spying or “ag-gag” bill, sending it to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk. “Threats of the activists and their outlaw justice is real and it’s on the rise,” Rep. Gayle Batt, R-Wilder, told the House in her closing debate. “Because actions are escalating, there’s a need to enact additional protections to protect rights of private property owners”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you support/oppose this bill?
Gov. Butch Otter’s campaign finance director is a former Education Networks of America staffer who left the company in September. Martin Bilbao had worked for the Nashville, Tenn.-based company as its Idaho account services manager. Last summer, when ENA submitted a bid for a multiyear high school WiFi installation contract, the company’s 308-page bid cited Bilbao’s ties to Idaho and Idaho Republican politics. In July, ENA won a contract that could extend to 15 years at a cost of more than $33 million. But since then — and as Otter gears up to run for a third term as governor — two multimillion-dollar ENA contracts have come under scrutiny at the Statehouse/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
If we're reading the newspapers correctly, the Big Issue down in Boise this year is whether college students should by law be allowed to carry guns on campus, having jumped through the necessary hoops to obtain a concealed-carry permit. On its face, it seems like students should have that right. The National Rifle Association certainly thinks so. But let's take this a step further. Does that mean you have the Legislature's permission, with its police powers, to pack a gun into my house over my objections? Because when you walk on to a university campus, you've done so with their permission. You've established your admission credentials, they have invited you to attend and partake of their schooling and even their housing. Nobody sent you, at gunpoint, onto that campus. You are there of your own volition and you agree to play by their rules/David Bond, Wallace Street Journal. More here.
JohnA (RE: NIC boosters bash budget deal): Yes, I think it would be a bad move to go to the 'Junior Varsity' of college athletics when there's already a great national program at NIC. I know the new NIC president is from that realm and feels differently, but I've been to several booster club gatherings and the support for the teams would absolutely disappear if this move is made. I think the Trustees should address the revenue side of the equation and try to get attendance back up. It was only two years ago that they had record attendance so what's up with that, anyway? To destroy a well known program in the long term to deal with what should be a short term decline in attendance would be wrong, I think, and there are a lot of boosters who feel the same way. So, please give it a good think, Christie, before you make this move. (Photo: NIC Web site)
Question: Is the NIC administration trying to balance the books on the back of the athletics department?
The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee passed a new bylaw in November that would allow the committee to replace an elected committeeman for missing more than six meetings in a 12-month period. The problem is, the bylaw might not be legal, according to a legal review conducted by Idaho State Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene. Kootenai County Republican Central Committeeman Matt Roetter said on Tuesday that he challenged the central committee's legal authority to unseat an elected committeeman, but was told at the time it was passed that state Republican Party officials reviewed the bylaw and found it to be legal. That wasn't good enough for Roetter, so he sought a second opinion from Malek, a former Kootenai County prosecuting attorney/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Former Republican Gov. Phil Batt said Wednesday that Idaho’s “disdain” of gays has hurt his family — including his gay grandson — and pressed the Legislature to add civil rights protections for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. He also reiterated his view, contrary to that of GOP Gov. Butch Otter, that Idaho’s policies harm business growth. Otter has declined to weigh in on the issue, except to say it’s up to the Legislature. GOP lawmakers have refused to hold a hearing on an “Add the Words” bill/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: What impact with former Gov. Batt's endorsement of “Add the Words” have on Idaho legislators?
At Slight Detour/Marianne Love had fun with her camera along the Center Valley Road in Bonner County. She has several nice photos of old barns, like the one above, which looks up toward hay loft. More here.
HucksOnline numbers (for Tuesday, Feb. 25): 8392 page-views/4705 unique views
… Only Barbieri and McMillan oppose removal of special garnishment exemption …
The Idaho House has voted 65-2 in favor of HB 510, which would remove a special exemption dating back to 1939 that protects elected officials and legislators from having their wages garnished due to state court rulings. “Elective officials should not enjoy any rights to avoid paying any debts or their taxes,” said Rep. Ed Morse, R-Hayden, the bill’s sponsor. “We can debate whether or not public officials should be held to a higher standard, or to the same standard as private citizens.” But he said it’s clear that the existing law grants them special privileges. The only votes against the bill came from Reps. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, and Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Are you surprised that Vito's off marching to the tune of his own drummer on this slam-dunk vote?
Jennifer_L (RE: Local GOPCC at war again): I have to say as a Republican precinct committeewoman, it is disheartening to see all this infighting, personality conflicts, the destructive behavior, talk to demise the KCRCC, and to hear the plan of some to gain power by working with people, who from my understanding, just worked against each other in this last city election. What I find missing in all this, is the concern to serve the people, their republican constituents, and to stand for the pillars of the Republican platform. Full comment here.
Question: Has there been any discernible effect on the ability of the local GOP to support winning candidates?
Once again high officials in the administration of Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter have been caught misrepresenting “facts” and manipulating data in order to present a less than honest picture to the people of Idaho. It is intentional, done with malice aforethought, and it is deplorable as it is deceitful. It is the latest issue in the long-playing saga surrounding the questionable award of a lucrative contract five years ago to a subsidiary of Qwest, the telecommunications giant and a contributor to Governor Otter over the years even though their bid was not the low bid. From e-mails produced in the subsequent lawsuit by the low-bidder, Syringa, which includes in its principals members of former Governor John V. Evans' family, it was clear to Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones that the then head of the Department of Administration, “First Bud” Mike Gwartney, had predetermined that Qwest would win. Justice Jones denounced this fix in scathing language/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.
Question: Do you see a pattern?
A new, brighter wind sock reflects in Lake CDA from Brook's Seaplane facility on snow covered City Docks this morning. (Photo: Don Sausser)
Marc Stewart and Cindy have weighed in on possible titles for a prison love story, if Cindy penned one for Sen. Curt McKenzie's ex, Renee, who apparently wants to marry imprisoned murderer Lance Conway Wood:
Feel free to weigh in …
Time 2 Vote …
A man smokes marijuana using an orange as a holder during a demonstration in favor of legalizing marijuana outside the Senate in Mexico City on Tuesday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Tuesday Winner — Psalm 37, with 7 likes: “Reserved? I thought it said reservoir, ay?”; and, Runnerup — Flatlander, with 6 likes: Not being a lame duck, the goose keeps right on going so as not to run a fowl of the law. You can see Tuesday Photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.
A lawmaker who says homeowner associations too often levy unfair and excessive fines against their residents pushed back Tuesday with a bill that limits these neighborhood groups' power to hand out penalties, the AP reports. Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, said he has received multiple complaints from people who believe their HOAs were acting unfairly/AP via Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Have you ever been treated unfairly by a homeowners association?
Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, introduced legislation this morning to require verification that any substitute for a legislator is “a qualified person residing in that legislative district.” Nonini told the Senate State Affairs Committee that he was prompted by Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, naming a sub for the first three weeks of this year’s session who then turned out to live 180 feet over the line into the neighboring legislative district/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: I wonder if Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, who represents House District 3 also, appreciates this bill. Seems to me that Nonini, who had his wife sub for him for several weeks at the beginning of the session, is rubbing it in. What do you think?
Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter’s protest nothwithstanding, Idaho does have an anti-gay reputation. If you doubt it, consider the governor’s reaction to this Feb. 12 Idaho Statesman headline: “Otter says Idaho’s anti-gay reputation is not hurting business.” The headline referred to Otter’s comments to the Idaho Press Club. “I do not accept the premise,” Otter told the Statesman’s Dan Popkey. “Idaho does not have an anti-gay reputation is what I’m saying! You guys are dead wrong on that.” Listen for yourself: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeiKuMJXob8&sns=em) As the newspaper conceded, nobody has polled the rest of the nation about how it perceives the Gem State. But it’s not for a lack of effort that Idaho has acquired its image/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Even the most menial items, which arguably would be considered housekeeping tasks for most governing bodies, have become contentious arguments at the local GOP central committee meetings. The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee meeting didn't even make it through the approval of January meeting minutes before it devolved into utter chaos. Things began to heat up when Committeewoman Kellie Palm (pictured) made a motion to amend the minutes to include a report Chairman Neil Oliver gave to the committee in January. … She said the Republican central committee “should have nothing to hide” and should include all agenda items that were covered during the open meetings. Chairman Oliver obviously took exception to what he felt was an insinuation that he was hiding something, and began to call Palm out of order while gaveling her down/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: And these guys want to control who's on your ballot in November? Seriously?
This Jan. 23, 2013, file photo shows the “Forever Marilyn” sculpture getting a shower from the Palm Springs Fire Department in Palm Springs, Calif. The massive statue of Marilyn Monroe that has turned heads for two years in Palm Springs is headed east. The 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound statue will be transported next month to Hamilton, N.J., where it will be part of an exhibit honoring its designer, Seward Johnson. (AP Photo/The Desert Sun, Jay Calderon,File)
Question: Do you have a favorite Marilyn Monroe movie?
Item: NIC boosters bash budget deal: Supporters: Conference switch is not right for athletic program/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: Jack McNeel, a booster since the '70s, said he strongly opposes a conference change. “It makes me so mad, I can hardly even talk about it,” McNeel said. The college's tuition revenue has increased 483 percent over the last decade, he said, and funding for athletics has lagged significantly behind that. McNeel said that like Sausser, he believes the college will never be able to transition back to the national conference. “We'll never have that national recognition. I'll never have the pride in Idaho that I have now,” he said. He questioned the way the college's administration has handled the situation.
Question: Will North Idaho College lose prestige by moving sports programs to a lesser conference?
We're not exactly sure where freedom of religion ends and freedom from religion begins. We don't feel completely comfortable in trying to determine precisely where Businessperson A's rights end and Customer G's begin. But we do believe in basic business principles, and we have an idea that might help states like Idaho and Arizona as they tussle over proposed laws involving religion and discrimination. Any state that decides, based solely on religious grounds, to allow business practitioners to discriminate against potential customers who seem to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or sexually enamored of something other than a heterosexual male or female adult human: Put it in writing. A pizza shop in Tucson, for instance, displayed signs this week stating, “We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona legislators”/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.
17 Days & Counting (to affiliate with the Republican Party to vote in the closed GOPrimary in May): County Clerk Jim Brannon pointed out to me this morning — mea culpa — that registered Democrats, Libertarians & Constitutionalists can “affiliate” with the GOP to vote in the spring primary. They don't have to re-register. That sounds like a much better concept for “Clothespin Republicans.” Now for your Tuesday Wild Card …
In this 2013 photo provided by Rolf Peterson one of the few remaining gray wolves on Isle Royale, Isabelle, takes refuge on an icy bluff over Lake Superior to lick her wounds after being attacked by other wolves. During this winter's prolonged deep freeze, Isabelle escaped from the island to the mainland across the frozen surface of of Lake Superior. Scientists said today that the 5-year-old female gray wolfe was found dead earlier this month along the shoreline on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in northeastern Minnesota. (AP Photo/Courtesy Rolf Peterson)
“Downton Abbey” has become a Sunday night ritual for many television viewers. The program gives a glimpse into England during the last century as well as offering a greater understanding of what class differences brought –living upstairs or serving downstairs. The program’s writing is snappy and its plot lines force us to align with favorite characters. But only eight episodes this season? Really, Julian Fellowes? Americans are accustomed to 20 episodes for many of our favorite programs. Perhaps we must adopt British ways when it comes to consuming our favorite delights – as with tea, just a few sips at a time/Catherine Johnston, End Notes. (AP Photo/PBS/Masterpiece photo: Charles Edwards as Michael Gregson and Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith are shown in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series “Downtown Abbey”)
Question: Would we be as enthused with “Downton Abbey” if its season played out over 3-4 months and 20 episodes?
Time 2 Vote …
A Canada goose floats past a handicapped parking sign in a parking lot covered by the rising Ohio River on Monday in Cincinnati. The Ohio River is expected to reach a high of 48 feet, around four feet below flood stage, before receding later this week. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Monday Winner — McGruber, with 9 likes: The many factions of the local GOP jockey for position in the lead up to the May primaries; and: Runnerup — Powder Farmer, with 7 likes: Will someone please tell #33 from Idaho to quit trying to go right; this is the left turn circuit dagnabbit! You can see Monday photo & all Cutline Contest entries here.
Kim Knerl Facebooks: “So I go out to shovel that big nasty berm pushed up by the highway district's plow so my mail carrier can get to the mailbox and also to clear the end of my driveway. Not looking forward to it as the pile is large and deep. Next thing I know, some guy is coming down the road in a white truck with a plow on front. Without a word he lowers the plow, pushes the snow away from my mailbox, clears the opening to my driveway, waves and drives away. I love the people around here!”
DFO: Last night, a neighbor snow-blowed the sidewalk up & down our side of McFarland Avenue. Dunno which one. But I appreciated the kindness, after shoveling 6 inches of snow from the driveway & patio for the second night in a row.
Question: When did a neighbor last do a kindness for you?
David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service, poses with some of 1,427 Gold-Rush era U.S. gold coins, at his office in Santa Ana, Calif., earlier today. A California couple out walking their dog on their property stumbled across the modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree. Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said Hall, who recently authenticated them. Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to about $27,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece. Story here. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Question: Now don't you feel badly that you've been neglected to walk your dog?
Gov. Butch Otter's list of 30 campaign co-chairs — which includes the Legislature’s four top leaders, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and former Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs — is a collection of “the same people who have been on the ‘inside’ advancing their own agenda for years,” says Otter’s GOP primary challenger, Senate Majority Leader Russ Fulcher. “Idaho needs a new direction, a new vision – one that uplifts the people of our great state from the oppressive actions of government,” Fulcher said in a news release. Fulcher, of Meridian, said he knew his challenge “would be a threat to the status quo. I believe that threat is necessary, and I think change is necessary. Those in power don’t like change”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you think Otter's co-chairs would be more impressive to Fulcher if they were sitting in his corner?
A member of the Idaho Legislature who was also a lawmaker in Montana sees Idaho faced with the same problem he saw in Montana—too much dependence on federal money as part of the general fund budget. “Federal funding certainly grew as a percentage of Montana’s budget while I was there,” Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, explained. “If you relate that back to your personal life, say you get a significant amount of money from your parents, you’re kind of dependent on them and you become a bit cautious about doing things that they don’t want you to do. I think as a state we give up some of our sovereignty when we accept so much federal funding. It’s about 40 percent of Idaho’s state budget now.” Vick scoffs at the notion that, somehow, federal funds coming from Washington are tantamount to “free money” for a state government/Idaho Reporter. More here.
Question: I wonder if Vick realizes the economic mess that Idaho would be in, if it received little or no federal dollars?
“Know where to draw the line.” How about drawing the line at 41 years of service, 72 years of age and two terms as governor? If Otter won't honor his own code, at least we will have an opportunity in this upcoming election to decide who should lead our state with the integrity that we rightly deserve.” — Janice McGeachin, former state legislator re: Gov. Butch Otter.
Dennis Mansfield responds: “72 years of age? So what? What is the author implying? It's rather obvious, isn't it? That somehow because of his age he can't do his job. Butch Otter's a cowboy. He's a tough-as-nails man - in many ways he's Idaho's picture of a leader — and has been for a long time. The obvious swipe was an attack against him being “able enough” to continue acting in a capacity that the state needs for its chief executive. Apparently 72 years of age — or at the end of a next term, 76 years of age — is “too old”? Are you kidding me?” More here. (2010 AP file photo: Butch Otter, left, team roping at a Pocatello rodeo)
Question: I certainly don't think Butch Otter is too old to be governor. However, I wonder why he wants to continue as governor when his performance over 8 years has been, to be kind, less than stellar. Thoughts?
More than 100 “Add the Words” protesters, covering their mouths with their hands and carrying photocopied pictures of Ryan Zicha, a young gay Pocatello man who committed suicide in 2011 after being bullied at school. (Photo: Betsy Russell)
More than 100 “Add the Words” protesters, covering their mouths with their hands and carrying photocopied pictures of Ryan Zicha, a young gay Pocatello man who committed suicide in 2011 after being bullied at school, filed solemnly in two rows through the lower level of the state Capitol this afternoon. The protesters said they wanted lawmakers to see them; they paused and stood silently outside the hearing rooms where Senate committees are meeting this afternoon, before filing back through to the House side/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
More Eye on Boise posts from today:
Jason E. Swanson, far right, participated in the 1998 Aryan Nations parade in downtown Coeur d'Alene. He now works at Bullet Proof Tattoo in Spokane, with Nathan Pett, who heads The White Order of Thule. Also pictured are: far left, Harold “Ray” Redfeairn, and Aryan leader Richard G. Butler. (SR file photo: Bart Rayniak)
After four years of spectacular growth driven by the 2008 election of President Obama and the nearly simultaneous collapse of the economy, the radical right in America saw its first significant decrease in 2013. The shrinking numbers of hate groups and, especially, antigovernment “Patriot” groups appear to be the result of a host of factors, ranging from the co-opting of their issues by mainstream politicians, to an improving economy, to law enforcement crackdowns/Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center. More here.
Question: Are you surprised that the radical right and hate groups had a rough 2013?
Six weeks after John Eynon left the Constitution Party to run on the GOP ticket, the third party and the state superintendent’s candidate are embroiled in a nasty breakup. Floyd Whitley, the Constitution Party’s acting chairman says Eynon remains in possession of party “property, records and minutes,” including party planning documents and platform outlines on economic initiatives and reform proposals. On Tuesday morning, Whitley shared his concerns, via email, with a variety of parties — including the state’s elections division, and Idaho Education News. Whitley says Eynon is interfering with the “normal business and ballot access of a duly qualified political party in the state of Idaho,” and demands the immediate return of the documents/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
Question: But I thought the Constitution Party is the same as the Republican Party in Idaho. I'm so confused. Thoughts?
Chairman Tom Hearn of the Coeur d'Alene School Board Facebooks: “At the legislature today again with Christa Hazel and David Eubanks. We are advocating as best we can for increased funding ,etc. for the Coeur d'Alene School District. I have testified in the legislature a number of times in the past when I was chair of some state boards. I'm a little skeptical about how much some legislators listen to us about the needs in the schools based on my past experiences in the legislature however we will try as best we can to advocate for a real and lasting commitment to public education.” More here.
Question: Why aren't Idaho legislators more concerned with the state's standing of next-to-last in the nation in per pupil spending?
Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, wants the state to cut off a five- to 15-year sole-source contract with Education Networks of America to set up WiFi networks in every Idaho high school, and instead send the $2.25 million a year in funding out to school districts to contract for their own WiFi networks. “That was a multi-year contract signed with one year’s funding,” Goedde said. “I’m really comfortable with a non-appropriation on that, and then I would like to see the money sent down to school districts with a standard, saying the money is theirs to invest in wireless. Anything left over after they meet that standard, they could use for other technology”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: What do you think of Sen. Goedde's approach?
Arizonans are awaiting Gov. Jan Brewer’s (pictured in AP file photo) decision on whether she will approve or veto a law to bolster the rights of business owners to refuse service to gays and others on the basis of religion.Pressure is mounting on both sides of the issue for her to act quickly. Those who oppose and those who support the state’s latest high-profile law, SB1062, have taken to social media, big time, to express their opinions.Some business owners — a pizzeria owner in Tucson as well as the chief executive of American Airlines — have decried the bill, saying it would be catastrophic to Arizona tourism if it were signed into law/Los Angeles Times. More here.
Question: Sounds like this bill is fairly similar to the one that Idaho deep-sixed. Thoughts?
This March 21, 2005, file photo shows members of The Comets, from left to right, Marshall Lytle, Franny Beecher, and Joey Ambrose performing at Rock is Fifty party in New York. Beecher, lead guitarist for Bill Haley and the Comets, which helped kick off the rock and roll era with the iconic hit “Rock Around the Clock” in 1955, died Monday in a nursing home near Philadelphia. He was 92. (AP Photo/Adam Rountree, File)
Question: Any fans of Bill Haley & the Comets out there?
Thom George/Eye on Shanghai posts: “Melinda and I traveled for most of February and for the first time gave our Ayi Pink keys to the apartment so she could keep the dust from taking over and keep our plants alive. It worked, both the plants and the apartment looked great upon our return!” More here.
HucksOnline numbers (for Monday, Feb. 24): 8204 page-views/4662 unique views
Office Depot will close its Coeur d’Alene store May 3. The store is on West Neider Avenue next to Kmart. The company bought smaller rival OfficeMax late last year for $976 million. The combined company is consolidating stores to cut costs. OfficeMax operates a store on West Canfield Avenue in Coeur d’Alene/SR.
Question: Where do you get your paper/printing supplies?
Jennifer L (RE: R Minus 18 Wild Card): I am hearing that there is some misinformation going around about the KCRCC Lincoln Day Dinner. I like to clear up some of the rumors going around that I have heard:
Shoshone Conservative (RE: R Minus 17 Wild Card): Over here the problem is getting Republicans to register as Republicans. With the contested Sheriff's Primary, a lot of people thought you had to register Democrat to vote in their Primary. Not to mention people who don't want to jeopardize their businesses, union positions, etc. who don't feel comfortable putting their names on a publicly accessible list of party members. Between that and the Caucus, I swear Rod Beck is in collusion with the Shoshone County Democrats to do all he can to monkey wrench our attempts to build the GOP over here … (yeah, I know he isn't really, but his efforts have gone a long way to hurt our Party).
Question: I wonder if more and more Republicans consider the closed primary to be a bad idea?
Emily Thomas is emotional when sharing her experience with bullying from a classmate during a girl’s classroom exercise. Lakeland School District students participated Monday in a Character Campaign Day aimed at reducing bullying. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)
The snow fell relentlessly Monday, creating treacherous driving conditions and whiting out any lingering thoughts that this winter might be a wash when it comes to snowfall. The Coeur d'Alene Police Department reported 16 weather-related vehicle crashes between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Coeur d'Alene climatologist Cliff Harris said the snow was coming down at a rate of an inch an hour for most of the afternoon. By 6 p.m., 6.3 inches had fallen. “That broke the record of 6 inches even on Feb. 24 in 1955,” Harris said. Monday's snowfall came on top of 5.4 inches that fell Sunday. The 11.7 inches that came down over the two-day period set another record, Harris said. “We had a real cakewalk, easy winter up until the 28th of January,” Harris said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Are you suffering from Cabin Fever?
Ada County Prosecutor Greg Bower says he won't file charges against Renee McKenzie (former wife of state Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa) for practicing law without a license or smuggling contraband into a state prison. But in a letter to her lawyer, Bower called McKenzie's conduct “troubling.” “We are confident you will counsel your client on the law to ensure she understands not only what constitutes the practice of law but what constitutes the unauthorized conveyance of prohibited items into a correctional facility and the potential danger to staff and inmates from such conduct,” Bower wrote attorney Phil Gordon. … McKenzie said Monday that the idea she smuggled anything during visits to murderer Lance Conway Wood at the Idaho State Correctional Institution south of Boise is “just crazy”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Marc Stewart: “I can't wait for Cindy Hval to write this prison love story. Here are a couple suggested headlines: Love isn't solitaire anymore. Jail bonds: Bars can't be broken. Sparks flew and I am still alive. Love without parole. Pardon me, I am in love.”
Boise State University could spend $2 million a year over the next three years beefing up campus security if lawmakers pass a bill allowing concealed weapons on Idaho campuses. Boise State would likely increase and arm its security force, purchase metal detectors and spend money on training for its campus officers on responding to incidents involving guns. “With guns prohibited on campuses, any situations involving a firearms are an immediate 911 emergency call,” wrote Jon Uda, campus security director, in a memo to campus finance and legal staff. “With the passage of SB 1254, security officers will now be making regular contact with armed faculty, staff, students and visitors in non-emergency situations”/Bill Roberts, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Photo: Sen. Curt McKenzie, Campus Carry bill sponsor)
Question: Do you suppose our omniscient state legislators thought of the extra cost for security that the Campus Carry bill would require?
Someday Al Williams (pictured) will be in the North Idaho College Sports Hall of Fame. Helping the community college shift from prestigious but costly membership in the National Junior College Athletic Association to the more regional and affordable Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges shouldn't tarnish his legacy as director of athletics in the slightest. In fact, it should add a little luster to his star. Williams is offering sincere help to his entire college in NIC's quest to cut $2.3 million from the next fiscal year budget. Savings from travel and scholarships would net an estimated $600,000 of that $2.3 million. But it would come at some cost, too. Regarded as one of the top two or three community college athletic programs in the entire nation, switching to NWAACC affiliation means NIC will no longer be able to compete for national championships except in wrestlings/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: How often do you attend a North Idaho College sports event?
Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene (RE: Solons vote to block “planning police”) Pretty harsh rhetoric here. Reminds me of another time I was defined over a single vote. This doesn't change zoning, so adult businesses will not be allowed to pop up wherever a business would like them. This doesn't take away any authority to ensure safety or function. This DOES prevent tinkering with the design of a commercial building WHEN that tinkering is only for aesthetics, AND that tinkering changes the building structurally. We heard from many businesses (you know, people that create jobs) that had horror stories of citizen panels interjecting personal bias into design review that cost these businesses sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars based on subjective criteria. To be fair, there were plenty of people who worked for municipalities that testified that businesses liked the process. But, none of those businesses testified. Architects did. But thats like lawyers testifying for billable hours. Not saying you should trust politicians, but ad hominem attacks over a single issue aren't really going to help you in your efforts to change the level of discourse, are they?
DFO: I appreciate that Rep. Malek weighed in on this issue.
Brad Corkill, of the North Idaho PAC, is shown at an early Tea Party event in Kootenai County (File photo: Duane Rasmussen)
The North Idaho Political Action Committee is planning to hold a meet-and-greet luncheon for all of the Republican candidates running for office during the upcoming primary elections. “All Republican candidates are invited,” said NIPAC President Brad Corkill. “It's still a little premature, and we are still getting things in place, but it will be an informal meet-and-greet.” Corkill said NIPAC is selling tickets for the event as a part of a fundraiser for the May 20 primary election. The fundraiser is not for any one candidate, but rather the PAC itself. The lunch event falls on the same day the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee will hold its annual Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser. Corkill said he probably “ruffled a few feathers” by holding the event on the same day, but that wasn't the intent of the NIPAC when it scheduled that date/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Don Pischner announced Monday he is running for Kootenai County clerk. “I have the experience, qualifications, temperament and willingness to serve Kootenai County residents in this office,” he said. “I pledge to serve all residents equally, regardless of party or party faction affiliation.” After earning a degree in accounting, Pischner worked during tax season as a staff accountant for H.F. Magnuson. He spent 20 years in the asphalt paving business, 14 of them as superintendent for Inland Asphalt Co. “We paved local parking lots, tennis courts, and roadways along with interstate highway projects in Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon,” said Pischner, 75/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)
Question: Do you remember much about Pischner from his days in the Idaho Legislature?
Len Crosby wants to pick up where Frank Henderson leaves off at the Legislature. Crosby, of Post Falls, said he will seek Henderson's House seat (Seat B in District 3) in the May primary. Henderson, who is supporting Crosby, plans to retire at the end of this session. Crosby, vice president of Community 1st Bank, has been involved in banking and financial services for more than 40 years. “With Frank deciding to retire, I hope some of my qualities will help us maintain that level of service,” Crosby said. “I don't seek anything from this other than service. That's my main motivation.” Crosby said his focuses will include creating jobs and government transparency. “I have a good handle on financial issues, which involves the budget,” he said. “I believe I have a broader base of experience than others may have”/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Straight-up race between Len Crosby and Jeff Ward for House District 3B seat in GOPrimary … who wins?
18 Days & Counting (to re-register as a Republican to vote in the closed GOPrimary in May): Izzit just me, or is there something haywire with the city of Coeur d'Alene Web site this morning. I was looking for a new photo of new Mayor Steve Widmyer — and encountered at least 3 links that didn't work on the City Hall site — at the top. Government. Committees. Departments. Paging Keith Erickson. What's up with the site? Now for today's Wild Card …
Following is a statement issued by state Sens. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, and Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene (pictured), to the Coeur d'Alene Press: “Senate Bill 1254 “Campus Carry” is right for the State of Idaho and our college campuses. We would not support the bill if we believed it would endanger our students, faculty or staff. When opponents say there should be local control, we want you to remember real local control belongs with law abiding citizens, not elected college trustees. We want to point out the bill extends the allowance of concealed weapons on campus only to retired police officers, who have had extensive training, and to those who hold an enhanced concealed weapons permit. With the enhanced permit the person must be at least 21years old, be fingerprinted, have a records check for criminal and a mental health records and extensive training that includes live fire training. More here.
Question: Another reason to vote for Nonini's challenger, Pat Whalen? Thoughts?
“We want to make it as warm and comfy as possible,” said George Cunningham, right of Bennett House as he played cribbage with Bob Nordby, left at the adult daycare facility in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. The Bennett House, a cozy adult day care center that specializes in the needs of people with memory loss, including those with Alzheimer’s disease, and older adults who no longer can manage independently. Scott Maben SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Time 2 Vote …
Ryan Newman (31), Brian Scott (33), Cole Whitt (26), Justin Allgaier (51), Terry Labonte (32) and Parker Kligerman (30) wreck in a multi-car crash in the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Mike Troxell)
Weekend Winner — DFO, with 10 likes: “Another Huckleberries Online troll finds himself cut off in mid-sentence and thrust head first into the bowels of the unforgiving cooler never to be heard from again.” You can see Weekend Photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.
Hide your children and other vulnerable family members … the Kootenai County “Republican” Central Committee is meeting again Tuesday night. The agenda seem fairly harmless but does mention that Lt. Gov. candidate Jim Chmelik will be a featured guest. I wonder what Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little has to say about that? Maybe Little will get an invite next month or the one after? After all, the local GOPCC is running out of months to invite “special guests” to the meetings. Brad? You can see the GOPCC agenda here and the January minutes here. The fireworks, er, meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Kootenai County Administrative Building, 451 Government Way, Coeur d'Alene.
The Idaho House has backed a move to trim Idaho cities’ power to regulate building design, decrying the “planning police.” “Markets should allow choice,” Rep. Ed Morse, R-Hayden, told the House, opening this afternoon debate on his bill, HB 480. “We need jobs and economic development in this state much more than we need the planning police mandating their vision of beauty.” Rep. Hy Kloc, D-Boise, said he’s had emails from cities and architects all over the state opposing the bill. “This bill gives anyone the right to build pretty much anything they want,” he said. But Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, warned, “These are property rights issues, people. We’d better be careful”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Just when I though Morse, Henderson, Eskridge and Malek were among the better legislators, they join Barbieri, Mendive, Sims in voting to impose their anything-goes version of design planning on local governments. Does it make any difference who we send to the Legislature? Terrible vote. Thoughts?
Darrell Kerby, the former Bonners Ferry mayor, offered these comments re: the retirement announcement of state Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest River (pictured): “I have observed first hand Eric's work on our behalf and find his leaving office saddening. I do understand it however. Eric literally made this position his life. He did not say no to any request to serve in his capacity as an Idaho State Representative and as a result ended up on more committees than we have grizzly bears… (why did I pick that for a comparison?)…anyway, I know he ended up with no life and if anybody needed a break it is Eric. (Actually his beautiful wife might need it more). I for one will NOT remember Eric for his work on invasive mussels but INSTEAD will remember him for standing up for his morals and speaking out against Phil Hart even though he (Eric) stood to receive personal punishment from the then Idaho House Leadership.”
From left, silver medalist Australia's Torah Bright, gold medalist United States' Kaitlyn Farrington and bronze medalist United States' Kelly Clark pose following the women's snowboard halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics Feb. 12 in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP file photo/Sergei Grits)
Kaitlyn Farrington stepped off the Delta jet to a hero’s welcome at Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey — greeted by close friends and family, a band, two mayors and a congratulatory banner held by local snowboarding girls. Then she walked through the glass doors and stepped into a frenzy inside the terminal, where she posed for photos, signed autographs and showed off the gold medal she won in the women’s snowboard halfpipe at the Sochi Olympics. She stopped a couple times to brush away tears. “This is the first time I’ve cried,” Farrington said/Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Two of my three favorite Olympian performances, of course, were the ones with Idaho ties — by Kaitlyn Farrington, Sage Kotsenberg — as well as the gold won by the USA ice dance team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White. How about you?
A homeless man who broke into a Post Falls church to get out of the cold last week, left behind a note of apology. A janitor for the Zion Baptist Church, 15276 E16th Ave., found the broken basement window when he began his usual cleanup duties Saturday morning. Pastor Seth Hohenstreet said the break-in occurred between 9 p.m. Thursday and Saturday morning. The janitor found the following note on a stove: “Hello, I am so sorry for breaking the kitchen window on accident. I only needed an overnight stay. I tried to be careful with the opening of the window. I did not take anything, I needed to get in out of the cold.” Pastor Hohenstreet estimated the cost of the broken window and frame to be $200. He didn't want to press charges. He filed a police report to have the matter documented.
I'm not much of a restaurant goer. But I have dined out more than usual in the last 6 or 7 weeks — Bardenay, Fort Ground Grill. Moon Time, Hayden Capone's, Canton restaurant, Seasons, Outback Steakhouse and (Saturday night), McKenzie River Pizza Co. I had some idea what to expect from the first seven places that I mentioned because I'd been to them before. I could barely finish the breakfast portion at Fort Ground Grill. Mega impressed with lunch salad at Capone's. Moon Time is always good. Service at all the places I ate was superb. However, I was beyond pleasantly surprised to find McKenzie River (405 W. Canfield Ave., Coeur d'Alene) hopping Saturday night when my brother, Frito Ray, I and our wives dined there. It has a bit of the old Rustler's Roost decor at the Hayden location (before Woody built his new place). The place was hopping so much that we had to park in the lot of nearby Olive Garden (which was also hopping). So I have a question:
Question: Why haven't I heard more about McKenzie River, if it's as popular as it seemed Saturday night?
Following is Gov. Butch Otter's letter to President Barack Obama, who is proposing to cut National Guard numbers: “I join my fellow governors in strongly opposing the potential cuts to the Army National Guard advocated by the U.S. Army’s fiscal 2015 budget request. For more than a decade, our National Guard has demonstrated it is a cost effective operational force that is critical to our national security at home and abroad. As commanders in chief, we appreciate the need to reorganize, restructure and modernize the military to meet new threats and economic realities. All sectors of the military need to be involved in meeting the targets set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the realities of having fewer forces engaged abroad. In doing so, however, the Army Guard’s operational capabilities and 350,000 personnel strength level must be preserved. The Army’s proposed cuts suggest a pre-2001 strategic reserve construct.” More here.
Question: Do you agree with Gov. Butch Otter that a strong National Guard is important in Idaho and other states?
Earlier today, I published the Idaho Statesman blog post re: Dan Popkey's encounter with an angry Gov. Butch Otter re: the Statesman's coverage of gay rights issues. Above, you can hear what Otter said in his own words (although the Sisyphus' buddy, Serenphin, has had some fun with the YouTube video and slightly altered Popkey's protestations in the audio).
They seem to be appearing all around Coeur d’Alene: Mobile businesses selling anything from tacos to sunglasses and even knives. While the city regulates these types of businesses when they are on public property, there are currently no regulations when the operation is on private commercial property like the parking lots of adjacent established businesses, City Clerk Renata McLeod told a City Council subcommittee on Monday. Currently, there are an estimated 26 “mobile businesses” within the city. These to not include the multitude of coffee stands around the city, which are regulated and go through a city approval and permitting process. These also do not include include temporary vendors during events such as Art on the Green or a the downtown Street Fair/Keith Erickson, Coeur d'Alene Today. More here.
Question: The only mobile vendor that I've supported (not counting coffee huts) was Bent's BBQ. How about you?
The much maligned Disqus system has produced a cool new feature for our comments threads — highlighted comments. I can now highlight a good comment under an individual threat. That pushes it to the top of the thread and provides a screen background to attract attention. I've just highlighted four comments. BTW, Disqus also changed the down-arrow function somewhat. You no longer can see how many people have clicked the down arrow. It simply turns red when someone does. Disqus says it made the change to keep things positive in the blogosphere.
Question: What do you think of the 2 changes Disqus has made to the commenting system?
On Get Out! North Idaho Facebook page: Schmidty's Burgers is now open and doing their thing in the old Scrud's space in CdA. “We have a Schmidty burger (spicy), a Mrs Schmidty (pineapple etc), Mushroom Swiss, Hangover (breakfast burger), California burger (bacon guacamole), Grumpy burger and more.”
Question: Is there room for another burger joint in downtown Coeur d'Alene?
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has sent out an opinion piece calling for “restoring focus on our legislative priorities,” which he identifies as “education, workforce development, economic opportunity, and responsibly fulfilling the other proper roles of government within the people’s means.” Writes Otter, “We probably won’t see the words added, Medicaid expanded or the minimum wage increased in 2014. But the fact that we’re having those discussions, debates and demonstrations says a lot about the health and vitality of our republic”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: How do you think Legislature has done so far this year?
Lunch and dinner with a bistro emphasis will be available at The Fork at Lakeside. This restaurant will open in a few weeks at 309 Lakeside Ave. in the space that formerly housed the Lemongrass and Takara eateries. Posted on the door out front, the menu includes appetizers, steaks, ribeyes, several fish and seafood items, sandwiches, soups, salads and kids' specialties. The entrees are the spin of owner William Scott, who has 15 years in the restaurant industry in Idaho, Washington and California. He's originally from Detroit and was with the Army in Tacoma. Originally from Spokane and North Idaho, Monica Scott was manager and sushi chef for her mother's Momiji Japanese Red Maple restaurant in Post Falls and was also with other area restaurants/Nils Rosdahl, Business Bits, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Which new restaurant are you most excited about?
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, center, and Harold Ramis, right, appear in a scene from the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters”. Harold Ramis died early today in Chicago from complications of autoimmune inflammatory disease, according Fred Toczek , an attorney for Ramis. He was 69. Story here. (AP Photo, File)
Question: How many of you actually saw “Ghostbusters” on the big screen? Can you remember anything about movie, other than theme song?
Sunday’s three-page package exploring how the absence of civil rights protections for gays impacts business and Idaho’s image was sparked by Gov. Butch Otter’s challenging the assumption made in the Idaho Statesman’s Feb. 12 story that the Gem State has an “anti-gay reputation.” Seeing me in the Capitol’s first floor rotunda that day, Otter turned on his heels to tell me we were “dead wrong.” His impassioned statement prompted our decision to carefully vet the issue. The result was Zach Kyle’s Page 1 report on how business leaders view the controversy. Also on Page 1 was my story acknowledging the paucity of survey research and admitting that “Otter may be right” that no such reputation exists. Idaho, it turns out, is among 29 states whose anti-discrimination laws don’t cover lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people — the aim of the “Add the Words, Idaho” campaign/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you think Idaho's approach to gay rights and “Add the Words” has registered much beyond state boundaries?
HucksOnline numbers (for week of Feb. 16-22): 46,291 page-views/26,088 unique views
Yesterday I experienced one of those socially awkward moments when a lady introduced herself to me and asked if I still wrote a column for the Spokesman Review. When I admitted to doing so, she proceeded to tell me a very long and detailed story of the way the newspaper had produced a” hatchet job” on her ex-husband many years ago. Apparently, it was so mortifying she and her kids left town when …the story broke. “And he's DEAD now,” she kept inserting— referring to her ex. I just shook my head occasionally, and said things like,”Oh dear,” and “How sad.” Undeterred she went on to trace this story to the decline of the newspaper and how it's no longer relevant blah, blah, blah. It's so weird. I mean, when I meet doctors I don't launch into stories of medical malpractice. When I meet lawyers I don't relate stories of disbarment. This has happened more than once.
Question: How would you respond in this situation?
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, poses with Russian Olympic medal winners after Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, today. Story here. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti Kremlin, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
Question: Are you disappointed in the performance of the USA's Olympics team at the Winter Olympics?
When it comes to health care for poorer citizens, it’s astonishing to see how much money an otherwise-frugal Idaho Legislature is willing to fritter away. Whether through pure ideology or political preservation, state lawmakers have thus far rejected the Medicaid expansion provided for under the Affordable Care Act. In so doing, they’re forgoing the most obvious solution to two nettlesome problems: the county-financed medical indigency program and the state catastrophic health care program, both of which bleed money. Last year, the Legislature pondered discontinuing both programs and accepting the Medicaid expansion when reports from two consultants outlined considerable savings/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.
Question: Do you understand what's happening here?
“Sometimes they don’t think about those they leave behind,” said Berta Bjurstrom, of Post Falls, after a luncheon at the Post Falls Senior Center. The discussion was about suicide rates among seniors, who have the highest suicide rates in the nation and in North Idaho and Spokane County. See Erica Curless' SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Last week, Coeur d’Alene unveiled the third piece of public art that will grace the new McEuen Field to rave reviews from my Huckleberries Online readers. “The Explorer,” which features two boys and a girl hiking over a log, however, elicited this caution from Randy Myers of Coeur d’Alene: “That’s a winner. Themed right and well done. I hope it doesn’t go the way of the bike lady and dog piece, for, I presume, the price (thieves) could get for the metal.” Randy was referring to “Kate,” the wonderful sculpture of a woman on a vintage bike with two dogs running alongside that was stolen from Riverstone Park this winter, possibly for the recyclable material. Art may be in the eye of the beholder. But the level of hard-heartedness that it takes to steal or deface public art fortunately is only harbored by a few, DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.
Other SR weekend columns:
Question: Are you more aware of public are in Coeur d'Alene today than you were a year ago?
Idaho State University could lose its license to conduct nuclear research from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission if a bill to allow concealed weapons on college campuses becomes law, Gov. Butch Otter said Friday, according to the AP and the Idaho State Journal. Otter, in a meeting with about 30 ISU College Republicans, said ISU President Arthur Vailas told him Thursday that the commission has a zero-tolerance policy regarding weapons at licensed nuclear research facilities, putting the school's nuclear research efforts at risk if the bill becomes law. “I had never heard that before,” Otter said/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Lifting Idaho's sales tax from groceries is a great campaign slogan for GOP gubernatorial hopeful Sen. Russ Fulcher and his comrade, Sen. Cliff Bayer, both R-Meridian. It sounds good - for about 15 seconds. Spend 15 minutes, however. You won't think so. Forty-five states charge a sales tax. But only a handful, including Idaho, tax food. Beginning in 1965, Idaho opted to give residents a grocery tax rebate on their income taxes. Over time, inflation eroded the rebate's value to virtually a pittance. That changed after 2006, when lawmakers shifted the burden for school support from property taxes paid by corporations and wealthy families to a sales tax borne by lower-income households. In 2008, they bumped up the tax credit. It's now $100 for each member of a low-income household. Everyone else gets $80, but it will rise to $100 by 2015. At that point, the rebate will cost about $142 million/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Can we afford to eliminate the sales tax on groceries when schools would lose funding?
That old saying, “the first cut is the deepest,” may have been referring to something else, but to me it has to do with getting the first ding in my new mandolin. I'm not normally too protective of my musical instruments; my guitars, which I've had for a long time, look like they've been used as weapons. But this new mandolin, I bought it last summer and just started learning to play it. Not that good yet, but I love the sound. It's fun to play and I know who made it and where it came from - and the cost. It's all been worth it. So it hurt the first time I dropped a guitar capo on the top of my new mandolin that was lying on the floor beside me and crunched a little hole in it about the size of a pencil eraser. That first cut, boy, you really feel it/Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Have you seen a prized possession get a dent or ding recently? Did you react well?
It's been 17 years since the Coeur d'Alene City Council voted to create the Lake City Development Corporation to revitalize blighted areas of the city. Now some community leaders think it's time to revisit that organization's goals. On Thursday, the LCDC board of directors will sit down with Coeur d'Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer and the city council to do just that. “You know LCDC is one of the most important things we do in this city,” Widmyer told The Press. “Rather than have a 20-minute presentation on what they have done, I wanted to be able to sit down for an hour or two to discuss their goals and take a look at their mission statement that was written 17 years ago.” Tony Berns, executive director of LCDC, said he welcomes the conversation and looks forward to having an opportunity to explain LCDC's role in the community, which he thinks oftentimes is misunderstood/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Are you more satisfied with the operation of LCDC today than you were 4 years ago?
How’s this for timing? Come Friday, North Idaho College will make a run at a 15th national wrestling title, as host of the NJCAA championships at the Spokane Convention Center. And two days before, it’s likely to be decided that wrestling will be the only sport the school will continue to pursue at a national level. Once again, the Cardinals are grappling with a familiar question: which bowl of alphabet soup? The National Junior College Athletic Association, NIC’s current home, in which full scholarships can be offered and travel to Utah, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming is routine? Or the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges, the next-door collective of 34 members with more parochial – and less expensive – aspirations? The other challenger on the mat, as always, being money/John Blanchette, SR. More here.
More about NIC shifting leagues:
Question: Should North Idaho College drop down a league to save money but lower sports aspirations?
Coeur d'Alene's starting five (left to right) Sydney Williams (44), Madison Sumner (3), Brittany Tackett (14), Sydni Parker (2) and Sara Chalich (5) Celebrate winning the Idaho 5A Girls Basketball Championships Saturday night at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. (Associated Press photo: Steve Conner)
After three years of close calls and heartbreak, the Coeur d’Alene girls basketball team’s senior class was fixated on winning the ultimate prize. Mission accomplished. Coeur d’Alene’s five senior starters played all but the final 1.1 seconds and dominated the fourth quarter as the Vikings defeated Rocky Mountain 58-47 in the 5A State final at the Ford Idaho Center. “These kids have worked so hard for so many years,” said coach Dale Poffenroth, who has led the Vikings to four of the past seven State 5A titles. “I’m pretty proud of them, especially the five starters to be able to play the whole game and finish the way they did.” Senior post Sydney Williams led Coeur d’Alene with 23 points – including 19 in the second half – but the Vikings got big contributions from all five starters/Jordan Rodriquez, special to the SR. More here.
Question: Have you or a member of your family been on a state championship sports team?
The Supreme Court has turned down a pair of 2nd Amendment appeals lodged by the National Rifle Assn., keeping in place laws that restrict those under 21 years old from buying or carrying a handgun. Without comment, the justices dismissed claims by NRA attorneys who argued limits on those who are 18 to 20 infringe the “fundamental right” to have firearms for self-defense. In one case, the court refused to hear a challenge to a 1968 federal law that bars federally licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to those who are under 21. Sales of shotguns or rifles are permitted to those who are 18 or older, however/Los Angeles Times. More here.
Question: Agree/disagree with Supreme Court decisions?
Two legislators who are running for statewide office missed most or all of the past week of lawmaking, appointing subs to serve for them while they campaigned. Rep. Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, who is running for secretary of state, named Howard Rynearson, of Payette, who is running for Denney’s seat, as a substitute for him in the House through Monday. Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, named Dan Johnson, a real estate agent from Kuna, to fill in for him for the week; Fulcher is running for governor. Johnson told senators, “He needed some personal time.” Both subs are legislative district GOP chairmen/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. Complete Eye on Boise Sunday column here.
Question: Is it right to use subs in the Idaho Legislature so you can campaign for statewide office?
The Coeur d'Alene High girls basketball team is in the finals of the 5A state championship game again. The Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball team needs one more win to clinch another West Coast Conference title. Spring training has begun for the Seattle Mariners. Blogfest is in the rear-view mirror. Now we need to wait out the last of winter to get into our yards again. Spring will bring out the tulips, daffodils, irises and politicians looking for your vote. The next three months are going to be fun as the various wings of the local Republican Party fight to become the dominant one. Here's your Weekend Wild Card …
NAMPA — After three years of close calls and heartbreak, the Coeur d’Alene girls basketball team’s senior class was fixated on winning the ultimate prize. Mission accomplished. Coeur d’Alene’s five senior starters played all but the final 1.1 seconds and dominated the fourth quarter as the Vikings defeated Rocky Mountain 58-47 in the 5A State final at the Ford Idaho Center. “These kids have worked so hard for so many years,” said coach Dale Poffenroth, who has led the Vikings to four of the past seven State 5A titles. “I’m pretty proud of them, especially the five starters to be able to play the whole game and finish the way they did.” Senior post Sydney Williams led Coeur d’Alene with 23 points – including 19 in the second half – but the Vikings got big contributions from all five starters. Madison Sumner scored 14 points, Sara Chalich chipped in 11, Brittany Tackett pulled down 11 rebounds and Sydni Parker dished out seven assists/Jordan Rodriquez, special to SR. More here: http://www.nwprepsnow.com/games/2014/feb/22/23725/
21 Days & Counting (to re-register as a Republican to vote in the closed GOPrimary in May): More and more people are coming out of the wood work to announce for the various legislative/courthouse races out there. The most delicious rumor out there — and one that is totally unsubstantiated by Huckleberries Online — is that Commissioner Todd Tondee might be interested in swapping hats for the County Clerk's job. Silly, hunh? Then the silly season is about to begin as the yearly political season begins. Now for today's Wild Card …
“Here’s the problem. The 105 people on the third floor of the Idaho Statehouse euphemistically called “legislators.” If you replaced that number with about the bottom 10% of any local high school graduating class, you’d solve the issue. Because “the issues” are outright stupid bills written, passed and sent to various governors. Session after session after session. Year after year after year. And they are SIGNED! Over and over and over” — Barrett Rainey, Ridenbaugh Press. Complete column here.
Question: Do you think the bottom 10 percent of you high school's graduating class could do a better job of legislativing than the 105 lawmakers Idaho sends to Boise each year? I'm not sure they can't.
SR photog buddy Colin Mulvany Facebooks: “On my way to cover the Gonzaga University men's basketball game Thursday night, I spotted the full moon rising above the Hamilton Street pedestrian overpass in Spokane.”
Time 2 Vote …
Brita Sigourney of the United States falls during women's ski halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics on Thursday in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Thursday Winner — Fort Boise, with 8 likes: An undercover reporter captured evidence of the Kansas City Royals' plan to equip its outfielders with slingshots to deal with heckling from the bleachers. You can see Thursday photo & all Cutline Contest entries here.
Junior guard Kevin Pangos was asked earlier this week if Gonzaga has started thinking about seeding. He replied with a question: “Seeding for the big tournament?” “I don’t think we’ve really thought about that yet,” said Pangos, when told the question referred to the NCAA Tournament. “We just want to get in there first of all. Taking it game by game is going to help us get that right seeding.” Sound advice, because playing the projection game might be enough to scramble some brain cells of Gonzaga followers. On one hand, the Zags have strong numbers with a 23-5 record, a piece of their 13th WCC championship in the last 14 years, a No. 25 ranking prior to falling at BYU on Thursday and an NCAA RPI of 28/Jim Meehan, SR. More here. (AP photo: Brigham Young’s Anson Winder (20) goes to the basket as Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski (24) defends Thursday in Provo)
Question: Which NCAA Tournament seed will the Zags get?
Coeur d'Alene resident Dick Smart, 69, just finished his memoirs about decades of traveling by rail bike across three continents. Smart, a retired dentist now partially paralyzed from a brain tumor, said he wrote the book to share his cycling passion. “I just wanted to let people know what a fun time it was,” he said. (Photo of Smart in the 1980s)
He can recall in vivid detail his adventures on bicycles adapted to glide stealthily along deserted railways, including his final ride on Aug. 8, 2012. It was along the Payette River north of Boise, and Dick Smart was scouting for a group outing that was to include fellow rail bike enthusiasts from Sweden. “We waded like little kids in the river,” he said. The plans came to a sudden halt the following day when Smart suffered a seizure back home in Coeur d’Alene. The retired dentist soon would learn he had a brain tumor, and his attention turned to the battle to survive. A year and a half later, surgery and treatments have proved ineffective. There is no known cure for his fast-growing tumor. But Smart, 69, is happily reflecting on his long love affair with rail biking with a new book recounting his globe-trotting adventures/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: If you were dying, what would you want people to know most about your life?
Somebody called the newroom to complain about my story about the Mt. Spokane kids making blankets for kids with cancer because— wait for it— I didn't mention her organization which also makes blankets for Providence Sacred Heart Children's Hospital! — Cindy Hval.
DFO: Yes, this kind of thing goes with the newspapering territory. All. Too. Often.
Question: What counsel would you give Cindy?
Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter today announced the statewide organization in his campaign for re-election, including Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and the leaders of both the Idaho House of Representatives and Idaho Senate. “I am proud to have the support of such a solid group of conservative leaders from throughout Idaho,” Governor Otter said. “Their confidence in my ability to lead Idaho is a strong sign that we're moving the campaign and our great state in the right direction.” Positions announced today include: Campaign Co-Chairs Fred Cenarrusa & Secretary of State Ben Ysursa. Regional Campaign Co-Chairs: Region 1 — Todd Brinkmeyer, Julie Chadderdon, Darrell Kerby, Sandy Patano, Jack Riggs. More here.
Question: Do you think Otter has a stronger organization that rival state Sen. Russ Fulcher?
Idaho’s attorney general has been trying to make the case with legislative budget types for a larger legal staff. Eight years he’s been scratching on that door without success. Of course, what success can you have when your hard-to-focus governor passes the idea off wittily by telling the media “We don’t need more money for lawyers. We need fewer Idahoans suing the state.” Butch always was a “big concept” guy. Last three years, Gem State paymasters – read “taxpayers” – have coughed up $18 million for outside attorneys to help the state’s understaffed staff. $18 million! Downtown legal beagles charge $125 $400 an hour for their help. A.G. Wasden bills his staff lawyer’s work about $54 an hour. As I said, even that Palin woman could subtract a smaller number from a large one and – with help – see the problem. But – alas! She’d be wrong. Again/Barrett Rainey, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: Does it make sense for the state to underfund the attorney general's office and pay $18M for outside attorneys?
Ilah Hickman, 13, told the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning that since the print hearing on her bill to make the Idaho giant salamander the designated state amphibian, she’s done additional research at the suggestion of Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis. She catalogued for the committee all 15 amphibians that are native to Idaho, and the reasons why they wouldn’t make as suitable symbols for the state: Five already are symbols for other states, others are common frogs or toad that live in many places, including other countries. “That left the Coeur d’Alene salamander and the Idaho giant salamander,” Ilah said. “The Coeur d’Alene salamander lives equally in Idaho and Montana. … And even though I think Coeur d’Alene is a beautiful city, we’re not the State of Coeur d’Alene/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (Wikipedia photo: spotted salamander)
Question: Have you ever heard of the Coeur d'Alene salamander?
On her Facebook wall Thursday, Councilwoman KerriT posted: “About half hour ago a huge wind blew through and Annie ran to the front window barking like crazy. I didn't see any cats or squirrels but then saw that the cast iron eagle in the front yard had been toppled off its perch. Wow, it must weigh about 75 lbs. The eagle is a small replica of the large eagle our family donated to the county in the veteran's memorial plaza and has set atop the stump perch for nine years without falling.”
HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, Feb. 20): 8187 page-views/4601 unique views
An electronic billboard displays pop star Justin Bieber, center, sandwiched by Chicago Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane, left, and Jonathan Toews outside the Skokie, Ill., based freight company. Kane, who plays for Team USA and Toews for Team Canada, played against each other in a men's semifinal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics this morning. (AP Photo/Command Transportation)
Question: Now, isn't this a better way to settle disputes between countries than bullets and bombs?
Gov. Jan Brewer is going to get the last word on whether Arizona business owners can cite their religion as a reason to turn away gays — and maybe others. On a largely party-line vote, the state House late Thursday gave final approval to legislation providing a legal shield to individuals and businesses who face claims of discrimination, essentially saying a “sincerely held” religious belief can immunize that person or firm against lawsuits. The Senate already has approved SB 1062. Brewer has generally sided with groups such as the Center for Arizona Policy, which supports the legislation on the grounds that it keeps people from having to act against their religious beliefs/Arizona Daily Star. More here.
Idaho ranked next to last, again, in per-pupil school spending, according to a new report issued by U.S. Census Bureau. In 2010-11, Idaho’s per-pupil spending came in at $6,824, placing No. 50 among the states and the District of Columbia. Only Utah ranked lower, at $6,212 per pupil. Idaho’s per-pupil spending came in 35.4 percent lower than the national average of $10,560. In addition, 2010-11 was sixth successive year that Idaho has ranked No. 50 in per-pupil spending. “I think it’s important information; I don’t take it lightly,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said in an interview Tuesday/Kevin Richert, IdahoED News. More here.
Question: I don't think we can catch Utah for the bottom run until the end of Butch Otter's next term. Do you?
Idaho would spend more than $2 million to eliminate problem wolves and set up a new state board to oversee the effort, under legislation that cleared the Idaho House Friday. “We must maintain the pressure we have put on wolves just to maintain the population we do have,” said Rep. Marc Gibbs, R-Grace, sponsor of HB 470. The measure, first proposed by Gov. Butch Otter in his State of the State address to lawmakers this year, would target wolves in areas where there are problems with wolves preying on wildlife or livestock. Opponents said Idaho’s wolf population is dropping now, even without spending the money. The state has wolf hunting along with other control efforts managed by the Idaho Fish and Game Department/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
OrangeTV (Re: DFO statement that we're all Republicans now): No! No we aren't all Republicans. Every time I see your daily countdown I get a little bit infuriated at the whole racket. I know I'm extremely out of the loop on this one (and I basically forgot), but can someone give me a brief and logical reminder as to to why I would need to register as an R in order to vote?
DFO: Many — most? — of the legislative and courthouse races in Kootenai County this year will be settled in the GOPrimary in May. The individuals who win the various primaries become the odds-on favorites to win their general election races against whatever candidates the Democrats field. Often, the Democrats don't field an opposition candidate, which means the GOPrimary winner almost automatically wins the general election (depending on Independent or third-party candidates). The only ones who can vote in the closed GOPrimary are Republicans. Anyone current registered as a Democrat, Constitutionalist or Libertarian must re-register by March 14 to vote in the closed primary. You can stand on principle, of course — and watch others decide in May who will be the elected officials next year.
On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts: “A chicken pecks at a small dead rodent in our yard. Chickens are omnivores. They will feed on most anything, including insects, grain, grass, and even snakes and mice.” You can see more of Robin's terrific outdoors photography here.
DFO: I can almost hear you ee-yews from HBO Central ;-)
Rep. John Rusche (RE: Giant salamander gets key vote): I love it. We can discuss and debate the state amphibian but refuse to talk about medicaid, road maintenance, antidiscrimination language or pre-k. I guess the amphibian issue is not very scary for the Republican closed primary.
Question: Would you rather have the Idaho Legislature bogged down on unimportant issues like naming a state amphibian or trying to find ways to give more trickle-down-theory tax breaks to high rollers?
Cathyanne Nonini told Huckleberries Online moments ago that she has no interest in running for the House District 3B seat now held by retiring state Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls. Cathyanne said it would be “inappropriate” to have two people serving in the Legislature from the same family. Cathyanne said she enjoyed subbing for her senator husband, Bob, while he was convalescing from a serious illness earlier this winter but she prefers being a wife and violin teacher. Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans and Post Falls banker Len Crosby have announced for the Henderson seat. Former Reagan Republican candidate Jeff Tyler is also mulling entering this race.
It's an identity thief's dream: Boxes and boxes of income tax returns were recently found at a former H & R Block office in Coeur d'Alene. Those returns had been left behind for nearly a year. We live in a world where our identity can be stolen with a swipe of a card. And when we trust the professionals to handle our personal information we expect it will be in safe hands. But when H & R Block moved out of an office in Coeur d'Alene, boxes of names, numbers and tax information were left behind. From the outside, a nondescript office space off 4th Street in Coeur d'Alene looks empty, but when Harvest Klinge looked a little closer she couldn't believe what she saw. “They had years from 2006 to 2009 of people's tax returns,” she said. In all, 30 boxes full of private information, just sitting there left behind by H & R Block/Kylee Cruz, KXLY. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Are you affected by this?
The organizers of the Diamond Cup haven't had smooth sailing as they fought through one obstacle after another. That was never more evident than the news that broke on Huckleberries Online a year ago of directors abandoning the Diamond Cup board right and left:
“You may know that hydroplane races are scheduled on Lake Coeur d'Alene for Labor Day weekend this year. But did you know that directors of the Diamond Cup Regatta are dropping like flies? A look at the Secretary of State's business directory reveal that four directors abruptly resigned their posts in the first week of this month — Art Flagan, Jim Addis, Craig Brosenne and David Bobbitt. Additionally, there's a correction on the Secretary of State's site that shows Kiki Miller had been inadvertently listed as a director.” More here.
DFO: You have to give Diamond Cup organizers props for pushing ahead and staging the 2013 event despite the obstacles, right?
Volunteer Jeff Priest tightens a nut on a balance beam in preparation for Great West Gym Fest which will be taking place at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Friday through Sunday. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Gabe Green)
More Info: It was a full house Thursday at the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans weekly meeting at Fedora Pub and Grille. The topic of discussion responsible for the large crowd was the ever-controversial Idaho wolf. Documentary filmmaker Scott Rockholm, the meeting's guest speaker, told the group: “Wolves kill for fun. It's called 'sport reflex killing' and (Idaho) Fish and Game has chosen to hide this fact from the public.” In 2010, Rockholm filmed and produced “Yellowstone is Dead,” a work he described as exposing the devastating effects of the importation of Canadian wolves into Idaho.
Question: If we could have a do-over, would you support wolf reintroduction in the Inland Northwest?
Doing more with less will continue to be the biggest challenge facing the Benewah County Commissioners, according to Commissioner Jack Buell. Mr. Buell made the comment during an interview in which he announced he will seek re-election as Benewah County Commissioner. “The biggest challenge we have is the lack of tax base while the cost of providing county services, especially roads, continues to climb,” Mr. Buell said. He cited the move by the Idaho legislature to exempt all property owned by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe from taxation. That combined with land purchases by the federal government for the tribe have reduced the tax base. … Mr. Buell has served as county commissioner since 1974/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette Record. More here.
Question: Are you a Jack Buell fan?
On Feb. 13, Shae Owens did what she does every day at her 12-acre property on the outskirts of Coeur d'Alene: went for a walk with her dog, a Labrador named Bodhi. With them came Ben, a yellowLabrador belonging to the Owens' sister-in-law, Tolli Willhite. Both dogs were off-leash since, according to Owens, they were on her property. But the walk didn't last long before Owens heard Ben crying. The animal's leg was trapped in a non-lethal trap someone had placed on the property without Owens' permission. Fortunately for the yellow Lab, Owens had recently read an online pamphlet on how to properly free dogs from hunting traps/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Do you think these incidents will prompt the Powers That Be to act to control trapping near populated areas?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune gives jeers to guns-on-campus sponsor Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa (pictured):
While chairing the Senate State Affairs Committee last week, McKenzie gave the NRA 40 minutes to speak in favor of his bill. But when it was time for Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson to give the rebuttal, McKenzie shut down the hearing. Tuesday, as the Senate was debating McKenzie's bill, Democratic Leader Michelle Stennett of Ketchum asked the sponsor to yield for a question. In a rare breach of decorum, McKenzie declined. Stennett is no partisan bomb thrower and her question was a reasonable one: How exactly do you define a concealed weapon? OK, Sen. McKenzie. Answer this one, will you: How do you define arrogance? Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Why is it the people who claim to be so accepting cannot accept some things? Without a bunch of fuss, muss, hand-wringing and calamity, that is. That thought occurred with the announcement of the gay football player. For those who missed it, a defensive end at the University of Missouri announced last week that he is gay. And that’s a problem. He announced. Pronounced. Proclaimed. That he's gay. Most folks, those of us who do not count ourselves among the elites, simply rolled our eyes and wished he would just shut up. But the real fancy people, celebrities, people who talk on TV and the First Lady among them, made quite a fuss over this. They were just giddy that a football player would be gay. For some reason the sex life of a complete stranger became a very, very, very big deal to those folks. Then it got worse/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette Record. More here. (AP file photo: gay football player Michael Sam at Missouri-Tennessee basketball game last Saturday)
Brigham Young's Tyler Haws, left, passes the ball as Gonzaga's Przemek Karnowski (24) and teammate Drew Barham (43) defend in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday in Provo, Utah. BYU won 73-65. Story here. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Question: Are you still holding out hope that Gonzaga will do well in the NCAA Tournament?
Perceived conflicts between gay rights and religious freedoms, already a major controversy in the 2014 Idaho legislative session, could be an issue in this year's congressional race as well. Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador cited the conflicts as the basis for his “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act,” which was introduced in September. In a meeting with reporters Tuesday in his Meridian office, Labrador said he started working on the bill after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, saying Congress can't define marriage exclusively as a union between one man and one woman. … Labrador's bill prohibits the federal government from taking “adverse action” against individuals based on their religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman/William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
The Senate State Affairs Committee has voted overwhelmingly in favor of SB 1271, the bill from a Boise 13-year-old to make the Idaho giant salamander the state’s official amphibian; the bill now moves to the full Senate. It needs passage both there and in the House and the governor’s signature to become law. Only Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton opposed the bill. He told young Ilah Hickman, “You’ve done a great job on your presentation, but I want you to understand that I’m the guy that had to say no to the Girl Scouts.” Siddoway opposed the scouts’ bill last year for a sales tax exemption for its annual cookie sale/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: I'd prefer that we name as the state amphibian your average Idaho legislator. Thoughts?
22 Days & Counting (to re-register as a Republican to vote in the closed GOPrimary in May): Women's gold medal game between USA & Canada is on Channel 6 as I type this. Fun stuff. Meanwhile, I'm waiting to see which way Len Crosby will go re: possible GOPrimary candidate to replace retiring Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls. All remains quiet on the Coeur d'Alene front re: legislative candidates. Ditto on the courthouse front. You'll know about things when I can get them verified. Now for today's Wild Card …
Twenty-five “Add the Words” protesters were arrested tonight on the third and fourth floors of the state Capitol, outside the Senate chamber and the Senate gallery, where they were blocking the doors; all were brought to a Statehouse basement visitor room for processing, searched, and then led out to board a large white bus in front of the state Capitol, under a light rain, and taken to jail/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: What cause would you be willing to go to jail for?
Time 2 Vote (or add Cutline b/c only 2 so far …
Norichika Aoki of Japan stretches with Kansas City Royals teammates before taking batting practice during spring training baseball practice on Wednesday in Surprise, Ariz. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Wednesday Winner — Nic: Once again, break dancing on ice is rejected as an official Olympic sport. You can see Wednesday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.
The North Idaho College Faculty Art Exhibit will showcase original artwork created by NIC Fine Art Department faculty from Feb. 24 through March 28 in NIC's Boswell Corner Gallery. Pictured is “Oasis, Tring, England” from longtime NIC photography instructor Phil Corlis, who is retiring this year and will be one of the featured artists. Story here. (NIC Press Room photo: Tom Greene)
HucksOnline numbers (for Wendesday, Feb. 19, 2014): 8941 page-views/4753 unique views
At the Kootenai County Reagan Republican lunch today, Republican Fritz Wiedenhoff announced his intention to seek the House District 2A seat now held by state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens. Wiedenhoff finished fourth in a four-way race in the 2012 GOPrimary race for former representative Phil Hart's House District 2B seat that was won by Rep. Ed Morse, R-Hayden. Wiedenhoff attracted 13.42% of the vote.
Len Crosby, of Post Falls, announced today that he will be a candidate for the Legislative position currently held by retiring Rep. Frank Henderson (Seat B, Third Legislative District). “I have great respect for Representative Henderson who has been a dynamic public servant not only during his many years of service as a State Legislator, but also as a Kootenai County Commissioner and Mayor of Post Falls, and I look forward to his support.” “Our Community has a history of sending outstanding and dynamic legislators to Boise (Rep. Henderson, Sen. Jim Hammond, Sen. Dick Compton and Rep. Hilde Kellogg) and it would be a privilege to have an opportunity to continue their fine work, and represent the citizens of Legislative District Three”/News Release. More here.
The House has rejected legislation from Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, to create a new inattentive driving offense for those who knowingly drive with an untreated medical condition. HB 466 failed in the House on a 19-49 vote. In an earlier committee hearing, a constituent of Trujillo's shared the story of how her young daughter was killed in a car crash in Montana, and the driver, whose untreated diabetic condition caused him to crash, wasn't cited/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise.
Other Eye on Boise posts this PM:
Agree/disagree w/inattentive driving offense vote?
The clickety clack sound of my fingers flying over the keyboard filled my home office as I sat hunched over my desk racing against another looming deadline. I glanced down at my notes and then it happened. The room went dark. Blinking, I rubbed my eyes. Was it a stroke? Or was my mother right? Had I’d gone blind from too much reading in dim light? Turns out it was neither. The 60-watt bulb in my trusty gooseneck desk lamp had burned out. I headed to the closet to grab another, but like Old Mother Hubbard my cupboard was bare. Muttering about the inconvenience, I scrounged around and came up with a 40-watter and went back to work, but not before texting my husband: “Need 60-, 75- and 100-watt light bulbs.” A few minutes later my phone buzzed with this reply: “Good luck with that!”/Cindy Hval, SR Front Porch. More here.
Question: have you run out of the 60-, 75- & 100-watt bulbs yet?
Seattle Mariners pitcher Randy Wolf holds up his identification sheet with that corrects him from a right-handed to left-handed pitcher, as he poses on photo day at baseball spring training today in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Question: Which of you HBOers are lefties (in the physical since)?
DFO: Um, can someone explain why anyone would put that on his car bumper?
Huckleberries asked OTV of Get Out! North Idaho whether customers of Java on Fourth will follow the popular coffee shop to the new Jonesy's location at 8th & Sherman. Here's his reply:
“I think the majority of them will, but will they continue to come back over and over again? I think it's crucial that they recreate the vibe of the 4th & Sherman spot as much as they possibly can, from the laid back atmosphere to the outside seating where customers can people watch. Otherwise, fair weather regulars may decide to stay put and hang out at the (rumored) new coffee shop opening in its place. Rustlers Roost created something special there way back in the day that drove people to it, hopefully Java can do the same.”
DFO: We've discussed this issue before. But feel free to add more thoughts.
Stephen Snedden, a third-generation Bonner County resident, announced that he will run to represent Bonner and Boundary counties in the Idaho House of Representatives. “I had the best childhood here and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I want to protect the things that are important – a clean lake to swim in, a safe place to go to school and a chance to come back here and make a living,” said Snedden. An attorney in Bonner County, Snedden served four years on the Sandpoint City Council. As a city councilman, he fixed problems for local businesses. He also adopted a disciplined approach to public finance by making the municipal budget more accurate and passing a city-wide hiring freeze/News Release. More here.
… That mainstream Republicans are selling tickets — $500 for a table of 8 at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course venue — for a luncheon to be held on the same day as the local party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner: April 12. The event is sponsored by the North Idaho PAC, which has former Kootenai County GOP Central Committee Chairman Brad Corkill of Cataldo as its leader. Gov. Butch Otter has signed up as keynote speaker for the rival April 12 event. Reading between the lines here, I'd say that the mainstream Republicans are making a statement re: the current makeup of the county GOP Central Committee, which has been taken over by the Rally Right/United Conservatives of North Idaho wing. At this point, the Lincoln Day organizers haven't announced their keynote speaker. Two years ago, the keynote speaker was controversial Sheriff Richard Mack. Remember Proxygate? Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans spearheaded an attempt to reject Mack after he'd been invited to the event, only to have leadership overturn him based on a questionable vote.
Jane Austen's classic novel about manners, morality and marriage in the rural society of 19th-century England will come to life on stage at Coeur d'Alene High School starting tonight. Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy is presenting the stage adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice.” The Austen novel, first published in 1813, is considered the author's most popular work. The show will run tonight through Sunday on stage in the Coeur d'Alene High School auditorium, 5530 N. Fourth St., Coeur d'Alene. Showtimes are at 7 p.m. each night with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Gabe Green's Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Elizabeth Bennet, played by Rachel Averett, and Mr Darcy, played by Ben Crotinger in a scene from Charter Academy's “Pride & Prejudice”)
Question: Am I the only male here who has scene the “Pride & Prejudice” movie with Keira Knightley more than once?
On her Facebook wall, Linda Lantzy of Idaho Scenic Images calls this photo taken recently near Kalispell, Mont. — “Iso-lation.” The two old trucks are stuck in the middle of a newly formed pond. You can see more of Linda's photography here.
Safety researchers expressed concern a decade ago that traffic accidents would increase as the nation's aging population swelled the number of older drivers on the road. Now, they say they've been proved wrong. Today's drivers aged 70 and older are less likely to be involved in crashes than previous generations and are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash, according to a study released Thursday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That's because vehicles are getting safer and seniors are generally getting healthier, the institute said/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Are you a safe driver?
“Common sense says even with the qualifications written into the (guns-on-campus) bill the mixture of immature young people, combined with alcohol or drugs and a dose of depression is a prescription for disaster. The fact that every college and university president and the Idaho State Board of Education as well as every jurisdictional police chief in college communities opposed this legislation meant nothing to the Idaho ideologues hell bent on kow-towing to the NRA’s desires regardless of how stupid it might be when given the common sense test”/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.
Question: Do you think any Republican respresentatives from North Idaho will stand up to the NRA and vote no on this bill?
On his Facebook wall, Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans announced moments ago: “It is official. I just filed the public disclosure paper work for my campaign for Representative in Idaho's Third Legislative District. Glorie and I have been overwhelmed by all of your support and words of encouragement over the last week. Now we can accept contributions for the campaign and begin our positive crusade to help lead Idaho to greater prosperity and freedom.”
Question: I'm curious how a three-way race would work out for state Rep. Frank Henderson's House seat among Len Crosby, Jeff Ward & a Rally Right/UCNI candidate (either Jeff Tyler or Cathyanne Nonini). Who would benefit most from a three-way split?
'The Explorer' will be unveiled, along with two other pieces of public art, at McEuen Field May 22.
The City Council this week voted unanimously that a bronze sculpture entitled “The Explorer” is a good fit for McEuen Park.The artwork depicts two boys and a girl hiking over a log. Initially, the piece included three boys, but the city’s Arts Commission asked the artist to include a girl in the mix and the sculpture was revised. Council members said the artwork conveys nature, adventure and the outdoors—all of which they deemed as important themes for the park. “The Explorer” will be placed along the Centennial Trail confluence near the base of Tubbs Hill at the southwest end of the park. Coeur d’Alene Recreation Director Steve Anthony said all three approved pieces of public art will be placed by May 22/Keith Erickson, Coeur d'Alene Today. More here.
DFO: You asked to see what the new piece of public art, approved for McEuen Field, looks like. Well, here it is (thanks to Keith Erickson).
Question: What do you think of the new piece of McEuen Field art?
McGruber (RE: Henderson, 2 others form Jobs PAC): On the surface this looks good but like any Political Action Committee, they have an agenda. To fund candidates for local, county and state office who have a singular job creation background. Henderson is 91 and Compton's in his eighties. Maybe holding on to power and keeping themselves relevant by king making. It also feels a little cliquish and good old boys as well. Good luck to any candidate who's not one of their cronies. Regular citizens with valuable experience that is not in the realm of creating jobs will be further discouraged from running for office IMO. Isn't Henderson supposed to be in Boise for the legislative session for the next several weeks?
Question: How will the Job Creators PAC fit in an environment that will have the Reagan Republicans and Rally Right/UCNI fiercely battling for all three Legislative District 3 seats?
The arena is packed full of buyers, sellers and cattle Wednesday at the Lewiston Livestock Market’s annual Cattlemen’s Week Feeder Sale. Story here. (Lewiston Tribune photo: Steve Hanks)
Four couples suing the state over Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage are asking a federal judge to rule in their favor without a trial, the AP reports, contending the facts of the case and recent federal court rulings elsewhere make it clear that Idaho's marriage laws violate the Constitution. The defendant in the case, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, also is asking the judge for an immediate ruling, contending that states and not the federal government have the right to define marriage and that same-sex marriages would harm Idaho's children. Both sides made their arguments Wednesday in legal briefs filed in Boise's U.S. District Court/Eye on Boise & AP. More here.
Question: Do you think that the two sides can get a quick ruling?
Twenty-four “Add the Words” protesters are blocking the main entrance to the Idaho Senate chamber on the 3rd floor of the state Capitol this morning. Former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, said the protesters are willing to be arrested rather than leave. It's the fourth protest this session by those who want consideration of legislation to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Human Rights Act to ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations; the bill, proposed for each of the past eight years, hasn't been introduced this year. In the first such protest, earlier this month, 44 people were arrested/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (Idaho Statesman file photo of earlier demonstration: Joe Jaszewski)
“… (T)he right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” So says the Second Amendment. It doesn't say, except at Brigham Young University-Idaho at Rexburg. ” … The people shall have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged. …” So says the Idaho Constitution. It doesn't say, except at Northwest Nazarene University at Nampa. Yet Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, and the National Rifle Association have self-limited their ambitions. They would allow students to carry a concealed weapon on campus — if that campus is owned by the state of Idaho. University of Idaho? Boise State University? Lewis-Clark State College? Yes. College of Idaho at Caldwell? No. Their bill would apply to students 21 years and older who have undergone a minimal amount of training to qualify for an enhanced concealed weapons permit. Its path to passage is greased by politicians scared witless of the gun lobby/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: The NRA is wrong re: guns on campus. Period. Any questions?
The slew of “litmus test” bills we've seen this session reminds me of a famous fairy tale, the one about the princess who kisses a frog that turns into a handsome prince. Apparently in some versions of the story, the prince only appears after the frog is thrown against a wall in disgust. Either way, the slimy creature represents something gross and undesirable, an unwanted amphibian that magically transforms into the girl's heartfelt desire. Like the frog, these bills seem faintly ridiculous at first. They do little but demonstrate the Legislature's commitment to guns, motherhood and apple pie. They rarely have much affect on Idaho's quality of life - yet they're often presented as major accomplishments, the type of important work lawmakers are sent here to perform. They raise an interesting question: Are voters getting what they want, or what they deserve?/William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Which bills do you consider the biggest waste of time during the 2014 Legislature?
The story started out this way
on one auspicious Northwest day:
A light bulb burst into a glow
inside the brain of DFO,
“Eureka! I shall place a bet
on this new fangled Internet,
put Hot Potatoes up online
and let the CommonTaters shine.”
To Higher Ups he made a vow:
“This blog will be the cat's meow.
To doubt or fear I'll not succumb,
for if we build it, they will come.
Working on this TaterNation,
I shall never take vacation!” [Note: this line is fiction]
The Bard of Sherman Avenue
First came the nearly nude jiggling barista gals at XXXtreme Espresso. Now come the bare-chested beefcake boys, flaunting their tanned man muscles at Hot Cup of Joe. Look, I don’t want to go Old Testament on you. But if this naughty coffee trend continues, I fear Spokane could turn into another … Sodom and Cremora. To get a look at this latest development on the caffeine scene, I motored over to the northeast corner of Spofford and Ash on Wednesday and found: “Tailor’s Bean Shack Espresso.” Huh? I soon discovered that this sign was from the former enterprise, which perhaps had to sell because the baristas wore too many garments. That’s definitely not the problem now/Doug Clark, SR. More here. (Colin Mulvany's SR photo: Chris Mullins, owner of Hot Cup of Joe, hands customer Kayte Gier her espresso drink Wednesday)
Question: I would be embarrassed going to a coffee stand that offered cheesecake or beef cake on the side. How about you?
U.S. Women’s Snowboarding Halfpipe gold medalist, Kaitlyn Farrington, talks with host David Letterman, on the set of the “Late Show with David Letterman,” on Wednesday in New York. Story here. (AP Photo/CBS, Jeffrey R. Staab)
Question: Do you have a talent or thing that you have done that could land you on the Letterman show?
Washington has held indirect talks with the Taliban over the possible transfer of five senior Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a U.S. soldier captured nearly five years ago, a senior Taliban official told the Associated Press. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 27, of Hailey, Idaho, was last seen in a video released in December, footage seen as “proof of life” demanded by the United States. Bergdahl is believed to be held in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is the only U.S. soldier to be captured in America’s longest war, which began with the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan for sheltering al-Qaida in 2001 in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks/Associated Press. (AP photo)
Question: Do you think this deal is going to get done?
Citizens and law enforcement officers are turning more and more to social media in order to track down criminals. On Monday morning Meagan Pattis, 27, left her Jeep Cherokee Sport, affectionately named “Wilma,” running in the driveway of her Coeur d'Alene home. Just minutes after she walked back into her residence, she heard the engine of her vehicle revving. By the time she got outside, the car was gone. “I contacted the police and then went to work,” Pattis said. “When I got to work I decided to send out a Facebook post with a picture of the car so people would be on the lookout. My roommate did the same thing.” It wasn't long before the Facebook post turned up a lead on the missing vehicle. One of her roommate's friends called and said a vehicle with matching plates had parked in the driveway of his Hauser home/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: How does the social media keep you aware of possible criminal activity in your neighborhood?
23 Days & Counting (to re-register as a Republican to vote in the closed GOPrimary in May): There are plenty of delicious rumors swirling around out there as we head toward spring and the official launch of the candidate announcement period. Frank Henderson's House District 3B seat seems to be the one getting the most attention. But the Rally Right/UCNI wing hasn't trotted out its lineup. Huckleberries hears … RR/UCNI candidate Marc Eberlein will be back, to challenge Commissioner Todd Tondee. There are other names out there. But we'll wait to see things firm up before mentioning them here. Now for today's Wild Card …
Atlanta Braves pitcher Kris Medlen holds some of his hair shaved to help raise awareness and funding for cancer research at baseball spring training camp earlier today in Kissimmee Fla. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton)
Question: Would you shave your head to raise money for cancer research — or to show your support for a friend or loved one? Moi? Absolutely. I have once.
DFO: I felt sorry when my son entered the various science fairs through the years. I could offer him no help. My worst subjects in high school/college were science & math. He soldiered on & got a PhD in neuroscience. So I don't think he needed the old man's help. (BTW, I didn't help him all that much in Pinewood Derbys either.)
Question: Were you able to help your kids with their Science Fair projects?
Some say this is the golden age of television, with shows like The Good Wife and House of Cards, along with new services that allow you to watch just about any of it on any screen at any time. And it's all because we are ponying up more and more for cable, Internet, Netflix, etc. The shows are addictive, and enough people continue to pay for it. But for how long? Get ready, because Comcast — already the largest media company on the planet, and looking to get even more monopoly-ish by taking over Time Warner Cable — may slap a pay meter on your Internet usage sometime soon. And other new service fees are on the way thanks to a recent FCC ruling allowing “variable pricing”/Publisher Ted S. McGregor Jr., Inlander. More here.
Question: How much do you currently pay for cable-TV/Internet/cell phones? And/or: How much more are you willing to pay?
Time 2 Vote …
Viktoria Helgesson of Sweden falls as she competes in the women's short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics earlier today in Sochi, Russia. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
DFO: I would like to see more of you take time to vote in daily Cutline Contest. You don't have to be a participant to vote.
Tuesday Winner — Psalm37: German Chancellor Merkel wins a major award of the newest leg lamp model. “Careful when you move it to my office, she says, because its frag-geee-leee! You can see Wednesday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.
Instructor Kiley Nelson looks at vendor exhibits at the North Idaho College Workforce Training Center in Post Falls during the 6th annual Safety Fest of the Great Northwest today. Safety Fest offers a chance for companies in construction and general industry to receive free safety training for their employees from the area’s best safety instructors. Anyone is invited to attend with about 400 people attending the event this year. Thursday is the last day classes are being offered such as Workplace Violence – Dealing with Hostile Individuals, OSHA General Industry, OSHA Construction, and Respiratory Protection, among others. Call the NIC Workforce Training Center at (208) 769-3333 to register or check class availability. (NIC Press Room photo: Tom Greene)
On her Facebook wall, Danielle Ahrens expresses her displeasure at state Sen. Shawn Keough's no vote on the guns-on-campus bill, sponsored by Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa: “My opponent voted against Campus arry today in the Senate as she has voted against it in 2008. The Second Amendment, Shall not be infringed. Read it, good senator and stop this war on Women. You have no right to deny me my right to protect myself!”
Question: War on women?
… The some GOP representatives in the Idaho House are feeling bullied by the National Rifle Association to support the guns-on-campus law, sponsored by state Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, and secretly admire the courage of state Sens. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, and John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, to vote against it. Since all eight colleges in the state and several police chiefs, including Boise's, have taken a stand against this ridiculous legislation, I'd say that the NRA must have more clout than the constituencies of nervous Republicans. As a reminder to the Nervous Nellies, 60 percent of Hucks Nation said it wouldn't vote for a legislative incumbent who supports McKenzie's bill. Only 17.62% would.
Question: Is it possible to support guns & the 2nd Amendment and oppose McKenzie's bill?
Of this magazine cover provided by http://www.otago.ac.nz/ Paul Turner/The Slice posts: “Not covered in journalism school.” And: “In the end, of course, smoking is what would do him in.
YouTube: Cat Curling … H/T: Sisyphus
Dunno about you, but i'd like to see cat curling become an Olympic sport — you know, curling but with cats. Jenna Mullins of ELoves online explains the principle of cat curling: “Honestly, if these athletes were pushing fluffy cats along the ice and trying to hit other fluffy cats that are in the circle thing (we don't understand curling that well), then we would be watching this sport 24/7.” I can think of a blog sub who would be a natural at cat curling. Story here. (SR file photo)
Question: Besides cat curling, what other sports would you like to see in the Olympics?
Gov. Butch Otter is shown with Federated College Republicans chairman Luke Kilcup at a Republican Women's luncheon. Kilcup will be the speaker for the Panhandle Pachyderm Club luncheon Friday. (File photo: Duane Rasmussen)
Here's the guest speakers for the dueling Republican luncheons Thursday:
Question: Which guest speaker would you rather hear?
Administrators at Coeur d'Alene High sent out the following letter to parents of high schoolers this morning:
“As part of our continued effort to make CHS safe & secure for all students & faculty alike, the 2nd phase of our security plan will begin tomorrow, 2/20/14. Please note the following. Beginning 2/20/14, the student entrance will be open before school & during passing periods only. It will otherwise be locked during class time & lunch. No exceptions. All visitors, students arriving late, Ktech students or students returning from lunch, must enter through the front of school using the north entrance. Students arriving under the aforementioned conditions must present their student ID towards the camera located in the front lobby for entry to the building. Visitors to CHS must have valid Identification & check into the front office. We appreciate your support in this effort to make CHS a safe environment for learning & growing.”
Ashley Wagner of the United States reacts as she waits in the results area after completing her routine in the women's short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics earlier today in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
I don't go out of my way to find out the results of the Winter Olympics before the taped showing of the day's activities are provided between 8 & 11 each weekday night. But I can't help finding out most, as a result of perusing the AP photo wire for pictures to post, Twitter and Facebook. By the end of the day, I know what most of the Americans have done. That takes some of the excitement out of the evening viewing. But it also removes some of the tension. So here's my question:
Question: Do you studiously avoid finding out the results of the Winter Olympics prematurely?
Old Crow (RE: Robber accosts female at North Idaho College): It's (hoodies) an anti-social statement worn as a badge of intimidation. Such self-expression by dress in society is at least as old as the James Dean era. Along with all the other negative social and cultural indicators that have arisn since the 1960s, this one too is associated with an increasingly violent sub-culture.
Question: Are you intimidated by young people, especially young males, wearing hoodies?
How much do you know about locally born Olympians, the business of marijuana and other news of note? Find out in our weekly news quiz, where you could win two movie tickets or a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel simply by entering. Take the News Quiz here.
The House has agreed unanimously to return HB 427, Rep. Lynn Luker’s religious freedom expansion bill, to the House State Affairs Committee. Luker told the AP this morning that the bill likely won’t come up again this session. “HB 427 has been on the amending order for some time,” Luker told the House this morning. “The reason for that was it was sent here to respond to concerns that were addressed in the public testimony in the State Affairs Committee. Due to continuing comments, many constructive, it’s appropriate to return it to the committee to see if some of those concerns can be balanced.” House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, said, “It's not coming back this session”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
In order to understand the effects of climate change in Idaho, you need to know snow. And there’s only one best way to learn about snow, says Jamie Esler, a science teacher from Coeur d’Alene’s Lake City High School. “So we take them to the snow.” Esler was named Idaho’s teacher of the year in November — for working to get high school students into the laboratory of the great outdoors. The centerpiece of his efforts, the Confluence Project, brings together students from six high schools: Idaho’s Lake City, Lewiston, Potlatch, Post Falls, St. Maries high schools, and eastern Washington’s Gar-Pal high school. Four more schools want in on the project next year. But when Esler came to the Statehouse this week, he shared a success story and delivered a challenge. Programs like his need stable, dependable state funding to survive and grow/Kevin Richert, IdahoED News. More here.
Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the aqua balaclava, center, and Maria Alekhina in the red balaclava, left, perform next to the Olympic rings in Sochi, Russia, earlier today. Cossack militia attacked the punk group with horsewhips earlier in the day as the artists — who have feuded with Vladmir Putin's government for years — tried to perform under a sign advertising the Sochi Olympics. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Question: Attacked with horsewhips? Don't you appreciate our freedom of speech a bit more?
Idaho’s state-based health insurance exchange has now enrolled 38,000 people in health insurance, state Department of Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong told lawmakers today. And another 56,000 are “in the queue,” in the process of enrolling. “Our original target was 42,000,” he said, for signups by the end of the open enrollment period at the end of March. “Very rapidly, Idaho’s enrollment … has come up”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
More Eye on Boise stories from this AM:
Question: Could it be that the state-based health insurance exchange is more popular with rank-and-file Idahoans than it is with Republican politicians?
Dog owner Rick Clubb holds up the casing of the bullet that killed his dog Hooch Tuesday. A Filer police officer shot and killed Clubb's dog outside of Filer City Council chambers Feb. 8. Story here. (AP Photo/The Times-News, Drew Nash)
Senate Bill 1254, which received Senate approval Tuesday, is wrong for North Idaho College and is wrong for higher education campuses throughout the state. Why? The NIC Board of Trustees, the governing boards of each of the other community colleges and each of the four-year institutions, as well as many law enforcement and municipal authorities have examined the proposed bill and have publicly opposed it. Why? Idaho Code 18-3302J presently provides that ordinances regulating firearms “may not apply or affect …the authority of …the boards of trustees of each of the community colleges… to regulate in matters relating to firearms.” Senate Bill 1254 seeks to change that/Chairman Ken Howard of the North Idaho College Board of Trustees. More here.
Yesterday, I hinted that a Post Falls businessman was about to jump into the House District 3B race for the seat now held by retiring state Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls. Banker Len Crosby was the individual I had in mind. After I hinted at the prospect, a well-connected individual called to assure me that Len was noncommittal at best. However, I keep hearing from other circles that he's in. So, this morning, I called Len who's on vacation in Hawaii. He said he will announce his decision in a few days — and considers it an honor to be asked to try to fill Henderson's shoes and continue to work on issues that the 91YO representative has set in motion. My guess at this point — and it's only a guess — is that Len's in. If Len decides to run, he'll join Reagan Republican leader Jeff Ward, who has also announced for the position. Jeff Tyler and Sen. Bob Nonini's wife, Cathyanne, are also rumored to be considering the post. Stay tuned.
Idaho Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, has joined with two retired senators from his district to form a new PAC that will interview legislative candidates and endorse and support those with the most skill at economic development. Henderson is joining former GOP Sens. Jim Hammond and Dick Compton in the new political action committee, which they’ve dubbed “Job Creators PAC.” The three are filling its coffers with their leftover campaign funds; Henderson, 91, is retiring after his current term in the House/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: How will this Job Creators PAC play in the coming legislative/courthouse races in Kootenai County?
The Planning and Development Department in Pocatello has approved a variance to convert a former Mexican restaurant into an Islamic center or mosque. A hearing examiner issued the findings of fact Tuesday allowing a variance for a religious building to be permitted in an area zoned for commercial use. The Islamic Society of Southeastern Idaho applied for the variance seeking to create a place of worship for Muslims as well as an educational center. A planning and zoning commission meeting on Feb. 13 turned into a religious discussion. Supporters say the center is needed to meet the growing needs of Muslim students at Idaho State University. But others told the commission they feared for their safety if the Islamic center was approved/Associated Press.
Question: Would you have a problem if Muslims in North Idaho wanted to located a mosque in the Coeur d'Alene area?
Robbery suspect description: White male, early 20’s, 6’0 tall, extra skinny, wearing a black hoodie pulled over his head, black sweat pants, and new Nike white tennis shoes with a red swish on them.
Coeur d’Alene Police Detectives are investigating a robbery that occurred this morning at 5:57 am in the vicinity of Garden Ave. and Hubbard Street. A 19 year-old female victim reported she was walking toward the NIC campus when she saw a male walking toward her on the sidewalk. She said that when he got within approximately six feet of her location he yelled at her to give him her backpack. She refused and the male lunged at her, and forcibly removed the bag from her shoulder. The victim fell backward into some nearby bushes as a result of the struggle. No weapon was displayed or mentioned during the robbery. She stated that she has never seen the male on campus before/Coeur d'Alene Police Department via Twitter. More here.
Aspirational slogans such as “Idaho is Too Great to Hate” and “Idaho: the Human Rights State” emerged over the past three decades as local human rights activists battled white supremacists and the image problems they brought to the state. The sad reality, however, is that Idahoans have long sung variations of “Dixie” in states’ rights harmony with white Southerners on race. But Idaho residents are loath to admit this: “We’ve had no serious problem with racism here,” they argue, defensively. “The Hayden Lake white supremacists were outside agitators from California.” “East Coast newspapers gave us an unfair reputation”/Jill Gill, Boise State Blue Review. More here.
To hear all the harrumphing going on about it, you'd think Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter tripped on his shoe laces again when he said U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill, pictured, does not share Idaho values. Speaking to a Capitol for a Day group at Craigmont Feb. 7, Otter bemoaned the federal judge's ruling sealing off U.S. Highway 12 from Otter's friends in the megaload industry. Winmill “doesn't share all of the enthusiasm for the marketplace and freedom that we do in Idaho,” Otter said. Harrumph, wrote the Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey. Just look at the sterling resume/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Is it possible that Gov. Butch Otter truly does reflect Idaho values well (read to end of editorial)?
Idaho taxpayers have paid private attorneys more than $18 million in the past three years to do the state’s legal work, in large part because the Idaho attorney general’s office doesn’t have the staff to handle the caseload. The Associated Press obtained the payment information through a public-records request to the Idaho state controller’s office. It shows that Idaho government agencies have paid private law firms more than $18 million since fiscal year 2011, including about $3 million for attorneys who serve as administrative hearing officers. The private law firms charge the state anywhere from $125 to more than $400 an hour, compared to the $54 per hour it costs to have one of the state’s staff attorneys do the job/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Penny wise, pound foolish?
When emotion rules, reason suffers. Idaho trappers feel the noose of potential rule changes tightening around their livelihoods, and some respond angrily to proposed incursions on their activity. Pet owners feel threatened by the hidden traps that have recently injured or killed family friends not far from hiking trails, and their emotions, too, run hot. On the periphery of these two central figures in the trapping debate are many others with strong feelings: people who appreciate the traps that erase predators near populated areas, people who hate the traps based on considerations of cruelty, people who approve of trapping because it's an extension of hunting, people who object to trapping because it's an extension of hunting/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.
Question: Would you like to see trapping in Idaho reined in?
Item: Four Corners moves forward/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press
More here: The Coeur d'Alene City Council voted Tuesday evening to move forward with a master planning process for the “Four Corners” area of the city. Council directed city staff to seek proposals from qualified land-use planning companies and to request funding for the project from the Lake City Development Corp. The city's Parks and Recreation Committee has held a series of public meetings on the Four Corners Project and met with dozens of stakeholder groups to get an idea of how residents would like to see that area develop, said Councilman Ron Edinger. Edinger said the city's General Services Committee also recommended moving forward with the master planning project.
Question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much interest do you have in the Four Corners?
24 Days & Counting (to re-register as a Republican to vote in the closed GOPrimary in May): I'm expecting the announcement of a candidate with a business background for the House District 3B seat now held by Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls. It'll also be interesting to see if a solid candidate emerges to challenge state Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, who opposes all thing LCDC and was totally involved in the failed 2012 Coeur d'Alene recall effort. As soon as I have something solid re: local races, you'll know. Now for today's Wild Card …
Question: In what small way do you measure success?
Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, has just announced that he plans to pull his religious freedom expansion bill, HB 427, from the House and ask that it be returned to committee. “The intent of the bill was to provide a shield to protect the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment in light of the variety of increasing government mandates,” Luker said in a statement. “However, many misinterpreted the intent to be a sword for discrimination. I respect the concerns that I heard and therefore want to find the right language to balance those concerns”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Time 2 Vote …
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, watches the performance of a carnival dancer during a reception for carnival clubs from all over Germany at the chancellery in Berlin earlier today. Every year during the carnival season the German Chancellor welcomes the carnival clubs to honor the maintenance of the tradition. Merkel uses crutches after a skiing accident. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Monday Winner — fidjt, with 6 likes: “I would have taken him for a boxer man.” You can see Monday photo & all Cutline Contest entries here.
Kelly Olynyk was in town for Gonzaga Senior Night last Saturday to watch the Zags beat Loyola at McCarthey Athletic Center. Story here. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)
Paul Turner/The Slice blog publishes this Saturday Evening Post magazine cover from Feb. 18, 1961. (Source: www.saturdayeveningpost.com)
HucksOnline numbers (for Monday, Feb. 17): 8179 page-views/4530 unique views
Elizabeth King has been humbled in the days following the theft of equipment from the Moscow Special Olympics by an outpouring of community support. Equipment and monetary donations have poured in over the past few days to compensate for $4,000 in equipment that was reported stolen from the team's Moscow storage unit near the intersection of South Main Street and Palouse River Drive. The help has ensured the team will get to compete in the coming State Winter Games. King, who is the coach of the Moscow Rebel Tigers, said she discovered the theft about 8:30 a.m. Saturday just before the team's weekly practice. King reported the break-in to the Moscow Police Department when she realized a storage container holding snowshoes and cross-country ski boots was missing. “The whole tub was gone,” she said/Elizabeth Rudd, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: I don't know whether to be amazed at another warm show of community spirit in the panhandle or appalled by the smallness of heart that someone would have to have to commit this crime. What say you?
Used snail mail to make a payment to the Idaho Tax Commission about 10 days ago. Over the weekend, I received the original envelop and payment inside a U.S. Postal Service envelope. Seems the payment got caught in a post office machine and mangled. Strangely, it seems to have been dropped in water, too, since the ink on the check was mostly washed off. I give the USPS props for getting the payment back to me in time to send in another payment before the deadline. However, I have a question for you …
Question: Should I ask the post office for the stamp back? I don't need the money, of course. But it would be nice to make a point, for those times in the past, when the post office returned a payment or letter for lack of a penny or 2 worth of postage. What would you do?
Some preschoolers don’t come to kindergarten prepared to learn, state superintendent Tom Luna said, and Idaho “would be remiss to ignore that.” Still, Luna said he doesn’t support a pre-K pilot bill, unveiled more than a month ago by Boise Democratic Rep. Hy Kloc. “I don’t think we’re ready to do even what he’s suggesting all over the state,” Luna said Tuesday afternoon. The pre-K issue came up during a wide-ranging question-and-answer session at a forum sponsored by Boise State University’s Andrus Center for Public Policy. And Luna conceded that he has “learned a lot” about the issue in his seven years in office/Kevin Richert, IdahoED News. More here.
DFO: I began school in the first grade at age 5. No kindergarten. No pre-kindergarten. I was the third youngest student in my graduating high school class. Sometimes, I wished my mother would have held onto me until I was 6. Then, I would have been one of the oldest ones in my class. Probably affected my sports play somewhat. But I was still a decent baseball player and wrestler.
Question: Did you go to kindergarten?
State Sen. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston, debates earlier today in the Capitol against a bill that would add Idaho to the short list of states that allow concealed weapons on college and university campuses in Boise, Idaho. The measure passed 25-10. Johnson was one of just three Republicans who joined the seven minority Democrats opposed to the bill. (AP Photo/John Miller)
DFO: In North Idaho, Keough & Goedde against, Nonini & Vick for. Remember that. I'll help you do so.
Six Spokane County sheriff’s deputies fired the shots last week that killed Jed Zillmer, a 23-year-old Afghanistan war veteran who police have said threatened to kill civilians and himself after a high-speed chase. The Sheriff’s Office released the names of the deputies involved per agency protocol Tuesday morning. Among the shooters was Deputy Brian Hirzel (pictured), of Hayden, a five-year veteran of the agency who shot and killed Wayne Scott Creach, 74, in 2010. Other deputies involved were Brett Hubbell, Jeff Thurman, Dale Moyer, Ryan Walter and Randy Watts. Watts has spent the least amount of time with the Sheriff’s Office, deputized 10 months ago, according to a news release. The other deputies have at least five years of experience with the force and most have earned commendations for their work/SR. More here.
Melba Superintendent Andy Grover announced Tuesday he will run for state superintendent of public instruction. “It’s all happened in the last week and it’s crazy,” said Grover, who was waiting for Gooding School District Superintendent Heather Williams to make her decision. She said on Thursday she will not run. Grover has worked for the Melba School District for seven years, the last four as superintendent. Under his leadership, Melba’s elementary and second schools each received four stars in Idaho’s five-star rating system. “It’s time for a state superintendent to have been a district superintendent,” Gover said/Clark Corbin, IdahoED News. More here.
Question: What kind of background experience do you want your state Superintendent of Schools to have?
The Senate has voted 25-10 in favor of SB 1254, the bill to allow guns on Idaho public college campuses. The measure now moves to the House side; to become law, it needs passage there and the governor’s signature. All seven Senate Democrats by just three Republicans in opposing the bill, Sens. Goedde, Johnson and Keough. During the roll call, Goedde asked for 60 seconds to explain his vote. “I’m really conflicted with this,” he said. “I am in favor of local control, but I also respect the 2nd Amendment.” More here.
Question: An incredibly reckless vote. Thoughts?
Monday’s premiere of the first New York-based “Tonight” show in 42 years brought in 11.3 million viewers, the second-largest audience for the show since the first farewell “Tonight” show for Jay Leno in 2009. (The biggest total since 2009 was Mr. Leno’s second, and apparently final, finale earlier this month.) NBC also had reason to celebrate how well Mr. Fallon did with viewers who bring in premium advertising rates for late-night television. The premiere averaged a 3.8 rating among viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, a number that eclipsed every prime-time show on ABC, CBS and Fox last week/New York Times. More here.
Question: Did you watch the premier of Jimmy Fallon's “Tonight” show? Thoughts?
U.S. Sen. Jim Risch's comments to the Idaho Legislature today:
Risch told the Senate, “The financial condition of the country is just awful. … The bad news is there’s really nothing on track to turn this around. I’ve been in public service all my life, and very few things shock me any more, but the cavalier attitude that people have about money back there is just absolutely staggering.” He said when anyone proposes less spending, “They look at you like you got three heads – the only way they’re willing to compromise is if you agree to spend more money to increase programs and what have you, but if you want to start rolling things back, you don’t get a seat at that table.” Risch said, “In the long haul, I am incredibly optimistic for this country. In the short haul, things don’t look very good.” More from Eye on Boise here.
Question: Are you optimistic re: the future of this country?
Wayne Manis, who was in charge of the region's FBI (and is father to CSB Trustee Christa Hazel), has written a book about his experiences, “The Street Agent.” Writes Wayne:
“Within the FBI, the street agent is known as the heart of the Bureau. A street agent discovers and detects criminal activity. He then decides how best to attack it. Once the target is defined and a plan is formulated, the street agent ‘hits the bricks’ and systematically dismantles and destroys the criminal enterprise. I was known as a street agent and so it is fitting that I have entitled my manuscript The Street Agent. Few agents in the history of the FBI have traveled as diverse a course as I did during my career. On the extreme left, I was undercover with the violent faction of “The Weather Underground.” On the extreme right, I worked with the “Ku Klux Klan” and investigated the Aryan Nations. Somewhere in between found me with the Mafia and their related organized crime figures.” More here.
On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., writes about this photo: “A million baby spiders (or possibly several hundred).
I was checking out the high water on the river and noticed a cluster of spiderlings. It looked like they were seeking higher ground.”
Question: Does this photo give you the creeps?
To: Huckleberries Online: If Vito can total appropriations and you can count down days until filing, how about a countdown (or running total) of premature deaths and unwarranted expenses due to lack of insurance in the Medicaid expansion population. Per the Harvard school of Medicine and Public Health, about 120 excess deaths a year in the 85,000 uncovered Idahoans. Per the MIlliman and Leavitt analyses, about $90 million in each of 2014, 2015 and 2016 or $8.5 million each month. So as of February 1 we have accepted $8.5 million in unneeded, duplicative expense and 10 premature deaths. Because we hate Obamacare more than we care about our citizens/House Minority Leader John Rusche, MD, FAAP.
This file image provided by IntelCenter on Dec. 8, 2010, shows a frame grab from a video released by the Taliban containing footage of captured Idahoan Bowe Bergdahl. The USA has renewed efforts to free Bergdahl. See below. (AP file photo)
JohnA: I just checked out the Ice Dancing Pairs competition won by an American couple. It's not my thing but I was astounded when I read they had practiced together for 29,000 hours over 17 years. That's over 33 hours a week, every week for 17 years. Basically, ever since they were 8 or 9 years old. I'm thinking that's more time than most married couples spend together over 17 years. Amazing dedication and a well earned gold metal.
Question: Would you be willing to spend 29,000 hours over 17 years to obtain a goal?
It hasn't taken long for Smiley Bill McCrory at OpenCDA.com to find something wrong with Mayor Steve Widmyer's administration. On Valentine's Day, McCrory dipped his pen into the usual poison (actually that's not a good analogy in this cyber era) and took the mayor to task for nominating Nancy White (notice the three names that Bill uses, as though Nancy was some sort of serious felon) to the city Arts Commission. Nancy? In the controversial 2009 election that was challenged by now County Clerk Jim Brannon, Nancy registered and voted illegally. That came out in the lengthy court action following Brannon's 5-vote loss to Mike Kennedy. She received 90 days of unsupervised probation and a withheld judgment. Not exactly Bonnie of Bonnie & Clyde fame. But Bill “He Who Is Without Sin” McCrory considers the taint on Nancy Ellen White to preclude her from public service on the city Arts Commission. Who knows? Maybe she'll favor Canadian artists to local ones. You can read Smiley Bill's rant here.
DFO: I wonder why McCrory didn't mention that the mayor graciously appointed McCrory's sidekick, Mary Souza, to the citizens board assigned to help pick a new police chief?
Question: Do you see any problems with Nancy White serving on the city Arts Commission?
Lavatory lockdown, a barfing brat and the unforgettable squeeze of plump friction. The lucky ducks have landed in my Flight-Fright contest. You may recall that last week I offered prizes for the most memorable tales of flying the unfriendly skies. In a few days I will be heading to Southern California to meet up with the kids. And due to my past air terrors, I am already dreading what fresh misery I might encounter. (Example: Once on a trip to Istanbul, I dropped my beautiful leather-bound reporter’s notebook into the befouled blue waters of the jetliner’s toilet.) So I figured that hearing some tales that were worse than mine would ease my fears. I base this philosophy on the part in one of my favorite Steve Goodman songs that goes, “It ain’t hard to get along with somebody else’s troubles”/Doug Clark, SR. More here.
Question: Describe your worst experience during a flight?
This may be welcome news for those who suffer from coulrophobia, but it's no joke to those who agree with Cole Porter that “all the world loves a clown“: “Circus folk fear a national clown shortage is on the horizon,” New York's Daily News reports. “Membership at the country's largest trade organizations for the jokesters has plunged over the past decade as declining interest, old age and higher standards among employers align against Krusty, Bozo and their crimson-nosed colleagues”/Mark Memmott, Boise State Public Radio. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: How can there be a clown shortage when we still have Congress and the Idaho Legislature is in session?
House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, is proposing legislation this morning to cut Idaho’s corporate and individual income tax rates, in all brackets, by a tenth of a percent a year for the next six years. The cost to the state general fund would be roughly $21 million a year for each cut, for a total of $126 million a year by the sixth year. By the end, that would bring Idaho’s top individual and corporate income tax rate down to 6.8 percent from the current 7.4 percent, which Moyle noted is below Montana’s rate of 6.9 percent/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Izzit just me, or is there better places to invest $126M than income tax rate cuts? Mebbe abolishing sales tax for groceries?
There's a Democrat running for Idaho governor. His name is A.J. Balukoff. Anybody seen him, lately? Anybody heard from him? After all, here's a fellow virtually unknown outside the small circle of people who follow his work on the Boise School Board. And he's had opportunity after opportunity to spotlight the waste, fraud and abuse swirling in and around Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter. Otter waited until the last possible minute to concede private management of Idaho's violence-plagued “gladiator school,” the Idaho Correctional Center, had to end. Rather than get to the bottom of how much the ICC contractor, Corrections Corp. of America, bilked Idaho taxpayers for unworked shifts, Otter rebuffed Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's call for a criminal investigation. What about that, Mr. Balukoff?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Has anyone seen A.J. Balukoff?
State Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, addresses an audience of about 60 people at the Garden Plaza Center in Post Falls Monday evening. Fulcher, who is trying to unseat two-term Republican Gov. Butch Otter in the GOPrimary this spring, has taken a week off from the Legislature to campaign. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)
Item: Vision adjustment: Organizers seek way to keep volunteers involved in plan implementation/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: It has been nearly a year since the CDA 2030 project was started to gauge the community's vision for what the greater Coeur d'Alene area should look like in the year 2030, and now they are in the home stretch. The CDA 2030 organizers have spent most of the past year gathering both scientific and not-so-scientific input from thousands of Kootenai County residents and analyzing that data to determine the key areas where residents would like to see community leaders focus their attention into the future. Organizers recently reached out to the community looking for volunteers to help develop an implementation plan based on that data, and found there is much more interest than they suspected.
Question: What impact will Vision 2030 have on future growth of Coeur d'Alene?
When North Idaho College instructor Molly Michaud was awarded tenure last spring, she excitedly told one of her friends about it. “He said, 'Molly, that is so awesome. What is your bonus?'” Michaud shared this anecdote with NIC trustees during last week's public workshop about tenure at the college, and the observers, many of them faculty members, chuckled when she did. “That's the thing. I just have the status of tenure. At this college, it's not tied to monetary gain,” Michaud said. Tenure is a contractual right awarded to full-time faculty members after a four-year period of evaluations. It is not guaranteed job protection, but offers protection from being terminated without cause/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Is $50,000 per year a good base salary for NIC instructors?
25 Days & Counting (to re-register as a Republican): Today begins the countdown on Huckleberries Online to remind partisans registered w/other Idaho political parties that we're all Republicans now. You have 25 days to register as a Republican (through affiliation process) to vote in closed 2014 GOPrimary. Many (most? all?) partisan, local races will be decided in the GOP primaries. If you want to make your voice heard, you need to re-register by March 14. (This does not apply to unaffiliated voters who can elect to register as late as the day of the primary.) So are you going to join the growing Clothespin Republican movement & help decide who are courthouse & legislative elected officials will be? Now for today's Wild Card …