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Huckleberries Online

Archive for March 2014

Wild Card/Monday — 3.31.14

Mrs. O had warned me several times not to leave my cell phone lying around because Pup Huckleberry might think it's a chew toy. Well, Sunday I left my cell phone lying around. And Huckleberry used it as a chew toy. I still can field calls. But I have a hard time texting because she punctured the face of the phone. Now, I can't see the upper lefthand third of any texts. Oh well, it was time for a new cell phone anyway. Be careful out there. Here's the first Wild Card of the work week …

Parting Shot — 3.31.14

Richard Troxell performs his rendition of the national anthem before an opening day baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox in Baltimore earlier today. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Top Story: Bjorn Calls For Unity

It's no secret that there is turmoil in the local Republican Party, but this primary election season, many are hoping that will change. “There has been an organized effort to take the party over and it has been successful,” said Duane Rasmussen, who is considered an “establishment” Republican. “The ideology of the party has changed.” That has motivated Rasmussen and a number of other Republicans to organize an effort to reclaim control of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee. Even some of those who helped organize the takeover of the GOP, which started in 2008, are hoping there will be some change in the party after the upcoming May 20 primary election. “Yes, I have had a change of heart, and here is why I have had a change of heart,” said Bjorn Handeen, pictured, who is considered a Ron Paul Republican. “We took over the party all across the state and we were still unable to change much”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: What would it take for the local GOP to mend itself?

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.31.14

  • 5:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 30-31 here.
  • 5:04 p.m. 2-vehicle crash reported @ 6th Street/Birch Avenue, unknown if injuries.
  • 4:48 p.m. Caller reports: Male is on one side of guardrail & female on other, possibly to jump, on Spokane Street bridge over I-90. The male is holding out his hand to her. A vehicle is parked nearby.
  • 4:47 p.m. Visitor to KCSD wants to see a deputy re: possible fraud.
  • 4:27 p.m. Motorcyclist @ w/b I-90 before turning @ H41/Post Falls was popping wheelies.
  • 4:21 p.m. Coeur d'Alene caller reports strong smell of marijuana coming from neighbor's apartment.
  • 14 more items + AM Scanner Traffic below

Cutline Contest — 3.31.14

Time 2 vote …

Isla Roberts looks at photographers as a large blue Morpho butterfly lands on her face, as she and other children take part in a media call for a new exhibition on tropical butterflies in a temporary venue outside the Natural History Museum Monday earlier today. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Weekend Winner — Arpie, with 17 likes: Dan looks around wondering who might teach him the secret handshake; and runnerup: Sherlock, with 15 likes: In order to better fit in, Dan sets his watch back 50 years. You can see Weekend Photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

Youth Health Idaho Sails Smoothly

The big deadline is here for Americans to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Those with reported an extreme number of questions coming into their call center with 1,096 people calling by 5 p.m. Monday. “We're breaking all records, the call center staff is working diligently. They're not even taking lunch they are working to make sure people can start this process and get through,” said Jody Olson, communications director for However, helpers assured people that everything was under control/Andrea Lutz, KTVB. More here.

Question: Did you sign up with Your Health Idaho?

PM Headlines — 3.31.14

The “glass ceiling” in Herman Ronnenberg's home isn't like any ordinary skylight. His ceiling is on the ground level of a multi-story house and the glass is made up of hundreds of beer bottles hanging in lines from string. Story here. (Lewiston Tribune photo: Barry Kough)

Ex Oregon Coach To Head WSU Men

Bill Moos enjoyed hiring Ernie Kent so much that he decided to do it again. Kent has been hired by Washington State athletic director Moos as the school’s new men’s basketball coach. Kent was signed to a five-year rollover contract. … Kent was previously hired by Moos at the University of Oregon in 1997, where he coached for 13 years. He has been working as a college basketball analyst for the last three years, first with Fox Sports Net and then the Pac-12 Networks. Kent led the Ducks to a 235-174 record and five NCAA tournament appearances in his time at UO. The Ducks made it to the Elite Eight in 2002 and returned in 2007. He also took the Ducks to two NIT Final Fours/Jacob Thorpe, SR. More here. (Photo by Rick Bowmer: Former Oregon men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent has been named the basketball coach at Washington State)

Question: Is this a good pick?

The Fickle Vicissitudes Of Spring

You wake up in the morning, drink your coffee, brush your teeth and get dressed. You put on your underwear, your shorts, your tank top, your jeans, your pullover, your fleece, your boots and your coat. Because, in the course of this one day, you're going to need them all. It's spring. You go outside to work in the garden. The birds are singing and the sun is shining. You dig through the compost pile and spread the soft dirt on the ground. You toss out a few hardy seeds and pat them down tenderly, like tucking a baby into its crib. Then the wind starts to blow and you head back into the house and within minutes 3 inches of snow covers the ground. Goodbye seeds. It's spring. … Vicissitude. There's a word for you. I used to think it was a vinegary kind of dressing you put on your salad, but then I developed my vocabulary and learned it describes the wicked changeability of weather in early spring/Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: How do you dress to prepare outdoor weather during Inland Northwest springs?

Idaho Depends On Federal Gummint

The study, released last week by the personal finance website WalletHub, ranked Idaho 29th in the nation for the percentage of federal dollars it gets versus the taxes it pays. Overall, the study ranked Idaho 31st among states for its dependence on the federal government - with a higher ranking meaning more dependency. That put 19 other states more dependent on federal dollars than Idaho. Several factors went into the WalletHub ranking. With 35.16 percent of state revenue coming from the federal government, Idaho is 33rd among all the states, WalletHub reported. Idaho ranks 25th for the number of federal workers per capita. New Mexico and Mississippi tied for the most-dependent state, followed by Alabama, Louisiana, Montana and Maine/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: How can federal government-hating Idaho be so dependent on the federal government?

Spring Lambs On The Prairie

A heifer by the name of Daisy investigates the new arrivals.  The lambs (about 1 hour old when this photo was taken) will probably escape any association with mint sauce since they will join a herd of sheep used to train sheep dogs. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

FHB: Give Me Taste, Not Gluten Fee

On her Facebook wall, Frum Helen Back writes: “Sometimes I feel like I've lived too long. Today was one of those days. There were no Lacey's at Costco. Lacey's are probably the most sinful cookie ever. They are so deliciously filled with calories. There were no Lacey's but plenty of seaweed squares. Those wouldn't taste good even if they were covered with chocolate. And there were more than enough items that were organic and gluten free. I figure if gluten is bad I would have been dead a long time ago. Maybe it's bad to not have gluten. I have no idea what it is. Then I found a big display of bread made with ancient grains. At that point I decided that Costco is not a good place for me to shop. I had the urge to ask other shoppers if they ate this crap because they thought it would let them live forever. Instead I decided to go home and eat real food that's unhealthy. Besides, I have no desire to live forever.

Question: Any gluten free advocates out there?

McEuen Gets New Freedom Tree

Workers plant the new Freedom Tree at McEuen Field. (Coeur d'Alene Today photo: Keith Erickson)

It stands 16 feet tall now, but the Freedom Tree, which was planted this afternoon on the east end of McEuen Park near the Veterans Memorial, will reach a maximum height of 50 to 75 feet with a spread of 10 to 20 feet. The Colorado Blue Spruce is known for its magnificent silver blue-green appearance. It is rated as one of the most popular evergreens. The former Freedom Tree, a 65-foot Norwegian Spruce, was removed in March 2013 as part of the McEuen Park reconstruction project. The tree was planted in the mid-60s to prevent Fourth Street from encroaching onto Tubbs Hill, but was later given the title of the Freedom Tree in 1972 following the capture of Fred McMurray, a fighter pilot from Coeur d'Alene, in Vietnam/Keith Erickson, Coeur d'Alene Today.

Question: Feel better about the removal of the original freedom tree last year?

Waitress Attacks Unhappy Customer

A Garden City waitress is accused of attacking a customer who complained of poor service, local authorities say. Boise Police says officers were called to a restaurant on the 7300 block of W. State Street on Saturday afternoon. The victim told police that they complained about poor service, but were then hit in the face by 29-year-old Truc Huynh. “Officers reported seeing physical evidence of the battery on the victim, including a bruise on the victim's jaw,” Boise Police said in a news release. When officers went to talk to Huynh, they say she became confrontational, grabbed a butter knife and stepped back “into a fighting stance and verbally challenged the officers.” She later put down the knife and was taken into custody, police say/KBOI. More here.

Question: Describe the last time you received bad service at a restaurant.

‘Mad Knitter’ Warms Heads Worldwide

Sarah Bade is developmentally delayed and has cerebral palsy, but has found a calling in the craft of loom knitting. She has knitted and donated hundreds of hats for babies and adults. She outfitted every youngster in her church and all the kids in her youth group. She sent 100 hats to an orphanage in Afghanistan and donated caps to Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital. SR story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Question: Inspired?

Mary Invades Facebook, OTV Objects

OrangeTV: “UGH! My facebook news feed has been invaded by a paid-for post from “Mary Souza for Idaho”. Noooo! It starts out with the phrase “It’s time for positive change”, which is heeeelarious for anyone who even remotely follows her constant pettiness and negativity. It goes on for three LONG paragraphs of blah, blah, blah. Three paragraphs! Does she not have a clue that facebook users' eyeballs glaze over and keep on scrolling if a post is more than a few sentences?”

Question: Anyone else facing a Mary Souza Facebook invasion?

Task Force Seeks Fugitive Russell

The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force is seeking information leading to the apprehension of Shane Andrew Russell. Russell is being sought based on a Kootenai County felony warrant charging Russell with Felony Failure to Appear on Stalking Charges. This is a $100,000 bond warrant with United States extradition. Russell is a white male, 36 years old, 5’9 tall, 160 lbs with brown eyes and blonde hair. Russell was last known to be living in Post Falls. Anyone with information regarding this subject or other fugitives being sought for violent crimes should call the NIVCTF at 208-665-4455. The identity of callers will remain confidential and reward money may be available.

Simpson Uneasy For Good Reason

A former Idaho state representative and former Speaker of the Idaho House of Reps, Mike Simpson has been involved in Idaho politics for decades. I first met him in 1991 as he was making his ascent towards Speaker of the House. The kindest way to say it is that “we put up with each other.” I'd bet, he'd agree with such an assessment. An outwardly affable man on many levels, Simpson's dentistry practice allowed him a patient load that sharpened his people skills. Rather than having a young patient bite him, Dr. Simpson allowed politics to affix its bite. “Dr.” gave way to “Rep.” And eventually “Speaker” became his title. He ran for US Congress in the 90's and has had a fairly easy path - every two years, as elections came his way. His title went from “Speaker” to “US Congressman”. Each election cycle was easy-peasy. Not this year/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Do you know much about Idaho's congressman from the second district?

Dealing With Wasps

Backyard barbecue season may be a few months away, but it's not too early to start thinking about ways to deter those inevitable, buzzing summertime party crashers: wasps. Entomology experts at the University of Idaho Extension in Moscow say it's too soon to tell if North Idaho residents are in for another summer population explosion of the winged stingers. “It is important to know that spring weather largely determines if we will have any wasp problems or not in any given year,” states a University of Idaho Extension publication for homeowners. “Cold, rainy weather during April and May reduces the likelihood that queens can build a nest and collect enough food to feed her immature offspring.” A short, warm spring — like the one experienced in North Idaho last year — increases the likelihood that growing nests will turn into successful colonies/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Press photo by Gabe Green: A wasp climbs up the inside of a trap outside a Coeur d'Alene area home in this photo taken in August 2013)

Question: How do you deal with wasps?

Quotable Quote

SO confused! People are still talking brackets and basketball. You mean, the season continues after the Zags are eliminated? — Cindy.

Question: How many of you have the same sentiments as Cindy? Do you keep watching the NCAA Tournament want the Zags are eliminated?

Play Ball!

Lilly Nowakowski, 2, slides down a big glove before the opening day baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves at Miller Park in Milwaukee today. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Question: Does the opening day of Major League Baseball season excite you?

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.31.14

  • 11:48 a.m. Someone injured in a fall @ 700 block of Compton Street/Post Falls.
  • 11:47 a.m. Animal bite reported @ 1900 block of West Prairie Avenue/Hayden.
  • 11:46 a.m. CPD officer checking out panhandler @ H95/Appleway, CdA.
  • 11:25 a.m. A male has been injured in a fall @ 100 block of 2nd/Tensed.
  • 11:24 a.m. KCSDeputy tells dispatch to mark him down for 10.6 gallons of fuel.
  • 11:02 a.m. Female reports local motel manager not cooperative re: insurance info from her recent fall.
  • 10:36 a.m. CdA ambulance en route to pick up patient in rendevouz with Plummer EMTs.
  • 9:53 a.m. PFPD officers involved in undisclosed building evacuation in undisclosed location.
  • 9:01 a.m. Older brown-and-white pickup passed on shoulder before exiting @ w/b I-90/MP 2 (Pleasantview).
  • 8:55 a.m. 2 large dogs are trying to cross w/b I-90/MP 40 (Coeur d'Alene River bridge, near Pinehurst).
  • 8:52 a.m. An occupied, disabled vehicle is parked on shoulder of e/b I-90/MP 10.5 (west of NW Blvd/CdA).

Slide Shuts I-90 Up To Lookout Pass

Interstate 90 remains closed to all westbound travel from St. Regis to the Idaho border because of a landslide. The Montana Department of Transportation reports that traffic is being detoured at St. Regis, mile marker 33. The landslide is at mile marker 6.5. The detour at St. Regis takes Idaho-bound travelers onto Montana 135, then to Highway 200 north to the Sandpoint area. A spokeswoman for the Montana DOT said westbound I-90 was still closed as of 5:45 a.m. Monday. She did not have an expected time of reopening. Crews continue working to clear the slide/Missoulian.

Carlson: Obama & Antiquities Act

Anyone who has watched a Clint Eastwood western is familiar with the line he utters to a bad guy who is thinking of drawing his gun. Steel blue eyes, taut jaw, usually a toothpick in the corner of his mouth, a look of undeterred force and with a growly voice he dares his opponent to be dumb enough to try. That response should be the model for President Barack Obama’s response to the many Republicans who think they can make a politically-winning issue out of the President using his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to declare the Boulder/White Clouds a National Monument/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question: Should President Obama use the 1906 Antiquities Act to declare Boulder/White Clouds a National Monument?

HBO Blogosphere — 3.31.14

I was tempted to use this Duane Rasmussen photo as my Cutline Contest one for today. But I've already done that for one photo involving newly minted “Republican” Dan of the Community, lower right. Dunno who the woman is to Dan's right. But, above left, is Reagan Republican President Jeff Ward pointing something out to Republican County Clerk candidate Don Pischner, a former four-term state legislator.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of March 23-29): 41,606 page-views/24,813 unique views

Ghost-like Moose Prove Ticks Suck

(Photo: Idaho Fish & Game Department)

The graying look of moose you might see in the field this spring isn’t the result of old age. It’s likely the work of blood-sucking ticks. The Coeur d’Alene office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has received several calls recently from wildlife watchers concerned about odd-looking moose around towns as well as in wild places. “The moose appear to be partially white, or, as one caller described, ‘ghost-like’ in appearance,” said Phil Cooper, department conservation educator. “Moose can experience tick infestations that start in mid-September but the problem is not clearly visible to people until late in the following winter. The ticks are called “moose ticks” or “winter ticks.” They are not attracted to humans/Rich Landers, SR. More here.

Question: Have you seen any ghost-like moose this winter-spring?

Fort Grounds Fights Multi-Family Units

The Fort Grounds Homeowners Association is leading the fight to stop further incursion of multi-family units by developers. 90 homeowners out of 120 properties have signed a petition asking the City of Coeur d’Alene to take action to make the Historic Fort Grounds a single family neighborhood. They are opposed by neighbors who mostly own properties that can, under current zoning, be developed like the condominiums under construction on West Lakeshore. The City Council meeting is at 6:00 pm Tuesday, April 1 in the Community Room of the Library. Citizens wishing to speak to the issue must sign the register.

Question: Which side would you be on in this neighborhood fight?

Poll: Leave CdA Tribe Gaming Alone

  • Weekend Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation doesn't want the state to interfere with plans by the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe to expand gaming operations to include Texas Hold 'Em poker play and poker tournaments. 159 of 191 respondents (83.25%) support the expanded gaming at the Coeur d'Alene Casino. 24 of 191 (12.57%) want the state to challenge the legality of the expanded gaming. 8 (4.19%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Are you more/less likely to vote for Lawerence Denney for secretary of state as a result of the backing he got from “Duck Dynasty” stars?

Duck Dynasty Stars Back Denney

Several stars from the A&E program “Duck Dynasty” appeared at a fundraiser for Idaho GOP secretary of state candidate Lawerence Denney on Saturday night, and Idaho Statesman reporter John Sowell reports that “several thousand” people attended the event at the Idaho Center, which seats 12,279. You can read Sowell’s full report here; he reports that Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, 67, clutching a Bible, told the crowd, “When this goes, your freedom goes with it.” Close to two dozen “Add the Words” protesters protested outside; one counter-protester held a small sign saying, “Phil for President.” Sowell reports that Denney appeared briefly onstage to introduce several Robertson family members/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (AP file photo: Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” holds up the 1 millionth duck call sold by his company in November 2013)

Question: Will you vote for secretary of state candidate Lawerence Denney as a result of the backing her received from “Duck Dynasty” stars?

AM Headlines — 3.31.14

Brice Sloan of Sloan Security Group talked about the Animal Detection Systems software they're using just north of Bonners Ferry to alert drivers to presence of wildlife on Highway 95. Story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

On Medicaid Cuts, Rusche Was Right

When the Idaho Legislature took an ax to Idaho Health and Welfare funding back in 2011, House Minority Leader and physician John Rusche issued a warning. In a letter to the co-chairs of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, the Lewiston Democrat called some of the proposed $35 million in cuts “unwise” and said they “will prevent the (Health and Welfare) Department from fulfilling its statutory mission.” Turns out Rusche may have been correct. A U.S. District Court ruling Tuesday allows the American Civil Liberties Union to continue its class action lawsuit against Idaho. The court granted an injunction halting the state's major cuts to Medicaid implemented in 2011.The injunction will result in restoring an estimated $16 million in assistance to adults with developmental disabilities statewide, according to a press release from the ACLU of Idaho/Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. More here.


Costello: Dems Try To Switch Topics

After capturing power in 2008, the Democratic Party gave us the stimulus package (a total failure). They gave us Obamacare, a failure of such proportions that Democratic pollster Celinda Lake urged her party's candidates to run from it this fall. They have given us a childishly naive foreign policy, which has given us the so-called “Arab Spring” with all its horrors, and enabled a newly aggressive Russian imperialism. Democrats have given us “green energy” policy that has imposed higher energy prices, higher food prices and a string of government-underwritten bankruptcies. Student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion and unemployment for college graduates hovers at an historic high. The International Monetary Fund predicts that China will surpass the U.S. as the world's largest economy before President Obama leaves office. Mission accomplished/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you think Democrats will run away from Obamacare and the Obama administration this campaign season?

M’s Open Against Angels Tonight

It’s still special to Felix Hernandez. Even after all these years, the thrill of making the start on opening day hasn’t lost its meaning to the Mariners ace. “For sure, it’s the start of the new season,” he said. “It’s always fun. It’s the start of a new season. It’s on national TV. So you gotta do good.” When Hernandez steps to the mound tonight at Angels Stadium and throws that first pitch for the Mariners, it will be the seventh time he’s done so in his career. It will set a club record, surpassing the record he shared with Randy Johnson of six opening-day starts. It’s definitely an accomplishment and a tribute to his consistent success. “Not bad, not bad,” he said. “He’s (Johnson) a great pitcher. He’s going to be a Hall of Famer. So that’s pretty good company to be in.” In his six opening-day starts, Hernandez is 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings pitched/Ryan Divish, Seattle Times. More here. (AP file photo, of Felix Hernandez, tonight's starter for the Mariners)

Question: How do you think the Mariners will do this season?

CdA Dentist Dick Smart, 69, RIP

Popular dentist, inventor and avid outdoorsman Dick Smart died Thursday night at home in Coeur d'Alene, surrounded by family. He was 69. “He was incredibly wise about many things,” said Charlie Nipp, of Coeur d'Alene, who has been a friend of Smart's since they were kids. “He was gentle in his approach to life, gentle in his approach to people. He was incredibly respectful of the nature that he loved so much.” The Press reported last month that Smart had an inoperable brain tumor, which he has been fighting for more than a year. Nipp and his wife, Susan, were close friends with Smart's family. The families traveled the world together, spent time in nature hiking, camping and cross-country skiing. “He loved this Earth and world and the people in it,” said Susan Nipp. “He loved all of his patients”/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Courtesy photo: Dr. Smart photographed during a ride on the east side of Pipestone Pass in Montana)

Question: Did you have the pleasure of knowing dentist/inventor/traveler Dick Smart?

Silverwood Job Fair Attracts 100s

Blake Rasmussen, 18, of Hayden, left, uses the back of Jake Tyree, 17, of Spokane, to sign a Silverwood standards sheet as they stand in line for the Silverwood job fair Saturday at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds in Coeur d'Alene. Hundreds of people turned out in hopes of securing a job at the theme park. After and interview, Rasmussen was offered a job with the rides division and Tyree accepted a job as a cashier. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

The parking lot at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds was packed Saturday and the lines were long as hundreds of people turned out to seek summer jobs at Silverwood Theme Park. This year the theme park could hire up to 1,400 people, General Manager Paul Norton said. Hours and jobs vary, and Norton said some people just want to work part time. “We’re pretty accommodating,” he said. The annual job fair was set up to move applicants through efficiently. Hopefuls filled out an application in advance online. They stood in line to give their names, then waited in a holding area to have a face-to-face interview with a manager. “It took us years of practice to figure this out,” Norton said of the system/Nina Culver, SR. More here.

Question: If you worked at Silverwood, which job would you want to do?

JohnA: 4 Seasons In 1 Trail Walk

JohnA: Well, in typical March weather we experienced all four seasons on our walk with the Big Dog on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene's near Medimont today. What began with the brilliant sunshine and warmth of summer gave way to fall-like thunder, lighting and rain, followed by a hail shower resembling the best thing any winter had to offer. When the sun finally came out again it was with the chilly feel of spring, displaying a remarkable double rainbow, and we knew the walk had come a full four season circle. Meanwhile we saw a herd of 20 elk roaming the pasture, oblivious to the half dozen whitetails nearby and a pair of soaring eagles overhead. If there is a more beautiful place on earth in the spring I'm assured I've yet to find it.

Question: Have you been out for any extended walks this spring?

Widmyer Honors Former CdA Mayors

When Mayor Steve Widmyer agreed to speak on leadership, he realized he hasn't been in office long enough to lean on his own experience - so he honored eight predecessors. “Some of you may have recently heard that I was awarded by the Inlander Magazine the title of North Idaho's Best Elected Official,” he told a room full of Coeur d'Alene Rotarians. “I thought that was a pretty cool honor, but I got some mixed reactions from other people.” City Attorney Mike Gridley popped his bubble when he jokingly told the mayor, “You do realize that bar is pretty low.” That got Widmyer thinking: What has he accomplished so far as mayor? “I was just elected to office and I haven't had the time to get much done,” he said. “Maybe what voters want are elected officials who don't do anything”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo by Shawn Gust: Former mayors, from left, Don Johnston, Al Hassell, John McHugh and Jim Fromm listen to Mayor Steve Widmyer speak)

Question: What do you consider Job 1 for new Mayor Steve Widmyer?

Hucks: Escaping Zombie Apocalypse

As most of you know, zombies are wreaking havoc across the United States. “Shaun of the Dead.” “Zombieland.” “The Walking Dead.” It doesn’t look good, if you live in the South or on the West Coast. And that includes the apple eaters in Washington. Who tend to dis their Country Cousins from Idaho. Washingtonians, however, won’t be laughing when zombies are eating their brains. And avoiding Idaho. No less an expert than Estately, an online real estate site, ranks Idaho as No. 4 among the states most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse. Quoth: “If a horde of zombies stumbles into Lewiston, Idaho, they’re going to have their hands full. Idahoans are physically active, heavily armed, and are hard to catch because they’re oddly really into parkour.” Idaho ranks high in such zombie survival skills as martial arts, paintball expertise, gun handling and triathlon fitness. Idaho might be at or near the bottom on education spending, percentage of minimum-wage earners and teacher salaries, but what will any of that matter when the zombies attack?/DFO, SR Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Other SR weekend columns:

College Football Players Union

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Weekend Wild Card — 3.29-30

I'm beginning to think that Kootenai County politics is the most interesting spectator sport, this side of March Madness (once Gonzaga bows out of the tournament). In fact, it might be interesting to fill out a bracket of Kootenai County political heavyweights and see who is the most powerful one of all. We' put all the legislators in the bracket. Ditto for the elected officials from the courthouse. And maybe a 2 or 3 mayors. I would be interesting how we seeded them. Just a thought. Now for your Weekend Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 3.28.14

A mute swan moves across a lake, as it defends the territory around it's nest from other waterfowl, at Kew Gardens in London, earlier today. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

TGIF Wild Card — 3.28.14

For the first time in 20 years, the Idaho HQ of the Spokesman-Review will be moving. But we won't be going far. Three weeks from today, we'll be taking up residence on the first floor of the Spokesman-Review building, in the wing opposite the law offices inhabited by former councilman Steve McCrea and his legal beagle buddies. I'll have to dust off my full-size cardboard cutout of Ichiro Suzuki (in a Seattle Mariners uniform, no less) and the toys I've accumulated over the years — and head south to nicer quarters. A little change never hurt anyone. Now for today's Wild Card …

Mike: Dan English Is Our Will Rogers

Dan English is kind of like Will Rogers in that he's probably never met a man he didn't like. And vice versa. I'm guessing this man hasn't met Dan English — Mike Kennedy re: letter writer Dave Sheldon of Hayden.

Question: Do you know someone who is nicer than Dan English?

Top Story: Selle Report Miffs Regan

Top story of the day (comment wise) …

I had such hope seeing Jeff Selle at the central committee meeting this week, listening to Gubernatorial Candidate Senator Russ Fulcher address the committeemen. Last month, you and I discussed how Mr. Selle completely ignored Lt. Governor candidate Jim Chmelik’s excellent presentation on the Idaho Lands issue at the last Central Committee meeting. You wrote that you would “talk to Jeff about this.” I thought surely, this time and after your talk, Mr. Selle would at least mention in his March 26th article that one of the Idaho gubernatorial candidates was in town. But no. We lament that the politicians in Boise ignore the residents in the north, but when they do visit, the press ignores them. Not even a “Don’t let the door hit you in the backside on your way out.” Nothing. Very sad. Pathetic, actually/Brent Regan, Coeur d'Alene, letter to the editor/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

DFO: I consider Jeff Selle to be an excellent reporter. Period.


Cutline Contest — 3.28.14

OK, I know I've already published this photo of former Democratic county clerk Dan English at the Kootenai County Reagan Republican luncheon at Fedora Thursday. But I can't resist making it today's Cutline Contest photo, too. Have fun.

Thursday Winner — JDanMike, with 6 likes: looks like someone didn't get the dress code memo! You can see Thursday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.28.14

  • 5:47 p.m. Blue tarp is blowing around on e/b I-90/MP 7 (H41/Post Falls).
  • 5:43 p.m. Someone suffering uncontrolled bleeding @ 5900 block of H54/Athol.
  • 5:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 27-28 here.
  • 4:39 p.m. Drunk male is sitting w/dog in silver vehicle in parking lot of Best Food Stop, 1001 Best/CdA.
  • 3:57 p.m. CPD officer is stopping in parking lot of English Funeral Home to re-boot his patrol car computer.
  • 3:27 p.m. Disorderly male in purple jacket & hat is urinating in view of the drive-through @ Walgreens, 206 W. Honeysuckle/Hayden.
  • 3:17 p.m. Someone is suffering intense chest pain @ 1300 block of Mullan Avenue/CdA.
  • 3:12 p.m. Someone is having trouble breathing @ 1300 block of E. War Eagle Avenue/Athol.
  • 3:10 p.m. Someone is having trouble breathing @ 9500 block of N. Juno Street/Hayden.
  • 3:09 p.m. A dog is running loose @ 8th Street/Homestead Avenue, CdA.
  • 2:54 p.m. A vehicle has hit the guardrail @ e/b I-90/MP 11 (NW Blvd/CdA).
  • 2:51 p.m. A male in a black trench coat is hitchhiking @ e/b I-90/McGuire Road, Post Falls.
  • 2:44 p.m. Officer has stopped SUV w/large “student driver” sign on it for moving violation @ Govt Way/Hanley.
  • 2:03 p.m. 2-vehicle accident reported @ H95/MP 432 (Dalton Avenue/CdA), unknown injuries.
  • 1:43 p.m. ITD notified that traffic signal @ e/b onramp to I-90/Spokane Street damaged.
  • 1:26 p.m. PFPD officer reports male wearing yellow helmet speeding on yellow dirtbike at 100 mph on w/b 6th Avenue toward Spokane Street/Post Falls. Officer can't catch up with fleeing motorcyclist.
  • 1:06 p.m. Female reports being physically abused by male driver @ s/b H95, just south of Spokane River bridge.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

PM Headlines — 3.28.14

Vietnam veteran Leon Strigotte, left, receives medals and commendations he earned in Vietnam in 1969 from Brigadier General John Goodale of the Idaho Army National Guard at the Post Falls National Guard Armory in Post Falls today. Strigotte's wife, Linda, watches at right, Leon received long-overdue medals from his Vietnam service Friday. Story below. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

KCRCC Sets Rival Lincoln Day Event

Another meet and greet event has been set up for Republican primary candidates on April 12. The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee is hosting the event on the same day as its Lincoln Day Dinner, and it overlaps another luncheon meet and greet hosted by the North Idaho Political Action Committee. “We wanted to provide a direct opportunity to get the Republican candidates in front of the voters,” said KCRCC Chairman Neil Oliver, pictured. “This will be a good opportunity for the voters to ask questions of the candidates.” Oliver said the meet and greet, which will run from noon until 3 p.m. at the Post Falls American Legion, wasn't designed to compete with the NIPAC luncheon. The central committee decided to host the event for Republicans who cannot afford the $60 Lincoln Day Dinner, or NIPAC's $45 luncheon/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Why do you suppose the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee scheduled a Lincoln Day meet & greet at the same time as a Lincoln Day luncheon planned by the North Idaho PAC (a group of moderate Republicans)?

Widmyer Honors Past CdA Mayors

At the Coeur d'Alene Rotary Club today, Mayor Steve Widmyer honored six past mayors and the late mayor Ray Stone's wife, Betty, for their work in moving the community forward over the last 44 years. Six of the seven past mayors were present, from left: Former mayors Al Hassell (1994-98), John McHugh (1970-74), Ron Edinger (1974-78), Sandi Bloem (2002-14), Betty Stone (wife of the late Mayor Ray Stone, 1986-94), Don Johnston (1978-82), Jim Fromm (1982-86) and Mayor Widmyer. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Today photo: Keith Erickson)

Question: Which past Coeur d'Alene mayor is your favorite?

Recipe For A March Day

A splash of rain,
a dash of sun,
a pinch of snow,
mix well 'til done.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Letter: Move To California, Dan

In a letter to the Coeur d'Alene editor, Dave Sheldon of Hayden takes former county clerk Dan English to task for switching sides to vote in the closed GOPrimary:

“For Mr. English (Dan English, pictured) to purport that Republicans want to suppress voter turnout is ridiculous and unfounded! This nation, under God, is afflicted with apathy, and it disgusts me. That is the reason for low voter turnout, on BOTH sides. And like it or not, we basically have a two-party system. Is it the fault of Republicans that you can't come up with a strong Democrat? It's all about numbers; there are simply more Republicans here than Democrats. It's weird, but I have more Democrat friends here in Idaho than I ever dreamed I would even admit to knowing in California. And I believe it's because we respect each other and listen, and yes, avoid some topics that we agree to just disagree on. When I lived in California, with a vast majority of Democrats, my vote was usually a futile exercise in civic responsibility, just as Mr. English feels his is now. I remedied that problem and got the heck out of Dodge!” More here.

Question: The letter writer goes on to say that English should move to California if he wants to elect Democrats. Thoughts?

HBO Blogosphere — 3.28.14

Appointed County Clerk Jim Brannon responds to a question from President Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans, right, while challenger Don Pischner listens at the group's weekly luncheon at Fedora Thursday. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, March 27): 7611 page-views/4511 unique views

Pastor Writes To Spurned ‘Tomboy’

Sunnie Kahle, 8, recently withdrew from Timberlake Christian School in Forest, Va. after the school sent a letter asking her to either dress and act more feminine or not enroll again because she looked too much like a boy. Story here. (AP Photo/The News & Advance, Jill Nance)

Rev. Emily C. Heath of the United Methodist Church wrote the following blog post for Sunnie Kahle, the 8-year-old who was told by officials at her Virginia Christian school not to return until she dressed and acted more feminine: “I'll bet that I was a lot like you when I was eight years old. I didn't like dresses. I liked playing football and collecting baseball cards. My favorite things were airplanes and science kits. And I liked cutting my hair short. A lot of people called me a tomboy. I think they meant that as an insult, but I actually thought that was pretty neat. Maybe you do too. Or maybe you don't. Which is okay, because if you don't you can call yourself whatever you want. You get that choice, just like you get to choose what kind of clothes you wear, and what hobbies you like.” More here.


Just Say No To Carrot Top

“Taking kids to 'Noah' prepare for this scene — animals try to throw themselves overboard after finding out the Ark's headliner is Carrot Top!” — GA945 tweet.

Question: This is the 2nd snarky comment I've read about Carrot Top this week. Never paid much attention to entertainer. Has he done something particularly offensive that he's become a punch line?

Poll: Young Adults Turning Bluer

Young adults have typically identified with the Democratic Party, but those ties have become stronger since 2006. The Gallup Poll finds that 54% of 18-to-29-year-olds on average since 2006 have aligned themselves with Democrats compared with 36% who identify with the Republican Party. From 1993-2003, the gap among young adults wasn’t as wide.  Gallup’s analysis of its polls taken over the years finds that 47% of 18-to-29-year-olds, on average, identified with Democrats compared with 42% for Republicans/USA Today On Politics. More here.

Question: Does this political demographic concern you?

Fewer Idahoans Moving To Cities

The shift of Idaho's population from rural counties to urban areas slowed last year. Estimates released by the Census Bureau on Thursday showed the 33 rural counties saw their combined population increase for the first time in three years. The population of the rural counties rose two-tenths of a percent from mid-2012 to mid-2013, or about 1,200 people. The population of the 11 urban counties increased 1.5 percent. Statewide, Idaho's population rose 1 percent to just over 1.6 million, resuming a growth rate higher than the national rate of seven-tenths of a percent/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Do you prefer to live in the city or the country? Why?

Labrador Defends Hobby Lobby Stand

Congressman Raul Labrador sent the following email to his supporters today:

“This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a landmark case that will help decide the future of religious freedom in America.  The justices are weighing the constitutionality of one of the most controversial aspects of Obamacare — the requirement that employers must provide birth control and abortifacients to their employees, even if doing so violates their deeply-held religious beliefs.  The main case centers around Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts chain based in Oklahoma City that is run on biblical principles.  For example, they close on Sundays and refuse to sell shot glasses.  They object to the life-terminating drugs and devices required under the Obamacare mandate (better known as the “HHS mandate”) on religious grounds. And yet, if they don’t follow the mandate, they are facing annual fines of $36,500 per employee, which comes out to nearly $657 million per year. A lower court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.  Now, the U.S. Supreme Court will make the final call.  Their ruling is expected in June.” More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Have you been following this case?

Joker: If KCRCC OK’d News Stories

Tongue firmly cheeked, Joker offers an advanced copy of an article about KCRCC (Central Committee not Concerned Citizens) meeting, cleared by Chairman Neil Oliver for publication in the Coeur d'Alene Press:

“Fedora was the site another incredible Republican meeting. Fulcher gave a rousing speech and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Kelly and Neil worked hand in hand to approve a set of minutes that made people cheer. There were no disagreements about who would be speaking at the Lincoln Day dinner and we all agreed that the media is out to distort our mission. We passed a resolution condemning Dave Oliveria and his henchmen Jeff Selle. Neil then went on to explain a new litmus test for being a true conservative. There were no objections. Later we burned Obama in effigy in the parking lot and proclaimed ourselves patriots. Next week: Mandatory militia

Question: You think it couldn't happen?

Stradivarius On Parade

Margaret Batjer, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, plays the the 1716 “Milstein” Stradivarius during a rehearsal at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. The violins of Antonio Stradivari, arguably the most famous instruments ever created, have an almost mystical reputation for beauty and heavenly tone. This week eight of them have been brought together in Los Angeles for “Strad Fest LA.” (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Question: Does anyone in your family play a violin? Who? How well?

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.28.14

  • 11:29 a.m. Someone is having trouble breathing @ 9400 block of Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive/CdA.
  • 11:09 a.m. Juvenile probation officer reports possible drug activity in 300 block of W4th/Post Falls.
  • 10:51 a.m. A metal barrel and other metal are lying on w/b I-90/MP 18 (Sunnyside Road/CdA).
  • 10:35 a.m. Driver of 1991 gold Toyota Landcruiser possibly DUI @ e/b I-90/MP 6 (Seltice Way).
  • 10:22 a.m. A fawn is alive after being hit by a vehicle but isn't moving well @ s/b H95/MP 445 (Corbin Hill Road); a 2nd deer is walking n/b on s/b side of highway nearby. 3 motorists have stopped to render aid.
  • 10:12 a.m. A cable line is hanging low above H53, b/n Fowler & Meyer/Rathdrum.
  • 9:30 a.m. ISP has reopened H41, near Twin Lakes, after rollover crash (8:43 item).
  • 9:13 a.m. PFPD officer wonders if a person reported misssing still has a warrant for his arrest.
  • 9:04 a.m. CPD officer in unmarked vehicle learns that driver he pulled over for speeding has called 911 to confirm that he's truly a police officer. Responds officer to dispatch: “You'd think my uniform would give it away.” Dispatch: “Apparently not.”
  • 9:01 a.m. Traffic is being diverted onto Seasons Road to detour around crash site, H41 completely blocked.
  • 8:52 a.m. Officer on scene says car needs to be stabilized, patient still inside (8:43 item).
  • 8:48 a.m. Officer requests traffic control help from Spirit Lake Police Department (8:43 item).
  • 8:46 a.m. Officer reports that extrication will be needed for H41 crash (8:43 item).
  • 8:43 a.m. Female is trapped in vehicle after rollover @ n/b H41/Seasons (near Twin Lakes), engine smoking.
  • 8:35 a.m. Neighbor named Michael is banging on caller's apartment door in Post Falls.

UIdaho Preps For Guns On Campus

Senate Bill 1254, a recently passed Idaho law allowing residents with an enhanced concealed-carry permit to carry a concealed weapon on state university and college campuses, will take effect July 1. Until then, the University of Idaho is taking measures to make sure its own policies are in accordance with the new legislation. UI President Chuck Staben, pictured, sent a letter to the university community Thursday announcing the formation of a task force that will ultimately recommend what policy changes the school should make to ensure campus safety while adhering to the state's rules/Anthony Kuipers, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (Photo: Lewiston Tribune)

Question: We'll soon see how much it'll cost Idaho's higher-education centers to follow this potentially dangerous law. Thoughts?

Spring On The Fernan Farm

On her Idaho Scenic Images Facebook wall, Linda Lantzy labels this photo: “Spring on the Farm — Fernan, Idaho.” Also, she offers this advice to other photographers: “Don't ignore the shadows. Using shadows to your benefit in composition can make or break a photograph. Shadows are just as important as your light elements.”

Hey, Didn’t You Use To Be …

… A candidate for Kootenai County Commissioner Jai Nelson's District 2 seat?

CdA Wastewater Fees Going Up

A five-year wastewater rate plan approved by the Coeur d’Alene City Council in 2013 enters its second year April 1 and users can expect an 8.5 percent increase in their monthly bill. For a single family residence the bill will increase from $26.40 per month to $28.50 per month. The fee adjustments are necessary to pay for a multi-million dollar expansion to the wastewater treatment facility necessary to meet federal discharge regulations. Despite the increase, Coeur d’Alene’s wastewater fees remain below many regional cities. For single family dwellings, residents of Spokane pay $51.34 per month, City of Spokane Valley, $47.01, Post Falls charges $33.79 monthly, and Hayden residents pay $57.72 bi-monthly, which calculates to $28.86 per month/Keith Erickson, Coeur d'Alene Today.


Poll: Don’t Support Fulcher Strategy

  • Thursday Poll: Exactly one half of Hucks Nation opposes the strategy of voting for underdog Russ Fulcher in the GOPrimary because Democrat A.J. Balukoff would have a better chance of beating him in the general election. 49 of 98 respondents (50%) opposed the possible strategy. 36 of 98 (36.73%) supported it. 13 (13.27%) were undecided.
  • Weekend Poll: Should the state of Idaho fight the Coeur d'Alene Casino's plan to offer Texas Hold 'Em & gambling tournaments?

CdA Casino To Offer Texas Hold ‘Em

The Idaho Constitution outlaws poker, but the Coeur d'Alene Tribe is going all in. “Poker is basically played all around the state every night in people's homes, at family reunions, at nursing homes and in family rooms,” said Helo Hancock, the Tribe's legislative director. “It goes on every day.” And, Hancock said, the state is doing little to stop it. This spring, the Coeur d'Alene Casino will open a poker room offering live games of Texas Hold 'Em and tournament play. Hancock said the Tribe views the poker games that will be offered as Class II gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and not subject to state law. Adding poker is a strategic move, Hancock said, that will allow the casino to compete with Washington casinos/Taryn Thompson, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo by Shawn Gust: Coeur d’Alene Casino’s new Poker Room is slated to open May 2)

Question: Should the state of Idaho fight the Coeur d'Alene Casino's move to allow live games of Texas Hold 'Em and tournament play?

Healthy Salgado Headlines Bluesfest

First things first. Curtis Salgado, pictured, is healthy. Which is saying something. Last time the Oregon-based singer was in the Inland Northwest, to headline the Wallace Blues Festival in 2012, he’d just gotten word that his lung cancer had returned, and within a few weeks he underwent a partial lobectomy. All this was after his bout with liver cancer and a liver transplant in 2006. Still, one can’t keep a great bluesman down. Even half a lung shy, he’s still able to sing, play harmonica and create the same electric blues set that has entertained fans across the country and around the world. “Maybe your body compensates for it, I don’t know,” he said in a recent telephone interview. Local fans will be able to see for themselves when Salgado headlines the Coeur d’Alene Blues Festival on Saturday/Carolyn Lamberson, SR. More here.

Question: Do you plan to attend the Coeur d'Alene Blues Festival this weekend?

AM Headlines — 3.28.14

In a steady snow snower, snowboarders ride up chairlift 5, with the Ski Patrol building behind them, under the lights, at Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park. Rich Landers/Outdoors blog tells how a Spokane skier survived a thunderstorm lightning bolt Thursday afternoon. Click here. (SR file photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Tweetable Tweet

“Idaho just raised its speed limit to 80 mph. Now you can get out of there even faster” — Steven Colbert tweet.

Trib Jeers Flip-Flopping Russ Fulcher

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Opinion Editor Marty Trillhaase gives Jeers … to Idaho GOP gubernatorial hopeful Russ Fulcher. The Meridian Republican wants Idaho to follow Indiana's lead and drop Common Core. As governor of Idaho, I will push for legislation that allows Idaho to opt out of this top-down, one-size-fits-all federal program,” Fulcher said. He's having a John Kerry moment. Three years ago as a state senator, Fulcher endorsed those standards. Now he's changed his mind - just in time to appeal to his party's conservative base in Idaho's closed GOP primary. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Do you think Fulcher is pandering to conservative hardliners now? Or has he had a change of heart about Common Core?

SR: ‘Tough Times’ No Excuse

It looks like Idaho’s insistence on slashing aid for the truly needy won’t be allowed to hurt developmentally delayed adults. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill put a halt to $16 million in cuts, ruling that a case brought on behalf of 13 severely disabled people can proceed as a class-action lawsuit. The practical effect of Tuesday’s ruling is that 3,600 Idahoans will see an increase in Medicaid funding as the case proceeds. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare hasn’t decided how to respond, but the definitive nature of Winmill’s ruling makes a challenge look fruitless – and cold-blooded/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Does this mean that Gov. Butch Otter and the Idaho Legislature no longer can partially pay for corporate tax cuts and exemptions on the backs of disabled people?

Letter: We Didn’t Need Grisly Details

I would like to express my displeasure with Keith Cousins’ article on the front page of the Cd’A Press Wednesday morning (to which my family subscribes). As a parent of a 12-year-old who attends Canfield MS and an uncle to a 15-year-old girl who attends Cd’A HS I would have strongly preferred that the specific details on the methods and means by which Jonathan Samuel died were omitted while we, as parents, work with the school to let the kids digest and process the fact that a fellow student was murdered this week/Wayne Burton, Hayden, letter to the editor/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: All the media shared the details of the grisly double murder Monday, not just Keith. We've had a discussion on Huckleberries re: the need to share the name of the under-age suspect. What do you think? Should the media have shared the grisly details?

Joker: Things To Do At New McEuen

Joker offers some ideas re: possible future events at the new & improved McEuen Field:

  • Find my car! With all the new parking places the game will be to find your car after its randomly parked. Spend hours getting to know your sheltered parking and don’t forget the spaces near City Hall.
  • Watch the grass grow – Really! Fun for the whole family. The contractor will have just seeded the grass so you can see it pop up while you watch. Incredible!
  • The LCDC Bocce Ball Tournament. Keep your eyes on the ball – especially the green ones.
  • The Souza music festival: Mary will be performing live. Yes, we gave a microphone. She’ll be belting out the hits (Connect the dots, Recall my heart, LCDC heartbreak) and her new song: The music is gonna get Goedde. Special musical guests include Bones McCrory. Complete list here.

Question: Can you suggest other activities for the new McEuen Field?

Nelson Won’t Seek Re-election

Kootenai County Commissioner Jai Nelson said Thursday night she is withdrawing as a candidate for another term. She promised to work hard through the end of her term in January, and has several projects she wants to finish. “Being a commissioner has always, and only, been about my passion and love for our county and the citizens I serve,” Nelson said. “I ran to make a difference, and I hope that my goal has been achieved.” She said it was not an easy decision to withdraw, but she must spend more time with family, especially her son. Also, the Republican said the political climate influenced her decision. “I'm saddened by the state of the political scene in our country and especially in our county,” Nelson said. “The Republican Party is terribly fractured and I don't see a cohesive pathway in the near future”/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

DFO: Since there's no Democrat running in this race and a third candidate, Terry Lee Wall has withdrawn, it appears that newcomer David Stewart (Web site here) has won the election for this important courthouse position by default.

Question: Would you like to see a Democrat run as a write-in to provide a choice in the general election?

Winner By Default?

David Stewart of Coeur d'Alene is shown at the Kootenai County Reagan Republican luncheon at Fedora Thursday. Stewart now is the only one running for Commissioner Jai Nelson's position, with the surprise announcement by Nelson that she won't seek re-election. Terry Lee Wall told Reagan Republicans Thursday that he had withdrawn from the race, so he wouldn't split the vote for Stewart. No Democrat or Independent is running in the race. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Letter: Too Many Apartments In CdA

Is anyone paying attention to what is happening on the western side of Cd’A? Who is allowing (city or county?) developers to build row after row of apartments, which, in five to 10 years, will have all of the charm of a ghetto? Even Riverstone is not spared. Someone is asleep at the switch! Who is going to take the blame for this travesty? They are a blight on our beautiful city/Steve Allen, Coeur d'Alene, letter to the editor/Coeur d'Alene Press.

Question: Do you agree with the letter writer that the west side of Coeur d'Alene is overrun with new apartment buildings?

IFF: Fed Funding Order Is A Big Deal

Gov. Butch Otter’s March executive order is probably the most important public policy action of the last few months. What? You didn’t hear about it? Maybe that’s because the order got nearly zero media attention. It’s perplexing why that is. The order calls for state agencies to delineate all the federal funds they’re getting, and for the governor’s Division of Financial Management to make the information available in a report, available in January. As the order states, “it is imperative that elected officials review and understand details of grants being awarded, measure the effectiveness and necessity of federally funded programs and act in the best interest of constituents.” Amen. Idaho, for all the ranting and raving done about the federal government, has become increasingly reliant on Washington, D.C., dollars/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.


Drumming Up Business

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

Wild Card/Thursday — 3.27.14

I might drop by my second straight Reagan Republican luncheon today, to hear the debates between Jim Brannon and Don Pischner for county clerk and Lori Thomas and Steve Matheson for county treasurer. I haven't seen Don in years, since he was a state legislator. It'll be interesting to see if the candidates focus on qualifications and the tasks of the jobs (which probably should be nonpartisan). Or if they get personal at all. I'll report back. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 3.27.14

A Dayton fan holds a sign during the first half in a regional semifinal game against Stanford at the NCAA college basketball tournament today in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Question: When did you last have your eyes checked? Moi? In January.

Bauman Quits Central Kitsap Job

Citing health reasons, former Coeur d'Alene schools chief Hazel Bauman has resigned from her position as superintendent of the Central Kitsap School District. The western Washington district announced Tuesday that the school board there accepted Bauman's resignation on Monday. “This is a terrific district and community, and I’ve enjoyed my time here,” said Bauman, in a prepared statement released by the Central Kitsap School District. “We’ve got some great initiatives underway, and I’d been looking forward to leading this work through next June. Unfortunately, my health will not allow me to continue. I would just ask for privacy for myself and my family during this time”/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


PM Scanner Traffic — 3.27.14

  • 5:18 p.m. Caller along Government Way/Hayden reports possibly finding human scalp in desk drawer.
  • 5:05 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report March 26-27 here.
  • 4:53 p.m. Vehicles are swerving to miss large piece of metal @ w/b I-90/MP 10 (west of NW Blvd).
  • 4:46 p.m. Friends of local high school student report she's making suicide threats on Facebook.
  • 4:32 p.m. 1 vehicle in 2-car crash has rolled over @ n/b H41/Hayden, Rathdrum Prairie.
  • 4:23 p.m. Vehicle is broken down in turn lane of s/b H95/Hanley Avenue, CdA.
  • 4:19 p.m. 2-vehicle, noninjury crash reported @ e/b H53/MP 1 (near Hauser Smoke Shop).
  • 3:55 p.m. Smoke reported in area of Grouse Meadows/Mullan Trail, Bonanza Ranch area.
  • 3:34 p.m. PFPD officers on scene of an undisclosed trauma @ Collingwood/Columbia.
  • 3:26 p.m. Officer reports female she was chasing crossed Honeysuckle and jumped fence in Davis subdivision/CdA.
  • 3:17 p.m. Merwyn's tow truck engine is emitting smoke @ H95/Prairie Avenue, Hayden.
  • 3:12 p.m. Caller reports DUI male left Lucky Lucky Pines trailer park on Potlatch toward Seltice Way/Post Falls.
  • 3:10 p.m. Dispatch gets broken 911 call reporting single-vehicle crash on e/b I-90 near top of 4th of July Pass.
  • 2:24 p.m. Teen male spinning brodies in vehicle in field near Talon Lane/Hanley Avenue/CdA.
  • 2:12 p.m. CPD seeks stolen, red 1995 GMC Sierra pickup w/cracked window & skull & antlers decal.
  • 1:40 p.m. Possible structure fire @ 316 S. Pinewood Drive/Post Falls.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

PM Headlines — 3.27.14

Dan English, the former Kootenai County clerk who affiliated with the Idaho GOP to vote in the closed GOPrimary in May, casts a furtive look around after he was greeted warmly by President Jeff Ward at the noon luncheon of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans: “You're a Republican now!” (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Cutline Contest — 3.27.14

Time 2 Vote …

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama practices tai chi with students at Chengdu No.7 High School in Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan province. Obama's weeklong trip to China has included opportunities to try out tai-chi, walk the Great Wall and feed the pandas. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Wednesday Winner — Psalm 37, with 5 likes: Egads! That is the longest and whitest tongue I have ever seen! You can see Wednesday photo and reall all the Cutline Contest entries here.

HBO Blogosphere — 3.27.14

Post Councilwoman KerriT: “Well that was quite a hail storm that just passed over Post Falls.”

OTV: My Coeur d’Alene In 1980s

There’s really no point in even trying to gloss it up. Compared to now, Coeur d’Alene in the early 80’s was a rat hole. A handful of now long-gone troublemakers who smeared our beautiful town with an ugly reputation were just beginning their public antics with a bang, actually a series of bangs as bombs were detonated throughout town in the name of hate. The economy reeked like a dead, lead-poisoned Rainbow Trout after the glory days of the local logging and mining industries fizzled out, leaving behind loads of unemployed workers and major environmental disasters to clean up. Playland Pier had gone into disrepair and burned down, leaving the local tourism industry with nothing much to promote but the lovely polluted lake itself. Downtown was full of vacant storefronts and was being taken over each night by wild gangs of mullet-sporting, Jack Daniels-chugging youth cruising up and down Sherman and parking their El Caminos long enough to blare some AC/DC, smash some bottles, and pick up hair-sprayed members of the opposite sex/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here.

Question: Do you remember Coeur d'Alene in the 1980s?

Why Ask Why?

Am I the only one who feels guilty when accidentally running over previously smushed roadkill? — Cindy.


Solons Partly Fulfill Task Force Goals

Lawmakers embarked on the 2014 session with a clear mandate from educators, stakeholders and Gov. Butch Otter: implement a set of 20 reform recommendations. The 74-day session, the shortest in a decade, has come and gone – with legislators making partial progress on 13 recommendations from Otter’s Task Force for Improving Education. Lawmakers didn’t touch seven recommendations, and haven’t fully implemented any of the 20. Still, Otter and several task force members said they are satisfied with these first steps, and recognize that hard work and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of funding challenges remain. “Everything we identified in October that can be done and should be done in this legislative session is happening,” said State Superintendent Tom Luna, a task force member/Clark Corbin, IdahoED NEWS. More here. (Photo: IdahoED NEWS)

Question: Are you satisfied that Idaho lawmakers made some progress on education task force goals?

Treasurer: Thomas Vs. Matheson

Kootenai County treasurer candidate Steve Matheson shakes hands with state Senate candidate Mary Souza at the Reagan Republicans luncheon at Fedora today. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

The Reagan Republicans also hosted a debate for county treasurer between Deputy Treasurer Lori Thomas and Steve Matheson:

  • Lori Thomas: Chief deputy for 13 years … regional director for former U.S. senator Larry Craig … precinct committeewoman for 17 years … 8 years as local GOP treasurer & former local GOP volunteer of the year … wants to establish an investment committee (w/treasurer, commissioner, prosecuty, securities broker & banker on it) to increase investment return … views life as a participant sport … county treasurer limited by state law re: investment opportunities … believes in limited government … the market collapse of six years ago shows that the county has to be careful re: investments … knows rules and regulations for office better than opponent … cut her teeth in GOP politics with Kathy Sims and Ruthie Johnson as her mentors … good team in office, reduced from 11 to 7 & more efficient today … quoted brannon in saying that it's easier to shoot from the outside than the inside … “We don't gamble with your tax dollars.”


  • Steve Matheson: 28 years financial management experience … spent professional career in financial risk management … never has seen an organization as big as Kootenai County with such unqualified people handling its money … treasurer's office needs to increase internal controls … treasurer's office manages investments poorly … from campaign literature: “I intend to be disruptive. I am not interested in being another candidate simply seeking the security of a government job” … 50 years old, retired 6-7 years … political background: GOP regional chair of 47th Legislative District (Washington) … precinct committee officer 11th & 47th Legislative Districts (Washington) … questions adequacy of one-week training course of opponent to handle $147 million in cash & investments … doesn't have Lori Thomas' political machine or history in the county … but he says he's far more qualified for the office than her.


North Idaho’s Best Rural Restaurant

Inlander readers picked the Snake Pit in Enaville as best rural North Idaho restaurant. Many of you dined there while Joe Peak was handling the spatula and drinks. (Inlander photo)

There's a whole lot of history in the Enaville Resort, better known as the Snake Pit. Since 1879, the two-story, dark-brown log structure has overlooked a scenic bend in the Coeur d'Alene River less than two miles from what is now Interstate 90. Chock-full of memorabilia — kitschy paintings, a collection of swords, vintage beaded purses, old mining paraphernalia — it isn't just the building itself that's full of history; it's the people who make the place memorable. “We have such a great clientele,” says manager Debbie Wilmarth, who came out of retirement after 14 years as food and beverage manager with the Coeur d'Alene Casino for an opportunity to manage the Snakepit/Carrie Scozzaro, Inlander. More here.

Question: Do you agree with the Inlander's readers that the Snake Pit is the best restaurant in rural North Idaho?

Smoke On The Water Set For McEuen

Nothing beats a barbecue on a hot August weekend, except for maybe 20 to 30 barbecues on a hot August weekend. That's what Kim Stearns and Greg Prado are planning this summer on Aug. 23 and 24. They are organizing a professionally sanctioned barbecue competition called “Smoke on the Water at McEuen Park.” Prado, a board member of the Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association, said so far the prize pool is $5,000 spread across 26 prize categories. “We may get more money than that,” Prado said on Tuesday. “If we can get more sponsors behind this we could get it up to $10,000”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: What other new events would you like to see on the new McEuen Field? Farmer's Market?

Debate: Brannon Vs. Pischner

Former four-term legislator Don Pischner responds to a question from President Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans during his debate with appointed county Clerk Jim Brannon at a noon luncheon today at Fedora. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

I attended the debate between appointed County Clerk Jim Brannon and former four-term legislator Don Pischner at the Reagan Republican luncheon today. Here's the Cliff Notes from the event:

  • Jim Brannon: “I'm proud to be a Republican” … 2009 Coeur d'Alene City Council race — “which lasted longer than we had hoped” — was first campaign handled by Reagan Republican … predecessor Cliff Hayes belongs in GOP hall of fame … Mentioned 2X that people had expected him to fire staff and appoint his own people when he first became clerk (following death of Hayes). He has kept office intact because Hayes assembled great team … defended his appointment by the GOP Central Committee and county commission as open & above board … emphasized that county clerk follows state law & doesn't make it … #1 priority: accountability to taxpayers … long-time investment professional & former director of Habitat for Humanity … job fits personality exactly … Not going to let Cliff Hayes down.


  • Don Pischner: worked 15 years as a supervisor for Inland Asphalt … 4 terms in Legislature … 16 years with Idaho Forest Products/Stimson Lumber … #1 priority: leadership and serving the public responsibly … proud of pushing for use of laptops by legislators & sponsoring law that increases penalty for speeding in construction zones … don't agree with conslusion that public is best served in choosing elected officials on basis of partisanship … intangible qualities for job: temperment, good with numbers … don't see myself jumping in and trying to make big changes (like freshman legislator trying to change way Legislature does thing) … believes in 5 R's: respectful, reliable, responsible, reputable & reasonable … Brannon was appointed by Central Committee and commissioners; it's time for electorate to make the decision.



Iowa State's Dustin Hogue warms up during practice at the NCAA college basketball tournament earlier today in New York. Iowa will play Connecticut in a regional semifinal on Thursday. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Question: Do you have a favorite to win the NCAA Tournament among the 16 teams remaining?

Doc: Otter Is Lesser Of 2 Evils

Doctor Watson (RE: JenniferL: Any real passion for Otter?): Otter is a joke, but Fulcher is an ideologue. Look at how much damage Risch did in his short time as governor. Fulcher is too big of a risk, especially with the lunatic fringe already running wild in the Idaho Legislature. In a battle between Otter and Fulcher, Otter is still the lesser of two evils.

Question: How often do you believe that you're voting for the lesser of two evils? Can you give an example?

Fund Set Up For Victims’ Relatives

A fund has been set up to help a young man and woman attend the funerals of their brother and father, who were killed Monday night in Coeur d’Alene, allegedly by another brother. People interested in helping Anthony Samuel, and his sister, Kymberle Tull, of New Mexico and Missouri, respectively, travel to this region for the funerals can go to any branch of STCU and donate to the Samuel Family Benefit Fund. Donations can also be made by phone by calling (800) 858-3750/SR.

Quotable Quote

Butch Otter is like Elvis in the '70's or Henry Ford in the '30's and '40's — did a great job earlier in his career but didn't know when to quit when he was ahead — Shoshone Conservative.

Question: Butch did a great job earlier in his career? Do you mean when he won the tight-fittin' jeans contest? When?

HBO’s 10 Commandments

Joker asks: Are these the HBO commandments?

  • 1. Thou shalt not question DFO.
  • 2. Thou shalt have “thoughts.”
  • 3. Thou shalt not mock DFO for promoting the things/people he supports
  • 4. Thou shalt not point out when DFO commits blog overkill or makes mistakes.
  • 5. Thou shalt not covet the mostly naked Peta women/cheerleaders on HBO.
  • 6. Thou shall not encourage pictures of cats on the blog.
  • 7. Thou shall not “out” others on the blog.
  • 8. Thou shall worship not false blogs.
  • 9. Thou shall protect the shire from all invaders.
  • 10. Thou shall attend blogfest.

DFO: I can't believe Joker missed the No. 1 commandment of them all: Dave's blog, Dave's rules. Otherwise, not bad.

Question: Can you think of any other comments that might have been left out?

Superintendents Grade Legislature

When it comes to grading the 2014 legislative session, the five candidates for state schools superintendent are all over the bell curve:

  • Republican John Eynon gave the session a “C” — for failing to address concerns over Idaho Core Standards and for following Gov. Butch Otter’s education task force down the path of implementing pieces of the rejected Propositions 1, 2 and 3.
  • Democrat Jana Jones handed out a “C,” but for decidedly different reasons. She chastised the Legislature for doing nothing to prioritize the task force recommendations “in any meaningful way.”
  • Republican Andy Grover split his grade. The Legislature deserved an “A” for finishing its work in 74 days, the shortest session since 2004, and a “B” on education issues.
  • Republican Randy Jensen gave the session an “A,” and said he had “no serious concerns” with the outcome.
  • Republican Sherri Ybarra declined to give a grade. But like other candidates, on both sides of the aisle, she commended lawmakers for boosting the K-12 budget; the 5.1 percent spending increase is the most robust since 2007. More here.

Question: How can anyone give the 2014 Legislature an A?

Heavy Laden

A bee with pollen on its legs approaches cherry blossoms in Postdam, eastern Germany, earlier today. (AP Photo/: Ralf Hirschberger)

Woman Who Took Dog — Hero? Thief?

A woman who took a chained-up dog from deplorable and freezing conditions near Twisp last December will be on trial today in Okanogan County. Prosecutors accuse Judy Camp of pet theft, lying to police and obstructing justice. Camp said she saved the partially blind blue heeler she has since adopted and named “Tank.” Now a jury will decide if she is a hero or a thief. A guilty verdict could put Camp in jail for three years. “Yes, I could have taken a plea bargain, but that would have been a lie,” Camp said of the case. “I did the right thing for the right reason.” Camp discovered from an Internet message board that a dog housed along a county road near the Methow River was suffering/Kip Hill, SR. More here.

Question: Do you consider Judy Camp to be a hero or a thief?

Chenoweth Ups Idaho Equality Score

Idaho gets a C+ for the percentage of women it elects to Congress in a new election gender equality report card from the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics blog. The site, dedicated to data-driven political reporting, looked at all the U.S. House races for the past 25 years. Idaho’s C+ comes from sending a woman to the House 12.5 percent of the time since 1989. That represents three wins out of 24 races, all by Republican Helen Chenoweth (later Chenoweth-Hage) who served from 1994 to 2001. One other woman has represented Idaho - Gracie Pfost - from 1953 to 1963/Adam Cotterell, Boise State Public Radio. More here. (AP file photo, of the late Helen Chenoweth-Hage, after her 1996 congressional victory)

Question: Why doesn't Idaho elect more women to Congress or any women to governor, lt. gov., secretary of state or attorney general positions?

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.27.14

  • 11:50 a.m. Aggressive tailgater in purple Trailblazer on w/b H53, near Rathdrum PD, flips caller off in passing.
  • 11:35 a.m. Female suffering intense chest pain @ 2400 block of Titleist Way/Post Falls.
  • 10:33 a.m. Men sought in possible metal theft have delivered several loads to recycler in last few days.
  • 10:18 a.m. Officer stops @ Hern IronWorks to see if suspects (10:07 item) tried to sell metal there.
  • 10:12 a.m. Officer stops by recycling center in industrial park to see if suspects (10:07 item) tried to sell metal there.
  • 10:07 a.m. 2 males in 1976 two-tone brown pickup are taking metal from IT property on Ramsey Road/CdA.
  • 10:01 a.m. 1980s cream pickup w/camping shell stops @ n/b H95/MP 453 (Old House Road) after speeding, running 2 lights in Kootenai County, and passing vehicles on shoulder.
  • 10:01 a.m. ISP officer stopping to help motorist w/disabled vehicle @ e/b I-90/MP 3 (McGuire Road/Post Falls).
  • 9:44 a.m. Driver of silver Mitsubishi possibly DUI @ Sturgeon/Diagonal, Rathdrum.
  • 9:41 a.m. A lot of smoke reported from slash piles from trees being cut @ Ramsey/Canfield, CdA.
  • 9:36 a.m. ISP officer reports wrong-way driver @ H95/Bosanko Avenue, CdA.
  • 9:35 a.m. Abandoned vehicle reported @ 4th Avenue/Henry, Post Falls.
  • 9:32 a.m. Someone injured in a fall @ 9200 block of Starr Loop/Hayden.
  • 9:23 a.m. CPD officer following up on an eviction @ 200 block of N12th/CdA.
  • 9:19 a.m. Someone suffering uncontrolled bleeding from nose & mouth after domestic dispute in Worley area. Fight was started by adult threatening to kill child & commit suicide.
  • 9:06 a.m. Someone having trouble breathing @ North Star Assisted Living, 2340 Seltice Way/CdA.
  • 8:51 a.m. Road rager reckless in 2005 red pickup, w/3 occupants, @ w/b I-90/MP 6 (Seltice Way/Post Falls).
  • 8:35 a.m. 89YO male fell & hit his head @ Generations Assisted Living, Meyer & Majestic/Rathdrum.
  • 8:32 a.m. Violent panic alarm proves to be a false one @ Urgent Care/Post Falls.

Taco Bell Spotlights ‘Ronald McDonald’

Ronald McDonald visits with children at a McDonald's Restaurant in Roswell, N.M. Taco Bell is using real-life people named Ronald McDonald in a marketing campaign to promote its new breakfast menu, a nod to the famous clown known for his bright red hair and a yellow jumpsuit. The chain is hoping to go after McDonald's, the No. 1 player in breakfast. (AP Photo/Roswell Daily Record, Andrew Poertner, File)

Taco Bell is name-dropping an unlikely clown to promote its new breakfast menu — Ronald McDonald. The fast-food chain will begin airing ads Thursday that feature everyday men who happen to have the same name as the McDonald's mascot known for his bright red hair and yellow jumpsuit. The marketing campaign is intended to promote Taco Bell's new breakfast menu, which features novelties like a waffle taco/Fox News. More here.

Question: What do you think of this marketing strategy by Taco Bell? And/or: Which of these chains do you frequent more?

Jennifer: Any Real Passion For Otter?

JenniferL (RE: Vote for Otter because …): The governor's race will be interesting, seeing the amount of money Otter will have. I wonder though being it is a primary, which equals lower turnout from the voters, does Fulcher have enough passionate conservative voters that are fired up about education (common core) and the state exchange to pull this off? Is there really any passion for Otter, other than possible support from the establishment and special interest groups?

Question: I'd say Idahoans are less passionate for Otter today than they've ever been. But that doesn't mean they won't vote for him. Thoughts?

Poll: A Random Act Of Violence

  • Wednesday Poll: A supermajority of Hucks Nation doesn't feel threatened by the horrific Monday murders in Coeur d'Alene, considering them to be a random act of violence. 108 of 159 respondents (67.92%) took that position. Other opinions included: 15 (9.43%) said they were as safe as ever; 11 (6.92%), no place is safe; 7 (4.4%), more concerned for children at school; and 4 (2.52%), feel less safe for family and myself. 14 (8.81%) clicked “other” option.
  • Today's Poll: Should Democrats/Unaffiliateds who support A.J. Balukoff vote for Russ Fulcher in GOPrimary because he'd be easier to beat in general election than Gov. Otter?

Edit: Don’t Mess With Graven Image

A Ten Commandments display in Sandpoint's Farmin Park is creating a stir — but not in Sandpoint. A letter sent in November all the way from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., recommended the city remove the 42-year-old monument from public land, and the Sandpoint City Council last week started gathering public opinion over what to do. The overwhelming response — keep it. Whether the opinions are religious based, or parkgoers just fancy seeing it there, it's obvious Sandpoint intends to protect the monolith. Some dissenters, who are few, argue the monument should be moved to private property, saying the town is welcome to all viewpoints, and isn't there supposed to be a separation of church and state? Some contend no one is forced to look at the thing, so let it be. Move on/Lindsey Treffry, Moscow-Pullman Daily News Editorial Board. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Would it be better to move a Judeo-Christian monument, like the 10 Commandments, or to keep it in a public place, but be willing to accept monuments and symbols from other religious organizations?

AM Headlines — 3.27.14

Lake City student carries Betty Kiefer student Peyton Myser while filming a “lip dub” video Tuesday at Betty Kiefer Elementary to support a anti-bullying message, create unity between Lake City and Betty Kiefer and support Rachel’s Challenge. Lake City created a similar video in December. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Gabe Green)

Facto: Vote For Fulcher Because …

We should vote for Fulcher and then vote for Balukoff — Facto.

Question: What do you think of Facto's voting strategy?

Ron: Mary’s 1st Show Underwhelming

Ron Burgundy (RE: Mary Souza launches radio show at noon): It sounds like no one ever trained her on how to breathe in front of a microphone. The amount of nervous breath, dry-mouth, spit swallowing, gulping, gasping, and stammering was way more affecting than whatever she was talking about. There were a few points that it seemed like she might be actually drowning while still yammering on. She makes John Kerry sound as relaxed and smooth as Barry White. Someone get this lady a xanax.

Question: Have you ever been interviewed on the radio?

Wolf, Cabbage: No Names Please

TWolf & Cabbage Boy made an interesting argument Wednesday that the media shouldn't publish the name of the suspect in the gruesome double homicide that took place in Coeur d'Alene Monday. Cabbage Boy: “I was just bringing up the possibility, that through his comments after the arrest, that this boy is looking for attention. The Grand Theft Auto just seemed to easy of a mark. Everybody hates GTA. Then a morbid movie reenactment. It all seems a little too scripted to be an angry kid just going off.” I understand where they're coming friend. It fries me that the two punks who shot up Columbine High before killing themselves are remembered more than the victims. Ditto for the clown who shot up the Denver area movie house. However, I'd argue that the media has an obligation to print the facts of capital cases and heinous crimes, including perpetrators' names. What do you think?

Question: Names or no names?

Idaho Wastes $$$ On Capital Cases

Idaho spends more money condemning convicted killers to death than it would by simply locking those people up until they expire of natural causes. No surprise there. Anyone who has ever examined capital punishment in the 32 states where it still occurs has come to the same conclusion the Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations reached: Death penalty cases involve longer, more complicated trials. Appeals are more extensive. Maintaining death row and conducting executions is expensive. We'll never know how much time publicly paid cops, prosecutors, deputies working for the attorney general and the courts have spent on these cases/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

DFO: I believe in the death penalty in cases involving premeditated murder and other heinous crimes. But I consider it ineffective, random and a great waste of money in this country. Therefore, I oppose it. You?

Stamps, Collectors Tell Stories

They measure on average just 3/4 of an inch, but what stories they tell – and so do the people who collect them. Since 1934, members of the Inland Empire Philatelic Society have been meeting to swap stamp stories and share their collections. At a recent meeting at Riverview Retirement Community, this weekend’s stamp show was the topic of conversation, but it didn’t take long for board members to pull out binders and folders filled with stamps. “It started as a project with my son 30 years ago,” Chuck Jones said. “Then he discovered girls, computers and sports and lost interest. I became the warehouse”/Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (SR photo by Tyler Tjomsland: Stamp collector Warren Achey, 58, thumbs through a collection of international stamps on March 11 at Riverview Retirement Community)

Question: Do you collect anything?

Fairgrounds To Get New Entrance

The new entrance at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds will be known as the 'Idaho Forest Group Main Gate.' (Courtesy photo: Coeur d'Alene Press)

The old ticket booths and main gate are history. The Kootenai County Fairgrounds will have a new main entrance for the upcoming summer season. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Wednesday, and artist drawings of the entryway were unveiled. “We've seen increased usage on a year-round basis, with attendance going strong,” said Dane Dugan, general manager of the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo and the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. “We want to keep that momentum going.” The new entryway will be completed by the end of July and be dedicated on the opening day of the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo, Aug. 20/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you like it?

Family Grieves Over Double Slaying

Anthony Samuel said the family knew something was wrong with his half brother, Eldon G. Samuel III. But no one suspected it would end with him accused of a grisly double homicide in Coeur d’Alene. Eldon Samuel III, 14, is jailed in Kootenai County on $1 million bond facing charges that he killed his father, Eldon Samuel Jr., and his 13-year-old brother, Jonathan Samuel, on Monday night. “Eldon, he was never sane,” Anthony Samuel said of his half brother. “We all knew he was not exactly right, but we’d never think that this would happen.” The boy had a history of violence. He picked fights with people and beat up his younger brother, who had Down syndrome. He once shoved a pencil through Jonathan’s jaw, Anthony said/Nina Culver, SR. More here. (SR photo by Kathy Plonka: Coeur d’Alene police investigators were working at the scene of Monday’s double killing in Coeur d’Alene on Wednesday)


Dems: Education Is Winning Issue

There is optimism among local Democrats, and they feel education is going to be a winning issue for their party in upcoming elections. Assembled Wednesday night at the Kootenai County Democratic Club's “Spring Forth” fundraising event at the Lake City Center, candidates and party leaders said the Republican domination of recent years has likely run its course. “There is a feeling now in both groups, Democrats and Republicans, that something is afoot to re-centralize the situation,” said Patrick Lippert, president of the county's Democratic Club. “We feel better about the general situation than we have.” He said re-balancing the politics of the state is priority No. 1/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo by Gabe Green: Legislative candidate Cheryl Stransky listens to governor candidate A.J. Balukoff)

Question: Is this the year that the Idaho Democrats begin returning from the wilderness?

Searching For Malaysia Flight 370

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Hump Day Wild Card — 3.26.14

I took a few minutes on my way to work today to drive by the house that was the site of the double homicide Monday evening, on 1st Street behind St. Vincent de Paul's. The police, news cameras and crime scene tape were gone. It was a small, nondescript house w/a camper trailer and a two vehicles out front. I can only imagine the horror that was found inside. I feel sorry for the officers, St. Vincent's officials and others who had to deal with it. Keep them and affected family members in your thoughts & prayers. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 3.26.14

Tina Ray puts flowers on a cross for the mudslide victims at the Oso Community Chapel Wednesday in Oso, Wash. Tina and her husband, Pastor Gary Ray, run the Oso Community Chapel and are providing a place for victims and family members to come pray. (AP Photo/The Herald, Sofia Jaramillo)

John Q: AP Only Likes Bad CdA News

John Q. Public: Here are news items I can remember CDA or North Idaho in the past 30 years that went international — all negative. Course the AP loves themselves a horrible story, bolsters their ratings. Maybe in the future CDA can be known for a positive story.

  • 1. All things AN/Butler.
  • 2. Ruby Ridge.
  • 3. The Order guy that lived in North Idaho (can't remember the name, I just remember he had red hair).
  • 4. The Groen murders.
  • 5. Duncan's trial and zaniness that followed.
  • 6. KKK snowman
  • 7. I think one of the hate crimes in 2011 went viral too.

I think that's it.

DFO: I can remember the Wallenberg Civic Award (for combating racism) presented at New York's City Hall in January 1987 that was covered by the national/international media. I was there. Also, the civil trial that bankrupted the Aryan Nations.

Question: Can you remember stories re: Coeur d'Alene/North Idaho that made national/international news in last 30 years?

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.26.14

  • 5:34 p.m. Freeway caller reports 2 males in vehicle w/handicap sticker stopped & peed along I-90.
  • 5:28 p.m. Tribal police are looking for gray 2002 Chevy Malibu that male lent to sister in December & wasn't returned.
  • 5:22 p.m. Driver of green Ford pickup w/canopy driving erratically @ w/b I-90/MP 34 (Bentley Creek).
  • 5:06 p.m. Smoke forces residents from house @ 1400 block of E. Lakeside Avenue/CdA.
  • 4:38 p.m. Female reports 16YO son damaging property after being put on restriction.
  • 4:10 p.m. Undisclosed medical emergency @ 4300 Inverness Drive/Post Falls.
  • 3:40 p.m. Company wants troublesome female trespassed @ 550 W. Neider Ave/CdA.
  • 3:34 p.m. Female reports that ice tea she bought @ CdA quick stop tastes like it has alcohol in it.
  • 3:18 p.m. CPD officer stopping for undisclosed problem @ Jiffy Stop, 4th Street/I-90, CdA.
  • 3:07 p.m. Fire alarm sounding @ Pinewood Health Center, 2514 7th St/CdA.
  • 2:46 p.m. 81YO male suffering medical problem after treatment @ Post Falls Dialysis, 1300 Mullan.
  • 1:41 p.m. Unconscious male is lying face down in front of state liquor store, 1201 E. Sherman/CdA.
  • 1:18 p.m. Alarm warns of glass being broken in home @ 3700 block of Jimmy Street/CdA.
  • 1:11 p.m. Petty theft reported @ Harrison sewer plant.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

PM Headlines — 3.26.14

Members of Coeur d'Alene Police Investigations were working at the scene of Monday's double homicide in Coeur d'Alene on Wednesday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Cutline Contest — 3.26.14

Time 2 vote …

Associated Press reporter Mike Corder demonstrates how to eat raw herring outside one of Amsterdam's ubiquitous herring stands, in the Netherlands. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Tuesday Winner — Uncle Bob, with 9 likes: Filer Rep. Kauffman demonstrates one of two current methods of problem solving employed by the Idaho Legislature. The other method uses duct tape and is most frequently utilized while addressing the backlog of deferred maintenance. You can see Tuesday photo and read all Cutline Contest entries here.

Edit: Trail Built On Private Property

Local property owners were vindicated this month but nobody seemed to notice. And this is no minor vindication – it comes in the form of an 8-1 decision issued by the United States Supreme Court. What makes the fact the ruling received little local coverage somewhat remarkable is that this very issue sparked considerable debate, heated argument and acrimony in Benewah and Kootenai Counties just a few years ago.The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is among the most popular tourist attractions in northern Idaho. The 10’ wide asphalt trail travels some 72 miles between Plummer and Mullan. It was recently named as one of the top 25 bicycle trails in the entire United States. There is no question it is a fine addition to the area. The problem is much of the trail may have been built on private property/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette Record. More here.

Question: So what can be done now?

Idaho Would Survive Zombie Attack

In this July 2013 AP file photo, a zombie character in an exhibit inspired by the television series “The Walking Dead” screams at onlookers during the Preview Night event on Day 1 of the 2013 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, Calif.

If you're as tired as I am re: lists that show Idaho at the bottom or near the bottom of important categories, like education, minimum wages, etc., I have good news for you. Idaho ranks No. 4 in an increasingly important category — the states that are most likely to survive a Zombie Apocalypse. While the entire south and the three West Coast states would be nothing but munchies for Zombies, Idaho has a lot of things going for it should the Zombies attack: survivability skills, martial arts skills, paintball enthusiasts, people with guns, triathletes, etc. You can see how Idaho stacks up with other states here.

Question: Doesn't this make you a teeny bit prouder of your home state?

Fulcher Lauds Indiana CCore Move

Monday’s decision by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to sign legislation making his state the first to abandon adopting Common Core standards for K-12 schools was hailed Wednesday by Sen. Russ Fulcher. “I applaud Indiana Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana State Legislature for their decision to opt out of the federal Common Core education standards,” Fulcher said in a news release. “I believe these national standards strip decisions away from parents and teachers and are setting every public school on a path to mediocrity. “As Governor of Idaho, I will push for legislation that allows Idaho to opt out of this top-down, one size fits all federal program. We need to bring control back to Idaho, and empower teachers and parents so they can establish an education system that truly enables our students to excel”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

DFO: I'm confused here. (Shaddup!) We just finished an entire Idaho legislative session with little activity involving Common Core. Now, Fulcher, who serves as a state senator, is yapping that Idaho should follow Indiana's example and drop Common Core. Why didn't he make more of a fuss during the session?

Read more here:

Little Free Libraries Popping Up

Under hashtag #ThingsThatMakeMeHappy, Cindy Facebooks: Finding the first Little Free Library in our neighborhood.”

Question: Do we have any of these “Little Free Libraries” in Kootenai County/North Idaho? And/or: What unexpected things make you happy?

Northwestern Footballers Unionize

In a potentially game-changing moment for college athletics, the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Wednesday that Northwestern football players qualify as employees of the university and can unionize. NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr cited the players' time commitment to their sport and the fact that their scholarships were tied directly to their performance on the field as reasons for granting them union rights. Ohr wrote in his ruling that the players “fall squarely within the [National Labor Relations] Act's broad definition of 'employee' when one considers the common law definition of 'employee'”/ABC News. More here.

Question: What impact will this have on college football?

PM Headlines — 3.26.14

On her Facebook wall, Cindy writes: The fowl fun never ends. Just got a package in the mail from columnist colleague Stefanie Pettit. The enclosed note read: “In light of your reticence to get live chickens, I thought I'd send you this rubber chicken instead, so you can contemplate the idea further with a replica in the house. Just squeeze in the middle and out comes the most disgusting egg you've ever seen.” Seems like the rubber chicken came first.

HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday, March 25): 8518 page-views/5023 unique views

Morrison Looks For New Chapter

Adam Morrison watches his two daughters chase each other as the sun dips below the horizon, casting an orange glow through the living room of his home on the outskirts of Spokane. “Be careful,” he says to his 5-year-old, who romps around the room with her 3-year-old sister. In the sports world, the 29-year-old Morrison is a former NCAA scoring champion, an NBA lottery pick with two world championship rings. He's a guy who hoops fans argue is either one of the greatest college basketball players of all time or one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history. Then there's this other Adam Morrison, the one who's now wrapping up his bachelor's degree with his sights set on a coaching career. That's the Morrison — about an eighth as introverted as we've been led to believe — feeding his kids dinner on this Friday night/Mark Bookey, Inlander. More here. (AP file photo: In this 2006 photo, Charlotte Bobcats' Adam Morrison (35)  protects the ball from New Jersey Nets' Jason Kidd)

Question: Do you follow former Gonzaga players who are playing in the NBA?

Neighbor: Teen Suspect Vulgar, Mad

This is the scene at St.Vincent dePaul transitional housing on Tuesday, where a double homicide occurred on Monday night in Coeur d'Alene. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

James Knott said he had lived across the street from the home for around 10 years. “We heard one single gunshot, supposedly there was more, but we might have missed it before we got home,” Knott said. “This is 100 feet from where it happened. To know that someone was possibly butchering somebody to death. That's hard to sleep at night.” Knott said the family was fairly quiet and kept mostly to themselves. He said there were a couple times when the teenage suspect appeared to be very angry. “The one older kid, the couple of times I saw him, he seemed like maybe he was a troubled teen just in the sense that he had a vulgar vocabulary towards his dad or his brother like they had fought or something like that,” Knott said/Taylor Viydo, KREM. More here.

SR News Quiz — 3.23-27.2014

How much do you know about  Idaho forestry, Gonzaga University women's basketball and other topics in the news? Take our weekly Spokesman-Review News Quiz and find out. You could win movie tickets or a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Take SR News Quiz here.

  • Answer to Question #2: cross-laminated timber
  • Leaderboard: SFredrickson, RaynTim & KT are among the 30 current contenders on the Leaderboard. Still time to enter contest. (BTW, I forgot to mention that I won the in-house office prize for last week's News Quiz)

Minimum Wage: 73 Hours To Pay Rent

An Idaho worker earning the minimum wage would need to work 73 hours per week in order to afford a modest two-bedroom rental according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Idaho’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t changed since 2009, even as neighboring states in the West continue to raise their minimums. Data released this week from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show 7.1 percent, or 29,000 hourly workers, earned Idaho’s minimum wage or less in 2013. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s study of what it takes to pay for housing puts into perspective how difficult it is for low wage earners to afford rent/Emilie Ritter Saunders, Boise State Public Radio. More here.

Question: Who will raise the minimum wage first — state of Idaho or the federal government?

Shoshone, Benewah Among Unhealthy

According to the fifth annual “County Health Rankings” report, released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the five healthiest counties in Idaho (starting with most healthy) are Madison, Latah, Valley, Blaine, and Franklin. The five counties in the poorest health (starting with least healthy) are Bear Lake, Shoshone, Benewah, Lemhi, and Boise. The “County Health Rankings” rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states. The Rankings allow counties to see how well they are doing on 29 factors that influence health including smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical inactivity, and access to healthy foods. Other factors include housing, transportation, and access to mental health providers/Fox 9. More here.

Question: Have you taken steps to improve your health in the last year? What are they?

Conservationists Join Ag-Gag Fight

Idaho’s sweeping new ag gag law, enacted in February, raises so many red flags that the Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a lawsuit against it, only the second suit of its kind in the nation. But this time, in a new twist on ag gag litigation, the animal rights non-profit is joined by conservation groups, too. That’s because this new statute – designed to prevent people from documenting what goes on in factory farms, like all of the now seven total ag gag laws in the U.S. – is alarmingly broad, according to senior ALDF attorney Matthew Liebman, affecting “virtually any place where there’s any interaction between humans and animals and plants”/Christi Turner, High Country News. More here.

Question: What? Idaho has passed a constitutionally questionable law that is leading to a costly lawsuit? Is there anything new under the sun?

Mary Launches Radio Show At Noon

For Those Keeping Score At Home … Mary Souza will launch her radio Internet program at noon today. Remember? In her latest newsletter, Mary, now a candidate for John Goedde's state Senate seat, wrote: “The second piece of BIG NEWS is that I am going to have a radio program!  A new internet radio station, called Heads Up Radio, is starting and I will have a one hour call-in talk radio program.  We’ve been busy getting ready.  If all goes as planned, the station will start on Wednesday, March 26th.  My program is called 'The Common Sense Express,' and will be every Wednesday from Noon to 1:00.”

Question: Are you ready to climb aboard 'The Common Sense Express'?

Mudslide Motto: ‘Hold On To Hope’

Jammi Parris, a waitress at the Blue Bird Cafe in downtown Arlington, Wash., paints a yellow ribbon and the words “Hold on to Hope” on the window of the cafe on Tuesday, in tribute to the victims and people missing after a massive mudslide struck Saturday, killing at least 16 people and leaving dozens missing from the communities of Oso, and Darrington, Wash. Story here. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Search and cadaver dogs and rescuers using small bulldozers and their bare hands on Wednesday looked for victims and survivors of a deadly mudslide as local officials said they did everything they could to keep the rural community safe in the years before the catastrophe. Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington said that following a 2006 landslide in the area, authorities took steps to mitigate risks and tell local residents about potential hazards. But he said the sheer size of this slide — which destroyed a neighborhood, likely killing at least 24 and leaving dozens missing — was overwhelming. “It haunts me,” a sometimes emotional Pennington said at news conference. “I think we did what we could do. Sometimes large slides happen”/Seattle Times. More here.


Corps Backs Off Levy Tree Mandate

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided it will no longer force local levee agencies to choose between keeping trees on their levees and losing federal money for disaster assistance. On Monday, the Army Corps announced in a new “interim” policy that it will not disqualify levees that fail to meet its maintenance criteria from receiving disaster relief funding, essentially granting a reprieve to thousands of miles of California riverside habitat. The move appears to resolve, for now, a long-running policy dispute that pitted the state of California against the powerful federal flood-control agency/Sacramento Bee. More here. H/T: Kootenai Environmental Alliance

DFO: Sounds like good news for the Dike Road and the city of Coeur d'Alene. However, this whole controversy might have been a wake-up call for the city to trim a number of trees & bushes from the Dike Road, to improve tree health and even vista. What do you think?

Read more here:

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.26.14

On Post Falls Police Department Facebook wall: “Treaty Rock Vandalism: On (Monday), “Post Falls officers responded to a report that the Treaty Rock Memorial at Treaty Rock Park had been vandalized sometime in the previous few days to being discovered. It appears that someone used a rock or other sharp object to break a piece of glass that protects and preserves the historical carvings embedded in the rock. There are no suspects at this time. If you have information, please contact Det. Moss at 208-773-2952.

  • 11:57 a.m. Driver of white Mazda reckles @ w/b I-90/MP 7 (H41/Post Falls).
  • 11:53 a.m. Undisclosed type of found property reported @ 6100 block of Albion (cross of H97/Lake Coeur d'Alene).
  • 11:45 a.m. 65ish male complaining of general overall weakness @ 3700 block of 2nd Avenue/Post Falls.
  • 11:41 a.m. Driver of gray pickup possibly DUI @ e/b Dalton Avenue from Government Way/CdA.
  • 11:25 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 25-26 here.
  • 11:14 a.m. A strap is broken & flopping 20 feet behind truck w/oversized load @ w/b I-90/MP 52 (west of Kellogg).
  • 10:43 a.m. Someone has been hurt in fall @ 12300 block of Kelly Rae/Hayden.
  • 10:16 a.m. PFPD officer stopping to check on male going through garbage at Corbin Park/Post Falls.
  • 10:11 a.m. Caller reports driver of red Toyota pickup reckless @ s/b H95/Kathleen Avenue, CdA.
  • 9:28 a.m. Industrial accident reported @ 2800 block of Seltice Way.
  • 9:22 a.m. Driver of dark-blue 2013 Jeep SUV has been tailgating 2nd driver on H41 to e/b I-90/MP 13 (4th Street/CdA).
  • 9:07 a.m. 63YO female suffering chest pain @ 1100 block of Idaho Street/Post Falls.
  • 9:01 a.m. Driver of vehicle @ w/b I-90/MP 2 (Pleasantview/Post Falls) possibly DUI.
  • 8:23 a.m. CPD is seeking stolen green 1995 Kawasaki, w/blue seat & missing kick start, last seen 10 days ago.
  • 8:22 a.m. ISP officer reports debris on freeway @ H95/MP 439 (H53/Garwood).
  • 8:17 a.m. Undisclosed medical emergency reported @ Sylvan House, 660 W. Honeysuckle.
  • 8:09 a.m. Coeur d'Alene streets worker is asking for water to be brought to Skate Park/Memorial Field.

Cindy’s Pick: Not Feminine Enough?

Last week came the story of a boy in Buncombe County, N.C., who got bullied when he showed up at school with a “My Little Pony” bag. His public school told him to lose the bag — which outraged the cybersphere until the school relented. Apparently, he wasn’t seen as masculine enough. Now comes the story of a girl apparently thought by her school as not feminine enough. It happened last month but is just now coming out – everywhere. The 8-year-old Lynchburg, Va., girl has an affinity for autographed baseballs, collector coins and hunting knives. She likes to wear T-shirts and sneakers. She plays sports. And she keeps her hair short. Her private Christian school sent a letter to her grandmother and guardian saying she should dress and act more like a girl/Washington Post. More here.

Question: What would you tell school officials at the girl's school in Lynchburg, Va.?

Marc: Hug Your Kids

Marc Stewart (RE: Press: A horror story unfolds): Our community is hurting again. Not since the Groene murders has our small city been faced with senseless violence and the destruction of young lives. There’s a nagging feeling that something more could have been done. Maybe. Who knows. We want to know why a teenager would slaughter his father and brother. At first, we conjure reasons out of thin air. We blame society, movies, television, video games, and the system. Then we read transcripts of court documents, filling in the blanks as best we can. Our brains want to make sense of this nightmare. I can’t. All I know is that I hugged my kids a little tighter this morning and told them I loved them.

Question: Do you see parallels between homicides Monday night and the Groene murders?

Poll: Keep Parade/Festival Gun Ban

  • Tuesday Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation opposes an idea promoted by Councilman Steve Adams to allow guns at Coeur d'Alene parades and festivals. 192 of 246 respondents (78.05%) oppose Adams' idea. Only 50 of 246 respondents (20.33%) support it. 4 (1.63%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: How did news of the shocking double homicide Monday impact you?

OfCoffee: Telltale Rally Right Signs

OfCoffee (RE: Ex-LAPD officer seeks House District 3 seat): I don't know anything about this guy other than what is listed in this article. But I think it is very relevant that he has only been here two years. How do you go about making decisions for Idaho when you don't know anything about it? What parts of the state has he traveled to? What are the state issues? History? And Phaedrus, usually “true conservative” means Rally Right here in Kootenai County. I don't know if he is, but that's usually their tag line.

Question: What are the telltale signs for you that a “true conservative” candidate is from the Rally Right wing of the local Republican Party?

AM Headlines — 3.26.14

Don Sausser, the Eye on Sherman Avenue, provides this panorama view of construction work taking place on the front lawn of the Coeur d'Alene Resort and the old public traffic circle near the clock tower. The project is part of installing a Centennial Trail Plaza between the resort and the resort mall to link the new McEuen Field with City Park and City Beach.

Ex-LAPD Officer Seeks HD3 Seat

Former Los Angeles police officer Don Cheatham, a Republican, is running for the state House seat that opened following Frank Henderson's decision to retire. “I have never run for political office, but want to join with other true conservatives who want to not only protect and preserve Idaho's conservative values, but enhance them,” Cheatham said. He has lived in Kootenai County for two years, including the past year in Post Falls. “I love the political atmosphere here, and the way people are connected,” he said. Cheatham said the state's educational system is in “disappointing” shape, and he believes small businesses are struggling. “We also need to identify ways to attract larger businesses and industry,” he said/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Cheatham has an impressive resume. But I can't get past the fact that he has lived in Kootenai County only 2 years. Is that important to you, too?

Freedom Will Ring Again At McEuen

On Veterans Day last year, the iconic Third Street bell was transported to the RD Rankin Veterans Memorial Plaza for the ceremony, having been removed during construction from the Third Street dock entrance, its home for decades. At some point that day, my friend and World War II veteran Jim Shepperd told me that it would be the last time he rang the bell. I was startled, as Jim, a life member of VFW 889, had done the honors for a half-century, both on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. When I asked why, he said he didn't know if the bell would be placed in the new McEuen Park. The next day, I called Coeur d'Alene City Councilman Mike Kennedy and relayed what I'd been told and asked if he could look into the future of the bell at McEuen. He did one better, by passing my request along to then-Mayor-Elect Steve Widmyer/Kerri Thoreson, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Have you paid attention to the plans for the veterans area at the new McEuen Field?

Press: A Horror Story Unfolds

It didn't take long for comparisons to be drawn between Eldon Samuel III and Harvey Spencer Stephens. Eldon is the 14-year-old boy accused of murdering his father and his brother in a Coeur d'Alene transitional home Monday night. Harvey is the boy who played Damien Thorn in the 1976 occult thriller, “The Omen.” Visual comparisons between the two are uncanny. Personality comparisons, while unfortunate, are perhaps inevitable. At this moment, Eldon isn't guilty of anything. He has been charged and will apparently stand trial as an adult in the bloody double homicide. He'll have his day in court, and until then, you will be far from alone in wondering what could possess a child — any child — to commit the heinous acts this boy is accused of committing/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.


Local GOP Debates Meeting Minutes

Item: Transparency and trust: GOP central committee meeting focuses on minutes/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Kellie Palm, pictured, said she just wants transparency and trust in the local Republican Party, and omitting information from the party's meeting minutes erodes those things. “I am a fact person,” Palm said Tuesday night after the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee meeting. Palm, a precinct committeewoman, got in a heated disagreement last month with other precinct committee members over the omission of a report Chairman Neil Oliver gave at the Jan. 28 central committee meeting. Last month, Palm made a motion to have Oliver's chairman's report included in the minutes because it contained comments about how the state GOP was dealing with the presidential caucus rules for 2016.

Question: Name something you'd rather do than go to a Kootenai County Republican Central Committee meeting?

NIC May Be In Right League At Last

It might seem like a step back, and it is in some ways, but with North Idaho College athletics soon to be moving from the NJCAA Scenic West Athletic Conference to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges, they could be right where they need to be. With the exception of volleyball, men's and women's basketball, teams will be moving into the NWAACC starting in the fall, whereas the other three will begin play there in the 2015-16 season. Sports like soccer — which the Scenic West Athletic Conference does not have a league for - won't be affected, as NIC played a majority of those NWAACC schools before advancing to regional tournaments. They won't get the opportunity to play for national championships, but with as competitive as the NWAACC tends to be in that sport, it might be just as tough getting through that league tournament/Jason Elliott, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: I don't have a dog in this fight. But I'd like to know if the switch to the lower league opens up more opportunities for local kids to play on North Idaho College teams?

Police: Boy Says He Planned Killings

Coeur d'Alene Police prepare 14-year-old Eldon Samuel III for transport to the police department, where he was interviewed and booked Monday night. The teen was later charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree murder. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)


Primary Care Residency To Begin

Item: Coeur d’Alene family medical residency starts in June/Scott Maben, SR

More Info: Primary care physicians, already in short supply, are expected to grow scarcer still from a wave of family doctor retirements in the next few years. But there’s renewed interest in family medicine among medical school graduates, and for the first time a group of them will do their graduate work in Coeur d’Alene. Kootenai Health will have six young doctors arrive in June for the inaugural class of its new Family Medicine Coeur d’Alene Residency program.

Question: Will your doctor be retiring soon?

Megaloads Saga Yields Positive Twist

As a general rule, globalization allows a rich, powerful corporation to maximize profits by exploiting cheap labor overseas and cheap transportation at home. That's how North America exports jobs overseas and imports manufactured goods. Case in point: Exxon-Mobil's designs for U.S. Highway 12. Almost five years ago, Exxon-Mobil, which owns Imperial Oil, embarked on a plan to purchase pre-fabricated equipment from South Korea, ship it to the Port of Lewiston and then transport this machinery on more than 200 of the largest, rolling roadblocks the region had ever seen along U.S. 12 toward the Kearl oil sands of Alberta. Whatever gave Imperial the idea this might not work?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Trillhaase credits resistance and legal action from protesters for making the megaloads too costly to continue. He considers this to be the positive development in this long environmental battle. Do you?


Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Tuesday — 3.25.14

On the way back from Hayden Lake, where I got a chipped tooth fixed this morning, I noticed 5 or 6 abortion protesters standing on the sidewalk outside the southern entrance to the Coeur d'Alene High students parking lot. They had signs. But there didn't appear to be any students entering or leaving the parking lot. So another day begins in the Kingdom of Kootenai. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 3.25.14

Technicians dangle from a series of ropes before polishing the underside glass at Grand Canyon Skywalk in Hualapai Reservation, Ariz. The more than 40 panes of glass underneath the horseshoe-shaped bridge on the Hualapai reservation aren’t easily accessible. The structure juts out 70 feet from the edge of the Grand Canyon, offering visitors a view of the Colorado River 4,000 feet below. (AP Photos/Abseilon USA, AZ Photos, George Walsh)

Question: Have you ever walked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon?

Court Docs Detail Gruesome Slayings

Top Story Today:

A 14-year-old boy accused of murdering his father and younger brother Monday night in Coeur d’Alene showed no remorse in an interview with investigators and told them he had contemplated and prepared for the brutal killings for months. Eldon G. Samuel III is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his father, Eldon Samuel Jr., 46, and his brother, Jonathan Samuel, 13, inside an emergency housing unit owned by St. Vincent de Paul in Coeur d’Alene. His bail was set today at $1 million. The elder Samuel was shot once in the stomach and three times in the head with a .45-caliber pistol, according to a Coeur d’Alene Police Department report. Jonathan Samuel was shot with a shotgun, stabbed with a knife and hacked with a machete, the report stated. The suspect told investigators he hated his brother and blamed him for his anger and frustration/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (KCSD mug photo of Eldon G. Samuel III)

Samuel also talked about playing “Grand Theft Auto 5,” a popular video game. He told investigators he likes the game character Trevor, saying Trevor has anger issues and likes to shoot people. Samuel said he thinks Trevor is “kinda cool,” investigators said.


PM Scanner Traffic — 3.25.14

  • 5:21 p.m. Male in hoodie looking in vehicles at Garden Plaza Court/Post Falls.
  • 5:15 p.m. Driver of classic vehicle w/hood down reports green Subaru hit him @ H95/Miles, Hayden, & left.
  • 5:14 p.m. BOSS hit on possible stolen tan 1993 Mazda Protege @ I-90/Pleasantview, Post Falls.
  • 4:56 p.m. Toyota driver stopped on road, swore at following car @ Spokane/Poleline, Post Falls.
  • 4:52 p.m. Indian Meadows/CdA resident chasing loose dog on Arrowhead.
  • 4:47 p.m. Post Falls student tells friend that he wanted to kill himself.
  • 4:29 p.m. Caller reports being tailgated aggressively by driver of Chevy S10 Blazer @ n/b H41/Prairie.

Cutline Contest — 3.25.14

Time 2 Vote …

Rep. Clark Kauffman (R-Filer) shoots a rubber band on the floor of the Idaho House of Representatives on Thursday in Boise. You write the cutline. (AP/Statesman photo: Joe Jaszewski)

Monday Winner — ScooterMom, with 11 likes: Are you sure this isn't prohibited by the ag gag bill? You can see Monday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Headlines — 3.25.14

Winton Elementary 5th grader Tianna Wood worked to finish the practice SBAC, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test at the school in Coeur d'Alene on Monday. Idaho students got their first look at the state assessments intended to align with the new Common Core standards. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Hoffman Disappointed w/Legislature

Now that the Legislature has gone home, I am left with just one question: What the heck were they thinking regarding taxes and spending? This Legislature, with a supermajority of Republicans, had ample opportunity to dramatically cut taxes and keep spending in check. It did neither. Gov. Butch Otter proposed $30 million in tax relief. He didn’t say what kind of tax relief; he left the details to lawmakers. He should have worked harder for it. He should have been specific about what he wanted and why. The Legislature built from that rocky foundation; the only tax cut bill to be introduced was one from Rep. Mike Moyle. R-Star, calling for reductions in income tax rates. But his bill was, well, wimpy. Its tax cuts were conditioned on certain state revenue benchmarks; if those revenue goals were not reached, the higher tax rates would remain in effect. Not the best tax policy in the world, but strangely, the only broad-based tax cut on the table this year. The bill passed the House 54-13, but got no Senate hearing/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: My biggest disappointment with the 2014 Legislature? It convened. How about you?

Derby Dames Win 2nd Bout Of year

Bangergang Bambi, left, of the Snake Pit Derby Dames blocks a jammer from Cherry City (Salem, Ore.) during a bout won by the hometown Derby Dames last weekend. (Photo: Cheryl Nichols)

The Snake Pit Derby Dames, returning for their fourth season of Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby, earned their second win of the 2014 season in as many bouts in impressive fashion last Saturday night at Skate Plaza in Coeur d’Alene. The all-star team – known as the Venomous Vixens – defeated the Cherry City (Salem, Ore.) Roller Girls’ Dolls of Anarchy 226-127 before a rowdy crowd of close to 300 fans. The bout, which offered a special free admission, was sponsored by the league and Skate Plaza, which also collected four big containers of canned goods for the Community Action Partnership (CAP) Food Bank. Full story of match here.

Next Home Bout: Snake Pit’s next home bout will be a doubleheader at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds Saturday. The Vixens host the Palouse River Rollers and Snake Pit’s juniors team – the Sweet Fangs – rumble with the Cherry Bomb Brawlers of Spokane. Admission is $5 in advance for adults and $8 at the door. Children 10 and under are admitted free.

HBO Blogosphere — 3.25.14

Linda Lantzy/Idaho Scenic Images captures the beauty of a sunset on Hayden Lake Monday evening. You can see more of Linda's terrific outdoors photography on her Facebook wall here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Monday, March 24): 6458 page-views; 3805 unique views

Fulcher To Address Local GOP

“Looking forward to speaking at the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee tonight” — state Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian.

Clerk, Treasurer Forums Thursday

The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans will be hosting two forums for courthouse candidates at their noon luncheon Thursday at Fedora Pub & Grille, 1726 W. Kathleen Ave., Coeur d'Alene. The forums will be for the clerk's position and the treasurer's position. Appointed clerk Jim Brannon will face off with former GOP legislator Don Pischner in one forum. Deputy Treasurer Laurie Thomas will debate with Steve Matheson in the second forum.

City Hires Erickson As Spokesman

Keith Erickson, pictured, has been named the city of Coeur d’Alene’s first full-time communications coordinator. Erickson has held the position as a contracted employee since last November. In his role with the city, Erickson will be responsible for coordinating community relations and public information through the development of media relations and publicity. He will focus on maximizing community awareness in the city’s activities, services and programs. “This position is part of the city’s ongoing commitment to involve our citizens with all aspects of the city’s operations,” said City Administrator Wendy Gabriel. “The communications coordinator will have a critical role in spreading our message to the community in a timely manner”/Coeur d'Alene Today. More here.


St. Vincent’s Issues Statement

Executive Director Jeff Conroy (pictured) and board President Linda Mitchell of St. Vincent de Paul's issued the following statement moments ago re: the double slaying that occurred at one of the society's transitional houses last night:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Samuel family as they go through this tragedy. We cannot possibly know what they are going through. To help staff and those in our pro-grams, we have grief counselors available to meet with them. This incident is the first of its kind in our 68 years of service to the community. We are surprised to learn of the weapons that were used in this crime as they are prohibited in all of our programs. We, like the rest of our community, wait for more information so we can begin to understand why this happened. We will continue to support our staff, the people in our programs, and especially the Samuel family.


Deadline Distraction

On her Facebook wall, Councilwoman KerriT posts: “Today's deadline distraction is courtesy of a pair of darling chickadees who are showing interest in the gourd bird house that Bert made. They're a challenge to photograph since they do a lot of darting to and fro from place to place.”

Question: What kinds of things easily distract you at this time of the year?

Jesse: Love Me Some AutoZone

On his Facebook wall, SR photog buddy Jesse Tinsley posts: “When my wife's car started missing, I took it to Autozone and had them pull the codes. The young clerk found that it was a spark plug wire, sold me the wires and then replaced the bad wire for me. He wanted to put on the rest of the wires but I told him I could do it. I'm a big fan of my local Autozone store.”

Question: Is there a local business that you swear by?

Idaho #2 For Minimum Wage Jobs

Idaho has slipped from first in the nation for its proportion of workers earning the minimum wage, to second after Tennessee, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Idaho’s percentage of workers earning the $7.25 per hour minimum dropped from 7.4 percent in 2012 to 7.1 percent in 2013, at the same time that Tennessee saw a big increase in minimum wage workers that boosted it up from 5.5 percent to 7.4 percent/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: This is an improvement, right?

Girl Uses CPR To Save Grandfather

On a Thursday at Riverside High School, Shelby Morgan learned CPR. That Friday, she learned how to use an automated external defibrillator, which can deliver a lifesaving shock to the heart. The following Monday, she saved her grandpa. A lot of other people saved Dick Morgan, too: the first responders who arrived at his Shadle home on Feb. 10 and shocked his heart back into rhythm, the hospital crew who treated him, cooling his body to slow neurological function and protect his brain after his cardiac arrest, and reporting his prognosis to his family in terms of if – if he recovered, not when. But Dick Morgan’s “chain of survival” started with Shelby/Adrian Rogers, SR. More here. (SR photo by Jesse Tinsley: Richard Morgan, left, had a heart attack recently and survived because his granddaughter Shelby Morgan, 15, knew CPR)

Question: Could you save a person using CPR?

UIdaho Teams Up With Google

Due to recent declines in University of Idaho student enrollment, the University Communications and Marketing team paired with Google to attract attention to UI with strategically placed Internet advertisements, said Senior Director of Marketing Chris Cooney. “Google approached us last summer,” Cooney said. “They offered three months of free consulting, free strategic consulting as well as the buying of the placements and the ability to adjust the campaign as it ran for the three month duration.” Known as the “Google Campaign,” the six-week endeavor took place from Sept.15 to Oct. 28. Cooney said the marketing campaign targeted seven Northwestern states and focused on placing display ads on Google’s website and a video ad on YouTube, as well as increasing the chance would pop up in Google searches/Amber Emery, UIdaho Argonaut. More here.

Question: How interested are you re: news about the University of Idaho?

Grim Process Of Finding Bodies Starts

Flowers are left on debris next to a demolished home where a woman's body was found following a deadly mudslide on Tuesday in Arlington, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. Story here. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Of all the help that has arrived here along the Stillaguamish River in the wake of Saturday's deadly mudslide, one group in particular stands out. The state mortuary assistance team is now in place and ready to work. “There is a point at which you bring them in,” John Pennington, director of the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, told reporters during a rain-soaked Tuesday morning news conference. “This is that particular point.” The death toll stands at 14, and the list of the missing or unaccounted for is still 176. But officials said Tuesday both of those numbers should change by day's end/Los Angeles Times. More here.

Trib: Otter Trips Over Constitution

Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter has defended arming college students with concealed weapons in the name of the Constitution. “As elected officials, we have a sworn responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not only when doing so is easy, convenient or without cost, but especially when it is not,” Otter said. Fair enough. As governor, Otter is bound to “see that the laws are faithfully executed. But doesn't that go for Idaho's constitution as well?In the last week or so, he's managed to trip over that document at least twice/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.


AM Scanner Traffic — 3.25.14

  • 12:04 p.m. A couple reported as “suspicious” in Indian Meadows/CdA area have merely run out of gas.
  • 11:55 a.m. Driver pulls over red vehicle, puts on flashers after caller reports erratic driving @ w/b I-90/MP 10.
  • 11:30 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 24-25 here.
  • 11:07 a.m. Driver of gray compact speeding at 100-plus mph @ s/b H95/MP 412 (Sun-Up Road).
  • 10:41 a.m. Someone has been injured in fall @ Big R Coeur d'Alene, 170 E. Kathleen Ave.
  • 9:28 a.m. Mountain West alarm proves to be a false one.
  • 9:24 a.m. Visitor at KCSD wants to see a deputy re: a property theft.
  • 8:35 a.m. PFPD officer at Mountain West Bank reports transient in camo outside building.
  • 8:32 a.m. Personal attack alarm sounds from one of the tellers @ Post Falls Mountain West Bank.
  • 8:22 a.m. Possible unattended death @ 2nd Avenue/Ford Street, Post Falls.

Joker: Guns Needed At Parades

“You people don't get it,” comments Joker, tongue firmly cheeked. “Guns are totally necessary at a parade. I’ve got a dozen reasons to help Steve Adams win his case.”

  • 1. Property rights. I camp out for hours to get a great spot. The last thing I need is some idiot trying to lay claim to my little piece of grass under a tree on Sherman. Nobody and I mean nobody is going to steal my public right of way.
  • 2. People. They annoy me. Beyond the bad fashion choices, horrible tattoos, they're milling about aimlessly like a bunch of zombies. It's like they're waiting for something to start. Keep out of my space and out of my sight.
  • 3. Dads. There’s always some jerky dad who uses their adorable little kid to cut in front of me. I hate it. You’ve got shoulders, use them. Go bother someone else.
  • 4. Cute kids. Who do these brats think they are? I am all set up with my giant cooler, my beverages, my over sized umbrellas and boom box, electric fan and then some little boy or girl has to giggle, laugh and and clap — thereby ruining my parade experience.
  • 5. Clowns. You can never trust a clown. Who knows what they’re going to do.
  • Complete list here


Randy: Time For Adams To Go

Randy Myers, via Facebook: “Our city councilman Steve Adams proposes to eliminate a city ordinance that bans people from carrying firearms at festivals and parades in Cd'A. Our city council elections are non-partisan but Adams basically carries a far right Tea Party agenda as he constantly votes against receiving federal funds (to which we are entitled) and against most things that the majority of people basically want. He was elected, in my opinion, on one issue:opposition to the McEuen Park makeover. It's time to get Steve Adams out of office. Note : This has been an unpaid,unsolicited, and strictly political announcement.”

Question: Will Councilman Adams' stand on guns at parades/festivals help or hurt his chances for re-election next year?

14YO Held In 2 Fatal CdA Shootings

“This is such a tight knit group,” said Dan Morgan on Tuesday, as he stood in front of the St.Vincent DePaul transitional home where a double homicide occurred on Monday night. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Police say two people have been killed in a shooting at a Coeur d’Alene home in the 1300 block of North First Street. Police took a juvenile suspect into custody after the Monday night shooting, news reports and a news release said. Sgt. Christie Wood confirmed the two deaths. The victims were not immediately identified. Jeff Conroy, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul in Coeur d’Alene, said the single-family home was one of the social service agency’s emergency housing units. A family had been living there for a few months, he said. “We use that house to put families in,” Conroy said. “We have people who need a place to land until they get their life in order.” In 68 years of operation, Conroy said, St. Vincent de Paul has never experienced anything like this in one of its units/SR. More here.

Question: In peaceful Coeur d'Alene?

CSD Addresses Double Slaying

An email message sent from spokeswoman Laura Rumpler of the Coeur d'Alene School District to staff members this morning:

“Everyone….since our school district is like one large family, we felt it is important to briefly share with you that the tragic shooting in Coeur d’Alene last night does impact our school district as one of our families was involved. This is a very painful and sad time as a community, and we are currently working with CdA Police as they finish their investigation and contact next of kin. While we are leaving the details of this tragedy to our police department, the district has begun mobilizing our crisis assistance team to support staff members and are developing plans to communicate with our students and families later on today, to help them process this tragedy once the information becomes public. I know you may have many questions – our focus right now is on supporting people and awaiting information from the CdA Police Department.  I promise we will share more when we are able.  Thank you” — Laura.


Poll: Solons’ Priority? Playing It Safe

  • Monday Poll: A plurality of Hucks Nation believes that the top priority for the 2014 Idaho Legislature was to play it safe to help individual legislators win re-election. Other priorities for the Legislature, according to the Monday poll, were: 41 (19.81%) expanding gun rights; 33 (15.94%) avoiding “Add the Words” legislation; 13 apieces (6.28%) tax cuts and job/business incentives; 5 (2.42%) education; and 4 (1.93%) other.
  • Today's Poll: Do you agree with Councilman Steve Adams that Coeur d'Alene should lift its ban on guns at parades and festivals?

AM: CdA Marine Finally Gets Medals

William Bell is reflected in the frame of a picture of him taken in the 1940s when he was in the Marine air corps. He talked about his experience in the military in his apartment at Coeur d’Alene Homes on March 20. Becky Kramer SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)


Quotable Quote

“I'd rather take down a heavily armed fugitive in a small dark apartment than learn this social media stuff” — Wayne F. Manis.

Note: Wayne F. Manis is a special FBI agent for North Idaho. He has written a book about his decades as an FBI agent: “The Street Agent: The FBI Infiltrator Who Probed Depths of American Terrorists”

Question: Are you comfortable with the social media?

Thou Shalt Not Miss A Deadline

On her Facebook page, Councilwoman KerriT describes “deadline”:

deadline, noun
1. the time by which something must be finished or submitted; the latest time for finishing something: a five o'clock deadline.
2. a line or limit that must not be passed. also known as Tuesday in my world. Carry on.

Question: How many deadlines do you face in a given week? Describe them.

Silver: Risch 99-to-1 Favorite To Win

Idaho GOP Sen. Jim Risch is among six U.S. senators with a 99 percent likelihood of re-election, according to Nate Silver, the forecaster who precisely predicted President Obama’s Electoral College and percentage of the vote in 2012. Silver also predicts Republicans will win exactly the six seats they need for a 51-49 margin in the Senate, which would propel both Risch and Idaho’s senior GOP Sen. Mike Crapo into more powerful committee posts. “We think the Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber,” writes Silver, who recently left the New York Times for ESPN/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: How would things be different if Republicans controlled both houses of Congress?

Adams Targets Parade Gun Ban

Playing off the momentum of the Idaho State Legislature, Coeur d'Alene City Councilman Steve Adams wants to eliminate a local weapons ordinance. The ordinance he wants to eliminate bans weapons at parades and festivals within the city limits of Coeur d'Alene. “It was brought to my attention a while back,” Adams said Monday. “I thought 'why not continue this momentum to bolster the Second Amendment and eliminate this ordinance?'” Adams was referring to the Legislature's recent passage of a law that would allow citizens with enhanced concealed weapons permits to carry guns on Idaho's college campuses. On Monday, Adams took the issue to the city's General Services Committee/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think the city of Coeur d'Alene should lift its ban on guns at parades and festivals?

Girl Scout Cookie Sales Queen

Katie Francis, 11, of Oklahoma City has broken the organization's decades-old record for selling Girl Scout cookies by a margin about the size of a Thin Mint. Francis sold 18,107 boxes in the seven-week sales period that ended Sunday. The previous mark was set by Elizabeth Brinton, who sold approximately 18,000 one year in the 1980s. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Doug Hoke)

Question: Have you — or a child — sold Girl Scout cookies. Did you sell many?

Urban Chickens Come At A Price

When I heard that the South Hill Library was hosting a “Backyard Chicken Workshop” Monday night, well, I knew I had to be there. I don’t like to brag, but I consider myself the Picasso of backyard poultry. Really. Give me an hour with my Weber. I’ll give you the best-damned barbecued bird you’ve ever eaten. Haw. I’m just pullet your leg. I knew that the chicken workshop, led by Paul and Susan Puhek, was about raising live chickens, not roasting dead ones. The Puheks operate S&P Homestead Farms in Otis Orchards, after all. What this engaging couple doesn’t know about chicken-wrangling probably isn’t worth knowing. And never before has this information been so relevant for Spokane/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever killed, plucked and eaten a chicken?

Balukoff Visits North Idaho Dems

Education, the economy, transparency in state government, and some of the recently concluded legislative session's most controversial issues are sure to dominate conversations as Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff takes his “listening tour” to communities in central and North Idaho this week. Balukoff will be accompanied by Bert Marley, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. “We are traveling the state to hear directly from Idahoans to learn about the issues that are most important to them,” said Balukoff. “You are the experts in your communities. No one knows the local needs better than those who live and work here everyday.” The event information for Balukoff and Marley is listed below:

  • Kootenai County Democrats Spring Forth & Meet the Candidates, 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Lake City Center, 1916 N Lakewood Drive, Coeur d'Alene.
  • Boundary County Meet & Greet, noon-2 p.m. Thursday, Mugsy's Tavern & Grill, Bonners Ferry
  • Shoshone County Meet & Greet, 5-6 p.m. Friday, City Limits Pub & Grill, 108 Nine Mile Rd, Wallace.

Question: How much will the divide in the Idaho Republican Party help Balukoff?

Global Bracketology

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

Wild Card/Monday — 3.24.14

I enjoyed the past three days in Portland with Amy Dearest and Okie Doke. Portland is at least two weeks ahead of us on the spring schedule. So I was able to help Okie Doke dig some weeds out of his plot in a community garden and plant some seeds. Nothing like getting dirt under the fingernails in spring. His peas, broccoli and carrots are in. I'll try to get something underground this weekend, if Huckleberry the Faithful Beagle doesn't dig it up immediately afterward. With that happy thought, I'll post the first Wild Card of the work week …

Parting Shot — 3.24.14

U.S. President Barack Obama stops to view Rembrandt's “The Nightwatch” painting as he tours the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, earlier today. Obama is attending the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, which will form the backdrop for an emergency meeting of Group of Seven leaders on Russia's annexation of Crimea. It's a confrontation between Russia and the West reminiscent of the Cold War. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Question: Do you have a favorite artist?

Hey, Didn’t You Use To Be …

… The only KCRCC?

Unwinding At Bogus Basin

After covering more bloviating and harrumping than humanly possible, SR colleague Betsy Russell has headed to the mountains to get in some spring skiing. That's how she decompresses after a legislative session. Posts Betsy: “Boise’s non-profit ski resort is delivering the spring skiing this week, from soft, smooth, forgiving corduroy on the front side in the morning to sweet spring slush on the backside in the afternoon. It’s the last hurrah for Bogus Basin.” Full Eye on Boise post here. I don't downhill ski. But I do have my decompression methods, usually involving gardening and yard work. A noon walk along the lake is another decompression move. How about you?

Question: How do you unwind?

CPD: 17 Weekend Vehicle Burglaries

Coeur d’Alene Police Officers took seventeen auto burglary reports over the past weekend of March 21-23. The majority of the vehicles entered were parked in public places such as restaurants, hotels, and retail stores. These businesses are located on Ironwood Drive, Appleway Avenue, Canfield Avenue and Neider Avenue. The burglaries occurred during the early morning hours. Twelve of the vehicles were entered by a window being smashed. The other vehicles had been left unlocked. Items taken from the vehicles included suitcases, purses, laptops, iPods, iPads, wallets and cell phones. There has been a steady increase in auto burglaries and vehicle thefts in the past few weeks. Six vehicles were reported stolen over the weekend. Three of them are still unaccounted for. Two were recovered by Coeur d’Alene Police and one was located by Spokane Police/Sgt. Christie Wood, Coeur d'Alene Police Department.

Cutline Contest — 3.24.14

Time 2 Vote …

Friday Wright is thrown off his bull during the RodeoHouston Super Shootout Bull Riding event at Reliant Stadium Sunday in Houston. You write the cutline.(AP Photo/ Houston Chronicle, Johnny Hanson)

Weekend Contest — DFO, with 11 likes: Reagan Republican leaders Jeff Ward and Ron Lahr defend their platform from Bjorn Handeen and his wing man from the defunct Precinct 52 luncheon who want to return to the Republican nest. You can see Weekend photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.24.14

  • 5:35 p.m. Driver of blue semi vehicle hauler swerving on H95/H53, Garwood.
  • 5:34 p.m. Hit-and-run driver from Huetter/Prairie caught in Hayden Albertson's lot.
  • 5:33 p.m. Road rager in pickup reckless, flipping other drivers off @ w/b I-90/MP 15 (Sherman Avenue).
  • 5:28 p.m. ISP officer reports that someone has backed into his patrol vehicle @ w/b I-90/MP 4 (McGuire Road).
  • 5:16 p.m. Male driver is chasing female in green Toyota Camri who hit his car @ n/b Huetter/Prairie, Rathdrum Prairie.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 23-24 here.
  • 4:38 p.m. Disabled van is blocking Bozanta/Lakeview, Hayden Lake.
  • 4:36 p.m. 2 juveniles are playing on BNSF tracks @ Corbin/Midway, Post Falls.
  • 4:35 p.m. 1YO baby is locked inside a 4Runner that's running  @ North Idaho Gymnastic, 7730 Boekel/Rathdrum.
  • 4:12 p.m. Undisclosed animal problem reported @ 500 block of N19th Street/CdA.
  • 4 p.m. Coeur d’Alene Police officers have closed access to the 1400 block of E. Lakeshore Drive. due to a possible small explosive device found on the beach
  • 3:37 p.m. 2 males are pushing a disabled vehicle @ Ironwood/Lakeview, CdA.
  • 3:30 p.m. Injury accident reported @ 2nd Street/Coeur d'Alene, CdA.
  • 3:28 p.m. Male is driving dirt bike on roadway @ 12th Avenue/Cecil, Post Falls.
  • 3:27 p.m. A woman's boxer is disrupting traffic on 12th Avenue/Post Falls.
  • 2:41 p.m. Officer trespasses male from home on Oxford Drive/Hayden.
  • 1:56 p.m. Grass fire reported along Sunny Slopes Road/Worley.
  • 1:51 p.m. Female w/3 kids in white Chevy van seen pounding steering wheel @ n/b H95/Prairie Avenue, Hayden, and then seen walking n/b with gas can.
  • 1:37 p.m. Undisclosed medical emergency reported @ 1200 block of Starling Avenue/Hayden.
  • 1:03 p.m. Atlas Elementary is staging a fire drill.
  • 12:46 p.m. Caller reports neighbor is burning smoky, trash fire in open pit @ 1300 block of American Drive/Post Falls.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

Suspicious Device Shuts CdA Road

Coeur d’Alene Police officers have closed access to the 1400 block of Lakeshore Drive, due to a possible small explosive device found on the beach. A homeowner reported finding the suspicious device as he was doing beach clean-up.  The scene is stable at this time with no structures or citizens at risk. Officers have been in contact with the Spokane Bomb Squad about the device. More information will be provided as it becomes available/Sgt. Christie Wood, Coeur d'Alene Police Department.

PM Headlines — 3.24.14

Kim Golden, with North Idaho College’s Cardinal Connections, left, interviews the school’s Outdoor Pursuits program coordinator Jon Totten Friday during the first interview of the “Stories of the Gathering Place” project. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

Mudslide: 8 Dead, Dozens Missing

The massive mudslide that killed at least eight people and left dozens missing is shown in this aerial photo today, near Arlington, Wash. The search for survivors grew Monday, raising fears that the death toll could climb far beyond the eight confirmed fatalities. Story here. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Offense Is In Eye Of The Offended

When it comes to differences of opinions between cultures about whether a remark or image is insulting, I say the culture whose image is in question gets the bye. Let's take, for instance, this debate about whether American Indian mascots are offensive to American Indians. American Indians say they are. Many of the rest of us say we don't get it, but, hey, we're not American Indians, so whose word are you going to take?I never understood this dynamic until my son married a woman from Cambodia. My daughter-in-law, Kirilynn, survived the Cambodian civil war (just barely); her family escaped and lived in a concentration camp in Thailand for two years before finally immigrating to the U.S.They endured hostility and prejudice from some of their neighbors in America, she said, and so when she started dating an Idaho boy her family was horrified. Idaho, after all, is a haven for racists, or so people from other states tell us/Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: What do you think of Kathy Hedberg's idea that the offended one in a prejudice situation has weightier position?

7 Blog: ‘Noah’ Not Literal Adaptation

It's a simple description: “A man is chosen by God to undertake a momentous mission of rescue before an apocalyptic flood destroys the world.” Only thing is, the man is called Noah. And the story that filmmaker Darren Aronofsky is telling comes from the Bible (specifically the Old Testament, Genesis 5:32-10:1). But let's be clear: Aronofsky isn't telling a literal Bible story. In fact, his movie — which opens wide on Friday — even carries a disclaimer: “The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis”/Dan Webster, 7 Blog. More here. (AP/Paramount Pictures file photo: Russell Crowe as “Noah”)

Question: Do you plan to see “Noah”?

HBO Blogosphere — 3.24.14

Cindy snapped this photo from the east side of Tubbs Hill looking toward the floating green of the resort golf course, during a visit to Coeur d'Alene over the weekend.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of March 16-22): 41,226 page-views/25,525 unique views

Cowboy Hat Prize

At the Kootenai County Reagan Republican luncheon last week, organization president Jeff Ward is shown with a cowboy hat that the group is raffling off to raise money for its victory fund. The hat, which has a value of about $200, has a size of 7 1/8th. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Question: What size of a hat do you wear? And/or: How often do you wear a hat/cap?

Big Al’s Shuts Doors At Stateline

Due to an illness, Big Al's Country Club has shut it's doors for the final time last night. Not much else left at Stateline besides strippers and WalMart at this point, quite a comedown from its notoriously wild days of yesteryear — Get Out! North Idaho.

Factoid: Did you know that Stateline is an incorporated Idaho town?

Herb At 76: ‘Dude, Yer Old’

Herb Huseland, via Facebook: Today is my 76th birthday. With my lifestyle, I have no idea why I lasted this long and hopefully longer, but hey, I'll take it as better than dying young. As I've aged, I don't have much flexibility, I was discharged from the Air Force at 138 lbs. Now I'm over 200. But oh boy, what a ride. Now at this late date, I'm venturing into politics, running for Precinct Committeeman of the 4th. Time to take the Republican Party back from the out of state extremists and return the party back to the people. Gee though, I wish I had some training or warning about getting old. Instead of that whack up side the head. Dude, yer old.

Question: What age do you consider to be the beginning of old age?

This KCRCC Isn’t That KCRCC

A post card prepared by Kootenai County Republican Concerned Citizens (KCRCC) political action committee.

There's a lot of buzz this morning about a new political action committee that's tied to the Rally Right wing of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC). The new PAC? Kootenai County Republican Concerned Citizens. Or KCRCC. See the trick here? An unsuspecting Republican who might get a postcard from this group — and one has been prepared — might think the local Republican Central Committee has endorsed the Concerned Citizens candidates. All the endorsements are for Rally Right/United Conservatives of North Idaho-type hardline candidates — Vick, Barbieri & Eric Redman in Legislative District 2. Fulcher (gov), Chmelik (lt. gov.), Denney (secretary of state), Troupis (AG), Hatfield (controller), and Eynon (Superintendent of Schools). You can read all about the tricky new PAC on its Web site here. The only identifiable individual attached to the organization is its treasurer, John H. Thyssen III of Post Falls.



On The Waterfront

Walking buddy Greg Lee & I checked out the trees along the Dike Road headed for the ax as part of a compromise plan to satisfy the Army Corps of Engineers. Remember? The core wanted to clear-cut all the trees along Rosenberry Drive to ensure that the Fortgrounds area doesn't become another New Orleans, if a 100-year flood hits. Cooler heads seem to have prevailed. Now 250 of the trees are slated to be leveled to strengthen the dike. Apparently, the are marked with a green dot. Whoever did the marking did a good job identifying diseased, dying and dead trees, as well as thinning clusters, while maintaining the beauty of the treed waterfront. Check it out yourself. I didn't see any of the stately pines marked. But there were clusters of smaller pines, where 3 or scheduled for the chainsaw, leaving one to flourish. Or a cluster of small ones are scheduled for cutting, opening up the view of the waterfront and better looking trees on the beach. All in all, I don't think we're going to see much of an impact on the tree beauty that's there now. I suspect we'll notice an upgrade when the last tree falls.

John: Widmyer Inherits Unhappy City

JohnA (RE: Inlander: Widmyer top North Idaho elected official): She (Mayor Sandi Bloem) did right the ship from her predecessor and that was remarkable. But, Mayor Widmyer also inherited a large and unhappy resident base. No matter how anyone felt about the recall, those feelings simmer just below the surface. That means he has some big issues to deal with, including salaries at city hall and what the future holds for LCDC. I think he'll do well because he has a positive and professional management focus, which will come in handy in the months and years ahead. Full comment here. (Inlander photo)

Question: Do you think a strong undercurrent of discontent exists in Coeur d'Alene from the days when the Bloem administration was in control of City Hall?

Campaigning At Lake City High

A pickup promoting challenger Toby Schindelbeck's candidacy against state Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene, for the House District 4A (Coeur d'Alene) seat was parked at Lake City High Saturday.

Ron Burgundy: Someone should teach the candidate Chico Shindlebeck that here in Idaho we don't like candidates having their campaign signs on school property like he did today at Lake City High School. I didn't realize that the new business Nutrishop is his campaign vehicle headquarters. Back to Super Supplements for me. Maybe you have to live here more than a year to learn these things Mr. Shindlebeck?

Question: Are you bothered when you see political displays like this at the courthouse, a school or other prominent public place? Or do you simply consider it to be clever campaigning?

Song Of The 2014 Legislature

Oh, they waved their arms
and they flapped their jaws,
mumbled and ranted
and passed some strange laws.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.24.14

  • 11:01 a.m. Someone is threatening suicide @ Apperson Drive/Joanna Drive, CdA
  • 10:59 a.m. Deputy en route to examine unattended fire @ 6000 block of E. Pineridge (Gotham Bay, Lake CdA).
  • 10:27 a.m. Deputy reports controlled burn of 2-3 acres @ Richards/West Riverview, Spokane River.
  • 10:18 a.m. A male is hitting a female in a vehicle parked @ Best Buy lot, off H95/CdA.
  • 10:02 a.m. Male is upset that is vehicle was towed away from 3rd Street/Sherman Avenue, CdA.
  • 9:57 a.m. Caller reports male smelled of alcohol when he drove off on Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive toward Sherman Avenue.
  • 8:49 a.m. Elderly male may have suffered broken hip in fall @ Creekside Inn assisted living, 240 E. Kathleen/CdA.
  • 8:38 a.m. ISP officer stopping to help someone with flat tire @ w/b I-90/MP 21 (near Blue Creek Bay).

Walkabout: Ban Dike Road Parking

Walkabout (RE: Dike Road levee study results revealed): In the CDA Press article discussing the dike road tree removal and changes to parking three options were given: “Continue the parallel parking and add curbs and a sidewalk on the NIC side of the road, modify the dike to add diagonal parking, or finally ban parking altogether.” There was no mention in the article that the Centennial trail is also on the dike road and how these changes would affect it. I would ban parking, and limit traffic to emergency and maintenance only, add benches and viewing areas, and add more two hour parking for the public in already available parking areas. Disabled parking near the dike road and wheelchair access would also need to be added. Parking and traffic should be banned from the dike road because there are plenty of other places to park. It is complete waste of a beautiful area to allow cars to park and drive there when it should be recreational area free of the hassle of dealing with speeding and inattentive drivers. (SR file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Walkabout may be on to something here. Dike Road (Rosenberry Drive) is horribly congested during the summer — w/cars, parking, bikes, pedestrians, skaters, roller bladers, joggers, etc. A lot of parking exists nearby. Is it time to open up the road by eliminating parking along the north Idaho College perimeter?

Washington Mudslide Levels 30 Homes

A flag flies from a small church off the highway leading to the scene of a deadly mudslide this morning, near Oso, Wash. The search for survivors of the deadly mudslide grew Monday to include 108 names of people who were reported missing or were unaccounted for, but authorities cautioned the figure would likely decline dramatically. The size of the list raised concerns the death toll would rise far above the eight people who have been confirmed dead after the 1-square-mile (2.6-square-kilometer) slide Saturday swept through part of a former fishing village about 55 miles (80 miles) northeast of Seattle. Several people also were critically injured. About 30 homes were destroyed, and the debris blocked a 1-mile (1.6 kilometer) stretch of state highway. Story here. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Poll: Legislature Deserves An ‘F’

  • Weekend Poll: Gov. Butch Otter may consider the 2014 Legislature to be one of the smoothest ones ever. But Hucks Nation considered it one of the worst ever. Given 5 grade choices, a majority of Hucks Nation gave the Legislature a letter grade of “F.” 131 of 255 respondents (51.37%) gave the Legislature an “F.” Another 45 (17.6%) awarded a “D,” 39 (15.29%) an incomplete, 18 (7.06%) a “B,” 14 (5.49%) a “C,” and only 8 (3.14%) an “A.”
  • Today's Poll: What do you think was the Legislature's top priority in 2014?

How Closed Primaries Hurt Fulcher

Last week a veteran of Idaho Republican politics pitched to me a simple case for a big reason the outsider candidates – insurgent or Tea Party-aligned by other verbiage – are unlikely to do well in the May primary elections. The idea is that many pro-Republican voters do not self-identify as Republicans. They may consider themselves “conservative” (a slippery term these days, but employed in self-definition) and may vote for Republicans, but they don’t really consider themselves part of the party. These people are individualists and by inclination not joiners. Many of them may decline to sign a paper identifying themselves as Republicans. And that could impair the base of support for the insurgency campaigns, such as for Russ Fulcher for governor and Bryan Smith for Congress/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.

Question: Could it be that we've been looking at the closed primaries incorrectly — that those willing to identify themselves as Republicans are more mainstream Republican that the Unaffiliateds?

Idaho Legislation That Didn’t Make It

Among legislation that was proposed in Idaho this year but didn’t end up passing:

  •  Nullifying the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory authority in the state.
  • Expanding Medicaid to cover uninsured Idahoans, largely at federal expense.
  • Fixing the homeowner’s exemption from property tax at $90,000 rather than indexing it to housing prices.
  • Cutting state personal and corporate income tax rates.
  • Designating the Idaho giant salamander as the state amphibian.
  • Amending the state constitution to allow legislative leaders to order the governor to call a special session to allow override of a post-session veto.

Question: Can you think of some legislation that passed that shouldn't have?

Education Was Top 2014 Priority

Education funding took center stage at the Idaho Legislature this year. Lawmakers nearly doubled Gov. Butch Otter’s proposed 2.9 percent increase in school funding, to $66 million. The cash infusion was an attempt to jump-start a series of reforms recommended by a state task force. Legislators even ditched Otter’s call for $30 million in new tax cuts – and Otter agreed. “I think that they found a better use for the money than tax relief this year,” Otter said. “In their wisdom and in my conclusion, I think they made the right decision.” Still, Idaho’s school funding remains below where it was in 2009; so does the state’s overall budget. After years of deep cuts during an economic downturn, lawmakers this year barely started restoring some of the services they cut then/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: Did you get the sense that education was the top priority in the 2014 Legislature?

AM: Happiness Class Targets Choices

Happiness coach Leslie Villelli hugs a student at Post Falls High School after teaching a class on Thursday. Villelli has been a life coach for more than 30 years, given seminars and published articles. She has twice been named businesswoman of the year in Spokane. Story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Trib: Jeers To AG Wannabe Troupis

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Opinion Editor Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune gives Jeers to … to Idaho attorney general hopeful Chris Troupis. Last week, the politician formerly known as Christ Troupis claimed the support of Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot - who helped get Attorney General Lawrence Wasden elected in 2002 — and VanderSloot's corporate spokesman, Damond Watkins of Idaho Falls, who is also the Idaho GOP national committeeman. But neither VanderSloot nor Watkins are supporting Troupis. When the Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey caught up with him, Troupis said he was confused. Complete column here.

Question: How can you be confused about a major endorsement?

Threat To Exchange Backers Fizzles

GOP lawmakers who voted last year in favor of the state health insurance exchange weren’t more likely to draw primary challenges this year after all, Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reported on Sunday; he calculated that 36 percent of those who voted “no” drew primary opponents this year – identical to the 36 percent who voted “yes.” “This is the ultimate reality check,” House Speaker Scott Bedke told Popkey. The numbers give the lie to widespread predictions that the exchange votes would spell trouble for GOP lawmakers in this year’s Republican primary election on May 20. The Idaho Freedom Foundation, a strident opponent of the exchange, targeted a number of “yes” voters with billboards in their districts/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Why didn't the threats pan out against legislators who supported the Obamacare health exchange?

Evergreen Cemetery Double Booked

When airlines double-book seats, customers get irritated. When a cemetery double-sells gravesites, people come unglued. That’s what has played out in Post Falls since the city-run Evergreen Cemetery discovered last summer that three plots reserved by one family in 2008 were sold again and used for two burials. That came as a quite a shock to Jeannette DeHart, the Post Falls woman who held the original deed to the plots, as she prepared to bury her husband there last summer. “I thought this was one thing I did right, to get the plots ahead of time,” DeHart said. “I wanted to keep the family all in a row.” The mistake was due to poor recordkeeping by a former employee/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (SR photo by Kathy Plonka: Jeannette DeHart stands near the plot where her husband, Gordon, is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Post Falls on March 12.)

Question: What would you do if you found yourself in Jeannette DeHart's situation?


2 & Done Again For Gonzaga

Gonzaga’s David Stockton meets Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in the lane. More photos of game here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

It began smoothly enough with post-up baskets by Przemek Karnowski and Sam Dower Jr. on Gonzaga’s first two possessions. But the mistakes came next and Gonzaga couldn’t stem the flood of turnovers. Each one, a pass into traffic, a fumble on the perimeter, put Arizona into overdrive toward the other end of the court. Gonzaga turnover, Arizona basket. It was the story of the first half and ultimately the game as the opportunistic Wildcats rolled to an 84-61 victory Sunday in front of 11,504 at Viejas Arena. The eighth-seeded Bulldogs (29-7) were bounced out of the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight season in the round of 32. Top-seeded Arizona (32-4) advances to face No. 4 San Diego State in Anaheim on Thursday/Jim Meehan, SR. More here.

Question: Did the 2014 Gonzaga Bulldogs meet your expectations?

Abortion Protest Planned Near CHS

A member of the Abolitionist Society of North Idaho talks to students outside Sandpoint High School during a demonstration the group held there in January. (Courtesy photo: Coeur d'Alene Press)

Coeur d'Alene High School students can expect to be greeted Monday by demonstrators seeking to eliminate all abortions. School officials alerted parents and guardians Friday that members of the Abolitionist Society of North Idaho plan to promote an initiative next week on the city's public right-of-way in front of the school. The society is part of a national movement named Abolish Human Abortion. “The group's intention is to engage with high school students and provide anti-abortion information,” wrote school district communications director Laura Rumpler in a letter sent to parents. “It is not the role of our school district to take a stance on this issue, but it is our job to protect freedom of expression/free speech and primarily, to protect our students and their learning environment.” The letter, penned by Rumpler and sent out on behalf of Coeur d'Alene High School Principal Warren Olson, advises that students will be asked to refrain from engaging with the demonstrators and to “exhibit respectful behavior as this group exercises its right to free speech”/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


Don’t Confuse Legislators With Facts

Idaho’s legislators and governor should – but most probably will not – pay attention to a new batch of statistics about gun safety in Washington. As accidental gun injuries rise, the most common age of those who unintentionally hurt or kill themselves or others is 22. You know. Upperclassmen. Idaho’s legislators and governor will certainly not give this a thought, having already ignored all the good reasons to keep guns off crowded, chaotic and youth-filled campuses, and having already ignored every college president and the state’s police chiefs, and having already ignored every other sensible, post-Enlightenment thought about guns in favor of a stubborn Dirty Harry fantasy. They are in the grip of a passion, a faith, and the dictates of this passion involve overlooking or denying certain facts/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.


Lake City: USA’s Top Mountain Town

Looking to spend some time in the best high-altitude town in the nation? Look no further, Lake City residents. You're already there. Prolific travel and tourism writer Steve Winston ranked Coeur d'Alene No. 1 in a list of the 'Top Mountain Towns in America.' Winston's list was published Tuesday by World Property Channel, a global real estate information company. Winston describes the nation's best mountain towns as filled with friendly folk, with a genuine “country” feel, and no lack of fun things to do outdoors. “Coeur d'Alene is cobbled sidewalks and gas-lit streetlamps and green awnings and red-brick storefronts, behind which lie attractive little shops, eateries, and galleries,” penned Winston. “It sits on an ice-blue alpine lake with 125 miles of shoreline, from which rise 7,000-foot mountains covered in deep-green forest”/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: I can't imagine a better mountain town that Coeur d'Alene. How about you?

Heller: Fred Phelps Send-off

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Sunday Wild Card — 3.23.14

We'll have a lot to talk about Monday. Gonzaga. Abolitionists. The end of the Legislature. The coming primary races. And more. I'm posting a second Wild Card because the one I posted Friday has a 48-hour limit. I'll see you back here Monday. Here's the Wild Card …

TGIF Wild Card — 3.21.14

I hate to leave you on your own today, gang. But I have some personal business that needs to get done. Cindy can't fill in per usual because she's celebrating a wedding anniversary. I suspect most of you will be watching Gonzaga today — and won't be paying attention to the blog anyway. The Legislature pulled the plug on a dismal 2014 session shortly before 6 o'clock Thursday, PDT. So our legislators will be scurrying home ready to glad hand anyone for a vote. We have two months until the spring primaries. But the debates have already begun. I'll be back at Huckleberries Central Monday to help you keep track of the campaigns. Here's your weekend Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 3.20.14

The Michigan State band horn section plays during a timeout in the first half during the second-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament in Spokane today. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Question: Is there any team that you're rooting for in the NCAA Tournament, besides Gonzaga (men & woman) & Idaho women?

Wild Card/Thursday — 2.20.14

I'm going to leave you orphans for the next three days. I'm off tomorrow to attend to some personal business. And Cindy is headed to Sandpoint with her true love to celebrate an anniversary. So I'll have to run the blog Friday with a Wild Card. I hate to do that to you. But occasionally the stars don't line up properly. I'll see you back her Monday. Here's your replayed Thursday Wild Card. (I'll put up another one tomorrow.)

Legislature Almost Over

Despite vehement debate in favor of it from House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, the House has defeated SJR103a, a proposed constitutional amendment regarding militia service, on a 33-37 vote. It needed two-thirds support to pass. A laughing Moyle said afterward, “In 16 years, that's the first one I lost.” The House then moved on to several other measures. Meanwhile, senators are saying their goodbyes, including some who won't be returning next year - Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, who is running for governor, and Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, who is running for district judge, among them/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise.

Question: I don't know what kind of goofy was attached to that militia service bill, but are you as happy as I am that the Idaho Legislature is almost over for the year — and can do no more damage to average Idahoans?

PM Headlines — 3.20.14

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, second from left, holds on news conference to endorse Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, right, Sen. Jim Risch, second from right, and Rep. Mike Simpson, left, after a fundraising lunch at the Powerhouse Event Center in Boise today. Boise Weekly story here. (AP Photo/Statesman photo: Joe Jaszewski)

Cutline Contest — 3.20.14

Time 2 Vote …

A pair of geese let another pair know that they have first spots on a nesting platform at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge near Stevensville, Mont. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Ravalli Republic, Perry Backus)

Wednesday Winner — JDanMike, with 7 likes: in trying to re enact a wwll photo jims dipping of tina has brought a tear of joy to tinas chiropractor! You can see Wednesday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.20.14

  • 5:49 p.m. Driver of Subaru Legacy speeding, passing in no-trespassing zone @ H95/H53, Garwood.
  • 5:46 p.m. Excel chip truck traveling 35 mph w/flashers on & line of traffic behind @ n/b H41/MP 22 (north of Spirit Lake).
  • 5:46 p.m. Undisclosed traffic hazard @ 2nd/Sherman Avenue, downtown Coeur d'Alene.
  • 5:15 p.m. Back brakes of semi are stuck and smoking @ w/b I-90/MP 7 (H41/Post Falls).
  • 4:49 p.m. Female claims CPD officers stole several things out of her vehicle.
  • 4:29 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 20 here.
  • 4:19 p.m. Driver of green Land Rover possibly DUI @ s/b 15th, near Locust Avenue/CdA.
  • 4:01 p.m. PFPD officer reports one of the XBox games (3:13 item) has a disc missing; may be in suspect's clothing.
  • 3:13 p.m. Males in long pony tail & blue jacket stole video games from Post Falls WalMart/Mullan Avenue, employee followed them out to their vehicle in Row 7.
  • 2:44 p.m. Green chip truck reportedly driving aggressively @ s/b H95/MP 398 (Worley).
  • 1:56 p.m. Driver of red Cavalier reckless @ n/b H95/MP 434 (Prairie Avenue).
  • 1:39 p.m. Driver of red flat-bed truck, w/black hood, pulling horse trailer possibly DUI @ n/b H95/Chilco.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

No Ethics Action Against McMillan

The House Ethics Committee has met to consider Rep. Shannon McMillan’s failure to disclose that she had a conflict of interest before voting against a bill, and decided not to take any formal action against her. “The Ethics Committee met to consider the ethics review publicly requested by Rep. Shannon McMillan,” Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, told the House just now; he’s the chairman of the House Ethics Committee. “The committee has reviewed her request and circumstances, and takes no formal action in light of Rep. McMillan’s voluntary disclosure of a potential conflict.” He added, “We conclude with a caution to the body to thoughtfully consider and declare conflicts to the body prior to voting”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: The House Ethics Committee might have made the right call, in this instance. Who knows? Since the Legislature changed the rules to make ethics decisions without public witness, I have no faith in this process. How about you?

Beware, Urban Chicken Dreamers

Candace Godwin: I've been raising chickens in mid-town CdA since 2008 and blog about urban chicken keeping and gardening on The Coeur d’Alene Coop (dot com). Raising chickens is fun and easy, but there are a few considerations before you jump into your first flock. What's your motivation? It's far cheaper to buy organic eggs from the farmers market (believe me!). Just because you think it's a good idea, doesn't mean your neighbor will. Don't forget about urban predators — your flock needs to be safe a secure. What about the “end-of-productivity” plan; when your chickens stop laying. Will it be stew, fry or roast? (Don't even think the Humane Society!) And, of course, the daily responsibility of caring for an animal. Read all you can about raising chickens, and really think about the commitment, before you come home with an armful of “buy 2, get 1 free!” chicks from the feed store.

Question: I haven't been a fan of chickens since I was attacked by a mother hen was I was 3 or 4 years old. I grew up on ranchers that had too many of the foul creatures. However, I was eating organic eggs before they were fashionable. What do you think of the warnings issued by Candace?

It’s All Good

How was I supposed to know that a simple remark to my kids would trigger a slow descent into madness? It all began during my daughter’s grammar lessons. I was teaching her the difference between the words “well” and “good.” This is easy to explain to anyone. “Good” is an adjective. “Well” is an adverb. Examples: “This is good ice cream,” and “The girl performed well on her test.” There’s a slight exception for “well” when it concerns describing a person’s health, such as “Dad is not feeling well,” but other than that, this is a straightforward grammar lesson. I should’ve just stopped there, but no, I had to say it to both my kids: “A common mistake that some people make is to use “good” as an adverb. Next time you’re around a group of people, listen for how they mix up these words”/Idaho Dad, A Family Runs Through It. More here.

Question: Do you know the difference between “good” and “well”?

HBO Blogosphere — 3.20.14

“It's wishful thinking,” posts Marianne Love/Slight Detour. “The photo above was taken a couple of years ago, probably long after the calendar date that told us it was spring. Spring is coming through, though, in various wave lengths but only weak ones so far.” More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday, March 19): 9203 page-views/5487 unique views)

Jeff Ward’s Motto: Just Right

Per usual, Huckleberries Online is interested in campaign literature distributed by candidates for elected office. Please feel free to email jpgs of campaign literature. Here's a flyer being distributed by Reagan Republican president Jeff Ward, who's running for the HD3 seat now held by state Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls. (You can see the front side of the flyer in the comments section)


Sandpoint Wants Monument To Stay

Almost every chair in Sandpoint's Council Chamber was filled Wednesday night for the discussion of the Ten Commandment Monument in Farmin Park. “I just wanted to come out today and be able to say that the monument is a historical document and it represents a foundation for many people's beliefs here,” Mike Clark said. The four-decade-old gift from the Fraternal Order of Eagles is stirring controversy due to its placement on public property. In November, the City received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a non-profit based out of Wisconsin that advocates for separation between church and state. Their message: move the monument out of the park or face legal consequences. Now, the City is looking at what the majority wants, and so far it looks like they want it to stay/KXLY. More here.

Question: Should Sandpoint fight this move by an outside organization to challenge the 10 Commandment monument at Farmin Park?

Cliff Notes RE: Commissioner Debate

I attended the debate featuring, from left (in this Duane Rasmussen photo), Marc Eberlein, Tim Herzog and incumbent Commissioner Todd Tondee and challengers. Here's my Cliff Notes version of the debate:

  • Todd Tondee: On defense. Said fact that commissioners pulled Unified Land Use Code (ULUC) and demoted former planning director proves they listen to people. Self-described honest, fair. Big issues: overcrowded jails, county worker office space, ULUC. Urban renewal used properly in Post Falls (hints not so much in Coeur d'Alene). Actively involved in Boys/Girls Club, chambers and business development. Fiscal conservative. No comment on $30K severance package for former community development director.
  • Marc Eberlein: Country going down hill. Only a remnant of voters informed. Government is oppressive. Commissioners consider themselves to be “three kings.” Land use more oppressive all the time. Government is oppressive. Can't trust same commissioners to re-do county land-use plan. Working on legislation that would make people within urban renewal district pay for changes. Public opinion can be dangerous if the public wants to do something that's wrong. Property taxes are a grave injustice against humanity. Hints he would have a “bomb shell” re: severance for departing former community development director, but he's currently sworn to secrecy. Plotted & schemed to undo ULUC (Question: What have you done to benefit the county?)
  • Tim Herzog: Run for commissioners twice, in which he lost by 937 votes (2008) and finished 3rd of five (2012). No political agenda. Isn't bought and paid for by agenda-driven organization. Has grass-roots campaign. Current commissioners have made many errors in judgment. People don't think we have good elected officials. County must do something to stop losing young deputies who train for two years and then leave for jobs in Spokane County. Fiscal conservative. Urban renewal should be used for infrastructure only. URD for Harper's was a good use of economic tool.

Question: Any early thoughts re: who you would pick from among these three candidates?

Teaching Us To Be Civil

Cornell W. Clayton, professor of political science and director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute  for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, spoke on the “State of Civility in Politics” at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library Wednesday. He received his doctorate in politics from Oxford University. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Question: What can you personally do to make politics more civil?

Couple Reconnects After Decades

There’s something about the magic of first love that time cannot erase. Years may pass, but most of us never forget the first person who captured our hearts. Ollie and Nancy Bowman are no exception. They met in the late 1950s at Wenatchee High School. “She chased me down the hallway,” Ollie teased. By their junior year they were an item. Ollie recalled, “We used to walk home from school together.” More importantly, Nancy’s nine brothers and her parents liked her beau. Their first “official” date proved unforgettable. Ollie had purchased a 1936 Dodge. “The first time we went out in it, it quit,” he said. “I drove to the closest house and was able to fix the broken oil line.” He also got her home in time for curfew. “He was worried about what my family would think,” said Nancy/Cindy Hval, SR Love Stories. More here. (Photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Question: Do you remember your first love?

Person Field To Get Playground

Exciting changes are in store for a 3-acre city-owned play field along 15th Street in eastern Coeur d’Alene. Thanks to a $30,000 donation from the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors, the grassy expanse will soon sport new playground equipment, which is scheduled to be installed this summer. Since the city assumed complete ownership of the field in 2013, officials have been meeting with neighbors to discuss options to enhance public use of the park, said interim city parks director Bill Greenwood.“We heard from a lot of people that playground equipment would be a great addition,” Greenwood said. “We are excited and thankful to the Board of Realtors for their generous donation to support this cause”/Keith Erickson, Coeur d'Alene Today. More here.
Question: Would you like to see the city of Coeur d'Alene continue to develop Person Field?

Cooperation: Key To Job Creation

They had to understand themselves and their shortcomings before they could build a successful Magic Valley economic engine, said Dr. Jerry Beck. Beck, who recently retired as president of the College of Southern Idaho, said community leaders in southeastern Idaho became frustrated with their economic development strategy about 12 years ago. “It just seemed like the way we were doing business was not working as well as it had in previous years,” Beck told board members of the Lake City Development Corp. on Wednesday afternoon. “Six or eight of us would jump on a plane and fly to some company to tell them what a wonderful place we were to live and that they ought to come visit and put their business there in the Magic Valley, but we were just not able to close those deals.” So they hired a consultant to look at their economy and determine what they could or couldn't be/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Press photo by Shawn Gust: Jerry Beck, former president of College of Southern Idaho, speaks to Lake City Development Corporation board members)


Which Write-In Could Beat Spencer?

Can a write-in beat Larry Spencer in a Kootenai County Democratic primary race?

  • Joker: Write in campaigns are tough, but not impossible. The Shoshone County Sheriff managed to pull it off a few years ago. The Dems needs to pick somebody with some name recognition to give themselves a chance.
  • Shoshone Conservative: Yes, our Sheriff managed to win a write-in campaign, but (a) he and his family are VERY well-connected and entrenched in the local Democratic machine; and (b) Shoshone County only has 1/10 the population of Kootenai County. So it would be a MUCH more difficult task to win a write-in campaign over there.

Question: Who would have enough name recognition to beat Larry Spencer's attempt to run as a Democrat for county assessor? Dan English?

Cooling Off

Milwaukee Brewers' Mark Reynolds splashes water on his face in the dugout prior to a spring training baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Question: Wouldn't it be nice to be this hot right now?

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.20.14

  • 11:45 a.m. Someone is suffering intense chest pain @ 2300 block of W. Seltice Way.
  • 11:40 a.m. Traffic signs are confusing motorists near scene of 11:25 crash because the signs are telling them to get into left lane when ISP officers need them to get into right lane.
  • 11:39 a.m. ISP reports 3 occupants in 2 crash vehicles (11:25 item), one complaining of head & neck injuries.
  • 11:25 a.m. Truck crashes into guardrail after hitting SUV @ e/b I-90/MP 7 (H41/Post Falls), unknown injuries.
  • 11:13 a.m. Post Falls officer is stopping to check out a panhandler.
  • 10:39 a.m. PFPD is looking for stolen 2009 Jeep Wrangler, taken at 4:30 Wednesday from Hydra Place.
  • 10:37 a.m. Caretaker is unable to get 74YO patient from house to vehicle to take him to hospital.
  • 9:57 a.m. Post Falls resident reports neighborhood pitbull tried to kill her cat Wednesday, is aggressive again today.
  • 9:22 a.m. Caller has dispute with Merwyns re: work on his vehicle.
  • 9:21 a.m. Burglar alarm sounding @ East Shoreline/Friar Drive, Hayden.
  • 8:44 a.m. A water line has broken along Seltice Way (unknown exact location), may cause flooding problems.

5 Q’s: An Interview With Steve Bruno

In this Spokesman-Review file photo, maverick conservative Larry Spencer shows his support for a property tax measure.

Huckleberries Online interviews Steve Bruno, acting chairman of the Kootenai County Democratic Party, re: conservative maverick Larry Spencer's attempt to take over his party:

  • Huckleberries: Was Larry Spencer's attempt to take over the local Democratic Party a complete surprise?
  • Steve Bruno: It caught us off guard.
  • Huckleberries: What are you going to do about preserving your Central Committee for true Democrats?
  • Steve Bruno: I see this as a cynical move. Basically, the Republican Party is pretty fractured — and there are people in that party that are frustrated with the dominance of a radical element in their own party, as many Democrats are. Most people are basically moderate. This is an effort by Larry Spencer to co-opt the other party's central committee in order to supplant its core principles in order to get elected. In our view, the radical element of the Republican Party has made it hard for reasonable Republicans to get elected. So, instead of making the obvious choice, to vote for reasonable moderate Democrats in general elections, they've typically chosen to vote a straight party ticket thus sustaining their own radical group in the Legislature. Complete interview here.

Also: Steve Bruno provided HucksOnline with this prepared statement


Poll: 1/3 Fill Out NCAA Brackets

  • Wednesday Poll: One-third of Hucks Nation fills out brackets for the NCAA Tournament. 84 of 125 respondents (32.8%) said they fill out the brackets for March Madness. 84 of 125 respondents (67.2%) don't.
  • Today's Poll: If the 2014 Idaho Legislature ended today, what grade would you give it?

Westboro Baptist Founder Phelps Dies

Margie M. Phelps, left, stands with her husband Pastor Fred Phelps and her daughter Margie J. Phelps during a demonstration outside the federal courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland, on Oct. 31, 2007. The Westboro Baptist Church members protested in Coeur d'Alene in October 2010. Fred Phelps died this morning. (AP Photo/Baltimore Sun, Jed Kirschbaum)

The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., the fiery founder of a small Kansas church who drew international condemnation for outrageous and hate-filled protests that blamed almost everything, including the deaths of AIDS victims and U.S. soldiers, on America’s tolerance for gay people, has died. He was 84. Daughter Margie Phelps told The Associated Press that Fred Phelps died shortly after midnight Thursday. She didn’t provide the cause of death or the condition that recently put him in hospice care. Throughout his life, Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, a small congregation made up almost entirely of his extended family, tested the boundaries of free speech, violating accepted societal standards for decency in their unapologetic assault on gays and lesbians/Associated Press. More here.

Facebook Friend Nathan Empsall on Tuesday: “How is the hatred of those cheering the fact that he is near death any different than Phelps's own hatred? Let us walk the path of Christ and show Westboro a new way. Let us cheer for love and repentance, not bitterness and death.


2014 Legislature May End Today

This year’s legislative session may well end today. “Mr. President, senators, let’s go home today,” Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, told the Senate this morning. “Let’s go home today. It’s doable.” He said he’s visited with his House counterpart, House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, and “he joins in sharing that optimism.” The House has a considerably longer calendar to take up today, including lots of budget bills. “I’d like to try to do it today,” Moyle told Eye on Boise. “We’ll see what happens. If not, we can finish up tomorrow. We’re on track.” Davis said the Senate will need to handle 26 or possibly 27 different pieces of legislation today to finish up/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

DFO: Another winter of legislative incompetence may soon be over.

Question: Wouldn't it be a good idea if we fired most of these guys every two years?

Post Falls In Search Of A Center

Talking about how Post Falls needs a lively city center is one thing. Getting there has been another. City and urban renewal officials are dusting off the City Center Urban Renewal District book that in 2005 defined projects aimed at creating economic development for a downtown area. The boards are assessing whether the pump has been primed enough with past and current projects, if priorities from nine years ago should be reshuffled or if the district should close before its slated 2018 end. During a joint workshop on Tuesday, opinions were widespread on the future of the district/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Press photo by Kerri Thoreson: Traffic singnals at Fourth and Spokane in Post Falls are part of an urban renewal project aimed at improving the Spokane Street corridor)

Question: Where do you think the city center of Post Falls is?

Hubby’s Chicken Plan For The Birds

On Saturday, Derek and I will celebrate our 28th anniversary. You’d think after all these years together, I’d know him quite well, but he can still surprise me. In fact, this week he made an announcement at the dinner table that has left me shaken. Our son mentioned that the neighbor across the street had acquired several chickens. Slicing into his grilled ribeye, Derek said, “Really? I’d like to get some chickens – at least four.” I almost choked on my mashed potatoes. “You want to get what?” “Chickens,” he replied. “Fresh eggs are so much better than the eggs you buy at the store.” I began to wonder if he’d hit his head on his last cross-country skiing expedition and forgot to tell me/Cindy Hval, SR Front Porch. More here.

DFO: Mark down this time and date. Cindy & I agree. Urban chickens are for the birds.

Question: Have you ever raised chickens?

Too Many Wrist Slaps For Poachers

Pend Oreille County District Court has dinged Charles Isaiah Fraley, 27, of Ione $6,193 for using a rifle to kill a six-point bull elk during the September archery season. A bowhunter who was in the line of fire says the penalty wasn’t enough. “Poaching has become so common up here, the judges need to make a statement, especially with these repeat offenders,” said the 65-year-old archer, also from Ione, who asked that he be called Buck. Late last summer, Buck, had pegged where a bull and its harem were crossing a creek from feeding to bedding areas. “I came back the next morning and was in position before daylight,” he said. “I watched the cows come out and up the ridge. I cow-called a little and the bull bugled. Then I heard the first shot. “It sounded like somebody was shooting at me. It was close. I’m in full camo/Rich Landers, SR. More here. (Courtesy photo: This trophy six-point bull elk was killed illegally with a rifle by Charles I. Fraley during archery season.)

Question: Is there a more low-down animal in the forest than a poacher?

McEuen Crews Switch To 7-Day Shifts

The clock is ticking. With the much-anticipated opening of McEuen Park in May, the general contractor for the $20 million park reconstruction project recently expanded its schedule to include Saturdays and Sundays. That schedule will continue until the park is complete. “We’re going to get as many people out there as we can (on weekends),” said Bryan Taylor, president of Contractors Northwest, Inc. Weekend work will include landscape grading, concrete and structural work. Meanwhile, the last section of sidewalk on the north side of Front Avenue along Fifth Street is nearly complete. The sidewalk will open on Monday (March 24), opening up 20 angled parking spots along that block. Angle parking on Front has been popular, with most spots filled during the day/Keith Erickson, Coeur d'Alene Today. More here. (Artist's rendering: City of Coeur d'Alene)

Question: If McEuen Field isn't ready to open on deadline in early May, should the city launch a soft opening for the nearly finished eastern end of the green space (children's park, outdoor basketball courts, pickleball courts, dog park) at that time?

Inlander: Widmyer Top NI Official

Mayor Steve Widmyer is shown in front of developing McEuen Field in this Inlander photo.

The Inlander, a weekly publication with a circulation of 51,000 that covers eastern Washington and northern Idaho, has named Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer North Idaho’s Best Elected Official. Mayor Widmyer is featured in the current issue of the Inlander. In the article, reporter Daniel Walters writes: “Steve Widmyer barely had a chance to plop down in the Coeur d'Alene mayoral seat — his very first foray into politics — before Inlander readers voted him North Idaho's Best Elected Official.” It’s all part of the newspaper’s “Best of the Inland Northwest Readers Poll,” which the publication has been conducting for the past 20 years. Though Mayor Widmyer has been in office less than three months, the newspaper said he was the overwhelming favorite in the category when the polls opened February 4. Citing recent divisive issues, the Inlander said Mayor Widmyer has helped to bring the community together/Coeur d'Alene Today. More here.

Question: Why do you think there was such overwhelming support for Widmyer, who has been in office less than three months?

Trib: Higher Office Equals Higher Pay

Let's be honest: Lowballing the pay for Idaho's elected offices carries a risk. The lower the salary, the less attractive the job, the fewer your choices. Only people who can afford to work at that level - financially independents and retirees - will run. That's already a problem in Idaho's geriatric Legislature. But at the top of the political food chain? Not so much. Six people want to be governor. Five are running for secretary of state - including one, state Rep. Lawerence (Boss) Denney, who hasn't been shy about courting the job largely because of its generous salary and pension benefits. Five are pursuing superintendent of public instruction. Why wouldn't they? Rain or shine, famine or plenty, recession or boom, these jobs have posted one pay boost after another/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do we pay our top elected officials too much in this state?

Matheson Will Seek Treasurer Post

Steven D. Matheson (pictured) is running for Kootenai County treasurer in the Republican primary in May. He said the safety and soundness of the county's treasury is critical for the future health and prosperity of the community. He wants to make sure the county's investments have adequate controls and are well managed to maximize returns. Matheson, a five-year resident of the county, said he has 28 years of financial management experience. He is managing principal of Steven Douglas LLC, a municipal adviser in Coeur d'Alene. He is a graduate of Central Washington University with a double major in accounting and finance. He is also a certified public accountant. Matheson said it is time to evaluate the county's economic health and set a new standard in its financial capabilities/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Question: How do you decide who to support for county treasurer?


Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Hump Day Wild Card — 3.19.14

I appreciate Eman's comment re: Tuesday's Cutline Contest photo: “Dave, sometimes the photo's are,,,,ummm, weak for witty comments…One would think with all the photo's at your disposal you might choose others. The right pic would certainly get many many clever replies. I enjoy the cutline posts though.” Actually, it isn't easy finding good photos for the daily contest. If I find 1 decent photo out of 1,000, I'm happy. I'll keep trying though, if you will. I enjoy the feature. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 3.19.14

Satirical sculptures burn during the traditional Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain, today. Every year the city of Valencia celebrates the ancient “Las Fallas” fiesta, a noisy week that is full of fireworks and processions in honor of Saint Joseph that ends in the midnight tonight, burning large satiric figures displayed around the streets of the city. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)

180 Affiliate With Local Republicans

County Clerk Jim Brannon told Huckleberries Online moments ago that 180 voters had elected to affiliate with the Kootenai County Republican Party, from Dec. 31 through 5 p.m. last Friday, March 14. Of that number, 31 Democrats and 149 previously Unaffiliated voters elected to affiliate with the local Republican Party in order to vote in the closed Republican primary this spring. Brannon told Huckleberries that he didn't receive the final number of affiliations until about an hour ago. Also, he reminded Huckleberries Online readers that Unaffiliated voters can affiliate with any of the four recognized political parties — Republican, Democrat, Libertarian and Constitution — through election day.

Protests May Have Consequences

Idaho State Police troopers say 109 people account for a total of 192 arrests that have been made in relation to Add the 4 Words. Of those people, 46 have been arrested more than once. Ty Carson is one of two people who has been arrested six times. He has been at the Capitol every day for the last six weeks, making sure he is seen by legislators as a face supporting  gay rights in Idaho.  “This is my job,” Carson said. “This has been my job for the last six weeks.” But it's not his profession. Carson works for a property management company. “I'm lucky enough to know the owner of this property management company believes that this situation in the state of Idaho and the silence from the legislature is wrong, and they support me in everything that I'm doing to make it stop,” he said. But attorneys warn that some employers may not be as understanding, especially when it comes to hiring someone who has several misdemeanors on their record/Deni Hawkins, KBOI. More here.

Question: Would you or your company hire someone who had been arrested 6 times as part of the ongoing Add the Words protests?

Cutline Contest — 3.19.14

Time 2 vote …

Los Angeles Police Department's Jim McSorley dips Tina Shamlian in the middle of East Broad Street as he marches with fellow police officers during Savannah's 190-year-old St. Patrick’s Day parade on Monday in Savannah, Ga. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Morning News, Richard Burkhart)

Tuesday Winner — JDanMike, with 3 likes: an irish angel in the outfield waiting for a ball to go afoul! You can see Tuesday Photo with all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.19.14

  • 5:49 p.m. Female is threatening to harm male roommate on East Harrison/CdA.
  • 5:24 p.m. 2 1/2YO toddler has accidentally consumed some sort of gel @ Sheridan/Reed, Hayden.
  • 4:55 p.m. Caller learns “suspicious person” on neighbor's property on Prospect/Harrison is new tenant.
  • 4:48 p.m. Someone injured in a fall @ Garden Plaza Court/Post Falls.
  • 4:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 18-19 here.
  • 4:08 p.m. Someone has contained a loose dog @ Ramsey Road/Hayden Avenue.
  • 4:01 a.m. Driver of Optima w/o grill & cracked window @ 100 block of Anton/CdA may be burglary suspect.
  • 3:56 a.m. Resident @ Trinity Homes is off medications and throwing things.
  • 3:55 p.m. County resident reports neighbor George has run over her no-trespassing signs.
  • 3:24 p.m. Someone needs medical attention in parking lot b/n NIC's Sieter Hall & Dike Road.
  • 3:23 p.m. Dispatcher gives spelling of name “Kruz” like “karate with Z as in zebra.”
  • 3:15 p.m. PFPD officer is en route to handle a panhandler @ undisclosed Post Falls location.
  • 2:56 p.m. Deputy wants to new address on Reeves Street/CdA that Scott's Taxi took a woman to this AM.
  • 2:36 p.m. Post Falls store worker reports suspicious activity going on involving 2 vehicle parked at rear of building.
  • 12:25 p.m. BOSS hit on possible stolen utility trailer n/b on H41/Post Falls from Mullan.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

PM Headlines — 3.19.14

Jerry Winkler, co-owner of Spokane's Integrus Architecture, stands next to a print of the United States Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic his firm designed. Integrus Architecture has just begun work on its 14th overseas U.S. embassy. Story here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Of Tagalongs & Somoas

Just ate a whole box of Tagalongs. I regret nothing. Don't judge me — Digger.

DFO: I just popped open my box of Samoas. Yum. Shared with office.

Question: Which Girl Scout cookie(s) did you pick this year?

Reward Offered In Vehicle Burglaries

Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for a string of vehicle burglaries in the Rathdrum area. On Feb. 11, the Rathdrum Police Department received a call of several vehicle burglaries in the Golden Spike retirement community.  Officers responded and discovered 13 motor homes and travel trailers that had been damaged and missing property.  All of the recreational vehicles were parked in a secured fenced area of the community.  The suspect(s) entered the area through the fence on the north side.  The RV’s sustained several thousands of dollars in damage and had several thousands of dollars in property taken from them. More here.

Ward: Henderson Move Was Expected

HucksOnline Question: I wonder what Reagan Republican president Jeff Ward thinks about this endorsement?

Jeff Ward: It was expected. Rep. Henderson and I disagreed about Obamacare, the state healthcare exchange and various issues. He has tried to recruit candidates to reflect his more moderate views on these issues. Greg is his fourth candidate (John Chambers, Len Crosby & briefly Joe Doellefeld). Most people in the 3rd District view this as their seat to decide their Representative, not one in which the incumbent designates his successor. I think they will go with the qualified conservative on election day.

Question: How do you think the vote will break out among Ward, Henderson candidate Greg Gfeller and relative unknown Don Cheatham, whom, I suspect, has Rally Right ties?

‘Chicken From Hell’ Introduced

This illustration provided by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Tuesday shows the dinosaur Anzu wyliei. The birdlike animal, about 7 feet tall, weighed an estimated 500 pounds when it roamed western North America around 66-68 million years ago. Nicknamed the “chicken from hell,” the creature was formally introduced with an official name to the scientific community today as scientists published a description and analysis of its anatomy. Story here. (AP Photo/Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Mark Klingler)

Question: Do you have a favorite dinosaur? Moi? Triceratops.

Jeff: So I’m Watching ‘Frozen’

Ok I'll admit it…I'm a 50 year old man sitting in my house watching Frozen. Don't judge me — Jeff Conroy of St. Vincent de Paul's

DFO: Um, my wife just called to say she nabbed a “Frozen” DVD for viewing tonight. She's seen it. I haven't Don't judge me either.

Question: Have you seen “Frozen”?

Lunch Features Commission Hopefuls

The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans will host a GOP candidates' forum for County Commission No. 1 when they meet for their weekly noon luncheon at Fedora's restaurant, 1726 W. Kathleen Ave., Coeur d'Alene, Thursday. The three candidates for the GOPrimary nomination are: Marc Eberlein, incumbent Todd Tondee and Tim Herzog. Bjorn Handeen's Precinct 52 luncheon has disbanded.

Honest George: Voters Are Clueless

Honest George (RE: Trib: It's voters' fault, not Dems'): I agree with Marty — it's the voters fault. I've had more conversations than I can count with voters on both sides of the spectrum and I'm always surprised how little most of them know about the important issues. Liberals and Conservatives alike have their minds set at the very mention of any subject, there seems to be no room for discussion. They remind me of Pavlov's dog with the short-circuiting of the thought process that occurs. Makes no difference what 'side' they profess to be on.

Question: Why do you consider yourself more informed than the average Idaho voter?

Rusche: Idaho Ed Funding Woeful

Minority Leader John Rusche (RE: Mendiola: Idaho education foundation is crumbling): I consider it woefully inadequate. We gave tax reductions of about $55M to businesses and high earners over the last two years. We are leaving almost $100 million on the table or stashed into “rainy day” accounts. If you correct for the increases in student numbers and for the effect of inflation, the higher number ($120 M) is understated. And that is just in k-12. Our per student State support for post secondary education is only 2/3 of what it was in 2008-9, or $3000 per student less. Colleges make up a lot of the difference in tuition and fee increases. Remember, Idaho is a low wage state too. Public school districts make up some in operational levies (now 94 of the 115 districts and well over $200 million each year) and by trying 4 day school weeks or more crowded classrooms.You tell me if $35 million is enough. It is only 1/10 of the amount the Education Taskforce recommended and about 30% of the known operational shortfall for 2015. I think it is awfully thin gruel to be called a good meal.


Hey, Didn’t You Use to Be …

… The Idaho Democratic Party?

HBO Blogosphere — 3.19.14

Firefighters walk past the tail section of a crashed news helicopter as they remove a body from the wreckage of a KOMO-TV helicopter Tuesday in Seattle. In her End Notes post today, Catherine Johnston writes about this tragedy: “Life does change in an instant. We should love accordingly.” See below. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

HucksOnline numbers (for Tuesday, March 18): 8717 page-views/5398 unique views

SR Weekly News Quiz — 3.16-20.14

How much do you know about Gonzaga University and University of Idaho men's basketball, lost-and-found statues and other news of note? Take the Spokesman-Review Weekly News Quiz and find out. You could win movie tickets or a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel simply by entering. Take News Quiz here.

  • Answer to Question # 4: Kansas, Duke & Michigan State
  • Leaderboard: Only 1 Merry Huckster is listed among the 22 contestants on the Leaderboard so far this week.

Why Pot Can’t Get Traction In Idaho

Four of Idaho's six neighboring states allow some form of legal marijuana use. Oregon, Nevada and Montana allow medical marijuana while Washington recently legalized pot for most residents. In each of those states, voters approved legalizing marijuana, but in Idaho, the issue has gotten nowhere. We found out last month that organizers of an effort to get a medical pot initiative on Idaho’s ballot only had about 200 confirmed signatures after a year of trying. Now, it's up to 406 verified signatures/Adam Cotterell, Boise Public Radio. More here.

Question: Do you think medical marijuana will be legalized in Idaho in the next decade?

‘Incredibles’ Sequel Offers Promise

Among the animated films that have been released over the past several years, “The Incredibles” ranks among my favorites. The blend of family sitcom and superhero flick, all set to a theme of forced retirement and extraordinary people forced to deal with ordinary problems of existence, was handled with humor and a whole lot of wit. Now comes word that a sequel to “The Incredibles” has been green lighted. Brad Bird, writer-director of the 2004 original film, is reportedly the guy writing the screenplay (Bird directed the forthcoming “Tomorrowland”). Given the lackluster success of so many other animated sequels (anyone really like “Cars 2,” not to mention all those straight-to-video films?), the announcement of a second “Incredibles” film might not mean much/Dan Webster, 7 Blog. More here.

Question: Best animated film sequel for $100, Alex?

Dogwalk: The West & Obama’s West

Our upcoming trip couldn't have come at a better time.  We're headed for Great Falls, Montana to the Charles M. Russell western art extravaganza.  Some of the best western and wild life art in the country, among other genres, will be presented in a variety of venues.  Much is for sale outright, as much if not more is up for auction to benefit a variety of causes, the main one being the Russell museum. It takes me back to the days when men were men, women were just as tough and youngsters had respect.  In a lot of cases, that view still holds true in parts of the west.  Perhaps mainly in Montana where people are few and spaces are vast and beautiful. I may have singled out Montana because that's where Hub grew up.  He has many of those characteristics as did his family/Dogwalk Musings. More here. (Painting: Charlie Russell)

Question: Have you lived in any other western states? How would you compare that state to Idaho?

Idaho Ed Foundation Crumbling

Idaho’s natural beauty and the inherent decency of its people can mask serious problems confronting the state, Idaho Business for Education’s president and chief executive officer says, comparing the Gem State to an old, stately, beautiful mansion whose foundation is rotting, cracking and direly in need of repair. Addressing a recent City Club of Idaho Falls luncheon, Rod Gramer said unless its owners get to work and invest money, the foundation will crumble and the damage will worsen. Answering an audience question, Gramer — a veteran Idaho Statesman and KTVB news professional who recently returned to Boise after working in Oregon and Florida — said it has been estimated that it will take $82 million to $120 million to replace the education funding lost in Idaho the past six years/Mark Mendiola, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.

Question: Mendiola goes on to commend the Idaho Legislature for pumping $32M into Idaho education this session. Do you consider that a good first step for getting state education back on track?

Flash Back: Rocket Drive-In

On Get Out! North Idaho, OrangeTV posts of the photo above: “The Rocket Drive-In in Post Falls was on its last legs when I was a child, but I do remember my parents taking me there from CdA and it seemed like a far, far away place. (It was located approx where Moon's Mongolian is now).”

Question: Does this photo evoke any fond memories?

A Meatloaf Recipe That Pleases All

My 4-year-old son sat at the table, arms folded across his chest, a mutinous scowl radiating his displeasure. Glaring at the plate in front of him, he growled, “Meatlope. I HATE meatlope!” Honestly, I didn’t blame him. Even a healthy dosing of ketchup couldn’t make the dry crumbling loaf any more palatable. That was 17 years ago and since then I’ve been on a quest to change his mind about meatloaf. I finally succeeded with a recipe that’s both tasty and easy to prepare. Now, not only can Alex say meatloaf correctly, he tries to drop by the house when he knows I’ll be making it/Cindy Hval, SR. More here.

  • DFO: I love meatloaf about as much as I hate liver.

Question: What is your feelings about meatloaf?

Daffodil Defender

On his Facebook wall, outdoor photographer Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts: “I'm mostly in favor of arachnids, but white crab spiders are just a little icky.” You can see more of Robin's photography here.

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.19.14

  • 11:51 a.m. Probation officer reports clean-cut male is violating probation by being high on drugs @ Silver Lake Mall.
  • 11:48 a.m. Someone is unconscious @ 500 block of W. Agua Avenue/CdA.
  • 11:25 a.m. BOSS hit on possible stolen green Nissan Ultimate, w/Washington plates, @ e/b I-90/Post Falls.
  • 11:22 a.m. 88YO female suffering medical emergency @ 6700 block of Kamloops Drive/Rathdrum.
  • 10:59 a.m. Driver of black Silverado, w/blacked-out taillights, slammed on brakes in front of cars @ w/b I-90/Huetter.
  • 10:44 a.m. Female resident wants to see CPD officer re: problem w/burglaries in Spruce Avenue neighborhood.
  • 10:21 a.m. Male having trouble breathing @ 400 block of Indiana Avenue/CdA keeps saying “air, air.”
  • 9:35 a.m. CPD officer wants to know why Californian stopped on traffic violation is listed as a he rather than a she. Dispatcher responds that it's probably a typo & that the guy is driving with a suspended license.
  • 9:15 a.m. Two-vehicle accident reported @ Ironwood/Northwest Boulevard, non-injury.
  • 9:14 a.m. Ambulance needed to transport patient from Hillview Drive/Hayden to Hospice House on Prairie Avenue.
  • 8:56 a.m. Driver of white Chevy Impala honked, brake-checked 2nd vehicle @ w/b I-90/MP 12 (H95/CdA).
  • 8:50 a.m. Female injured in fall @ Renal Care, 2100 Ironwood Court/CdA.

Retiring Henderson Backs Gfeller

Greg Gfeller (pronounced gee-feller) and state Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, are shown at the Statehouse today. (Eye on Boise photo: Betsy Russell)

Retiring Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, has endorsed Avista Corp. official Greg Gfeller for the seat Henderson will be vacating next year, as Gfeller heads into a hotly contested three-way GOP primary race. “I was looking for someone with a business background, because jobs are such a major issue in Kootenai County and we need to expand the economy and the tax base,” said Henderson, 91. Gfeller – pronounced gee-feller – faces Jeff Ward, president of the Reagan Republicans group, and Don Cheatham, a retired former longtime Los Angeles police officer, in the District 3 GOP primary. No Democrat is running, so the Republican primary will determine the winner/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: I wonder what Reagan Republican president Jeff Ward thinks about this endorsement?

Poll: Spencer Wants Ballot Presence

  • Tuesday Poll: Hucks Nation believes that conservative maverick Larry Spencer filed as a Democrat for the office of county assessor to ensure that his name will be on the November ballot. 65 of 198 respondents (32.83%) took that position. 53 of 198 (26.77%) said he did so because he missed the spotlight. Others said: 36 (18.18%), to teach the cross-over Democrats a lesson; 21 (10.61%), to shake things up; 12 (6.06%), to rule the Democrats; and 11 (5.56%), because he's warmed up to Obamacare.
  • Today's Poll: Did you fill out a bracket for March Madness?

Americans Are Headline Skimmers

We make this point regularly when asked, for example, how the situation in Ukraine will effect the November election.  It almost certainly won't. The Russia-Ukraine-Crimea story is a complex one that requires a news consumer to engage deeply in the subject matter. And, to be honest, the average news consumer in the United States is a headline-reader — at best. A new study by the American Press Institute — the entire thing is enlightening about how we consume (and don't consume) news — affirms this fact/Chris Cillizza, The Fix, Washington Post. More here.

Question: How many stories do you actually read in the morning newspaper?

AM Headlines — 3.19.14

Former Washington State coach Ken Bone enters the basketball program offices in the Physical Education Building on Tuesday in Pullman. Story here. (Moscow-Pullman Daily News photo: Dean Hare)

Trib: It’s Voters’ Fault, Not Dems’

Opinionator Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune, blames voters on auto-pilot for radical right Legislature, not Democrats, who can't seem to gain traction on issues like education, even when they try:

No, it's not the Democrats' fault. Not in a state where so many of us have dropped out. A generation ago, 52 percent of Idaho's voting-age population participated in the mid-term elections. The last mid-term, in 2010, saw that turnout drop to 40 percent. Not in a state where so many people put their voting on autopilot. Of the state's 35 legislative districts, only three - Legislative District 5 in Latah and Benewah counties, District 6 in Nez Perce and Lewis counties and District 26 in Blaine, Camas, Gooding and Lincoln counties - actually show some discretion by electing people from both parties. Everywhere else, it's less about gathering information and choosing the best person. Everywhere else, it's more about voting the straight party line/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: How do you get voters to start paying attention to issues rather than voting straight party line for individuals who vote for their ideology rather than their constituency once in office?


Another Dog Caught In Trap

A day of outdoor dog training took a nasty turn last week for longtime Kootenai County resident Mike Denney. While on state endowment land in the Cougar Gulch area, Denney's 10-month-old chocolate Lab, a male dog named Lousche, caught a scent and ran up a hill. “I heard a bloodcurdling scream,” Denney said. “Initially I thought it was coyotes, but when I reached him I saw he was trapped in a foot-hold trap.” The Lab was bleeding from his paw and his mouth. Denney tried to separate the jaws of the trap, but was unable to. Trying to pull the cable the trap was attached to from the ground didn't work either. “I was a little angry to be quite honest,” Denney said. “And afraid because I didn't know how to release the trap. It was heartwrenching”/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think twice now re: taking your dog out to run in rural public areas now?

Local Pauler Challenges Labrador

Republican Sean Blackwell is running for Congress, and his primary issue is hemp. The 25-year-old Lake City High School graduate said Idaho should be producing a lot of hemp and using it in manufacturing of food, medicine and fuels. Many housing materials can be manufactured with hemp, he said. “Idaho is so perfect to grow hemp,” he said. “This is an industrial product that will bring endless opportunities.” Once the state grows hemp on an industrial scale it will create thousands of jobs, he said. Blackwell backed former Texas Congressman Ron Paul in the last presidential election. Blackwell said his political philosophy is similar to Paul's/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think Idaho is “perfect to grow hemp”?

Spencer Seeks To Overthrow DemCC

He has been talking about it for a couple of years now, but just last week Larry Spencer decided to just do it. Last week after two prominent Democrats decided to publicly announce their plans to cross over and vote in the closed Republican primary, Spencer fielded 10 precinct committee candidates to take over the Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee. “The traditional Democrats had 11 people who filed for precinct seats as of the Friday deadline,” Spencer said in an interview Tuesday. “Of the ones who we actually got in on time (before the filing deadline), I think we got 10, but there will be more of them soon.” Spencer, a longtime Republican who has filed as a Democratic candidate for county assessor, said he will be working to get write-in candidates to file for the remaining 59 open seats on the Democratic central committee. He expects the Democrats will do the same/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: What do think of Larry Spencer's plan to overthrow the local Democratic Central Committee?

Letter Questions Hearn’s Emails

In a Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor, Jacqueline Mayo of Coeur d'Alene writes: “Is there a secret strategy being used by certain Trustees of School District 271, the superintendent, and others, to introduce special rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) into school district policy? If so, why has this not been done openly and transparently? Why have the patrons of the district been excluded? Email records that have come to light seem to indicate this is the case. On Nov. 25, 2013, Coeur d’Alene School Superintendant Matt Handelman sent the following email to Chair Hearn”: 'I wanted to be sure that you are going to be talking to Dave Eubanks again about this, and our strategy to not engage, but to thank and take into consideration — then talk; about the process at the January Meeting.'” Mayo goes on to quote an email from Chairman Tom Hearn. You can read her entire email here.

  • On March 7, Tom Hearn issued an apology re: possible missteps in handling this situation. You can read it here.
  • The Coeur d'Alene School Board asked the district attorney to study the legal issues involved in the request from attorney Susan Moss to “Add the Words.” Trustees will next meet April 14.

Question: Do you think the Coeur d'Alene School Board now is ready to give a fair hearing to attorney Moss's request?

Tat Attracts Gendarmes

Michael Smith, left, stands beside a Somerset County Sheriff deputy outside his home in Norridgewock, Maine. Officers armed with assault rifles descended on Smith's home after members of a tree removal crew he'd told to clear off his property reported that he had a gun. The “gun” the tree crew had seen on Smith actually was a life-sized tattoo of a handgun on his stomach. (AP Photo/Morning Sentinel, David Leaming)


LeFavour Found Hiding At Statehouse

Shortly before the Idaho Senate adjourned for the evening Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, cautioned senators to secure their office areas before leaving, saying an individual was found hiding in a closet in the Senate lounge, directly behind the Senate chamber. It turned out the individual was former Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, who has been arrested a half-dozen times this session in protests at the state Capitol pressing to “Add the Words,” the catch-phrase for amending Idaho’s Human Rights Act to add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the act’s anti-discrimination provisions. The change has been proposed every year for the past eight years, but has never had a full committee hearing/Betsy Russell, SR. More here. (SR photo by Betsy Russell: Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis at the closet in a Senate lounge where former Sen. Nicole LeFavour was found hiding)


Downtown CdA Is Construction Zone

Asphalt and concrete are being stripped in several downtown areas as the city finishes up projects they hope to complete this spring. Traffic in downtown Coeur d'Alene is being detoured around Sherman Avenue at Third Street this week while upgrades are made as part of the McEuen Park and Front Avenue reconstruction projects. Crews started Monday with sidewalk, street and traffic signal work to transform Third Street downtown from one-way southbound to a two-way arterial from Front to Lakeside Avenue. During construction, east-west traffic is being rerouted to Lakeside at Second and Fifth Streets. Although traffic will not be allowed to cross at Third or Sherman, on-street parking will be available for a half-block on the 200 and 300 blocks of Sherman near the work site/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Press photo by Shawn Gust: Ron Rojas, crew chief for Welch Comer Engineers, surveys an area of the construction site between the Coeur d’Alene Resort and Sherman Avenue on Tuesday)

DFO: Just came from coffee at Bakery by the Lake with city spokesman Keith Erickson. Sherman Avenue was shut from 2nd to 4th. You need to plan for detours if you're going downtown today.

Blather News Network

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Tuesday — 3.18.14

The dance cards for the spring primaries have filled up (although we'll need some inside info to decide which candidates belong to which parties in both the GOP and Democratic precinct committeeman races). We're still protected from another official season of political campaigning (which seems to have become a year round every year event) because the Legislature is still in session. So we'll enjoy this lull between the gasbaggery for as long as we can. Here's your Tuesday Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 3.18.14

Honor guards open the doors for Russian President Vladimir Putin followed by Crimean leaders entering the hall for the signing ceremony of a treaty for Crimea to join Russia, in the Kremlin in Moscow today. President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a treaty to incorporate Crimea into Russia, describing the move as the restoration of historic injustice and a necessary response to what he called the Western encroachment on Russia’s vital interests. (AP Photo/Sergei Ilnitsky, Pool)

Stickman: Tree City USA? Really?

Stickman (RE: Coeur d'Alene named Tree City USA for 30th year in a row): I saw something recently about our town being awarded another Tree City USA award. Very ironic seeing as how we seem to be doing our best to cut them all down. All over town. And it continues. And we get an award for that. I cringe at that fact. Am I a tree hugger, of course.

Question: Are we sending mixed messages as a Tree City by cutting down 23 trees at the western entrance to our town?

Jweshaw: Boise Has More Benefactors

Jweshawk: (RE: Boise best at getting it right): I grew up in CDA and much later lived and worked in Boise. A huge difference as I see it is that Boise has benefactors who have donated vastly to making it a wonderful place to live and work. Look at the green belt, Kathryn Albertson, Ann Morrison, and Julia Davis parks. Simplot provided monetary support for the arts in Boise and throughout Idaho including Ballet Idaho, Opera Idaho, and the Boise Philharmonic. CDA now has the Kroc Center, but what have Hagadone or others, I won't name, given back? There are some rather well off old families that have taken (silver & lumber) and not given back IMHO, but that one family certainly sticks out.

DFO: Coeur d'Alene has benefactors, too — like Steve & Judy Meyer. Also, it has a long history of community fund-raising that wholly or in part built the cancer center, the library, the Kroc Center. Coeur d'Alene, of course, has a entrenched group of CAVErs that has fought every good project that's come along. But it has still prospered.

Question: Can you think of individuals or corporations who has contributed to Coeur d'Alene's quality of life?

Cutline Contest — 3.18.14

Only 2 entries so far …

Reid Holtorf, 4, waits for a foul ball during a spring exhibition baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Chicago Cubs in Phoenix on Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Monday Winner — Nic, with 8 likes: You stick your right foot in, you stick your right foot out. You stick your right foot in and you shake it all about; and Runnerup — Eman, with 7 likes: Miami father teaches son how to pass gas in formal wear. You can see Monday photo and read all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 3.18.14

  • 5:31 p.m. Off-duty officer saw blue car & black van playing “chicken” @ w/b I-90/MP 8 (Huetter rest stop area).
  • 4:59 p.m. 2 males are yelling at each other & 3rd male lying down @ 700 block of N2nd & Boise/CdA.
  • 4:47 p.m. Male in dark clothing walking down middle of n/b H95/MP 405 (Rock Creek/Worley).
  • 4:41 p.m. Suicidal/homicidal male (2:57 item) texts girlfriend from Falls Park, 305 W. 4th Ave/Post Falls, that he plans to jump into the falls. He concluded by saying: “I'm dead.” Post Falls police are en route to apprehend him.
  • 4:15 p.m. Vandalism reported to property @ 1500 block of N13th Street/CdA.
  • 4:02 p.m. A male is walking a dog along w/b I-90/MP 8.8, east of Huetter rest stop; not a traffic hazard.
  • 3:59 p.m. Caller reports she has video of neighbor pushing over fence @ 1500 block of N3rd/CdA.
  • 12 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Lincoln Day Lunch Flyer Set

Earlier today, I published an invite to the annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday, April 12, circulated by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee. The dinner will feature Gov. Butch Otter and his main challenger, state Sen. Russ Fulcher. Now, I've obtained a flyer for the rival luncheon that will take place earlier in the day at the Hagadone Event Center, featuring Gov. Otter and U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho. The event is sponsored the North Idaho Political Action Committee. You can see times and ticket prices above.

PM Headlines — 3.18.14

An animal shelter in northern Idaho was chosen to be featured in an episode of the PBS show, Shelter Me. The episode featuring the Panhandle Animal Shelter was scheduled to air on national television in September 2014. The TV series celebrates shelter pets with positive and uplifting stories. More here.

‘Compact’ Means Small

Facebook Friend Sharon Gwyn posts re: parking her Ford Focus at the Cancer Center today:I park in the 'compact' section of the parking lot with EVERY space marked, I come back to find myself sandwiched between a Toyota highlander & a Ford explorer. If you drive either one of these vehicles, it's NOT a compact!!! Isn't reading still part of getting a driver's license in Idaho?

Question: Has this happened to you?

KXLY: Some Baristas Packing Guns

With the outbreak in the number of armed robberies of coffee huts, especially in Spokane, some baristas are beginning to pack a weapon, like the one shown above. KXLY will be airing a news story about this situation later this afternoon.

After the third robbery in a month Sunday night, the owner of Spokane's Jitterz Java on Northwest Boulevard has had enough and says the next person to try may end up face to face with a gun. Sara Chapel says some of her employees are already bringing their own guns to work, no matter what shift they are working. But after Sunday, they were will always be a gun at the coffee stand. In the most recent burglary, a man aggressively tried to open a window at the stand and appeared to have a gun. The barista kept the window locked, grabbed her gun and called police. The man took off before police arrived/KXLY. More here.


Eberlein Takes On Tondee Again

Two years ago, Marc Eberlein lost to incumbent Commissioner Todd Tondee by 239 votes in a five-way race in the Kootenai County GOPrimary elections. Tim Herzog is the third candidate in the GOPrimary race. I peeked at Eberlein's site to learn more about him:

Marc is a listener. He is aware of the important issues and will ensure that the people have their say. He understands that the land use code still needs revision and will work for a balanced approach that respects the property rights of Kootenai County residents. He enjoys Kootenai County's history, culture, and scenery and takes an active interest in public service. As a conservative Republican, Marc understands the values held by his fellow citizens. An independent scholar and businessman, Marc has the knowledge, experience, and dedication to make Kootenai County leaders more aware of the people's needs. In his own business he is financially responsible and deals fairly with clients and employees alike. These are necessary qualities to lead our county. More here.

Question: Does Eberlein's candidacy interest you?


Mary Lu Ward, left, of the Las Cruces Animal Control, calls to Athena as she was lifted in a utility bucket by El Paso Electric in Las Cruces, N.M. Ward successfully rescued the cat, who had been stuck on top of the electrical pole for three days after possibly being chased by Coyotes. (AP Photo/The Las Cruces Sun-News, Carlos Javier Sanchez)

Question: Have you ever heard of a dog being stuck in a tree or on top of an electrical pole?

Who Are These 2 Guys?

For those keeping score at home, two Kootenai County residents have filed as challengers to Congressman Raul Labrador in the 1st Congressional District — Democrat Ryan Barone, of 9323 Government Way, Hayden, and Republican Sean Blackwell, 6478 Silverado St., Rathdrum. Additionally, two Moscow residents have filed for the congressional seat: Democrat Shirley Ringo and Republican Reed McCandless. The general election showdown likely will be between the incumbent and Ringo. You can see the complete list of those who filed for Congress in both Idaho congressional districts here.

Question: Anyone know anything about the two Kootenai County congressional candidates?

Huckleberries Has Learned …

… That the Coeur d'Alene School Board has decided not to have a public meeting on the “Add the Words” request from Coeur d'Alene attorney Susan Moss until district attorney Mark Lyons has studied the legal issues involved. The Coeur d'Alene School Board won't meet again until April 14, due to spring break. Lyons is likely to present his findings then. Two weeks ago, Moss asked the school board to expand district non-discriminatory policies to include gays. The request triggered accusations from audience members that Chairman Tom Hearn and Vice Chairman Christa Hazel had had discussions with the gay community and weren't being transparent. More here.

Bjorn: GOPCC Control Up For Grabs

Mark Fisher, who ran unsuccessfully for the state Legislature from House District 2 in 2012, is challenging former county GOP chairwoman Tina Jacobson for her Precinct committeeman seat. (File photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Bjorn Handeen, GOP CCommitteeman from Precinct 52, tells Huckleberries Online that those unopposed in precinct races are split 13-13 between Rally Right and Reagan Republican/Reasonable Republican candidates. That means the contested races in the rest of the 70 precincts will decide who controls the Central Committee after the May GOPrimaries. Bjorn also points out that a number of current precinct committee members chose not to run again. You can find all the GOP & Democratic Central Committee filings here. I consider the following to be the most interesting precinct committee races:

  • Precinct 3: Melanie Vander Feer (UCNI leader) vs. Thomas H. Godbold
  • Precinct 6: Tina Jacobson (former GOPCChair) vs. Mark Fisher
  • Precinct 10: Neil Oliver (current GOPCChair) vs. Barbara Forgacs
  • Precinct 13: Donna Montgomery (former GOPCChair) vs. Jennifer Locke
  • Precinct 15: Heidi VonLind vs. Kellie Palm
  • Precinct 19: Duane Rasmussen vs. Janet Campbell
  • Precinct 36: John Cross (Region 1 GOP chair) vs. Pat Whalen (SD3 candidate)
  • Precinct 45: Jim Brannon (county clerk) vs. Barbara Babic

Question: Any other precinct races catch your eye?



Gary: This’ll Get Dems Off Back Sides

Gary Ingram (RE: These donkeys look like elephants): Finally something being done to finally get the Dems off their lazy you know what. It is taking Republicans to get them to do something. So now they will energize to recruit members through a write in campaign. Good for them and good luck with that seeing as how their message is so unattractive. But maybe if they can put together some party structure they can field some candidates to keep themselves busy within their own party.

Question: I agree with Gary, I think. The conservative challenge to take over the Central Committee might be the shot in the arm that local Democrats needed to get active again. Thoughts?

Ed Stakeholders Find Commonality

They still are three separate groups, with distinct memberships — the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Association of School Administrators and the Idaho Education Association, the state’s teachers’ union. But for most of the 2014 session, these three groups have spoken as one, with a good deal of success. They are pushing for a teacher pay raise and teacher leadership “premiums.” They endorse a plan to begin reversing recession-era budget cuts. They support a controversial pilot exam aligned with the new Idaho Core Standards. A year after battling publicly over a series of labor laws, they even agree about keeping three of the laws on the books for another year. And the stakeholder groups agree on two other points. They appreciate the improved working relationship, and know it will take effort to stay on the same side/Kevin Richert, IdahoED NEWS. More here.

Question: Do you consider this a good legislative year for education?

Stallings Heeds Siren Call

There’s an old saying that politics is a disease cured only by six feet of dirt. It seems especially true for those who have served in high public office, even those who fulfill the classic prediction that headlined an article written in the 1950s by Oregon Senator Richard Neuberger for The Saturday Evening Post: “They Never Go Back to Pocatello!” Even those who stay inside the beltway to become high-paid lobbyists will sometimes forsake money because they miss the subliminal joy derived from the exercise of power, and the deference received from those courting their favor. The itch to serve by a former holder of high office saw its latest manifestation on the last day for filing in Idaho on March 14th. Former Second District congressman Richard Stallings (1984-1992), the only Democrat to hold the seat in recent years, filed to reclaim his old job—again/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question (for Republicans of HucksOnline): Would you vote for a conservative Democrat, like Richard Stallings or Walt Minnick?

Fulcher Dreaming Big Dreams

Opposition to Obamacare and Common Core are two of the hooks Sen. Russ Fulcher has used to attract conservative voters in May’s gubernatorial primary race. But he says the “fun part” of his challenge to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is discussing his vision for the state, which goes beyond ideology. He’s thinking big and dreaming even bigger. As he sees it, Idaho is sitting on a gold mine of untapped wealth and prosperity – the kind that could put Idaho on the same economic path as North Dakota, Wyoming and other energy exporters that have bulging state revenues. “It’s a game changer,” he said. “Washington and Payette counties have natural gas that is pure and plentiful, and a lot of it is on private land. We haven’t done anything with the resources we have, but we know they are there. There’s no reason why Idaho can’t be powered with Idaho’s natural gas and generate all of the benefits that come with it”/Chuck Malloy, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.

Question: Would you like to see Idaho work aggressively to tap into its natural gas bounty?

Wild Waters Embroiled In Lawsuit

Passersby can still see the remnants of the Wild Waters park in the form of blue water slides prominently resting on a hill at the intersection of Interstate 90 and US 95. The park closed its doors in 2010 and, according to Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood, has been broken into and targeted by vandals “a few” times since, before the property owners added more security features. One of the incidents of vandalism, which according to court documents took place in 2011, has landed the company in US District Court. After the vandalism, Wild Waters filed a claim with its insurer, Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America, for an undisclosed amount to repair the damage. However, Travelers alleges that since the incident took place after Wild Waters was not operating as a business, it was considered “vacant as defined within the insurance contract” and as such, the claim is invalid/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: When did you last play at a water park?


SR photographer Kathy Plonka snapped this photo of a moose munching on veggies in the Hauser Lake area this morning.

AM Scanner Traffic — 3.18.14

  • 11:45 a.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 17-18 here.
  • 11:31 a.m. 77YO female @ Harmony House, 454 W. Lacey/Hayden, is lethargic.
  • 11:30 a.m. Lakes Middle School on 15th Street/CdA is involved in a fire drill.
  • 11:24 a.m. Caller dialed 911 dispatch to get phone number for attorney general.
  • 11:06 a.m. ISP officer reports he's removed debris from both lanes of travel @ I-90/MP 435 (Dakota/Hayden).
  • 10:57 a.m. Driver of white Toyota, has weaved into grass, possibly DUI @ e/b I-90/MP 5 (Spokane/Post Falls).
  • 10:53 a.m. Neighbor describes county resident as “clammy” after fall, unknown location.
  • 10:52 a.m. Female reportedly disorderly @ 1st/Spokane Street/CdA.
  • 10:06 a.m. 93YO female needs medical attention @ 700 block of E. Sherman Avenue/CdA.
  • 9:47 a.m. Deputy en route to a sheriff's tax deed sale in Athol.
  • 8:42 a.m. A suspicious package is reported @ the soccer complex, 6551 Courcelles/CdA.
  • 8:35 a.m. Female is unresponsive after taking undisclosed amount of pills on 5th Avenue/Post Falls.
  • 8:21 a.m. Driver of blue GMC w/Bonner County plates, possibly DUI @ s/b H95/MP 457 (Cocolalla).

HBO Blogosphere — 3.18.14

On his Slice blog post, Paul Turner writes: “Please note: This doesn't say 'Ruby Ridge.' They are altogether different stories of the West.” (Illustration:

HucksOnline numbers (for Monday, March 17): 9714 page-views/5563 unique views

Idaho House Rejects Nullification Bill

The House has agreed unanimously to return HB 473 – the bill attempting to nullify the EPA’s regulatory authority in Idaho – to the House Resources Committee, at the request of Resources Chairman Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale. “I think that having this bill in front of us shows the level of frustration that many of our constituents have and feel about not only the EPA, but many of the federal agencies as well,” Denney told the House. “I believe that HB 473 does perhaps try to go too far and is very likely unconstitutional as written”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that the Idaho House unanimously rejected this bill?

Poll: No Surprises With Local Politics

  • Monday Poll: A plurality of Hucks Nation sez nothing surprises it when it comes to our weird local politics. 74 of 163 respondents (45.4%) said they're immune from political surprises at the local level. However, 39 of 163 respondents (23.93%) said they were surprised by decision by conservative maverick Larry Spencer to file as a Democrat for Kootenai County assessor. 30 (18.4%) said they were surprised by City Hall critic Mary Souza's decision to run for state senator. 13 (7.98%) said they were most surprised by news that several conservatives had signed up for precinct committee posts in Democratic Central Committee races. 7 (4.29%) said they were surprised by the large number (115) of contestants in GOP Central Committee races.
  • Today's Poll: Why do you think conservative maverick Larry Spence is running as a Democrat for the office of county assessor?

How The Righteous Smote The Wicked

Vlady did an evil thing
and they all made sure he knew,
wagging fingers in his face
with a pious, “Shame on you”.

Their Leader lectured Vlady,
said such conduct would not do:
“We decide which coups are good —
and by we, I don’t mean you.”

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

AM: KOMO Copter Crash Kills 2

In this image made from video provided by KOMO-TV, smoke rises from the scene of a news helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle on Tuesday in Seattle. The station says the copter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles. Story here. (AP Photo/Courtesy KOMO-TV)


Lincoln Day Face-Off?

The Kootenai County GOP Central Committee apparently will feature Gov. Butch Otter and state Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, at its annual Lincoln Day Festivities April 12. The fun begins at 6 o'clock. Individual seats will cost $60.

Time: Boise Best At Getting It Right

The City of Trees has made more than its fair share of top ten lists in various national publications. However, the most recent issue of Time includes an impressive addition for Idaho's capital city. Under the magazine's “Solutions for America” header, Time ranked Boise no. 1 out of 9 cities for what it called “getting it right.” The criteria for cities to make the list includes a thriving economy, a booming cultural scene, quality health care, and a growing university/KTVB.

Question: What does Boise have that Coeur d'Alene doesn't (outside of the capitol and a good college football team)?