Borah Elementary 4th grader Winter Haler auditioned for the upcoming talent show at the school in Coeur d'Alene recently. The talent show is on June 4. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Another Duane Rasmussen photo shows the extensive work near the Brazilian Steak House on what used to be Front Avenue.
Huckleberries numbers (for May 12-18): 50,661 page-views/27,920 unique views
woman carries her child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., earlier today. A tornado as much as a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school. (AP Photo Sue Ogrocki)
A mile-wide tornado slammed into Oklahoma on Monday afternoon, leveling neighborhoods, starting fires and causing, as one storm chaser put it, “total destruction.” Two elementary schools were destroyed, and an untold number of homes and businesses sustained heavy damage near the cities of Moore, Newcastle and Oklahoma City. CNN reported that rescue crews swarmed over Plaza Towers Elementary School, where 75 students and staff had sought refuge in a hallway. Britane Diacon-Boese of Oklahoma City was worried about students she works with. “I have clients who can't be found,” she said. “I'm terrified; I'm completely terrified,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “There's no power, it's all down”/Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times. More here.
Question: Have you ever been involved in a natural disaster?
Do I have to twist your arms to get you to the polls Tuesday to vote in the Kootenai Hospital Board and local school board elections? The Reagan Republicans and Bjorn Handeen's Ron Paul ground troops will be beating the bushes for votes to extend ultraconservatism deep into the heart of Coeur d'Alene. We've already seen the silliness of what one Reagan Republican endorsee, Councilman Steve Adams, can do in an elected position on a criticial board. Adams, as you know opposes any proposal attached to federal dollars, including the hiring of two more desperately needed police officers. Some individuals from the same side of the ideological divide as Adams are running for local school boards. We've seen how far to the right that the Coeur d'Alene School Board lurched since the County Commission and other trustees have made three appointments to pack it with archconservatives. The Reagan Republicans have targeted local elections because they traditionally have a poor turnout, which means a motivated force can win seats for their candidates. Balance North Idaho has done as much as it can to provide loyal opposition to the Reagan Republican power brokers. Now, it's your turn to not only vote against partisan politics in nonpartisan races. But get friends, family and neighbors to do so, too. If you need motivation, consider the 2009 race for the Coeur d'Alene City Council seat still occupied by Councilman Mike Kennedy. Kennedy ultimately won by 3 votes. Those 3 votes meant the difference between a new McEuen Field and a tired, old one. Between the expansion of the Education Corridor and business as usual at landlocked North Idaho College. I want every Berry Picker who is qualified to vote in the school and hospital board elections. And tell Grandma and your siblings to do so, too/DFO.
Question from the Inlander: “
A new poll shows a rise in approval for the Tea Party movement, amid a growing scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups. A CNN/ORC poll released Monday found 37 percent of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party, up 9 points from their 28 percent positive rating in March. The 37 percent approval rating is just one percentage point below the movement’s all-time high in CNN/ORC’s polling. A plurality of respondents, though, still hold an unfavorable view of Tea Party groups. Forty-five percent have a negative view of the movement, but that figure is down 3 points from March/Daniel Strauss, The Hill. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Has your view of the Tea Party changed in light of the IRS scandal?
Just west of Rose Lake on Highway 3 lies the old township of Lane. It was subdivided into residential lots years ago and platted with streets. The town never took hold, and was sold off. That's how the Scheffelmaier family got hold of a large chunk of it back in the 1950s. Since then, Fred Scheffelmaier has developed a good portion of the property into a thriving custom butchery. In 1991 he applied with Kootenai County for a conditional use permit to operate the meat plant on his rural property. He has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and employs half a dozen people. With an approved permit, he had a reasonable expectation that if the county ever decided to rezone the area, his now-successful business property would be classified commercial. He was wrong/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (In Duane Rasmussen file photo, Commissioner Todd Tondee, left, speaks to crowd at Grange Hall near Medimont re: proposed zoning regs, while Scott Clarke listens)
Question: Are you concerned re: proposed new county zoning regulations?
Imagine: You're tapped to sing The Star-Spangled Banner at the , a Canadian hockey tournament being held in . Midway through, you realize you don't know the words. What do you do? Well, on Saturday, the Canadian Jazz singer Alexis Normand decided to just keep going and mumble the rest. It's cringe-inducing, but also really funny/Eyder Peralta, NPR. More here.
Question: Do you know all the words to “The Star Spangled Banner”?
Former Sheriff Richard Mack will be back in Idaho in August, following up last year’s controversial appearance at the Kootenai County Republican Party Lincoln Day with a speech to the Gem State Tea Party’s 3rd “Liberty Summit” in Burley. Mack, who won two terms as the Democratic sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., also has run for office as a Republican and a Libertarian. Some Kootenai County Republicans tried to cancel his speech but an allegedly forged proxy ballot was tossed by party officials and Mack was invited again. He drew about 400 listeners and appeared with Congressman Raul Labrador/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you consider Sheriff Mack fans to be mainstream Republicans?
You don't have to be an expert on current events to win our weekly news quiz, but it can't hurt! All entries this week are eligible to win two movie tickets to area cinemas, and our overall champ will earn a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Simply enter, and you're eligible. Good luck! You can take the News Quiz here.
Some readers have gently criticized this column for being a downer about aging. They have a point. Last week, for instance, I wrote about the reasons boomers may not live into great old age (chronic illnesses and high suicide rates). So this week, I counter with a more hopeful report. Aging expert Wendy Lustbader, who has written “The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Older,” will be in Spokane this month for a half-day seminar at The Lincoln Center. Lustbader – in her book and in her media interviews – points out that life gets better for older people because:
Question: What benefits do you see re: aging?
When a cop stops an ordinary person for speeding, here's what happens: Perhaps the driver asks for a warning. He might contest the ticket in court. Or he pays up. But Wayne Hoffman is no ordinary person. As executive director of the libertarian-leaning Idaho Freedom Foundation, Hoffman bestrides an organization with an ample but mysterious source of cash that at times has proven to be among the most influential legislative lobbies in Idaho. His Idaho Freedom Index rates lawmakers from high to low on their conservative credentials. The rating can help or break Republicans running in a low-turnout, closed GOP primary. Hoffman also supervises IdahoReporter.com, an online news service that some criticize as serving IFF's political agenda. And his own weekly column gets picked up by a handful of Idaho newspapers. That's a considerable political arsenal in the hands of a man who sounds like he may use it. Why? Because Hoffman got a speeding ticket and he's not happy about it.
Question: What do you make of Hoffman continuing to fight a speeding ticket for going 71 in a 55 in Kootenai County?
The mass-mailing letter from Balance North Idaho that attracted Mary Souza's wrath:
Your vote is Crucial on May 21: Just how crucial is your vote on May 21? It is VITAL to the direction of our School Districts and Hospital Board of Trustees.
CDA School Board:
Question: Why does this letter have the archconservatives up in arms?
A jet-boater takes a turn in the St. Joe River, near St. Maries, as the annual races took place over the weekend, as a result of last-minute pressure on the U.S. Coast Guard by Gov. Butch Otter and the Idaho congressional delegation. The Coast Guard issued a permit at the last minute after denying one, as a result of environmental concerns. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)
A Facebook Friend asks: “Alli Christian, left, helps Jessica Wilkinson as she looks for her dog Bella after Wilkinson returned to find her tornado-destroyed home in Norman, Okla., on Sunday)
Balance North Idaho provides its side to the story re:Booster Fund Escrow Account:
Two jet-boaters race into a wall of spray from another boat during the annual “Race the Joe” jet-boat races on the St. Joe River near St. Maries this weekend. The races were allowed to go on, after political pressure prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to issue a permit after having denied one earlier for environmental reasons. (Photograph: Duane Rasmussen)
Tejay Van Garderen gets kissed on the podium after winning the Tour of California cycling race in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Sunday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
TGIF Winner — Photoguy: “These cutlines are getting lemur and lemur by the minute.” You can see TGIF photo + all 9 cutline entries here.