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FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2017


Republican Incumbent Butch Otter, right, and Democratic Challenger AJ Balukoff laugh as they compliment each other’s ties after the gubernatorial debate hosted by the City Club of Idaho Falls at the Idaho State University Bennion Student Union Building Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. (Pat Sutphin / Idaho Post-Register)

Balukoff considers running again for Idaho governor 

Boise businessman and school board member Anthony Joseph “A.J.” Balukoff said Thursday he’s considering running as a Democrat for governor in 2018. Balukoff spent more than $3 million of his own funds in a loss to Gov. Butch Otter in 2014. Otter won nearly 54 percent of the vote to less than 39 percent for Balukoff.

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Thursday Wild Card 6.22.17

Hooray! It's Friday Eve! Yesterday, in addition to urgent things like blog subbing and getting my eyebrows waxed, I managed to interview the owner of a new electric bike shop as well as a GU grad who taught for two years in inner city Compton.

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Americans and guns: It’s really complicated 21 

Americans have long had a complex relationship with guns. Now, a new study shows that the country’s deep political divide is reflected in attitudes toward gun control. The Pew survey released Thursday found a sharp drop in overall support for gun control despite common ground on some key issues.

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‘Downton Abbey’ movie in works

A “Downton Abbey” movie is in the works, with production likely to begin in 2018, an NBCUniversal executive said Wednesday. Michael Edelstein, president at NBCUniversal International Studios, said it hopes to assemble 20 cast members from the popular TV series. Exciting news for this Downton fan! Did you watch the show? CH

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Basil from the garden.

How does your garden grow? 

Our whacky weather is producing mixed results in my husband's garden. The basil and a few other herbs are doing well and our zucchini harvest looks promises as do our tomatoes and blueberries. The cucumbers? Not so much.

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NIC Bonners Ferry Center offers Family Fun Hike

Join outdoor educational specialist and field ornithologist Brian Baxter for the “Family Fun Flora and Fauna Hike” Saturday, June 24, at the North Idaho College Bonners Ferry Center. Register by contacting the NIC Workforce Training Center at (208) 769-3214 or request more information by emailing

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Milo and Thor are just fine.

The State of the Cats 15 

There has been some concern expressed that I've been negligent in posting cat photos. So here is Milo, looking regal in his tux and Thor sleepily supervising in the background.

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Spa Daze

In this week's column I recall being given a massage by a Bill Gates look-alike, my husband getting modest and having a fruit salad on my face. All in the name of work. Mostly. What do you do for self-care?

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The Eyre Affair

Summer Reading 13 

I'm reading "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde and really enjoying it. It's set in a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. What are you reading?

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A big vision with an even bigger heart 

A white napkin caught the quiet tears that rolled down Ron McIntire's cheeks as Jon Ness spoke. The Kootenai Health CEO began by expressing how McIntire is the first person who comes to mind when he thinks of a community-owned hospital that supports its community. McIntire received the Visionary Leadership Award. CH

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Authorities watch people near the water at the Okaloosa Pier as heavy surf brought on by Tropical Storm Cindy pounds the pier supports in Fort Walton Beach, Fla, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. (Michael Snyder/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP) ORG XMIT: FLPLA110 (Michael Snyder / AP)

Apparently, I've been downgraded 

Forecasters say Cindy, the onetime tropical storm since downgraded to a depression, is weakening as it heads inland. But bands of heavy rain are continuing – with heavy rain in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.

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Wallace throws tombstone party

The city of Wallace is throwing a party Saturday to celebrate the return of its founder’s tombstone. “We are trying to organize the biggest parade in town since Teddy Roosevelt was here in 1903,” said Jamie Baker, one of the organizers. When is the last time you were in Wallace? Me? I went to the Blues Festival two years ago. Good times!

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Tire on Tubbs Hill.

Tire on Tubbs 

On yesterday's Wild Card, Walkabout posted this photo and wrote, "I can usually manage to haul out the trash I find but not today. How and why did this end up on Tubbs?"

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In this undated photo released by the Canyon County Sheriff’s office shows suspect Gerald “Mike” Bullinger, formerly of Ogden, Utah. Canyon County Sheriffs Chief Deputy Marv Dashiell says Bullinger is considered a person of interest in the murders discovered Monday, June 19, 2017 at a Caldwell, Idaho home. A sheriffs deputy found the bodies hidden in a shed after family members from out-of-state called to ask that someone check on Bullinger and other family members who had recently moved to the tiny Idaho farmhouse. (Canyon County Sheriff / Canyon County Sheriff)

Police search for Utah man after 3 women found dead in Idaho

Police say a grisly scene uncovered at a southwestern Idaho farmhouse earlier this week has prompted a nationwide search for the property owner, a man they are describing as “armed and dangerous.” The badly decomposed bodies of 3 unidentified women who'd been shot to death were found hidden in a shed outside Gerald Michael “Mike” Bullinger’s home.

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Emmalyn Maidoff, 2, wore her Lady Bug outfit while picking strawberries at Carver Farms in Newman Lake on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. Kathy Plonka/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Kathy Plonka)

Parting Shot: Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberries have a short, sweet season in the Inland Northwest, and people line up to get them while the picking is good. Check out all of Kathy Plonka's gorgeous photos in the link below. We tried to grow our own last year, but our harvest was meager.

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Bayview Daze to give Vietnam vets warm welcome 

Armed with a flatbed to carry veterans unable to walk the half-mile parade route down Main Avenue, and with pizzas donated from Domino’s and Pizza Hut, Vietnam veterans from within 100 miles of Bayview are invited to participate in the Bayview Daze Parade, July 1. This news made me smile. Way to go Bayview! CH

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A combination of images provided by Mattel shows a variety of Ken dolls now available from Mattel. Mattel announced Tuesday, June 20, 2017, that the company is introducing 15 new looks for the male doll. (Associated Press)

Ken gets cornrows, beefy bod and new skin tones 12 

Finally Ken gets a makeover. I still have my Malibu Ken somewhere. Hopefully, my boys didn't decapitate him like they did Malibu Barbie. Do you have any of your childhood toys? He’s been overshadowed by Barbie for decades, but now Ken is finally getting some attention. Mattel is introducing 15 new looks for the male doll.

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Wednesday Wild Card 6.21.17 

Not gonna lie. I snuck out the back gate and through my neighbor's yard to go on my walk yesterday. Didn't want to make eye contact with the road crew who saw me in my nightgown when I got my newspaper Monday morning.

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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.