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FRIDAY, AUG. 12, 2016

Dirt bike track beef continues  

Coeur d'Alene's Dennis Cooke writes in Press Letters to the Editor: "I am responding to the article, “Dirt bike track dispute revs up,” published on Aug. 6. I was the only one interviewed of the 34+ rural property owners who are unable to have the full use and enjoyment of their land. Many have lived peacefully for decades.

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SR edit: Medicaid expansion 'simplest fix' 

An Idaho legislative group is meeting to figure out how to extend health care coverage to residents in the “gap,” meaning they earn too much for Medicaid and too little to qualify for subsidies offered through the health care exchange established under the Affordable Care Act. Approximately 78,000 Idahoans fall into the gap.

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Macy's closing 100 stores 

Macy’s will be closing about 100 stores in an attempt to trim its footprint as more customers shop online, the department store announced Thursday. “This country is overstored given evolving customer shopping habits,” Macy’s Chief Financial Officer Karen Hoguet said. (Question: When's the last time you shopped at Macy's?)

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Sarah Dahl, center, holds Paddy the puppy,  as her father Scott Dahl, left, looks on during an obedience class  Aug. 4 at Diamonds in the Ruff in Spokane. The Hennessey Funeral Home, where Scott Dahl is managing partner, is training  the dog to be a therapy dog for  its clients. His name is Paddy, the nickname of  the funeral home’s late director, Chuck Hennessey. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A (funeral) service dog

Jonathan Glover/SR reports on a service dog being trained for a somber and special purpose: "But one dog – aptly named Paddy after Chuck “Paddy” Hennessey, the late owner of Hennessey Funeral Home – was at the training to learn how to comfort people in times they need it most.

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Child care in Idaho: High cost, low wages? 

Katy Lightfield expected she and her husband would take a pay cut when they moved early last year to Meridian from Austin, Texas. And they did — a $30,000 cut. But it was worth it to be back in their home state, closer to family. What she didn’t expect was that child care in Idaho would cost as much as it did in Austin.

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Friday Wild Card -- 8.12.16 

Happy Friday, HBO! Well, we have ALMOST survived another week here together. I'm going to call it right now: Today is going to be a good day. The skies are blue, the birds are singing and the weekend will soon be here. I've got that old Sunday School song stuck in my head, "I've got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart."

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Scorched Pita Pit feeds fire crews 

After Pita Pit's national headquarters offices caught fire Wednesday evening, the store employees were quick to whip up some pitas of appreciation. "The director of training was in the middle of franchisee training and he said, 'Let's feed all these firefighters,'" Coeur d'Alene Pita Pit general manager Lauren Casey said Thursday.

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Cynthia Yasmin Valdez Perez of Mexico performs with a ball during the 32th rhythmic gymnastics world championships tournament in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. (Efrem Lukatsky / Associated Press)

Which Olympic sport shouldn't qualify? 15 

Paul Turner/The Slice has a question that is sure to be a hot-button for some: What Olympic event would you eliminate because you do not consider it a sport? If you aren't sure, here's the list to pick from. I'll start: Ryhthmic gymnastics and curling. Ready, go!

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An employee places marijuana for sale into glass containers at The Station, a retail and medical cannabis dispensary, in Boulder, Colo., Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The DEA announced Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 that the Obama administration will keep marijuana on the list of the most dangerous drugs, despite growing popular support for legalization, but will allow more research into its possible medical benefits. (Brennan Linsley / Associated Press)

DEA won't reclassify marijuana 

The federal agency in charge of arresting people for drugs says it won’t reclassify marijuana as something that has medical uses. In a notice to Gov. Jay Inslee published Thursday in the Federal Record, the Drug Enforcement Administration turned down a request to take marijuana out of Schedule I, a classification for dangerous drugs.

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Athol resident David Harms, with Coby Shaffer, 9, left, and Spencer Hansen, 14, prepare for the money-in-the-straw game in Athol on Friday. At least $500 was hidden in bales of straw as part of Athol Daze. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Making Athol great again

This year, Athol will celebrate a fresh chapter during its annual Athol Daze town festival on Saturday. With the theme "Athol: A New Direction," city clerk and treasurer Lori Yarbrough said the 2016 Athol Daze will mark a new era for the small town. "The committee came up with it," Yarbrough said Wednesday. "Our city's gone through a lot."

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Tom Peebles with his impressive pike. (Courtesy CDA Press)

That's some fish 

A fishonista like me can't ever resist a good fish story. I'm not a pike fisherwoman, but a big fish is a big fish. The CDA Press reports: Landing a hefty fish is always exciting, but for Tom “Bruno” Peebles it was particularly special. The Coeur d’Alene man caught a 19-pound, 32-inch northern pike Tuesday while fishing at Fernan Lake.

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Highway 41 improvements on tap for 2019

Rathdrum’s Patricia Jenson calls her work commute on Highway 41 to Post Falls an “adventure.” “There’s an interesting mix of commuters with farm and commercial traffic,” said Jenson, who has been making the drive for eight years. “I’ve seen it all — accidents, near-misses, people stranded along the road causing a traffic mess.”

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Save and save often 

Early in my career, editors drummed this into my head: Save and save often. It's good advice, particularly when the weather is afoul. I learned this morning, though, to heed their caution even on pretty, sunny days like this. I'm not sure what caused the power to blink, but blink it did and I lost all I'd been working on.

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KoCo property taxes going up

The Kootenai County Board of Commissioners proposes spending about $14 million in the coming fiscal year to expand the county jail, expand vehicle and drivers license services, build shared parking with the city of Coeur d’Alene, and improve evidence storage. The spending is part of a proposed $96.3 million budget for fiscal year 2017.

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THURSDAY, AUG. 11, 2016

U.S. gymnasts and gold medallists, right to left, Simone Biles, Gabrielle Douglas, Lauren Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman pose for photographs during the medal ceremony for the artistic gymnastics women's team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Parting Shot: Gold Winners 

Here's a swell shot of some of our gold medal-winning gymnasts: Simone Biles, Gabrielle Douglas, Lauren Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman. I haven't caught much of the Olympics, but enjoy catching bits and pieces via the blogosphere and facebook.

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Amanda Friedland, left, surrounded by friends and family adjusts her friend Betsy Davis’s sash as she lays on a bed during her “Right To Die Party” in Ojai, Calif., on July 24, 2016. (Niels Alpert / Associated Press)

"Right to Die" Party 

In early July, Betsy Davis emailed her closest friends and relatives to invite them to a two-day party, telling them: “These circumstances are unlike any party you have attended before, requiring emotional stamina, centeredness and openness.” And just one rule: No crying in front of her. (Question: Thoughts?)

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 (Courtesy of ARPIE)

Still standing castle 16 

Arpie sent me this pic of the super cool and still-standing sand castle, a remnant of last weekend's Art on the Green at North Idaho College. I've never had much luck with sand castles. Pretty amazing to see this creation take shape at the festival each year. Question: What's the coolest thing you've ever made?

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Dworshak Reservoir kokanee are bright and beautiful. (Sean Wilson / Idaho Fish and Game)

Kokanee galore at Dworshak

Anglers should be excited about what was discovered during the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s recent kokanee survey of Dworshak Reservoir — fish are stacking up in the upper reservoir and their size is quite appealing. The larger fish have begun their migration up the reservoir as they prepare to spawn.

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Slice: Trivia salute to Hoosier Graham

Paul Turner/The Slice offers up a trivia challenge in honor of retiring SR Editor/Hoosier Gary Graham: Name the 1977 movie in which a Ball State pennant can be seen in the home of an understandably crazed utility worker. What city claims "Johnny Appleseed"? In "A Christmas Story," what's the name of the neighbors with the unruly hounds?

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Ales for the Trail set for Saturday 

The North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation is holding its fourth annual Ales for the Trail Microbrew Festival on Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m. at McEuen Park in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The Ales for the Trail Festival draws more than 25 of the region’s finest craft brewers. (Question: What's your favorite brew?)

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Beware of mountain goats

At Trailhead 65, which leads to the top of Scotchman Peak, is a foreboding sign announcing to hikers that they're entering "Bear Country" and should take care to neither attract nor antagonize the potentially ferocious omnivores. But the animal that people around here are more concerned about isn't a large mammal capable of mauling hapless hikers.

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Glacier's July busiest ever

Publicity about the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service may have contributed to Glacier National Park having its busiest month on record in July, with more than 818,000 people visiting the Montana gem. (Question: What's your favorite National Park and why?)

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Lorraine Ouellette, a member of the League of Hatters, poses for a photo in between two Mad Hatters on day one of Comic-Con International held at the San Diego Convention Center Thursday, July 21, 2016, in San Diego. (Denis Poroy / Associated Press)

Let the 'geek flag' fly 11 

On Saturday, the Coeur d'Alene Public Library will be transformed into a world where hobbits, ewoks, Gotham villains and many more will intertwine. Enter the universe of Coeur d'Con, where art, literature, science fiction and fantasy unite with endless imagination. Coeur d'Con is the Lake City's version of Comic-Con. (Question: Are you a geek?)

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Kelly Ostrom, director of human resources for the Coeur d'Alene School District, receives a hug from Borah Elementary School teacher Kerry Erwin after the district and teachers union came to a tentative agreement over teacher contracts on Wednesday at Woodland Middle School. (JAKE PARRISH/CDA PRESS)

CDA teachers' agreement includes raises 

Coeur d’Alene teachers and the school board reached a tentative agreement Wednesday on a contract for the next school year. The agreement includes a 2 percent salary increase for all employees and no changes in health insurance benefits. It’s the first time since 2014 the board and teachers have reached an agreement without third-party mediation.

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Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.