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Posts tagged: Bill Wassmuth

Blue Book Honors Human Rightists

Item: Human rights leaders honored: Annual Idaho Blue Book dedicated to Wassmuth, Stewart, Gissel/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The latest edition of Idaho's Blue Book, a go-to resource for anything Idaho, has been dedicated to local leaders of the human rights movement. In a spot reserved for Idaho moguls, such as former Governor Cecil Andrus and Joe Albertson, who built one of the world's largest supermarket chains, Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa dedicated the 22nd edition of the Blue Book to Bill Wassmuth, Tony Stewart and Norm Gissel. “Both of us were on the same page with this,” said Pat Herman, who compiles the Blue Book for Ysursa. “We had both seen Marcia Franklin's documentary 'The Color of Conscience.'”

Question: Have you ever looked at the Idaho Blue Book?

Hux Redux: Wassmuth On ‘Geraldo’

Bill Wassmuth's appearance on the Geraldo Rivera show 25 years ago wasn't the only time the flamboyant TV host had contact with the Coeur d'Alene area. In the Coeur d'Alene Press file photo by Jerome A. Pollos, Rivera is shown in April 27, 2006, with Steve Groene, center, father of murder victims Slade and Dylan Groene and attorney Chuck Lempesis.

From DFO's files 25 years ago: The Rev. Bill Wassmuth shared a television spotlight with flamboyant producer Geraldo Rivera this week in a “Donahue-type” look at victims of violence. The syndicated show, tentatively called “Geraldo,” is being marketed to television networks. … “He's quite a character,” said Wassmuth of Rivera after a whirlwind trip to New York City. Chairman of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, Wassmuth will be shown with four other victims of violence in an hour-long program. In mid-1986, the St. Pius X Catholic Church priest narrowly escaped injury when his home was bombed. Two men with ties to the Aryan Nations are awaiting trial on charges stemming from the incident.

Question: Were you here when Bill Wassmuth's home was bombed?

Racists Failed To Scare Wassmuth

It was said, half in jest, that Bill Wassmuth was selected as the chairman of the resurrected Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations because he was single. No one laughed about that after he and his home were targetted in a fall 1986 bombing by three individuals aligned with Richard Butler's Aryan Nations. Wassmuth was sitting in the living room 10 to 12 feet away when the pipebomb exploded outside his rear door shortly after midnight. I remember that he was still dazed by the event after sunup as he showed me the damage during a tour of his parsonage. This year is the 25th anniversary of that bombing and the bombing of the downtown area by racists.

Rocky: Wassmuth Showed Way Out

This will not be an easy task. The demonization of political opponents has turned into a cottage industry of hate that benefits many. And the emotions of regular people have been raised to a frenzy by the politics of fear from all sides of the debate. But Idaho can offer a model for taking on the worst elements. No matter what the motivation of the shooter, who killed six and wounded Giffords and more than a dozen others, the incident has prompted a national discussion that is long overdue. There was a time not long ago when Idaho was viewed as the center of the right-wing hate movement in the United States. But even as our politics has become more conservative, we have excised the hate-mongers and our image as a refuge for neo-Nazis. We had become a base for these people because of our tolerance and our basic “leave-us-alone” attitude. But when we as a state realized where it had taken us, we shifted gears led by leaders like Phil Batt and Bill Wassmuth/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here. (SR file photo of Bill Wassmuth at 1997 NIC Popcorn Forum)

Question: What have you done personally as a blogger and online commenter to reduce hateful rhetoric and inflamed political commentary online?

Steve: Mechanical Bull & Bill

Steve Sibulsky: Many years ago, a group of us rowdy Catholic singles took Fr. Bill Wassmuth to celebrate his 40th birthday at Curley’s in Hauser Lake. We were gonna insist (after some liquid celebration) that he ride the mechanical bull. I never saw a happier priest when he found out the bull was broken!

Question: Anyone else have a fond memory of the late Bill Wassmuth?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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