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Public’s Right To Know Often Outweighs Corporate Desires For Secrecy

Wrapping up lose ends should apply to editorial comments as well as business news.

Readers have a right to know things like “Whatever happened to Mr. Nice Guy?”

In a December column, I admitted reluctance at releasing business news if the source didn’t want it on the streets yet.

Sources often have good reasons for this request. Sometimes, an investor fears being deluged by tradesmen or contractors seeking his business. Or maybe a business owner doesn’t want his current landlord to know he’s leaving.

My dilemma was that reporters for other publications didn’t seem to have those concerns, and I was being scooped.

After input from readers, including city officials, I’ve decided to take my head out of the sand and be a real newsman.

After all, a major project such as a proposed new hotel is news. Readers should know, especially if a project has reached government offices for review. The public should have the facts and be encouraged to add its input.

The plans then are available for public viewing, including by reporters, who can pass the information onto the readers. And in the case of a column, it can include some comment and interpretation.

So, there’s the bottom line. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Well, usually.

One case in which the public has made itself known is with the new, illegal dock sticking 121 feet into Lake Coeur d’Alene just east of Tubbs Hill. The owner, Robert Romer, built the L-shaped dock many months ago.

What was especially unusual is that the public (including neighbors who usually are among the area’s environmental activists) didn’t initially complain.

On the permit application Romer later submitted, the project was described as “commercial” … to serve a “triplex, residential/office building … for the loading and unloading of business and recreational clients … to and from Arrow Point Resort (in which the applicant is a principal).”

Once the story was divulged, some interesting items surfaced, along with plenty of protests. Romer was no longer an owner of Arrow Point Resort. The building was not zoned commercial or multifamily. Romer then withdrew the application.

So what happens now?

“It’s there without a permit,” said Will Pitman, Lake Protection Act administrator with the Idaho Department of Lands. “We’ll probably ask them to take it out. I’m meeting with their attorney this week. There may be a civil penalty.”

That’s an example of why the public should know.

Former Olympic skier Maria Maricich has opened Right Touch Chiropractic at 723 N. Fourth St., Coeur d’Alene. The building formerly was the office for attorney Terry Hannon.

A native of Sun Valley, Maricich placed 16th in the Olympic women’s downhill event in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, in 1984. She attended chiropractic school in Atlanta and practiced three years in Ketchum.

After six months on the road deciding where she wanted to live, she came to North Idaho to take advantage “of more population and more water.” She said she still skis for recreation and fund-raisers.

She describes her specialty as “network chiropractic, a method of clearing the nervous system of stress (or disease).”

Her office hours are 4-7 p.m. weekday afternoons and Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

A few tidbits:

Not everything in the north end of Coeur d’Alene is rosy. U.S. Bank will close its Silver Lake Mall branch by June 30, merging it with its offices in Rosauers. And evidently the arrival of Granny’s Buffet in the mall signed the epitaph for nearby Ponderosa Steak House, which is closed.

And what did I do with all the extra time I bragged about last week? I waited in shops to fix car troubles for two vehicles.

I did discover, however, at Rod’s Transmission (in Coeur d’Alene) that many auto service shops are heated by environmentally safe, waste-oil heaters. Hmmm. Makes you wonder if the places (not Rod’s, of course) are putting your old oil into their furnace after you’ve paid them a disposal fee.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Nils Rosdahl The Spokesman-Review

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