May 3, 1997 in Idaho

Paquin Speech Is All Business

By The Spokesman-Review

Tony Paquin has been all over the state, testing the waters for a run against U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth.

Next he’ll step onto a statewide stage - right in Coeur d’Alene.

Paquin is scheduled to give one of five hourlong talks at the annual conference of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry next month at The Coeur d’Alene Resort.

Despite rumors sweeping Boise, he won’t be the keynote speaker. Nor has IACI, Idaho’s influential business lobby, endorsed Paquin.

“This year’s subject is a lot of technology information for companies, the future of technology, how it can be used in business relations and stuff,” said Brent Olmstead, IACI vice president. “And that’s Tony Paquin’s business.”

Paquin built his career in the software business and founded the Idaho Technology Association.

“I think it’s a nonpolitical event,” Paquin said Friday. “IACI is focused on jobs and the economy in Idaho, which is exactly what I’m focused on.”

Certainly, the congressional hopeful will get some good exposure at the conference.

Olmstead said Paquin was invited to speak before he announced his political plans. Paquin still hasn’t formally announced his challenge to Chenoweth, although he’s said he expects to do so later this month.

The keynote speaker at the conference, which usually draws more than 150 business people and a smattering of state legislators, will be futurist James Canton.

The Grove on the Grove

Boise was pretty optimistic a decade ago, when it built a public plaza called The Grove that was to form the heart of a newly redeveloped downtown.

At the time, the circular, red-brick plaza was nearly surrounded by dusty vacant lots.

Now those vacant lots have filled in. There’s a big convention center, the Boise Centre on the Grove; a landmark triangular office tower; restaurants and more.

The Grove has fountains and public sculpture. And thousands gather there on summer evenings for free concerts and other events. But one block bordering The Grove remained vacant until this year. It was earmarked for a grand convention hotel.

Boiseans thought they’d never see it, but construction on the 17-story hotel now is in full swing. The structure even includes a 5,000-seat ice arena that will be home to a new professional hockey team, the Idaho Steelheads.

This week, the hotel investors announced that they’ve chosen a name for their project: The Grove.

Extensive market research showed that was “the only choice” to name the $50 million hotel, said Corbin Bedard, director of sales and marketing.

Boise residents got a little flustered earlier when construction of the hotel forced the relocation of a number of inscribed bricks in The Grove. Individual Boiseans paid $20 apiece for the personalized bricks back when the land was bare, to help fund the new public space.

Now that the hotel will be called The Grove, will people just assume that the public plaza is the hotel’s front yard? That would be a shame.

The hotel will be something. It’ll have 250 guest rooms, city-view suites, an athletic club, a three-level restaurant and sports bar, and 19 private luxury condominiums.

But there’s one thing the current Grove is that the hotel won’t be: public.

It’d be kind of like naming the Coeur d’Alene Resort “City Park.”

No slip-ups here

Attorney General Al Lance couldn’t help but gloat after a Boise man was sentenced to prison for insurance fraud.

John R. Coggins had received a $45,000 worker’s compensation payment from the state insurance fund for an injury to his left arm and the back of his head. Then, over the next eight months, he filed insurance claims for a similar injury from slipping and falling at a McDonald’s, at an Albertsons grocery story, at a Fred Meyer store and on a construction job site.

Lance noted in a news release that 4th District Judge Alan Schwartzman told Coggins, “If you fell down in this courtroom, I would have the bailiff take you straight to jail.”

, DataTimes MEMO: North-South Notes runs every other Saturday. To reach Betsy Z. Russell, call 336-2854, send a fax to 336-0021 or e-mail to

North-South Notes runs every other Saturday. To reach Betsy Z. Russell, call 336-2854, send a fax to 336-0021 or e-mail to

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