Innovator’s Passing Reminds Us Little Things Mean A Lot

A moment of silence is in order to observe the passing of Victor Mills. (Pause.) What’s that? You say you never have heard of him? Maybe you know a product he helped perfect during his 35 years as a chemical engineer for Procter & Gamble Co.: the disposable diaper. No product got us Baby Boomer males more involved in our children’s early development than that handy device. I changed only one diaper before I had children of my own, a cloth one. At age 11, I was ordered by my father to change brother Ray’s diaper. Dad had let Ray cry for more than an hour because Mom and my sisters were off somewhere. When he no longer could handle the crying, he ordered me into action.

My stomach still hitches when I think of the mess Ray made and handling that diaper. I can’t remember which was worse, removing it or dunking it in the toilet. Dad, meanwhile, went AWOL - and I can’t blame him. There but for Victor Mills, whose work allowed us fathers to toss soiled diapers before we lost our cookies, would have gone I.

Judy, women to rule our corner of world

We’re finally going to see what the world would be like if it were run by women - or at least our tiny piece of it. In January, women will hold four of six votes on the Coeur d’Alene City Council. Four of seven, counting the mayor’s tie-breakers. The Nov. 4 sweep by Councilwomen Nancy Sue Wallace and Sue Servick and challenger Deanna Goodlander brought about this turn of events.

Still, you probably won’t see much change on the council since Goodlander will be the only new face. Besides, Mayor-elect Steve Judy’s administration will get most of the attention at first. We may have to wait awhile to see what happens when your mayor comes from Mars and twothirds of your council’s from Venus.

Trustees wobble, but don’t fall down

It would be easy to rant about the Bonner County School Board’s decision to stage an executive session at a Sun Valley convention. After all, the board didn’t notify the public about the meeting and rumors are swirling that there’s a move under way to buy out Superintendent Max Harrell’s contract. But I’ll pass on the criticism - this time. Sure, what the board did was sneaky, but it wasn’t illegal. On the other hand, the board of trustees needs some slack to work through the district’s many problems.

Bottom line? I wouldn’t trade places with a school trustee in hypersensitive Bonner County for anything. The fact that the board searched for months before anyone would apply for a recent vacancy underscores my point.

, DataTimes MEMO: D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125, or by sending e-mail to

D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125, or by sending e-mail to

Click here to comment on this story »



Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(509) 747-4422
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile