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Silver Valley loses Friend of candor

Tue., June 5, 2007

I knew Paul Friend was dead or dying, as soon as I heard the recorded phone message from his wife, Barb. She had called Friday, May 25. I was right. The feisty ex-publisher of the Silver Valley’s defunct Idaho Observer died from a heart attack at Sacred Heart Medical Center May 25. During his heyday, Paul took on all comers, including a telephone company that he felt had added a suspect surcharge to his bill. I picked a coupla quips from past Huckleberries to commemorate this credit to the journalism profession … From Oct. 4, 1999: After publishing his “As The Buffalo Roams” column lambasting Shoshone County for not prosecuting a young Mullan man who’d impregnated his 14-year-old girlfriend, Paul was confronted on the street by an angry beau – twice. “Each Romeo incorrectly thought Paul’d been writing about him. Seems ‘jail bait’ is a term of endearment in the Silver Valley” … From Sept. 14, 1998: After trying in vain to figure out why former prostitute Miss Lola Love was still receiving mail from AARP, 10 years after the old Oasis whorehouse closed, Paul wrote: “We believe that is the American Association of Retired Persons, not Retired Prostitutes. But then who knows? This is Shoshone County” … Rather than tell curious visitors a volcano had been inserted into the Wallace-based movie, “Dante’s Peak,” Friend urged locals to fib that Universal Studios had blown it up. “Who knows?” said Paul. “They might even want to purchase a piece of it.” David Letterman subscribed to Paul’s noisy weekly because he was interested in Paul’s quirky stories, like the man who tried to pawn his wife. Best of all was Paul’s newspaper motto: “It’s my paper, and I’ll pry if I want to.” So long, buddy.

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