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It was almost like being in the room

Sat., Oct. 4, 2008, midnight

You missed some great theater if you failed to attend the latest in a series of community forums about the proposed education corridor. Huckleberries Online didn’t – thanks to local Demo chief Thom George, who provided the blog with real-time, blow-by-blow commentary from the Midtown meeting, including 30 minutes of intense interaction with the usual suspects who have fought urban renewal for the last two years. Take it away, Thom: 1:20 p.m. – “The meeting has been cordial, for the most part. As I said earlier, (NIC trustee wannabe Richard) Phenneger is a bit in your face, Mary (Souza) has been polite. (Ed corridor opponent Dan) Gookin is speaking for the first time, and he’s reading from an NIC board resolution. Mary is commenting now. She rolled her eyes and is now grimacing. 1:23 – “Gookin is on a roll. He’s attacking the appraisal and now the wastewater treatment plant. Mary, Phenneger and Dan are tag-teaming now.” 1:30 – “Gookin is getting theatrical, almost hysterical, about chlorine being stored at the wastewater treatment plant. Gary Ingram is interrupting Mike Kennedy, Gookin is complaining about being ‘browbeaten.’ … Opponents are angry and now standing up and shouting out.” 1:36 – “Gookin and Ingram tried shouting down Mike Kennedy, and Ron Edinger called out to Mike, ‘Keeping going, Mike!’ ” 1:40 – George Sayler just asked that people respect the ground rules and remain respectful.” 1:47 p.m. – Gary is now being rude. He just told the gentlemen trying to run the meeting, ‘I’m not going to accept you as moderator.’ ” Democracy in action and sausage making have much in common.

Fanning Ill Will?

Berry Picker Milo Bloom had this reaction when he heard that the Coeur d’Alene Press was going to allow commenters to post unfiltered on its online edition (using only volunteer screeners to protect the public): “This is a disturbing idea. This idea that the Press, the paper of record for multiple cities in North Idaho, has no responsibility for what people post on its website is disgraceful. It is becoming almost apparent with this move that the Press and its management want to continue to fan the personality wars that are going on amongst the political leaders and activists (see first item) in the region to increase their circulation.” As an individual who has his hands full keeping my commenters in line, I view this move by the Press as being either naïve or diabolical. Mebbe both.


First, a hat tip to state Sen. John Goedde, R-CDA, for his recent mailing of a campaign brochure, which included two application forms for absentee ballots. Now, a spellcheck. The word, “registerd,” which appears on both application forms could use an extra “E.” (Note to John – no good deed goes unpunished at Huckleberries) … If the actress playing Ado Annie in the Spokane Civic Theatre production of “Oklahoma” looks familiar, there’s a good reason. That’s Emily Cleveland, who has played key roles in past Lake City High plays, such as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Seussical” … Scanner Traffic (from Monday morning): Dispatcher: “A trooper will be handling the radio for the next 20 minutes. If you can speak slowly …” … My Berry Pickers subscribe to the theory that the mug shot that the CDA Press publishes of County Clerk Dan English was lifted years ago from – (drum roll, please) his high school album.

Parting shot

I spent two of my greatest years in the newspaper business at the Lewiston Tribune, from 1982-84. In the historic newsroom in downtown Lewiston, where so many ghosts of quality news men and women hang out, I was renewed as a journalist after spending nine straight years working for less-than-stellar newspaper operations, in California and Montana. Publisher Butch Alford and Editor Paul Emerson epitomized the old Chicago Tribune motto: “Print the news and raise hell.” They demanded good journalism and weren’t shy about applauding those who performed it. Why am I telling you this? This week, Butch announced that he was turning the reins over to the fourth generation of Alfords to run his newspaper, son Nathan. After four decades of excellent newspapering, Butch has earned a retirement break. I suspect Junior will be able to fill the big shoes left behind. It’s in the blood.

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