If you followed the popular “Scanner Traffic” feature at Huckleberries Online last week, you’d be the first one in your ’hood to know that a fiftysomething man had local pols edgy. It all started around 11:15 a.m. Thursday when the distraught man entered a local Bank of America to withdraw some money. He told the clerk he wanted the money to buy a gun to “shoot a politician.” Why? The congressional bailout of the nation’s financial institutions had driven him over the edge. In days gone by, of course, a situation like this might have been dismissed out of hand. Not today. “The way things are now,” Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kim Edmundson told Huckleberries, “we have to take these things seriously.” Duane Rasmussen, the vice chairman of the Kootenai County Repubs, certainly did. Not only did he alert the staffers at the GOP HQ to be careful, but he trooped down to Huckleberries Central to make sure that I knew about the possible threat – and to ask that I use the blog to warn his Demo counterparts to keep their heads down. He had tried and failed to contact local Demo chief Thom George. Who’d already read about it on the blog and told Demo HQ to close down for the day. Later, County Clerk Dan English read the blog post and commented: “Hey, thanks for letting me know when I read this at 10 p.m. at night.” Which underscores this key lesson. Friends make sure friends read Scanner Traffic. Every weekday.
Speaking of Scanner Traffic, the blog had a number of interesting items that you won’t see in newspaper police and court roundups, including: 12:59 p.m. Monday – “Woman reports she has her neighbor’s goat contained in her yard. But the neighbor won’t come over to retrieve it” … 4:55 p.m. Friday – “Man reports he lost his gun in the Bunco Road area after he drove off while it was laying on the hood of the car” … 4:54 p.m. Friday – “A wrecker has lost a car it was hauling on Highway 95 through Athol – and the vehicle went through a fence into a ballfield” … 4:12 p.m. Friday – “Alarm sounding at Hagadone Corporate Jet hangar at the Coeur d’Alene airport. (Update: Alarm was set off by someone trying to delete an employee’s code from system)” … 5:58 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 1) – “A woman in a CdA apartment complex reports that the sprinkler system has gone off, and water is running over her back porch” … 4:10 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 30) – “Red minivan impeding traffic northbound on Highway 41 by going 10 mph under the speed limit. About 6 or 7 cars are trailing” … Fender benders? Babies locked in cars? Wandering dogs, cats, horses and donkeys? Bigger stuff? Scanner Traffic has it all. Check it out.
Poet’s corner: The market goes up/and also goes down – /last year a genius/and this year a clown – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Masters of the Universe”) … The Gentlemen’s Quarter in CdA can claim to be a full-service barber shop, offering a good clip job as well as counseling and political gab for those caught up in the current Obama-vs-McCain thrilla. Gimlet-eyed Kerri Thoreson, the Post Falls councilwoman who tells of the wonders of the region in her OnLocation North Idaho blog, spotted this whiteboard message in the shop: “Political advice and marriage counseling – $17 (haircut included)” … I shoulda known better than to ask my blog commenters: “What do you hunt for? I meant type of game animals, of course. Reactions: “the remote” (Toadman), “Cold beer, a good steak and chocolate. Oh yeah, elk too” KeithinCDA, “Stray cats” (Poolman), “Record albums” (Idaho Escapee), and “The last of the tomatoes that might ripen before a frost,” (Inland Empire Girl). Me? Usually my glasses.
“How do you know a newspaper cutback is getting really bad?” asks Randy Stapilus, ex-Idaho political reporter extraordinaire. “Here’s one way: The editor quits because he can’t stand this anymore. And that’s what Steve Smith, the editor of the Spokane Spokesman-Review, has done, in the course of talking about still more layoffs (is this the third or fourth round of layoffs at the SR this year?). Looks as if it could amount to a fifth of the staff, including several newsroom managers. The bureaus in Coeur d’Alene, Boise and Olympia remain. For now.” Ouch.