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Idaho Voices

At church, expect hard questions

After she recovered from a broken hip suffered in a fall at Mass seven weeks ago, John Austin’s mother wanted nothing more than to return to church. So John’s sister, Beth, her daughter, Kelley, and Kelley’s precocious 2-year-old, Hannah Beth, accompanied her. As four generations of Austins listened, Father Roger began his homily: “Why? Why do we believe in Jesus Christ?” Listening intently, Hannah Beth looked at her mother and asked: “Why, Mama?” Kelley, of course, shushed the girl. And Father Roger continued, “Why did he die for our sins and why do we have faith in God the Father?” Again, Hannah asked her mother: “Why, Mama?” Finally, in an attempt to quiet her child, Kelley said “Why what, Hannah?” To which Hannah said, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Father Roger was no match for Hannah, as several pews responded to the girl’s eternal question with belly laughter.

Slip slidin’ away

I was amused by a public service announcement from the city of Spokane to KHQ, urging residents to turn their sprinklers off to avoid slick spots on city streets. Quoth city officials: “With the ground frozen, the water from sprinklers is running into the street and freezing in many locations, causing potential traffic hazards.” So why the amusement? Recently, my wife was enjoying the lights from the resort while sightseeing on West Lakeshore Drive after the Coeur d’Alene Symphony at North Idaho College when she rounded a corner and almost put our 4-Runner into a 180 spin. Yep, she’d spun out as a result of frozen water on the roadway from the city’s sprinklers at City Park. Be careful out there. And, oh, remember to blow out your sprinklers to avoid frozen pipes.

Flag Day blizzard?

At the Twin Falls Times-News, columnist Steve Crump sez it isn’t the 50-below-zero mornings that chase North Dakotans toward warmer climes. It’s the blizzards on Memorial Day and Labor Day that do. Writes Steve: “Arctic Januaries are depressing, but churlish springs and surly autumns are positively soul-killing.” In a recent column, Steve points out that it snowed – a lot – on Oct. 4 in sufferin’ Idaho last year. And it snowed – a lot – on Oct. 11 this year. Quoth Steve: “Winter has already settled into south-central Idaho like your unemployed and recently divorced brother-in-law onto your living room couch.” Now there’s an image that should cause you to shudder.


Duane Rasmussen, the vice chairman for county Repubs, parted company w/Reagan Republicans when he discovered they planned to endorse Dan Gookin in his city race with Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander. Seems Rasmussen heard Gookin tell two other local GOP officials in a private meeting that he didn’t want to be branded as a Republican … Poet’s Corner: “As cold rains fall/and warm days cease,/they migrate south/just like the geese” The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Our Snowbirds”) … Kootenai Environmental Alliance has launched a blog to keep locals informed re: local environmental issues ( … Challenger Jim Brannon claimed a “typo” occurred when he submitted an amended campaign finance statement that reduced the value of in-kind services (for office space) from Vinny Zito’s Conceptual Realities on Sherman from $2,500 to $500. But Gookin didn’t give an excuse for amending the in-kind donation from his bottling company from $1,200 to $1,000. Methinks the contributions limit of $1,000 per person/entity may have been a factor … My online Berry Pickers said the best campaign yard signs for the municipal elections this year belong to (top three, in order): Mike Kennedy, Gookin and Woody McEvers … Poll: About two-thirds of the respondents to a Huckleberries Online poll believe that Brannon was laid off/fired/whatever from his job as Habitat for Humanity executive director at least partly for political reasons.

Parting shot

Imagine my surprise after church last Sunday when I stopped for the westbound sign on Miles Avenue and Government Way … only to see a beat-up, brown pickup zoom by northbound with two men inside and a confederate flag positioned in the bed to flap for all motorists and bystanders to see. Now, that’s something I’ve never seen in Kootenai County before – even during Richard Butler’s heyday. Nor do I want to see again.

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