April 25, 2010 in Idaho Voices

Ex-S-R reporter a tough editor

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Before J. Todd Foster was editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier, he was a reporter in the Coeur d’Alene newsroom of The Spokesman-Review. A Tennessean, he was intense, especially when following a good story, such as the unethical way handlers disposed of slow dogs at the old greyhound park in Post Falls. But he still found time to play two-on-two nerf basketball with Jim Meehan, Adam Lynn and me. Earlier this month, Courier staffer Daniel Gilbert won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for his exposé on the murky handling of natural-gas royalties owed to thousands of landowners in Southwest Virginia. At the Memphis (Tenn.) Commercial Appeal, Editor Chris Peck columnized about hiring Foster in the ’80s for his Lake City newsroom. Peck, an ex-S-R editor, wrote: “He was a bulldog. When he bit into a story, particularly one that had a whiff of impropriety or governmental ineptitude, he wouldn’t let go. Still won’t.” Typical of Foster, Peck points out, he told a reporter who’d missed the Pulitzer celebration in the Herald Courier newsroom that a lot of small newspapers have won Pulitzers over the years. But none had won two so he “should get back out on the street and find us a story.” Salute.

Pinehurst squared

I didn’t realize that there are two Pinehursts in Idaho until a HucksOnline commenter from Moscow wrote: “How many Idahoans north of Moscow realize there is another Pinehurst in Idaho, between Riggins and New Meadows? I actually had no idea there was a Pinehurst in Shoshone County until a couple of years ago, and I can’t help but consider the Pinehurst south of Riggins the REAL Pinehurst.” Silver Valley chauvinist John Austin didn’t allow the Moscowan to get away with his dig at North Idaho’s Pinehurst. Noting that he and his lovely wife, Deena, had passed close by the southern Pinehurst earlier this month, John described that community as no more than “a wide spot in the road on the Little Salmon River between New Meadows and Riggins. Not much there.” Then, John added the denouement: “The real Pinehurst is the one I grew up in, the ‘garden spot’, if you will, of the Silver Valley, where Pine Creek and the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River meet. …It remains a very nice little town in which to raise afamily.” Betcha there is no southern Idaho version of Smelterville. Or Athol.

Huckleberries

Poet’s Corner: “He raced into the curve/in his fancy new Lexus/and didn’t stop rolling/until he reached Texas” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Toyota”) … Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns blog amused HucksOnline readers by providing a photo of a sign she spotted in a tree on Highway 57, near Nordman. These words were posted above a cartoon bear cutting some Zzzzz’s: “Grizzly Petting Area.” Which prompted a HucksOnline commenter from England pseudonymed Marmitetoasty to ask: “Can you really pet (or stroke as we would say) wild bears?” Ah, I wouldn’t try it … Overheard on a kindergarten playground recently (by Jen/A Butterfly Moment): “You can play four square with us, but if you get out you’re OUT! It’s prison rules!” … At the Argonaut student newspaper, FrontPage Editor Elizabeth Rudd tells of seeing a schoolmate spitting in a Dr. Pepper bottle at the UIdaho library. Which disgusted and saddened her, at the same time. Elizabeth: “The sad part is he was cute until I saw him do that.”

Parting shot

In the course of 23 minutes Tuesday afternoon, a man in a white pickup was seen scratching his head with a gun before entering the F&G lot on Kathleen Avenue. A landlord with a baseball bat on Nicklaus Drive chased off a former tenant. A mother called Post Falls police to say that a girl was en route to beat up her daughter at the library. And A Hauser Lake homeowner ran off a 7-year-old boy for fishing without permission on his neighbor’s property. Toss in that Californian who was hopping and running in circles near Ponderosa Elementary and the two bare-chested racists who pestered a black male at the Fernan boat launch earlier, and you see what you’re missing by not following Scanner Traffic on my HucksOnline blog (www.spokesman. com/blogs/hbo).


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email