By Rich Landers
Dec. 19 – The mystery has been solved about the wood duck bringing a white Christmas spirit to Riverfront Park.
Some speculated it was an albino; others suggested the duck with the pink eye rings was a leucistic bird in disguise. The bird has been feeding among the mallards for several weeks in the Spokane River between the Opera House and Carrousel.
Wild wood ducks normally migrate away from the Spokane-North Idaho area around mid-October. Most birders agreed this woodie might be the product of captive breeding, but nobody seemed to know for sure – until local birding expert and breeder Dennis Dahlke chimed in: “This white duck is a captive bred female wood duck,” he said. “She is not albino, just a color variation. Belonged to a friend of ours. Coyotes helped her escape when they killed most of the other ducks in that pen last winter.”
Eye on Boise
By Betsy Z. Russell
Dec. 17 – The Capitol Hill newspaper “Roll Call” reports today that Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick says he’s “gone for good” from elective politics. “I think I’m done with elective politics,” he told the newspaper. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but I think it’s time for somebody else.”
The article examines the dismal elective record of Democrats in Idaho in the past three decades, and the Idaho party’s future prospects, perhaps with conservative, well-funded Democratic candidates like Minnick. “I might’ve fit the profile of a winner, but it was a bad year,” Minnick told Roll Call before one of his last votes in Congress. “It was a big wave, and I was on a low island.”
Sirens & Gavels
By Meghann Cuniff
Dec. 16 – Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen is suing the federal government, alleging he was injured during security screening at the Spokane International Airport more than two years ago.
Rasmussen, who walks with canes, said he fell on the floor and injured his back and tailbone when Transportation Security Administration officials moved his canes and chair without telling him.
By Tom Sowa
Dec. 16 – Starting this week, Spokane outdoor retailer Mountain Gear will start accepting used items – footwear, jackets, pants, shirts, socks, tents, harnesses, backpacks and other cloth-based items – and will donate them to a textile recycling facility. Items do not have to be outdoor equipment only.
A company release said usable products will be reused through secondhand markets; unusable items will be recycled into new materials and fibers.