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Huckleberries: Officer’s mom recalls BB gun-toting 9-year-old

Sun., Dec. 4, 2011, midnight

Jonathan Franco, the Rathdrum police officer who was killed in a motorcycle crash near Cusick, Wash., in September, had a lifelong love of guns. In remembrance of Jonny, on what would have been his 28th birthday last Wednesday, his mother, Elizabeth Yalian, of Rathdrum, emailed Huckleberries a letter she wrote about her son. It included this essay Jonny wrote at age 9 upon learning he was getting his first BB gun (complete with a child’s misspellings): “The best thing I ever (heard) was the day Mom said I could have a B.B. gun.  I thaohgt I would faint when Mom said yes but I had to get this awfull haircut but I didn’t care. Mom had already gotton me B.B.s and later got me some pellets.  We went in to Shopco and thier it was the most buitiful thing I ever saw. After school I couldn’t wait to go shooting I was very angcious to knock some cans of the hey stak.  A few weeks later I got a scope and after Christmas I got a case for it.” Gone but never forgotten.

Off the clock

First, you should know that “bobtail” is slang for a trucker who uses his cab as private transportation on his off time. Truckers must keep meticulous records of their on-the-clock time to prevent them from driving too much. Now, onward. Last Monday, a trucker told the Idaho State Police officer who stopped him near Post Falls he was bobtailing while waiting for a load in Lewiston. That began a police scanner chat between the officer and an ISP buddy. Bobtailing is legal, advised the second patrol cop suspiciously, “if the driver can convince you that’s what he’s really doing.” You’d think drivers lie to patrolmen all the time.


So Caleb Swaim, 8, son of Paul and Katrina Swaim of Coeur d’Alene, sez to the cute little girl on the plane next to him en route to Georgia for a family Thanksgiving: “I was trying to think of something to say to you, but I’m a man of not many words” … Among the things North Idaho College security/maintenance workers dealt with last week were unicyclists trying to ride on ropes tied above the soccer field … That inflatable Santa Claus positioned above a business next to Hollywood Erotic Boutique on Spokane’s Division Street is unsettling. Mebbe Santa’s reaching out to the naughty this year? … Also strange Thursday night was that vanity license plate on a white Suburban parked at Fourth and Locust in Coeur d’Alene: “HANGMHI.” A Democrat who can’t take living in bright-red North Idaho anymore? … On Thursday night, Rob Kauder tweeted about a call to the KXLY newsroom, reporting a “guy wearing swim trunks and a top hat holding a sandwich board at NorthTown Mall (because he’s) upset Sears wouldn’t fix his snowblower.” … A pleased Post Falls cop sent to the scene of “a large quantity of wood” accidentally dumped on Spokane Street Wednesday announced to his dispatcher: “The good citizens of Post Falls managed to clean up wood before I got there.”

Parting shot

You may have heard that a new group in Kootenai County has emerged to challenge Far Right brethren and help “reasonable Republicans” get elected. But the news raises a question: What’s a reasonable Republican? Is it like beauty – something in the eye of the Republican partisan beholder? Or is it like pornography? Something hard to define, but you know it when you see it?

You can follow D.F. Oliveria on his blog ( or on Twitter at @Hucksonline.

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