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Huckleberries: Osprey weren’t striving to be empty nesters

Sun., May 22, 2011, midnight

Times are hard for ospreys, too. Bad luck and bad housekeeping left a feathered couple homeless in Post Falls a few weeks ago. Originally, according to Terry Harris of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance, the two ospreys nested comfortably on an abandoned piling in the Spokane River. But that piling was removed along with many others on the river. Next, they set up house in a nest box on an Avista power pole above busy Spokane Street in Post Falls. Alas, Mr. & Mrs. Osprey constructed their nest so well it held water, causing power lines to arc not once but twice. The pole caught fire and snapped in half the second time, leaving the birds of prey homeless. After Avista replaced the pole, sans platform, Mrs. Osprey sat on top of it while Mr. Osprey circled above forlornly. Terry and other conservationists didn’t have to ask more than once for Avista to begin looking for another nesting site. A grumpy neighbor didn’t want them in his trees. But the Post Falls Highway District offered a tree that met the safety requirements of Avista and the housing needs of the ospreys. Concludes Terry: “I don’t know if it is too late now for them to lay eggs and raise chicks but at least they will have a place to return to next year.” Boll weevils, eat your hearts out.

Anna Pearce, of Coeur d’Alene, whom you know as Academy Award-winning actress Patty Duke, flirted with the idea of running for elected office in Idaho, about eight years ago. So she called her nephew for political advice – Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Mike Kennedy. This, according to Chris Carlson, an online columnist and ex-spokesman for Gov. Cecil Andrus. Carlson notes that politics runs in Anna’s family. She once was president of the Screen Actors Guild. And her son, Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy), is involved in a California friend’s run for Congress. Nephew Kennedy developed a plan to allow Anna to test the waters for a political run without jeopardizing her acting career, for anything from commissioner to governor. However, Carlson notes, Anna wasn’t cut from the conservative mold like another former Screen Actors Guild president who did well in politics, Ronald Reagan. She’s a bona fide Democrat. In 21st-century Idaho, that’s a political kiss of death. That’s why Anna Pearce is directing “The Miracle Worker” as Patty Duke in Spokane, rather than kissing babies in Idaho Falls.

On a recent Sunday, pastor Norm Schwab was sermonizing to his Northview Bible Church congregation that the Old Testament book of Ruth offers great beauty tips – only he said “booty tips.” Horrified, he asked: “Please tell me I didn’t just say that!” Huckleberries hears the tongue-twisted minister’s face turned red enough to stop traffic … Coeur d’Alene’s “Stickman,” who gives away the walking sticks he carves from tree limbs found on Tubbs Hill, recently handed out Stick No. 10,000. (If you follow Huckleberries blog/Twitter/Facebook,, you’ll know where to get your free stick) … When you have Idaho’s rep-PU-tation for racism, you’re happy that the Gem State ranks as low as No. 5 on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of states with the most hate groups per capita. Montana takes top (dis)honors while Wyoming is No. 4. Must be something in the water of the Inland Northwest.

A 25-year-old drunk who couldn’t take “get outta here” for an answer encountered his fair share of bad karma recently. Seems the Drunk Behaving Worse Than Usual didn’t like getting bounced from Baja Bargarita in downtown Coeur d’Alene. So he walked off, with both arms in the air, flipping off the bouncer – and right into a light pole. Later, he was Tasered, arrested and tossed in a patrol car when he copped the same ’tude with Coeur d’Alene’s finest. What goes around comes around.

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