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Huckleberries: Yuletide adornment sneaks up on Ganesha

Ganesha, the controversial Hindu idol in downtown Coeur d’Alene, received an unscheduled makeover during the Christmas weekend. As you may recall, some Lake City residents were upset when the Ganesha statue by Spokane artist Rick Davis made an appearance on Sixth Street and Sherman Avenue as part of a yearlong public art display in downtown Coeur d’Alene. A handful protested the unveiling early last summer. Ditto for Lake City Lighthouse and Hayden Friends churches. Ditto for the Kootenai County Constitution Party. Besides the religious aspect of the statue, protesters imagined hidden symbols on Ganesha that others couldn’t see, like phallic ones and swastikas. The hubbub eventually died away – until a week ago when a large red ribbon and what appears to be a doll depicting the Christ child were added secretly to the display. No harm. But no one will mistake elephantine Ganesha plus Baby Jesus for a Bethlehem manger scene.

Still a hero

Look up “hero” and/or “perseverance” in the dictionary, and you’ll find a photo of former Coeur d’Alene cop Mike Kralicek, wife Carrie, and family. Mike (who wore badge K57), now a quadriplegic, was critically wounded in the line of duty in a December 2004 shootout with a man who’d escaped his handcuffs. The seventh anniversary of that shooting passed Wednesday unnoticed by most, but not Carrie. She writes on Facebook: “We have found peace and joy through the suffering, and an understanding (that) you cannot have one without the other.” Carrie adds: “I love the new Mike and what (he) can do for others through honestly and openly speaking to agencies about officer involved shootings, overcoming adversity, and disability.” We are not worthy.


In a recent Downtown Coeur d’Alene Bar report, Larry Spencer of the Athol/Spirit Lake area noticed that police warned a drunk who was destroying his bike in front of the Beacon not to do so downtown. Quips Spencer: “Can he do it in Midtown?” … You know you’re in North Idaho when you pull up to a pickup, stopped at a sign at Fourth & Walnut/Coeur d’Alene, and read this bumper sticker: “Honk if you voted for Obama so I can give you the finger” …

HucksOnline (, my newspaper blog that feeds this column, finished 2011 with 2.3 million page-views. Thanks for your support … Among the extravagant trips taken by Oregon officials during these hard times? A 2009 outing by exec Debra McHugh of the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners – to the Coeur d’Alene Resort. An investigative article in the Oregonian begins with the Coeur d’Alene anecdote, stating: “(McHugh) and a board member stayed three nights at the swanky lakefront Coeur d’Alene Golf and Spa Resort. Among the conference perks was a dinner cruise on the lake.” ’Tis nice to be on the receiving end of a junket for a change.

Parting shot

Christa Hazel, of Coeur d’Alene, found the downside to that ha-huge Gonzaga Bulldogs win over visiting Portland in The Kennel Wednesday. That snootful of Bengay (or Icy Hot) she smelled came from her coat – not the Zags’ bench. Christa couldn’t figure out how it got on her garment. Quoth Christa: “It stunk up the car ride home and rubbed through to my clothing on my shoulder, arm and transferred to my eye. Kids behind me were little and appeared too young for pranks.” Looks can be deceiving.

Top stories in Idaho

Freed after 2 years, man jailed in Venezuela returns to U.S.

UPDATED: 9:37 p.m.

Joshua Holt, who traveled to Venezuela from Utah in 2016 to marry a Spanish-speaking Mormon woman but soon found himself jailed and later branded the CIA’s top spy in Latin America, was set free by the anti-American Maduro government on Saturday, saying he was “overwhelmed with gratitude.”