January 22, 2012 in City, Idaho

Huckleberries: Journey from teacher to Dope Magazine

By The Spokesman-Review

Meghan Ridley had resigned as a special ed teacher in the Lakeland School District and was headed for doctoral studies at Gonzaga University when we visited with her almost a year ago. Now, she’s a writer with Dope Magazine, Seattle’s new medical marijuana journal. How do you go from a teacher of the year in Rathdrum to a medical pot advocate in the Emerald City? In two words? Tom Luna. The Idaho superintendent of schools chased the former teachers union rep from education with his so-called 2011 reform that values online experimentation more than hands-on teaching. Also, Ridley had an epiphany when she received more attention for a front-page, classroom photo in the Coeur d’Alene Press that showed a hint of cleavage than she had had as a teacher. After navel gazing, Ridley passed on Gonzaga to chase her passion, writing professionally. The January issue of Dope features Ridley’s first published article: “Pot & PTSD: A Veteran’s Affair.” Meghan tells Huckleberries: “Shaking things up in Washington sure beats fighting the nonsensical ideologies of Idaho.” Anything does.

Rachel’s protest

Rachel Dolezal, a former director of education with Coeur d’Alene’s Human Rights Education Institute, was criticized by local human-rightists for facing down a half-dozen racists near the North Idaho Museum on Northwest Boulevard on Jan. 13. The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations prefers to accentuate the positive and focus on education rather than confronting neo-Nazis. Racist Shaun Winkler & Co. called her out by name as she stood across the street silently protesting against them. The KKKers were demonstrating against the annual MLK human-rights observance by Kootenai County fifth-graders at North Idaho College. Rachel told Huckleberries that protest was as much a part of Martin Luther King’s peaceful resistance as education. Said she: “The entire movement was based on doing something rather than sitting by, ignoring things and letting the gravity of human depravity run its course with ongoing Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The sit-ins were active, not passive. The marches were active, not passive. The voter-registration was active, not passive.” Should be room for both.


On the second day of the snowstorm last week, a Rock 94.5 FM (KXLY) announcer quipped: “A dude and sled dog team stopped in front of the house and asked me how far off Iditarod trail he was.” … Ryan Collingwood, back in Coeur d’Alene after a stint with the Lewiston Tribune, sympathizes with galpal Whitney Pataki as she adjusts to winter driving in North Idaho. This, although she doesn’t feel sorry for Ryan when he battles traffic and gridlock in her native Riverside, Calif. … A Coeur d’Alene snowplow operator reported to his supervisor at 1:23 p.m. Thursday that a side mirror was broken off a vehicle on Foster Avenue, adding: “I. Did. Not. Do. It” … Quotable Quote: “Anybody else wish grown-ups got snow days?” – 2003 Lake City High grad Brandon Macz.

Parting shot

Coeur d’Alene City Hall has no greater ambassador than the snowplow operator who roared by my house about 10:15 p.m. Thursday. Not only did he drop his gate when he passed my driveway, as I watched, snow shovel in hand, but he backed up and pushed snow from the entrance. Twice. May his kind increase.

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