Huckleberries: Breakthrough for common good – imagine that

’Tis nice that warring elected officials in the Coeur d’Alene area could come together, as in times past, to do the right thing for the common good.

The tentative deal struck Thursday for the sale of Person and Bryan fields for $750,000 by the Coeur d’Alene City Council and the school board was Coeur d’Alene at its best. The cash-strapped school district will get money to help fund a new administration building. The city will be guaranteed perpetual use of two parks that it already maintains in older parts of town.

The joint meeting forced to the sidelines the legal and financial hired guns who’d failed for months to hammer out a deal. A good argument can be made that both sides gave more than they wanted to give. A better argument can be made that the taxpayers who pick up the funding bills for both sides got the best deal.

Camelot reigns in Coeur d’Alene again. The contentiousness will re-emerge with the elections for mayor, three council members and three school trustees later this year. For now, Coeur d’Alene residents should enjoy the brief shining moment.

Finale: Rocky IV

You may know that Republican Ben Wolfinger will be sworn in Monday to replace Sheriff Rocky Watson. But did you know how many sheriffs have served in Kootenai County over the last 36 years?

Only three. Watson, Ben’s longtime boss, was first elected in 1976. Rocky I lost a re-election bid to Merf Stalder, 1980-’88. Who lost a re-election bid to Pierce Clegg, 1988-’99. Who quit early and was replaced by Rocky II. Who will finish his third term in the Rocky II era Monday.

The three sheriffs before Wolfinger completed their terms as Republicans. But Clegg and Watson started as Democrats. Which are now an endangered species in ruby-red Kootenai County.

Honked off

Rose Backs, of Coeur d’Alene, tells Facebook readers including Huckleberries what she saw in the parking lot of Coeur d’Alene’s Fred Meyer on Friday, Jan. 4: “A man pulls in and is waiting for a spot close to the door to open. He is blocking a portion of the driveway and cars have to maneuver around him. The other (drivers) are belligerent and are honking and yelling at him. He pulls away and takes a spot a little further down the aisle. He calmly steps out of the car, one prosthetic leg at a time. The American Flags on his legs stood out most to me. I’m only sharing because it made my heart hurt a little to see.” Ditto.


Poet’s corner: “When that big dog snarls and bristles/you have extra cause for fright/if the owner gaily tells you,/‘Oh don’t worry, he won’t bite’ ” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Of Canines”) … Coeur d’Alene’s Amy Bartoo and her Great Dane, Bentley, have something on their resumes that you and your dog probably don’t. Bartoo, spokeswoman for North Idaho Home Health, is one of the newest Snake Pit (Roller) Derby Dames (pseudonymed Mynx of Mayhem), and Bentley is a canine blood donor. What are you doing with your life? … Thanks to Paul Turner’s Slice blog, Huckleberries knows that Adrienne Dore, a 1920s-’30s starlet and former Miss America runner-up, was born in Coeur d’Alene in 1910. What? You’ve never heard of 1928’s “The Valley of Hunted Men”?

Parting shot

In the “Let Me Eat Cake” category, Coeur d’Alene Councilman Mike Kennedy admitted during introductions at the joint meeting between the City Council and school board Thursday that he had an ulterior motive for getting a deal done quickly: “I’m missing my 4-year-old’s birthday, so let’s get right to the discussion.”

Seems Mike has his priorities straight. Family first.

Read Dave Oliveria’s North Idaho blog, Huckleberries Online, at

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