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Huckleberries: Jim Hammond’s legacy lives on

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 29, 2017, 9:25 p.m.

Jim Hammond, pictured here in 1991, shortly assuming the post of Mayor of Post Falls, Idaho. (Mayor’s office courtesy photo)
Jim Hammond, pictured here in 1991, shortly assuming the post of Mayor of Post Falls, Idaho. (Mayor’s office courtesy photo)

The clock is winding down on Jim Hammond’s long career of public service to Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene. Councilman. Mayor. State senator. And city administrator in both Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene. Hammond will retire as Coeur d’Alene city administrator at year’s end.

But on the cusp of Dec., 25 years ago, he was a Post Falls mayor embroiled in a controversy.

He and other movers and shakers were trying to bring a Kimball International manufacturing plant to Post Falls in the middle of environmental problems. The city had violated air-quality standards three times in the previous two months – and some worried that gas emissions from the proposed plant would add to the unhealthy conditions.

Hammond called a news conference to address worries, and cooperated fully with state environmental officials. As a result, Kimball opened a 440,000-square-foot furniture-manufacturing plant that employed hundreds on the town’s west side.

In 1995, Kimball closed shop in Post Falls after a 20-year run. But the large building didn’t stay vacant long. Orgill Inc., the world’s largest hardware distributor, moved into it last spring.

As Hammond prepares to begin a well-earned retirement, his legacy of achievement goes on.

We had it all

Every city has a public and personal reputation, posts Daniel Walters on his personal blog, Sporadically Updated: “Portland and Austin are kept weird. Seattle is rainy and emotionally distant. Spokane is okay, I guess.” And Coeur d’Alene? “Coeur d’Alene is the city on the edge of dawn or dusk. It’s sunrise or sunset,” writes the Inlander reporter. On the verge of a breakup, Walters captures Coeur d’Alene’s magic in an angsty post, titled “Coeur d’Alene, at dusk” (Google “Daniel Walters” and “Sporadically Updated”). Coeur d’Alene, he says, isn’t a city for breaking up. It’s Casablanca. It’s Bogie and Bacall before the plane ride out of town. Sums up Daniel: “You’ll always have those kisses, those held hands, those shared smiles. You’ll always have the memory of the sunset stretching across the waves. You’ll always have those precious moments – against all odds – of contentment. You’ll always have Coeur d’Alene.” Sorta puts new meaning to the slogan: “Coeur d’Alene: City with a Heart,” huh?

Huckleberries

Poet’s Corner: This icy white stuff’s known as snow/ it makes it hard to stop and go./ While this may come as news to you/ it fell on us last year, too – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Reminder for Drivers with Amnesia”) … After the new neighbors “dropped the gauntlet” with a ha-huge Christmas light display, Rose Backs of Coeur d’Alene wondered: “Do we rise to the occasion or just do our regular lights?” Anyone? … Cis Gors of Kootenai reports a TeeHee shirt message that caught her eye: “How dumb can you get? People seem to be taking it as a challenge” … Tongue firmly cheeked, a Facebook friend comments: “Netflix is raising its rates again? Man, whoever’s password I’m using has got to be ticked” … Naomi Boutz, owner of Vine & Olive Eatery in Coeur d’Alene’s Riverstone, found out the hard way that reusing Keurig pods twice in one day doesn’t provide a bang for less bucks. She discovered a “whole new level of tired” … Among the things for which state Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, was thankful on Thanksgiving Eve? Her car broke down in a wide spot on a quiet street in downtown Sandpoint … Sign of the Times: While driving along Sky Meadow Road, “which goes up Gold Hill,” east of Sagle, Sandpoint blogger Marianne Love and her hubby, Bill, spotted a yellow caution sign nailed to a large ponderosa that read: “Old dog, young dog, several stupid dogs, drive slowly.” They hit no dogs.

Parting shot

In that double-overtime barn-burner between Gonzaga and Florida at the recent PK80 Tournament in Portland, ESPN2 analyst Dan Dakich delivered the line of the night when Bulldog Killian Tillie fouled out. First, he pointed out in the form of a question that Gonzaga was a Catholic school. Then, Dakich said: “Catholics sure know how to cuss.” Bless them, father, for they have sinned.

D.F. Oliveria can be reached by email at dfo.northidaho@gmail.com.