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Huckleberries: Popularity of public art outlives columnist’s grouching

Regional artist David Govedare (cq) welds the base of one of the giant feathers being intstalled along Northwest Boulevard Tuesday as part of the Northwest Boulevard Enhancement Project. The artwork created by Govedare and Keith Powell was commissioned by the Coeur d'Alene Arts Commission. (Liz Kishimoto / The Spokesman-Review)
Regional artist David Govedare (cq) welds the base of one of the giant feathers being intstalled along Northwest Boulevard Tuesday as part of the Northwest Boulevard Enhancement Project. The artwork created by Govedare and Keith Powell was commissioned by the Coeur d'Alene Arts Commission. (Liz Kishimoto / The Spokesman-Review)

The late Bob Paulos was decidedly wrong about one of the first major pieces of public art in Coeur d’Alene. Paulos? He was a troubleshooter for Duane Hagadone’s newspaper chain who finished his career writing op-ed columns for the Coeur d’Alene Press.

In 2002, Paulos turned a poison pen on “The Guardians of the Lake” by Washington artists David Govedare and Keith Powell. After the 25-foot, 800-pound metal feathers were installed in the Northwest Boulevard median on May 15, 2002, Paulos groused about them on Sundays for more than a month. The Coeur d’Alene Press archive in the Coeur d’Alene Library details the withering criticism.

First, Paulos compared “the feathers” to “a fourth-grade-class art project.” In a subsequent column, he ap-hollow-gized to fourth-graders for his comment, suggesting they would have come up with something better for the work’s $50,000 price tag. Later, he wondered how much of the $50,000 was spent on materials and construction and how much for the artists’ “creativity” (Paulos’ quotations, not Huckleberries’). Finally, Paulos asked if there was any of the $50,000 left over for “a couple of hundred thousand brochures” to explain the “feathers” to visitors.

Paulos would spin in his grave if he knew how popular the “feathers” are today.

Soft landing

You know that your trail ride hasn’t gone well if yellow jackets, bucking horses and emergency rooms are involved. Bonner County horsewoman Gail Curless was on a ride with a friend recently when a nest of yellow jackets dive-bombed her serenity. The horses bucked. And Gail had a soft landing on “rotten tree duff.” She was stung several times. Gail’s horse, Holly, eventually found her way home, sans bridle. Gail’s husband, Randy, found the bridle. But Gail was stung again by a yellow jacket in the process. A week later, she took her own advice and climbed back on the horse for a trail ride with two friends. All of which prompted Gail’s daughter, Erica, to Facebook that her mother is “severely allergic” and should be more careful, adding: “Glad she’s okay, but she’s grounded.”

He’s ba-a-a-ck

The October issue of Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living mag offers further proof that old Spokesman-Review columnists don’t fade away. They land freelance gigs. There, smiling on the cover with his Trailer Park Girls ball cap on and a three-decker ice cream cone in hand is old S-R buddy Doug Clark. In his first monthly column, he offers a “worst of” look for the mag’s “2017 best of the city” edition. Typical Clark. Fun stuff. Fans who need a Clark fix should check it out.

From under the stall

If you don’t ask questions, Huckleberries’ll tell you why the occupant in the middle of three stalls in the Coeur d’Alene Target women’s restroom yelped Friday afternoon. The little pug “service dog” with the woman in Stall No. 3 had crawled under the modesty wall to introduce itself. Luckily, the woman in Stall No. 2 was a dog person – and had a good sense of humor … Poet’s Corner: “Come January we’ll remember/ how bright the sun shown in September” – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Autumn Thought”) … After he received a loaner Ford sedan with California plates after crashing his Toyota, Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News wondered: “How many times will I get flipped off in the next couple of weeks?” … Librarian Bette Ammon and her quality staff received a nice gift for the library’s recent 10th anniversary. Fleekist.com named the Coeur d’Alene Public Library as the most beautiful one in Idaho. Quoth: “Even the name sounds beautiful. Add in the stunning lake vistas and we’re in reading paradise.” … For those keeping score at home, Fleekist named Seattle Central Library as the most beautiful one in Washington. Sorry, Spokane.

Parting shot

Small kids with full bladders can be handy during traffic stops. Sgt. Paul Twidt of the Kellogg Police Department reports that one of the KPD’s finest pulled over a driver for a broken taillight and for making California stops at two intersections. The officer was in the process of checking the driver’s license and insurance when he noticed the children wiggling and complaining in the car. In his roll call report, Sgt. Twidt describes what happened next: “It was a quick warning.” Good call.

D.F. Oliveria can be reached by email at dfo.northidaho@gmail.com. Huckleberries will now appear in The Spokesman-Review twice a month.


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