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Friday, January 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries: The Idaho Legislature is back in session, so hide your children

As Idaho legislators prepare to be wined, dined and hypnotized by monied puppet masters and lobbyists for another session, the voice of a favorite journalistic curmudgeon sounds from long ago.

The opening of a column by David Bond in the Coeur d’Alene Press in January 1993 remains as fresh today as it was 25 years ago when he opined for better access to the Idaho Legislature for Joe or Jane Six-Pack. Bond? He’s a Wallace resident now. But his long newspaper career wound through the Press, The Spokesman-Review and many other media tributaries.

Writing from fictional New Patmos, Idaho, which may have been located up the north fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, Bond began: “The Idaho Legislature is about to kick into its annual spasm of good intentions and mischievous deeds. As a result, there is, in North Idaho, a sense of impending paralysis, helplessness, and doom. It is well-founded, for indeed, as the sage said, no man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”

It’s time again to hide the children, the poor, the disabled and the aged.

Still savvy

If you look closely at the logo on the Coeur d’Alene Coffee Co. cups, you’ll see something that resembles an ice pick with an outline of a heart in the grip on top. In other words, a heart of an awl (pointed tool for punching small holes), which is the accepted meaning of “Coeur d’Alene.” As the legend goes, early French trappers tagged the Schee chu’umsch Indians with that name as a result of their shrewd or sharp-hearted trading practices. The Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe still is known for its economic savvy.

Out of gas (attendant)

So Mrs. O and I are sitting in our daughter’s blue Honda at a gas station en route from east Portland to a brother-in-law’s place in Vancouver. We wait. About five minutes. No attendant approaches to fill-er-up. Finally, my wife asks a man pumping gas at a nearby island if he’s the attendant. The man showed us the error of our ways in three words: “You’re in Washington.” … Kevin Serr, of Coeur d’Alene, still doesn’t know what to make of that waitress at a new local restaurant who asked if he and wife Marnie wanted separate checks. After all, Kevin tells Huckleberries, it was date night with his bride of 25 years. And: “I’m a better date than that” … The 10 “Worst Places to Live in Idaho 2018,” according to the website, RoadSnacks, have one thing in common – none of them are in viewtiful North Idaho. Top five? From the top, Emmett, Nampa, Weiser, Payette and Caldwell.


Poet’s Corner: I wish you good fortune/ and rest from your worries/ wish you laughter and love/ and no snow but flurries – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“A New Year’s Wish”) … Larry Kenck, of Post Falls, former chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party, challenges: “Who can use the words ‘stable genius’ and ‘covfefe’ correctly in one sentence.” Ah, didn’t Larry just do that? … David Chamberlain, of Coeur d’Alene, wonders “what the Beauty Bay eagles (on Lake Coeur d’Alene) think of all the paparazzi” … Sometimes those who wander are lost, despite what J.R.R. Tolkien says. A drunk with a bloody nose called 911 after he’d gotten lost walking to Smelterville from Kellogg recently. The gendarmes pinged his phone and located him on top of a tailings pond. “Dead center, mind you,” writes Sgt. Paul Twidt in his Kellogg Police Department Roll Call report. One of KPD’s finest transported Poor Lost Soul home … Sign of the Times: New Year’s Eve readerboard at Davis Donuts, Appleway & Fourth Street, quotes the famous philosopher Brad Paisley: “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” OK, OK. It’s now a 354-page book.

Parting Shot

Huckleberries turns 33 today. This column began in January 1985 while I was covering local government in Coeur d’Alene. It has angered some, pleased others, and once won a national column award named after the late Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle. All the while, it has been held together by three dots and our mutual love for North Idaho. Thanks for following the dots all these years.

D.F. “Dave” Oliveria can be reached at or (208) 889-0261.

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Love story: The Swans build a dozen houses, and a strong foundation in 60-year marriage

In the days of full-service gas stations, you could gas up your car, get your windows washed, your tires checked – and if you were lucky, like George Swan, you might even get a tip on where to meet a pretty girl. It was 1957, and when George, newly returned from a four-year stint in the U.S. Air Force, pulled his ’57 red-and-white Buick in for a fill-up, the attendants at the Coeur d’Alene station would tease him about his lack of a girlfriend.