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Record bullhead confirmed from Potholes Reservoir

FISHING — The number of record-setting fish caught in Washington during 2013 just increased last week as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed a new bullhead record.

Yellow bullhead, 2.06 pounds, measuring 14.5 inches long and 10 inches in girth, caught  Sept. 8, 2013, by Monica Beckley of Roy, Wash., in Potholes Reservoir.

Idaho Fish and Game looks back at 2013

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Everybody's been looking back at 2013 for some perspective, including the Idaho Fish and Game Department.  

The revival of Lake Pend Oreille's kokanee fishery and completion of a new sockeye hatchery top the agency's highlights for the year.

Read on for the complete look back from IFG.

Outdoor historic places saved-lost in 2013

Montana sites make national list of historic places saved, lost
The National Trust for Historic Preservation released a list of 10 sites saved and 10 lost in 2013, with the Upper Missouri River Breaks in Central Montana making the saved list, and Pompey's Pillar in Montana, making the lost list due to vandalism that occurred in October during the government shutdown.

— New York Times

Words that irritate

Do you have phrases or words that irritate you? Well, maybe not, but writers often do.Here are some words and phrases from 2013 that we could eliminate from our lives – and survive just fine.

(S-R archive photo)

Welcome home!

This week people all over the country celebrate their new lives: walking down the aisle, making solemn promises with family and friends present and then all those witnesses who have been there before. The real deal.

Yes, families all over the country begin new lives this week, National Adoption Week. More than 140 foster children in Washington state will settle into their forever families, legally part of a clan who claims them.

Each year my son, Alex, born in Paraguay and placed in my arms when he was four months, and I attend the local process and community celebration. Each year he loved to sit in that courtroom, listen to the lawyers, watch kids squirm and then cheer with the crowd. We ate cake and pushed through balloon bouquets to talk to people. Kindred spirits.

Today, in Olympia, Friday in Spokane: a legal process and endless, unconditional love will create new families. Many will say how lucky those children are – but all adoptive parents know the truth: we, as parents, are the lucky ones. Profoundly blessed.

Welcome home, sweet children!

(S-R archive photo: Alex on his citizenship day)


Chrysler 300: Promise fulfilled

In 2004, the Chrysler 300 landed like a body slam to the midsection of the full-size sedan segment, its brooding, broad-shouldered presence a poke in the eye of convention.


The 300’s dark beauty masked an array of shortcomings, though. On the verge of bankruptcy, Chrysler cut more than a few corners. Neither the interior nor the suspension fulfilled the exterior’s promise.


Six years, one recession and a change of ownership later, the second-generation 300 arrived. No less bold stylistically than the original, the new 300 was more than just a comely face. 


Suspension upgrades tamed the 300’s wayward ways and mechanical updates boosted fuel efficiency. The cabin finally received the attention the first-gen 300 so richly deserved.


Now, in 2013, the 300 ($31,340, including destination) has matured into a comfortable, efficient and sumptuously outfitted adult conveyance. Its 122-inch wheelbase dwarfs the domestic competitions’. Its cabin is large enough and back seat roomy enough that it’s sold in other parts of the world as a limousine. 


The 300 is built on a rear-drive platform, with available all-wheel-drive. This RWD architecture produces a driveline hump that reduces rear-seat foot-room but yields superior driving dynamics. Despite its bulk, the new 300 handles confidently, even through fast sweepers.


Ride quality is very good, although larger wheel sizes — base trims come with 17s, AWD gets 19s and 20s are available — reduce compliance on rough surfaces. With its large and supportive seats, compliant suspension and well-weighted steering, the 300 will doubtless prove to be an efficient and comfortable long-distance cruiser.


And, though it won’t be mistaken for a sport sedan the equal of BMW’s 7 Series or an engineering marvel like Mercedes-Benz’s S Class, the 300 takes a back seat to none in the value sweepstakes. It’s with comfort, convenience and safety features at surprisingly low price points.


The base 300 receives automatic headlights, heated mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, an 8.4-inch central touchscreen interface, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with adjustable lumbar), tilt-and-telescoping steering, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB connectivity and satellite radio.


A 292-horsepower V-6 is standard (it’s tweaked to 300 hp on the sport-tuned 300S). Paired with a new eight-speed automatic, it produces EPA estimates of 19 mpg city/31 mpg highway/23 mpg combined; AWD fetches 18/27/21.


A 363-hp eight is available on all but the base trim and the high-performance, 470-hp SRT8. Mated with a six-speed gearbox, the eight earns RWD ratings of 16/25/19 and 15/23/18 with AWD. The RWD-only SRT8 earns EPA numbers of 14/23/17.


The handful of downsides include limited rearward visibility and vague shift-lever detents. A balky storage-cubby door hinted at cabin cost-cutting.


Our admiration for Chrysler’s reborn flagship remains undimmed, though. A roughhewn beauty in its youth, the 300 wears its new maturity like a champion. 

Don Adair is a Spokane-based freelance writer. Contact him at don@dadair.com. 

2013 Chrysler 300 AWD
Vehicle base price: $30,345
Trim level base price: $32,845
As tested: $35,840
Options included back-up camera; power passenger seats with four-way lumber adjust; fog lamps, security alarm; remote start; universal garage door opener; center high-mount stop lamp.
EPA ratings: 18 city/27 highway
Regular unleaded fuel specified

Inslee: Odds favor special session

Gov. Inslee explains why he thinks Legislature will need more time.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee all but conceded the Legislature will need a special session to finish work on budgets and key issues like education.

“I think we'd have to draw to an inside straight to get this done by Sunday night,” Inslee said at a morning press conference called to discuss the current session, which is in the 101st day of a 105-day session.

Legislators should continue to “do everything humanly possible” through Sunday and try to finish as much work as possible, the governor said. But the list of tasks is long, and includes agreements on the state's general operating budget, its basic transportation budget and a possible tax increase for new road projects and more maintenance, a capital projects budget and at least a start on major improvements to the state's public schools to meet a state Supreme Court mandate.

“This is not just a budgetary exercise, there are policy issues also,” he said. He has several items on his list of policies, including the Reproductive Parity Act, the Washington Dream Act, and legislation on gun violence that would include universal background checks for gun sales.

None of those three are in a position where they could pass by Sunday without some extraordinary parliamentary maneuver.

He'd also like more support for education programs that boost science, technology, engineering and math, additional support for early learning and giving schools a letter grade evaluation.

 But he seemed to acknowledge that not everything on his wish list, or any legislator's list will be accomplished, even with a special session: “We're not going to be able to solve all of Washington's problems this session.”

By law, the regular session in an odd-numbered year — which is the year after a state general election — is 105 days long. If the governor calls a special session, it can go for up to 30 days. Legislators can end it sooner if they accomplish everything they believe they need to accomplish.

Inslee said he'd talk to legislative leaders about the topics for a special session, but wouldn't try to limit issues they might discuss. “I can't eliminate people's ideas from the mix.”

2013 Nissan Altima Review

Nobody likes to be called boring, and let’s face it; most family vehicles are about as fun as drinking with Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.  A push is emerging among car makers to try and breathe some chutzpah into their family haulers.  The 2013 Nissan Altima is no exception, and as the best-selling model in Nissan’s lineup the pressure is on.