Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Mayor Sandi Bloem said Wednesday she will not seek a fourth term this fall. Bloem, the city's only three-term mayor — and its only female leader - cited personal and professional reasons for not running for re-election Nov. 5. Bloem didn't elaborate on those reasons, but said she still intends to be involved in the community after she steps away, calling her 12-year run as head of the city "an incredible honor." "It's the right thing for me now," Bloem said. "It was a very difficult decision but I have a few opportunities in front of me and I feel if I don't take those opportunities, and wait four more years, they might not be there." Bloem said she made the decision a few weeks ago and told some staff and council members. But then rumors of the decision circulated online Wednesday, which she confirmed/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Besides Dan Gookin and Mike Gridley, is there anyone else that you'd like to see run for mayor?
Councilman Mike Kennedy tells Huckleberries Online that he will introduce a Coeur d'Alene ordinance that would ban discrimination against gays in Coeur d'Alene. The ordinance, which will be patterned after one in Boise, will be introduced at the noon meeting Monday, May 13, of the General Services Committee, which Kennedy chairs. Kennedy said he would like to see the matter taken before the council later in May. He said he had decided to go ahead with the ordinance after the 2013 Idaho Legislature refused to give fair hearing to the "Add the Words" campaign, which would have made Idaho the 34th state to adopt anti-discrimnation laws protecting gays. Four Idaho cities have adopted similar resolutions — Boise, Moscow, Sandpoint and Ketchum. The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations had approached the city earlier this year with the proposal to adopt the anti-discrimination law. Mayor Sandi Bloem put Kennedy in charge of the process.
The Internal Revenue Service office in Coeur d'Alene is closing June 30 because of sequestration, a sign hanging on the office door reads. North Idaho residents needing assistance will have to go to the Spokane office, 920 W. Riverside Ave. Karen Connelly, IRS spokesperson, couldn't provide more information on the closure by Press deadline Monday, and employees at the office said they weren't at liberty to answer questions. But a sign on the office door announces the closure, citing the federal budget cuts that were implemented March 1, 2013, known as sequestration. Before it closes permanently, the office will also be closed May 24 and June 14 for the same reason. "It's nice to have an office locally instead of going to downtown Spokane," said Harold Markiewicz, of Post Falls, outside the office Monday. "It's an inconvenience to go over there"/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Harold Markiewicz discusses his thoughts Monday about the Coeur d'Alene Internal Revenue Service office closing on June 30)
Question: Have you ever had to use the local IRS station?
SQM, a Canadian company that provides follow-up services for companies using call centers, has opened an 11,500-square-foot office at 7400 Mineral Drive, in the Coeur d’Alene Tech Center building. The company opened the office in March with 90 employees. Based in Vernon, British Columbia, SQM provides quality assurance services for more than 400 companies across North America. It’s been in business for nearly 20 years. The North Idaho office is the first in the United States, said Sarah Kennedy, SQM vice president for business development/Tom Sowa, SR Office Hours blog. More here.
Question: Are 90 call center jobs worth celebrating?
Update: Huckleberries has learned that the Parking Commission has denied Councilman Steve Adams' appeal of a parking ticket at the Coeur d'Alene Library. Here is the reply from the Parking Commission: "His notice with denial was mailed out on the 2nd of April so as far as we are concerned the matter is closed. He was given until April 15 to pay. If he doesn't, it will go to collections just like any other citizen."
Constitutionalist Councilman Steve Adams has seen the light re: his threatened appeal of judicial confirmation of the "ordinary and necessary" sewer plant expansion. So Huckleberries wonders if he has also gained clarity re: some sort of divine right of local elected officials not to pay parking tickets. Huckleberries has submitted a request to City Hall, asking if Adams has also dropped his appeal of the $15 parking ticket he got for staying over-long in a Coeur d'Alene Library space during a joint meeting between the City Council and Lake City Development Corp. I'll let you know the answer when I get it. Meanwhile, you can amuse yourself by re-reading this episode of the Trials & Tribulations of Councilman Adams here.
Question: Should we talk up a collection to pay Adams' ticket in appreciation for all the blog fodder he has provided over the last 7 to 10 days?
Pure unadulterated balderdash. Pure B.S. That’s the only way to describe the baloney Coeur—the Precious Metals Company is serving up as its excuse for relocating its corporate headquarters from Coeur d’Alene to Chicago later this year. It’s bad enough that most corporate Chief Executive Officers (CEO’s) and Presidents are grossly overpaid by compliant boards, even when the CEO has failed miserably but is still given the proverbial golden parachute. When boards though give way and acquiesce to pure CEO vanity, shareholders ought to sue. Make no mistake, folks, this move is an exercise in personal vanity by Coeur’s president and chief executive officer, Mitchell Krebs. He and his wife both hail from the Chicago area and want to get closer to home. So let’s just pick up the corporate headquarters and move, ma!/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.
It could go to a vote. Coeur d'Alene's legal department said Wednesday it's recommending the city hold an election to get approval to pay for up to $36.3 million worth of federally mandated improvements to its wastewater treatment plant — a move that comes in response to one councilman's pledge to tie the matter up in court if the city didn't ask voters. Staff has crafted a proposed bond ordinance that it will ask the City Council to approve during a special meeting at noon today that would put the issue before voters on May 21. It means the council could decide on whether to hold an election on wastewater treatment plant upgrades before it even knows the fate of its judicial confirmation — the way it originally sought to secure the money to pay for the project/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
DFO: This might be the day that Judge John Luster rules that the federally mandated sewer plant expansion is a necessary expense, not requiring a public vote.
Question: Has anyone called Councilman Steve Adams to inform him that he represents more people than just the OpenCDA.com crowd in this matter?
Local developer John Stone talked about the exciting additions to Riverstone during a tour on March 5 in Coeur d’Alene. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
After more than a decade of setbacks and stalled progress, the 155-acre (Riverstone) development at the Lake City’s front door is springing to life with new shops and restaurants, hundreds of residents and plans to build out the west end with apartment buildings, a regional transit center and possibly a new indoor sports arena for North Idaho College. There’s also serious talk of adding a technology discovery center for kids and families, and finding a new home for the 90-year-old carousel that once spun fun at Playland Pier on Lake Coeur d’Alene. And community speculation about when specialty grocer Trader Joe’s will land here never seems to fade. Stone, who turns 70 next month, is making the final brush strokes on his masterpiece/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Is it safe to say now that the Great Recession was the only reason that Riverstone hasn't boomed before now?
This design was pulled from the city of Coeur d'Alene's McEuen Field page, which offers a detailed design of the different amenities in the project.
While Contractors Northwest Inc. will begin construction on the McEuen Field project this week after landing the $14.8 million bid, the city of Coeur d'Alene has budgeted the project to cost $20.2 million when all is said and done. The $20 million figure includes every expected expense for the project over two fiscal years, including savings the city is setting aside as contingency costs, design contracts and architectural and engineering fees. What accounts for the roughly $5.4 million difference between the reserved cash and winning contract bid? The city has slotted around $1 million to pay for equipment for the park. Splash pad equipment, park benches, garbage cans and the like aren't the contractor's responsibility, but the city's. The $1.9 million contract with the park's designers, Team McEuen, is included in that total, as is the $1.2 million contract for the east end parking lot work that has already been completed/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
- 5:25 p.m. Victoria in 1100 block of S. Baker/PF reports strange vehicle in her land had brights on house & now has turned them off.
- 4:59 p.m. Elderly female driving vehicle 5 p.m. on 15th s/b from Margaret/CdA.
- 4:57 p.m. Possible DUI driver weaving on H95/MP 434 (Honeysuckle/CdA).
- 4:43 p.m. Vehicle still driveable after hitting deer on H54/Farragut Park visitors center.
- 4:37 p.m. Possible grass fire reported @ undisclosed location on Meyer/Rathdrum.
- 4:31 p.m. Parking problem reported @ Hauser Lake fire station, where voting is going on.
- 4:28 p.m. 29YO female is unconscious @ North Idaho Dialysis, 2100 Ironwood Court/CdA.
- 4:25 p.m. Female has fallen in parking lot (unknown location), hitting head & injuring back.
- 15 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below
Call this a prep playoff primer. Or, everything else I couldn’t get into our postseason information box today. And a few other things. Pictured above is Coeur d'Alene running back/linebacker Reece Mahaffy two weeks ago against Lake City.
Click the extended tab below to read more.
And as always, feel free to comment. What are your predictions for the games this week?
Remember, I'll be tweeting scores Friday. My Twitter address is: @srpreps
When Christopher Griffin (pictured) fills out job applications, he knows his work history stands out for the wrong reason. He hasn’t held a job since 2005, well before the recession. The 31-year-old Spokane man was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis seven years ago this month. The news derailed his working life. Numbness in one foot – a symptom of the disease that attacks the central nervous system – forced Griffin to quit his last job as a line cook. “We had hot oil, sharp knives – you know, just everything that would be an issue,” he said. After years of fine-tuning medical treatments and attending community college accounting classes part time, Griffin is ready to go back to work. He hopes to land a job that permits him to mostly sit, as standing for long periods is difficult/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Question: Does your business hire workers with disabilities?
It was 15 years ago that Nola Lagg's son brought her from Florida to Coeur d'Alene, she recalled, because of an illness she was facing. She grew rather attached to the place. "I never went back," the 85-year-old said with a chuckle on Thursday, while eating with friends at the Lake City Center. Although the winters took getting used to, she said she has still preferred her retirement years in Coeur d'Alene, where shopping, beautiful scenery and delicious eateries are abundant. "I've been to them all," Lagg said of restaurants she toured with her son. She even prefers the clouds. "In Florida, they're flat and boring," Lagg said. "Here, they're big and puffy. I'm absolutely fascinated with the clouds." Take a back seat, Miami. Arizona? Forget it. CNN Money has just given Coeur d'Alene some publicity it doesn't seem to need/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Why aren't winters in the Inland Northwest a deal-breaker for retirees seeking to relocate?
Christa Hazel reports: The meeting was convened with 4 Trustees present: Hightower, Seymour, Hamilton and Seddon (pictured). Two City Councilmen, Ron Edinger and Dan Gookin were in attendance. One member of the public, a teacher from Lakes Middle School asked to address the board and the board granted this request. The teacher stated how important Person Field is to our community and our students. The board amended Monday night's action to declare Person Field surplus for disposal through sealed bid. The amended action will now give 60 days for the City to find a resolution that will be beneficial to both entities. It was referenced by Mr. Hamilton that no matter who owns Person Field, both entities wanted it to remain as is. Ann Seddon voted against the sale of Person Field last Monday night. Today, she voted yes on the amendment to allow 60 days for the city and school district to work out a compromise. The amendment passed unanimously with the 4 trustees present. Mr. Purtee was absent.
The Coeur d'Alene School Board has scheduled a special meeting at 3:30 p.m. today in the district office, 311 N10th, to discuss a "possible amendment to action taken (on Monday) regarding disposal of property." As you know, the School Board voted 3-1 Monday to dispose its 3.8 acres at Person Field at 15th & Garden. On Tuesday, the Coeur d'Alene City Council unanimously instructed staff to work with the School District to purchase that property. The city owns an eastern portion of Person Field, consisting of the softball field, located on about 3 acres. CSB Chairman Tom Hamilton and Superintendent Hazel Bauman were at the meeting to assure the council that the board and district would work with the city to make the purchase possible. Also today, the School Board is expected to authorize the sale of general obligation bonds. (Coeur d'Alene School District photo: Trustee Chairman Tom Hamilton)
- Also: City wants to buy Person Field/Coeur d'Alene Press
- Also: City Council minutes on attempt to save Person Field as green space/HucksOnline
- Also: Poll: Keep Person Field as a park/HucksOnline
- Also: Tom Hamilton: Willing to work with city/HucksOnline
Question: Are you glad to see city and School Board seemingly working together to save Person Field as green space?
The Coeur d'Alene City Council wants to keep Person Field green. Council members agreed unanimously Tuesday to direct city staffers to find a way to acquire the portion of Person Field now owned by the Coeur d'Alene School District. The Person Field issue was a last-minute addition to the regular council meeting agenda, placed there in response to the Coeur d'Alene school board's decision Monday to move forward with a plan to sell the school district's portion of the 7-acre field. Councilman Dan Gookin told The Press on Wednesday that he asked for Person Field to be added to the agenda for discussion and possible action after learning of the school district's decision to sell the property on the open market. "People in that neighborhood love having that park there. They've been nervous about what might happen with it," Gookin said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust Press photo: Cameron Chun, left, collides with Brody Lundblad, both eight graders in the Coeur d'Alene Jr. Tackle football program Wednesday at Persons Field)
Question: Are you glad to see the council agree unanimously to save Person Field as a green space?
Christa Hazel: My issue with the Person Field topic Monday night has to do with public notice. The agenda stated that the presentation by Mr. Wardell would cover disposal of real property WITHOUT naming which properties. In the future, I would hope the board would have the foresight to detail this on the agenda. Kudos to Trustee Seddon for speaking to this lack of notice and kudos to Trustee Hamilton for allowing public comment based on the revelation regarding these two properties.
Question: I suspect the new School Board learned a lesson from the Person Field blowback re: notice on important issues. Tom?
Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander: "I find your analogy of reality tv for a City Council meeting is apt, however, I feel that the lack of respect shown for a staff member is inappropriate at best. I am not sure that our City Council meetings should be sensation seeking reality tv. Dan Gookin was correct last night when he said that our council is split which mirrors a community that is split. Bullying behavior from some council members is now the norm at City Hall, and we see the results in a staff that is under a great deal of stress. It is difficult at best to function under that type of leadership. I believe that our past successes show that we have had an efficient, quality driven, entreprenuerial management structure that is now at risk. When people are threatened, they put their heads down and just try to survive, That creats a typical government environment, I would like to think that we fostered an different culture at City Hall and our successes have shown that difference."
Question: "Bullying behavior from some council members is now the norm at City Hall." Thoughts?
Chairman Tom Hamilton of the Coeur d'Alene School Board: I attended the council meeting tonight together with Trustee Seddon and Superintendent Bauman. In addressing the council, we made it clear that the district and the Board truly desire to keep Person Field as a green space / park for the local community but that the District should not be the steward of that park space any longer. I am happy to report that the council agreed and have directed city leadership to work with the district to find a way to transfer ownership of the parcel to the City where it rightfully should be. Mike’s statement that an exchange of property is the statutory requirement for a public entity to acquire property from another public entity is correct. The solution here is simple and I remain hopeful that this can come to fruition quickly. Tom Hamilton's full comment.
Question: Sounds like a good copromise to me. How about you?
Idaho is considering whether to keep three education laws that overhaul everything from how teachers are paid to how kids learn in the classroom. Voters in several states across the country will decide on education measures this November. Washington votes on whether to allow charter schools and Idaho is considering whether to keep not one but three brand new laws. They overhaul everything from how teachers are paid to how kids learn in the classroom. The vote is a test for some controversial ideas in education and for the man behind them. Idaho classrooms are political battlegrounds this fall. Many teachers, like Coeur d’Alene band instructor Tim Sandford, strongly oppose the Idaho education laws. That’s creating discord with administrators who are trying to implement the changes even as the election looms. Sandford describes the atmosphere in his school this way: “Toxic, it’s toxic”/Jessica Robinson, NPR. More here. (Northwest Public Radio photo: Jessica Robinson)
Question: Tim Sandford's a good teacher and man. I'm concerned that he would describe the atmosphere in our schools as "toxic." What do you think?
The city of Coeur d'Alene wants to study the numbers - all the different numbers - before it decides whether it will take over roughly 5 miles of East Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive. After hours of public testimony Monday evening, and an open questions and answers forum with state and city officials, the City Council said it wants to take in the different viewpoints before it schedules the next step on deciding the old highway's fate. "We have lots of concerns in front of us," Mayor Sandi Bloem said. "Absolutely, we need to get more information on this and consider, on both sides of the fence, and we'll do that." The Idaho Transportation Department is looking to give the waterfront road away because it no longer wants to maintain it. It's offering the city $3 million to take it. The city is considering it because along with the money, it would guarantee local, not state, control over waterfront property popular with bicyclists and pedestrians as it is with motorists/Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press. (Jerome A. Pollos Press photo: Greg Delevan airs his concerns during a city council workshop Monday)
Friends of Christian Buquet, the Hayden 19YO shot by police after he shot another man Saturday, say he's being portrayed wrongly by media:
"He is not a bad person. He has people out there who loved him, friends and family just like anyone else," Chris Martinez said. Martinez, who was friends with Buquet for five years, remembers him as a young boy who was nice and loved to draw. Martinez saw Buquet two days before the shooting. "We didn't see it coming. No one did," he said. Investigators say Buquet, 19, shot 29-year old Frank James in the chest at 11th and Lakeside Saturday. He then randomly started firing his weapon, something his friends have a hard time believing. "Starting shooting randomly … that's not what happened," Martinez claimed. More here.
The Coeur d'Alene City Council open house meeting regarding the Idaho Department of Transportation's offer to give the city roughly 5 miles of Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive and $3 million will be 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8 in the Community Room of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. ITD no longer wants to maintain the old highway, and is offering the stretch of road to the city. Annual upkeep on the road would cost the city $13,160, according to the street superintendent, which the department said it could afford. The property up for grabs traces the old road but extends to water's edge in spots, creating public access to the lake, including an area at Silver Beach that the city has said would make a good location for a boat launch/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Would you like to see the city of Coeur d'Alene take over ownership and maintenance of Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive (the old Interstate 90 section that goes out to Higgens Point)?
The Idaho State Department of Corrections (DOC) said 98 percent of inmates in the state prisons are released back into the community. Those inmates all have to live somewhere. One option in north Idaho is for convicts to live in motels. The DOC supervises around 1,500 convicted felons in north Idaho. A majority of those people are in Kootenai County. Some of the inmates need help to get back on their feet when released from prison. "Part of their success is their stability of residence and that's a big factor," said Eric Kiehl with the Probation and Parole department. Kiehl said the DOC has an understanding with three motels in Coeur d'Alene that are willing to take in offenders/Anusha Roy, KXLY. More here w/video.
Question: Would you stay at a hotel that you knew housed former prison inmates?
Reporter David Cole/Coeur d'Alene Press tweets that "Today Show" may be in Coeur d'Alene Thursday to follow up on this story:
It was a beautiful sunny day at Coeur d'Alene Cellars on her wedding day, Sept. 3, 2011, and Linsey Mattison felt oddly uncomfortably in her gown. "My dress was so tight, I felt like I couldn't breathe," the then 32-year-old lawyer and Coeur d'Alene High School graduate said this week. Other than that, it was one of the best days of her life. She said that incredible discomfort and difficulty breathing that day was likely the first hint something was seriously wrong with her health. She didn't know it at the time, but a cancerous mass was rapidly growing inside her chest and pressing up against her lungs. Days after the wedding, she began having chest pains, which hardly made sense for a fit young woman who exercised regularly and ate healthy/David Cole, CdA Press. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo: In this Sept. 12 photo, Linsey and Scott Sowinski, pose with with their daughter Lena in Coeur d'Alene)
When a 12-year-old boy went missing Friday in Coeur d’Alene, school officials turned to a new emergency notification system to alert parents by email and phone. About 12,000 households received messages before the student was found unharmed Saturday morning. “We were still in testing mode, and we just decided to go live with this,” said Laura Rumpler, spokeswoman for the Coeur d’Alene School District. Schools are relying more on digital dialing systems like this to spread the word about weather-related school closures, bomb threats and school lockdowns, as well as to communicate about routine matters like unexcused absences, overdue library books and PTA meetings. Spokane Public Schools has just picked a new vendor capable of notifying families of all 29,000 students in the district using phone calls, emails and text messages/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Did you receive notification when Joshua Belnap went missing?
For years, Mike Darcy was the face that often greeted guests at the city of Coeur d'Alene Recreation Department. He was the man who helped organize everything from soccer to basketball to softball and flag football. He was the one who accepted the application forms and officially put the teams together for thousands of children, teens and adults. "Mike would do what was needed to make sure the job got done," said Steve Anthony, recreation director. He will be missed. Darcy died Saturday in a hiking accident near Salmon. He was 55. Anthony said Darcy, a recreational specialist, was a respected and trusted member of the family at City Hall. He worked part time about five years before starting full time at the city rec department in 1990/Bill Buley, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Courtesy photo from Coeur d'Alene Press)
The suspect in the possible armed robbery is seen entering the Tesoro service station @ 23rd and Sherman Avenue shortly before midnight Monday. The suspect, wearing a white baseball cap under a black hoodie tied at the neck, also fits the description of the man who robbed Walgreen's on Appleway about 15 minutes later. (Photo: Coeur d'Alene Police Department)
Two Coeur d'Alene businesses were robbed late last night and early this morning by what appears to be the same gunman in a black hoodie. Tesoro service station. 2301 Sherman Ave., was robbed at 11:57 p.m. by a smallish man (described as 5-6, 150 pounds, with "very blue eyes"), according to Coeur d'Alene police reports. The man walked around the store until customers left before approaching the female clerk and displaying a gun in his waistband. He demanded and received money from the till before leaving on foot. About 15 minutes later, a man with two lip piercings who matched a similar description took cigarettes from Walgreens, 335 W. Appleway, after demanding money from the female clerk. Again, the man lifted his sweat shirt to show a handgun in his waistband. He took the cigarettes when the clerk said she was not able to give him money. The man appeared to leave in a dark-colored vehicle that was waiting for him outside. Full report here.
Question: Isolated incidents? Or is Coeur d'Alene becoming a more dangerous place?
Coeur d'Alene is mentioned among the best retirement communities in the nation as come retirees eschew Florida, California and southern states for cooler weather climes:
The idea of people who uproot and move when they retire conjures up images of warm, sunny Florida or Arizona. But some of the older members of the baby boom generation, the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, are looking elsewhere, and a number of towns in cooler climates from Maine to Washington have become popular retirement destinations. Camden is frequently cited in lists of best places for retirees. Others that have merited mention include Asheville, N.C.; Ruidoso, N.M.; Durango, Colo.; the San Juan Islands in Washington’s Puget Sound; St. George, Utah; Medford, Ore.; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Kalispell, Mont.; and towns along lakes Superior and Michigan in northern Michigan. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: David Spoelstra canoes with his dogs across Fernan Lake, near Coeur d'Alene)
Unique is a word journalists are encouraged to avoid like the plague. But unique is the single-best word to describe a prep football showdown Saturday at the Kibbie Dome. That’s when No. 1-ranked and two-time defending Idaho 5A state champ Coeur d’Alene faces off with No. 1-ranked and defending Washington State 4A champ Skyline of Sammamish. Kickoff is at 8. When have defending state champs of the biggest classifications from neighboring states played? They haven’t in my 29 years here. Something similar occurred, though, Sept. 10, 1982. CdA squared off against Gonzaga Prep at Spokane Falls Community College. Both teams would go on and capture state titles. G-Prep led 14-6 at halftime, but the Vikings, behind 5-foot-10 junior quarterback Scott Wellman and a host of other contributors, rallied for a 23-17 win. It would be the Vikings’ most competitive game in a 12-0 season/Greg Lee, SR. More here.
Question: Have you seen the CHS Viks play during their 24-game winning streak that brought back-to-back state titles?