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Do A Good Deed, Keep It To Yourself

Facebook friend Ryan Brodwater has a message for everyone who bounces from one social media fad to the next: “Facebook sure is great at informing people what they care about, for that particular week. (Two weeks ago), it was amazing to see how many people had close, personal relationships with Robin Williams. (Last) week, everyone is suddenly committed to fighting ALS, by pouring water over their heads.” Ryan offers his own challenge, via Facebook: Donate blood. Volunteer for an hour. Clean up a public space. Ryan wants people to do “something random and meaningful that actually benefits others” – and not to post anything about it on social media. Ryan finishes his thought by repeating the words of a mountain-climbing friend: “I don’t need to sign the summit log. I know I was there.” Ryan’s idea sounds Sermon on the Mountish/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries, SR. Full column here.

Other weekend SR columns:

Question: What do you think of Ryan's challenge — to do a good deed and then keep it to yourself?

Huckleberry photo worth a thousand words

WILD EDIBLES — Vickie Garner Sienknecht said she's not much for poetry — shunning my request for submissions of Huckleberry Haiku — but this photo from last weekend, she says, clearly indicates how much she loves her huckleberries.

If I were to put Haiku words in her mouth, it might go like this:

Verse comes not to mind

Passions focused t'ward a pie

My heart bleeds purple.

HBO readers respond to comment policy

Colleague Dave Oliveria asked his Huckleberries followers how they feel about our new online comment policy that we launched on Monday. Granted, while the poll he posted is not a scientific one and should be considered as such, the results are interesting.

See DFO's item and a couple of comments posted on his blog.

 

 

Huckleberry festivals mark ripening of Idaho state fruit

WILD EDIBLES — The huckleberry harvest season is underway at lower elevations and the pleasure is working its way up the region’s mountainsides as the berries ripen. People and communities have taken note:

The berries are ripening at higher elevations this week, but the peak rage of ripe berries occurs in August. With my family in tow, I have to add hours to the hiking time into a Cabinet or Bitterroot mountains backpacking destination. It's hard to walk past a booming patch of hucks.

High areas in the Selkirk Mountains, such as Roman Nose, provide good picking into September.

Room On Bandwagon For ‘Hawks Fans

Jimmy Farris has words for long-suffering Seattle Seahawks fans who resent Johnny-come-lately types climbing aboard their bandwagon. He feels your pain. Jimmy? He’s the former Lewiston Bengal star who played for several NFL teams, collecting a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots. Also, he’s a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for Idaho’s 1st Congressional District seat held by tea party congressman Raul Labrador. Jimmy described true fans for Huckleberries as “just as passionate and excited about their team when they are 4-12 as they are when their team is 12-4. There are some true Seahawks fans (who) have suffered through some terrible years. (They) remember the old AFC West days, remember the real Curt Warner, Kenny Easley, Rick Mirer, the Kingdome – and have nightmares about Bo Jackson going 91 yards and trucking ‘the Boz.’ ” However, before you die-hards throw all the neo-die-hards under the bandwagon, consider – you couldn’t break that Guinness noise record and befuddle the San Francisco 49ers without them/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Other weekend SR columns:

Question: Are you a Seattle Seahawk fan?

Hucks: ‘Coeur d’Alene’: The Play

‘Coeur d’Alene” opened at Northland Pioneer College in Snowflake, Ariz., last week, with former Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Judy in the audience. Never heard of the play? Well, neither had Huckleberries until a blog reader sent a link. Dramatist Lisa Jayne’s play explores the conflicting issues faced by Judy and the community in 1998 when the Aryan Nations requested a parade permit to goose-step along Coeur d’Alene’s Sherman Avenue – free speech rights versus confronting religious and racial bigotry. That year human-rights activists turned “lemons into lemonade,” after the permit was granted, by raising money via pledges for every minute that the racists marched ($35,000 for 27 minutes). The play comes with a warning: “The play contains mature themes and language that may be unsuitable for children.” It’ll be interesting to see if “Coeur d’Alene” ever plays in Coeur d’Alene/DFO, Sunday SR Huckleberries. More here.

Other weekend SR columns:

Question: Do you remember the 1998 "Lemons to Lemonade" campaign of human rights activists?

Poll: Luna Will Hire On w/Onliner

  • Thursday Poll: 39 of 84 respondents (46.43%) say Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna will hire on with a WiFi or online company rather than seek re-election. Another 18 (21.43%) said Luna won't seek re-election. 17 (20.24%) expect him to run for a third term. 10 (11.9%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Which is the best job for Congressman Raul Labrador?

Poll: Plurality Backs Common Core

  • Tuesday Poll: A plurality of Hucks Nation supports Common Core standards for Idaho schools. 61 of 123 respondents (49.59%) support the standards, adopted by the Idaho Legislature and supported by Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent Tom Luna. 29 of 123 respondents (23.58%) oppose Common Core. 25 respondents (20.33%) said they didn't know enough about Common Core to vote. Another 8 (6.5%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you support State Superintendent Tom Luna's decision to sign a long-term contract for wifi in state high schools?

Harvest underway for huckleberries — Idaho’s state fruit

FORESTS – Huckleberries, designated Idaho’s state fruit in 2000, have been ripe for picking for a couple weeks in the low areas of Priest Lake, and the crop is gradually ripening up the mountain slopes throughout the Inland Northwest.

Don’t set your purple-tongue ambitions too high, yet.

Outdoors editor Rich Landers found ripe huckleberries for the first hour of hiking up Scotchman Peak Trail 65 northeast of Lake Pend Oreille on Thursday with lots of green berries above that to satisfy berry pickers in the prime picking period of August.

Savvy huckleberry pluckers know certain high areas, such as the Roman Nose Peak region in the Selkirks, are harvest-perfect in September.

Huckleberries flourish in several varieties across the region, from the deep-purple lowbush types in the east Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness to the tiny grouse huckleberry (a.k.a. grouse whortleberry) that grows on 10-inch high, small-leaf plants at or above timberline in the Selkirks and Bitterroots.

The ”big huckleberry” (a.k.a. black or thin-leaved) is the most popular berry in the Idaho Panhandle. This species grows in moist, cool forested environments at mid to upper elevations. The plants grow up to three feet tall and take up to 15 years to reach full maturity.  The single, dark purple berries grow on the shoots the plant produced that year, according to plant ecologist Charles Johnson.

Huckleberries are a treat for humans and a necessity for the region’s bears. A poor huckleberry crop in the Priest Lake area in 1979 resulted in reduced bear productivity and survival for the next two years, according to research by John Beecham, retired Idaho Fish and Game wildlife biologist.

Black bears have flexible ‘prehensile lips’ that can pick individual huckleberries without ingesting leaves faster than a human can harvest.

Bears can be expected anywhere berries are ripe. Pickers should carry bear spray as a precaution.

The annual Huckleberry Festival sponsored by the Priest Lake Search and Rescue is set for Saturday, July 20, at the Priest Lake Golf Course, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Info: Dory Miller, (509) 979-8802.

Poll: Kerri Will Be Next PF Mayor

  • Wednesday Poll: A large majority of Hucks Nation believes Councilwoman Kerri Thoreson will succeed Clay Larkin as mayor of Post Falls. Kerri announced her decision to run for mayor earlier this week. 91 of 149 respondents (61.07%) say Kerri will be the next mayor. 48 of 149 (32.21%) believe someone else will be the next mayor. 10 (6.71%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Are you bothered that the cover of Rolling Stone features the image of accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in what many see as a rock star pose?

Huckleberry King

In this file photo a girl feasts on huckleberries during the Schweitzer Huckleberry Festival.

In the latest edition of  Sandpoint Magazine and on her blog Slight Detour, Marianne Love writes of Joe Nieman, the Huckleberry King.

"This Porthill native and Co-Op front-counter clerk owns a T-shirt with “Smokin’ Joe Nieman, World’s Fastest Huckleberry Picker” to prove it. His shirt and a charm offensive, armed with huckleberry chocolate kisses, once landed him a spot on “The Price Is Right,” Vegas-style.

 Nieman, 68, of Ponderay, keeps a logbook, filled with meticulous berry-picking notes from his 43 years of supplying loyal customers in North Idaho and even one Idaho politician. Full story.
 
I've never gone huckleberry picking. Instead, I rely on local farmer's markets for my yearly haul. How much do you love huckleberries? Any berry-picking secrets?
 

Seymour Rips Huckleberries, Press Blog

During Coeur d'Alene School Board meeting, Terri Seymour spoke out tonight against the "bully blogs" (part of the anti-bullying presentation). SReporter Scott Maben provides this report:

“It is huge in Coeur d’Alene. When you see the blogs on the Coeur d’Alene Press and especially on Huckleberries, it saddens me to see – I don’t blog; I do read them. But it is unbelievable how nasty and vicious people can be. And here we are as a school district trying to teach our children not to do this, not to cyberbully, not to bully, when the parents and the adults are doing exactly what the students are learning to do. And so I would ask that our community step up to the plate to encourage the Press and The Spokesman-Review to rein that in, because it’s vicious and this is what we are teaching our children, and it’s shameful. It saddens me to be a part of the community that there are so many vicious people out there that can’t treat each other with respect.”

  • DFO: After the candidates forum at the Mica Grange Hall, I told Terri that she may be confusing legitimate, pointed criticism for cyber-bullying. Obviously, she didn't agree. I try to keep things between the lines here without killing the spirit of the discussion. It's not an exact science.

Question: Do we have a cyber-bullying problem here at Huckleberries Online?

Hucks: Mack Won’t Face Another Vote

Sheriff Richard Mack, the tea party darling from Texas/Arizona, will return to North Idaho in July – and he didn’t need an invitation from the dysfunctional Kootenai County GOP Central Committee this time. Mack will be a headliner at the Northwest Patriots and Self Reliance Rally at Farragut State Park July 26-28. As you recall, controversial Mack was invited to speak at the 2012 Lincoln Day banquet by the Kootenai County GOP. Then he was disinvited on a split vote of the Central Committee. Finally, he was re-invited when Mack fans in Central Committee leadership threatened legal and criminal action over questionable proxy votes. We’ll see if the second coming of Mack is less eventful than Proxygate/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Question: What do you think of the Northwest Patriots rallying at Farragut State Park?

Tourism Tip Omits Construction Work

In her article “Idaho one cool destination at one cool price,” Clara Bosonetto of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution touts cheap air rates in getting from Atlanta to Boise ($266 round trip). And said this about Coeur d’Alene: “A 7-hour drive north of Boise is Lake Coeur d’Alene, created by glaciers and today an international resort destination with the town of Coeur d’Alene on its north shore and resorts nestled along 135 miles of shoreline. An ideal region for avid birdwatchers – Lake Coeur d’Alene has the largest nesting population of osprey in the western United States.” Chamber types are glad she didn’t mention that the southern edge of downtown Coeur d’Alene is torn up this year. Or anything about Aryans/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Other SR weekend columns:

Question: Is this the summer you'd want your friends and relatives visiting downtown Coeur d'Alene?

Hucks: City Oafishuls Act Childish

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Warner Brothers Version Of 911 Call

Do you suppose that the hard-working 911 dispatcher bit her tongue when Coeur d’Alene Councilman Steve Adams SOS’d to tattle on City Attorney Mike Gridley? A short version of the two-minute 911 call made by Adams after the testy council meeting Tuesday: He’s bigger than me, and he called me names (“moron” being the only printable one). The two have been dueling over the councilman’s attempt to sidetrack a federally mandated $33 million expansion of the city’s sewer plant. The dispatcher coulda told Adams to call a Wahhhmbulance. Or lectured him not to use 911 except for emergencies. But she remained professional throughout. Which is something that can’t be said for Adams or Gridley/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Thoughts?

Huckleberries: Covering Papal Beat

The selection of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the new pope wasn’t Cindy Wooden’s first papal rodeo. The Sandpoint native has covered three popes in her 25 years as the Vatican correspondent for the Catholic News Service – John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Francis. She’s a media expert in all things Vatican. She has met U.S. presidents, world leaders and even the late Mother Teresa. Her favorite government official, however, is closer to home: her sister, Bonner County Treasurer Cheryl Piehl. Marianne Love busts her buttons whenever the world spotlight shines on the Vatican because she knows her former Sandpoint High journalism student is busy behind the scenes. Cindy has failed to persuade Marianne that she has an 8-to-5 job like everyone else – except, of course, when she’s dealing with the first resignation of a Holy Father in 598 years and the first pope from the Americas. Ever/DFO, Huckleberries, SR. More here.

More weekend SR columns:

Question: Do you know anyone living in Rome?

Hucks: Shoutout To Helpful Police Chief

A funny thing happened to Coeur d’Alene physical therapist Gary Bartoo and son, Trey, on the way home from the new Frontier Ice Arena on Thursday night. The fuel pump in the truck quit, stranding them in a turn lane at the busy intersection of Seltice Way and Northwest Boulevard. So Gary called for a tow. Then, he and Trey settled in for a wait of up to an hour. That’s when Coeur d’Alene police Chief Wayne Longo appeared. In uniform. Wayne and Coeur d’Alene’s finest had just chased – and caught – a suspect in an armed robbery at the Boulevard Food Mart, a short distance away. Spotting the disabled vehicle, Wayne stopped his patrol car and offered to help. Gary was amazed that the chief was doing grunt work. And that Wayne was able to speed the tow truck along. So was wife, Amy, who later Facebooked: “Not only is Wayne Longo a phenomenal gentleman but our esteemed CDA Citizen of The Year!!! We are lucky people tonight!” There was a downside to all this. All that extra time Trey spent in Gary’s rig after hockey practice, notes Amy, left a distinct boy-sweat smell/DFO, Huckleberries print, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever been helped by a police officer?

Cook: Blog Comment Was Question

Defending herself against a libel suit, Linda Cook of Rathdrum (pictured) says an anonymous comment she made earlier this year on a Spokesman-Review blog was a question about the accounting of GOP funds in Kootenai County, not an allegation of theft. Cook, who is representing herself, filed her court response Tuesday to the suit brought by Tina Jacobson, who also lives in Rathdrum and is former chairwoman of the Kootenai County Republican Party. Cook wrote in her defense that she has proof Jacobson failed to provide annual budget and financial statements to members of the county’s Republican Central Committee. Jacobson failed to provide receipts or details of funds deposited or expenditures as mandated by committee bylaws, Cook argued. And that, she wrote, is what prompted her to post comments Feb. 14 under the name “almostinnocentbystander” on the Huckleberries Online blog/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Thoughts?

Huckleberries: No Gas, No Problem

Another week, another lake rescue story from North Idaho, although not as dramatic as the one in which a father and a son capsized their sailboat in high winds on chilly Lake Pend Oreille. In fact, Shirley Thagard could think of no better place to be stranded on her pontoon boat on a sunny day than Hayden Lake. At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Shirley was on a final tour of the lake when she discovered the gas gauge wasn’t accurate – empty happens before the needle gets to “E.” So Shirley did a lemons-to-lemonade thing and “had a wonderful time sitting in the middle of the lake in the sun, perfectly still water, looking at the brilliant colors spotting the surrounding mountains, waiting for someone to tow me to the dock.” That someone was Hayden Lake Yacht Club member Steve Boots. There’s probably a moral to this story. But let’s enjoy the afterglow of our wonderful fall/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.

Question: How do you react when you car or boat breaks down or runs out of gas?

Hucks: MikeK Tackles Challenge

Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Mike Kennedy didn’t shrink from appearing at the Idaho Supreme Court hearing for Jim Brannon’s challenge of his three-vote 2009 loss to Kennedy last week. But Kennedy is shrinking. Sixty-four pounds and counting since this time last year – from 245 pounds to 181 pounds. In September 2011, Kennedy decided to get serious about his health. On his Facebook wall, he explained to well-wishers that his motivation “was avoiding a massive stroke or heart attack, and the fact that someone has to walk my three beautiful daughters down the aisle.” When I kidded that he was getting in fighting trim for a rematch with Brannon in 2013, Kennedy replied that I must be a “sadist”/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Question: Would you like to see Mike Kennedy run for re-election in 2013?

Huckleberries: An Appetite For News

North Idahoans know that huckleberries are delicious – the state fruit, if not a certain column by that name. The latter has helped put bread on my table since January 1985. But I’ve never heard of it being served as a main course for anyone’s supper. In her relatively short time with The Spokesman-Review, Cindy Hval achieved something that neither I nor any other columnist/reporter has. She wrote an article that was so good that a reader called to say that he’d eaten it. Cindy, for those keeping score at home, also subs for me during my vacations from the Huckleberries Online blog. She was poppin’ buttons last week over the description used by her fan to describe her Pig Out in the Park review. “Delicious” being one of the adjectives. The fan left an S-R phone recording: “It was so good that I cut it out and actually ate it.” Then, he backtracked and admitted that he hadn’t eaten it. Instead, he had licked the newsprint. Wonder how Cindy’s writing works on waffles?/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.

Question: Do you ever call or write to the newspaper when you appreciate something that you've read in it?

Pick huckleberries without damaging plant, Forest Service pleads

NATIVE PLANTS — The huckleberry bush, the most revered shrub in the Inland Northwest, is getting less respect as berry pickers succumb to greed.

Practices are getting so bad, the Forest Service has issued a media release warning that recently observed practices — such as CUTTING OFF A BUSH SO BERRIES COULD BE MORE EASILY PICKED — are against the law and punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.

My god.

It's safe to say most huckleberry plant abusers aren't among the families returning to their favorite huckleberry hot spots generation after generation.  None of these people wants to damage plants and reduce the harvest of future years.

However, many people may not realize the senseless and improper use of rake-like huckleberry pickers also damages the berry bushes. 

Meanwhile, read on for more information on the latest damaging practices reported by the Forest Service.

Hucks: Bear Cub Visits State Senator

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, is accustomed to seeing moose, turkey, deer and bears while working at her “day job”: executive director for the Associated Logging Contractors. The association’s office is at Mica Flats, south of Coeur d’Alene. Shawn tells Huckleberries: “It is not unusual to see all types of wildlife wander through – at a distance.” That’s why Shawn and other hired hands were surprised to see a black bear cub on the back porch eating cat food Tuesday. The cat grub was intended for a now-grown litter of kittens that the staff adopted after someone dumped them along Highway 95 a few years ago. The commotion in the office as well as the clicks of cameras and cellphones drove little Yogi back into the woods last week. The cub seems to have moved on, much to the relief of the state senator and her staff, which didn’t want to see a Mama Bear up close, too/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.

Question: Has a wild animal ever entered your home — not counting human types?

Hucks: Councilman Changes Tone

Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Dan Gookin recovered well from a recent political faux pas. Gookin, an outspoken critic of proposed changes to McEuen Field, offered verbal balm to the town a day after the recall petition drive against Mayor Sandi Bloem and three council members failed. At the Tuesday council meeting, Gookin said he told recall allies that “it’s over” and insisted that they file no lawsuits to extend the controversy. Gookin said he was ready to move forward with the McEuen Field work and promised to bird-dog spending on the $14.2 million project. His conciliatory tone contrasted sharply to the angry email he fired off to City Administrator Wendy Gabriel (Huckleberries, June 17), belittling her for accidentally leaving him out of the loop in a media announcement about a proposed McEuen Field compromise (for which Gookin later apologized three times). Gabriel wasn’t present Tuesday when Gookin remarked that the public accuses the council of not listening when it is/DFO, HucksOnline. More here.

Gookin Responds To HBO Post

Moments ago, Councilman Dan Gookin copied the following email to Mayor Sandi Bloem, City Administrator Wendy Gabriel, City Clerk Susan Weathers, Councilman Steve Adams, City Attorney Mike Gridley, Editor Mike Patrick of the Coeur d'Alene Press, Mary Souza & yours truly:

So yet another time, an email sent at City Hall suddenly, and unexplainably, ends up being specifically requested by Dave Oliveria at the Spokesman’s HBO blog. I know that I’ve discussed these “leaks” with you before and each of you has scratched your head, wondering who the staff person or elected official is who is passing along the information. My guess – and this is just a guess – is that the status quo crowd is behind this covert operation to make the “Save McEuen” councilmen look bad. Or, perhaps, it’s just dirty CdA politics being played out, as it always has been. Or it could be that someone is just not used to having head-nodders as councilmen. What. Ever. So I think, in the name of transparency, that I will now start automatically carbon copying Dave on all the emails I send to City Hall. All of them. More below.

Thoughts?

Hucks: Of Ganesha & Other Elephants

Don Sausser answered the SOS from HucksOnline this AM by taking his trusty camera to the corner of 6th & Sherman for this photo of "Art & Soul" by Jason Sanchez, the new public arts piece that replaces controversial Ganesha in downtown Coeur d'Alene.

Ganesha, the controversial sculpture by Spokane artist Rick Davis of an Indian deity, has vacated its yearlong spot at Sixth and Sherman in Coeur d’Alene. On Friday, the elephant-headed idol gave way to a futuristic sculpture by local artist Jason Sanchez, called “Art and Soul,” heralding a new rotation of downtown public art. In June 2011, a few Kootenai County protesters greeted the dedication of Ganesha and 13 other pieces of public art but failed to coax churches to oppose the statue. News of the protest reached as far as India. The furor died down quickly. At the time, Democrat David Larsen quipped to former state Sen. Mary Lou Reed that the demonstrators were really partisan Republicans who objected to Hindus stealing their mascot/DFO, Huckleberries Online. More here. (SR file photo)

Question: Which public arts sculpture would you rather have on the corner of 6th & Sherman — Ganesha, Art & Soul, or neither?

Hucks: Ex-NFLer Runs For Congress

It isn’t every day that a Dem congressional candidate in blood-red Idaho asks for support from a man who spoke at the 2008 GOP national convention on behalf of presidential candidate John McCain. And gets it. But Jimmy Farris is special to former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs. Farris, who lasted eight years with five teams in the tough NFL after playing high school football at Lewiston, contacted his old coach when he decided to run for Republican congressman Raul Labrador’s 1st District seat. Farris told Huckleberries Thursday that he talked with Gibbs’ secretary, Cindy Mangum, when he couldn’t reach his old mentor. Later, Gibbs left a phone message in which he asked Farris whether he was running as a Republican or a Democrat. Chuckling, Gibbs said that Farris would get his vote if he ran as a Republican, and he’d get secretary Cindy’s vote if he ran as a Democrat. Then, turning serious, Farris said, the coach assured him that he would support his former player/DFO, Sunday SR Huckleberries. Full column here.

Question: Can a Democrat win the 1st Congressional District seat?

A Dog Named Huck

Meet the official mascot of HucksOnline: "Huck." Digger provides this intro to the dog that he & Spazz own in Moscow: "This is Huck. He was named Huck because (a) Hucks Online is my favorite blog; (b) Spazz and I both thought it'd be fun in case we got a black lab we could name Jim and (c) he was a rescue dog found in a huckleberry patch. Notice that reason (A) has to do with you."

Hucks: Caucus Disillusions Ron Pauler

National Libertarian blogger Lew Rockwell tells of the plight of an unnamed supporter of Ron Paul who attended the maligned Kootenai County Republican presidential caucus – the one at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Seems the Ron Pauler became distressed as evening stretched into morning during the seven-hour marathon. He watched with excitement as Paul won caucus vote after caucus vote at the resort, only to trail and finally lose to Rick Santorum countywide. Mitt Romney, of course, won Idaho’s 32 delegates as a result of all those votes from Mormon Southern Idaho. The Ron Pauler smelled a conspiracy. He told Rockwell: “To say I’ve lost some faith in the system isn’t accurate, since I never had much to begin with. But I am tired and discouraged, and am more convinced than ever that we the people have no real voice in this process.” What now? The Ron Pauler told Rockwell he plans to write in Paul’s name for president “or vote straight Constitution Party”/DFO, Huckleberries, SR. More here.

Question: Have you been disillusioned by the political process?