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State Permits Diamond Cup Race

The Idaho Department of Lands on Friday approved an encroachment permit for the Diamond Cup hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d'Alene. "The IDL permit is unquestionably the most important permit" the race organizers need to acquire before the Labor Day weekend event, said John Magnuson, a Coeur d'Alene attorney representing the Diamond Cup organizers. He said the permit is good for three years. In February, organizers applied for the permit to deploy ecology blocks, removable pilings, EZ Dock, and concrete anchors in the lake to facilitate the races. A public hearing was conducted June 10. "IDL has determined that the navigational and economic benefit of the proposed activity outweighs any minimal adverse impacts to commerce, navigation, fisheries or other wildlife habitat, or public recreation," Brandon Lamb, hearing coordinator for the department, wrote in his recommendation/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Facebook photo of Diamond Cup logo)

Question: Seems to me that organizers don't have enough time to sell tickets & advertising for the event this Labor Day, especially with the sheriff's denial of his department's permit hanging over their heads. Thoughts?

Hydroplane races hinge on county code

There’s a new hurdle for Coeur d’Alene’s hydroplane races scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

Kootenai County is working on a new review process for hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d’Alene after the county’s community development director determined the land portion of the event isn’t allowed under current code.

David Callahan joined the county in November, after the Coeur d’Alene Diamond Cup’s hydroplane races took place Labor Day weekend. The races were the first on the lake since 1968.

The 2013 hydroplane races were permitted “mostly as an aquatic event,” Callahan said, without much consideration to staging areas on the shore. “I don’t think the county knew much about the land portion of the event. My staff wasn’t fully informed.” More here. Becky Kramer, SR

Do you hope the hydroplane races witll return this summer?

Hagadone Recalls Old Diamond Cup

Duane Hagadone reminisces Wednesday about the inaugural Diamond Cup that he helped bring to Coeur d'Alene more than a half century ago. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

He brought back the hydroplane bacon 55 years ago, and this weekend Duane Hagadone will be able to watch it sizzle some more. He'll be watching from his sailboat - appropriately named Sizzler. Hagadone, who was 25 years old at the time, traveled with Lee Brack to Detroit in April 1958 for a critical sales pitch. Their mission: To get hydroplane races sanctioned for Coeur d'Alene that summer. "We had to prove we had the financial stability and could pull it off," said Hagadone, whose photo appeared with fellow hydro proponents on the front page of the Coeur d'Alene Press on April 14, 1958, under the headline, HYDRO COMMITTEE "BRINGS BACK THE BACON" FROM DETROIT MEETING/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

DFO: Although I don't plan to attend the hydroplane races this weekend on Lake Coeur d'Alene, I wish the organizers success. The races are being staged in the correct part of the lake, away from downtown Coeur d'Alene. I suspect problems in this first year of racing. But nothing insurmountable. How about you?

Question: Do you want to see this year's Diamond Cup race fail or succeed?

Officers will be out in force for the races

Kootenai County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Ewing, center, talks with Allan Clark, of Post Falls, after his boat passed a safety check on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Ewing and Deputy Jonathan Traw, right, were on patrol on Friday.

In a little more than a week, thousands of people will descend on Lake Coeur d’Alene to watch the first hydroplane races held there since the last summer of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.

There to greet this generation of race fans will be a heavy presence of law enforcement and private security, intent on keeping the Diamond Cup over Labor Day weekend safe, sober and orderly for everyone.

Organizers emphasize this is a family-oriented sport, and they’ve taken steps to prevent any chance of a repeat of the unruly crowds and clashes with police that marred the event for several consecutive years in the early 1960s. Through crowd controls on land and patrols on the lake, officials aim for three days of trouble-free cheering for the thunderous spectacle. More. Scott Maben, SR

Do you think the hydroplane races will offer a boost to the Cda economy?

CdA Hydro race has neighbors worried

I’m one of the few people that get in this lake every day,” Evalyn Adams said as she swam in Lake Coeur d’Alene at Silver Beach. She has property adjacent to the site of the Diamond Cup hydroplane races that will take place on Labor Day weekend.Kathy Plonka, SR photo

Frank Addeman grew up with the Diamond Cup in the late 1950s and early ’60s and has good memories of the boats streaking across Lake Coeur d’Alene.

“When I was a kid I used to collect all the (commemorative) buttons,” he said. “I loved the hydroplane races and I was sad when they had to leave.”

With the races about to return after a 45-year lull, Addeman is among a few residents who will have the best views of the turbine-powered hulls reaching speeds of 200 mph about 450 feet from the shoreline.

His house sits on the bluff above Silver Beach, and like many of his neighbors, Addeman can watch the Labor Day weekend heats from his deck above or his dock below.

But he also has had some concerns – as have others who live above East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive just outside city limits – about traffic flow, crowd control, trespassing and liability insurance. Some residents also were surprised last week to see trees along the shoreline being trimmed to improve spectator viewing of the race course. Read more. Scott Maben, SR

Do you have concerns about the Diamond Cup returning to Cda?


Press: Slow Start To Hydro Races

All right, so the celebratory bottle-smack was a bust. The 2013 Diamond Cup Regatta hydroplane races won't be. On Wednesday, a staged media event in downtown Spokane to promote the hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d'Alene this Labor Day weekend drew all of one media outlet: The one you're holding in your hands right now. So when Spokane Mayor David A. Condon whacked Miss Spokane — the hydroplane, not the beauty queen- with a champagne bottle that refused to explode, there were no national TV cameras or live web feeds to make the red-faced moment go viral. Bad luck that almost nobody showed, and that embarrassed smiles, rather than champagne bottles, were all that were cracked? Hardly. It ended up feeling like the kind of good fortune that big events like these can always use to ramp up momentum/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Excited yet?

Organizers Mum On Hydro Races

The latest word from an organizer spearheading hydroplane racing's return to Lake Coeur d'Alene said the races will go on as scheduled Labor Day weekend. Doug Miller told The Press three weeks ago that The Diamond Cup Regatta is close to securing "major contracts" that would ensure the races will happen. "We're not in trouble at all," Miller said in a May 1 phone message, referring to rumors that the race will be canceled, as it was last year. "We're just finishing up some major contracts right now that should be done in the middle part of next week that will be major announcements for us." But the middle part of that week passed, and despite numerous calls from The Press, nobody is offering an update on sponsorships or ticket sales. In a previous interview, Miller estimated it would cost $400,000 to host the event/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: It has seemed to me all along that there's little to no momentum for these races. Things should be in full swing at this point. Yet you can't get a peep our of organizers. What's up?

Huckleberries Hears …

David Williams pilots the "Miss Wahoo" in front of the Coeur d'Alene resort Aug. 22, 2010, the first time any hydroiplane had been on the lake in 42 years. SR file photo: J. Bart Rayniak.

… That Hagadone Hospitality is working behind the scenes to bring a hydroplane regatta to the shores of Silver Beach this summer. Berry Pickers tell me that Hagadone's property and grounds at Silver Beach (Beachouse & Marina area) would be used for viewing. HHospitality has asked the city to help with the logistics of staging the event along Lake Coeur d'Alene Drive. Also, future plans call for the regatta to transform into a hydroplane race in the summer of 2013. As you know, Coeur d'Alene millionaire Duane Hagadone has been trying to bring unlimited hydroplane racing back to Lake Coeur d'Alene since 1985 when he was thwarted by a reluctant Coeur d'Alene City Council, headed by then mayor Jim Fromm, which on a 4-3 split opted for an advisory vote. Hagadone pulled the project before the public voted 3-to-1 against the proposal. In recent years, hydroplane supporters have staged race demonstrations under the pretext of raising money for the North Idaho Museum. Stay tuned. 

Question: I wonder if Coeur d'Alene residents would be more in favor of unlimited hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d'Alene than they were in November 1985?

Flashback: The Night I Guessed Right

The Coeur d'Alene City Council's 4-3 vote against Councilman Ron Edinger's motion for an advisory vote on the proposed McEuen Field changes reminds me of another tie-breaker decided by the mayor, more than 26 years ago. In fall 1985. Only that time Edinger was on the side fighting an advisory vote. At issue that time was the call for an advisory vote on Duane Hagadone's controversial proposal to return hydroplane races to Lake Coeur d'Alene. Hagadone threatened that he would pull the proposal before he would allow it to be put on the ballot. The council was split down the middle — with Steve McCrea, Jim Michaud, and Bob Brown for the vote and Edinger, Dixie Reid, and one other (whom I can't recall) against. Edinger was wearing a pro-hydroplane button. I was in my first year of reporting on local government. Before the meeting, then Mayor Jim Fromm told me he planned to vote for the advisory vote. Based on that statement, I submitted my story that the motion for an advisory vote had passed 4-3 with Fromm casting the tiebreaker — 15 minutes before the council voted, to meet my deadline. And then crossed my fingers that Fromm was good for his word. He was. And that's why I'm still earning my supper with the SR rather than being fired that night for guessing on the outcome of a front-page story. (BTW, the matter was placed on the ballot and the public overwhelmingly rejected the hydroplanes) — DFO.

Hydromaniacs Pushing For Races

Item: It takes a community: Hughes believes hydroplane racing could again be popular on Lake Coeur d'Alene/Alecia Warren, CdA Press

More Info: Doug Miller agrees. President of the Hydromaniacs nonprofit, Miller is in the midst of trying to resurrect the annual Diamond Cup Unlimited Regatta that the Lake City hosted annually in the late ‘50s and ‘60s. After organizing a revival regatta last year, Miller is planning a second regatta for this August. Although the regatta is only an exhibition of vintage Unlimited boats, Miller still holds Madison’s fervor for hydroplane racing as a role model for Coeur d’Alene, he said. (SR file photo of hydroplane exhibition run by J. Bart Rayniak)

Question: Is Coeur d'Alene finally ready to embrace hydroplane races again?

Kerri: Remembering Hydro Races

Seeing the 1968 Miss Budweiser unlimited hydroplane at the Museum of North Idaho on Saturday was a real walk down Memory Lane. I saw Miss Budweiser race that year, in what would be the last Diamond Cup on Lake Coeur d’Alene. My boyfriend, Doug Perry, who later became my husband, was good friends with Ted Lavoie. Ted’s father, Don, owned the Budweiser distributorship here and there was an active and enthusiastic Bud Bunch of businessmen who supported the event. We had pit passes and got up close to the big boats and the daredevil drivers. Doug, Ted and Don have long passed away but oh, how they would have enjoyed seeing Miss Budweiser back in the Lake City/Kerri Thoreson, Main Street. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: What do you remember most re: the old Diamond Cup races in Coeur d’Alene?

HBO Poll: Bush Had Better Response

  • Monday Poll: 159 of 269 respondents (59%) said the response by President Bush’s administration to the Hurricane Katrina disaster was better than the current response by President Obama to the BP oil spill. 110 of 269 (41%) said Obama’s response was better.
  • Hydroplane Poll: 216 of 288 respondents (75%) said they’d like to see unlimited hydroplane racing back on Lake Coeur d’Alene. 64 of 288 (22%) said they don’t want the thunderboats back on Lake Coeur d’Alene. 8 of 288 (3%) were undecided.
  • Today’s Poll: Do you agree with the judge’s decision to block the 6-month moratorium on deep-water drilling projects?