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Rape suspect underwent sex therapy

A 23-year-old Spokane man accused of a year-old rape underwent sex offender treatment as a teenager.

Louis Victor Kuster underwent treatment  after he was accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching four girls while a middle school student in Stevens County. He pleaded guilty to four counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation in 2002 and served two years probation.

After his arrest, detectives said in court documents that Kuster, then 14, “never appeared flustered, embarrassed or remorseful,” during interviews. “He did not seem to care about getting in trouble.”

His foster mother told police he needed counseling.

Kuster was arrested last week after DNA linked him to the rape of a 16-year-old girl on Jan. 1, 2010, police said.

Read my story here.

Bayview On New Year’s Day

At Bayview, Herb snapped this photo & reports: “This was taken around noon New Year's Day. There was so much steam coming off the lake that we got a couple of hours of lake effect snow, which set the existng snow to sparkling like a field of jewels.”

Start the new year on a new note

I know you’re not really in the mood to listen to your mother, but I can’t help it. I have something to say. And, since I don’t want to chase you around, texting and calling, nagging and whining into your ear, I decided to put it down in this note. So, here goes:

December is drawing to a close. A new year is only hours away.  This calls for some kind of recognition.
I know it sounds old fashioned, but I am one of those people who believes in new beginnings. Even after all I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot, I continue to cling to the idea that old mistakes, old habits and old heartaches can be left behind and that each of us, without the weight of what can hold us down and hold us back, has the potential to do amazing and wonderful things.

I believe that for you, too.

So, do me a favor. Take a minute and think about how just fortunate you are. You have the luxury of having a family and a home to push against. You don’t have to worry about where your next meal will come from or whether you’ll have a warm place to sleep or what kind of disaster tomorrow might bring. You have a home base. No matter how far you wander or how many mistakes you make, you will always be welcomed back into the fold.

Try to find a minute in every day to remember those things.

You have a brand new year ahead of you. Our sunrises and sunsets are numbered. Every square on the calendar is a gift. Unwrap it carefully. See something rare and wonderful in every day. Find a new way to experience the world around you.

Feel the sunset. Taste the music. Listen to the mountains and take hold of the sky.
Read a poem, go to the symphony, see a play. Learn everything you can. Be brave. Be kind. Be available to those who love you.

Remember the good times and let the bad times go. Learn what you can from them and then toss them into the air like so much dust. Do your homework. Take your vitamins. Call your mother.
Every once in a while go through the photo albums. Watch old home movies. See those kids? The ones who had no clue what they were doing, who dressed in dorky clothes and smiled those big goofy smiles? Show a little mercy. We were young. We were in love with our babies and nothing has changed that in any way.

There, that’s all I wanted to say. The next 365 days are yours. They are a blank canvas. Go out an paint them with colors your father and I could never have imagined.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com


Kerri’s Looking For Polar Bears

On her Facebook page, Kerri Thoreson is looking for “a little help” from her friends. Seems she’s trying to determine which local polar bear has been jumping into Lake Coeur d’Alene on New Year’s Day the longest. Hey, don’t look at me. The closest I ever came to the polar bear plunge was 17 to 20 years ago when I covered the event as a reporter for The Spokesman-Review. I know a couple of you have taken the plunge, and lived to tell about it.

Question: Have any of you taken more than one polar bear plunge?

Tito Macaroni’s Closing Jan. 1

In the comments section, Lynne writes: “Does anyone happen to have a spy in the kitchen at Tito Macaroni’s? I must have the recipe for their romano crusted chicken salad and the dressing before Tito’s is gone forever (sob).” And Angela, on the Tito Macaroni’s Facebook site agrees, stating: “Share the Romano Crusted Chicken salad recipe. I could live on that salad. I don’t even think it’s on the menu anymore, but they still made it for me.” Meanwhile, Tito’s Facebook page offers this announcement re: pulling the plug: “Come by Tito’s in the month of December and get your fix on great pasta, pizza, and wine! We’d love to see everyone and say goodbye before we close January 1st.” I must confess that I’ve never eaten at Tito’s. How about you? (BTW, OrangeTV reports in comments section that Shore Lounge is moving into Tito’s space.)

Question: Are you going to miss Tito Macaroni’s when it closes in downtown Coeur d’Alene? And/or: Anyone know why HagaCorp is pulling plug on Tito’s?

Billy Collins Makes Poetry Enjoyable

I’ve forced myself to enjoy poetry since I read a feature story on Walt Whitman in a National Geographics while working out on an exercise bike some years ago. The writer suggested reading poetry out loud, if you had trouble understanding or enjoying the form. I did that with “Leaves of Grass” and later Emily Dickinson’s poetry. However, it wasn’t until I read Billy Collins’s work that I got the hang of poetry. Last week, I checked out Collins’s “Ballistics” from the Coeur d’Alene Library. Before scanning the book for me, the librarian mentioned that Collins was also her favorite, and that a poem about “Canada” had particularly spoken to her. “More people would enjoy poetry, if they read Billy Collins,” she said. I agree. I (heart) Collins’s insightful poem, “New Year’s Day.” (You can hear & see Billy Collins reading his poetry here)

Question: Who is your favorite poet?