Latest from The Spokesman-Review
POST FALLS - Idaho State Police officers are seeking information on a road rage incident in which two vehicles were damaged on westbound Interstate 90 in Post Falls on Thursday morning.
Ouch. A few days after the SR reported on Spokane Valley manufacturing firm ATC moving to Post Falls, we see a wire story announcing that furniture maker Kimball will close its Post Falls operation.
The AP story:
JASPER, Ind. — Office furniture maker Kimball International says it plans to sell a metal-fabrication facility in Post Falls and move that work to existing company factories in southern Indiana.
The Jasper-based company says it will spend about $9.5 million to transfer the production to three Indiana factories over the next two years. Kimball officials say they are actively trying to sell the Post Falls facility.
The company says it expects to add up to 160 jobs at the southern Indiana factories with the increased production. Kimball now has about 2,000 full-time employees at 17 locations in Indiana. Kimball says it expects to save money after the consolidation by having production facilities closer together.
You win some, you lose some. Incidentally, the reason ATC is moving is the strong lure of the Idaho Dept. of Commerce tax reimbursement incentive. It applies when a company agrees to create more than 50 jobs in an urban area, and pay more than the average county wage.
In the case of Kootenai County, the average is $33,730, according to Idaho labor analyst Alivia Metts. Spokane County's is $41,727.
Post Falls led local cities in population growth from 2012 to 2013, according to a report released on Thursday by the Idaho Department of Labor. Post Falls grew 2.5 percent — from 28,650 residents in 2012 to 29,357 in 2013. "From a city and bank perspective, we're seeing the economy firm up," said Post Falls Mayor Ron Jacobson, who is also a senior vice president of Inland Northwest Bank. "It's still not as strong as we'd like to see, but at the same token you don't want to see rampant growth because that's difficult keeping up with." Jacobson said he's not surprised at the growth rate because Post Falls, the state's 10th-largest city, has affordable housing and the city has the room to grow onto the Rathdrum Prairie. Post Falls' population growth was the ninth-largest among all cities in the state. Star grew 6.7 percent, topping all cities. Coeur d'Alene grew 1.8 percent from 45,592 to 46,402. It is the state's seventh-largest city/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Are you happy with the way Kootenai County is growing?
Prosecutors charged a Post Falls man with killing his live-in girlfriend by slitting her throat and rolling up her body in a rug. Christopher W. Thompson, 44, is in jail on a $1 million bond. Police arrested him Monday on suspicion of killing Deborah A. Willette. Post Falls police first arrived at the couple’s home on the 700 block of North Compton Street at 4:40 p.m. Monday after a relative of Thompson’s called and said he’d confessed to killing Willette, according to police reports. Police forced their way into the apartment and found Willette’s body. There were signs of a fight inside the house, including several knocked-over items and blood stains on the carpet in several rooms, according to the report. Willette, 57, was covered in bruises and scratches as well as other cuts across her face and eyes as if she’d been slashed multiple times/Kaitlin Gillespie, SR. More here.
Item: PF mayor candidates square off: Jacobson, Thoreson speak to Highlands group/Brian Walker, Press
More Info: Kerri Thoreson and Ron Jacobson sit elbow to elbow on the Post Falls City Council. Both want to become Post Falls' next mayor on Nov. 5. And, on Tuesday night before about 30 members of the Highlands Homeowners Association at the Highlands Grill, the two shared their thoughts on what makes them the best candidate. Current mayor Clay Larkin decided to not seek re-election. Both Jacobson and Thoreson bring community service and knowledge of city issues to the table, but have different skills.
Question: Thoreson has the Reagan Republicans endorsement, Jacobson has the Balance North Idaho endorsement. They're running for mayor in Post Falls, not Coeur d'Alene. Who has the advantage?
S-R photojournalist Kathy Plonka covered Lake City's win over Post Falls. Check out this big picture gallery of her photos.
Alan Wolfe, of 591 N. Stephanie Street, has become the third candidate to file for Post Falls City Council Seat 2, creating a three-way race with Jim Hail and Barry Rubin. Three people signed Wolfe's petition: Laurel Rollins, Danielle Wolfe and Ami Boni. Two of the three City Council races are currently have three candidates. Councilwoman Linda Wilhelm remains the only council member unopposed for re-election, for Seat 6. Filing deadline is at 5 p.m. today. You can see a list of all Post Falls candidates here.
With the support of his family and friends, Jim Hail formally announced today his candidacy for Post Falls City Council, Seat No. 2. In his announcement, Hail described his campaign for office and his vision for the future of the city of Post Falls. “Being a lifelong resident of the area, I am passionate about the city of Post Falls and its people,” said Hail. “I hope to keep Post Falls a family-friendly community where I can raise children and maintain the qualities that make the city a place people are proud of.” Bringing over a decade of business experience to the table, Hail went on to say, “I believe that my life experiences, professional expertise, abilities, and understanding of the issues uniquely position me as the best candidate for Post Falls City Council”/News Release. More here.
- Also: Barry Rubin is the only other candidate who has filed for the Seat 2 position so far. You can see all the filings to date here.
S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the Post Falls High opener against Capital. Capital defeated Post Falls 35-0. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
Kerri Thoreson Facebooks today: "It's official. I filed the paperwork at 8:30 a.m. to seek the office of mayor for Post Falls. It's exciting to begin the actual quest that's been several years in preparation. Filing is open through September 6 for the mayor's seat and three council positions."
An Idaho man who called 911 to report a road-rage encounter with a Portland police traffic captain nearly two years ago is now suing the officer and the city of Portland. Lawyers for Nicholas Cox, 30, filed the suit Tuesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, accusing Todd Wyatt of assault. Wyatt, 45, has since been demoted to lieutenant, partly due to his off-duty confrontation with Cox in August 2011. The suit also attempts to hold the city responsible for Wyatt's off-duty behavior. Cox contends the city failed to adequately train and discipline Wyatt at the Police Bureau for earlier "misuse of force." The suit does not identify those cases/Maxine Bernstein, Oregonian. More here.
- H/T: Eye on Boise
Question: What do you make of this lawsuit?
Councilwoman Kerri Thoreson of Post Falls emailed the following announcement to Huckleberries moments ago:
"I’m officially announcing my intention to seek the office of mayor in November. For the past six years I’ve had the privilege of serving the citizens on the Post Falls City Council and at this time believe I will provide leadership with a refreshed outlook as our fair city moves forward. My vision for Post Falls is simple … a future that ensures today’s young families will choose to live here, become involved and that they can afford to do so. Post Falls is a wonderful community where my husband, Bert and I have made our home for 27 years. I love where I live and the opportunities that exist to make a difference in every corner of the community, including City Hall."
Question: Don't you wish Kerri lived in Coeur d'Alene and ran for city mayor or council here?
BOATING — Recent heavy rain in the region doubled the flows in the Spokane River within a 24 hour period and prompted Avista to open one of the spill gates at the Post Falls Dam.
The City of Post Falls boat launch and swim beach at Q’emiln Park was closed today. For public safety reasons, whenever any of the spill gates at the Post Falls Dam are open, river recreation is prohibited in the area between the Spokane Street Bridge and the Post Falls Dam.
With more rain in the forecast over the next several days, the boat launch is expected to be closed through the weekend.
Just last week, the Post Falls Dam spill gates were all closed and the Q’emiln Park boat launch was opened on June 12. This typically occurs sometime between Memorial Day and the July 4 holiday, and on average about June 22. But this year’s below-normal spring precipitation and snow pack resulted in below normal river inflows into Coeur d’Alene Lake allowed Avista to close all the Post Falls Dam spill gates earlier than average. However, recent heavy rains have quickly changed the water levels.
For current information on anticipated elevation changes on Coeur d’ Alene Lake, Lake Spokane and the Spokane River, call Avista’s 24-hour telephone information line. In Idaho, call (208) 769-1357; in Washington, call (509) 495-8043 or check the Avista Utilities website.
BOATING – Below normal spring runoff has allowed Avista to stabilize Lake Coeur d’Alene at summer levels and expand boating opportunities about a week earlier than normal.
The Spokane River was opened Wednesday to recreation between the Spokane Street Bridge and the boater safety cables upstream of the Post Falls Dam.
The Post Falls boat launch and swim beach at Q’emiln Park also has opened.
You can also check weather and water flow information on the Avista Utilities website.
Next up on Post Falls' quest to create a downtown: Spokane Street. The north-south corridor from Interstate 90 south to the Spokane River bridge will receive a makeover featuring raised landscaped medians, a pedestrian/bike trail on the west side, gateway monuments at both ends, decorative lighting and on-street parallel parking. The improvements will start late this summer with traffic signals at Fourth and Spokane next to City Hall. The rest of the $2.2 million project funded by the Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency will be done starting next spring. "We want minimal impact to traffic and don't want to tear up Spokane Street in two different construction years," said Matt Gillis, project engineer for Welch Comer Engineers. "It's like ripping off a Band-Aid quickly instead of slowly." The project is the latest aimed at creating a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly city center, Gillis said/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Where would you say downtown Post Falls is?
Item: Election plan draws concern: But teacher union denies wrongdoing, district finds none/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans are raising red flags over the Post Falls teachers union plan to support school board candidates for the May 21 election, but the union denies any wrongdoing and the school district and county clerk didn't find any. The Republican group obtained an April 18 email the Post Falls Education Association sent to its membership, outlining an action plan to support candidates and containing form letters to the editor. Jeff Ward, treasurer of the Republican group, said he believes the union would be crossing the line of using taxpayer-funded resources for campaign purposes if it acts on its candidate support plan - if it hasn't already.
Question: Do the Reagan Republicans have a legitimate beef here?
The El Rancho mobile home park in Post Falls met a quick fate last summer. Notices posted on trailer doors in January told residents they had six months to get out. By winter, the lot was being bulldozed. As we reported then, many of the park's residents felt the eviction was unfair or worried about how they'd afford to move. Many mobile home park residents own their homes, but not the land underneath them, leaving them with expensive moving bills or the prospect of leaving their homes behind. “Just because we live in trailers doesn’t mean we’re trailer trash,” one resident, Lisa Cornett, said then. “Don’t treat us like trash”/Heidi Groover, Inlander. More here. (Inlander photo)
Brady Ulen is a sprinter. First and foremost, actually, Ulen is a soccer player — a defensive center back for Post Falls High School whose skills earned him a full-ride soccer scholarship to Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Ore., beginning this fall. But Ulen sprints too. He can clock 200 meters in 22 seconds, and 400 takes around 51 - though when the two sports schedules conflict in the spring he chooses soccer over track every time. So when Ulen took off Saturday after a suspected car and wallet thief who was trying to outrun police, well, the suspect couldn't outrun Ulen/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)
Question: Have you ever had a vehicle stolen?
From my files 25 years ago:
POST FALLS — Retiree Ed Pettis prides himself on the back yard he has carved out of rocky Spokane River frontage. A span of grass and bull pines slopes southward from his double-wide mobile home to the river bank, cut in two by a hog-wire fence. The river flows in easy view of his living room. It's the southern end of Pettis' 300-foot-deep yard that causes him to scowl, the part that has been bulldozed and seeded with rye grass. Kootenai County owns an easement through that part — along the old Spokane River Canal right-of-way, which bisects the Pettis property. "My property could look pretty nice if I were free to fix it the way I want," said Pettis, fingering a key to the padlocked gate that blocks intruders from his main yard. "They said they're going to have all kinds of stuff through there, and now they've come up with this (centennial) trail business." (Kathy Plonka SR file photo of jogger using Centennial Trail)
Question: Did you realize that a good number of Post Falls residents fought the proposed Centennial Trail, especially in the Pine Villa area?
Keegan Day, 4, plays on one of the swings at White Park in Post Falls during a trip Monday to the park with his father. The Post Falls City Council is expected to approve a Parks & Recreation facilities master plan when it meets tonight, including a dog park, splash pad, community center and trail improvements. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)
- Idaho Records/Sherry Adkins, SR
- Hayden assisted-living official punished/David Cole, Press
- Enviros sue over Salmon River dredging/Associated Press
- Shasta Groene appears on Headline News w/Nancy Grace/KTVB
- Windy conditions will continue through evening/Nicole Hensley, SR
- Gonzaga's Pangos relishes time spent w/Steve Nash/Jim Meehan, SR
- Idaho education law foes speak up at Boise debate/Kristin Rodine, IS
- Spokane man accused of shooting girlfriend in face enters court plea/KHQ
- Orbusmax Special: WSU student in critical condition with viral meningitis here
At his town hall meeting in Post Falls over the weekend, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo hobnobs with local Republican grand dame Alice Rankin, widow of the late Kootenai County commissioner Ron Rankin. (Duane Rasmussen photo for Huckleberries Online)
The City of Post Falls reported a 4,000 gallon wastewater spill at Osprey Drive and Shoreline Drive on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. The spill occurred when a 6-inch pressurized sewer pipe failed and caused a leak. City crews immediately shut off the broken pipe and disinfected the affected areas. A backup sewer pipe is currently in use, and a street sweeper provided final cleanup of the area this morning. There was no disruption of sewer service in the neighborhood. The City notified the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality about the spill. Repair of the broken sewer pipe will be done on Tuesday, July 24. Local traffic will be routed around the work area/Post Falls news release. More here.
I know this is late notice but Avista will have a meeting to discuss summer work on the Post Falls Dam and answer questions tonight from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Post Falls Police Department in Post Falls at 1717 E. Polston Ave. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, please call Mac Mikkelson at 509-495-8759.
From the Avista Blog:
We’re replacing the lifting hoists and old timber intake gates with modern lifting hoists and new steel gates. The work is expected to update a system that is more than 100 years old in places, enhancing safety and increasing reliability and efficiency at the dam. We were also planning to refurbish the spill gates in the south channel of the river, but that project has been postponed until 2013.
The intake gate replacement project is scheduled for July-November 2012 while river flows are at summer levels. During the project, we’ll do our best to minimize the disruption to recreation and power generation as much as possible, but the work is important so we can continue to safely generate clean, reliable hydropower. The project will affect park users, boaters and dam operations.
At approximately 7:54 p.m. Sunday, sheriff's deputies and Kootenai Fire responded to the Faith Ministries Church on 16th Avenue in Post Falls for a report of an ultra light aircraft crash. Upon arrival it was determined that it was not an ultra light aircraft, but rather a powered parachute that was attempting to take off in the parking lot with 2 people aboard and it crashed into an unoccupied school bus owned by the church and legally parked. The operator, David Endsley, 50, from Redmond, Oregon, was treated and released at the scene for minor injuries. The passenger Collin Williams, 18, of Post Falls, was transported to Kootenai Medical Center for treatment regarding some non-life threatening injuries. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor. The investigation is still on-going.
Question: Izzit just me, or does this seem unsafe to you, too?
David King figured his two 1967 Chevy Camaro Rally Sport show cars were history. The Post Falls man thought they had been parted out. His insurance company was preparing to pay King for the stolen cars as nearly a month had passed since the theft. Then a car collector in Garden City in the Boise area called King on Friday night to say he had looked at his black Camaro for sale at a storage facility in that town. "The seller was asking $27,500, but the potential buyer knew something was up because the car is worth at least twice that much," King said. The potential buyer, Don Copple, said he would think about the purchase and, sure enough, later saw photos on the Internet that the vehicle had been reported as stolen by King. King said police asked Don to meet the seller, Anthony Bauer, 48, Post Falls, again at the storage facility to discuss the car on Saturday/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Police mug shot via Idaho Statesman of suspected accomplice Sarah M. Cornett, 19, of Post Falls)
Question: Have you ever had your car stolen?
Item: Shut it down: Riverbend urban renewal district is 2nd in Post Falls to close/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: Amid the ongoing debates of urban renewal reform, here's something for the taxing districts and taxpayers of Post Falls to celebrate. In November the Riverbend Urban Renewal District will be the second Post Falls URD to close in the 20-year history of the city's Urban Renewal Agency and one of the few in the state to terminate. While some URDs and improvement projects within them draw controversy, especially when taxpayer dollars are being used to fund them, the 330-acre Riverbend URD created in 1997 has seemed to avoid such battles. It is used by local officials as a shining example of how the urban renewal process is supposed to work.
Question: Why are urban renewal districts in Post Falls relatively controversy-free?
A Post Falls man who beat his dog with a hammer as his neighbor watched in horror has been sentenced to six months in jail. Calvin Franklin Palmer, 53, who served 33 years in prison in Arizona for murder, apologized at his sentencing Friday and said the death of his Akita-pit bull even “traumatized him,” according to court records. “I was the only one who treated her nicely,” Palmer said. He told police he killed the dog after she attacked a cat and he feared she would attack him. “I'm sorry that someone saw me do that,” he said in court Friday, according to a transcript. Palmer was booked into the Kootenai County Jail that day to begin his sentence/Meghann Cuniff, SR. More here.
When the starting gate bell sounds at Churchill Downs next weekend, some 150 women in the crowd will be wearing the creations of Diane Siverson, a Post Falls hat-maker. Siverson, 64, became a milliner eight years ago, initially creating hats targeted to Red Hat Society members. Now she’s selling 250 to 300 hats a year and the biggest segment of that business is Kentucky Derby hats. The Derby is a fashion parade, with women showing off spring dresses and elaborate headdresses, much as Royal Ascot is in England. Other racetracks in the United States have also adopted the hat-centric tradition in various forms. Siverson began selling to that market when she and her husband, Ron, created a website for her Lady Diane Hats. The hats range from small “fascinators” that were popularized by the wedding of the former Kate Middleton and Prince William last year, to a monumental creation that looks like a feathery wedding cake/Addy Hatch, SR. More here. (Kathy Plonka's SR photo: Diane Siverson creates and sells custom-made hats from her home in Post Falls)
Question: Can you describe the fanciest hat you own?
Authorities reported Thursday they located the body of man reported missing earlier this week. Investigators said they found the body of Jason Tallon, 35, at the end of Ashraf Court. A citizen was walking their dog in the area found Tallon and called police. Once authorities arrived on scene, Tallon was found behind a fence just below some railroad tracks. Police said Tallon was last seen walking away from a friend’s home in the early morning hours of April 14. It was reported to investigators Tallon suffered from deep depression/KREM. More here. (Originally posted on PM Scanner Traffic at 4:57 p.m. Wednesday here)
Fatbeam, a Post Falls-based telecom provider, has signed a deal to provide the Yakima School District a high-capacity fiber-optic network, along with lit fiber services.
The eight-year contract comes to over $2 million, a Fatbeam release noted.
Like other districts, the Yakima district is using the federal E-Rate Program, which allows for schools to upgrade bandwidth and networks with money set aside through the Federal Communications Commission.
Fatbeam's pipe will give the district buildings 20-gigabit connections. That's about 20 times the previous bandwidth capacity.