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Task Force Denounces Hate Crime

Spokeswoman Heather Keen of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe reports that the Idaho Department of Transportation has already replaced the historical market contaminated with racist graffiti. She encourages anyone with information about this incident to call the Idaho State Police or Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-8477. (Courtesy photo: Coeur d'Alene Tribe)

Tony Stewart of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations sent the following letter to the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe re: racist vandalism found on the DeSmet Mission historical marker over the weekend: "It is with great sadness and concern that we have learned about the hate message scrawled on the Coeur d’Alene Tribal historical sign. It is obvious that the perpetrator or perpetrators have engaged in the most hideous form of racism that has emerged from their deep seated bigotry and prejudice. This is clearly a hate crime with the intent to promote anger and hatred directed at the good people of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. It is unfortunately another example to remind us that we still have a challenge in eradicating racism from the world’s society. We condemn and denounce in the strongest terms this act of hatred." Full letter here. (Courtesy photo of vandalism: Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe)

Question: Do you consider the vandalism to the DeSmet Mission historical marker to be a hate crime?

Tony Addresses Human Rights Crowd

Tony Stewart, one of the long-time leaders of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, addresses an audience of 476 people at the Human Rights Banquet, the second largest crowd in the event's 17 years. The annual event was sponsored by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, the local organization that fought and ultimately helped bankrupt the Aryan Nations. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

6 Honored For Adding The Words

Councilman Woody McEvers receives the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations civil rights award for his part in the council's decision last year to extend city human-rights protection to gays. Former mayor Sandi Bloem and the four other council members who voted in favor of the decision — Ron Edinger, Deanna Goodlander, Mike Kennedy and Dan Gookin — also received an individual award. Emcee Tony Stewart is in the background. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Six current and former Coeur d’Alene elected officials were honored Monday night for supporting a change in city law making it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations gave its Civil Rights Award to former Mayor Sandi Bloem, former City Council members Mike Kennedy and Deanne Goodlander, and current Councilmen Woody McEvers, Ron Edinger and Dan Gookin. Bloem helped bring the matter before the council last year, and those five council members voted for the change on June 4. The task force also gave Ellen Stamsos its Bill Wassmuth Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award at the group’s annual Human Rights Banquet. Stamsos is the treasurer of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: What values did you learn from your parents?

Adam: No More Skate Plaza Events

On his Facebook page, Adam Graves writes that his children "will not be attending anymore Skate Plaza Sorensen fundraisers. We just cannot, as a family with gay friends and family members, support the new owners of Skate Plaza who just wrote this piece to Tony Stewart, the head of the human rights institute, a man who has fought for the rights of many in our community."


Pastor: Stewart Revives Nat’l Stigma

In recent months, I communicated that our community has been successfully recovering from the reputation of being discriminatory. This terrible attribute was the result of the Aryan Nation and its wickedness toward people of color – an evil that is condemned by all who have a good “moral compass”. I also told you that the request for the LGBT ordinance may have the potential to revive the national stigma associated with North Idaho. You are making my case. Your recent “My Turn” suggests that a “discussion” about the ordinance will revive our former reputation. I find it odd that in our past discussions we could not see eye to eye about this - and now we agree. Secondly, I also told you that the LGBT ordinance would impose upon the rights of one party or group in order to provide rights to another group or person and therefore does not protect the rights of all people-groups in Coeur d’Alene. In this, we now seem to agree as well/Pastor Paul Van Noy, Candlelight Church. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo, of Pastor Paul Van Noy)

Question: So is the 2013 Coeur d'Alene city elections going to be a rematch between the Christians and the lions?

Regan Holds To His Version Of Story

In a Coeur d'Alene Press online exchange with HREI director Tom Carter, former Coeur d'Alene school trustee Brent Regan continued to claim that his version of an encounter with human-rights activist Tony Stewart was accurate:

  • Tom Carter: "THE TRUE FACTS OF WHAT WAS SAID FROM A WITNESS ((BRENT)) If you recall as it seems you do not. I was standing behind Tony during your conversation. The TRUE recollection of the story was as follows: Brent walks up to Tony and states, 'Tony you have No Integrity!' Tony Responds, 'Mr. Regan we did not ask you to resign from the board. When you did apologized and we accepted your apology.' At that point Tony and I walked away."
  • Brent Regan: "That is not what transpired. If face it does not even make sense. You must have me confused with another person dissatisfied with Mr. Steward's lack of professionalism."


2nd Man Challenges Regan Claim

(Tom Carter, director of the Human Rights Education Institute) said if Regan is willing, he would be happy to take a lie detector test with him. "Because I know who would win," he said.

Former Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustee Brent Regan took aim at human rights advocate Tony Stewart on Wednesday, calling him out for publicly opposing two mayoral candidates who do not support the city's anti-discrimination ordinance. In what he described as "An open letter to Mr. Steward (sic)" Regan posted the following comment under the online version of Stewart's My Turn column. "Tony, During our conversation at the CDA Library I chastised you for falsely and publicly characterizing a person's position without doing the due diligence of first talking to that person. You apologized and assured me it would never happen again and yet here you are doing EXACTLY the same crime," Regan wrote. "If you are to lead the Task Force on Human Relations then perhaps you should invest in the 'relations' part and actually talk to people before you start squawking like Chicken Little." The problem is, both Stewart and Tom Carter, director of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, said on Wednesday that conversation never happened/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


Stewart: I Didn’t Apologize To Regan

“During our conversation at the CDA Library I chastised you for falsely and publicly characterizing a person's position without doing the due diligence of first talking to that person. You apologized and assured me it would never happen again and yet here you are doing EXACTLY the same crime" — Brent Regan comment today, on Coeur d'Alene Press online site.

"I just spoke to Tony. He shared his discussion with Brent Regan at the library. This is what Tony told me "Brent approached me and said I have no integrity. My exact response to him was Mr. Regan we did not ask you to resign from the Board. When you did apologize we accepted your apology. That is all I said to him and walked away. There was no other discussion as he indicated" — Christie Wood, president, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations.

Tony Stewart has contacted both Huckleberries and Coeur d'Alene Press Editor Mike Patrick to challenge an online statemnt made today in the Press by former Coeur d'Alene school trustee Brent Regan. In an email to Huckleberries, Stewart said: "I was to say the least shocked that Mr. Brent Regan indicated that I apologized to him and it would never happen again. My very words were as told to Christie Wood listed below. I had no reason to apologize. Tom Carter, the Executive Director, of the Human Rights Education Institute was present with me. He can verify the conversation. It is so important to set the record straight and I thank both of you."


Regan Reacts to Stewart Open Letter

Under Tony Stewart's "open letter" printed in the Coeur d'Alene Press's online edition, former Coeur d'Alene school trustee Brent Regan offers an "open letter" to Tony Steward (sic) in response:

"During our conversation at the CDA Library I chastised you for falsely and publicly characterizing a person's position without doing the due diligence of first talking to that person. You apologized and assured me it would never happen again and yet here you are doing EXACTLY the same crime. If you are to lead the Task Force on Human Relations then perhaps you should invest in the 'relations' part and actually talk to people before you start squawking like Chicken Little. Your apparent inability to be fair minded makes you unfit to serve as a leader of the Task Force and the Board would be wise to consider your 'retirement' before you do further to damage the credibility of that organization."


Tony Stewart Opposes Souza, Kunka

Tony Stewart, long-time leader of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations wrote the following open letter to Mayor Sandi Bloem and council members Ron Edinger, Dan Gookin, Deanna Goodlander, Mike Kennedy and Woody McEvers:

I hope all is well with you. I want to share with you what I found deeply troubling regarding the positions of mayoral candidates Mary Souza and Joe Kunka in the “Coeur d’Alene Press” interview on September 12 when addressing the anti-discrimination ordinance passed by the City of Coeur d’Alene on June 4. As one who has spent a lifetime studying and teaching constitutional law and a human rights activist, I find these candidates’ position historically both foreign to and antagonistic toward the democratic principles of freedom and equality for all Americans including all the residents of Coeur d’Alene. We in the human rights community will once again be energized to take a firm stand against discrimination directed toward any of our citizens. I personally oppose the stands of Mr. Kunka and Ms. Souza based upon the following points. List of complaints here.


Blue Book Honors Human Rightists

Item: Human rights leaders honored: Annual Idaho Blue Book dedicated to Wassmuth, Stewart, Gissel/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The latest edition of Idaho's Blue Book, a go-to resource for anything Idaho, has been dedicated to local leaders of the human rights movement. In a spot reserved for Idaho moguls, such as former Governor Cecil Andrus and Joe Albertson, who built one of the world's largest supermarket chains, Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa dedicated the 22nd edition of the Blue Book to Bill Wassmuth, Tony Stewart and Norm Gissel. "Both of us were on the same page with this," said Pat Herman, who compiles the Blue Book for Ysursa. "We had both seen Marcia Franklin's documentary 'The Color of Conscience.'"

Question: Have you ever looked at the Idaho Blue Book?

Speakers explore human rights history

COEUR d'ALENE - The history and impact of human rights advocacy in the region will be the subject of a five-part weekly speaker series hosted in August by the Kootenai County Democratic Club.

"The Story of Human Rights in the Pacific Northwest: A Look Back at the Past Three Decades" is being coordinated by local human rights leader Tony Stewart at the request of the Democratic Club.

"The goal of the series is to tell the three-decade story of how the region's many human rights groups through their leaders and supporters successfully defeated the purveyors of hate with the establishment of successful community models advancing human rights," Stewart said. "These models have been adopted by communities across America to promote human rights and counter bigotry." Full story, Cda Press

Do you plan on attending any of these events?

Tony Stewart Remembers Ray Stone

I wish to share my thoughts on the passing of my good friend Ray Stone. In 1970, I was interviewed by NIC Dean of Instruction Ray Stone and NIC President Barry Schuler for the opening political science position. Ray called two days later to offer me the position that begin a more than four decades of friendship. I served as chair of the NIC Division of Social Science for 14 years and during most of that time I reported to Dean Stone. When Ray decided to seek a seat on the Coeur d’Alene City Council, I became involved in that first campaign and continued to work in all his other races for council and mayor. We spent many hours together addressing political issues and most important of all we worked with other members of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations to promote human rights in Coeur d’Alene and the region. Ray was so proud of three very significant and special human rights ceremonies and events that took place while he was mayor. More here.

Question: What will Ray Stone be remembered for?

Aftermath; New CdA Law Opens Rift

Coeur d’Alene is the fifth Idaho city to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation following a heated community debate that exposed a deep divide on the issue. Human rights advocates, religious leaders, business owners, students and educators dug in Tuesday for a long night of testimony before the City Council. Shortly before midnight, councilors voted 5 to 1 to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. The day after, some of those on the front lines spoke of moving on and bridging the rift. Others were disheartened, saying their words of caution fell on ears indifferent to their deeply held beliefs. “I think that the council members for the most part had already made up their minds before the meeting began,” said a leading critic of the new ordinance, Paul Van Noy, the pastor of Candlelight Christian Fellowship and president of the Coeur d’Alene Ministerial Association. “The cry for equal rights was heard unequally,” Van Noy said Wednesday/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shane Duffy and Dotty Quade pray outside of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library community room)


CdA’s Anti-Bias Debate Makes WSJ

How big is that discussion occurring this week re: Coeur d'Alene's possible decision to extend anti-discrimination protections to the gay community in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations? The story was picked up by the Wall Street Journal today. Coeur d'Alene's General Service Committee voted 2-1 Tuesday to recommend approval of the ordinance to the City Council. (Photo: Thom George)

From WSJournal article by Jim Carlton: "Council President Mike Kennedy, who supports the proposal, said he plans to schedule it for a vote sometime in June. Three other council members said in interviews they either plan to vote for the ban or lean to doing so, while a fifth declined to comment and the mayor, Ms. Bloem—who votes only to break ties—said she would pass it." Complete article here.

Question: Will the vote on this controversial issue have repercussions for the November city election?

Banquet To Feature Genocide Expert

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations Board announced today the keynote speaker and other details of the upcoming 16th annual human rights banquet to be held in cooperation with the Human Rights Education Institute on Monday, April 22 at the Best Western Coeur d’Alene Inn. Gregory H. Stanton (pictured), president of the international “Genocide Watch”, will deliver the banquet keynote titled: “Ending Genocide: Local Action is the Best Way to Prevent Atrocities”. During his speech, Dr. Stanton will present examples of how local movements successfully defeated the Aryan Nations in the Inland Northwest, dictators Milosevic in Yugoslavia and Charles Taylor in Liberia and caused the fall of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party/Tony Stewart, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. More here.

Question: Have you ever attended the annual Human Rights Banquet?

Last lap wreck at Daytona injures fans, mars Tony Stewart’s NASCAR Nationwide victory

The last-lap wreck wasn't the only serious incident of the event. A 13-car wreck in Turns 1 and 2, triggered by contact between the No. 43 Ford Mustang of Michael Annett and the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro of Austin Dillon — both championship hopefuls — stopped the race after 116 laps and set up the finish.

Tony Stewart foils Kenseth, Biffle, wins Daytona thriller

As Tony Stewart approached the checkered flag for his third win of the season and the 47th of his career, a massive wreck in Turn 4 skewed the finishing order behind him. Stewart's 47th victory broke a tie with Hall of Famer Buck Baker for 14th all-time.

Clint Bowyer fends off Tony Stewart for Sonoma victory

Clint Bowyer scores his first road course victory of career on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as he bests Tony Stewart in Sonoma, Calif.

Tony Stewart wins rain-shortened Cup race at Fontana

After raindrops slowed the race on Lap 124, Tony Stewart, the race leader, faked a move toward pit road but stayed on the track and matched the pace car's speed of 65 mph, a far cry from the lightning-fast laps he ran under the green flag.

Tony Stewart holds off Johnson for first Las Vegas victory

The victory was Tony Stewart's first at the 1.5-mile track, leaving only Darlington and Kentucky as active Cup tracks at which he hasn't won. The win was Stewart's 45th, 15th all-time, in 467 Cup starts.

Task Force Backs Anti-Bullying Bill

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations’ Board of Directors announced today their full support of Idaho SB 1358 known as the anti-bullying bill to protect Idaho’s school children. The Board indicated that although it is already against Idaho law to bully another student in Idaho schools, this bill both expands and covers areas presently not addressed in the current legislation. Senate Bill 1358 requires every school district to have its own anti-bullying policy, provides for teacher training, makes sure teachers and school staff know that they are expected to intervene and keep kids safe when they see bullying occur, and very importantly the bill sets penalties for cyberbullying. More here. (2009 SR file photo of task force leaders Christie Wood & Tony Stewart at a human-rights event)

Question: Can you think of any legislator who would oppose this common-sense bill?

Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth win Duel qualifying races at Daytona

Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth claimed the third and fourth starting spots for Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500. They'll line up behind pole-sitter Carl Edwards and Biffle, who swept the front row for Roush Fenway in last Sunday's time trials at the 2.5-mile track.

A Nice Word Of Thanks From Tony

Thank you so much for using the comments by Christie and me in today’s Huckleberries. It is greatly appreciated. Please allow me to take this opportunity to make a few observations about the media’s coverage for more than 30 years of the human rights movement to counter the activities of hate activities and hate crimes in the Pacific Northwest. As I have said on numerous occasions, there is no doubt in my mind that the two journalists in the entire United States with the most extensive knowledge and expertise on this subject are Dave Oliveria and Bill Morlin. Between these two excellent journalists, they have a combined history of more than 60 years. I have often referred reporters from such newspapers as the “New York Times” to Dave or Bill for background information. We are fortunate that you both have chosen to stay in the Inland Northwest during your successful journalism career. And the Southern Poverty Law Center was very wise to recently bring Bill on board as part of their blog reporting/Tony Stewart, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. More here.

DFO: 'Tis nice to be lumped in the same sentence as Bill by someone is revered in this community as Tony.

Letter: HBO Didn’t Do KCTFHR Justice

Re: Rachel Dolezal's protest/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries (2nd item)

In the “Spokesman Review” Huckleberries column on Sunday, January 22, 2012, it was suggested that the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations prefers to accentuate the positive and focus on education with regard to confronting bigotry, prejudice and hate. This is only a partial description of who we are. For 31 years, the work and activities of the KCTFHR have included supporting the victims of hate crimes going back as far as the Sid Rosen and Connie Fort cases in the early 1980’s, the Victoria and Jason Keenan case in 1998 and the more recent 2011 Marlon Baker case. Let us not forget that members of our board have experienced serious threats on their lives such as the bombing of the late Father Bill Wassmuth’s home. We are not just a feel good organization/Christie Wood & Tony Stewart, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. More here. (2009 SR file photo: Tony Stewart, right, and Sgt. Christie Wood speaks to media about racist literature)

Question: Have you ever participated in an event staged by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations?

Race of His Life: Stewart Chased Edwards, History

A couple of important things to remember about long shots is that first, in order to win, they must have very good aim, and second, they generally have to deal with the issue of low expectations. At times, it seemed that NASCAR fans, who have enjoyed watching Stewart excel for years, had more faith in him than he had in himself. But he has acquired his reputation for toughness legitimately, and when the going required it, he came through.

Adversity can’t stop Stewart from winning 3rd Cup title

Tony Stewart’s quest for a third title was derailed early when contact with debris—of origin unknown—punched a hole in the grille of his No. 14 Chevrolet the size of a small saucer. Stewart fell to 40th in the running order, while his crew made repairs under caution on Lap 17.

Stewart Wins 4th Chase Race, Trims Edwards’ Lead to 3

With his fourth victory in the Chase and the 43rd of his career, Tony Stewart put a dent in runner-up Carl Edwards’ series lead, scoring maximum points (48) to trim Edwards’ advantage from eight to three points with two races left in the season.

Stewart Edges Johnson In Wild Martinsville Race

The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship is far from over as Tony Stewart win on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway closed the gap between himself and points leader Carl Edwards to a mere eight markers with three races left in the season.