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Tips and tricks on gathering the troops

If you don't know where to begin, we'll cover some tips and ideas on finding players for your gaming group. Though, personally, I find the best source of players is in your social group. Ask your friends if they would like to play. Offer food and fun. Though if they are too busy or just aren't interested, then read on …

Never too late to become a steelhead angler

FISHING — Mark Potter is all smiles about his recent steelhead fishing trip with his father-in-law on the Grande Ronde River.

The two were fishing with guide John Sullivan and they caught-and-released eight wild steelhead plus two hatchery keepers to extend the fun to the dinner table.

Keen is a WWII veteran, served in Germany in the signal corp and followed General Patton’s troops.

Says Potter:

Floated Boggan's to Shumaker. First time Burt remembers fishing on river. About 75 feet from the pull-out Burt hooked this lunker.

Burton Keen, 92, and his wife Avis, 89, moved to Spokane from Northern Minnesota a year ago November.  Burt said after catching a beautiful wild fish, "This is the biggest fish I have ever caught , and I'm 92 and been fishing all my life."

It was hard for him to release it. 

A day to remember. 

Slobs win: W. Medical Lake fishing access closed

FISHING — A chronic littering problem has resulted in the closure of the unofficial fishing access site at the north end of West Medical Lake in Spokane County.

Rudy Lopez of the Washington State Veterans Cemetery confirmed that the gate to the access site off Espanola Road has been locked, "no trespassing" signs have been posted and the Sheriff's Department has been asked to cite violators.

“It’s one of those cases of a few people ruining it for the majority,” Randy Osborne, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife district fisheries biologist, said last week in an appeal for anglers to clean up their act.

While Fish and Wildlife owns the public fishing access at the south end of the lake, the informal access at the north end is state land managed by the Veterans Cemetery. The road into the spot serves the pump that irrigates the cemetery.

Lopez said the littering has been persistent for the year and a half that he's worked at the cemetery.

"We're not directing blame on any one individual, but when we've contacted fishermen there they always say it's somebody else doing the littering," he said. "We've hoped that they would support us by chipping in, doing the Boy Scout thing, leaving the place better than they found it.

"We did reach out the the prison at Airway Heights and they've been sending a detail out once a month to pick up. We're out there weekly picking up and Fish and Wildlife people come out regularly, but we can't keep up. It just gets trashed again."

The public access at the south end of the West Medical will continue to be open through the lake's fishing season, which closes Sept. 30. Vehicles must display a Discover Pass or the Fish and Wildlife vehicle access pass that comes with the purchase of a fishing license.

Fish biolgist hopes anglers clean up their act

FISHING — In case you missed this disturbing but  important heads up published on  Sunday….

Fishermen may be trashing their privilege to use a fishing access to West Medical Lake.

A rocky point at the north end of the lake is regularly fouled with litter such as bait containers, food wrappers and lure packages despite repeated cleanup efforts.

“It’s one of those cases of a few people ruining it for the majority,” said Randy Osborne, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife district fisheries biologist.

While the agency owns the public fishing access at the south end of the lake, the informal access at the north end is state land managed by Washington State Veterans Cemetery.

The road into the spot serves the pump that irrigates the cemetery.

“There’s a tremendous garbage problem the cemetery workers have tolerated for a long time,” he said. “They’ve cleaned it up and our people have picked up, but there’s a percentage of people who use that site that won’t pack out what they pack in and it’s taking a toll.

“People like to fish off the rocks and the garbage they leave is not easy to collect. Cemetery workers are at the end of their rope on this. Access to that site is a privilege that anglers are going to lose if they don’t clean up their act.”

West Medical’s fishing season closes Sept. 30.


Fly fishers cast out to disabled vets

FISHING — Project Healing Waters has reached out through fly fishing to help several dozen Spokane-area disabled veterans since the Spokane-area chapter was founded two years ago.

Members of the Spokane Fly Fishers joined the 173 other volunteer organizations organized with PHW dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans. The emphasis is on healing through fly fishing, fly tying education and outings.

  • A national fact sheet is available here.

The group continues to seek donors of money and good-quality fly fishing equipment for use by the vets as well as volunteers interested in helping outings and clinics.

Contact Norm Scott, (509) 315-8867, email phwffspokane@gmail.com.


Readers criticize our veterans coverage

   Many of us in the Spokesman-Review newsroom receive daily telephone calls and emails from readers about a variety of issues, ranging from late or missed delivery of the morning edition and complaints about specific stories, columns or overall coverage to suggestions for stories and requests for coverage. We value the feedback and story tips and we know it is important to keep open the lines of communication with our readers.

   A couple of phone calls I received this week have remained in my thoughts because of the nature of the reader complaints. On Memorial Day, we published photographs of every Spokane-area military personnel who died while serving either in Afghanistan and Iraq. We may be the only newspaper in the country who has done this consistently each Memorial Day for the past several years. A 92-year-old veteran called me on Tuesday to tell me he and his friends were highly insulted because we didn't include any photographs of World War II servicemen who died in that epic struggle. The reader did not hold back in his criticism of us and accused us of ignoring that generation of Americans and Canadians who gave their lives in the fight to preserve our freedom.

   A couple days later, I received a second call about our coverage of WWII veterans, this time from a retired politician. He blasted us for ignoring the arrival of 89 veterans on one of the Honor Flights when they returned to Spokane International Airport the other evening. The reader said it's another example of why we are the "most liberal newspaper" in the country. "Even Harry Truman said that." Actually, Truman called us one of the worst papers in the country at that time, not the most liberal, but that's another story. I explained to the caller that there are several Honor Flights each year taking WWII veterans on a trip to Washington, D.C., to see the war monuments and other sights and that we simply don't have the resources to cover every one of them.

  I pointed out to both of our critics that we actually focus on more substantial stories about war veterans throughout the course of a normal year. I also pointed out that last Nov. 11, we published a special 72-page section devoted to in-depth stories about many veterans, including quite a number of WWII survivors. I also explained that we routinely do stories on key anniversary dates such as Pearl Harbor Day, D-Day and Veterans Day. It often seems that no matter how much we write about WWII, it never seems to be enough.

  We mean no disrespect to those who served in the miltary or who are currently doing so. We certainly recognize our society's eternal debt to those who have and continue to defend us on several fronts. Despite the criticism we receive from time to time about our military coverage in general, I remain immensely proud of the good work that my colleagues produce.

  I am frequently reminded by readers that those who serve in the military are the ones who guarantee us a free press and the right to report as we see fit. While that is certainly true, it's also a bit more complex than that, in my view, if for no other reason than a different kind of fight for press freedom continues every day in this country in the courts and halls of government. We take none of our freedom for granted.

  Not all of our readers this week complained, of course. One wrote me an email to inform me that she spent three hours on Sunday reading the paper because there was so much good content in it.

  Finally, a nice gentlemen passed me on the street on Thursday and said, "Love your red socks, man." So there's that.



Travel: Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach

   We walked through the gates of the Normandy American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach just as the staff raised the twin American Flags that fly on the tall poles at the edge of green lawn dotted with rows of white marble crosses stretching as far as the eye can see. It was still early but I was surprised by the number of people that were already there. Some had come to find a particular name, others to pay their respects to lives lost, each to mark a dark moment in the modern world’s history.  


   At the visitor’s center I sat down on a bench to watch a film with short biographies of some of those killed during the Battle of Normandy. A man who looked to be in his 80s, or even older, was seated on the bench beside me. 


   Absorbed by the film, by the stories of the lives of ordinary people cut short by a brutal war, I’d forgotten I wasn’t alone until I heard a sound from the man seated next to me. It was the soft shuddering sound of a breath that could have become a sob. An involuntary cry that had been quickly covered. Surprised, I glanced over at him and then quickly looked away.  He didn’t move, his eyes remained locked on the screen, and he did not make another sound. The movie ended and I saw him reach up to wipe his hand across his eyes. 


   We both stood to move on. He rose slowly, stiffly, leaning on a cane as he walked from the room, I stayed behind to gather my thoughts. I have no idea if the man was a veteran of the Normandy landings. I suppose it’s possible. We lose so many WWII veterans each day but a few are still healthy enough to make the pilgrimage to Normandy.


   The man could have been a boy at the time, just old enough to enlist, and one of the thousands who waded into hell that day. Or he might have lost someone, a father, a brother, an uncle or cousin, and watching the movie brought back the pain of the loss. I’ll never know. But the man beside me in the darkened room, a man who caught his breath on a sob, reminded me that battles may end but pain comes and goes as it pleases. And time means nothing when the right trigger is pulled.



   War seems to be a more casual thing these days. Looking around me at airports, at the grocery store, at the mall, I see men and women in uniform every day. We’re quick to thank them for service and then move on. I know of some who served and returned to pick up their lives and go on and others who came home to find they no longer fit as comfortably into the lives they’d shed. Too many never make it home at all.


   Tomorrow is Veterans Day and I can’t shake the image of more than 9,000 stark white crosses on a hillside overlooking the sea. 


   I keep hearing the sound of an old man trying not to cry.



Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer whose audio 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


130+ employers on tap for ‘Hero2Hired’ job fair for vets Thurs. at Idaho Center

More than 130 employers will be hiring at the third annual “Hero2Hired” job fair for veterans, military members and military spouses on Thursday at the Idaho Center in Nampa. The employers, all of whom have open positions, will conduct interviews with interested job seekers on the spot. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is open to veterans, active duty military, members of the National Guard and Reserve, and military spouses. Job seekers and employers can still register online to participate at labor.idaho.gov; walk-ins also are welcome.

The event is sponsored by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Hero2Hired, the Idaho Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Idaho Center, and KTVB-TV; at last year’s job fair, 81 vets were hired on the spot and 327 additional hires were planned by participating companies over the next year.

Navy Vets Gather At Farragut

Dozens of U.S. Navy World War II veterans help unfurl and stretch a large U.S. flag as "Anchor's Aweigh" is played over loud speakers Saturday at Farragut State Park. Most of the veterans who attended the annual reunion completed basic training at the Farragut Naval Training Station between 1942 and 1946 before fighting in the Pacific theater 70 years ago. Although formal reunions were curtailed several years ago, veterans and their supporters organize informal gatherings, including a coffee hour and barbecue after the flag ceremony. Story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Has any member of your family served in the U.S. Navy?

Sporting clays shoot benefits wounded CdA soldier

SHOOTING – A Guns and Grub shotgun target shooting event set for Sept. 28 at Landt Farms Sporting Clays will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and the family of Coeur d’Alene Army Reservist Daniel Guerrero, who was wounded in Afghanistan in May.

Limited to 75 shooters. Cost: $65 includes barbecue.

Pre-register: 279-8125, email gunsandgrubspokane@gmail.com. 

‘Bon Jovi Arena’ Angers Local Vets

Singer Jon Bon Jovi performs on stage earlier this month in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/dpa, Marc Mueller, file)

A promotional stunt met community resistance Thursday when unhappy military and civic boosters took to the Web and the streets to protest the temporary renaming of the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena to the Bon Jovi Veterans Arena. In celebration of an Oct. 6 concert by rock group Bon Jovi, which was announced early Thursday, the Public Facilities District has temporarily renamed the arena. After the concert, the arena will go back to its former name. But some commenters on local media and the arena’s Facebook page called the move disrespectful and extreme, while others praised the district’s efforts in booking the classic rock band/Kaitlin Gillespie, SR. More here.

Question: Is this situation a total brain cramp on the part of the Public Facilities District? Or do you see logic to its move?

Fly fishing gives Vietnam vet a day of peace

FISHING — The photo above shows Double Spey Outfitters fly fishing guide G.L. Britton in the process of aiding Vietnam-Gulf War veteran Harold Watters of Cheney catch and release a feisty rainbow Tuesday.

They were enjoying the sunny day on a locally organized Project Healing Waters outing at Crab Creek.

Well done.

Had a wonderful day," Watters said by emaiI last night. "I was able to excape my PTSD for the day, and for that I thank you."

Paddle sports clubs reach out to disabled vets

WATER SPORTS – A program to create an environment of healthy adventure for healing active duty and veteran service members through paddle sports will be introduced in Spokane on Monday, Jan. 28.

The Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club is teaming with Team River Runner, a national non-profit group, to open canoeing and kayaking opportunities for disabled vets, said Celene Olgeirsson, SCKC spokeswoman.

The program starts at 7 p.m. at Mountain Gear Corporate Office, 6021 E. Mansfield Ave., in Spokane Valley.

Info: 509-209-3066

National symbols put on show for veterans at Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING — The bald eagles didn't disappoint the two boat cruises full of dedicated veterans and active military and their families out on Lake Coeur d'Alene on Saturday.

Continue reading for the story from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

By popular demand, a second boat to sail for Veterans eagle-watching cruise on CdA


WILDLIFE WATCHING — Local veterans and military personnel can sign up starting at noon Monday for a free cruise boat tour on Saturday (Nov. 24) to view the start of the annual bald eagle congregation on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Local veterans and military personnel are allowed to bring up to five immediate family members on the boat that will tour Wolf Lodge Bay with a wildlife biologist aboard.

The first Veterans Eagle Boat Cruise offered last week filled in a couple of days, said officials with the Bureau of Land Management, which coordinates the veterans cruise along with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Priority seating will be given to veterans and active military personnel who have not previously been aboard the cruise

Reservations are required and will be taken via telephone.

  • Call Suzanne Endsley of the BLM at (208) 769-5004 during the business hours, starting at noon on Monday to 4:30 p.m.
  • The current status of available seating will be posted on the Coeur d’Alene Field Office’s website.

Boarding for the second two-hour cruise will begin at 12:30 a.m. on November 24 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Lake Cruises boat dock located on the east end of the Resort. Participants are encouraged to dress warmly and bring binoculars and cameras. Food and beverage are available for purchase aboard the ship.

Veterans to be honored with eagle cruise on Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING — A special cruise boat is being reserved for veterans to tour Lake Coeur d'Alene on Nov. 24 to view the annual congregation of bald eagles that come to feast on spawning kokanee.

The Bureau of Land Management, in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, is offering a Veteran’s Eagle Watch Cruise on Wolf Lodge Bay — a free event focused on recognizing veterans, active military and their immediate families from the North Idaho area. 

In the past the agencies have been able to offer two cruises; however, this year due to leaner budgets they are only able to fund one cruise, which will accommodate up to 150 participants. 

Veterans and active military personnel that have never before taken advantage of the opportunity will have first priority for seating.  A total party of up to six immediate family members will be accommodated, including the veteran or military personnel.

Reservations are required and will be taken via telephone.

  • Call Suzanne Endsley of the BLM at (208) 769-5004 during the business hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
  • The current status of available seating will be posted on the Coeur d’Alene Field Office’s website.

Boarding for the two-hour cruise will begin at 9:30 am on November 24 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Lake Cruises boat dock located on the east end of the Resort.  Participants are encouraged to dress warmly and bring binoculars and cameras.  Food and beverage are available for purchase aboard the ship.

15 of nation’s top cartoonists headed to Boise for wounded warriors benefit

Fifteen of the nation's top cartoonists, including Tom Richmond of MAD Magazine, Jeff Keane of the Family Circus, Mike Peters of Mother Goose and Grimm, Rick Kirkman of Baby Blues, Todd Clark of Lola, Mason Mastroianni of B.C. and more, will be in Boise on Dec. 1 for the "Guardian Ball," a benefit for the Wyakin Warrior Foundation. The Treasure Valley foundation provides intensive services to severely wounded and injured veterans, including education, mentoring, professional development, networking and job placement; the wounded vets get full scholarships to Boise State University and the College of Western Idaho as part of the program. The scholarships run for 51 months - that's four years plus three months the summer before enrolling, when the severely wounded vets are helped out with housing, medical issues and orientation to prepare for college.

The benefit will be a black-tie gala with dinner, music and a live auction, at which the cartoonists will provide original art, caricatures and more; the event will be at the Boise Centre. Click here for more information, including ticket sales.

Interestingly, the connection between cartoonists and the Wyakin Warrior Foundation is an integral one: The foundation's founder, retired Navy Capt. Jeff Bacon, is a cartoonist himself, who's drawn cartoons for the Navy Times, Marine Corps Times and Military Times. "I organized USO trips to take the cartoonists around to visit the wounded troops and such," Bacon said, "so all these guys are my friends, and I just asked them to come."

Cartoonists have been visiting the troops since World War II, when they "bonded so much they formed the National Cartoonists Society, the largest professional organization for cartoonists in the country," Bacon said. They went on USO trips during the Korea and Vietnam wars, and in 2005 started again for today's conflicts. Bacon and other cartoonists have visited wounded troops at military hospitals stateside, and cheered up troops in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. "So we've all gotten pretty close, just like the guys did in World War II really," Bacon said, "so all I had to do was ask, and everybody said yes."

As part of the benefit, a silent auction will begin online this Friday at the foundation's website, www.wyakin.org, for items ranging from cartoon art to trips.

81 vets got job offers at yesterday’s ‘Hiring Our Heroes’ job fair

Nearly 700 service members, veterans and their spouses attended the "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair at the Idaho Center yesterday, the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce reports, and 81 of them got job offers at the fair. "In addition, many follow-up phone calls and interviews were scheduled yesterday, as the companies present at the fair plan to hire 327 additional new employees over the next 12 months," the chamber said in a statement today; the fair attracted more than 100 employers.

The latest figures for veteran unemployment rates in Idaho compared to the overall population, from the 2010 Census, showed that while non-veterans in Idaho had an unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, veterans were at 12.8 percent.

The job fair, one of a series of such events across the country sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and various veterans and military organizations, was co-sponsored in Boise by organizations including the Boise Chamber, the Idaho Department of Labor, KTVB-TV and more.

Vets invited to ‘Hiring Our Heroes’ job fair

Job-hunting veterans and their job-hunting spouses are being invited to a big job fair for vets next week at the Idaho Center entitled "Hiring Our Heroes." It'll be next Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; participants are asked to pre-register online here. The job fair will feature more than 85 employers, all with current job openings; it is open to military veterans, their spouses, and members of the National Guard and reserve. One in a string of such events across the nation, it's sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Idaho Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, the Idaho Department of Labor, the American Legion, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and more.

Chris Ramos, Idaho Department of Labor veterans program coordinator, said, "This is a real opportunity for Idaho employers to take advantage of the skills and abilities veterans bring to the workplace, and for veterans and their families to get an opportunity for employment with some of Idaho's great businesses." The event is free, both for the veterans and the employers; for more information, contact Roberto Gonzales at the department, 364-7781 ext. 3372. The department also is sponsoring a workshop for veterans tomorrow to prepare for the job fair; it'll be at 1 p.m. at the Canyon County office, 4514 Thomas Jefferson St., in Caldwell; contact Gonzales to sign up.

Fly fishing art, beer featured at benefit for Project Healing Waters

Fly tying and fly fishing artwork will be on display and local brews will be served at a Fly Fishing Art Show to benefit Project Healing Waters, 5 p.m.-8 p.m., Friday Sept. 7, at the Steam Plant, 159 S Lincoln St.

Project Healing Waters addresses the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings.

The non-profit group is organizing activities in the Spokane area.

Featured artists include:

Greg Piller, Steam Plant’s head brewer, will be offering samples of Steam Plant’s handcrafted beers and Spokane-based Dry Fly Distilling offer tastes of their fly fishing-inspired spirits that use locally-grown grains and botanicals.

Food and drink specials will be offered in Stacks restaurant and the Steam Plant Brewing Co. & Pub 3 p.m.- 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to closing.

Info: (509) 995-9945

Firm that was luring vets to certain for-profit colleges must give up website, turn it over to V.A.

Idaho is among 20 states that are part of a consumer protection settlement forcing the shutdown of a California-based website that targeted military veterans to attend for-profit colleges. The states charged that the company's websites, including GIBill.com, were deceptive and misleading, giving the appearance that they were operated or endorsed by the U.S. government or military. They directed users only to the website owner's clients, which were presented as "eligible GI Bill schools."

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said, “This settlement ends the deceptive practices this company used to mislead the people who risk their lives to protect our freedom. Our veterans and active duty military personnel have earned their educational benefits and should not be subjected to trickery when deciding where best to use those benefits.”

As part of the settlement, the company, QuinStreet Inc. of Foster City, Calif., will pay $2.5 million, including $100,000 to reimburse Idaho for its costs to participate in the case, and the firm will relinquish the domain "GIBill.com" to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which will use it to educate service members about benefits available to them. Click below for a full announcement from Wasden's office.

Bald eagles taking their time getting to Lake CdA for annual gathering

WILDLIFE WATCHING – The annual gathering of bald eagles that feast on spawning kokanee at Lake Coeur d’Alene is getting off to a slow start.

The eagle count at Wolf Lodge Bay is down by 70 percent from last year at this time, said Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist.

Hugo made the first weekly survey of the season on Tuesday and counted only 12 bald eagles compared with 42 counted on the same day last year.

“It could be the storm we just had,” she said. “We’ll be out on the lake Saturday for the special eagle boat cruise for veterans, so we’ll see if the changing weather makes a difference.”

She also points out that 2010 was a record year for the migration: 254 eagles were counted in the bay during the BLM survey on Dec. 21.

The eagles traditionally start gathering in mid November, peaking in numbers during December before the birds start moving on as the fish spawning ends in January.

Saturday’s highlights

Ponderosa Elementary fifth-graders Isaiah Gessner, left, and Nick Griep, center, listen to Marine Corps veteran Rex Walter describe his experiences serving his country in the early 1950s. Ponderosa student ambassadors brought veterans from Broadway Court Estates to their school for a Veterans Day assembly Tuesday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

More election results topped Saturday's Valley Voice as votes continue to be counted. Reporter Lisa Leinberger reported the results for Liberty Lake City Council, mayor and Proposition 1.  The proposition to switch to a city administrator form of government failed and former mayor Steve Peterson is poised to retake leadership of the city.

Fire levies and bonds in the areas around Spokane Valley mostly did not do well. A construction bond in Fire District 13 failed, as did an M&O levy in Fire District 8 and replacement fire levy in Rockford. The only success story was the small town of Spangle, which passed a fire levy and a police levy.

Lisa also wrote a story on her trips to Veteran's Day celebrations at West Valley High School and Ponderosa Elementary School. Recently the owners of Savage Land Pizza sued Spokane County Water District 3 because of a dispute over the installation of a new water main. The East Valley School District board of directors has voted to put a replacement levy on the Feb. 14 ballot.

Hucks Poll: 52% Not Veterans

  • Weekend Poll: 79 of 152 respondents (51.97%) said they aren't military veterans in a Veterans Day weekend poll. 73 of 152 respondents (48.03%) responded that they are.
  • Today's Poll: Do you expect Paul Ezra Rhoades to be executed in Idaho Friday?

Lake CdA eagle cruise for veterans, military and families

WILDLIFE WATCHING  – Veterans and active military are being honored with a special eagle-watching cruise set for Nov. 26 on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The free two-hour partyboat cruise to view the annual congregation of bald eagles is organized by the U.S  Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Fish and Game.

Participants are invited along with their immediate families must make reservations by calling (208) 769-5043. Seating is limited to 160.

Migrating eagles visit the Coeur d’Alene area in winter to take advantage of the kokanee spawning in Wolf Lodge Bay. 

The eagles already are starting to show up and numbers will build to a peak in December before the birds start moving on the spawning ends in January.

Last winter, a record 254 eagles were counted in the bay by BLM biologists on Dec. 21.

Idaho wounded warrior job training program wins national award

Idaho has won a national award for its Wounded Warrior Transportation Job Training pilot program, a grant-funded program aimed at vets injured in Afghanistan and Iraq that helps them train for and find employment in the transportation field. Twenty vets are either currently in school or recently graduated as part of the program, which offers training through the College of Western Idaho; 15 are earning commercial driver’s licenses, three graduated from flagger/safety courses, and two renewed commercial licenses. “We’re ready to move forward on a statewide proposal as additional money becomes available,” said Michelle George, who works in the Idaho Transportation Department's human resources office, and wrote the $99,300 grant with Chris Ramos of the Idaho Department of Labor; the money comes from the Federal Highway Administration.

The program helps the wounded vets with financial assistance for training, day care, transportation, records, licensing and certification. It was awarded the 2011 President’s Transportation Award in Administration from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Idaho offers reduced hunting, fishing fees to nonresident disabled vets

HUNTING/FISHING — Since July 1, Idaho has been offering reduced license and tag fees to nonresident disabled American veterans participating in a hunt in association with a qualified organization.

Before July 1, reduced license and tag fees were available only for resident disabled veterans.

Under the new law, nonresident disabled veterans meeting the conditions may be eligible for the following bargains:  hunting license $5; deer tag $10.75; elk tag $16.50; bear tag $6.75; and turkey tag $10.75.

Read on for details on the qualifications.

Memorial Day celebration in Fairfield

A simple metal cross marks Rudolph Norman's grave. He was buried at the five acre Fairfield Cemetery in 1920. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

I haven't heard of too many Memorial Day celebrations being planned, but Fairfield is having one that will both celebrate veterans and the small farming town's historic cemetery. The ceremony was originally planned to be held at the cemetery outside of town, but the dismal weather forecast has prompted organizers to move it to the Fairfield Community Center at 304 E. Main. The hour-long ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Monday. Local veterans are encouraged to attend and be honored for their service. The ceremony will also feature the rededication of the historic cemetery gates that are 116 years old. You can read my story about the event and the history of the picturesque cemetery in Saturday's Valley Voice.

Murray v. Rossi on veterans

OLYMPIA–Candidates with at least half a brain rarely pick a fight they cannot win. So it seemed odd last week when a Seattle television station had Dino Rossi challenging Sen. Patty Murray on veterans’ issues and alleging the federal government was “spending recklessly” on veterans programs.
Not only does Murray have a campaign commercial with a slew of veterans from around the state singing her praises, but she has a reputation for actually working on an issue to which most members of Congress merely pay lip service. It’s a recognized strength, sort of like recruiting point guards at Gonzaga.
And saying Uncle Sam is spending recklessly on veterans is a bit like saying mothers are spending recklessly on milk and medicine for their children.
Yet a story on Seattle’s KOMO-TV on Tuesday seemed to have Rossi dissing Murray and veterans programs. But did he?…