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This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Sacramento rubs Corps’ nose in levee study

Coeur d’Alene isn’t the only community miffed at the loopy demand by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clear-cut viewtiful trees from flood prevention levees. Sacramento, Calif., is, too. The corps, as you may recall, freaked out after Hurricane Katrina, ordering communities to remove trees and vegetation from levees (like the ponderosas on Coeur d’Alene’s waterfront dike road), claiming the vegetation destabilizes them. Cash-strapped California communities and flood agencies could spend millions of dollars removing trees and shoring up levees to meet the corps’ inflexible demand. In an editorial urging the corps to revise its levee policy, the Sacramento Bee pointed to a study conducted by the agency that shows some levees are strengthened, not weakened, by trees. The Bee concludes that corps muckety-mucks should heed the findings of their own study and “develop a more flexible, case-by-case policy for levee maintenance nationwide.” Bingo.

We’re 21! We’re 21!

It matters little that New York-based news mag/blog Gawker ranks Idaho as the 21st worst state in the country – far behind Arizona, Alabama and Utah. But it is noteworthy that Gawker praised Idaho for potatoes and listed the Gem State’s shortcomings as “Wide Stance McGee” (Larry Craig), annoying celebrities in Sun Valley, lack of a good north-south road, & Napoleon Dynamite. But said nothing about supremacists. Have we finally exorcised Richard Butler’s ghost?


Huckleberries hears that the male patrons at Mik’s bar in downtown Coeur d’Alene were miffed at that “Dare to Win a Pair” contest hosted by the downtown Coeur d’Alene bar – you know, the one that awards the winner $6,000 for breast enhancements. But barflies were mollified when organizers offered $2,500 cash if a guy won. P’haps the Men of Mik’s should have lobbied for their own kind of, ahem, enhancement? … Nice to see Marc Stewart surface as PRmeister of Lewis-Clark State College/CdA after the Coeur d’Alene Tribe fumbled by not renewing his contract … You weren’t seeing things. That was a unicyclist with his luggage riding on Highway 41 at 5:50 p.m. Thursday, holding up traffic north of Rathdrum … Scanner Traffic: Huckleberries’d loved to have seen that “large, hairless rat” that was terrorizing children at the Fernan Lake boat launch Thursday … How do you warm up for the demanding 26-mile swim across the Kaiwi Channel, connecting the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Molokai? You swim 18.5 miles on Lake Coeur d’Alene from Harrison to Coeur d’Alene’s City Beach, as Bruce Gordon, of Denver, did Aug. 26.

Parting shot

Coeur d’Alene’s Sandi Bloem, who’s probably the most stylish mayor in the Inland Northwest, wasn’t surprised that 55 percent of my blog readers preferred her previous official photo to the one she released last week. “I’m four years older,” she told Huckleberries Online. One commenter said the new photo makes Her Sandiness look like SNL’s “Church Lady.”

Patrick Jacobs, my go-to blog fashion hound, had a different reaction to the new photo: “I do love how she’s throwing out a face that says ‘Mess with me and I’ll shank you.’ Hide your kids, hide your wives (hide your husbands, too), because the Lady Mayor is on the prowl.”

Follow D.F. Oliveria on his blog, Huckleberries Online (, or on Twitter at @Hucksonline.

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