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Huckleberries: To Times travel writer, nowhere is a state of mine

New York Times travel writer Rachel Levin has officially pinpointed the “middle of nowhere” to be in central Idaho (despite those of you who thought it was in the greater Athol area).

According to the Gray Lady reporter, the middle of nowhere is Stanley, Idaho, squeezed between the Salmon River of No Return and the Sawtooth Mountains. In a Wednesday article, Levin writes: “The ‘Entering Stanley, Idaho’ sign seemed more like a friendly warning than a welcome. ‘Population 63,’ it read, as if to say: Congratulations, you’ve made it to the middle of nowhere. Stanley is the entry point to the Sawtooth Valley, a time warp of a place with four saloons, five mountain ranges and not much else. My husband, Josh, our two children and I had driven three hours from Boise along an empty, winding two-lane scenic byway for a week of summer adventure. Still, as we strolled down deserted, dusty Wall Street looking for a lunch spot, it was hard not to wonder: Where is everyone?”

And you thought the only way Idaho could attract the Times was to award a parade permit to Aryans? Tsk.

‘Hydromania’ abounds

Local author Stephen Shepperd has just the thing for those fascinated by Coeur d’Alene’s love-hate relationship with hydroplanes – “Hydromania: A History of the Diamond Cup.” Stephen quotes some of my reporting from the fall 1985 showdown between multimillionaire Duane Hagadone and then-Mayor Jim Fromm’s council, telling of a risk I took reporting a crucial vote on newspaper deadline. You can read all about it when the Museum of North Idaho publishes Stephen’s book this fall … In her Butterfly Moment blog, Jen Rude lists “10 things about having a yard sale,” including: “I have one every other year even though I say I’m never doing it again.” Don’t we all? … Look up “public servant” in the dictionary – and you’ll find a picture of Coeur d’Alene Parks Director Doug Eastwood, who is retiring after 35 exemplary years with the city.


That (not so) great show of force by Overpassers for Obama’s Impeachment last Tuesday failed to cover all of the I-90 overpasses from Post Falls to Wallace, as organizer Mike Towan had hoped. In fact, most of the protesters – “about 13,” according to – gathered at the Northwest Boulevard overpass in Coeur d’Alene. Towan told that some sympathizers were afraid to be targeted by the IRS, an excuse that no longer can be dismissed out of hand … Quotable Quote: “Just got a thank-you card from the mosquito family out in the backyard. They’ve made it through the summer” – Councilman Dan Gookin of Coeur d’Alene … Poet’s Corner: “A strange combination is this species:/one-half honk and one-half feces” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Canada Geese”) … Owner Steve Widmyer of the Fort Ground Grill is walking hard for Coeur d’Alene mayor – 5.2 miles last week in the Indian Meadows and Queen Anne Estates. Steve doesn’t knock on doors. Rather, he hails people in their yards or walking the streets, too. He doesn’t like strangers showing up at his door unannounced. So he’s giving the same courtesy to other Coeur d’Loonians.

Parting shot

Gardeners dealing with bumper crops of zucchini this summer know how to dole them out with care, so family and friends aren’t alienated. Here’s how Marianne Love of the Slight Detour blog in Bonner County sheds hers: “Five zukes went to Boise. I don’t think they came back. Two zukes went to Montana. A few zukes got baked for dinner one night. Only two zukes were needed to make all that zucchini bread. And that still ain’t the half of it.” Friends don’t let friends hand out zucchini.

Follow Dave Oliveria’s North Idaho blog, Huckleberries Online, at

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