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Huckleberries: Sandpoint High grad has had papal beat for 25 years

The selection of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the new pope wasn’t Cindy Wooden’s first papal rodeo. The Sandpoint native has covered three popes in her 25 years as the Vatican correspondent for the Catholic News Service – John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Francis. She’s a media expert in all things Vatican. She has met U.S. presidents, world leaders and even the late Mother Teresa. Her favorite government official, however, is closer to home: her sister, Bonner County Treasurer Cheryl Piehl.

Marianne Love busts her buttons whenever the world spotlight shines on the Vatican because she knows her former Sandpoint High journalism student is busy behind the scenes. Cindy has failed to persuade Marianne that she has an 8-to-5 job like everyone else – except, of course, when she’s dealing with the first resignation of a Holy Father in 598 years and the first pope from the Americas. Ever.


My daughter, Amy Dearest, who lives in the real “Portlandia,” texted Wednesday re: another zany Slice of Life moment in the Rose City – at a nearby Fred Meyer. A woman asked the store butcher to recommend a good slice of meat – for her dog. She was a vegan and didn’t know one cut from another. But she wanted to make sure her four-legged, carnivorous BFF was eating the best stuff … Take a note to that 20-something woman in patched jeans who bounced from her gray Toyota Camry in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot on Coeur d’Alene’s Appleway at 2:27 p.m. Saturday: If you’re going to park in a handicap spot, you might want to replace your “Smile, Jesus loves you” license plate holder … Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Dan Gookin’s description of a good start to the day? Good cup of tea. Nice jazz. And the cat puked on the kitchen tile instead of the carpet. Happened Friday morning.

Tongue firmly cheeked, Coeur d’Alene Councilman Mike Kennedy Facebooked on Tuesday that he voted for the successful school district levy election – and got four Canadians to do so, too. The gag here, of course, is that Kennedy won his 2009 municipal race by three votes – and challenger Jim Brannon and friends still contend that the courts erred by allowing votes to be counted from Coeur d’Alene émigrés in Canada … After a long run as a top-notch feature writer/editor for the Coeur d’Alene Press, Bill Buley is turning in his pica pole for the beaches of Kauai, Hawaii. He’ll work as editor-in-chief of the Garden Island newspaper when he’s not soaking up rays … Bumpersnicker (spotted by Shannon Forbes, of Coeur d’Alene, en route to gym workout): “Still proud to live in what used to be America.” Now, there’s a glass-half-empty driver … That guy in slacks and a dress jacket walking along the Coeur d’Alene stretch of Interstate 90 at 8 a.m. Wednesday wasn’t a safety hazard, as one motorist feared. An ISPer reported he was picking up trash … Didja hear the one about the Coeur d’Alene motorist Monday who was driving recklessly because he’d slowed down to – (drum roll, please) “gawk at females.” They used to call that “cruisin’ ” … Then, there was the barefoot guy dressed in black about 8 a.m. Friday pestering a resident near Bryan School for a ride because he was on a “bad trip” from a meth party. Rough way to end the week.

Parting shot

Dunno what shook up the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans more at lunch Thursday: that former Democratic legislative wannabe Anne Nesse was present; that organization co-founder Jeff Ward gave her a courteous intro; that Anne was allowed to promote her online petition against a GOP-backed bill to tighten rules on initiatives and referendums; or that Anne was rocking a sparkly stud in her left nostril. All of which prompted one Pachyderm to stampede off with his trunk out of joint.

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