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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Coverage of 1985 hydroplane vote included a leap of faith

Many of you may know that hydroplane racing was derailed in Coeur d’Alene for 28 years when the City Council decided to seek an advisory vote on the issue on Oct. 16, 1985. But did you know that I filed my story about the dramatic 4-3 vote that night on deadline 15-20 minutes before then-Mayor Jim Fromm cast the tiebreaker?

The story is told by Stephen Shepperd in his comprehensive new book, “Hydromania: A History of the Diamond Cup.”

I filed my story, relying on Fromm’s word during an earlier break that he intended to seek an advisory vote. Fromm was under enormous pressure to reject a public vote from race booster Duane Hagadone and many other high rollers in the community. I submitted my story early when I realized that I’d miss the 10:15 p.m. deadline if I waited for all the council members and Fromm to explain their positions, one by one. Then, I sweated out the roll call.

I wonder if I’d still be at The Spokesman-Review three decades later if Fromm had changed his mind – and my story and the accompanying headline were wrong in the morning paper.

Why am I telling you this now? Shepperd’s book (available for $39.95 hardback at North Idaho Museum, Coeur d’Alene Hastings and Auntie’s, among other places) tells this anecdote (Page 320). It is chock-full of other info and photos of the Diamond Cup races – a must-read for anyone who wonders why hydroplane racing stirs such controversy in the Lake City.

One strong moose

Coeur d’Alene Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander isn’t worried about the Mudgy Moose & Millie Mouse sculptures that are all around Coeur d’Alene’s waterfront, despite the graffiti attack last week. She knows what they’re made of. Her brother sculpted them.

Deanna told Huckleberries: “I was sharing studio space with brother Terry Lee when Mudgy was in creation. It was great to watch as Terry first sculpted a small Mudgy and then carved the big guy out of foam and then applied the clay over the foam to create the full-size Mudgy. Then they took him to the foundry and cut him into little pieces again and poured each piece in molten bronze and welded him back together. When they welded him together, they reinforced the inside with steel, so he could handle all the kids and adults crawling all over him.”

Proving Deanna’s point, a commenter posted a photo on my Huckleberries blog Friday of a drunk female in a bikini who had passed out one night in Mudgy’s antlers. What happens in Coeur d’Alene stays in Coeur d’Alene.


Poet’s Corner: Upon the hill/as winter nears/the tamarack/are golden spears – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Deer Season”) … If the city of Coeur d’Alene has anything left in the piggy bank after buying Person and Bryan fields this year, there’s another possible park site on the market – St. Thomas Catholic Church field in the old part of town. Or at least that’s what the signs on the fence from Lakeshore Real Estate indicate. Huckleberries hears the asking price is $320,000 for the 1.6 acres … Poll: Overwhelmingly, my Huckleberries blog readers know where Coeur d’Alene should invest urban renewal efforts next – East Sherman Avenue. Seventy-five percent of the respondents picked the decaying eastern entrance to the Lake City as most in need of TLC … “If I were in charge,” Facebooks Coeur d’Alene school trustee Christa Hazel, “no Christmas music or Santa photos would be taking place in malls until after Thanksgiving.” Bingo.

Parting shot

Look up “cheap thrill seeker” in the dictionary, and you’ll find a photo of that guy who refused to pay for three of four $25 lap dances from a working girl at Stateline Showgirls. The horndog is a repeat offender, too.

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