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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Happy 10th birthday, Huckleberries Online

Huckleberries Online turns 10 next Sunday.

I started my blog ( on Feb. 16, 2004, near the end of my 13 years on the Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. I wanted to provide a conservative perspective on the 2004 presidential election.

Sometime along the way, an invasion of uberconservatives pushed Kootenai County politics further to the right. I became a moderate or even a liberal in their Birchesque circles. Meanwhile, the blog kept evolving as a community source for news, opinion and slices of North Idaho life. Commenters came and went. Trolls were vanquished. I learned by trial and error how to control anonymous posters.

I branched out to Twitter and Facebook, a newspaper dinosaur embracing the social media. The blog continued to attract attention. More than 11,000 readers follow Huckleberries Online now. The blog has averaged 2.5 million page views annually over the last three years.

We’ll celebrate the 10th anniversary of Huckleberries Online at the Fort Ground Grill in Coeur d’Alene from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15. It has been a long, wild ride. I still have no idea when it will end.

Blocking progress

Interestingly, the Hagadone Corp. wants to remove red maples for its $1 million makeover of two blocks of Coeur d’Alene’s Front Avenue for a pedestrian walkway. Years ago, the company opted for the red maples against the wishes of urban forest experts who wanted different trees. Red maples are susceptible to disease. And the city has plenty of them. It’s sad to see the maples go. But, I suspect, HagaCorp will come up with something special that will make us forget them … On Monday, after the Seahawks’ big Super Bowl victory, Cis Gors, of Kootenai (north of Sandpoint), wondered: “Don’t you think being a Seahawk fan today must be like being a bride the day after the wedding? You know there is a wonderful future. But there’s a letdown from all the prep work. And the event itself is over.”


Poet’s Corner: “Below zero / or snowing? / Not likely / he’s going” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“His Winter Travel Policy”) … In his new blog, Editor’s Notes (, S-R Editor Gary Graham reveals his trip to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, got off to a rocky start. Seems his small jar of peanut butter was confiscated by airport security in Seattle. Then, Gary found out that Wi-Fi was unavailable for the nine-hour flight to Amsterdam. Oh the humanity … Quotable Quote: “Finally a breath of fresh air for the Senate! Sen. Nonini has a decent challenger!” – former Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin noting that Pat Whalen, president of the Boys & Girls Club of Kootenai County, had announced for the Senate District 3 seat. Controversial uberconservative Bob Nonini is its current occupant … Frank Henderson, the 91-year-old legislator/former county commissioner/former Post Falls mayor, is the best argument against mandatory age limits for elected officials. He’s in better shape and far sharper than people one-third his age … Huckleberries Online poll: 90 percent of Hucks nation sez elected officials in Idaho should be required to get a permit to carry a gun, like everyone else. I can think of several who shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun, with or without a permit.

Parting shot

That photographer bowled over along the sidelines by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson three minutes into the Super Bowl was Joe Barrentine. He’s now with the News Tribune of Tacoma. In another life, he was a multimedia producer with the S-R who helped me get Huckleberries Online off the ground.

After getting run over, Joe worried first about his equipment and then about Wilson’s condition. He knew he wouldn’t be allowed back into Washington if Wilson had been seriously injured on the play.

Deadpanned Joe afterward: “I was the only guy to tackle Wilson all night.”

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