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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: In one definition of native, it’s all about cedar plank

I may not be a true Pacific Northwesterner, despite living and working in the region for 37 years. I don’t like to catch or eat fish. And I have never eaten a cedar-planked salmon. That’s Craig Wikoff’s prerequisite for claiming that you’re a true Pacific Northwesterner. Craig? He’s a former pastor and missionary who now manages the company website for Outdoor Gourmet, a Sandpoint business that specializes in wood-grilling planks. I learned all this from reading a column by Savannah Tranchell, a Sandpoint native who writes for the Yakima Herald-Republic. Savannah was checking her work email while visiting her mother in Sandpoint recently when she read one from Craig. It challenged: “You can’t call yourself a Pacific Northwesterner if you haven’t tried cedar planked salmon.” Savannah asked her mother if she’d heard of Craig. Her mother had more than heard of him. Craig officiated at her 2005 wedding when she remarried. One thing led to another, columnizes Tranchell, and a few days later she was sitting on Wikoff’s back porch talking shop about plank grilling – the technique of using soaked wood planks to infuse meat, particularly fish, with smoky, woodsy flavor. All of which leads to the obvious question: Are you a real Pacific Northwesterner?

Shuddup! she explained

On his Facebook page, Coeur d’Alene schools trustee Tom Hearn reveals that unabashed board critic Mary Jo Finney has refused his multiple invitations to meet with him. Finney is the school patron who complained to Prosecutor Barry McHugh that Hearn and two other board members had violated Idaho’s open meeting law during a meeting in Boise. McHugh ruled that they didn’t. Said Hearn of Finney: “She apparently prefers sitting in the back of school board meetings reading emails and scowling at the board members she doesn’t like and then writing letters to the editor or filing spurious complaints about board members.” Who said the public’s always right?

Clueless in CdA

A woman who is known in Coeur d’Alene as Walkabout picks up trash on Tubbs Hill daily. Also, she enjoys picking and eating huckleberries. So she spoke her mind when a woman emerged from the forest recently with a giant bouquet of cut huckleberry bushes, with berries attached. Sez Walkabout: “I don’t know how I contained myself but I went on to explain that what she did was illegal. It will take many years before those bushes produce again, if ever.” Get the message?


Poet’s Corner: Riverboat ring your bell/as you round that misty bend/may all his cards be aces/and his good luck never end” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue. (“Bret Maverick & James Garner”) … Hey, didn’t you used to be rocker Ted Nugent? … Huckleberries Online Poll: 73 percent said local legislators should steer clear of the right-wing Oath Keepers organization. Are you listening, Sens. Steve Vick (Hayden Lake) and Bob Nonini (Coeur d’Alene) and Reps. Vito Barbieri (Dalton Gardens) and Matt Shea (Spokane Valley)? … How bad were things when the Mother of all Thunderstorms hit Wednesday afternoon? At 5:08 p.m., a dispatcher told a rescuer at the scene of a downed tree that had trapped someone inside a house at Coeur d’Alene’s Buttercup Lane: “You’ll have to wait. There’s 25 priority calls in front of yours.”

Parting shot

Overheard: A woman who momentarily lost her child complaining to a Coeur d’Alene city worker near the tennis-pickleball courts at McEuen Park at about 12:40 p.m. Wednesday: “I hate McEuen Park. It’s too big.” She had lost sight of her child because there were so many people in the park. She threatened to voice her complaint to as many people as would listen. If you build it, they will come. Others will complain.

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