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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Don’t forget police officers’ caring side

It’s vogue to view police officers with suspicion, such is the impact of some bad apples. But few glimpse behind the scenes at the heavy lifting required of the Men and Women in Blue. One of the toughest duties an officer faces is delivering a death notice to surviving loved ones.

Sgt. Christie Wood of the Coeur d’Alene PD told Huckleberries: “I have held mothers in my arms as they experience the agony and devastation of loss, and comforted elderly men who need to be informed their brother has died. It sticks with you for days, and I always call my child when my task is complete, just so I can hear his voice.”

Last week, a Coeur d’Alene PD detective was forced to tell a frantic mother in California by phone that her 20-something son had been found dead in the Lake City. Why? Seems the woman’s California PD doesn’t do death notices. The Coeur d’Alene PD detective made sure the distraught woman called a relative to come to her aid. And he later called back to check on her.

Christie again: “I understand budget cuts and the impacts of less staff, but I do not see any of the agencies in our region ever adopting that kind of policy. It is frankly heartless.”


Love at dark

Earl Hunter, the World War II chaplain who once pastored the Coeur d’Alene Church of the Nazarene, met the love of his life on a blind double date. Earl was irrigating his father’s southern Idaho farm when an acquaintance talked him into a date that night with “a nice Christian girl” on a nearby farm, named Mabel Allen. Earl’s friend wasn’t allowed to date Mabel’s younger sister unless they had a chaperone.

Earl reluctantly agreed to go, telling his friend to meet him after dark in a corner of the farm after his work was done. So, in the dark the two couples hiked up a hill to make a bonfire. Earl gave Mabel his arm along the way. By the time he got to the top, according to his autobiography, “Designed for Rigor,” Earl was eager to light the bonfire “so I could see what I have on my arm.”

That date eventually led to a marriage of 72 years that ended in 2012 when Mabel died. Earl, at age 99, joined Mabel on Wednesday.


Poet’s Corner: “A little snow/upon the ground/can cause your car/to slide around,/so slow your speed/when snow has sprinkled/and stop your ride/from getting crinkled” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Public Service Announcement”) … Sure, you know that retiring Lakeland School District business manager Tom Taggart was elected as the county clerk back when. But true old-timers can also tell you the name of the restaurant he owned and operated in downtown Coeur d’Alene briefly. Give up? Café Coeur d’Alene … Tweetable: “Candidates like #RandPaul always want to ‘Take America back …’ but they never finish the sentence … to 1933” – Jess Walter, award-winning author (“Beautiful Ruins”) and former S-R reporter … Poll: 78 percent of my blog readers say Idaho Gov. Butch Otter botched his veto of the “instant racing” repeal legislation. There’s question whether he returned it to the Idaho Senate within a five-day window. However, Opinion Editor Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune, who noted Otter’s three terms as governor, offered a harsher assessment in his Cheers & Jeers column Friday: “Gov. Otter is incompetent.”

Parting shot

Coeur d’Alene Councilwomen Kiki Miller and Amy Evans weren’t making fashion statements with those Facebook photos showing them wearing firefighter masks. They’ve been invited to attend a program in Boise in June designed to give elected officials an idea of what a firefighter’s life is like. Mayor Steve Widmyer, who attended the exercise last year, assured the two women that the course is survivable.

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