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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Paranoia over visitors adds to Idaho’s bad reputation

Remember that 1966 film comedy, “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming”? Well, in Elk River, Idaho, it would be “The Arabs Are Coming, the Arabs Are Coming.” Seems the tiny town (population about 125) in the northern Idaho boondooks went bananas when four dark-complected strangers with cameras showed up recently. Twice. Mayor Jim Martin called the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office to report “some undesirables” – townsfolk called them “Arab people” – had invaded Elk River. All this according to the Lewiston Tribune. Sheriff Chris Goetz downplayed the community paranoia, stating he and his deputies found nothing amiss regarding the visit of the strangers, according to the Trib. Also, Mayor Martin told the Trib that Elk River isn’t “against Arabs,” but “we don’t want what’s happening in the rest of the world to happen here.” And Idahoans wonder where our beautiful state gets its rep-P-U-tation for racial silliness?

Gun-totin’ momma

In Idaho, it’s lawful to openly carry a firearm around. But it’s not always wise to do so everywhere. Take the popular children’s play area at Coeur d’Alene’s McEuen Park. Last week, Big Mac, a Huckleberries Online blog ( commenter, and his extended family were enjoying the play area and nearby shade when Big Mac noticed a mother nearby. Big Mac: “My peace of mind was ruined by a woman openly carrying a loaded pistol while she played with her toddler. She even sat on a picnic bench and bounced the toddler on her weapon. I don’t trust people I don’t know to carry guns around my children. And I certainly don’t trust that mother’s judgment.” Legal? Yes. Sensible? Not so much.


Poet’s Corner: “That bundle of feathers/you could hold in your hand/is making more music/than a fifteen-piece band” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“The Finch Out Back”) … Post Falls Councilwoman Kerri Thoreson knew she was in oil country when she saw the help-wanted readerboard on the Dairy Queen at Miles City, Montana. The DQ was offering a $500 signing bonus for $15-per-hour jobs … Poll: 73 percent of my blog readers disagree with Idaho’s Wild West view that motorcyclists should be allowed to ride without helmets … Among the goofy things that couples fought over in Post Falls last week were burnt toast and the female half texting to other males at a party. Well, maybe the latter spat was understandable … The Coeur d’Alene Parasail boat, which operates from the Independence Point city dock on Lake Coeur d’Alene, has a new paint job. From the right angle, the hull looks like it’s on fire. For $80 still, you can ride the stylin’ parasail boat 800 feet over Lake Coeur d’Alene … After reading the Coeur d’Alene PD’s Downtown Bar Report about a drunken couple who were caught coupling on a City Park picnic table, blog commenter Taryn Thompson deadpanned: “I wonder if they used a condiment” … How about a ha-huge razzberry for those boaters on Spirit Lake Thursday afternoon who wouldn’t move to allow air crews to snag water to fight a 3-acre wildfire north of town? Phffft … More anecdotal evidence that this is a bad year for huckleberrying: Sandpoint blogger Marianne Love and hubby Bill had to stop several times while visiting Myrtle Creek (near Bonners Ferry) to collect enough huckleberries for a weekend of sundaes.

Parting shot

Trending Up: The University of Idaho football team, which has won one game each of the last three years and five games in four years, is ranked No. 5 among the worst FBS teams this year. This, by the site. On the plus side, comments that Idaho could win two or three games in 2015. Doesn’t it seem so long ago in a faraway galaxy that Idaho beat Boise State regularly?

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