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Huckleberries: Quest for pop ended in Bonners Ferry showdown

Dave Oliveria
Dave Oliveria

Today, former Bonner County Bee Publisher Dave Keyes manages a string of Montana newspapers for the Billings Area News Group. But 30 years ago, he was a rookie reporter for the Bonners Ferry Herald. Few incidents in his newspaper career have riveted his attention as much as one that happened during his second week at the Bonners Ferry Herald. Keyes, still of Sandpoint, was a thirsty cub reporter in search of a Diet Pepsi that day. He found one at a restaurant across the street from the newspaper office. As he stepped back outside, he looked up to see a man run from a nearby business and level a rifle at him. Dave describes what happened next: “I had two choices, jump into the bushes to save my life or to say a silent prayer that I was just imagining the scene (and to save the Pepsi by not jumping).” In that split second of indecision, he didn’t consider a third option. The guy was sighting the scope on the rifle he’d just purchased from a gun and pawn shop. Dave didn’t jump. The Diet Pepsi was saved. And Dave’s still around to tell his tale.

‘North Idaho’ in 1881

This Huckleberry is for all of you who cling to the silly notion that “North Idaho” isn’t the appropriate name for the five counties at the top of the Idaho Panhandle. In the Dec. 6, 1881, issue of the Idaho Statesman (via the Walla Walla Statesman), a story refers to Kootenai County Sheriff Shafer as a “North Idaho officer of the law.” Alas, Sheriff Shafer wasn’t a good “North Idaho” cop because he fell asleep while transporting a prisoner in a railroad car to the county jail and was robbed of his “bull-dog pistol,” seal ring, purse, pocket book and everything else of value. The article, shared on Facebook by Heather Heber Callahan, concludes: “What sort of officers have they up North any way?”


Poet’s Corner: “Abracadabra/and hocus-pocus –/poof! there’s a snowdrop,/presto! a crocus” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“February Magic”) … One of the birthdays worth noting in Coeur d’Alene last week was the 89th one for “Bubblehead Bob” Hough. Old-timers remember Bob as a DJ who introduced rock ’n’ roll to the Inland Northwest as well as the KVNI-AM local newscaster for years. Newbies might be impressed that he’s the grandfather of Julianne and Derek Hough, of “Dancing with the Stars” fame … Quotable Quote: Opinion Editor Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune re: Idaho Reps. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, and Judy Doyle, R-Midvale, who played hooky from the Legislature to visit Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the day the final four occupiers surrendered, said, “These two are marinating in the delusion that they are world-class provocateurs instead of a pair of third-rate attention seekers.”

Parting shot

Don’t look now, but Kootenai County has two Republican sheriff candidates with unorthodox views of a sheriff’s role in society. John Green told a Redoubt News video interviewer last weekend that a sheriff should help Idaho form an “organized militia,” which he supports 100 percent. Tina Kunishige posted a quote on her candidate Facebook site that says the sheriff “has law enforcement powers EXCEEDING that of any other state OR federal official.” Sheriff Ben Wolfinger disagrees with both. The sheriff’s job is to enforce the law, not organize a militia, Wolfinger told Huckleberries. Luckily, Republican Wolfinger is running for re-election.