Okie Doke, my son-in-law in Portland, texted last week to declare how glorious it is to vote by mail, especially on the initiatives jamming the Oregon ballot this year. Okie Doke prefers noodling through the candidates and ballot measures at his dining room table rather than guessing what they mean on the fly in a voting booth. I’m sure most Oregonians and Washingtonians agree with Okie Doke, that vote-by-mail is the way to go. (Then, Oregonians and Washingtonians also consider pot smoking benign, but I’m getting off topic.)
I plan to vote on Election Day. Per usual. I enjoy going to my Precinct 52, housed in the Assembly of God Church on Coeur d’Alene’s Seventh Street. I like seeing my neighbors there. I like huddling in the cramped voting booth to mark in the ovals. I like hearing an election worker say afterward: “David Oliveria has voted.” I like getting one of those “I voted” stickers. And if the election workers hand out oatmeal-raisin cookies, too? So much the better.
Waiting to vote
Dan English is a Coeur d’Alene councilman now. But back in the day he was a Kootenai County clerk who met the demand for early voting by opening satellite election sites at city halls around the county. Last week, he was amazed as early voters waited for up to an hour in long lines at the Election Department on Third Street, the only early-voting site in the county during this presidential year. Dan, who advocates vote-by-mail, always put the needs of voters first. He’d still be county clerk in Idaho if he wasn’t christened politically with the “Scarlet D” after his name: “Democrat.”
A comfy town
No one who lives in and loves Coeur d’Alene is surprised by its No. 5 ranking in Expedia’s list of the USA’s 101 most comfortable travelers’ towns. Residents who have watched the old mill town transform into a viewtiful touristy one will wonder why Lake City was ranked 107 last year. Coeur d’Alene and other top towns were judged on hotel accommodations and welcoming features (based on at least 100 user reviews). Duane Hagadone’s Coeur d’Alene Resort, of course, gets much credit for the Top 5 listing. The only towns to finish ahead of Coeur d’Alene, from No. 1 to No. 4? Surfside, Florida; Paradise Valley, Arizona; McLean, Virginia; and Yountville, California. No Washington town or other Idaho town made the list. Next year? No. 1?
That report Thursday morning of a violin lying on westbound Interstate 90 at Highway 41, Post Falls, didn’t turn out well. An ISP officer said from the scene moments later: “I don’t think the violin survived. I see pieces of wood debris scattered around. Do you play taps for violins?” … As usual, some people are threatening to leave this country if their presidential candidate doesn’t win Tuesday. HucksOnline commenter Matthew Root is realistic: “If Trump wins, many people in the know think the stock market will tank. That would mean my retirement is down the tubes and I couldn’t afford to move.” Another wag chimed in: “Canada? Heck no, I’m going to Mexico before Trump builds his stupid wall.” … Quotable Quote: “There’s some fine government property that I’d be willing to take over and occupy. Liquor stores come to mind” – HucksOnline commenter ScooterMom reacting to that incredible Portland jury finding that the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers were not guilty … “If you think Hillary is a corrupt dingbat now, wait until she’s president” – message spotted by Cathy Werner of Post Falls, chalked on the back window of a gray Jeep parked at Coeur d’Alene Costco last week. Dingbat? Have you heard that expression since “All in the Family” went off the air?
John Austin captured the thoughts of many after divers and first responders pulled the bodies of 25-year-old Misty Phelps and her two small children from Fernan Lake on Thursday. Speaking of the emergency personnel, the former city of Coeur d’Alene finance director said: “Who are these people, the ones we send out to do our worst work? Those who show up in extremely tragic conditions and do their best to provide some closure to the families involved.” Google “hero” and you’ll find their mug shots alongside.
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