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Huckleberries: Fantasy gamer past haunts magistrate

There are few political yard signs in Kootenai County this fall. Maybe everyone is afraid to admit whom they support. Or they fear that fanatical followers of extreme candidates might take note.

But there is one sign, with black lettering on a yellow background, that catches the attention of passers-by: “Vote No ‘Demon Lord’ Judge Peterson.” One was planted near Carl’s Jr. on Appleway last week. “Demon Lord” is shorthand for “Orcus: Lord of the Undead,” a pseudonym used by Clark Peterson, a magistrate in the 1st Judicial District.

In a Dec. 4, 2013, article, this newspaper described Peterson as “a devoted fan of tabletop role-playing fantasy games.” At the time, Judge Peterson had posted hundreds of online comments about fantasy games while at work in the Kootenai County Courthouse. Parties in two civil cases that went before Peterson claimed in the story that Peterson’s hobby, coupled with his financial and marital problems, distracted the judge from his duties, drew out their cases and cost them far more in legal bills than necessary.

They may or may not be behind that move to dump Peterson now. Opponents face a formidable task. On the ballot for the magistrates’ positions, voters will be asked simply whether they want to retain Magistrate Peterson and others. Yes or no. Most judges get a high percentage of “yes” votes. We’ll see if the “Demon Lord” has the skills to survive the attack of his real-life tormentors.


Last week, executive producer Melissa Luck received an earful when she answered the phone at the KXLY station. An Irate Citizen called her a “Nazi,” which isn’t the worst epithet tossed at Melissa during this Presidential Election Year Without End, Amen.

On her Facebook wall, Melissa discussed her close encounter with the Phone Rager: “I wish people would remember that journalists are actual human beings. And that lumping every journalist, blogger, guy on Twitter and moron with a blog under the heading ‘media’ makes you look dumb.”

Huckleberries agrees with Melissa’s comment, except for the part about journalists being “human.” (We are, of course. But readers or viewers don’t need to know that.) Melissa makes this plea to readers and viewers acquainted with journalists who answer phones or read comments online: “Buy them a drink. They’ll need more than one before the election is over.” Huckleberries, of course, has a blog that welcomes most comments. A quality merlot would be nice.


In a recent letter to a Coeur d’Alene cuss-tomer, a penitent Wells Fargo ap-hollow-gized for the fake-account scandal that has shaken consumer confidence in the bank. The letter tells of four steps Wells Fargo is taking to make amends, including paying back bilked money. But the bank should have included a list of higher-ups who were going to be prosecuted for this white-collar scheme. If any … Richert’s Law: Kevin Richert’s (Idaho Education News) responded via Facebook to a news release from the University of Idaho about space exploration: “When you send out a news release titled ‘Uranus May Have Tiny, Undiscovered Moons,’ I will snicker like a seventh-grader. That’s just science” … On Oct. 14, Huckleberries Online topped 2 million page-views for the seventh year in a row. The blog usually finishes the year with 2.5 million or more. Thanks for your support … Huckleberries knows one thing after watching three not-so-presidential debates between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. The Lincoln-Douglas debates they are not … Poll: 64 percent of my Huckleberries blog readers say Clinton won the debates overall. They’re correct.

Parting shot

Seems there’s no love lost between former North Idaho College President Joe Dunlap and controversial trustee Todd Banducci. On my Huckleberries blog Friday, Dunlap commented: “As former president at NIC, I can attest to numerous complaints by members of the campus community regarding Mr Banducci’s disrespectful and often volatile behavior during the previous four years. He has not brought any value added to the board and should not be re-elected. I fully support Mr (challenger Greg) Gfeller for trustee.” P’haps Not-Cool-As-A-Cucumber Banducci is reaping what he sewed?