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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Lake cat-and-mouse game with Coeur d’Alene City Hall nears end

On May 11, “Hooligan Island,” which is owned by Rob Riley and Clint Kauer, was anchored on Lake Coeur d’Alene a few hundred feet off Coeur d’Alene’s City Beach. (Don Sausser / Don Sausser File Photo)
On May 11, “Hooligan Island,” which is owned by Rob Riley and Clint Kauer, was anchored on Lake Coeur d’Alene a few hundred feet off Coeur d’Alene’s City Beach. (Don Sausser / Don Sausser File Photo)

It shouldn’t be long now before owners Rob Riley and Clint Kauer hoist the white flag above “Hooligan Island.”

For more than a month, the two men have played a cat-and-mouse game with the city of Coeur d’Alene in their attempt to anchor a floating jungle gym off the shoreline. They did so without city permission or vendor permit – and have been thwarted at every turn.

In early May, they plopped their water toy off City Beach, sparking complaints from residents and safety-conscious city officials. They pulled the floating island from the lake shortly afterward. But it was back on the water Wednesday, some 1,200 feet off North Idaho College Beach.

Seems the owners were told by the Coeur d’Alene Police Department Tuesday that their device wasn’t wanted within the city’s jurisdiction, which extends 1,000 feet into the lake. According to Deputy City Administrator Sam Taylor, the police learned that the owners were charging people $12 to ferry them to the on-water jungle gym “which means they were engaging in business despite their past statements to us that they were just citizens with a vessel not conducting business.”

Now, “Hooligan Island” is outside the city jurisdiction. But the city is still responsible for fire rescues and demanding a public safety plan. North Idaho College doesn’t want them using its docks or beach for commercial purposes. And the Idaho Department of Lands isn’t thrilled with their present location. Strike one. Strike two. And strike three.

You can fight City Hall. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to win.

Archives: Who’s buying?

An item from this column 25 years ago today (June 29, 1992) tells of an impatient man at a Post Falls City Council meeting. Jim Hammond, who now is the Coeur d’Alene city administrator, presided over the meeting as Post Falls mayor. The item: “First, Tony Strasser was forced to sit through a two-hour City Council hearing on leaky Post Falls streets, and then he was shushed for kibitzing with a friend when his attention wandered. Finally, Strasser interrupted Mayor Jim Hammond and the hearing, announcing, ‘I’d just as soon have a beer as listen to these people argue about streets.’ Responded Hammond: ‘Let us get done here, and we’ll all have a beer.’ Asked Strasser: ‘You buying?’ ”


Poet’s Corner: “They have thrown us out/and they locked the door;/we can’t watch them make/sausage anymore” – from “The Bard of Sherman Avenue” (poem: “Closed Meetings”) … You know it must be Monday when you’re enjoying a bike ride along scenic Hayden Lake Road, near Red Hawk Trail – and hit a deer. And that’s how this week began for a 58-year-old woman … When all else failed, according to Sgt. Paul Twidt of the popular Kellogg Police Department Roll Call report, two of the KPD’s finest used their “big boy voices” to coax a burglar hiding in Sunny Side Drug to “come out with your hands up.” And he did, crying. They booked ’im, Danno … Poll: Of all the nuisances in all the neighborhood places, the one that bothers my Huckleberries blog readers least is (drum roll, puh-LEEZ) – stray cats. The poll comes on the heels of a Coeur d’Alene resident’s complaint that neighborhood cats are using his garden for a public toilet.

Parting shot

Another note from artistic director Jadd Davis of the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre as the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” production enters its final weekend: “I’ll miss this one. And honestly that surprises me. I really looked at ‘Chitty’ like a little bon bon of a divertissement, but it’s legitimately grabbed my heartstrings.” A “bon bon of a divertissement”? Jadd missed his calling as a writer.

You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria @ (509) 319-0354 or

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