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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Branstetter’s history of the Silver Valley sex trade makes debut

The cover of Dr. Heather Branstetter’s book on the history of the sex trade in the Silver Valley. (Courtesy: Dr. Heather Branstetter)
The cover of Dr. Heather Branstetter’s book on the history of the sex trade in the Silver Valley. (Courtesy: Dr. Heather Branstetter)

Heather Branstetter’s new book on the history of the Wallace sex trade debuts Monday.

On March 3, Huckleberries told you about “Selling Sex in the Silver Valley: A Business Doing Pleasure.” Now, Editor Chanse Watson of the Shoshone News-Press in Kellogg weighs in. Chanse gave the book a thumbs-up after reading an advance copy. He explains why this book is important to local history buffs.

“This book shows that as the years went on, Wallace and the Silver Valley transitioned from a collection of mining communities with a prostitution ‘problem’ to a prostitution hub with a mining history. With a healthy balance of historical narrative and first hand accounts, there is something here for everyone.”

You can get an autographed copy of “Selling Sex in the Silver Valley” by emailing the author at Six copies are available at Atticus Coffee & Gifts in Spokane. The Well-Read Moose in Coeur d’Alene has copies, too. And you can get “Selling Sex” at these Silver Valley locations: Wallace District Mining Museum, Oasis Bordello Museum, Sierra Silver Mine Tour, Johnson’s Gems, Depot Museum, Wallace Brewing Company and Red Light Garage.

Branstetter will read from her book at 7 p.m. Friday at the Wallace Brewing Company.

To clip or not to clip?

That tweet from Derek Deis of KXLY got mixed reviews from Huckleberries Online readers – you know, the one in which he tells of being grossed out by an old-timer cutting his toenails in the gym locker room. The blog comments included: “As long as he picks up the clippings, a locker room is fine. Those aren’t the most sanitary of places as it is.” And: “If I carry those bolt cutters in I’m going to use them.” And: “I had no idea that anyone thought toenail clipping was gross.” And, finally: “I’ve spent years at the gym, and have seen much more cringe-worthy events than clipping toenails (provided he is picking up the clippings). Shaving one’s back comes to mind.”

Toilet fan from hell

The lead item in this column 25 years ago (March 11, 1992) is worth repeating: “The commode in the new shop building at the Fighting Creek Landfill needs a warning sign: ‘Please fasten your seat belts.’ Seems a subcontractor installed a fan that sucks air out of the can at 1,000 cubic feet per minute. Normal suction fans operate at about 50 CFM. The pressure requires bathroom users to pay attention to business or risk being embarrassed. The suction is so intense, reports a courthouse mole, that it sometimes opens the outer door of the bathroom. County officials want the subcontractor to replace the suction fan from hell before it slurps up a landfill employee.”


Poet’s Corner: It has been said/ perhaps for laughs/ that dogs have masters/ and cats have staffs – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Canines & Felines,” June 23, 2015) … Sightem, on the Coeur d’Alene Resort Boardwalk Thursday, Coeur d’Alene’s favorite son, Duane Hagadone, in his mid-80s, still looking dapper in black-and-white Oxfords and casual wear, while surveying his waterfront kingdom with a Hagadone Hospitality employee … Speaking of Hagadone, many in Coeur d’Alene are wondering what he will do with the Bonsai Bistro restaurant on Sherman Avenue, which shut unexpectedly last week. Huckleberries’ guess? The piece of ground offers plenty of room for a second hotel tower or multiuse high-rise … On Thursday, Christmas at the Lake in downtown Coeur d’Alene provided a daily readerboard reason that we all can celebrate: “Eat What You Want” Day … Councilwoman Kiki Miller of Coeur d’Alene survived her Dancing with Celebrities debut at the Coeur d’Alene Casino – and even brought home a second-place Mirror Ball for her valiant effort to raise money for the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre. Now, she faces ski-season-ending surgery for the ACL she tore prior to the fundraiser.

Parting shot

For those keeping score at home, Tony Stewart paid off his bet to Jeanette Laster of the Human Rights Education Institute. Remember? The veteran human rights activist wagered with Jeanette that a basketball autographed by the 2017 Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball team wouldn’t sell at the Human Rights Banquet auction for more than $2,500. It sold for $4,000. So Tony paid up by taking Jeanette to Anthony’s restaurant at Riverstone. She had a large bowl of clam chowder in a bread dish with trimmings. He ate a breaded chicken/bacon sandwich with trimmings and fries. Tony insisted on a calorie-rich strawberry/rhubarb dessert to top things off. Total bill: $60 (with generous tip). Tony considered that a small price to pay for the $15,300 raised for minority scholarships and other local human rights causes from the banquet and auction items.

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

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