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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Bo Gritz is long gone from Idaho, but he isn’t forgotten

Rebecca Schroeder
Rebecca Schroeder

Bo Gritz is long gone from Idaho. But he isn’t forgotten.

The conspiracy theorist, who fancies himself as the inspiration for “Rambo,” deserves credit for talking Randy Weaver from his Ruby Ridge cabin in August 1992. Two years later, Gritz started developing the patriot covenant community of Almost Heaven in north-central Idaho.

Rebecca Schroeder, now of Coeur d’Alene, remembers how Gritz and his followers introduced fear and political turmoil into her childhood hometown of Kooskia.

As a 16-year-old girl, Rebecca waited on Gritz, who openly packed a firearm, and his gang when they ate at Jalinda’s Family Dining. “I can’t remember a word he said to me besides ‘chicken-fried steak,’ ” Rebecca told Huckleberries. But she recalls the fear she felt while the blustery Gritz was in the building.

That close encounter – and the migration into the Coeur d’Alene area of latter-day Gritz wannabes, like the Redoubters – inspired Schroeder to run for the Idaho Legislature. Says Rebecca: “I’m now 40 and feel obligated to stand up in the face of fear.” Stay tuned.

Xmas in February?

Groundhog Day is special to Jillian Shaw, of Coeur d’Alene. After all, her father, Earl Pleger, was born on that day. So she was amused when her son, James, exclaimed to his brother: “Laine! The groundhog saw his shadow! We get six more days of Christmas!” If only … How do you know when your 14-year-old daughter is really sick? Well, a thermometer reading of 103.6 is one indication. But Rebecca Howell, of Hayden, knew something was wrong when her offspring didn’t touch her cellphone for more than 24 hours. Medic! … On Monday, Kevin Richert, of Idaho Education Network, was cleaning around the house when he realized that sweeping the floor was pretty much like curling “without the ice and the possibility of winning an Olympic medal” … And how about a monster Hat Tip to summer music organizer Chris Guggemos, of Coeur d’Alene, who hasn’t smoked a cigarette for 21 years.


Poet’s Corner: I’ve heard it said by those who know/ to watch the market winds that blow,/ for when velocity gets high/ even turkeys start to fly – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Stock Market Rally”) … You Washingtonians might not be impressed – what with your new $11.50 minimum wage and all – but Burger King on Coeur d’Alene’s Appleway is hiring at “$8.45 per hour!” Or so it said on a receipt for two Whoppers and a side order of chicken nuggets, exclamation point included at no extra cost … Appropriately Named: Yes, there is an employee named Tim Carr selling cars at Parker Toyota. His official title is business development sales coordinator, however … Fifty years ago today, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported that LeRoy Damiano, 21, of Harrison, had been killed in action in Vietnam. A gifted student and athlete, he’d been fighting there since the previous September. Alas … The female driver of a battered van with Washington plates and an S.F. 49ers decal at Coeur d’Alene’s Costco has three loves. Her license plate holder spells them out: “I love my man, my dogs, and football.”

Parting shot

Frustrated, Katrina Wright Swaim, of Coeur d’Alene, faces a Catch-22 as tax season kicks off. She must file an amended tax return because she forgot about a W-2 for $45 of income. Only it’ll cost her $45 for her tax preparer to amend the return. “It’s a pretty straightforward return,” Katrina laments. “But these forms are activating my fight-or-flight response.” Only 61 days left until the tax deadline.

D.F. Oliveria can be reached at or (208) 889-0261.

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