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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Leaving quibbles in the library suggestion box

Lake City High School Librarian JD Smithson files books in the library after school in Coeur d'Alene on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Lake City High School Librarian JD Smithson files books in the library after school in Coeur d'Alene on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

You’d think there’d be no complaints about the picture-perfect Coeur d’Alene Library in picture-perfect Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. But you’d be wrong.

“The entrance smells like an ash tray!!!” groused a patron in a note in the library suggestion box. The note was posted on a bulletin board in the lobby, with a library response.

Seems the whiff of cigarette occasionally haunts the entrance despite a sign adjacent to the book return that bans smoking within 20 feet of the building. The library has gone a step further by placing cylindrical ash trays near benches on both sides of the entrance, outside the restricted zone.

In the bulletin board explainer, library officials said, “We make every attempt to move the smokers away from the entrance but aren’t always successful.”

The library had considered removing one of the tubular ash trays, but feared that would lead to smokers simply dropping their butts on the ground. The explainer concludes, “We keep looking for a solution to this vexing issue.”

For the rest of this story, you can look between “Molehill” and “Mountain” in the library nonfiction section.

Sweet Dreams

Speaking of the library, David Townsend Facebooks that he’s having “newspaper dreams.” This, although the library spokesman left print journalism 18 years ago. The dreams go something like this. David is in an old newsroom with some familiar news biz faces from yesteryear trying to hit deadline when the computer system goes down. (Been there, done that.) David reports that he wakes up confused that he’d dream about work from long ago – and disappointed that he’d failed to hit the deadline. Alas, soon there’ll be no newspaper deadlines because there’ll be no newspapers.

Proud Son

Rebecca Schroeder, the Democratic candidate for one of two Idaho House seats in Coeur d’Alene, takes 10-year-old son, Brady, with her to door knock. Recently, to Rebecca’s delight, Brady told a resident that he was “very proud” of his Ma. And that she’s an “overachiever in politics.” She’ll have to be an “overachiever” to win a general election in the Republican Redoubt of North Idaho.


Poet’s Corner: “This is no doubt a/remarkable species:/one half is honk and/the other half’s feces” – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Thoughts on a Canada Goose”) … In a Facebook post, Coeur d’Alene Councilman Dan Gookin described “North Idaho wait.” Said he: That’s “the extra three seconds you pause after the light turns green to ensure that those in cross-traffic running the red light don’t slam into you” … Coeur d’Alene Realtor Desiree Janke was ready with a response when a Walmart pharmacist told her recently: “Give me 20 minutes to get this ready while you shop.” Desiree: “Must I?” What? You expected her to say, “Mother, may I”? … Sign Language: Nic Casey of Coeur d’Alene spotted a custom license plate that read: “XKXKXKX.” And thought to himself: “I’m surprised the DMV allowed that. Wait, this is Idaho. I’m not surprised at all” … Chris Guggemos, of Handshake Productions, begins his 27th year as the Coeur d’Alene area’s Music Man this evening (6 to 8:30) by presenting a free concert at Hayden’s McIntire Family Park. On tap? Talented Ruth Pratt and Coeur d’Alene Big Band. The Sara Brown Band launches the summer series at Coeur d’Alene City Park from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday … Bumpersnicker that appeared in this column on this date 25 years ago (1993): “First Gennifer Flowers and Now the Nation!”

Parting Shot

Coeur d’Alene High instructor Bruce Twitchell was surprised at a checkout stand when the woman in front of him was carded for buying a lighter. But the explanation given by the store clerk stunned him more: “We don’t want kids having fire power.” Now there’s a ship that sailed some time ago.

D.F. (Dave) Oliveria can be contacted at

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