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Huckleberries: Goodbye Julie Meier, as good a friend as any library could ask for

By D.F. Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

If you have a Coeur d’Alene library card, you owe a debt of gratitude to the late Julie Meier.

A Spokane native, Meier is one of two superb public servants who have led the Coeur d’Alene Library since 1981. Current Director Bette Ammon is the other.

Coeur d’Alene had gone through two librarians in the year before Meier arrived, a determined woman who loved kindness and was wired to inspire change. Norm Gissel, the Coeur d’Alene attorney who helped sue the Aryan Nations into bankruptcy, told a reporter from The Spokesman-Review in 2004 that his vote as a Library Board member to hire Julie was one of his best decisions.

And what did Meier do?

She oversaw the move of the library from a cramped, brick building that once served as a hospital at Seventh Street and Lakeside Avenue to a larger facility on Harrison Avenue – and laid the groundwork for Coeur d’Alene’s celebrated library on the edge of McEuen Park today.

She introduced programs to serve the underserved. Among them: A club for the deaf. A reading program for parents and infants. A book delivery program for the homebound. Expanded hours.

Meier’s crowning achievement may have been the writers contest she launched in 1988 to encourage writing and introduce budding authors to the community. Now in its 30th year, the contest offers categories from kindergartners to adults. It has been named after her.

Meier died last month at 84. Her favorite phrase, according to her obituary, was: “God made a beautiful world.” Meier left this beautiful corner of the world in even better shape than she found it.

Instant hit

Two women walking a dog approached the incomplete memorial to Coeur d’Alene police Sgt. Greg Moore and other fallen officers. Nearby, workers were touching up the water feature at McEuen Field in preparation for its dedication Tuesday. “Oh, oh, Greg Moore,” said one, pointing to the middle of three large rocks that front the monument. “One sad day,” she lamented about the officer’s death. Other visitors walking along McEuen paths stopped and grew quiet. The inscription on another stone is a reminder why the memorial was built: “It is not how these officers died that makes them heroes, it is how they lived.”

Huckleberries

Poet’s Corner: “That spring is here,/ I have no doubt –/ the Harley-Davidsons/ are out” – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“A Sure Sign”) … OK, this doesn’t rhyme but it makes sense. The readerboard on Zip’s restaurant in Hayden: “I scream, you scream, we all scream for – bacon” … You know you’re no longer in Idaho, Toto, when protesters on a street corner chant, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the NRA has got to go.” Huckleberries was visiting “Keep Portland Weird” on that day … Closer to home, Duane Rasmussen of Hayden spotted a bumpersnicker at a political rally in Hayden: www.BEAT-IRS.com … Forget robins. Former Shoshone County Commissioner Sherry Krulitz of Pinehurst spotted her first hummingbird on April 26 … Ten years ago today, the S-R announced a Panda Express would rise from the ashes of the 7-Eleven minimart at Fourth Street and Best Avenue in Coeur d’Alene. Kristi Nivette Milan of Coeur d’Alene remembers the winter’s night when the 7-Eleven burned: “My granddaughter cried because she (thought she) would never again have a Slurpee.”

Parting shot

State Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, will go down in history as one of the best North Idaho legislators. But you’d never know that by listening to her Far Right detractors. They are still slinging mud, even though she isn’t on the ballot for the first time in decades. Recently, some boo birds groused: “Keough is a RINO.” The pejorative “RINO” means: “Republican in Name Only.” But a friend of Keough’s offered a different take: “Rational (and Reasonable) Individual with Nobel Objectives.” To which Shawn responded: “I’ll take that label!” It fits.