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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Up on the rooftop … gobble, gobble, gobble

By Dave Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

Shirley Stafford Thagard wasn’t nestled in her bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in her head. But she was focused on Christmas on Saturday when she heard something on her roof. When she peered up to see what was the matter, Stafford Thagard spied a wild turkey staring back through her skylight. But we need to interject some backstory before proceeding. Stafford Thagard doesn’t need to look far for a Thanksgiving turkey. Her Hayden Lake neighborhood is overrun by the feral bird. Stafford Thagard figures that 20 to 30 turkeys routinely stroll down her street. “About every other day,” she told Huckleberries, “they manage to get on my neighbor’s roof and pace back and forth deciding whether to fly off the down hill side or waddle back to the driveway.” After Stafford Thagard posted a photo of turkey playing Peeping Tom, a friend teased on her Facebook page: “You must have ordered a real fresh one for Thanksgiving.” But the close encounter with Tom T. has prompted Stafford Thagard to reconsider: “Might have roast beef for Thanksgiving dinner!” Hey, if a president can pardon a turkey for Thanksgiving, why can’t she?

Another life

You may know that Lori Isenberg, the former executive of the North Idaho Housing Coalition, is facing federal charges for allegedly embezzling about $500,000. And that she’s being questioned in the mysterious death of her husband, Larry. But did you know that 25 years ago, Isenberg, then surnamed Barnes, was a mover and shaker for the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce? And was beginning a column for the Coeur d’Alene Press? In introducing the new column, “It’s News to Use,” then Executive Editor Barry J. Casebolt described Lori Barnes as “a bundle of energy (who) seems to have a limitless supply of ideas.” Five years later, she got into hot water for not revealing that she was a paid Asarco consultant when she testified for the chamber on behalf of Asarco’s controversial Rock Creek Mine in northwestern Montana. But that dust-up pales in comparison to the hot water she’s in now.


Poet’s Corner: As shoppers grapple hand in hand/ in stores and malls across the land,/ all the economists quite agree/ virgin births are good for GDP – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Black Friday”) … Happiness is a good neighbor who wants the leaves from your clump birch tree for his compost pile … After a round trip by car to Seattle recently, Amy Yardley, of Coeur d’Alene, offered this Facebook message: “Dear State of Washington; With your cannabis $$$, will you please construct a rest area between Seattle and the (Snoqualmie) pass. Sincerely (signed) Everyone” … A dated bumpersnicker plucked from the Coeur d’Alene Press Sunday column of the late Bob Paulos from November 1993: “Jimmy Carter is no longer the worst president our country has ever had.” Methinks the motorist was a Republican … Mebbe that Kellogg resident who reported a loud explosion last week should have checked the calendar first. Nov. 11, Veterans Day. The residents, according to the Kellogg Roll Call report, were firing off a cannon to pay respects to the nation’s vets … You know you’re in North Idaho, Toto, when Christmas lights come in strings resembling red and green shotgun shells. Brian Walker, of Post Falls, spotted the lights at the Post Falls Walmart.

Parting shot

A middle-aged man with a sleeve tattoo was surprised to hear a woman say to him: “You’d better watch your bottom.” He was standing just inside the door at the packed drivers’ license office in Post Falls on Nov. 13. Looking up from his cellphone, the man saw a blond 20-something in cowboy boots and blue jeans. Before he got the wrong idea, she explained: “You gotta watch your bottom, so you don’t turn off the lights.” She pointed. There was a light switch about butt level to the left of the entrance. Seems another man had shut the lights off with his bum several minutes earlier. And you thought butt-dialing was embarrassing?

You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at

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