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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries: Councilman’s weight loss victory is precise percentage

The Spokesman-Review

Some would say that Coeur d’Alene Councilman Dan English is half the man today that he was during his years as Kootenai County clerk. But Dan is quick to correct the uninformed.

He sez he’s 58 percent of the man he was 9 ½ years ago as he concluded his 15 years in the county courthouse. The proof is evident in the campaign photo that he’s planning to roll out soon when he announces his council re-election bid.

A decade ago, English, now 67, stood 5 feet 6 inches and weighed 255 pounds. He’s still 5 feet 6 inches. But he weighs 160 pounds.

After years of failed diets, he turned to gastric bypass surgery in a last-ditch effort to win the battle of the bulge. And succeeded. Wildly. With a stomach reduced to the size of a poached egg, he dropped so much weight — down to 135 pounds — that his doctor ordered him to gain 15 pounds back.

Today, hale and hearty, Dan touts two remarkable differences in his life: Now, he can squeeze through smaller spaces in crowds. And, better yet, sez he: “I no longer worry about (being assigned) the middle seat on airplanes.”

Unhappy cuss-tomer

In “The Customer Is Always Right?” Dept., a woman demanded that a Coeur d’Alene merchant turn the packaging for her purchase inside out. Lectured she: “I do not wish to be a walking advertisement for your store. I read the papers, as all intelligent people ought to do, and think that in them is the place to advertise your wares, instead of expecting your customers to carry your printed wrapping-paper signs around with them.” The red-faced clerk complied. Seems customers could be as big of a pain in the tush 125 years ago as they are today. This item was published in the Coeur d’Alene Press on Feb. 24, 1894.

Monday, Monday

You might think that Monday is just another day of the week. But don’t mention that to Carol Nelson of Spokane. Here’s what a recent Monday looked like to Carol. At 5 a.m., she received a phone call from a dentist’s office in Georgia. Later, she slipped on ice while taking out the trash and landed in a heap at the end of her driveway. Then, adding insult to injury, she returned to the house to discover that the cat had puked on the carpet. All before her first cup of coffee. Sez Carol: “Monday is a meanie.”


Poet’s Corner: Land of the brave/and home of the free:/take off your shoes/and show your ID – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“At the Airport”) … Heather Hoffmaster Butler was glad her son, Miles, jumped at the chance to earn $10 for shoveling snow from the driveway and sidewalks. Even though it hasn’t stopped snowing since the negotiations concluded. Now, Heather has another problem: “I’m going to have to borrow money soon to pay him for shoveling.” … If you’re planning to visit Egypt, traveler Shirley Stafford Thagard advises that you should “go on the wagon.” Why? A vodka tonic costs anywhere from $18 to $25. And, if you fly Egypt Air, “there is NO ALCOHOL.” (Shirley’s caps, not mine) … The End Is Near: The aforementioned Mr. English knew this country was going to the dogs when he saw people wearing flannel pajamas in public. Sez Dan: “Going out to get the newspaper in your driveway is one thing. But out to eat or shop is quite another.”

Parting shot

Last week, Councilman Dan Gookin got in the last word during the public comment period, targeting new parking fees in downtown Coeur d’Alene. Gookin had been on the losing end of a 4-3 vote eliminating free parking in the McEuen Park lot. Mayor Steve Widmyer had cast the tie-breaking vote in favor. Several speakers from the audience opposed the increase, including one who collected thousands of online signatures. At one point, Gookin was admonished by Widmyer for his pointed questioning of the staff about the fee increase. Then, an audience member objected to the mayor’s tone in speaking to Gookin. Hizzoner responded: “Dan and I have a relationship where we understand each other.” Without skipping a beat, Dan deadpanned: “Most of the time we are holding hands under the table.” Don’t you love happy endings?

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

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