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Saturday, September 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

D.F. Oliveria: Coeur d’Alene’s natural treasure may be worth more than you think

UPDATED: Thu., March 21, 2019, 9:53 a.m.

By D.F. Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

’Tis the season when many Coeur d’Alene residents consider a spring ritual – hiking Tubbs Hill before the tourists invade.

The hill named after 19th-century land speculator Tony Tubbs provides a panorama of the town’s north shore vistas. Lake Coeur d’Alene. The Coeur d’Alene Resort and marina. City Beach. Sanders Beach. The floating green. Downtown Coeur d’Alene.

David Taylor took all of that in, during scouting trips around Tubbs Hill this month. And reports that the hill isn’t ready for casual hikers. Despite the welcome spring weather this week, he found snow and ice in shaded areas. But he expects early wildflowers, if temps remain in the 50s.

While waiting for better hiking conditions, fans can familiarize themselves with the late Scott Reed’s short history of Coeur d’Alene’s crown jewel: “The Treasure Called Tubbs Hill.”

Reed chronicles the events that preserved Tubbs Hill and McEuen Park for public use, despite hare-brained schemes to develop it, including, in 1959, a proposal to build a shopping mall.

Of note, Reed estimates the city paid $300,098 over the years to buy the 134 acres of Tubbs Hill and McEuen Park (not counting federal matching funds and local donations). In 2005, according to Reed, then county Assessor Mike McDowell set the appraised value of Tubbs Hill at a mind-blowing $177 million. It easily could be worth more than $500 million today.

In other words, Tubbs Hill is priceless.

Divine intervention

The guardian angel for CdA’s Kathy Baker-Grigg was working overtime Monday night. As she accelerated from the 45 mph zone on U.S. Highway 95 south of Coeur d’Alene, she noticed a young elk emerge from the trees. She altered her direction. So did the elk. Wham! The elk hit the right side of her Passat, dented the hood, and slammed into her windshield. Luckily, the windshield didn’t shatter. Shaken but uninjured, Kathy declared a photo of her smashed auto to be “a piece of art.” And named her masterpiece for Facebook Friends: “Passat Meets Elk on Way Home in North Idaho.” It should be required viewing for anyone who drives North Idaho roads, especially at night. Be careful out there.


For those keeping score at home, the unveiling of “McCuddin: The Inner Eye,” the top-notch coffee book by Doug and Sherry Clark, attracted more than 200 fans to the Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene on Friday night. Mel McCuddin, the Spokane Valley milkman-turned-expressionist, sold three paintings at the event, according to gallery owner Blair Williams. And the crowd snapped up about 150 of the Clarks’ books, complete with separate print of the cover art. At $125 a pop. Yeah, it’s that good. Supplies are limited. Consider yourselves warned, if you (heart) McCuddin’s wonderfully quirky work.


Poet’s Corner: “On weekends, I ride at/the head of the pack/ on my big black hog with/ a chick on the back;/ I’m bad to the bone so/ don’t get in my way, /I’m wild as they come/ for a CPA” – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Part-time Outlaw”) … After getting punched in the head and ribs by his gal-pal, a Post Falls man called the cops. The Reporting Party was adamant that he didn’t want to press charges. Rather, he wanted the PFPD Blues to tell his girlfriend that it’s over. You think? … After arresting a juvenile on a warrant this month, Sgt. Paul Twidt deadpanned on the Kellogg PD’s Roll Call report: “Lesson here is – Go to school when your P.O. (probation officer) tells you to.” Bingo … Earlier this month, Amy Yardley encountered an “absolutely nutty” atmosphere when she visited CdA’s Costco. In fact, she feared afterward that she’d strained a muscle. Sez Yardley: “Battling old white people for free samples is exhausting.” Hey, I resemble that.

Parting shot

Joe and Heather Hoffmaster Butler have a renewed faith in mankind – or at least in their 80,000 closest friends at the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle last weekend. While hanging with George Takei (“Star Trek”) and other comic culture celebs, the Butlers discovered they’d lost debit and credit cards, a driver’s license and their hotel key. Immediately, Joe and Heather canceled the cards – AND called event organizers, hoping against hope that an honest con-goer had turned them in. Someone had. Thanos may have killed more than half of the superheroes in “Avengers: Infinity War.” But the world hasn’t completely fallen apart.

D.F. “Dave” Oliveria can be contacted at

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