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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries: The ultimate peacemaker sends greetings from heaven

D.F. Oliveria (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
D.F. Oliveria (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
By Dave Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

The post near the top of Chuck Lempesis’ Facebook page Monday captures the wit and faith of the popular attorney from Post Falls: “Greetings from heaven. … I told you I was sick.”

Chuck had died three days earlier, at age 67, after a valiant battle with cancer, a fight to the finish that he detailed for months on Facebook.

His subsequent obit dubbed Chuck as the “ultimate peacemaker.” And he was. Chuck spent the last decade of a legal career that spanned 40 years mediating and settling thousands of disputes around the country. He even authored a book, “The Art of Making Peace.”

Chuck, however, didn’t hit it off with Huckleberries right away. As the leader of Kootenai County Republicans in early 1985, Chuck organized a short-lived boycott of The Spokesman-Review. Chuck and local Elephants were upset by an expose that this columnist penned about a GOP bigwig who was having money troubles. The boycott fizzled out after only 30 partisans canceled their subscriptions.

Chuck and I laughed about that boycott for years. And we laughed about his campaign slogan in an unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor: “Lempesis is Serious.” Lempesis was also compassionate. Wickedly funny. Kind. And intelligent.

His shoes will be impossible to fill.

Suffering in CdA

Anna Heisey has watched “Skip” slowly dying in her large Coeur d’Alene yard for two weeks. Skip is the name Anna gave the buck who limped onto her property, with his left hind leg broken in two places and dangling. Skip was also missing half his antlers. Anna and hubby, Darryl, suspect the unfortunate animal had been sideswiped by a vehicle. She called state wildlife officials to see if they would put the animal out of its misery. And was told to let nature take its course. “It’s horrible to watch,” Anna told Huckleberries. Skip limps from one side of the backyard to the other to feed. But he’s weakening. “You wouldn’t treat a dog like this,” Anna said. Yeah, yeah, Huckleberries knows that the Fish & Gamers are busy and spread thin. But it’s a shame to allow the deer to suffer for so long.


Poet’s Corner: For hours on end/I searched my cranium/to find a rhyme/for his geranium – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Ode to Mr. Hagadone’s Favorite Flower”) … (For the uninitiated, tourism season doesn’t officially arrive in Coeur d’Alene until Duane Hagadone directs employees to plant thousands of red geraniums on the front lawn of his Coeur d’Alene resort. It hasn’t happened yet this year.) … You may know that Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy was named the best high school in Idaho by U.S. News & World Report. But did you know what the school’s motto (“Soli, docti, liberi, sunt”) means? “Only the educated are free.” And bonus points if you can name the school’s mascot – Panthers … Bumpersnicker (on that sweet vintage Plymouth stopped at the light at Government Way & Honeysuckle in Hayden Monday): “Do you follow Jesus this close?” … Sign of the Times (readerboard on Davis Donuts at Appleway & Best, in Coeur d’Alene): “It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it” – quote from “The Golden Girls” … Do you want a case of the willies? Check out the photo of the large cougar on a forest path a few miles north of the Enaville Resort (The Snake Pit), Shoshone County, by employee Coby Robinette. It’s posted on the resort Facebook page. Yikes!

Parting shot

In May 1892, five years after the city of Coeur d’Alene was founded, the upstart Coeur d’Alene Press weekly chided the powers that be for the latest in a series of county jailbreaks. Kootenai County, the Press noted, had spent $16,000 for the “steal cages” and $5,000 for the brick walls. But that didn’t prevent the prisoners from “sawing a chunk from the door and digging a hole through the brick wall” at the Rathdrum jail. The report concluded: “Now (the escapees) are enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery for which Northern Idaho is so justly celebrated.” Who can blame anyone for wanting to be outside on a beautiful spring day in the Idaho Panhandle?

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

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