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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries: Leopold is having a rest on the Centennial Trail

By D.F. Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

Some have reported on social media that the “Ghost of Christmas Past” haunts the easternmost end of the two-state Centennial Trail. Others have spied the specter at twilight as they whiz past Higgens Point on Interstate 90, 6 miles east of Coeur d’Alene.

But Randall Butt of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation offers another explanation. It’s just Leopold. The sculpture of a 19th-century photographer by Coeur d’Alene artist David Clemons has graced the shoreline of Lake Coeur d’Alene for years.

On Monday, however, the popular statue was shrouded in white plastic. Nearby, modern photographers, some with telephoto lenses, snapped pictures of migrating bald eagles, attracted to Lake Coeur d’Alene by spawning salmon.

Few took notice of Leopold.

For the second time, Butt told Huckleberries, the statue needs repair.

Weather and vandalism have taken a toll on the creation, which has a concrete core overset by a coating that gives an impression of bronze. The chips, cracks and surface issues have been fixed. The department will apply a final coat of paint and a coat of sealant next spring.

Then, Leopold will emerge from his shrink-wrapped cocoon to delight another year of trail users and eagle watchers.

Doggone Husky

Michelle Rafferty, of Hayden, loves her 10-month-old Husky, Jax. But she isn’t fond of his eating habits. Or trust his loyalty to her beloved Washington State Cougars, especially as the Apple Cup approaches. In his short life, Jax (aka “Dennis the Menace”) has made three trips to the doggy emergency room. First, Jax needed emergency help after he ate a box of sugar-free gum. He made a second trip after wolfing down mushrooms in Michelle’s yard. Jax’s third appearance at the vet’s office occurred after he gobbled a box of sugar-free Whitman’s Sampler Chocolates. (The pup was fine after vomiting.) The last episode had an odd twist to it. Jax ate the chocolates after Michelle forced him to wear a Cougars jersey. She has photos to prove it. Does this mean the Huskies are going to chew up and spit out the Cougs? Or the Cougars are going to gag the Huskies? Inquiring minds want to know. And Jax ain’t talkin’.


Poet’s Corner: As he shaved today, / alarmed, he looked nearer – / how did that old guy / get into the mirror? – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“The Intruder”) … Speaking of old guys, I began working for newspapers when I was 20, for the Chico (California) Enterprise-Record. I turned 70 on Nov. 20. If you do the math, that’s 50 years. I can’t think of anything else that I could have done that would have been so fulfilling. Thanks for reading my scribblings. Onward … Bumpersnicker (that won’t stem the tide): “Idaho sucks: Don’t move here” … Mary Wolfinger, the mental health court coordinator for Kootenai County, enjoys using Fred Meyer’s ClickList. First, it makes Thanksgiving shopping easier. More importantly, says Mary, it keeps “other shoppers safe from having to deal with (my) holiday grocery shopping.”

Parting shot

For weeks now, the vigilante censor who has hidden books critical of President Donald Trump and conservatives has focused widespread attention on the Coeur d’Alene Library. But one patron isn’t impressed with the library’s 15 minutes of fame. Why don’t you go back to the old way of checking out books, groused the patron on a suggestion slip. The old way involved late charges. The new way removes the charges, but doesn’t allow patrons with overdue books to check out new materials. Oh, well. The media attention, including a visit from “Commander in Cheat” author Rick Reilly, was fun while it lasted.

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

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