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Huckleberries: Book celebrates 30th anniversary of North Idaho Centennial Trail

UPDATED: Thu., Feb. 27, 2020

By D.F. Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

The North Idaho Centennial Trail exists as a connected entity because people like Doug Eastwood wouldn’t give up.

If the former Coeur d’Alene parks director and others like him had taken a knee, a huge gap of the trail would be missing between Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene. The trail would veer toward traffic on Northwest Boulevard in Coeur d’Alene rather than hug the scenic Spokane River. Paranoid residents of one Post Falls neighborhood might have torpedoed it.

Instead, Doug and other trail boosters prevailed, although they needed nine years rather than two or three to complete the 23-mile trail. The trail is part of a two-state system that stretches from Higgens Point, east of Coeur d’Alene, 62 miles through Spokane and beyond.

Now, as part of the 30th anniversary of the North Idaho Centennial Trail, Doug has written a firsthand account about “The Trail That Almost Wasn’t” ($15 on Amazon or at the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce Trail Foundation office).

“It has heroes and villains, success and failure,” Doug says.

Huckleberries can name names here. But then you might not buy the book.

Valentine surprise

It was Valentine’s Day, but Sydni Kotschevar wasn’t suspicious when a Kootenai County deputy entered her workplace in Riverstone. Off-duty Deputy Doug Goodman had some story about catching a man breaking into her car. Sydni complied when Goodman asked her to go with him to possibly identify the burglar. Sydni’s circuits overloaded when the lawman opened his patrol car door to reveal her boyfriend. Dustin Springer was holding a bouquet and grinning. Dustin seemed happy to follow the cop’s direction to get on his knees on the pavement. Next thing you know, Dustin has a ring out and is popping the question. She said, “Yes,” of course. Or Huckleberries wouldn’t be telling you about it.

David Bond, R.I.P.

Leave it to his former editor to capture the essence of old-school newsman David Bond. Curmudgeon. Genius. Tortured. Contrarian. Friend of the Little Guy. Julie Titone did better than that in a Facebook post after Bond died at age 68 on Feb. 16: “In his best form he was funny and an immensely talented writer. One day, as I was writing a story about trail-building, he looked over my shoulder and saw that I’d mentioned ‘the sound of picks on rocks ringing through the forest.’ Dave just said ‘clank’ and walked away. It was a one-word lesson in choosing the right word.” Goodbye, old friend.

Huckleberries

Gail Curless of Dover, Idaho, isn’t bothered that she must take her left hip into the shop for repairs. Rather, she’s mystified friends and acquaintances give her blank looks when she mentions the nicknames for her two hips: Pancho and Lefty. Get it? … Poet’s Corner: This tiny plant must conquer fear/ to bloom before the springtime’s here,/ for the snows of March that sometimes cloak us/ will frost your pistil if you’re a crocus – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“On the Courage of the Crocus in Northern States”) … In its second issue, the Coeur d’Alene Press described what urban renewal looked like in 1892: “More sidewalks, better streets, a little more paint and a clean lake front, and Coeur d’Alene will be a thing of joy and a joy forever.” And it still is in the 21st century.

Parting shot

Anne Marin, of Hayden, has no misgivings about Rolig, her 5-year-old Corgi with a thyroid problem. She adopted him a year ago after searching for “the laziest dog” she could find. Rolig lives to eat and sleep. Therefore, Anne wasn’t upset when she returned from a quick stop at a corner store to find him gagging on her Chinese takeout. The Pound Puppy had opened the box and gobbled five slices of BBQ pork. P’haps Marin should buy something softer next time, like orange chicken.