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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries: Much-maligned Rachel Dolezal once faced down racists

Before Rachel Dolezal became a punch line for late-night talk shows, she faced down six white supremacists near the western entrance to downtown Coeur d’Alene. The neo-Nazis were demonstrating against the annual Martin Luther King celebration for fifth-graders at North Idaho College. Rachel was bravely counter-protesting against the racists. All. By. Herself.

Huckleberries: Down but not out in Post Falls

Coeur d’Alene Deputy City Administrator Sam Taylor was thinking dark thoughts about his Honda Civic after he got stuck in an unplowed Post Falls street just out of his driveway Monday. But he had no such thoughts for his boss, Coeur d’Alene City Administrator Jim Hammond, who dropped everything to pick up his snowbound assistant and bring him to work.

Website’s claim that Coeur d’Alene teachers worst-paid in U.S. isn’t quite right

The claim by national online site Career Trends by Graphiq were startling, depressing – that the average pay for high school teachers in Coeur d’Alene are the worst in the nation. Numero uno of 75 cities mini-profiled. Only spokeswoman Laura Rumpler of the Coeur d'Alene School District also said the claims were hogwash. The average pay of the district's high school teachers is actually $9,000 above the amount cited by Career Trends.

Huckleberries: A final ride for the ‘White Whale’

Gail Curless, of Dover, and husband, Randy, have ridden their 2002 Ford F-350 down to the hub caps running horses, sheep and border collies throughout the Northwest and Canada. Gail affectionately calls her pickup the “White Whale.” Last week, Gail took the “White Whale” for a final ride, to a car dealer in Bonners Ferry. She almost didn’t get there.

Kerri: Pickled herring inspires memories

In her Main Street column this week in the Coeur d'Alene Press, Kerri Thoreson comments that she doesn't have a Costco card because, as an empty-nester, she sees no reason to buy in bulk. (I agree, even though I have a Costco card.) However, she accompanied her sister to Costco recently. And a ha-huge jar of pickled herring inspired memories.

Huckleberries: Post Falls councilwoman encounters road rager

Post Falls Councilwoman Kerri Thoreson had a close encounter with a Road Rager on Spokane Street last week. A woman in an SUV behind her honked and gestured when Kerri stopped at an intersection on the busy street. The Road Rager then tailgated Kerri for a few blocks, so closely that Kerri couldn’t get her license plate number. Why had Kerri stopped? Two boys on bicycles were crossing the intersection. Seems the boys didn’t matter that much to the Road Rager.

Huckleberries: Confederate flag protest still attracts barbs

Jon Ruggles, the Wallace man who complained about Confederate flags displayed on a pickup at the Shoshone County transfer station, continues to attract criticism in the public square. On Martin Luther King Jr Day, Ruggles saw two Confederate flag emblems on a vehicle belonging to a county employee, and complained to county officials. On Thursday, a Mullan woman defended the Confederate flag in a half-page letter to the Shoshone News Press and told Ruggles to go back to California

Huckleberries: Paranoia over visitors adds to Idaho’s bad reputation

Remember that 1966 film comedy, “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming”? Well, in Elk River, Idaho, it would be “The Arabs Are Coming, the Arabs Are Coming.” Seems the tiny town (population about 125) in the northern Idaho boondooks went bananas when four dark-complected strangers with cameras showed up recently. Twice. Mayor Jim Martin called the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office to report “some undesirables” – townsfolk called them “Arab people” – had invaded Elk River. All this according to the Lewiston Tribune. Sheriff Chris Goetz downplayed the community paranoia, stating he and his deputies found nothing amiss regarding the visit of the strangers, according to the Trib. Also, Mayor Martin told the Trib that Elk River isn’t “against Arabs,” but “we don’t want what’s happening in the rest of the world to happen here.” And Idahoans wonder where our beautiful state gets its rep-P-U-tation for racial silliness? Gun-totin’ momma

Huckleberries: Craig’s new GOP job prompts potshot

Wonkette, the left-leaning online mag, said the selection of former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig to be finance chair for the Idaho Republican Party is “an inspiring holiday story of forgiveness and redemption.” Wonkette, of course, was being sarcastic. In a recent article, Wonkette’s Doctor Zoom continued: “It’s heartening to know that even after Craig was arrested in 2007 and charged with soliciting sex in a bathroom stall in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, then ordered to pay the Treasury Department roughly $242,000 after using campaign funds to cover his legal defense, Idaho Republicans are still willing to give Sen. Widestance a second chance.”

GOP junket stops at ‘McCuen’ Park

City Councilwoman Kerri Thoreson, of Post Falls, wonders which Kootenai County park is misspelled more often – Q’emiln (pronounced Ka-mee-lin) in Post Falls or the McEuen (pronounced mic-you-en) in Coeur d’Alene. You’d suspect the former, an American Indian name that means “throat of the river.” The 78.5-acre park is located at the south end of the Spokane River Bridge in Post Falls. But the Idaho GOP presented a good case for the latter during a traditional state bus tour by top candidates (Gov. Butch Otter, Lt. Gov. Brad Little & Co.), which made its way to North Idaho on Friday. In the online GOP itinerary, the downtown Coeur d’Alene park was misspelled “McCuen.” Which probably made community booster Mae McEuen, for whom the park is named, spin in her grave at Forest Cemetery. Not-so-hot wheels

Huckleberries: Tom Malzahn helping to let voters pick next treasurer

Again, Kootenai County owes a debt of gratitude to Treasurer Tom Malzahn for postponing his retirement 21 months to protect his office from right-wing ideologues who control the local GOP. In Idaho, the respective parties provide up to three names for appointment by commissioners when a vacancy occurs among the courthouse elected officials. Malzahn feared that the tea party/Ron Paul wing that dominates the GOP Central Committee would bypass his competent deputy, Laurie Thomas, in favor of conservative ideologues.

Huckleberries: The cosmetic perks of cold weather

Horse whisperer Erica Curless (now also part of The Spokesman-Review team producing the Monday Boomer U page) sez it’s “never good when your trailer tire passes you at 60 mph.” At the time, Erica was hauling a load of heifers for sale to Billings. The Les Schwab at Thompson Falls said it could replace her tire – next Wednesday. So Erica & Co. limped into the Les Schwab in balmy Missoula (9 degrees) to fix the tire. The road trip continued from there over the slick-as-snot pass near Livingston (minus 20 degrees).

Huckleberries: Let’s put this one to bed before we talk of more

Councilwoman Kerri Thoreson, who lost the Post Falls mayor’s race to Ron Jacobson on Tuesday, had the best line following the city elections. And we’ll get to it in a moment. On her Facebook wall after the election, Kerri talked about putting on her “game face” and heading out to face the public. First, she attended the Local Issues Committee of the Chamber of Commerce. Next, she retrieved signs and returned phone calls, texts and emails. Many were talking about her future election prospects.