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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries: Gone too soon and already dearly missed

Patrick Jacobs, Coeur d’Alene’s unofficial king of food, fashion and fun who died too young last Sunday, was a huge fan of former Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem. Her Sandiness, longtime owner of Johannes Jewelry in downtown Coeur d’Alene, was known for rocking outfits and bling while presiding over Coeur d’Alene City Council meetings and riding as a passenger on the back of a Harley-Davidson at the city’s Fourth of July Parade. I dug this mini-review of Sandi’s stylish taste by Patrick after a council meeting in February 2007: “One thing is for sure: Sandi Bloem is a hard-core fashionista. Did anybody catch her outfit at the 2/20 City Council meeting? I tuned into red-hot CDA Channel 19, and my jaw dropped when I saw her squeezed delicately into a shiny plastic grey-and-black leopard print jacket and wearing her usual amount of bling. Her trademark salt-and-pepper upswept hairdo was 10x more vicious than usual. She must have decided to go with an extra-fierce look for the evening since she had to charm everybody into helping her sneak that little $3 million Kroc doo-dad through the system.” The Kroc Center, of course, is a smashing success. And Patrick’s observations about life and personalities in Coeur d’Alene are already sorely missed. Strike two

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: Otter’s education funding effort ripe for mockery

Last week, a Facebook post by a Democratic legislative candidate got under Jon Hanian’s skin: Hanian? He’s Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s mouthpiece. Onward. Travis Manning, a House candidate from Canyon County, published a photo of Otter and him shaking hands, quipping that the governor was thanking him “for working to save Idaho’s public school system from total annihilation.” This, according to Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey. Idaho, of course, is the Mississippi of the West when it comes to education funding.

Dave Oliveria: A campaign platform with fewer loose screws

Tired of all the empty rhetoric of the spring campaign, Patrick Jacobs of the Get Out! North Idaho blog offers his own legislative manifesto, including: creation of an official fashion committee for (Idaho’s) first lady to make sure (she’s) “looking fierce.” Mandatory Grace Jones Mondays. Raise the minimum wage to $45.25/hour. Apple fritter as the official state doughnut. No white shoes after Labor Day. An In-N-Out Burger joint in every town. Make Lana Turner’s birthday (Feb. 8) a state holiday – she’s from Wallace – and everyone gets the day off. Jell-O shots $1 every hour on the hour. Removal of the embarrassing, outdated phrase “Famous Potatoes” from the license plates. Replace it with “Mullet Paradise.” And Add the Words. Crazy? No crazier than legislators from Kootenai County trying to nullify federal law, putting sheriffs in charge of defining the Second Amendment and allowing guns on college campuses. Faux ‘KCRCC’

Huckleberries: Steady stream of oddities preserves CdA’s image

A commenter on the Huckleberries Online blog who goes by the pseudonym “Sisyphus” contends that the image problems for the Coeur d’Alene area are cumulative. Many, of course, think of million-dollar waterfront property, pine-covered foothills and the floating green when they hear the name “Coeur d’Alene.” But others, says Sisyphus, wonder: Isn’t that the place where: 1. The old man lives who hit the black kid on the plane? 2. They had a KKK snowman with a noose? 3. The school trustee repeated a tasteless Obama joke? 4. They’re building a right-wing armed fortress? 5. They protested against Mexican food carts?

Huckleberries: Kennedy claims career is marked by ‘nontroversy’

Coeur d’Alene Councilman Mike Kennedy thought he’d struck gold Thursday when he conjured the word “nontroversy.” According to Mike’s definition, “nontroversy” means roughly “a ginned up scandal, controversy or otherwise politically inspired nonsense by some political partisan (from either side).” In jest, Mike was busy on his Facebook wall calling for a lawyer to help him copyright the word when a buzz-killer noted that “nontroversy” was already defined in the “Urban Dictionary.”

Huckleberries: Reagan Republicans, PR group joined at hip

A public relations company tied closely to a Kootenai County Republican organization was paid $86,000 by eight candidates involved in the local 2012 GOP primary – five of whom won. Ron Lahr, of Post Falls, who is president of both the Strategery Group and the influential Reagan Republicans, told Huckleberries his PR organization is a “labor of love.” Lahr claims much of the money collected from candidates is used to buy campaign material.

Huckleberries: Beware, or embrace, the donut burgers truck

Restaurant reviewer Patrick Jacobs claims he ate a donut burger after hours from an unnamed food truck in downtown Coeur d’Alene on Saturday, July 21. You read that right – a donut burger. Patrick described it in his Get Out! North Idaho blog the next day: “The glazed Krispy Kreme bun ... was toothsome and sweet. The beef patty was grilled to a nice char on the outside but was meaty-rich and greasy-hot inside. Smoky crisp bacon strips and a slice of tangy cheddar finished out the cast of players in the Donut Burger Show, and no condiments were involved, obviously. Only a loon would ruin this perfect (and perfectly fattening) collision of sweet vs. umami flavors with ketchup.”

Huckleberries: Supremacists a reminder of task force’s need

White supremacists made pests of themselves in Coeur d’Alene during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. First, they picketed two Mexican food stands in Coeur d’Alene – Chiludo’s Mexican Food (3000 Government Way) and Taco Works (Fifth and Appleway). Then, the neo-nutsies followed up with a protest near the Human Rights Education Institute on Monday. Sgt. Christie Wood, the Coeur d’Alene police spokeswoman and VP of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, was in a happy place until she saw the racists at Northwest Boulevard and Mullan (near City Park).

Four years of reviewing restaurants had ups, downs

To paraphrase an old quip from some unknown wit, the only things that will survive the impending nuclear holocaust are cockroaches, Cher and Hudson’s Hamburgers. Eventually, all situations must go pear-shaped and come to an end, and so is the sad fate of this humble little local section of the newspaper you hold in your ink-smeared fingers. You can put away that bottle of Jack Daniels and dry your tears – shameless plug alert – because new columns will continue to happen at www.getoutnorthidaho.com.

Nina Mary’s Mexican food satisfies at bargain prices

I’ve heard it said occasionally that there just isn’t any really awesome, authentic Mexican food in this area. I’ve enjoyed tacos made by sweet, pencil-browed abuelitas at sweaty California flea markets, and short of actually visiting Mexico itself, it’s hard to find more authentic cuisine anywhere, let alone the upper stretch of Idaho.

Smoking ban leaves only memories of ‘guilt-free’ fun

Coming of age in the ’70s and ’80s, I’ve witnessed first-hand the now-nearly-complete cultural transformation of a once-adoring public to turn their backs on cigarette smoking for good. At least here in North Idaho, smokers got away with things back then that seem completely unhinged today. I started high school at a time when there were actually smoking areas inside every school building, for teachers and students both. Couldn’t find a sitter? It wouldn’t have been unheard of to drag your child along to the bar while you sat for hours, smoking Tareytons and getting sozzled with the gang.

I-scream memory from Topper, Too

So the other day Patrick Jacobs was browsing through a 1989 Polks directory at St. Vinny’s and stumbled onto Memory Lane. He posted his close encounter with bygone restaurants on his Get Out! North Idaho Web site (http://getoutnorthidaho. blogspot.com) – and several of my Merry Hucksters jumped aboard the nostalgia express. Who can forget eateries such as Henry’s, Jimmy D’s and Log Cabin? The Atrium, Bonanza and Papino’s? I ate the best pizza ever (with the works) at Papino’s one evening after spending a cold winter’s day moving former North Idaho College PRmeister Steve Schenk and his wife, Gretchen, into a house near Sanders Beach. My favorite restaurant memory involves Topper, Too. After a softball game one summer evening, I was enjoying an ice cream cone with other players when we heard a blood-curdling scream from the men’s bathroom. Seems the 3-year-old son of my left fielder had accidentally caught his, ah, male appendage in his zipper after going No. 1. So the boy’s pop asked the hired hands for a knife to cut the boy out of his predicament. Only to have the child shriek when he misinterpreted why the father had entered the bathroom with a knife. Even at that young age, he saw his manhood pass before his eyes. Thanks for the memories, Patrick. Not forgotten