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Updated: 42 min 37 sec ago

Congress Gives Wilds Some Love

December 5, 2014 - 1:02pm

Congress shook its inability to work across the aisle this week and passed public lands legislation that's been years in the making. The U.S. House on Thursday passed a defense spending bill containing a broad public lands package for the West. In Montana, it provides new wilderness on the Rocky Mountain Front, a ban on mining near Glacier National Park and changes supporting oil exploration and grazing on federal land. The bill adds 67,000 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness and designating 208,000 acres along the Front as a conservation management area/Rich Landers, SR Outdoors blog. More here.

Question: Which wilderness area is your favorite?

She Was A Beautiful Child

December 5, 2014 - 12:55pm

In a recent EndNotes post, Catherine Johnston tells of a lifelong friend that her mother recently lost to leukemia, Mary. The two women shared an outrageous sense of humor. Catherine's post picks up with her mother at Mary's funeral: "When my mom arrived for Mary’s memorial service she listened as mourners commented on the beautiful flowers, the music and the crowd. Then my mom saw Mary’s final joke – a request Mary made years ago as she giggled, 'Wouldn’t that be fun?!' My mom did not dare look around or speak; she just kept her eyes forward through the service, especially when she heard someone comment, “She was a strikingly beautiful child!” The framed photo in front, surrounded by flowers, was of a lovely young girl; it was the photo Mary wanted. But in the frame was not a photo of Mary, but a photo of a very young Elizabeth Taylor." Full post here.

Question: Is there an older relative in your family with an outrageous sense of humor?

7 Blog: Navigating Honolulu Airport

December 5, 2014 - 12:50pm

In returning from Shanghai and Hong Kong, Dan Webster/7 Blog, encountered problems at a Hawaii airport: "We arrived in Honolulu to a situation heavy with irony. After finding it easy to navigate airports in airports where the native language was either Mandarin or Cantonese, and not everyone we worked with spoke English, we found ourselves stumped in the Hawaiian Airlines terminal of the Honolulu International Airport. Machines, no desks with live human begins. And a curious lack of signage telling us exactly what to do. All that, complicated by jet lag, and we found ourselves wishing we were back in China. I've lived in Hawaii. On Oahu, for four years, before, during and after it became a state. So, yes, I know it is part of the U.S. At times, though, Hawaii does feel like a foreign country." More here.

Question: Which USA airport do you consider the worst, in terms of directions and other creature comforts?

North Idaho Loses Clout

December 5, 2014 - 11:54am

Twenty years ago, when I was charged with recommending endorsements for the SR editorial board, I thought it was important that North Idaho accrue clout in the Legislature. I wanted to see North Idaho legislators serving on important committees like JFAC (budget) and holding chairmanships. Now? I'd like to see North Idaho legislators, particularly those from Kootenai County, assigned to no more important duties in the Statehouse than taking out the trash and cleaning the bathrooms. That's how bad I consider the current batch. I'm OK that Kootenai County legislators will hold only one chairmanship (Vito Barbieri/House Business, pictured) in the next session. And wished they held none. I'm happy that the best of the batch, Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, and Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene will serve on the budget committee. You can see all the committee assignments for North Idaho legislators in the Eye on Boise report here.

Question: Are you bothered that North Idaho legislators will have little cloud in the 2015 session?

4 Corners Conceptual Plan Online

December 5, 2014 - 11:40am

Conceptual plans for the city-sponsored Four Corners/BLM Corridor Master Plan have been posted on the city’s website here. Click on the “Four Corners” tab at the top of the homepage. Visitors to this site will be able to provide input on the plans that will be shared with the Four Corners design team as they move forward with their planning efforts. More here.

Question: What is your initial reaction to this part of the planned 4 Corners overhaul?

Letter: 'Pristine' Home Is A Lemon

December 5, 2014 - 11:30am

My husband and I moved here from California six months ago to be closer to our daughter who is expecting our first grandchild. We purchased a home in Post Falls that appeared to be the perfect home in pristine condition. Little did we know what lurked inside this home. We paid top dollar for our home but shortly after we moved in we knew something was terribly wrong. Lo and behold, we find out the prior owners had allowed their dogs to urinate throughout the entire home and we do mean entire. The level of ammonia in the home was making us ill. Not only was it totally disgusting, it was a health hazard. Apparently these people had paid a professional to cover up the odor while it was up for sale. We love almost everything about Idaho except for the fact that their are no ramifications for people who do things like this/Barbara Maclsaac, Post Falls, letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press editor. More here.

Question: Have you ever purchased a residential "lemon"?

Icy Out There

December 5, 2014 - 11:09am

If you haven't bought your Christmas cards yet, you might want to consider ones being sold by Linda Lantzy/Idaho Scenic Images. This is one of the images on the cards. Explains Linda RE: this card, which she entitles, "It's icy out there": "This is Grouse Creek (Sandpoint) on a very cold but beautiful winter day. This image is available as one of my winter card designs suitable to send as your "Idaho" holiday card. Message me for pricing for more than 25. One design or assorted. 'Idaho' on front, Blank inside with white envelopes." You can view and order here. I usually don't post commercial announcements here. But Linda & her viewtiful photographs have been a part of Huckleberries Online for some time. One good turn deserves another.

Poll: Butch Won't Serve Out Term

December 5, 2014 - 10:50am
  • Thursday Poll: A plurality of Hucks Nation contends that 72YO Gov. Butch Otter doesn't plan to complete his third term, which begins in January. 58 of 135 respondents (42.96%) took that position. 53 of 135 respondents (39.26%) say that Butch will complete is third term. 24 (17.78%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Where were you born?

Press: Idaho Needs To Be More Open

December 5, 2014 - 10:34am

When Coeur d'Alene's airport manager was mysteriously fired, citizens demanded to know why. When a Coeur d'Alene police officer who shot a dog inside a van was not fired, citizens demanded to know why not. The subsequent silence in both cases was deafening. While these two recent events were frequent headline-makers, many other public personnel matters remain painfully private. Those doing the firing or disciplining - or opting not to do anything at all - routinely follow the safe path as outlined by their legal counsel: Don't say a word, because it could come back to haunt you. Not long after the dog shooting, The Press editorialized that the city of Coeur d'Alene was hiding behind such legal advice; that it  had a higher responsibility to its citizens to share the disposition of the offending officer/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: The Press is advocating a change in Idaho law in which the public's right to know would be considered in sensitive cases involving the firing or disciplining of public officials in certain instances. Would you support such a change?

AM Scanner Traffic -- 12.5.14

December 5, 2014 - 10:15am
  • 11:59 a.m. Reckless driver of red-and-white Subaru exited I-90/Spokane Street & entered Post Falls Library lot.
  • 11:32 a.m. Undisclosed medical emergency @ 2400 block of  Blueberry Circle/Hayden.
  • 11:08 a.m. Tow truck trying to pull stuck gravel truck from road side @ H97/Gotham Bay.
  • 11:01 a.m. Now the traffic lights @ H41/Hayden Avenue, Rathdrum Prairie, are malfunctioning.
  • 10:59 a.m. Hit-and-run accident reported @ 5900 block of Government Way/Hayden.
  • 10:57 a.m. Undisclosed medical emergency @ 300 W. Reston Court/CdA.
  • 10:34 a.m. Traffic lights aren't working north & south @ H41/Prairie Avenue, Rathdrum Prairie.
  • 10:15 a.m. 79YO Athol male w/cancer history suffering back pain since 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
  • 10:14 a.m. Post Falls apartment manager complains that sex offender has been parking car near Dumpsters.
  • 10:03 a.m. Hit-and-run accident reported in 9900 block of Huetter Road/Rathdrum Prairie.
  • 9:53 a.m. 93YO female is bleeding uncontrollably @ 200 block of E. Anton/CdA.
  • 9:50 a.m. Passenger may have broken hand in Plummer area crash, refuses EMT treatment.
  • 9:17 a.m. 50ish female having trouble breathing @ Kootenai Clinic, 1919 Lincoln Way/CdA.
  • 9:16 a.m. Officer on scene (9:11 item) reports major damage to Kootenai Electric pole.
  • 9:11 a.m. White pickup has hit a power pole @ Hanley Avenue/Ramsey Road, CdA.
  • 8:56 a.m. 48YO female still on ground after slipping on ice @ 2700 block of Blueberry Circle/Hayden.
  • 8:49 a.m. Officer reports that McGuire Road is glare ice from H53 to Seltice Way: "You can't stand on it."
  • 8:48 a.m. CPD officer is transporting adult male to Fresh Start, 15th/Sherman Avenue, CdA.
  • 8:39 a.m. 2-vehicle crash reported @ Ramsey Road/Dalton Avenue, CdA, unknown injuries.

AM Headlines -- 12.5.14

December 5, 2014 - 10:01am

Mike Dawson, left, and his daughter, Rachel Dawson, 17, talk to Post Falls Police Department after Rachel and a passenger slid off the road into the train tracks due to icy conditions on North Spokane Street in Post Falls on Thursday afternoon. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Tess Freeman)

47 Percent Of Idahoans Born In Idaho

December 5, 2014 - 9:45am

The New York Times has published an interactive map that shows where people were born, for each state in the USA. Although it may not seem like it, 47 percent of Idahoans were born in Idaho. Idahoans born in California form the next largest block of people -- 12 percent. Other significant blocks in Idaho include: 5 percent of Idahoans were born in Washington; 4 percent each were born in Oregon and Utah; and 2 percent were born in Montana. You can check out the map here (make sure you move the cursor around on the state of choice)

Question: Where were you born?

When Do You Read Huckleberries?

December 5, 2014 - 9:13am

I talked to a long-time blurker last night who said that he reads Huckleberries twice a day -- in the morning and the afternoon. I've often wondered how most of my readers, esp. the blurkers, read this blog. I set it up in the beginning to be a continuous report that required followers to check in several times a day. I suspect that heavier readership occurs early in the morning and mebbe around noon. Lighter readership in the mid- to late afternoon. But I have nothing to substantiate my suspicions. If you wouldn't mind ...

Question: Can you tell me the time of the day you're most likely to read Huckleberries -- and why you tune it at the time you do? (BTW, I'd like to hear from blurkers, too. Shoot me an email if you don't want to comment in this thread.)

Dalton Gardens Bans Deer Feeding

December 5, 2014 - 8:51am

Nearly 50 people turned out Thursday night at Dalton Gardens City Hall for a public hearing on a no-feeding-deer ordinance. The council approved the ordinance following public comment, with residents either firmly in favor or strongly opposed. City officials have been working for years to find solutions to the city's burgeoning deer population. The council also approved signing a contract with a trapper who will try and capture as many as 25 deer this winter and move them to a wildlife management area south of Coeur d'Alene. The trapping starts next month. Resident Les Likes asked the council to consider who would have the "blood on their hands" if a coyote or cougar - drawn into town because of the deer - goes after somebody's kid/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with the moves made by the Dalton Gardens City Council re: deer feeding/removal?

Grip: Is EWU Coach Next In Line?

December 5, 2014 - 8:45am

In his morning sports roundup, Vince Grippi/A Grip on Sports colunnizes: "There were a couple hours there yesterday when the college football landscape changed somewhat dramatically. And the changes may end up affecting this area. Florida announced as the day was beginning it had gotten its man, Colorado State coach Jim McElwain, the Missoula native and former Eastern Washington player and coach. That was somewhat expected as the courtship played out pretty publically Wednesday night. But before the dust could settle on that hire, the bombshell hit. Mike Riley, the dean of Pac-12 coaches, was leaving Oregon State, the place where he seemed enshrined. He was heading to Nebraska to succeed Bo Pelini, the anti-Riley of college football. After shaking the cobwebs from their heads, the nation's pundits saw this for what it was: A perfect fit for the Cornhuskers." More here.

Question: Do you follow Eastern Washington/Big Sky Conference sports?

Edit: Labrador Up To Old Tricks

December 5, 2014 - 8:39am

In his weekly Cheer & Jeers column, editorialist Marty Trillhaase gives jeers to ... Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho: "One of the architects of last year's government shutdown, Labrador is heading in the same direction again. Labrador opposes President Obama's executive order blocking the deportation of 5 million undocumented residents. As political leverage against that policy, he wants to use next week's deadline when the federal government will run out of money. GOP leadership is on track to pass 11 of the 12 appropriations bills, which would keep the government open for business through Sept. 30. It would fund Homeland Security - which covers immigration - temporarily and wait for the newly elected Republican Senate majority to take office next month. Labrador calls that "capitulation." He's not using the word "shutdown." But holding the budget hostage invites just that. More here.

Question: Would you support another government shutdown -- if it comes to that -- to protest President Obama's executive order blocking deportation of 5M immigrants?

IFF: Utah Has Right Fed Land Strategy

December 5, 2014 - 8:33am

In 2014, Idaho lawmakers voted for the state to begin the process of gaining control over lands now managed by the federal government. The Legislature empaneled a special committee to review the issue and find answers. But the committee didn’t accomplish as much as it should have. Instead of figuring out how to make the lands transfer happen, the panel spent most of its time asking for public feedback on whether the transfer should occur, even though the Legislature had already committed to its course of action. As a result, state lawmakers should be poised to address the issue once again in 2015. The first step would be to reauthorize the committee to continue its work during the coming 24 months. The next would be to determine what Utah is learning about the potential economic windfall should the state put public land resources to productive use/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: It all sounds good until there's a major forest fire to pay for. Thoughts?

$57M Hospital Expansion On Schedule

December 5, 2014 - 8:23am

Construction on the three-story addition continues Thursday at Kootenai Health for a $57 million expansion. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

The tall crane looming over the Kootenai Health campus in Coeur d’Alene is one sign that the $57 million hospital expansion is hitting its stride. Another is the pace of giving to help pay for the three-story addition. The Kootenai Health Foundation has taken in more than $2 million since launching a $10 million capital campaign for the project in August. That progress is “impressive and humbling,” said Shawn Bassham, foundation president. “You know that you have a very giving community, and then when you sit down and visit with people face to face and you talk about what this is going to do for people in North Idaho, the light bulb goes on and they’re very generous in helping us to accomplish it,” Bassham said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: When were you or a member of your family last served by Kootenai Health?

Best In West: Gonzaga v. Arizona

December 5, 2014 - 8:13am

We interrupt college football – championships being pursued, scapegoats being fired, coaching raids in broad daylight and the dead of night – for the best game of the weekend. Maybe. No guarantees. Most anticipated, surely. Assuming recent history is dismissed. OK, then perhaps a seeding tiebreaker come March. In the middle of what should be football prime time, except that almost no one plays college football in the afternoon anymore, ninth-ranked Gonzaga and No. 3 Arizona tip it off in Tucson in yet another plebiscite on college basketball in the West. More of a recount than a rematch/John Blanchette, SR. More here. (SR file photo by Dan Pelle: Arizona had the upper hand when the Wildcats met Gonzaga in the third round of last year’s NCAA tournament)

Question: Prediction?

No Longer 'Gone With The Wind'

December 5, 2014 - 8:09am

Patty Wiedmer and her sister Sandy Martin, daughters of Betty Stokes, look through family photos Thursday at Patty’s Spokane home. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)

The story of Rogers High School’s wandering copy of “Gone With the Wind” just keeps going – now with a possible exoneration of sorts. A copy of Margaret Mitchell’s massive and popular melodrama was returned recently to Rogers, overdue by some 65 years and arriving from 3,000 miles away and with zero explanation for how it had made such a journey. A man in Carmel, Maine, discovered the book in his father’s New England cellar and sent it to Rogers – after first sending a letter checking to make sure it was the right book and begging for relief from the overdue fines. He had no idea how the book made its cross-country journey, but the last known person to check it out was Betty Mandershied, a student at Rogers in 1949. Mandershied later married Tony Stokes. The thing is, while she was certainly the last person to check the book out, she was also probably the last person to turn it back in/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here. (SR photo by Tyler Tjomsland: Patty Wiedmer and her sister Sandy Martin, daughters of Betty Stokes, look through family photos Thursday at Patty’s Spokane home)

Question: Who besides me has read Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind"? Did you enjoy the book?