Huckleberries Blog

Syndicate content
Latest posts from the blog Huckleberries Online
Updated: 2 hours 32 min ago Spotlights Mark Few

February 19, 2015 - 9:16am

Myron Medcalf of offers a lengthy profile on successful Gonzaga Bulldog coach Mark Few, including this paragraph: "Few doesn't just flee attention. He puts on a fake mustache, sunglasses and a trench coat, and then he skips town until it passes. It's easier to avoid that spotlight in this nugget of a city stuffed into the mountains of eastern Washington than it is in Los Angeles or Seattle. And that's ideal for Few, who guides one of two top-10 teams that hail from non-Power 5 leagues." More here.

Question: If you were Mark Few, would you take his success to a bigger college basketball program?

Otter Says He's 'Fully Recuperated'

February 19, 2015 - 9:03am

Gov. Butch Otter, who returned to the Statehouse late last week after recovering from hip replacement surgery on Jan. 20, sent out a newsletter today saying he’s “fully recuperated.” “After a successful surgery to replace my left hip, I'm feeling better than ever and ready to get back to work,” the governor said, under the heading, “Getting Back in the Saddle”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Otter's been gone?

RINO Batt Fights For 'Words'

February 19, 2015 - 9:00am

Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt, delivering the keynote speech at the Canyon County GOP Lincoln Day banquet last night in Nampa, made waves with a stirring call to action for Republicans on civil rights for gays. Batt recalled his illustrious career as a Republican politician Idaho. “Now, we think it’s OK to kill a Civil Rights expansion on a party-line vote. It’s not OK and we’ll regret it,” he warned/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you consider former governor Phil Batt to be a RINO (Republican In Name Only)?

School Broadband Won't Go Dark

February 19, 2015 - 8:56am

CenturyLink will not pull the plug on Idaho’s high school broadband system this weekend, a company spokesman said Thursday morning. The news comes three days before a deadline day for the beleaguered broadband system, which provides remote classes and high-speed Internet across the state. CenturyLink — owed more than $1.5 million in back payments by the state and lead contractor Education Networks of America — had threatened to shut off service to schools on Sunday. A statement — issued to Idaho Education News late Wednesday afternoon by company spokesman Mark Molzen — sent mixed signals/Kevin Richert, More here.

Question: It appears the chickens are coming home to roust re: handling of Broadband situation. Thoughts?

Cindy's 'War Bonds' Share Love

February 19, 2015 - 8:33am

(Cindy Hval portrait photo by Colin Mulvany/SR)

Plenty of World War II-era books cover history, yet little ink captures the love stories behind the greatest generation. Young couples facing wartime trials forged relationships as seeds to 60- and 70-year marriages. Now, Cindy Hval’s first book “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation” describes 36 couples and their romances in the shadow of WWII. Casemate Publishers is releasing the book this month, and it’s available at Auntie’s, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. “It’s really snapshots of the couples’ portraits,” Hval said, although she includes some WWII history. “This is about their love stories, how they met, how the war impacted their relationship. World War II framed their stories.” Hval said courtships during that era had a unique set of challenges/Treva Lind, SR correspondent. More here.

Question: Is there a World War II love story in your family?

Edit: Here Comes 'Son Of Risch'

February 19, 2015 - 8:24am

Some of the same people who brought you the Risch tax shift of 2006 are up to their old tricks. As you remember, former Gov. - and now U.S. Sen. - James Risch strong-armed the Idaho Legislature to lower property taxes on the wealthy, raise sales taxes on the working poor and destabilize funding for the public schools in the process. Now comes Son of Risch. As the Idaho Statesman's Bill Dentzer reported, these lawmakers plan to raise $150 million for Idaho's crumbling highway and bridge network by:

  • Raising Idaho's sales tax rate to 7 percent from 6 percent.
  • Exempting grocery purchases from the sales tax.
  • Fixing Idaho's income tax at a flat 6.6 percent.

Now if you're sitting on top of Idaho's economic ladder, you might consider calling these legislators to express your gratitude. They've just handed you a tax break. But if you're among the masses struggling in Idaho's low-wage economy, you'll pay more/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Miller: McEuen Finished On Budget

February 19, 2015 - 8:16am

Families enjoy the playground at McEuen Park on Wednesday afternoon in Coeur d'Alene. Recreation Director Steve Anthony feels the park is a "work in progress" and hopes to address needs and wants regarding the park. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Hans Koepsell)

While McEuen Park was holding its soft opening last spring, Coeur d'Alene Councilwoman Kiki Miller was beginning a process of reconciliation. She told The Press on Wednesday that she was compelled to take on the endeavor of ensuring that the city got what it paid for and that all of the work on the $21.1 million McEuen Project was complete. "I was honestly nervous walking into it and committing to this year-long process because who wants to be the bearer of bad news," Miller said. "But I felt like there was that missing piece of closure to go through this with a fine-tooth comb." Miller worked closely with the McEuen Park steering committee, as well as city officials, to determine that each line item of the city's contract with Contractors Northwest and Team McEuen was completed. She also looked at items members of the public thought should be included in the project, but weren't in the final plans. "As it turned out, the reconciliation ended up in a very positive light," Miller said/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Have you thoughts changed about the McEuen Park makeover since it opened last spring?

How Police Made Bekken Arrest

February 19, 2015 - 8:11am

A North Idaho College administrator accused of offering scholarship money to students in exchange for sex told police he had made the solicitations on Craigslist for several semesters. In January, Joseph M. Bekken found a willing participant by the name of Sheryl Roberts, who asked what he was looking for. “I’m completely open. Sex, oral, etc… watching,” came the reply. Bekken, 36, who was NIC’s financial aid director, allegedly secured $587 in college funds for Roberts, then drove Feb. 2 to an apartment complex in Coeur d’Alene to have sex with her. When he got there, police were waiting. Roberts was the name investigators invented to reply to Bekken’s Craigslist ad and discover who was behind the illegal offer/Scott Maben, SR. More here.


Jail Sergeants Get Raises, Too

February 19, 2015 - 8:06am

Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger went before the county commissioners Wednesday to "fall on my sword." "I'm humbly here before you to tell you I made a mistake," Wolfinger told the board. Last week, the commissioners approved raises for the sheriff's office's patrol deputies and command staff. The problem is, Wolfinger said, he accidentally left 11 detention sergeants off his pay-increase proposal. Since he intended for them to get raises, that left his numbers incomplete at the time of the vote. "I don't know how I did it," Wolfinger said. "I'm not a numbers guy. I'm a cop, I'm a police administrator." He appeared before the commissioners to correct his mistake and ask for the money. So in a 2-1 vote Wednesday, the commissioners approved raises for the 11 sergeants. Commissioner Dan Green voted no, saying he doesn't agree with giving raises to jail employees. "The whole media campaign was that it was patrol deputies," Green said/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you agree with the pay raises approved by county commissioners for county jail sergeants?

President's Views On Islam

February 19, 2015 - 8:01am

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Hump Day Wild Card -- 2.18.15

February 18, 2015 - 5:30pm

It all begins again today, the second harbinger of spring -- pitchers & catchers report for spring training as another Major League Baseball season launches. As a fan of the San Francisco Giants, I know that they don't win World Series in odd numbered years. So I devote even more attention to my second favorite team, the Seattle Mariners, who may be a favorite to win the American League West. I love baseball. But I'm not crazy about this time of the year, between the Super Bowl and beginning of March Madness. This mild February helps to endure this period, however. Here's your Hump Day Wild Card ...

Parting Shot -- 2.18.15

February 18, 2015 - 5:29pm

San Francisco Giants fans holds baseballs and pens in hopes for getting an autograph as players arrive for spring training baseball workouts today in Scottsdale, Ariz. Giants pitchers and catchers have their first official workout scheduled for Thursday. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Update: NIC Official Arrested

February 18, 2015 - 5:03pm

Internet postings promising college grants in exchange for sex were traced by police to North Idaho College’s financial aid director. Joseph M. Bekken, who has been fired by NIC, now is facing charges of misusing public funds and soliciting prostitution in connection with the postings on Craigslist. Bekken was arrested today by Coeur d’Alene police following an investigation that also included the FBI, NIC’s administration and the Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office. According to police, the FBI alerted NIC School Resource Officer Gus Wessel to the post on Feb. 2. A three-week investigation identified Bekken as the poster, a news release from the police said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Will this arrest hurt the reputation of North Idaho College?

Carlson: The Posturing Mr. Labrador

February 18, 2015 - 4:57pm

There’s something about a politician who piously postures on an issue that sticks in the craw. In a way it tells the voter the officeholder thinks a majority of the electorate is too stupid to see through the posturing and the pontificating. Exhibit A from last week is Idaho’s First District congressman, Raul Labador. The darling of the Tea Party Republicans is more and more proving to be, like a majority of those in Congress, nothing more than a “show horse,” as opposed to his colleague, Second District congressman, Mike Simpson, a true “work horse” who does the heavy lifting that keeps Congress moving. Labrador engaged in two activities last week which were pure posturing. The voter should be wary and take them with a grain of the proverbial salt/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question: Do you think there's substance to Congressman Raul Labrador? Or all show?

Cutline Contest -- Time2Vote

February 18, 2015 - 4:44pm

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin simulates a bathroom pose after catching a touchdown pass against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 1. Baldwin said he was directing his actions at Patriots' cornerback Darrelle Revis. He was penalized for the play. This week, he apologized for it. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)  

Tuesday Winner -- YPMule, with 7 likes: "Death turns out to be a stick in the mud." You can see Tuesday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic -- 2.18.15

February 18, 2015 - 4:40pm
  • 5:05 p.m. A large piece of metal is lying in left turn lane @ n/b H95/MP 440 (Ohio Match Road).
  • 5:05 p.m. Caller reports male who just got out of jail today is refusing to leave her Post Falls home.
  • 4:55 p.m. Kootenai County Sheriff's Office property crime report for Feb. 17-18 here.
  • 4:47 p.m. Officer reports 2 minor accidents, one of 3 cars and the other of 2 cars, @ I-90/H41 overpass/Post Falls.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Feb. 17-18 here.
  • 4:39 p.m. Department of Motor Vehicles, 451 Govt Way/CdA, reports wanted person in office.
  • 4:35 p.m. Caller reports mother Bayview dispute is being abusive toward her grandson.
  • 4:20 p.m. Woman driving silver Buick w/Kootenai Co plates @ n/b H95/Wyoming Ave speeding w/kids in car.
  • 4:13 p.m. Transients are smoking, loitering near gas pumps off Harrison Ave/CdA, unknown exact location.
  • 3:45 p.m. Driver of white Toyota Tundra speeding, rolling through stops @ Idaho St/Hayden Ave, Rathdrum Prairie.
  • 3:28 p.m. A brown dog w/black spots w/collar, leash is running loose @ e/b I-90/MP 12.5 (just east of H95/CdA).
  • 3:21 p.m. Drunken male, female stumbled from Ford Econoline van, w/Washington plates, in lower lot of McEuen Park to use park's restrooms. They left children unattended in van until they returned.
  • 2:58 p.m. Disorderly male reported @ 9th St/Best Ave, CdA.
  • 2:43 p.m. 26YO mother asks medical evaluation of 3YO son after crash @ 15th St/Lunceford Ave, CdA.
  • 2:29 p.m. Post Falls Walmart East is watching female in waterproof shoes who may be shoplifting.
  • 2:26 p.m. Officer has caught a loose dog @ I-90/MP 12 (H95/CdA).
  • 2:16 p.m. Someone is unconscious in 3600 block of Grayling St/Post Falls.
  • 2:11 p.m. Motorcyclist ran stop sign @ s/b Reed Road from Orchard Ave/Hayden @ high rate of speed.
  • 2:02 p.m. Driver of gold Hummer @ e/b H53/MP 7 (Greensferry Road) passed semi over double-yellow line.
  • 1:41 p.m. Residential alarm sounding @ 900 block of Davis Ave/CdA.
  • 1:37 p.m. Male vs. female in physical domestic dispute @ 1200 block of N10th St/CdA.
  • 1:30 p.m. Unwanted person is trespassing @ 109 E. Harrison Ave/CdA.
  • 1:24 p.m. Winton Elementary, 9650 Govt Way/Hayden, is conducting fire drill.
  • 1:23 p.m. Disabled 1989 white Honda Civic is parked near Dumpsters @ w/b I0-90/MP 22 (H97, Wolf Lodge).
  • 1:16 p.m. General fire alarm sounding @ Mill River Apartments, 4295 Saw Blade Lane/CdA.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

Frosty Mornings & The Real Nic

February 18, 2015 - 4:32pm

The past couple of days have displayed the classic North Idaho beauty: bright sunny backdrop contrasted against our sparkling lakes and the greenery of forested hills. This has created a deception of warmth; we're venturing out in shorts and sandals with car windows down despite the fact that it is only 40 degrees outside. After all, it is still winter. During this time of year, those clear and cloudless skies that reveal scenic splendor by day and galaxies by night come with a setback every morning: frost. I hate frost/Nic, Faithful Geek. More here. (Faithful Geek photo of a frosted fence)

Question: Does scraping frost off vehicle windows annoy you?

HucksOnline Blogos -- 2.18.15

February 18, 2015 - 3:58pm

The sun rises and shines on the locked front door of an old farm house on North Huetter Road in Kootenai County, Idaho early this morning. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

HucksOnline numbers (for Tuesday, Feb. 17): 10,041 page-views/6172 unique views

Keough: Why I Voted Against Repeal

February 18, 2015 - 3:46pm

I saw your comment on the blog about my vote on the bill to repeal the law allowing ‘historical racing machines’.  For me, the bill was not about supporting or not supporting the Tribes. It was about being fair.   In fact, I visited with a lobbyist for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe late Monday afternoon. The lobbyist said they supported the original bill and had no problem with it and would not have a problem now if the machines were those which the original bill called for.  I said, then why don’t we simply amend the law to clarify that?  Why don’t we put a maximum number of machines in law? Why don’t we enforce the law that says the machines have to be associated with a track?  According to the lobbyist “it was too late for that now”.  Well that seems strange: it was okay with the Tribes when first passed and the type of the machine is the problem and rather than make the effort to fix the problem we’ll just do away with it altogether?

Sounds like more of a market share turf war than an effort to look for a win-win solution.

And, that is why I voted no today.  If it is the wrong machine, then let’s fix that.  Why throw out the entire law, place the state – and the taxpayers – in danger of inevitable lawsuits and potentially lose Idaho’s horse racing industry and associated economic benefits that brings? Why not look for a middle ground that reduces the competition to the Tribes but allows what we originally approved and what the Tribe said they were okay with?

I know you are always interested in the full story and so offer this perspective to you!


NIC Hired Bekken From Arizona In 2010

February 18, 2015 - 3:39pm

Here's the North Idaho College news release from April 23, 2010, announcing the hiring of Joseph M. Bekken from Grand Canyon University in Arizona:

North Idaho College has hired Joseph Bekken as its new financial aid director. He plans to begin at NIC May 3. “We're so pleased to have Joseph as a part of the NIC financial aid team,” said NIC President Priscilla Bell. “He brings more than seven years experience in financial aid, which in a field with many complicated processes, will prove to be invaluable.” Bekken joins NIC after a six-year career in financial aid at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz. He began his career in 2003 as a financial intake specialist at the University of Phoenix before joining Grand Canyon University as a financial aid adviser in 2004. His career has included various positions in financial aid including loan processing, supervising, managing and eventually as director of finance counseling from 2008 to 2009. In that role, Bekken directed a staff of more than 40 at Grand Canyon University. More here. (Mug shot courtesy of Kootenai County Sheriff's Office)