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Otter Unveals Pend Oreille Deal

April 13, 2015 - 9:37am

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter says he’s reached an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bonneville Power Administration to keep North Idaho’s scenic Lake Pend Oreille full through the late summer and longer into September. “Working with our state, federal and tribal partners, as well as the many local citizens who commented on proposed lake operations, I am pleased to say that we have achieved a new process going forward that I think will maintain and enhance the scenic and recreational value of Lake Pend Oreille,” Otter said in a statement/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Child Support Vote Divides GOP

April 13, 2015 - 8:57am

After state Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, circulated an email defending the clueless 9-8 vote that killed a child-support services bill, state Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene, and others pounced:

“Representative Luker does not speak for Idaho or me. Scuttling 1067 without debate was heavy-handed opportunistic theatrics at the expense of single-parents and children...the most vulnerable in our society. I do not support the erratic behavior that will lead to the dismantling of our child support system, nor the implication that this mockery of a legal analysis in any way represents our Republican caucus.” More here.

Question: Do you think the governor should call the Legislature back into session to overturn the irresponsible action of the nine House Republicans who killed the child support bill in the House Judiciary & Rules Committee?

Edit: Labrador Botched PILT Vote

April 13, 2015 - 8:43am

Hardly anyone is paying much attention to Congressman Raul Labrador's vote against a two-year extension of Secure Rural School funding -- and the so-called "doc fix" bill to which it was attached. With the possible exception of Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both R-Idaho. That would be a problem. Not just for rural communities such as Grangeville, Riggins and Orofino, but for senior Idahoans everywhere. Labrador was on the losing side of a 392-37 vote against SRS and "doc fix." Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, was on the winning side. With the issue headed to the Senate within the next week or so, the question becomes: Whose example will Crapo and Risch follow?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: No matter how you spin it, Congressman Raul Labrador's vote against rural funding for schools & roads is as clueless as the vote by Rep. Kathy Sims and 8 other  state (mis)representatives against child support services. Thoughts?

County Targets Shoreline Rules

April 13, 2015 - 8:36am

Kootenai County is considering relaxing shoreline regulations, giving Lake Coeur d’Alene property owners more flexibility to clear native trees and shrubs and plant lawns near the water. Current regulations require a 25-foot buffer of native plants, which is already one of the most permissive in the region. The buffers are intended to absorb runoff and protect water quality. But Marc Eberlein, a Kootenai County commissioner, said current regulations put too many restrictions on lakeshore owners, who should be trusted to do the right thing on their land. “If there’s a nice-looking pine tree, I can’t imagine that someone will cut it down,” said Eberlein, who was elected last fall on a platform that included upholding private-property rights. The prospect of more green lawns on the waterfront worries the state and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, whose monitoring shows a five-year decline in the lake’s dissolved oxygen levels. Phosphorus-rich runoff from fertilizing and watering lawns spurs aquatic plant growth in the lake, contributing to the oxygen decline/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.


Food Court Does Brisk Business

April 13, 2015 - 8:23am

Coeur d’Alene resident Danny Richison and his son Michael, 4, get a hug from Joelle Tavares after they had lunch at the food truck rally in Coeur d’Alene on Sunday. The Greater Spokane Food Truck Association is expanding its reach into Coeur d’Alene. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Even with a bracing wind blowing off the lake, the first food truck rally in downtown Coeur d’Alene did a brisk business Sunday. Hundreds lined up for grilled cheese sandwiches, tacos, crepes, sausages, jerk chicken, steak wraps and more. Six food vendors from Coeur d’Alene and Spokane set up on the edge of McEuen Park next to the city library and cooked their dishes into the evening, or until they ran out of ingredients. The event was a test drive for the Lake City, which may permit a larger collection of food trucks to serve crowds at Car d’Lane, the classic car celebration in June. “I had no idea what the response would be,” said Heather Riviere, the owner of Coeur de Breizh, a year-old crepe truck that’s usually parked in Coeur d’Alene at 3615 N. Government Way. “I was hoping it would generate interest and get people out here, and we’re having a wonderful day”/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Would you like to see food courts at more Coeur d'Alene community events?

Idaho's Tourism Bouncing Back

April 13, 2015 - 8:19am

Things are improving in Idaho's travel and tourism industry. Diane Norton (pictured), tourism manager of the Idaho Division of Tourism, gave a State of the State Tourism Industry presentation during the eighth annual North Idaho Tourism Summit at the Best Western Plus Coeur d'Alene Inn Thursday. She reported that numbers show an upward trend in visitors to Idaho, reflected by the taxes on the sales of hotels, motels and private campground accommodations. "Tax collections. Wow," she said. "For the first year, last year, we broke over $8 million. This year we're on record to probably get close to $9 million. "The economy is coming back. It's getting stronger and people are traveling"/Devin Heilman, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo)

Question: Do you mind the tourists that invade North Idaho douring the summer?

Huckleberries: CPD Officers Care

April 13, 2015 - 8:06am

It’s vogue to view police officers with suspicion, such is the impact of some bad apples. But few glimpse behind the scenes at the heavy lifting required of the Men and Women in Blue. One of the toughest duties an officer faces is delivering a death notice to surviving loved ones. Sgt. Christie Wood of the Coeur d’Alene PD told Huckleberries: “I have held mothers in my arms as they experience the agony and devastation of loss, and comforted elderly men who need to be informed their brother has died. It sticks with you for days, and I always call my child when my task is complete, just so I can hear his voice.” Last week, a Coeur d’Alene PD detective was forced to tell a frantic mother in California by phone that her 20-something son had been found dead in the Lake City. Why? Seems the woman’s California PD doesn’t do death notices. The Coeur d’Alene PD detective made sure the distraught woman called a relative to come to her aid. And he later called back to check on her. Christie again: “I understand budget cuts and the impacts of less staff, but I do not see any of the agencies in our region ever adopting that kind of policy. It is frankly heartless.” Bingo/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.


April 13, 2015 - 8:04am

Lisa Benson/Washington Post Writers Group

Weekend Wild Card -- 4.11-12.15

April 12, 2015 - 8:19pm

Our governor isn't competent enough to handle a veto correctly. Our legislative leaders of the majority party care more for an inadequate road bill than they do important child-support enforcement legislation. Our North Idaho delegation is an embarrassment, except for two of them. Four of our five North Idaho (mis)representatives on the House Judiciary & Rules Committee are the worst of all (with apologies to Vito Barbieri). The 2015 Idaho Legislature did harm this year. A pox on both houses. Here's your Weekend Wild Card ...

Food Trucks in Downtown CdA Sunday

April 11, 2015 - 11:10pm

Meltz Southern Q Sandwich will be one of the food truck specialties available in the lower parking lot of City Hall today.

Six mobile vendors will park themselves at the Coeur d’Alene City Hall lower parking lot this Sunday to provide delectable entrees ranging from beefy tacos to spicy sausages to succulent grilled cheese sandwiches and more! The event, which was scheduled as part of National Grilled Cheese Day on Sunday, will provide visitors with delicious meals from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The City Council earlier this month approved the special use request for the mobile vendors to set up shop. Among the vendors that will be on hand is Meltz, which operates a thriving business at Kathleen Avenue and Ramsey Road in Coeur d’Alene. “We are beyond excited to be a part of this awesome community food truck movement!  So excited in fact, we are unleashing FOUR brand new grilled cheese creations just for this event! Bring your family, friends, and appetite!” said Meltz general manager Lori "Lou" Dave. Other restaurants that will be serving up great grub on Sunday are: King of Tacos, Coeur de Breizh, 3 Ninjas, Shameless Sausages, and The Jamaican Jerk Pan/Coeur d'Alene Today.

Weekend Wild Card -- 4.11-12.15

April 11, 2015 - 11:19am

Our governor isn't competent enough to handle a veto correctly. Our legislative leaders of the majority party care more for an inadequate road bill than they do important child-support enforcement legislation. Our North Idaho delegation is an embarrassment, except for two of them. Four of our five North Idaho (mis)representatives on the House Judiciary & Rules Committee are the worst of all (with apologies to Vito Barbieri). The 2015 Idaho Legislature did harm this year. A pox on both houses. Here's your Weekend Wild Card ...

Rusche Can't Talk Sense To House GOP

April 11, 2015 - 10:02am

A grim Rep. John Rusche, his voice nearly gone, with the new version of the child support enforcement bill that he wasn't allowed to introduce on Friday; per House rules, the new version he prepared was one word different from the rejected one, so that it wasn't identical. (Betsy Russell)

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, moved to call the child support enforcement bill, SB 1067, from the House Judiciary & Rules Committee, where it was tabled earlier today on a 9-8 vote. Committee Chairman Rich Wills opposed the motion. “We had two days of testimony … to answer everybody’s questions that was on the committee,” he told the House. Rusche said, “This is a bill of immense, immense consequences to the state of Idaho, to the state but mostly to the children of the state of Idaho, those that depend on child support payments for keeping body and soul together.” His voice cracking with fatigue, Rusche told the House, “This bill is required so that we can participate in the federal child support system. Without that participation, it will be very difficult, maybe impossible, to collect the over $200 million in child support payments that our Health & Welfare Department collects and dispenses. The vote in the Judiciary & Rules Committee was only by 1, it was a 9-8 vote. It was on the last day of the session, and Mr. Speaker, I believe that such a monumental decision with such potentially dire consequences for the families of Idaho deserves an up or down vote of this body, and not simply by the Jud & Rules Committee.” More here.


Roads, Sharia Law Bring Down Curtain

April 11, 2015 - 12:17am

BOISE – In a tumultuous final day that ran long into the night, Idaho lawmakers on Friday brokered a transportation funding compromise that satisfied no one and killed critical child-support enforcement legislation out of concerns over Sharia (Islamic law), despite warnings that they were gutting Idaho’s child-support enforcement system. “It was an extremely irresponsible vote in that committee today, and children with single mothers and fathers are going to pay the price,” said a tired Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, a little after 9 p.m. Friday, as he waited for the House to reconvene. Late-night efforts still were underway at press time to reconsider the bill, but the outcome was uncertain/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: I still can't get over the irresponsible votes against the child-support enforcement bill by North Idaho Reps. Sims, Cheatham, McMillan and Scott. Thoughts?

Quotable Quote

April 10, 2015 - 5:13pm
In my almost 40 years of working on children's issues this has to stand out as one of the most deliberate acts of harm to vulnerable women and children that I have even seen. It can't be allowed to stand -- Dan of the Community.

TGIF Wild Card -- 4.10.15

April 10, 2015 - 4:14pm

It appears that there are too many guns, cellphones in use, and angry, impatient motorists out there on local roads today (See: Road Ragers infect Ramsey Road). So maybe it's best to be inside this viewtiful morning in the Coeur d'Alene area. I'll do my best to keep you happyhappyhappy. And if that doesn't work, the weekend is rapidly approaching. Here's your TGIF Wild Card ...

Parting Shot -- 4.10.15

April 10, 2015 - 4:13pm

A woman lays on the street to protest violence against women, in Pamplona northern Spain Friday. According to the World Health Organization recent global prevalence figures indicate that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

4 North Idaho Votes Torpedo Bill

April 10, 2015 - 3:50pm

Responding to a question from HucksOnline, Melissa Davlin of Idaho Public TV says four North Idaho legislators took part in the assault on the crucial child support bill: Reps. Kathy Sims, Shannon McMillan, Don Cheatham & Heather Scott. The other five were: Luker, Trujillo, Kerby, Nate & Dayley. F'shame. Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene, was the only North Idaho representative to opt for common sense and support this measure. How. Are. We. Represented. By. Such. People. Dreadful. Melissa Davlin's story here.

Sharia Law Scare Kills Bill

April 10, 2015 - 3:48pm

The House Judiciary and Rules Committee voted 9-8 Friday afternoon to table a bill that would put Idaho in compliance with federal child support collection. According to Idaho Child Support Program Director Kandace Yearsley said the bill’s failure means an immediate loss of more than $16 million in federal funds to the state of Idaho for its child support collection program. The federal government would also deny Idaho access to its child support enforcement tools that all states use to collect child support from parents who live in other states, and put into limbo another $30 million in funds for the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which is tied to the state's child support program. (Read our previous coverage of the bill here.) The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously, would put Idaho in compliance with federal regulations pertaining to the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, putting into Idaho’s existing law provisions of the 2007 Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Family Maintenance/Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports. More here.

Question: This is the most irresponsible vote that I've seen in my 33 years in Idaho. The 9 House legislators who voted for this should be ashamed of what they just did (although I suspect that they consider themselves to be some sort of heroes for standing up to a boogeyman who isn't there). Thoughts.

Cutline Contest -- Time2Vote

April 10, 2015 - 3:44pm

U.S. television personalities Kim Kardashian, second left, and Khloe Kardashian, left, meet with Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, third right, in Yerevan, Armenia, Thursday. The Kardashian family arrived on Wednesday in the capital of their ancestral Armenia. You write the cutline. (AP photo/Tigran Mehrabyan, PAN Photo)

Thursday Winner -- JohnA, with 10 likes: "Police respond to a report that a great Dane was on the loose, with little inkling that he was armed and dangerous." You can see Thursday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

CdA Solicitation Law In Effect

April 10, 2015 - 3:41pm

A new city law that regulates door-to-door solicitation in Coeur d’Alene went into effect on Friday. The purpose of the ordinance is to help ensure public safety by providing another level of protection for Coeur d’Alene residents who are approached by salespeople visiting homes. The new city code requires solicitors to undergo a criminal history background check at the applicant’s expense and to wear a pictured identification card. Religious organizations, non-profits such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, as well as political groups are exempt from the new ordinance. Applications must be submitted to the city annually and the ordinance requires that solicitation can only occur between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. For questions on the new solicitation ordinance call the city clerk’s office at 769-2229/Keith Erickson, Coeur d'Alene Today. More here.