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Bill Pushes 8-Cent Gas Tax Hike

February 17, 2015 - 8:09am

A bill calling for sharp increases in Idaho’s gas and diesel fuel taxes, as well as a 50 percent increase in car registration fees, was introduced in the Idaho House on Monday, although even its sponsor said the proposal is just a starting point. “They’re just ideas so that people understand what we’re looking at,” said House Transportation Chairman Joe Palmer, a Republican from Meridian. Palmer said the legislation as proposed would raise nearly $200 million more a year for road funding. His bill includes an 8 cent increase next year in Idaho’s 25 cent-per-gallon gas tax, with additional 1 cent increases in subsequent years. Idaho hasn’t raised its gas tax since 1996/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you consider an 8-cent hike if gas taxes reasonable to help pay for road/bridge construction?

Fiddlin' While People Burn

February 17, 2015 - 8:01am

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

Blogiversary Wild Card -- 2.16.15

February 16, 2015 - 5:33pm

Huckleberries Online turns 11 today. It has been a long, wild ride. In the early days, I refereed epic cyber battles in the comments section, as I felt my way as a blogmeister. I made mistakes. I encountered every kind of troll that you can find in the blogosphere. I reinvented myself from editorial writer to blogger. I'm the only full-time newspaper blogger in Idaho -- and maybe the entire Inland Northwest. I appreciate The Powers That Be for allowing me to grow this blog into what it has become. Blog traffic has jumped by a third since we switched to the new, mobile-friendly system in January. In other words, it's still fun to punch the clock in the mornings & entertain you with whatever shenanigans I can find before the dinner whistle blows. Here's your first Wild Card of Huckleberries Online's 12th year ...

Parting Shot -- 2.16.15

February 16, 2015 - 5:31pm

Western Kentucky University students Melinda Sterling, from left, of Nashville, Carly Lakes, originally from Apex, N.C., Isabella Mayfield of Walton, Ky., and Jessica Witt of Nashville, play in the snow today in Bowling Green, Ky. (AP Photo/Daily News, Bac Totrong)

SNL's 40th: Funny & Not So Funny

February 16, 2015 - 5:21pm

In this 2008 AP/NBC file photo, Tina Fey portrays Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, and Amy Poehler as Sen. Hillary Clinton during a skit on "Saturday Night Live")

Humor, like beauty, doesn’t always last. Chevy Chase and Eddie Murphy proved that. And even the most secure institutions aren’t impregnable, as Jerry Seinfeld’s joke about the disgraced NBC News anchor Brian Williams suggested. But Sunday night’s three-and-a-half-hour special honoring the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Live” worked and was well deserved. The NBC show, which in 1975 seemed likely not to live out its decade, turns out to have great bones and enduring blood lines. The event had as many stars in the audience as onstage, and it also had many of the strengths and failings of “S.N.L.”/Allesander Stanley, New York Times. More here.

Question: So what did you enjoy/not enjoy re: 40th anniversary of "Saturday Night Live"?

Tom Sherry's Tweet

February 16, 2015 - 5:01pm
I know we are concerned about our mtn snow pack and missing our winter. BUT isn't there a part of you that is loving this weather? -- tweet from KREM 2 weatherman Tom Sherry.

Question: Is Tom right?

Cutline Contest -- Time2Vote

February 16, 2015 - 4:51pm

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, center, naps during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ginsburg had a confession afterward: She "wasn't 100 percent sober" when she fell asleep. The 81-year-old justice told an audience Thursday she had dined with Justice Anthony Kennedy earlier and couldn't resist the California wine he brought. You write the cutline. (AP File Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Weekend Winner -- JohnA, with 23 likes: "Yes, of course I am 'leaning to the right'. Any further 'right' and I'd fall out of this chair." And Runnerup -- SLFisher, with 17 likes: "When I'm on my front porch, Russia is right over there." You can see Weekend Photo & all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic -- 2.16.15

February 16, 2015 - 4:41pm
  • 5:34 p.m. Motorists have extinguished small I-90 fires (5:30 item)
  • 5:30 p.m. Passing motorists trying to put out 3 small fires going up hill @ w/b I-90/MP 7-8 (Huetter area).
  • 5:17 p.m. Post Falls resident trying to help confused elderly female named Helen standing outside Honda Accord.
  • 5:01 p.m. Female bleeding from head & face after falling in front of Petco, 420 W. Wilbur Ave/CdA.
  • 4:47 p.m. Elderly male injured in fall @ Guardian Angel Homes, 1050 E. Mullan Ave, CdA.
  • 4:05 p.m. Patient is having trouble breathing @ Iland Renal Care, 1300 E. Mullan Ave/Post Falls.
  • 3:40 p.m. Gray pickup pulling trailer w/o taillights @ s/b H41/Boekel Road, Rathdrum.
  • 3:38 p.m. Unattended burn reported @ Walking Horse Lane/Duce Road, Athol.
  • 3:36 p.m. BOSS hit spots stolen license plates on silver car w/Georgia plates on H95/CdA.
  • 3:27 p.m. Bipolar male off meds is causing disturbance @ 15th St/Webster St, CdA.
  • 3:18 p.m. 2 juvenile males reported pointing rifles @ pass train in Post Falls area.
  • 2:29 p.m. Driver speeding @ 65 mph in 45 mph zone on e/b Seltice Way from H41/Post Falls, w/flashers on, honking horn.
  • 2:18 p.m. Male is arguing w/female that he wants out of his house @ Ramsey Road/Hayden Ave.
  • 2:01 p.m. I caught part of transmission re: someone losing hand in industrial accident, unknown location.
  • 1:59 p.m. Elderly couple on I-90 wants tire store to help w/flat tire, willing to buy 2 new tires.
  • 1:31 p.m. Suspicious package reported @ 3rd St/Front Ave, downtown Coeur d'Alene.
  • 1:24 p.m. Female in 80s has head cut from fall @ Wellspring Meadows Assisted Living, 9873 Buttercup Lane/Hayden.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

PM Headlines -- 2.16.15

February 16, 2015 - 4:33pm

On his Facebook wall, photog Jesse Tinsley SR explains: "Trying a different angle on a story about potholes, I stuck my GoPro camera in the bottom of a pothole and Spokane Mayor David Condon came over a stared at it for minute. The camera didn't make anything interesting, but it was a topic of conversation for a few minutes at the press conference about street maintenance."

Costello: Vaccine Trumps Ideology

February 16, 2015 - 4:28pm

I'm old enough to remember the visceral fear that once attended news reports of polio outbreaks. I remember seeing photographs of entire hospital wards dedicated to maintaining paralyzed people in iron lungs. Very often, the most indelible memories of our youth are of our greatest fears. If my memory serves, it was on the first Monday of each month at 11 a.m. when the air raid sirens were tested. These horns were meant to give us enough time to duck and cover under our school desks in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack. In our schools were posters that decoded the various signal patterns that would give us specific warnings. But we all knew that the sirens simply signaled our imminent incineration. Almost every month, though, we kids were caught unaware when the siren tests sounded, and for a few moments, until we recalled what day it was and what time it was, we expected the warhead's arrival. The other great fear was polio/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.


Untangling Otter's Fine IEN Mess

February 16, 2015 - 4:21pm

The Idaho Education Network's broadband program to schools, aimed at keeping rural school districts current with their technology, has turned into a modern day version of Laurel & Hardy. Somewhere, Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter must be saying, "Well, this is another fine mess you got me into." The governor's broadband program, the crowning education achievement of his administration, could become a dismal failure if the Legislature doesn't take some quick action. Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News reports that the Legislature has a couple of weeks to come up with $1.6 million to cover costs through June 30, or face the possibility of losing the program. Because of legal woes, the state has not been paying its bills to providers and collectors want their money."It would certainly be within their right to pull the plug," former Sen. John Goedde, who was hired by Otter to work on the broadband case, told reporters after meeting with legislative budget writers/Chuck Malloy, Idaho Political Weekly. More here.

Question: What do you think is at the root of the IEN mess?

HucksOnline Blogos -- 2.16.15

February 16, 2015 - 3:10pm

Duane Rasmussen snapped this photograph around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Valentine's Day, just before sunset. The Wolf Lodge Bay and adjacent Beauty Bay are prime eagle watching areas in early winter.  A person would have to go to the Round Lake area near St. Maries to find eagles now.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of Feb. 8-14): 52,544 page-views/33,510 unique views

Fill In The Blank ...

February 16, 2015 - 2:13pm

My least favorite president is -----.

Clarksville: Fam Treasures Roadster

February 16, 2015 - 1:56pm

Kurt Matter and his wife Joanie take their 1959 Triumph for a spin at their home near Kettle Falls. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)

This is the story of an old car and the family that loves it. Not just any old car. Kurt and Joanie Matter’s beloved automobile is a low-slung 1959 blue British roadster, a heads-in-the-breeze Triumph TR3 that carried this Kettle Falls couple from the church on the day of their 1971 wedding and ferried them on many adventures, both good and bad. Like the time after Kurt’s pro football career ended and they drove the roadster from Los Angeles to Seattle without a clutch. Or the Sunday afternoon they clobbered a deer head-on and sat in shock as the luckless critter flew luckily over their heads. “The car’s bug-eye headlights were pointing at each other and sitting on top of the radiator,” recalled Joanie/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Which car of your yesterdays do you wish you still owned?


On The Waterfront -- 2.16.15

February 16, 2015 - 1:35pm

I took a break from the Dike Road tree beat today to walk a loop abour the Coeur d'Alene Resort boardwalk & McEuen Park. Fabulous February day to do so. The play area on the eastern end of McEuen was packed with young families and children. They swarmed the main play area structure, the climbing wall and every other outlying piece in the colorful park. Along the fence, under the trees, families enjoyed lunch while watching the little ones. People were picknicking under the sheltered picnic area nearby, too. All four outdoor courts were in use. The dog park was in use. The only parks feature that didn't attract people at noon was the tennis/pickleball courts. I know it's Presidents Day -- and children have the day off. But I couldn't help but think that McEuen Park would have been almost unused today had we left the three ballfields in place.

SR News Quiz -- 2.15-19.2015

February 16, 2015 - 1:33pm

How much do you know about conflict on the Spokane City Council, a Little League champion's downfall, local golf courses and other news of note? Find out in the weekly News Quiz in The Spokesman Review. You qualify for 2 movie tickets or a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel simply by entering. You can take the quiz here.

  • Answer to Question No. 4: 11.7 cents.
  • Last week's winners: Tiffany Forland (gift card) and Michael Harves (movie tickets), both of Spokane.

Bill Seeks $200M In ITD Funding

February 16, 2015 - 1:12pm

Legislation from House Transportation Chairman Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, was introduced unanimously in the House Transportation Committee this afternoon, to hike gas taxes, car and truck registration fees, and impose other fees and taxes including new charges on electric and hybrid cars that use little gas, to raise a total of nearly $200 million a year by the end of a three-year phase-in. Palmer told the committee the bill is “basically a complete overhaul of our funding system that we currently use to fund our transportation system,” but added a “disclaimer,” saying, “I don’t think any one of us have any illusions that it’s going to be exactly the same as we get when we see it come back with a bill number on it”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Is it time for Idahoans to begin ponying up more to fund road/bridge improvements?

'It's My Party' Singer, Gore, 68, RIP

February 16, 2015 - 1:11pm

Singer Lesley Gore rehearses at a piano, in New York in this 1966 AP file photo. Singer-songwriter Gore, who topped the charts in 1963 with her epic song of teenage angst, "It's My Party," and followed it up with the hits "Judy's Turn to Cry," and "You Don't Own Me," died of cancer today. She was 68. Story here. (AP Photo/Dan Grossi, File)

Question: Does it make you feel old when someone about your age dies?

Poll: 57% Oppose ISIS Handling

February 16, 2015 - 1:01pm

Americans are increasingly unhappy with President Barack Obama's handling of ISIS, and a growing share of the nation believes that fight is going badly, according to a new CNN/ORC survey released Monday. The CNN/ORC poll found 57% of Americans disapprove of how Obama is handling the threat posed by ISIS, a significant decline in support for the President over the past few months. In late September, that number was 49%. Fifty-seven percent disapprove of his handling of foreign affairs more broadly, and 54% disapprove of how the President is handling terrorism/CNN. More here.

Question: I'm lukewarm re: on-the-grounds troops to fight ISIS. All we need is thousands of more American lives lost to fight an enemy that seems to transform into something else each time we defeat it in one place. Thoughts?

Thrift Shopping

February 16, 2015 - 11:46am

On his Facebook wall, Jesse Tinsley refers to this interesting photo as "Thrift Shopping."

Question: Do you go thrift shopping?