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Blanchette: So Near, Yet So Far

March 30, 2015 - 8:19am

So what will be harder to turn loose – the most successful basketball season in Gonzaga history or the unhappy coda? The deflating missed layup. The open 3 that caromed away. The meager 14 points in the last 16 minutes. The turnover blues and the stops that weren’t. The blue bloods celebrating another maddening triumph of pedigree. The Gonzaga Bulldogs applauding their entourage – sadly, sincerely – before heading home short of reaching Shangri-La. If there seemed to be fewer wet eyes and catches in the throat in the Zags’ locker room after Duke’s 66-52 victory Sunday in the NCAA South Regional championship game than after some of the program’s previous crushing ends, it wasn’t because they’d been fulfilled just by getting this far. Maybe it’s because they’d seen what was possible in a way many other Gonzaga teams hadn’t. “You could feel it,” said forward Kyle Wiltjer. “We were right there.” And then they were so far away/John Blanchette, SR. More here.

Question: What do you think of the 2014-15 Gonzaga Bulldogs?

Travel Writer ♥'s CDA's Charms

March 30, 2015 - 8:10am

You can count travel writer Josh Noel as another outsider who is gobsmacked by viewtiful Coeur d’Alene. Superlatives ran wild last week when Noel wrote about the Lake City for the Chicago Tribune: “Perched high in the Idaho panhandle, Coeur d’Alene is both literally and figuratively far from the places that conventional wisdom considers aspirational getaways, like, say, Martha’s Vineyard, Tahoe or Aspen. But the anonymity only feeds Coeur d’Alene’s charm; if you don’t know about it and don’t make the effort to find out, well, more for the rest of us. But once discovering Coeur d’Alene, you might wonder how you were ever so incurious about northern Idaho.” Later in the article, Noel describes meeting vacationing Kray and Pattie Hensley, of Sonoma, California, for beers at swell new pub Crafted in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The journalist asked the Hensleys whether Coeur d’Alene reminded them of “near-to-home getaway” Lake Tahoe. It did. A lot. But Kray, 71, said he’d rather be in Coeur d’Alene. His wife, Pattie, 70, agreed: “California is more built up. This feels more loose. It’s more pristine.” Noel writes that “loose” is a fair description of Coeur d’Alene. “There’s no pretense here – just a quick, seductive charm and progressive western mentality.” Progressive? Coeur d’Alene? Well, “the city by the lake” is as progressive as you can get in North Idaho/DFO, SR Sunday Huckleberries print. More here.

Question: Do you wince every time a major publication announces to their readership what a swell place Coeur d'Alene/North Idaho is?

Me, Too

March 30, 2015 - 8:08am

Lisa Benson/Washington Post Writers Group

Duke 66, Gonzaga 52

March 29, 2015 - 2:00pm

You can read game story & boxscore of Gonzaga's 66-52 loss to Duke in their Elite 8 game today here. Also: S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered GU's NCAA Elite 8 game against Duke.  Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.

Tennessee 73, Lady Zags 69

March 29, 2015 - 12:12am

Gonzaga's Emma Wolfram fights against Tennessee's defense during the second half of a Sweet 16 NCAA tournament playoff game on Saturday at Spokane Veterans' Memorial Arena. Tennessee won the game on overtime 73-69. Game story here. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)

Weekend Wild Card -- 3.28-29.15

March 27, 2015 - 11:35pm

The Lady Zags came thisclose to pulling a major upset in overtime against Tennessee in the Sweet 16 Saturday. So here's hoping that the men's team can leave us cheering today. The Zags will play Duke at 2:05 In Houston, Texas, this afternoon. No matter how you look at it, that little Jesuit school in Spokane is making us all proud. I'll catch you back here Monday. Here's your re-played Weekend Wild Card ...

Gonzaga men defeat UCLA 74-62

March 27, 2015 - 5:33pm

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered GU's Sweet Sixteen game against UCLA.  Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.

TGIF Wild Card -- 3.27.15

March 27, 2015 - 5:21pm

The men's and women's basketball teams of Gonzaga continue their historic, duo bracket climb in the NCAA Tournament this weekend. The men play UCLA at 4:15 p.m. on CBS, with a chance to move onto the Elite 8. The women tip off against Tennessee at 4 p.m. tomorrow in Spokane, with the same chance on the line. I'll try to button things up here at 4 today, so we can all enjoy the action in Houston, Texas. Here's your TGIF Wild Card ...

Gonzaga 74, UCLA 62, Final

March 27, 2015 - 5:17pm

UCLA's Norman Powell (4) shoots against Gonzaga during the first half of a college basketball regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament Friday Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Parting Shot -- 3.27.15

March 27, 2015 - 3:57pm

Kercher family's lawyer Francesco Maresca, center, talks to the media as he leaves Italy's highest court building in Rome today. Italy's highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case. Story here. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Gonzaga Vs. UCLA, 4:15 PM, CBS

March 27, 2015 - 3:47pm

So many factors in Gonzaga’s Sweet 16 date today with UCLA. A rematch from a December game at Pauley Pavilion, won by Gonzaga 87-74. How much better are the Bruins, who surprised many when they received an at-large berth on Selection Sunday? How much better are the Zags? Massive NRG Stadium, with its raised court, rows of seats that stretch forever and huge black curtains hanging far beyond the baselines. How will the shooting backdrop impact shooting percentages? What adjustments will UCLA make defending Kyle Wiltjer (24 points) and Byron Wesley (20) from the first go-around? Second-seeded Gonzaga (34-2), a solid favorite over No. 11 UCLA (22-13) and its four McDonald’s All-Americans/Jim Meehan, SR. More here.

DFO: Feel free to use this thread to discuss the game in progress.

Crapo, Senate Back PILT $$$

March 27, 2015 - 3:28pm

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador cast one of just 37 “no” votes in the House this week on funding for reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools program, which provides millions to rural, timber-dependent Idaho counties for schools and roads. The bill passed, 392-37; Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson was among its backers. “This kind of bill represents exactly what the American people want to see out of their elected representatives,” Simpson said in a statement. “They want us to fix problems, not shout across the aisle and point fingers.” The two-year reauthorization of the funding was included in HR 2, legislation now headed to the Senate to revamp the formula that sets reimbursement amounts for doctors who treat Medicare patients; that so-called “doc fix” has been patched by Congress each year while a permanent fix remained elusive/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Will this vote come back to haunt Congressman Labrador?

PM Scanner Traffic -- 3.27.15

March 27, 2015 - 3:23pm
  • 4:20 p.m. 25YO female has face bruises,needs medical help after domestic violence on Honeysuckle Ave/Hayden.
  • 4:18 p.m. Kootenai County Sheriff's Department property crimes report March 26-27 here.
  • 4:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 26-27 here.
  • 3:57 p.m. Silent alarm sounding @ DJ's Coins, 3650 Government Way/CdA.
  • 3:46 p.m. Someone is suffering a seizure @ 1600 block of Cecil Road/Post Falls.
  • 3:20 p.m. Someone is unconscious @ Canfield Sports Complex, 15th St/Dalton Ave, CdA.
  • 3:19 p.m. A disabled tow truck is blocking intersection of H95/H53, Garwood.
  • 3:04 p.m. 2 children are locked in black Yukon @ Peak Fitness/CdA.
  • 3:18 p.m. 60ish male believes his ribs broken after being hit by car last night.
  • 2:33 p.m. CPD officer reports panhandler @ s/w corner of H95/Appleway, CdA.
  • 2:24 p.m. Elderly female driver going n/b in s/b lanes of H95/Hanley Ave, CdA.
  • 2:04 p.m. CPD officer reports disabled vehicle parked for 2 days, 200 yards north of police station on Screiber Way.
  • 2:02 p.m. Officer pulls over green Toyota @ NW Blvd/Davidson Ave & tells dispatch to contact driver's probation officer. Officer is going to cite driver for littering.
  • 1:50 p.m. Motorist reports possible "pool of blood" on onramp @ e/b I-90/H41.
  • 1:18 p.m. Trauma injury reported @ 3200 block of Fairway Drive/CdA.
  • 1:17 p.m. ISP officer reports debris on H95/Hayden Ave, Hayden.
  • 12:28 p.m. Officer reports spike sticking up from UP undisclosed railroad crossing.
  • 12:23 p.m. Males in green Nissan sneaking on & off Hayden Hills Golf Course, 13583 W. Hayden Ave/Post Falls.
  • 12:19 p.m. Someone is unconscious @ 14800 block of Wright St/Rathdrum.
  • 12:19 p.m. Suspicious person reported @ Hayden post office, 109 W. Honeysuckle Ave.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

Cutline Contest -- Time2Vote

March 27, 2015 - 3:14pm

Mason Field, 6, of Celina, Texas, pretends to milk a plastic Jersey cow at the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo Thursday in Austin. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner)

Thursday Winner -- Charlie, with 5 likes: "Blow that trumpet in my ears again and see what happens to you." You can see Thursday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

Jeers -- To Rep. Tom Loertscher

March 27, 2015 - 2:57pm

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Opinion Editor Marty Trillhaase also offered jeers -- to Idaho House State Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona:

Just about every week, there's another reminder why Lewiston Rep. John Rusche's call for a state inspector general's office makes sense. Just take your pick. Millions squandered on a botched Idaho Education Network. Millions more lost on a malfunctioning Schoolnet program. Then there is the U.S. Department of Justice investigations into both the IEN and mismanaged private prison contract. Or the latest corruption index that puts Idaho among the most tainted states in the country. About the only thing Idaho does right, according to the State Integrity Investigation, is to keep its politicians from gerrymandering legislative and congressional district boundaries. When it comes to holding the governor or Legislature accountable, Idaho gets a solid F. A month ago, Rusche proposed establishing an office to look into complaints of waste, fraud and abuse. A slim majority on Loertscher's panel agreed to consider it. But the chairman has locked Rusche's bill away in his desk drawer. What is Loertscher afraid of? Full Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Are you amazed how the legislative and executive branches of our state government protect each other's back sides?

HucksOnline Blogos -- 3.27.15

March 27, 2015 - 2:21pm

"Spring sprang (SS) yesterday about noon," posts Marianne Love/Slight Detour. "Those big dark clouds hovering over Schweitzer finally dissipated and gave way to blue sky and pleasant temperatures." More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, March 26): 9,040 page-views/5,969 unique views

In Praise Of Public Defenders

March 27, 2015 - 2:02pm

John Adams, Kootenai County's chief public defender, comes across as a tough, quick-thinking, fast-talking character out of a TV crime series. As it turns out, Adams is not acting; he's the genuine article. He's willing to fight for a fair trial for his clients along with a fair deal for his staff. Adams has practiced in the field of criminal justice since his graduation from the University of Arizona's law school in 1983. In 1996 he was hired to be a public defender in Coeur d'Alene; he has now been chief public defender for Kootenai County for more than 18 years. Asked why he chose criminal defense for a career, Adams responded that when he was young he read novels about being a lawyer: "It made me think that being a lawyer was a noble goal. And helping people most in need would be a noble profession"/Mary Lou Reed, Inlander. More here.

Question: Do you consider public defenders to be unsung heroes?

Big Bad Spider

March 27, 2015 - 1:46pm

On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak or Kellogg, Ore., posts this photo with the note: "It's honeybee for dinner in the orchard tonight." You can see more of Robin's swell outdoors photography here.

9th Circuit Rejects Duncan Appeal

March 27, 2015 - 1:15pm

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has rejected claims from attorneys for multiple murderer Joseph Duncan that the killer was incompetent to waive appeals of his death sentence, and dismissed the appeal that defense attorneys filed on his behalf. The attorneys still could seek an en banc rehearing from the 9th Circuit or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the ruling is a significant step in the case of Duncan, who faces the death penalty three times over for the 2005 kidnapping, torture and murder of a 9-year-old North Idaho boy, Dylan Groene/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: It's time to put this crazed animal down. Thoughts?

IFF Backs Income, Grocery Tax Plan

March 27, 2015 - 1:03pm

A proposal in the Idaho House of Representatives would do great things for Idaho’s economy and workers. House Bill 311 would get rid of the state’s silly system of taxing groceries. Equally important, it would lower the top marginal income tax rate from the stratospheric 7.4 percent to a much more respectable 6.7 percent. By eliminating the tax on groceries, Idahoans would see instant relief on their store purchases. Under Idaho’s current tax system, Idahoans pay a 6 percent sales tax, but we’re given a “grocery tax credit” on our income tax return many months later. That grocery tax credit–$100 per person or $120 for seniors—often doesn’t come close to covering the sales taxes we’ve paid/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: I'm intrigued by this legislation that would decrease the income tax rate, eliminate the grocery tax and increase the gas tax. It sounds like an acceptable trade off. Thoughts?