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Defending Sandpoint

July 10, 2015 - 8:52am

In a letter to the New York Times, actor/columnist Ben Stein of the American Spectator takes issue with a recent Times article about Sandpoint. Although the Times article was positive, Stein believes that it missed the essence of the Bonner County town:

"I read with great interest your article very recently about my beloved Sandpoint, Idaho. I have divided my time between Sandpoint and Malibu for 24 years now. With great respect to the author of the piece, I must tell you he missed the magnetism of Sandpoint.  Simply put, it is the real “enchanted kingdom.” You usually get here on Route 95 over an enormous bridge over the peaceful, blue green Lake Pendoreille/Pendoreille River junction. Once you are over the Long Bridge, the whole world changes. There are no gangs. There is no violence to speak of. There are no sullen people on street corners. No riots. No one even honks his or her horn. I have been coming here since ’90 and never heard a horn honk in anger." More here.

DFO: I know there are Sandpoint residents who cringe whenever frequent visitor Stein speaks for the town. But I find this piece interesting.

Question: When did you last spend some time in Sandpoint?

Labrador Touts Resilient Forests Act

July 10, 2015 - 8:44am

In a letter to constituents today, Congressman Raul Labrador touted the Resilient Federal Forests Act:

Idahoans know first-hand wildfire’s devastation. The most recent example is the Cape Horn Fire near the resort town of Bayview on Lake Pend Oreille. Hundreds of residents were evacuated this week and six homes destroyed. The U.S. Forest Service classifies 58 million acres, 30 percent of the agency’s land, at high risk for catastrophic fire. But just 3 million acres are treated annually to remove the brush and timber that feeds big fires. There’s a solution at hand. On Thursday, I was part of a bipartisan House majority that approved the Resilient Federal Forests Act. H.R. 2647 will improve forest health, reduce fire risk and restore ravaged landscapes. The bill streamlines forest management, bolsters firefighting funding and encourages timber harvest in projects developed through a collaborative process. It requires groups suing to block collaborative plans to post a bond covering the government’s legal costs should plaintiffs lose. More here.

Thoughts?

Jeers: Otter Runs From His Record

July 10, 2015 - 8:38am

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Opinion Editor Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune gives jeers to ... Idaho Gov. C.L "Butch" Otter:

He's running away from his record. The Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell stopped him cold. During the weekend, Russell chronicled how Idaho's Parks and Recreation Department survived austere state budgets by relying on volunteers and more fee revenue. But all of this started in the winter of 2010, when Otter proposed eliminating the department, splitting it between the state departments of Lands and Fish and Game. Otter complained to Russell that he did no such thing. He insisted he was merely sending a message to an insubordinate agency. Not so. More here.

Question: Are the state parks important to you?

Confederate Flag Comes Down

July 10, 2015 - 8:28am

Cheers and applause erupted as the Confederate battle flag was removed Friday from the South Carolina Capitol, ending a decades-long fight that was reignited after the murders of nine members of a historically black Charleston church. "Take it down! Take it down!" the crowd chanted as an honor guard from the South Carolina Highway Patrol marched toward the flag pole. Two troopers reeled the flag down and folded it as onlookers took photos and broke out in song, while others bellowed, "USA! USA!" They handed the flag to a black trooper, who brought it to the steps of the Statehouse and handed it to a state archivist. The dignified ceremony, which lasted less than 10 minutes, was a shocking end to a complicated chapter in the history of the American South/NBC News. More here.

Thoughts?

CdA To Pursue BLM Lease

July 10, 2015 - 8:22am

The Coeur d'Alene City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to proceed with an application to lease BLM land in the Four Corners area. City officials worked with Welch Comer Engineers to process information, gathered at two public meetings, into a preliminary design for improvement to the Four Corners region, which runs from Independence Point to the Bureau of Land Management corridor's western boundary near the east end of Riverstone. BLM controls 29 of the 40 acres of land in the 2-mile stretch and could lease the property to the city, at little to no cost, if development is focused around public use. "This is a process the city has been going through for several years now," said Steve Anthony, Parks and Recreation director. "We feel that we've gathered enough data and input at this point that we are prepared to send our documents to the federal government"/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Courtesy graphic via Coeur d'Alene Press)

Question: Anyone oppose this move?

Data Breach Affects 21M+

July 10, 2015 - 8:15am

Hackers stole Social Security numbers, health histories and other highly sensitive data from more than 21 million people, the Obama administration said Thursday, acknowledging that the breach of U.S. government computer systems was far more severe than previously disclosed. The scope of the data breach – believed to be the biggest in U.S. history – has grown dramatically since the government first disclosed earlier this year that hackers had gotten into the Office of Personnel Management’s personnel database and stolen records for about 4.2 million people. Since then, the Obama administration has acknowledged a second, related breach of the systems housing private data that individuals submit during background investigations to obtain security clearances/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Do you consider your online information secure?

Technical Difficulties

July 10, 2015 - 8:13am

Jim Morin/Miami Herald

Wild Card/Thursday -- 7.9.15

July 9, 2015 - 5:26pm

I passed another of life's milestones without noticing a few weeks ago. As of mid-June, I've been newspapering for 45 years. Some of you cynics might say that what I do now -- blogging -- isn't exactly newspapering. But my print column keeps me tied to printer's ink. As a junior at Chico State College, I started in the summer 1970 with the Chico (Calif.) Enterprise-Record, shuttling between the circulation department and the sports department. By the following year, I was working full-time as a general assignment reporter and going to school fulltime. Nah, it wasn't easy. I've run the gamut from hot-metal & linotype operators to cyberspace. And there's still gas left in the tank. So you'll have to put up with me awhile longer. Here's your Thursday Wild Card ...

Parting Shot -- 7.09.15

July 9, 2015 - 5:24pm

This sign sits in front of a home that was spared in the Cape Horn fire in Bayview. Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter got a tour of the fire from an Idaho National Guard Blackhawk helicopter on Thursday. He then received a briefing from the incident commander and fire staff at the Incident Command Post (ICP) located near Bayview. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2015/07/08/3887416_canyon-county-town-aims-to-advertise.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

How Would You Describe Bayview?

July 9, 2015 - 5:22pm

Media covering the Cape Horn fire have regularly referred to Bayview as an "upscale" resort town, especially the Associated Press. Now, I know there are some upscale homes at Bayview. But I also know that the town is a good place for regular Joes & Janes to reside & enjoy a North Idaho lake setting that they can afford. I tried to call Herb to see what adjective he'd use to describe his town. But he was out and about collecting news and scuttlebutt about the fire. How about you?

Question: What adjective would you use to describe Bayview?

Why You Should Move Seat Back

July 9, 2015 - 4:52pm

From the PFPD Day Shift log (via Facebook): "Female (on E9th Ave/Post Falls) called to report she had just backed the family vehicle into her husband and pushed him through the dry wall into the basement of the residence. The RP (reporting party) said he husband had last used the vehicle and the seat was set way back and she could not reach the brake pedal at first. Husband possibly sustained a broken leg and was transported to KH (Kootenai Health) for treatment."

Cutline Contest -- Time2Vote

July 9, 2015 - 4:41pm

Serena Williams of the United States walks past two ball boys as she plays Maria Sharapova of Russia during the women's singles semifinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, earlier today. You write the cutline. (Suzanne Plunkett/Pool via AP)

Wednesday Winner -- JMRusche, with 6 likes: The vast majority of this Gull flock must be deaf. Or at least have a herring deficit. You can see the Wednesday photo and read all the Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic -- 7.9.15

July 9, 2015 - 4:25pm
  • 5:40 p.m. Female @ H41/Lancaster Ave, Rathdrum, reports male in Chevy pickup took her gun & shot at her.
  • 5:24 p.m. Someone is having breathing problems @ Govt Way/Honeysuckle Ave, Hayden.
  • 5:14 p.m. A male in red ballcap, female w/arm in sling & 9YO boy are running north from Olive Garden lot, where they may have burglarized a vehicle.
  • 5:04 p.m. Male stumbled to Subaru Outback in Post Falls KFC lot & now has feet hanging out window.
  • 5:03 p.m. Resident @ 37600 block of Hillcrest/Hayden can't get BBQ propane to turn off.
  • 4:59 p.m. Someone is unconscious in Midway Safeway lot, 1001 N4th St/CdA.
  • 4:37 p.m. Male possibly has fractured ankle after fall @ Canyon/Player, CdA.
  • 4:36 p.m. Male w/open container in gray van turned right on Sherman Ave from 15th St/CdA leaving crash scene.
  • 4:29 p.m. A pallet & chains are lying on e/b I-90/MP 14 (15th St/CdA).
  • 4:08 p.m. Driver of blue-and-white pickup w/canopy possibly impaired @ H95/Appleway, CdA.
  • 3:48 p.m. 64YO male @ Kootenai Cancer Center, 1440 E. Mullan Ave/Post Falls suffering stomach pain.
  • 3:40 p.m. Dumpster fire in parking garage reported @ Parkside Condos, 601 E. Front Ave/CdA.
  • 3:32 p.m. Someone suffering chest pain @ Cape Horn fire command, near Bayview.
  • 3:16 p.m. Possible drunk male has return to Highlands resident to cause trouble (2:49 item).
  • 3:05 p.m. CPD Fire Station 2 wants animal control to handle 1-2 day-old fawn, w/o mother, nearby.
  • 2:58 p.m. Officer reports catching driver involved in Hayden hit-and-run (2:48 item).
  • 2:49 p.m. Male in black Chevy Cavalier leaving Highlands area/Post Falls possibly DUI.'
  • 2:48 p.m. Driver of silver 4Runner-type left after hitting another vehicle near Rite Aid, Govt Way/Prairie Ave, Hayden.
  • 2:46 p.m. Fire alarm sounding @ St. Dominic's, 20274 W. Riverview Drive/Post Falls.
  • 2:28 p.m. Someone is complaining of back pain @ Coeur d'Alene Resort.
  • 2:09 p.m. Several juveniles are pushing  a Polaris Ranger in water near Spirit Lake dock, device is out of gas.
  • 2:05 p.m. 82YO male suffering undisclosed illness @ 3800 block of Tamarack Road/CdA.
  • 2:01 p.m. 63YO female injured in fall @ 300 block of N. Bay St/Post Falls.
  • 1:47 p.m. Small child in car seat locked in green Ford Explorer @ Post Falls business.
  • 1:28 p.m. Driver of red 1997 Chevy Tahoe reckless near H41/H53, Rathdrum.
  • 1:13 p.m. Driver involved in one-vehicle crash @ I-90/MP 39.5 (3 miles east of Cataldo Mission) appears to be seriously injured; male is still trapped in vehicle.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

HucksOnline Blogos -- 7.9.15

July 9, 2015 - 3:59pm

Pecky Cox/As the Lake Churns and the residents of the Priest Lake/Priest River area also are getting their share of smoke and fire in from their neck of the North Idaho woods.

HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday, July 8): 11,724 page-views/7,292 unique views

Simpson's Wilderness Bill Wins Vote

July 9, 2015 - 3:33pm

Idaho 2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson’s wilderness bill for the Boulder White Clouds clared the U.S. House Resources Committee today by unanimous consent, and now heads for a vote in the full House. The bill, which Simpson and an array of stakeholders have worked on for years, would designate new wilderness areas, while also authorizing various land conveyances and striking other compromises with communities within the area, ranchers, snowmobilers and more. “To say I am pleased about the BWC bill moving forward would be an understatement,” Simpson said/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Thoughts?

Advisory Issued For Hayden Lake

July 9, 2015 - 3:13pm

A health advisory was issued today for Hayden Lake by the Panhandle Health District (PHD) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Water samples confirmed the presence of the blue-green algae Anabaena sp. This species can produce potentially dangerous toxins. This algal bloom was identified in the northern end of the lake. Public health officials are asking people to evaluate the water conditions before recreating in or near the lake. In areas where water is an uncharacteristic green color or areas with thick, green mats along shorelines, take extra precaution/Melanie Collett, Panhandle Health District. More here.

Idaho Poll: Bush 1st, Trump 2nd

July 9, 2015 - 2:42pm

A new poll finds Jeb Bush running on top among GOP presidential hopefuls in Idaho, with Donald Trump – yes, Donald Trump – in second place. However, more than 20 percent remain undecided, and pollster Dan Jones concluded, “There is currently no clear favorite in the crowded field for the Republican presidential nomination.” His poll queried 610 Idahoans in June. Asked about a wide range of announced candidates seeking the GOP nomination for president next year – Scott Walker hadn’t yet announced – Bush came out the highest, with 15 percent overall and 17 percent among respondents who identified themselves as Republicans. Trump had 12 percent overall, and 11 percent among self-identified R’s. Third was Ben Carson, with 10 percent in both groups/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Who do you favor as the Republican nominee for president?

Father In Confederate Flag Photo Responds

July 9, 2015 - 2:31pm

Casey Kelley (RE: Parting Shot/Tuesday): "Okay I am the father in this picture and that is my three year old. First off never assume that I teach my son hate. If you look at other picture I'm rooting for it to come down. But that is my family past. Not one I'm proud of. But that aside it helped shape this country into a good one. That flag is not the reason hatred and racism is soaring through the roof. It is the people in this nation plan and simple. But every steep we can take to help it get better I'm down. I don't want me or my kids to fly that flag which we will and automatically be thought of as racist because that is far from true. So whoever is arguing over a matter that does not pertain to this situation I would appreciate it if you deleted the comment."

Idaho 9th In Minimum Wage %

July 9, 2015 - 1:55pm

Idaho, which not long ago ranked first in the nation for the percentage of its workers earning minimum wage or less, has dropped to 9th. “It’s a pretty good bump,” said Bob Uhlenkott, chief of research for the Idaho Department of Labor. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics today released 2014 data showing that the percentage of Idaho workers making the minimum wage or less dropped to 5.1 percent, down from 7.1 percent the year before and 7.7 percent in 2012. In 2013, Idaho ranked second in the nation for its percentage of minimum-wage workers, behind only Tennessee; in 2012, Idaho was No. 1/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: This is good news, right?

Otter Tours Cape Horn Burn

July 9, 2015 - 1:50pm

Photo Set (6 photos): Idaho Gov. Butch Otter looks from an Idaho National Guard Black Hawk helicopter at the Cape Horn fire and burn today. Otter received a briefing from the incident commander and fire staff at the Incident Command Post (ICP) located near Bayview. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter toured the Cape Horn fire today, surveying the damage done by the 1,155-acre blaze near the lakeside town of Bayview. “Whenever we have a crisis in Idaho, it’s everybody’s crisis,” Otter said. The tour started aboard an Idaho National Guard Blackhawk helicopter. Although heavy smoke obscured views, Otter watched helicopters drop water on the smoldering hillside. “Still some pretty good hotspots up there,” he said. “And from what I know about fire management, it’s pretty tough to fight because it’s very, very steep and it’s going uphill. An aerial attack, as long as you have the visibility, is about the only way you’re going to get that”/Eli Francovich, SR. More here.

Question: Why do you think it's important for Gov. Otter to tour local disasters like the Cape Horn fire, in Idaho? Or don't you?