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Edit: Medicaid Is Top State Issue

January 5, 2015 - 8:27am

Idaho legislators will be put to a great test in the session that opens this week. Will they have the fortitude to vigorously debate a proposal to close the Medicaid gap? There's strong speculation that this fiscally prudent, politically charged matter won't ever see the light of serious reflection. That's because the Medicaid issue is related to Obamacare -- and as we're all repeatedly told, Idahoans don't support Obamacare. We contend that objection to one should not preclude serious consideration of the other. You probably already know that expanding Medicaid would assist nearly 80,000 Idahoans who don't qualify for a health insurance subsidy. Roughly two-thirds of these people are working, but poor/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Can Idaho legislators look past their anti-Obamacare bias to do what's right for Idaho's working poor?

Top Issues: Deputy Pay, Jail, Airport

January 5, 2015 - 8:23am

A lot of Kootenai County's outlook in 2015 will depend on the two new commissioners elected in November to the three-person board. County Commissioner-elect David Stewart said his schedule shows he will be sworn in at 10 a.m. on Jan. 12. He has asked that fired Coeur d'Alene Airport Director Greg Delavan's employee file be on his desk by noon that day for his review. Look for an executive session shortly afterward, Stewart said Friday. While reinstating Delavan or hiring a new director will be his first priority in 2015, airport expansion also makes his to-do list, he said. Another top item on Stewart's list of priorities is a wage increase for Kootenai County Sheriff's Office deputies/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: What would you say is the No. 1 priority for Kootenai County in 2015?

Widmyer: Public Safety Job 1 In '15

January 5, 2015 - 8:16am

For Mayor Steve Widmyer and the Coeur d'Alene City Council, 2015 will be a year of challenging business and exciting developments. According to the mayor, public safety is the most important piece of business the city will continue to address in 2015. Widmyer said the arrival of Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White has already brought about reductions in crime rates and is implementing policies that will further reduce them in the future. He said the challenge is in providing the police department with adequate manpower to keep crime rates low. More manpower means more funding, he said, and even though some longtime members of the force are retiring and helping the financing issue, more funds could be necessary/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Mayor Widmyer that public safety is Job 1 for the city of Coeur d'Alene in 2015?

Hollywood Hacks

January 5, 2015 - 8:10am

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Weekend Wild Card -- 1.3-4.2015

January 3, 2015 - 9:04am

I have to think of something nice to say about cats apparently -- because Cindy steered Huckleberries Online to a blog record for annual page-views while I was on vacation. I'll tell you more about that Monday. Meanwhile, I need to bundle up and head outside to shovel the snow off my driveway and sidewalk. Then take Huckleberry the Beagle for a walk. And then settle down for a long winter's day or two of watching NFL playoffs. Here's your first weekend Wild Card of 2015 ...

Snow on the gargoyles

January 2, 2015 - 1:00pm

This photo of snow shrouding the gargoyles atop the Chronicle buidling in downtown Spokane make me especially glad I'm spending my day off hanging out at home with my guys.
Stay safe out there!

New Year/New Blog Wild Card 1.1.15

January 1, 2015 - 11:45pm

 Here it is. The new blog format.
I love how they wait until DFO is on vacation to roll it out! Although to be fair, when is Dave NOT on vacation?

I appear to be 7 years younger, since they used my orginal column mugshot. I'm okay with starting the new year, younger!

Note: there is a recent comments button, which is really important to most of us.

Use this Wild Card to tell us what you think.

Fund Started For Walmart Victim

January 1, 2015 - 11:32pm

The family of Veronica Rutledge has set up a memorial fund to pay for her funeral expenses and provide support for her husband and son. Rutledge was killed Tuesday at a Walmart in Hayden, Idaho after her two-year-old son accidentally shot her with a gun he pulled out of her purse. The gun was in a zippered pocket specifically designed to hold a concealed weapon/Rachel Alexander, SR. More here.

Also: The inside story of how an Idaho toddler shot his mother at Wal-Mart/Washington Post

Question: Would you consider donating to this fund?

SR Unveils New Blog Look

January 1, 2015 - 11:17pm

Dan Gayle, of the SR's Tech Deck blog, posts: We've been hard at work building new templates for the entire network of spokesman.com blogs, and they're going live tonight! (Yay, we know how to party like it's 1999). If you're familiar with Rich Landers' Outdoors blog, the new designs are almost exactly the same, with a clean, classic feel inspired by the great typography of our print newspaper. Here are some of the highlights:

  • There are no longer two different versions of our blogs. It's now all reunited as one easy peasy responsive design. Oh yeah.
  • Much larger and cleaner typography, making it easier for audiences both young and old to enjoy.
  • A newly redesigned blog home page that is much more pleasant to use and much more useful for users to discover all of the great content from our 15 (and counting) newsroom blogs. More here.

Question: So what do you think of the new look for Huckleberries Online?

SR Staffer Takes Polar Bear Plunge

January 1, 2015 - 6:56pm

Plungers dash out of the chilly waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene on Thursday during the annual Polar Bear Plunge at Sanders Beach. SR staffer Rachel Alexander describes her first Polar Bear Plunge here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Oregon Buries Florida State 59-20

January 1, 2015 - 5:58pm

Oregon linebacker Tony Washington, right, scores during the second half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal against Florida State this afternoon in Pasadena, Calif. Oregon buried Florida State 59-20 to earn a trip to the national college football game against either Alabama or Ohio State. Story here. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Front Porch: Oh, the humanity!

January 1, 2015 - 9:03am

Elton John sings, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word,” but in my family, Sorry is the board game we played during every visit to my grandparent’s house.

That’s right; I come from a long line of gamers, and I’m not talking about video games. I’m referring to good old-fashioned, non-electronic board and card games.

At my grandparent’s house, Sorry or a rousing round of Aggravation followed every holiday meal. The coffee would be poured. The kids banished to their own games. And the adults would roll up their sleeves and wage war across the table. Both games lean heavily on the strategy of sending other players back to home or base. My grandpa and my dad were feisty competitors who took fiendish glee in sending their opponents back.

Fueled by caffeine and laughter, the adults bantered, and good-naturedly bickered for hours.

The gaming tradition continued in my parent’s home. I learned everything I need to know about commodities trading by playing Pit with my family.Read more. Cindy Hval, SR

Our family may never be the same after our oldest son bought us Cards Against Humanity for Christmas. Do you enjoy board/card games?

The SR looks back at 2014

January 1, 2015 - 8:39am

There was plenty of smoke to get in our eyes in 2014.

Like the smoke from record fires that burned Central Washington. Or the smoke from recreational marijuana that went on sale legally in Washington.

The agreement between Washington’s two largest universities to jointly operate a medical school in Spokane went up in smoke.

And the Seattle Seahawks could legitimately be described as smokin’.

We polled the news staff of The Spokesman-Review for the Top 10 stories of 2014 in Spokane, North Idaho and the Inland Northwest. It’s a totally unscientific survey, but many of the stories will continue to provide headlines in 2015.

New Years Eve Wild Card 12.31.14

December 31, 2014 - 1:29pm

I don't get overly sentimental about the last day of the year. 2014 has had some incredible highs and some devestating lows for our family. I'm ready to turn the page and welcome 2015.

We don't have any New Years Eve traditions. Sometimes our kids all have plans and sometimes they want to join us. Dinner, a movie, and  welcoming the New Year with two of our four kids is on the books for us tonight. Oh, and heading out of here early and taking the next two FOUR DAYS OFF! (Yeah, I'm a little excited about that.)

Do you have any New Years Eve traditons?

I'm updating this Wild Card and heading out. I'll pop in tomorrow sometime and post a couple things and a new Wild Card.

See you next year!

Here's the last Wild Card of 2014.

The world is not falling apart

December 31, 2014 - 1:00pm

It’s a good time to be a pessimist. ISIS, Crimea, Donetsk, Gaza, Burma, Ebola, school shootings, campus rapes, wife-beating athletes, lethal cops—who can avoid the feeling that things fall apart, the center cannot hold? Last year Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before a Senate committee that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” This past fall, Michael Ignatieff wrote of “the tectonic plates of a world order that are being pushed apart by the volcanic upward pressure of violence and hatred.” Two months ago, the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen lamented, “Many people I talk to, and not only over dinner, have never previously felt so uneasy about the state of the world. … The search is on for someone to dispel foreboding and embody, again, the hope of the world.”

As troubling as the recent headlines have been, these lamentations need a second look. It’s hard to believe we are in greater danger today than we were during the two world wars, or during other perils such as the periodic nuclear confrontations during the Cold War, the numerous conflicts in Africa and Asia that each claimed millions of lives, or the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that threatened to choke the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf and cripple the world’s economy. More here.By and Slate. H/T fishinjay

Do you believe we've never lived in more peaceful times?

Fireworks in Rathdrum

December 31, 2014 - 12:24pm

RATHDRUM - Rathdrum is lighting up New Year's Eve tonight.

The fifth annual "Let Freedom Ring" show will be at the northwest corner of Lancaster and Highway 41 on the south side of town in George Thayer's field.

There will be a warning shot at 6:45 p.m. The next blast will start the show.

The show will run seven to eight minutes. CdA Press. More here.

Reading On A Screen Before Bed Might Be Killing You

December 31, 2014 - 12:17pm

You've heard that using screens before bedtime can mess with your sleep, but new research suggests the problem is even more serious.

Reading from an iPad before bed not only makes it harder to fall asleep, but also impacts how sleepy and alert you are the next day, according to new research from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, said the findings could impact anyone who uses an eReader, laptop, smartphone, or certain TVs before bed.

The new research supports conclusions from older studies, which have also found that screen time before sleep can be detrimental. Huffington Post.

Do you read from an electronic screen before bedtime?

First Night Fun

December 31, 2014 - 12:00pm

Participants in First Night Spokane 2010 visit a balloon sculpture on display at the Spokane Convention Center.

Tonight’s First Night celebration ringing in the new year in downtown Spokane will feature fire and ice.

“We have approximately 150 different performers and different types of activities,” said Lona Barnum, executive director of First Night Spokane. Participants can expect “anything from music, dance, theater, comedy, visual arts. We have fire dancers on Wall Street this year. We have a world-renowned ice carver at Riverfront Park who will be doing a magnificent ice carving.”

The 14th annual Winter Festival of Arts & Entertainment, also known as First Night, will start at 7 p.m. Jacyln Archer, SR. More here.

We've done FIrst Night several times. It's a lot of fun for families and a great deal. Have you been to First Night Spokane?

NYPD sends cops to Twitter school

December 31, 2014 - 11:44am

NEW YORK (AP) — As city officials work to soften the New York Police Department's image and change how officers engage with citizens through reforms and training, part of the effort is happening online.

The nation's largest police department, once a slow adopter of social media, has created a blog and punched up Facebook use. And there are now 101 Twitter accounts department-wide after top brass were sent to an in-house "Twitter school."

"We've given the commanding officers the tools, the guidelines and the training, and most importantly ... the responsibility to do the work," said Zachary Tumin, the department's deputy commissioner for strategic initiatives. "Twitter is part of that work and part of those bridges we seek to build and reinforce." Full story.

Thoughts?

Resolute or not?

December 31, 2014 - 11:30am

I'm seeing lots of posts about New Years resolutions on my newsfeed. I've never been a fan of them.

How about you? Do you make New Years resolutions? Have you been successful at keeping them?