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RonB: Idaho 9 Earns Comparison

May 1, 2015 - 1:49pm

Ron Burgundy (RE: Editorial: In league with Richard Butler?): Apologists for the Idaho Nine will take offense at the comparison to Butler but they will be missing the point. When legislators take policy cues from the John Birch Society wing of society and give a mega microphone in the Statehouse to religious extremists who incite violence, they are every bit as damaging to the image of Idaho as Richard Butler was. The difference is that Butler was marginalized and admitted being a bigot. The Idaho Nine are elected leaders with power and authority who are trying to rationalize bad decisions with fear, uncertainty, and doubt based on religious and racial differences. The comparison is reasonable. Hopefully these legislators will really reflect on why they are finding themselves in the same sentence as a disgraced race-baiter and step back from the brink.

'Hey Joe'

May 1, 2015 - 1:43pm

Guitar enthusiasts raise their instruments after playing the Jimi Hendrix version of the song "Hey Joe" in an attempt to break the Guinness Guitar Record in Wroclaw, Poland, today. 5003 guitarists took part in the annual event, but not enough to break the number of musicians playing the tune. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Question: Do you know how to play a guitar?

DOTC: Habitat, Here I Come

May 1, 2015 - 1:28pm

Dan of the CASA: You're one week back from vacation and I'm one week away from my last day at CASA, then a little time off with a family trip to see our son graduate with an engineering degree at UTEP in El Paso, and then on to my new gig at Habitat for Humanity June 1st. I've been blessed to have worked for some great non-profits and looking forward to the next one. As I've told various folks who ask about my change I view it as still being in the same league but have just been traded to a different team. I have found I really enjoy working for things that need done in my community either at non-profits or local elected office or sometimes both.

Question: Would you like to see Dan run for public office again?

Fluoride Change Doesn't Affect County

May 1, 2015 - 1:13pm

For the first time in more than 50 years the federal government is reducing the fluoride level in public water -- but it won't matter in Kootenai County. While 75 percent of the public water systems in the United States add fluoride to their drinking water, the systems serving Kootenai County residents do not. In 1962, the federal government recommended adding fluoride to the water after discovering that in some areas of the country - where fluoride is naturally occurring in the water - oral health was significantly better, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since then, however, fluoride has been added to more and more products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. HHS said this is causing an increase in fluorosis in some parts of the country/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.'

Question: Did you know that the water systems serving Kootenai County don't have fluoride added to them?

Fort Sherman Playground Gets Colorful Facelift

May 1, 2015 - 11:56am

On her Facebook page, Sara Meyer published these photos of an outing that she, Chris and their children took to test-drive the improvements to Fort Sherman Playground at City Park. You can read all about the Fort Sherman Playground facelift here.

Best Name For Judiciary & Rules 9?

May 1, 2015 - 11:46am

I'm trying to settle of a shorthand name for the nine House Republicans who created the need for a special session by voting in the 9-8 majority in the House Judiciary & Rules Committee to kill Child Support Enforcement legislation. The Idaho Statesman suggests "The Nine." Others have suggested the "Idaho Nine" and the "Gang of Nine." What do you think?

Question: What's your shorthand for the nine House Republicans who created the Child Support crisis?

'Stand By Me' Singer King, 76, RIP

May 1, 2015 - 11:40am

In this June 30, 2006, file photo, Ben E. King performs on stage during the opening of the 40th Montreux Jazz Festival at the Stravinski hall in Montreux, Switzerland. King, singer of such classics as "Stand By Me," "There Goes My Baby" and "Spanish Harlem," died Thursday, publicist Phil Brown told The Associated Press. He was 76. Story here. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP, File)

AM Scanner Traffic -- 5.1.15

May 1, 2015 - 11:34am
  • 12:01 p.m. CPD officer helping someone @ Fins & Feathers, 19th St/Sherman Ave, CdA.
  • 11:48 a.m. BOSS @ w/b I-90/MP 2 (Pleasant View/Post Falls) on car stolen in county this AM.
  • 11:35 a.m. Undisclosed psychological problem reported @ Coeur d'Alene High.
  • 11:34 a.m. Caller reports CdA couple that was arguing 15 minutes ago now doing yard work together.
  • 11:33 a.m. Traffic now moving @ w/b I-90/MP 31.8 (east side of 4th of July Pass) from crash an hour ago.
  • 11:24 a.m. Undisclosed medical emergency reported @ 1600 block of Polston Ave/Post Falls.
  • 11:07 a.m. ISP officer reports that semi truck on its side is from Illinois, miles of traffic backed up.
  • 10:51 a.m. ISP officer requests that highway readerboard be activated to warn e/b traffic of crash.
  • 10:47 a.m. Residential alarm sounding @ 3800 block of Mapleleaf/Nettleton Gulch, CdA.
  • 10:36 a.m. 1 vehicle & possibly a semi are overturned & blocking @ e/b I-90/MP 31.8 (bottom of 4th of July Pass).
  • 10:15 a.m. Kootenai County Sheriff's Office property crimes report for April 30-May 1 here.
  • 9:45 a.m. Post Falls Police Department grave yard shift May 1 here.
  • 9:30 a.m. PFPD is looking for 58YO Michael McCorkindale, who hasn't been seen since Wednesday. Click here.
  • 9:13 a.m. A boy who is own a diversion program has left Post Falls High w/knife, w/b on Poleline Ave.
  • 9:01 a.m. ISP wants Transporation Dept contacted re: pile of previously burned cardboard @ I-90/H97 exit, Rose Lake.
  • 8:52 a.m. Someone injured in a fall @ 3500 block of Jordan Drive (cross of Legal Court)/Post Falls.
  • 8:48 a.m. Child found at school (8:26 item).
  • 8:45 a.m. Post Falls father wants PFPD help in preventing daughter from getting online to seek boyfriends.
  • 8:26 a.m. Post Falls mother reports being in bed when 9YO daughter left house @ 7:20 a.m. & isn't sure where she is.
  • 8:23 a.m. Trailer being pulled by vehicle on fire, unknown location (possibly H95/Upriver Drive).

Native: D's Should Run As Independents

May 1, 2015 - 11:31am

NativeCDA (RE: Stallings to national Democrats: To Hell with You):  I don't understand why candidates don't run as Independents in Idaho. If you don't receive funds from the national Democratic party then what's the point of shackling yourself to the weight of the letter "D". If Balukoff would have run as an independent I think he would have had a much better chance of winning. Hell, if any candidate that ran as a Democrat ran as an Independent they would have had a much better chance of winning.

Poll: None Of Idaho 9 Will Recant

May 1, 2015 - 11:01am
  • Thursday Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation says that the 4 Kootenai County legislators involved in Child Support Enforcement crisis won't recant their votes that killed the bill in the House Judiciary & Rules Committee. The four -- Reps. Sims, Cheatham, Scott & McMillan -- will have an opportunity to change their votes in a special session that begins Monday, May 18. But 164 of 197 respondents (83.25%) don't expect any of the four to reverse his/her irresponsible vote. 12 of 197 (6.09%) consider Cheatham as most likely to reverse himself. Also: 9 (4.57%) expect Sims to change her vote. And 6 (3.05%) expect Scott and McMillan to change their votes.
  • Today's Poll: Is it fair to compare the damage to Idaho's reputation caused by a few legislators to that caused by the Aryan Natons in days gone by?

City of Coeur d'Alene Is Hiring

May 1, 2015 - 10:53am

From city of Coeur d'Alene Facebook page:

"Anyone looking for a job? The City of Coeur d'Alene is hiring! Utility Worker II, City of Coeur d'Alene. Starting hourly wage is $17.83 plus excellent benefit package available. Performs diverse office & field duties for the Water Department, including installation, maintenance & repair duties of the city water supply. Requires H.S diploma or GED equivalency & 4 years experience performing similar duties & Water or Water Treatment II certification. Complete job announcement & application available on website,, or H.R., 710 E. Mullan, CDA, . Filing deadline is 5pm, 5/15/15."

Question: Do you earn more than $17.83 per hour?

AM Headlines -- 5.1.15

May 1, 2015 - 10:16am

Empire Unmanned of Hayden recently showcased the first commercially-legal agriculture flight of a drone. Three local cities are hoping a collaborative initiative on robot development will lift off thanks to $50,000 in seed money. The cities of Rathdrum, Post Falls and Hayden won the grant through the America's Best Communities competition, a $10 million initiative to stimulate local economies. More here. (Courtesy photo via Coeur d'Alene Press)

Visiting Flyover Country

May 1, 2015 - 10:10am

I’ve spent the last two weeks on a 3,000 mile road trip through nine very rural western and southwestern states – flyover country for Hillary, Jeb and the cast of thousands seeking a nomination, any nomination, for president. All the candidates who seek our attention now and our votes next year, will say they lust for the White House in order to “give voice to” and “represent” the “real folks” in rural America. They all talk about flyover country like they’ve been there. Truth be told none of them have really spent any time in the American outback and if they were to visit – don’t hold your breath – they would be as out of place as sport coat at a rodeo/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Post. More here.

Question: When did you last take a long road trip that included stops along the way?

A Pleasant Prom Night Surprise

May 1, 2015 - 10:04am

Maria Schnepf couldn't believe the news delivered by the waitress. Schnepf and 12 of her Lakeland High classmates had finished their prom dinner at Embers by the Lake, a woodfire artisan pizza restaurant on Hauser Lake, when waitress Anna Hammons informed the group that their meal had been paid for by an anonymous couple. "We were all taken back by it," Schnepf said. "There were several people there who were specifically attentive to us. We definitely felt loved." The students estimated that the total bill would have been around $300. Hammons said the students then helped pay it forward by leaving her a "very generous" tip. "There's a lot of bad stuff going on in the world, but these amazing acts of kindness are a reminder that we live in a good place with good people," she said/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you remember prom night?

IFF Lauds Collective Bargaining Law

May 1, 2015 - 9:29am

Wayne Hoffman of Idaho Freedom Foundation columnizes that a 2015 bill that you haven't heard of has made Idaho's collective bargaining law the best of its kind in the nation:

Here’s another extraordinary bill that passed this last legislative session that you haven’t heard about: House Bill 167 stops cities and labor unions from negotiating contracts in secret. The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously and was signed by Gov. Butch Otter. When the open meeting law was passed in 1974, it included a provision allowing closed meetings, called executive sessions, for a number of purposes including real estate purchases, discussions about lawsuits and to review records exempt from public disclosure. The author of the open meeting law, then-Rep. Gary Ingram, told me a few years ago that inclusion of closed-door labor negotiations was intended to secure passage of the bill; without it, the measure might have failed and all government boards would be allowed to continue to meet in secret whenever and wherever. Ingram always had misgivings about the secret collective bargaining provision, however it has endured now more than 40 years/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.


Stallings To Nat'l D's: To Hell w/You

May 1, 2015 - 9:08am

In a column in today's Coeur d'Alene Press, former Idaho Statesman opinion editor Chuck Malloy tells of the frustration that Democratic candidates in Idaho have for national Democratic organizations:

(Former Congressman Richard) Stallings has a simple message to the national Democratic organizations. "I'm saying the hell with them," he said. "I've given money to the (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) for years, and some to Senate and gubernatorial candidates. Why should we, as Idahoans, put money into these organizations if they are not going to reciprocate?" Democrats had credible candidates in a year when Republican factions were fighting among themselves. Stallings, given his long experience in Congress, certainly was a viable candidate to go against Rep. Mike Simpson. The same goes for Balukoff, who put up about $4 million of his own money to run against Otter. Shirley Ringo, a longtime state representative, was a longshot against Rep. Raul Labrador, but at least was familiar with the legislative process. Mitchell didn't have the name recognition of the other three candidates, but he was running against Risch and his high negative rating. "I thought A.J. had a good shot at it, but they wouldn't even talk with him," Stallings said. "The national party gave money to candidates that didn't have half the chance A.J. had."

Question: It seems to me that the national Democratic Party is an albatross for Democrats running for high office in Idaho. Agree/disagree?

Edit: In League With Richard Butler?

May 1, 2015 - 8:58am

Not that long ago, Idaho was best known nationally for potatoes and being home to the Aryan Nations. Idaho, of course, is still famous for its potatoes -- it even says so on our license plates -- and fortunately the state has been able to expel the majority of the white supremacist group from its borders, although that brief bit of history remains a terrible stain on the state's reputation. In recent years the state - thanks to its leaders in Boise - hasn't helped itself in the image department, showing its intolerance by refusing to provide basic protections for the non-heterosexual members of our society and, most recently, attacking Muslims and spreading fear of Shariah law. Just a couple of weeks ago, a House panel killed a child support enforcement bill in a blunder that could cost the state millions in federal dollars and make it easy for deadbeat parents to flake out on child support payments, all because a few wackos -- the kind who are certain President Barack Obama is a Muslim -- believe the bill would potentially make Idaho subject to Shariah law. It'd be hilarious if it didn't have real world consequence/Devin Rokyta, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.


Edit Welcomes Crisis Center

May 1, 2015 - 8:43am

Saving lives and saving money. The deposit on that combo made Monday a very nice day. News that Coeur d'Alene will be home to Idaho's second state-funded mental health crisis center sent immediate positive ripples throughout the community. It's a harbinger for much good that this facility will do in the years ahead. Few citizens like to acknowledge the devastating relationship between mental and behavioral health problems and substance abuse. Fewer still want to do anything about it. But thanks to Rep. Luke Malek -- the bill's floor sponsor and legislative champion -- and a whole host of supportive professionals ranging from Sheriff Ben Wolfinger and Kootenai Health CEO Jon Ness to members of the executive board of the Region 1 Mental Health Board and Regional Advisory Council on Substance Abuse, ground will soon be broken in Coeur d'Alene for a local facility. A year ago, even though Kootenai County showed the greatest need, our region was passed over because of a lack of local legislative support. This year, representatives Kathy Sims, Ron Mendive and Vito Barbieri opposed the project. But other Kootenai County Republicans including senators Bob Nonini, Mary Souza and Steve Vick, and representatives Malek, Don Cheatham and Eric Redman, all pushed for passage of the House bill that authorized a mental health crisis center in North Idaho/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Why do you think all of the legislative delegation from Kootenai County supported the mental health crisis center this year, except Reps. Sims & Barbieri?

Refugee To Run In Bloomsday

May 1, 2015 - 8:30am

Come Nzibarega of Burundi is training in Spokane this week to run in Bloomsday 2015 Sunday. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

First he had fled his home, and then his uncle’s home – fearing for his very being and the prospect of becoming a grim statistic, another of the more than 300,000 people who had died in Burundi’s hateful civil war. So Come Nzibarega ran. And, yes, he was still a statistic, but a breathing one – part of the half-million Burundi refugees scattered to neighboring parts of Africa: Tanzania, the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda. He had made his way even farther, to Ethiopia – an urban refugee on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, where he was safe. But safety is not security. “I believe you’re created with a purpose that you are to fulfill here on Earth,” Nzibarega said, “and I could see myself dying with all I have inside of me. It is a horrible life. There were no opportunities for me to release my potential, to help the community and be who I was created to be.” He couldn’t even begin to know who that was or where it could take him. Surely the wonder of the answer will dash briefly through his head again as he lines up on Sunday morning with 40-odd-thousand of his new best friends in downtown Spokane/John Blanchette, SR. More here.

Question: How often have you run in Bloomsday?