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AM Headlines -- 11.24.14

November 24, 2014 - 10:14am

Brenna, an 11-month-old Irish Wolfhound, licks 4-year-old Ava Angle’s face at the ‘Howlidays’ dog parade and costume contest on Saturday. Downtown Coeur d'Alene is preparing for the holidays. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Tess Freeman)

Poll: Immigration Decree Wrong

November 24, 2014 - 10:04am
  • Weekend Poll: A majority of Hucks Nation opposes the immigration approach taken by President Obama that shields up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation. 126 of 244 respondents (51.64%) disagreed with the president. 106 of 244 respondents (43.44%) agreed with him. 12 (4.92%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you think the Coeur d'Alene area is more diverse today than it was 10 years ago?

Lake City Not As White As PBS Thinks

November 24, 2014 - 9:08am

Idaho's population is becoming more diverse all the time, but often, the national perception of the state doesn't reflect that reality. The new Public Broadcasting Service series, "America by the Numbers," recently aired an episode titled "Our Private Idaho," which focuses on the "white" factor of Coeur d'Alene. It presents Coeur d'Alene as "a haven for white conservatives," a city that is "still haunted by a history of extreme racism" and a "postcard picture of small-town America as it used to be -- mostly white." Coeur d'Alene resident and founder of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations Tony Stewart (pictured) shared his opinion Saturday about how the series portrays Idaho and how the demographic shifts that are presently occurring reflect the changing populous of the Gem State/Devin Heilman, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Question: Do you see more diversity in North Idaho now than there was 10 years ago?

Pilgrims Should Have Tried McNuggets

November 24, 2014 - 8:51am

I am thankful Benjamin Franklin did not prevail in his attempt to name the turkey, instead of the bald eagle, the national bird. If turkeys were the national bird we would not be eating them at Thanksgiving. Instead we would be poring over our recipe books trying to figure out the best way to prepare bald eagle for dinner. Turkeys are bad enough. I guess we do it because of the pilgrim aspect, but why couldn't they have chosen something a little more palatable, like chicken nuggets to celebrate surviving in the New World? What's more American than that? There aren't many cooks who can fix a turkey dinner without the bird turning out so dry it triggers a gag reflex. That's why they invented gravy. Turkeys are just hard birds to cook/Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Is there anyone out there, besides Stickman and other vegetarians, who doesn't serve turkey on Thanksgiving?

County Seeks Next Airport Boss

November 24, 2014 - 8:40am

Kootenai County commissioners and an application review committee met Friday to review 19 applications for a new airport manager. They also decided to re-open the application deadline to Dec. 12. Commissioner Todd Tondee said the commissioners were joined by three members of the airport advisory committee and interim Airport Manager Phil Cummings. The county's human resource director was on vacation, and the two incoming commissioners -- David Stewart and Marc Eberlein -- were invited but decided not to attend. "It's really not on my watch right now," Eberlein said, explaining why he chose not to participate. Stewart said he didn't go because he had business in Spokane/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Facebook photo, of Greg Delevan)

Question: I'd ask who in their right mind would want this job, given that the two new commissioners might rescind this hiring and give the job back to Greg Delavan. But 19 have applied for the job. Thoughts?

Wardell, School District Part Ways

November 24, 2014 - 8:35am

Wendell Wardell's time as chief operating officer of the Coeur d'Alene School District has come to an end. Superintendent Matt Handelman alerted district employees by email Friday that Wardell is no longer employed by the public school system. "As with any matter involving personnel, the district will afford Wendell the same level of privacy we would give to any other staff member going through a separation of employment," wrote Handelman, in the message received by The Press from an anonymous source. "We will be working on posting for the position in the near future." The message did not indicate whether Wardell's departure was voluntary. School officials declined to provide any other details, because it is a personnel matter/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Am I the only one bugged that you can't get a straight answer from elected officials when a high-profile individual leaves a government job under less than ideal circumstances?

Edit: That Stink Is Coming From Boise

November 24, 2014 - 8:32am

Not long ago, the State Integrity Investigation rated Idaho's ethics in government safeguards the 41st weakest among the 50 states, with an overall grade just short of failing. But Idahoans could shrug it off. "There's no deep history of corruption here, no dingy statehouse corridors or smoke-filled rooms," the Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell wrote in a companion piece to the study. No longer. That odor you smell is coming from Boise:

  • Former House Speaker Lawerence (Boss) Denney, R-Midvale, told a company seeking a tax break to replace its lobbyist with one of his political cronies.
  • Legislative auditors caught state Treasurer Ron Crane filling up his gas tank at state expense.
  • Before she accepted a $750,000 settlement, former Idaho Transportation Director Pamela Lowe had alleged that crossing swords with politically wired contractors got her fired. More here.

Question: Does being Republican in Idaho mandate that you ignore scandals and other matters that don't pass the smell test, if it involves a high-ranking Republican offical?

Children's Village To Open 2nd Home

November 24, 2014 - 8:29am

Christina Hull, development director for Children’s Village, gets a high five from a resident at the facility in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday. Children’s Village houses abused, neglected and homeless children and will double its capacity to 24 with the opening of the Miller Home. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

One by one the rooms are coming together with fresh paint, furniture and décor meant to comfort some of the most vulnerable children in the community. A girl’s bedroom is pretty in pink and white – a shabby-chic design with ruffles, a little chandelier, paper lanterns and “WISH” spelled in big letters atop a dresser. Down the hall a boy’s room pops in red, black and gray, punctuated with sports gear adorning the walls. Children’s Village, a shelter for children in crisis, is nearly ready to open the second house on its Coeur d’Alene campus, doubling its capacity to 24 and allowing the organization to help an additional 75 to 100 kids each year. “There is a great need. We’ve turned away over 60 kids this year so far,” said Christina Hull, development director for the nonprofit organization/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Have you been involved in Children's Village in any way?

EOBoise: Broadband Network Worries

November 24, 2014 - 8:22am

State lawmakers are growing concerned about the broadband network that serves high schools across the state, after a judge Nov. 10 voided a $60 million contract for the Idaho Education Network, ruling it was issued illegally. “At the end of the day, this is an important thing,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. “We need to get a new contract as quickly as possible and keep the service up and going during the school year. You have school districts that are dependent on this service, they’re in the middle of a term, and … the less disruption the better here, on our way to a new contract that addresses the issues that have been raised.” The Otter administration is asking the judge to reconsider or clarify his decision/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Is the governor capable of fixing this mess?

Sunday Hucks: A Brush With Fame

November 24, 2014 - 8:17am

As you know, actor John Travolta told The Spokesman-Review that he plans to visit Coeur d’Alene soon to see two of his sisters in a show based on their family’s holidays: “I Remember Christmas.” Coeur d’Alene theatergoers are used to Travolta dropping by performances involving his sisters, Ellen (of “Grease” fame), Ann and Margaret. In fact, I had a brush with him during a 2010 Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater production of “Cinderella” involving his three sisters. After the lights went down, the director announced there was a delay because of an accident on the freeway that blocked some Spokane ticketholders. Then, there was a commotion as a whole row of individuals arrived late. I thought they were some of the aforementioned Spokane residents. Only later did I learn that John Travolta was sitting right behind me. I was the only one in my row who didn’t know. And that is my one brush with fame/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.

Question: Have you ever had a close encounter with a famous person?

Heller: Quite An Act

November 24, 2014 - 8:06am

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

GU defeats St. Thomas Aquinas 109-55

November 22, 2014 - 8:26pm

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered GU's home game against St. Thomas Aquinas.  Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.