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Updated: 44 min 18 sec ago

Edit: Uber-cons Becoming Centrists

March 19, 2015 - 11:18am

A year ago, it didn't seem possible to find any daylight between the National Rifle Association and Idaho's far-right fringe. What could be more popular with that crowd than putting concealed weapons into the hands of college students, staff and faculty - even when they never asked? In fact, the NRA's guns on campus bill prevailed against their opposition -- along with that of college presidents, the State Board of Education and professional law enforcement officers. How things can change. Now the gun rights lobbyist pushing Idaho's political envelope isn't the NRA's Dakota Moore. It's Greg Pruett with the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Complete editorial here.

Question: Is that what has happened -- that we have ventured so far to the right in regions of this state (cough, Kootenai County, North Idaho) that yesterday's far-right fringe politician is today's centrist?

Idaho Solons Hate Local Control

March 19, 2015 - 10:13am

When did local control cease to be a conservative principle? We ask because Idaho legislators keep big-footing issues that school districts, colleges and city and county governments are capable of handling. Last year, legislators took from colleges the decision on whether guns could be carried on campuses. They adopted a disastrous broadband Internet plan to be used in all schools. They pondered – but thankfully shelved – bills that would’ve set architectural design standards for all cities and expunged local anti-discrimination ordinances. That control-freak impulse is back this year, and we wonder why legislators have such a low opinion of local officials. On Monday, the state Senate passed a bill that prevents local governments from imposing knife-control restrictions. Yes, knife, not gun/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Sometimes, I imagine that our legislators simply lose their ability to think when they enter the heady atmosphere of the Kingdom of Ada. Knives on public school campuses. Are. You. Kidding. Me?

AM Headlines -- 3.19.15

March 19, 2015 - 10:10am

In this 2009 Coeur d'Alene Press file photo, yellowjackets congregate around the opening of a volleyball-sized nest on South 19th Street in Coeur d'Alene. A mild winter and early spring, reports David Cole/Press, mean people will be swatting, brushing away and sometimes squashing pesky insects sooner this year, making for a longer season. More here.

CdA Resort No. 4 On National List

March 19, 2015 - 10:06am

The Coeur d'Alene Resort has earned another high national ranking, just three months after its Holiday Light Show was named one of the top 10 in the nation. Travel and tourism journalist Steve Winston placed The Resort in the No. 4 spot on his list of the Top 10 hotels in America. The list was published Monday in World Property Journal, Winston noted that The Resort sits at the foot of Lake Coeur d'Alene, surrounded by mountains and forest, adjacent to a "picturesque old town in the Idaho Panhandle." "I love interesting hotels. It doesn't matter where they are, or if they're famous or unknown. If they're interesting - if they have some element that makes them unique - I love it," Winston penned/Coeur d'Alene Resort. More here. (Courtesy photo via Coeur d'Alene Press)

Malek's EMS Bill Gets 35-0 OK

March 19, 2015 - 9:01am

Legislation to allow communities to set up “Community Health EMS” systems passed the Senate this evening on a unanimous, 35-0 vote, and now heads to Gov. Butch Otter. The bill, HB 153 from Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, wouldn’t cost the state anything. Instead, it would give communities the option to set up systems in which paramedics could help people with emergencies without transporting them to hospitals, and still be reimbursed/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

CPD Creates Anti-Trespass Program

March 19, 2015 - 8:56am

The Coeur d'Alene Police Department implemented a new program Wednesday designed to more effectively handle trespassing incidents. Police Chief Lee White outlined the "Trespass Enforcement Program," which he said has been in the works since September, during Tuesday's meeting of the city council. White began his presentation by clarifying to the council that the program does not involve the creation of any new ordinance or law.

"It's just a good way for business and real property owners to have better communication with the police department and keep people who they don't want on their property off their property," White said. "And it gives us another tool to make our jobs a little easier."

The program addresses issues his officers often encounter when business or homeowners complain about someone being on their property unlawfully. White added that the owners often see telltale signs, ranging from litter to graffiti, that indicate someone was there throughout the night/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


'Pig Of A Session' Near End

March 19, 2015 - 8:47am

Statehouse reporter William L. Spence of the Lewiston Tribune puts himself in the shoes of an Idaho legislator who might be thinking: "This pig of a session is going to end soon. We've got no lipstick to disguise it -- and the minute we adjourn, those damn reporters are going to descend on us, asking questions, pecking away at our pretty feathers. This is going to be so unpleasant." Full column here.

Question: Would you describe the 2015 Legislature as "a pig of a session"?

For Those Keeping Score At Home ...

March 19, 2015 - 8:32am

The House State Affairs Committee has revived a grade school student's bill to designate the Idaho giant salamander as the state amphibian. The same committee had voted 10-6 in late January to block the bill, citing concerns about federal overreach. But the committee pulled an about-face Wednesday by voting to send it to the House floor for a full vote. Chairman Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, said if lawmakers have time to talk about diapers, then they have time to talk about salamanders. A resolution on Diaper Need Awareness Week passed the House on Tuesday. Reps. Don Cheatham, R-Post Falls; Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene; and Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, all sit on the State Affairs Committee and voted against hearing the bill in January/AP, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Eye on Boise photo: Illah Hickman, the teen-ager who has been pushing for official designation of the giant salamander for years)

Question: Have you seen a giant salamander in Idaho?

Fighting For A Post Office

March 19, 2015 - 8:25am

Kerry McKerracher picked up his mail at the Careywood, Idaho, post office on Wednesday. The U.S. Postal Service said it will close the tiny post office north of Athol, Idaho, along U.S. Highway 95 on March 31. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Carrie Bartelt greets each customer by name when they open the squeaky door to the modest post office in Careywood, an unincorporated community between Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.

People know each other in this pastoral end of Bonner County. If they don’t, they get acquainted and chew the fat when they stop in to pick up their mail or ship a package. They chat about the weather, their March Madness brackets and rumors the county will close the dump site up the road.

“It’s the hub of what’s left of the community,” said Bartelt, who contracts with the U.S. Postal Service to operate as a postal retail unit.

Careywood has had a post office for more than 100 years, and it has been in the same building since 1933. But the days are numbered for this rural gathering spot. The Postal Service plans to shutter the post office at the end of the month, citing the cost of the contract and Idaho’s plans to someday widen U.S. Highway 95/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Walter Brothers Follow Madness

March 19, 2015 - 8:21am

Every road to the NCAA Tournament is a long and winding one.  Just look at Gonzaga’s path: 17 years of winning in every gym in America, climbing the peak of college basketball with a team that hails from Canada, Poland and Lithuania, transfers from Kentucky and Vanderbilt and Louisville – all so the Zags can take a 40-minute Alaska Airlines bus to their date with destiny in Seattle.

Or Eastern Washington – the beloved alma mater of my brother Ralph and me – which has spent 22 years in Division I basketball building to this, its best team ever, and a second run at the NCAA tournament. The Eagles’ terrific players come from far away as well: Germany, Ukraine, Serbia and the mysterious kingdom of Gonzaga Prep. (And there are so many Australians on the EWU team the locker room toilets flush in the opposite direction.)/Jess Walter, SR. More here.

Clark: Spokane Nudity Vote Nixed

March 19, 2015 - 8:11am

In an embarrassing twist of events, the good citizenry of Spokane will not get to vote on public nudity next November. The naked truth is that nearly half of the 3,320 signatures gathered with the intent to clutter the ballot with a misdemeanor public exposure law have been ruled invalid by the Spokane County Elections Office. What happened? Well, some bogus signatures are always easy to spot. You know, names like, Ivana Tinkle, Seymour Butts, I.P. Freely, Oliver Klozoff, Mike Rotch, Anita Bath … You just have to watch a lot of episodes of “The Simpsons.” Then you’ll immediately identify these names from prank Bart Simpson calls, not registered voters. According to news reports, nearly a third of the nixed names were from highly offended people who live outside of Spokane or “Spo-Sodom” as the ultra-religious sometimes call it/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: I don't think Coeur d'Alene has a public nudity measure to address such things as bikini baristas. I suspect not. Years ago, the City Council voted in favor of a more lenient approach to near nudity on the beach when it allowed the infamous Thong Man to continue to wear his thong at City Beach. Should Coeur d'Alene have more stringent rules for public near nudity?

Moving Right Along

March 19, 2015 - 8:01am

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Hump Day Wild Card -- 3.18.15

March 18, 2015 - 5:27pm

Only 3 days left to file for the Coeur d'Alene School Board, which is worrisome because no one has stepped forward to run for the Zone 3 seat (b/n Honeysuckle & Kathleen, west of H95), including incumbent Terri Seymour. Meanwhile, a quality candidate has stepped up to run for Tom Hamilton's Zone 2 (Hayden area) seat, Casey Morrisroe. Uber-cons know they have to hold these 2 seats to set the stage for possible majority control in the 2017 trustee elections. Anyone willing to run in Zone 3? Here's your Hump Day Wild Card ...

Starbucks Seeks 'Race Together'

March 18, 2015 - 5:21pm

Larenda Myres holds an iced coffee drink with a "Race Together" sticker on it at a Starbucks store in Seattle, Wash., today. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced earlier today at the company's annual shareholder meeting that participating baristas at stores in the U.S. will be putting the stickers on cups and also writing the words "#RaceTogether" for customers in an effort to raise awareness and discussion of race relations. Story here. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Rocky's Card Gets VIP Treatment

March 18, 2015 - 5:06pm

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Rangers manager Jeff Banister on Tuesday proudly displayed a new item on his desk: a baseball card, in a Lucite holder, of Rocky Bridges. Bridges, with an omnipresent wad of chewing tobacco in his right cheek, spent 11 years in the major leagues as an infielder. He was an average infielder but a first-rate story teller and quipster. Rocky Bridges enjoyed every moment. Banister counts Bridges among the most influential men with whom he has worked in the game/Gerry Fraley, Texas Rangers Blog, Dallas Morning News. More here. (Major League Baseball card of Rocky Bridges produces by Topps)

DFO: Blogger Fraley inadvertently refers to Rocky Bridges as "Nelson" twice in his blog post.

Question: Who is the most influential person in your life?


March 18, 2015 - 4:53pm
"We need to coin a word for conservatives who have one liberal belief because they smoke pot or have a gay kid" -- Sherman Alexie, via Twitter.

Question: Can anyone think of a word to describe this kind of conservative?

PM Scanner Traffic -- 3.18.15

March 18, 2015 - 4:43pm

Here's another photo of a male who robbed the Check N Go on N Cecil Road/Post Falls last evening. The male fled in a newer model charcoal gray Dodge Charger with out-of-state license plates, low-profile 21-22" black rims, and dark tinted windows. Unknown direction of travel. The male displayed a handgun. If you know the identity of this male please contact Post Falls Police Department at 773-3517. Story here.

  • 5:38 p.m. Hayden female reports ex-boyfriend sent threatening text.
  • 5:37 p.m. Mother reports 14YO son is being defiant @ Greensferry/12th Ave, Post Falls.
  • 5:32 p.m. Driver of small, white compact car on s/b H95 b/n Neider Ave & Kathleen Ave has alternator problems.
  • 5:30 p.m. Kootenai County Sheriff's Office property crimes for March 17-18 here.
  • 5:04 p.m. Undisclosed medical emergency @ 500 block of Spokane Ave/CdA.
  • 4:47 p.m. EMTs en route to help transient who was hurt jumping off BNSF train near Rathdrum.
  • 4:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for March 17-18 here.
  • 4:13 p.m. Neighbor reports couple screaming at each other @ Fantasy Loop/Atlas Road, Rathdrum.
  • 3:56 p.m. Driver of blue Mazda pickup @ I-90/Spokane St driving like trying to get away from someone.
  • 3:45 p.m. Fire alarm sounding @ Hayden Valley Investments, 3839 W. Prairie Ave/Hayden.
  • 3:42 p.m. A cow is loose near BNSF tracks on Hayden Ave, west of H41/Rathdrum Prairie.
  • 3:13 p.m. Caller is hyperventilating in phone to 911 as ex-boyfriend in home retrieving belongings.
  • 3:07 p.m. Domestic fight recurring @ Lacey Ave/Benoit St, Hayden.
  • 2:57 p.m. Female shoplifter being cooperative in Post Falls Walmart East security office.
  • 2:52 p.m. 25YO male trying to kill himself by wading into Hayden Lake @ 8881 Dike Road/Honeysuckle Ave.
  • 2:45 p.m. Small rock slide is partly blocking n/b H97 @ Mineral Ridge/Lake Coeur d'Alene.
  • 2:40 p.m. Undisclosed traffic hazard reported @ H95/Neider Ave, CdA.
  • 2:35 p.m. Non-injury accident reported @ Hanley Ave/Coursellses Parkway, CdA.
  • 2:12 p.m. 16YO male being aggressive in parking lot of Mountain View Alternative School/Rathdrum.
  • 2:01 p.m. Someone is suffering chest pain @ 18700 block of Fantasy Loop/Rathdrum.
  • 1:54 p.m. Male at Doc Hollidays (1:49 item) reports personal belongings stolen.
  • 1:49 p.m. Male appears to be prying door @ Doc Hollidays, 9510 Government Way/Hayden.
  • 1:45 p.m. Someone is suffering chest pain @ 8500 block of Sunny Lane/Hayden.
  • 1:34 a.m. Someone is unconscious @ 12th St/Sherman Ave, CdA.
  • 1:11 p.m. Female reports male in earlier domestic @ Lacey Ave/Benoit St, Hayden, is taking photos inside of house.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

Idaho's Graduation Rate: 77.3%

March 18, 2015 - 4:34pm

More than three in four Idaho students earned a high school diploma within four years, according to 2013-14 numbers from the State Department of Education. And close to 88 percent of the students in the class of 2014 pursued or received a high school diploma or certificate of some form. “In the end, we are still graduating kids at a higher rate than we ever did before,” state superintendent Sher.ri Ybarra said Wednesday. However, Ybarra’s own State Department of Education says the new numbers cannot be compared with reports from previous years, since Idaho is now complying with new and more stringent federal reporting guidelines. And it’s — at least for the time being — to compare Idaho’s most recent graduation numbers with other states/Kevin Richert, More here.

Cutline Contest -- 3.18.15

March 18, 2015 - 4:30pm

Former Florida Governor and potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush kisses JoAnn Wiegand, one of the founding members of the Horry County Republican Party following a speech in Myrtle Beach, S.C., earlier today. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Sun News, Jason Lee )

Tuesday Winner -- DFO, with 10 likes: "State Rep. Kathy Sims glances at her most important constituent for affirmation before voting against funding for a North Idaho mental health crisis center." You can see Tuesday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.