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On the Waterfront -- 4.6.15

April 6, 2015 - 1:27pm

My walk with SR sports scribe Greg Lee along the waterfront was uneventful today, except for one thing -- Dike Road was open. I didn't check that out Friday. But I noticed today that the students were parking their cars along the Dike Road again today. Unlike most college days, there was plenty of room for cars. I suspect that many students didn't realize that the road was back open and were parking elsewhere. The cold weather, I suspect, had kept wiser heads indoors. Also, I noticed that the area for the future statue honoring the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe appeared spruced up, just north of the northernmost part of the Dike Road. I wonder if it's going to be easy pickings for vandals. We'll see. Meanwhile, you have one more day to vote at the Coeur d'Alene Library for your favorite of 5 finalists being considered for the art piece to honor the Coeur d'Alenes.

Edit: Where's Promised Prosperity?

April 6, 2015 - 1:09pm

For years, Republicans have been assuring the rest of us that Idaho's tax rates are so high that it's crippling our economy. Just lower the rates, they say, and the economy will prosper. House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, repeated the mantra Tuesday. In defense of his radical plan to raises taxes on the poor and middle class while lowering them on the rich, Moyle said: "Idaho is not very competitive when you look at our surrounding states. ... I want to assure you: This plan is good for Idaho." Where's his proof?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Anyone know where Idaho's prosperity is?


'Instant Racing' Helped Otter Campaign

April 6, 2015 - 1:02pm

As lawmakers await word from Gov. Butch Otter on a possible veto of SB 1011, the bill to repeal “instant racing” in Idaho – which led to slot machine-like terminals being installed at three locations in the state, surprising lawmakers who didn’t think they’d authorized that when they voted in 2013 to allow wagering on “historical horse racing,” or races from the past – a look at campaign finance records yields some interesting numbers. Since 2000, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, which proposed SB 1011, has donated $22,000 to Otter’s campaigns. But the principals behind the “instant racing” operations have donated $92,200 – more than four times as much/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: As I said last week, I suspect Gov. Otter to veto the bill repealing the "instant racing" legislation. Nothing so far today has changed my mind re: that prediction. Thoughts?

Public Service Announcement

April 6, 2015 - 11:48am

A Dodge mini-van rests on it's side as a WSDOT snow plow passes in the west-bound land of U.S. Highway 2, Feb. 25, 2013, near I-90 in Spokane. (SR file photo: Dan Pelle)

A little snow
upon the ground
can cause your car
to slide around,
so slow your speed
when snow has sprinkled
and stop your ride
from getting crinkled.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

AM Scanner Traffic -- 4.6.15

April 6, 2015 - 11:43am
  • 11:17 a.m. Male driver of silver Toyota SUV w/Oregon plates drank beer in gas station lot, left w/b on I-90/4th St, CdA.
  • 11:13 a.m. Officer responding to 11:06 item told not to take e/b I-90 b/c e/b traffic at standstill, inknown reason.
  • 11:07 a.m. Spokane St/Post Falls biz reports irate male burned rubber in Chevy Caprice, crashed over bank.
  • 11:06 a.m. Suspicious male walking around home @ 8600 block of Sunnyside Road/CdA, yelling for help.
  • 10:46 a.m. Chocolate Labrador is running loose @ I-90/Pleasant View, Post Falls.
  • 10:45 a.m. Shoplifter ran from State Line Walmart, 6405 W. Pointe Parkway, jumped into red Honda Civic, drove east.
  • 10:42 a.m. 2-vehicle, non-injury crash knocks down road sign @ H41/Lode Star Road, Twin Lakes.
  • 10:24 a.m. Front door of house @ 15200 block of Alabama St/Rathdrum has been open for 2 days.
  • 10:09 a.m. 82YO male is suffering chest pain @ Ivy Court, 2200 N Ironwood Drive/CdA.
  • 9:58 a.m. Semi truck is jackknifed @ H41/MP 22 (just north of Spirit Lake & Bonner Co line).
  • 9:53 a.m. 2 vehicles have crashed and slidden off H54/H41, south of Spirit Lake.
  • 9:40 a.m. Female driver of Ford Explorer crashed into ditch @ n/b H41/MP 11 (Rice Road/Rathdrum).
  • 9:24 a.m. Driver has flashers on semi that lost chains @ Old Highway 95/H53, Rathdrum, creating hazard.
  • 8:57 a.m. ISP officer reports H41 in Par 3 Golf Course Road/Spirit Lake is slick & needs sand from ITD.
  • 8:54 a.m. Silver Toyota 4Runner has crashed into trees @ French Gulch/Holt Road, CdA.
  • 8:52 a.m. Male trapped b/n steering wheel & seat in silver Dodge Ram after rollover @ H54/Clagstone Road, Athol.
  • 8:44 a.m. Red sedan has slid off H41, down a bank, near Spirit Lake.
  • 8:43 a.m. Tan pickup has slid off road @ Atlas Road/Kathleen Ave, now unoccupied.
  • 8:40 a.m. Noninjury 3-vehicle crash reported @ e/b I-90/MP 10, 1 mile west of NW Blvd/CdA.
  • 8:37 a.m. Non-injury crash reported @ railroad tracks b/n school bus & vehicle.
  • 8:31 a.m. Non-injury slide-off reported @ n/b H95 b/n MP 440-443 (Garwood Road/Chilco Road).
  • 8:23 a.m. ISP officer stopping to remove tire from H95 in Blackwell Island area/CdA.
  • 8:18 a.m. Female driver in silver sedan hit a hazmat truck @ unknown location & drove off.
  • Pre-8 a.m. Kootenai Joint School District closed due to unplowed roads, poor road conditions here.

PFPD: Woman Got 'Cleansed' All Right

April 6, 2015 - 11:34am

Here's another of the wacky tales that Post Falls PD deals with daily, from Sunday day shift: "An employee from a local hotel requested a welfare check on a female who had just checked out of her room. The female was acting strange, then began throwing items around in the parking lot. As the employee was on the phone, the female began to walk away from that location in search of the vehicle she previously parked and was now unable to locate. Officers made contact with the female who stated she had been staying at the hotel to "cleanse herself with God from life and tobacco". The female stated she was trying to find her car so she could find another location to stay that was clean. She was given a ride back to the hotel because (surprise!) that was where her vehicle was located. Prior to being given a ride, she was searched for weapons and marijuana was located in one of the bags she had been carrying. The female was issued a citation and released at the scene."

AM Headlines -- 4.6.15

April 6, 2015 - 10:38am

John Babinski shows a picture of his daughter, Brittany, on his smartphone. The picture was taken one month before she was killed in August 2013 by a speeding driver in Spokane Valley. It was Brett Birge’s fourth accident of the afternoon while driving high on meth and several other drugs. Birge received a low sentence for vehicular homicide, despite more than a dozen letters pleading for the maximum sentence. Story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Mandatory Church Attendance? Hmm

April 6, 2015 - 10:27am

In the Christian Science Monitor, Harry Bruinius reports: In a “flippant” remark during a concealed-carry gun bill debated in the Arizona legislature this week, a tea party Republican senator, bewildered by opposition to the bill, opined that the state should require mandatory church attendance to battle the country’s moral decay. People should be allowed to carry concealed weapons into public buildings because “there’s a moral erosion of the soul of America,” argued Sen. Sylvia Allen of Snowflake, and people now feel the need to arm themselves, even in public spaces. “It's the soul that is corrupt – how we get back to a moral rebirth I don't know, since we are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have,” she said during a committee meeting debating the proposal. More here.

Question: How often do you attend church?

Poll: Malek = Best Local Legislator

April 6, 2015 - 9:44am
  • Weekend Poll: Hucks Nation considers Coeur d'Alene Republican Luke Malek to be the best legislator in Kootenai County. Hands down. In the weekend poll, no one came close to Malek, who won 104 of 186 votes (55.91%). For the 8 others, votes broke down this way: Vito Barbieri, 28 (15.05%); Mary Souza, 18 (9.68%); Bob Nonini, 14 (7.53%); Kathy Sims and Steve Vick, 8 each (4.3%); Ron Mendive, 3 (1.61%); and Donald Cheatham, 1 (0.54%).
  • Today's Poll: If the issue makes the November ballot, will you vote to raise Coeur d'Alene's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75?

Petition Targets CdA Minimum Wage

April 6, 2015 - 9:18am

Voters in Coeur d'Alene may decide if the city should boost the minimum wage. On Friday, a group - spearheaded by former legislative candidate Anne Nesse and Bob Bennett, former North Idaho College president -- submitted a draft initiative to City Clerk Renata McLeod. If the group obtains the necessary 1,681 signatures from registered voters in Coeur d'Alene, residents will vote on the initiative on Nov. 3. "I believe this is a human rights issue," Nesse said. "Most people want to earn their food. They don't want to be embarrassed and have to beg to the federal government." If passed, the initiative would require employers in the city of Coeur d'Alene to pay their employees at least $8.75 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2016. The current minimum wage is $7.25/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Courtesy photo via Coeur d'Alene Press)

Question: Will you sign a petition to increase the minimum wage in Coeur d'alene to $8.75 per hour?

Costello: Obama Can't Make A Deal

April 6, 2015 - 9:11am

Should we trust Barack Obama to forge an acceptable uranium enrichment agreement with Iran? If past results are any indicator of future performance, Obama's past judgments should leave us skeptical. Just recently, the U.S. Army recommended charges against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl spent years keeping company with Taliban terrorists after walking away from his post in Afghanistan. Last year Obama showered himself in praise after exchanging Bergdahl for five of the most dangerous terrorists incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay. Susan Rice, whom Obama previously assigned to lie on every news talk show about the Benghazi terrorist attack, praised Bergdahl for serving with "honor and distinction." The problem that Obama overlooked was that Bergdahl had deserted his post and far better men than he died attempting to recover him. The terrorists who Obama released are likely to kill again.That deal was just the latest in a lengthening series of misjudgments and missteps that have become the hallmark of his Middle East policies. Let's look at just one year of his failures/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you have any thoughts re: uraniumn enrichment agreement with Iran?

Business Bits: Chomper Opens

April 6, 2015 - 9:02am

A large variety of breakfasts, lunches and treats are offered at Chomper Cafe, which opened this weekend in Stoddard Park at 2345 W. Prairie Ave. (between Ramsey Road and Atlas in Hayden). With seating at an L-shaped counter and a lower dining room and special artwork, the farmhouse theme matches the tone of Hayden's Stoddard Park, previously a country farm. Outdoor seating will be added, and the business also offers catering, hosting special events and a kids play area. The place offered a preview to its friends and suppliers this week with a special touch of the would-be customers offering their comments and suggestions on notecards. Hours at Chomper Cafe are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Phone 719-0441. You can check out Chompers here/Nils Rosdahl, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think you'll check out this new restaurant?

Yes, Sprint Can Spare A Dime

April 6, 2015 - 8:49am

A windfall showed up in Joanne Martin’s mail the other day. It came in an official-looking envelope, sent from a fancy Philadelphia accounting firm. Inside was Martin’s settlement from a big class-action lawsuit. Funny. The 71-year-old Medical Lake woman didn’t even know she had been part of a big class-action lawsuit. Martin tore open the envelope. She pulled out a serious-looking check and, quite frankly, couldn’t believe her eyes. “$***0.10.” Ten cents? “Zero And 10/100 Dollars,” the check confirmed on another spot. “My gawd, what idiots!” thought Martin, whose inner computer quickly figured the obvious. It cost way more than a dime to print and mail and process such a ludicrous check. Not so fast, Joanne. There was a time in this grand land when a dime was nothing to snort at/Doug Clark, SR. More here. (SR photo: Joanne Martin, of Medical Lake, recently received her portion of a legal settlement from a lawsuit against Sprint. The check was for 10 cents)

Not Your Grandma's Roller Derby

April 6, 2015 - 8:32am

Season 5, Bout 1: Snake Pit Derby Dames defeated Avalanche Roller Girls of Fernie, BC 195-168 at Kootenai County Fairgrounds Feb. 21. (Photo: Chery Nichols Photograph LLC, for full gallery and opportunity to purchase prints here)

What comes to mind when someone says to you, “I play roller derby?” For the uninitiated, that phrase probably conjures images of the roller derby that was on television on Friday nights in the ’70s – colorfully dressed Amazons whizzing around banked tracks hip-checking one another over the railings, leading to catfights and hair pulling… the female equivalent to professional wrestling. But for the women that participate on one of the several area roller derby teams, it’s nothing like that at all. Well, except for the colorful outfits and even more colorful nicknames. By day, these women are mothers, business owners, teachers, medical professionals, bartenders and photographers – just regular people. But in the evenings and on Saturday nights, they lace up their skates to relieve stress, exercise, compete and join in the camaraderie of one of the nation’s fastest growing amateur sports/Dave Nichols, SR. More here.

Question: Is this a sport that interests you?

Otter Lists Road Bill Criteria

April 6, 2015 - 8:27am

As Idaho’s legislative session pushes into its home stretch, Gov. Butch Otter has laid out “parameters” on transportation funding, one big issue on which the House and Senate are at odds. Otter said he’d call transportation funding “the going-home bill.” The governor said he has these “parameters” in mind:

  • 1) “We need to stay out of the general fund.”
  • 2) It must include a “significant step toward revenue needs.”
  • 3) “I’d like to keep it user-pay,” which Otter defined as “registration and gas tax.”

Otter said he’s hoping for a multiple-year solution to Idaho’s $262 million-a-year road and bridge maintenance backlog, just as lawmakers approved a five-year plan to boost teacher pay; he signed that bill into law last week/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

NIdaho Shootings Puzzle Brit

April 6, 2015 - 8:13am

Reporter Paul Lewis of London’s Guardian newspaper called Huckleberries last week trying to figure out two police shootings within 14 hours last July in North Idaho. He was amazed at the community anger after the Coeur d’Alene police shooting of Craig Jones’ 2-year-old black Labrador, Arfee. And also by the lack of outrage over the Sandpoint police shooting of a troubled, pregnant woman the night before. I confirmed that Coeur d’Alene police received hate mail and even death threats following the Arfee shooting and pointed him toward CPD spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood. And the reaction to the killing of 35-year-old Jeanetta Riley in Sandpoint July 8? Not so much, I said. In a lengthy article Friday (“A tale of two killings: What happened when Idaho police shot a dog and a pregnant woman in one day”), Lewis bottom-lines: “The divergent reactions to the police killings of Riley, a mother of three, and Arfee, a Labrador-hound mix, speaks to a disturbing indifference to some human lives lost during encounters with police.” Lewis provides in-depth background about the two shootings. His report is worth Googling/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.


Great Satan + 36 Years

April 6, 2015 - 8:12am

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Weekend Wild Card -- 4.4-5.15

April 4, 2015 - 12:17am

The Gonzaga Bulldogs got us through another winter -- and now it's time to turn our attention to the Seattle Mariners. Yes, those Seattle Mariners. They're going to be good this year. So you'd better jump on the bandwagon now to make sure there's room when September and October roll around. They start the season Monday afternoon at home against the Angels. Meanwhile, the Idaho Legislature has a little gas left in the tank. Maybe a week's work. We'll find out Monday whether Gov. Butch Otter signs the "instant racing" bill or not. But first things first. It's the weekend. And I'm going to R-E-L-A-X. See you back here Monday ...

Parting Shot -- 4.3.15

April 3, 2015 - 4:15pm

Children dressed as angels lead a boy portraying Jesus Christ and his triumphant return to Jerusalem, in the Children's Holy Thursday Procession, in Tunja, Colombia. In this annual procession, now in its 55th year, children depict the key moments of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

TGIF Wild Card -- 4.3.15

April 3, 2015 - 4:10pm

After work Thursday, I practiced what I've been preaching. I visited the library to view the five finalists for that public art project to honor the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe. Up close and personal, they're more impressive, as you can imagine, than seen in photos. One stood out to me. And I noticed in the ballot box that another agreed with my choice. So here's the deal. You need to visit the library this weekend or Monday to make your selection. The mock-ups travel to the tribe and North Idaho College starting Tuesday. Vote and the choice is yours. Here's your TGIF Wild Card ...