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Jail Sergeants Get Raises, Too

February 19, 2015 - 8:06am

Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger went before the county commissioners Wednesday to "fall on my sword." "I'm humbly here before you to tell you I made a mistake," Wolfinger told the board. Last week, the commissioners approved raises for the sheriff's office's patrol deputies and command staff. The problem is, Wolfinger said, he accidentally left 11 detention sergeants off his pay-increase proposal. Since he intended for them to get raises, that left his numbers incomplete at the time of the vote. "I don't know how I did it," Wolfinger said. "I'm not a numbers guy. I'm a cop, I'm a police administrator." He appeared before the commissioners to correct his mistake and ask for the money. So in a 2-1 vote Wednesday, the commissioners approved raises for the 11 sergeants. Commissioner Dan Green voted no, saying he doesn't agree with giving raises to jail employees. "The whole media campaign was that it was patrol deputies," Green said/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you agree with the pay raises approved by county commissioners for county jail sergeants?

President's Views On Islam

February 19, 2015 - 8:01am

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Hump Day Wild Card -- 2.18.15

February 18, 2015 - 5:30pm

It all begins again today, the second harbinger of spring -- pitchers & catchers report for spring training as another Major League Baseball season launches. As a fan of the San Francisco Giants, I know that they don't win World Series in odd numbered years. So I devote even more attention to my second favorite team, the Seattle Mariners, who may be a favorite to win the American League West. I love baseball. But I'm not crazy about this time of the year, between the Super Bowl and beginning of March Madness. This mild February helps to endure this period, however. Here's your Hump Day Wild Card ...

Parting Shot -- 2.18.15

February 18, 2015 - 5:29pm

San Francisco Giants fans holds baseballs and pens in hopes for getting an autograph as players arrive for spring training baseball workouts today in Scottsdale, Ariz. Giants pitchers and catchers have their first official workout scheduled for Thursday. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Update: NIC Official Arrested

February 18, 2015 - 5:03pm

Internet postings promising college grants in exchange for sex were traced by police to North Idaho College’s financial aid director. Joseph M. Bekken, who has been fired by NIC, now is facing charges of misusing public funds and soliciting prostitution in connection with the postings on Craigslist. Bekken was arrested today by Coeur d’Alene police following an investigation that also included the FBI, NIC’s administration and the Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office. According to police, the FBI alerted NIC School Resource Officer Gus Wessel to the post on Feb. 2. A three-week investigation identified Bekken as the poster, a news release from the police said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Will this arrest hurt the reputation of North Idaho College?

Carlson: The Posturing Mr. Labrador

February 18, 2015 - 4:57pm

There’s something about a politician who piously postures on an issue that sticks in the craw. In a way it tells the voter the officeholder thinks a majority of the electorate is too stupid to see through the posturing and the pontificating. Exhibit A from last week is Idaho’s First District congressman, Raul Labador. The darling of the Tea Party Republicans is more and more proving to be, like a majority of those in Congress, nothing more than a “show horse,” as opposed to his colleague, Second District congressman, Mike Simpson, a true “work horse” who does the heavy lifting that keeps Congress moving. Labrador engaged in two activities last week which were pure posturing. The voter should be wary and take them with a grain of the proverbial salt/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question: Do you think there's substance to Congressman Raul Labrador? Or all show?

Cutline Contest -- Time2Vote

February 18, 2015 - 4:44pm

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin simulates a bathroom pose after catching a touchdown pass against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 1. Baldwin said he was directing his actions at Patriots' cornerback Darrelle Revis. He was penalized for the play. This week, he apologized for it. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)  

Tuesday Winner -- YPMule, with 7 likes: "Death turns out to be a stick in the mud." You can see Tuesday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic -- 2.18.15

February 18, 2015 - 4:40pm
  • 5:05 p.m. A large piece of metal is lying in left turn lane @ n/b H95/MP 440 (Ohio Match Road).
  • 5:05 p.m. Caller reports male who just got out of jail today is refusing to leave her Post Falls home.
  • 4:55 p.m. Kootenai County Sheriff's Office property crime report for Feb. 17-18 here.
  • 4:47 p.m. Officer reports 2 minor accidents, one of 3 cars and the other of 2 cars, @ I-90/H41 overpass/Post Falls.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Feb. 17-18 here.
  • 4:39 p.m. Department of Motor Vehicles, 451 Govt Way/CdA, reports wanted person in office.
  • 4:35 p.m. Caller reports mother Bayview dispute is being abusive toward her grandson.
  • 4:20 p.m. Woman driving silver Buick w/Kootenai Co plates @ n/b H95/Wyoming Ave speeding w/kids in car.
  • 4:13 p.m. Transients are smoking, loitering near gas pumps off Harrison Ave/CdA, unknown exact location.
  • 3:45 p.m. Driver of white Toyota Tundra speeding, rolling through stops @ Idaho St/Hayden Ave, Rathdrum Prairie.
  • 3:28 p.m. A brown dog w/black spots w/collar, leash is running loose @ e/b I-90/MP 12.5 (just east of H95/CdA).
  • 3:21 p.m. Drunken male, female stumbled from Ford Econoline van, w/Washington plates, in lower lot of McEuen Park to use park's restrooms. They left children unattended in van until they returned.
  • 2:58 p.m. Disorderly male reported @ 9th St/Best Ave, CdA.
  • 2:43 p.m. 26YO mother asks medical evaluation of 3YO son after crash @ 15th St/Lunceford Ave, CdA.
  • 2:29 p.m. Post Falls Walmart East is watching female in waterproof shoes who may be shoplifting.
  • 2:26 p.m. Officer has caught a loose dog @ I-90/MP 12 (H95/CdA).
  • 2:16 p.m. Someone is unconscious in 3600 block of Grayling St/Post Falls.
  • 2:11 p.m. Motorcyclist ran stop sign @ s/b Reed Road from Orchard Ave/Hayden @ high rate of speed.
  • 2:02 p.m. Driver of gold Hummer @ e/b H53/MP 7 (Greensferry Road) passed semi over double-yellow line.
  • 1:41 p.m. Residential alarm sounding @ 900 block of Davis Ave/CdA.
  • 1:37 p.m. Male vs. female in physical domestic dispute @ 1200 block of N10th St/CdA.
  • 1:30 p.m. Unwanted person is trespassing @ 109 E. Harrison Ave/CdA.
  • 1:24 p.m. Winton Elementary, 9650 Govt Way/Hayden, is conducting fire drill.
  • 1:23 p.m. Disabled 1989 white Honda Civic is parked near Dumpsters @ w/b I0-90/MP 22 (H97, Wolf Lodge).
  • 1:16 p.m. General fire alarm sounding @ Mill River Apartments, 4295 Saw Blade Lane/CdA.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

Frosty Mornings & The Real Nic

February 18, 2015 - 4:32pm

The past couple of days have displayed the classic North Idaho beauty: bright sunny backdrop contrasted against our sparkling lakes and the greenery of forested hills. This has created a deception of warmth; we're venturing out in shorts and sandals with car windows down despite the fact that it is only 40 degrees outside. After all, it is still winter. During this time of year, those clear and cloudless skies that reveal scenic splendor by day and galaxies by night come with a setback every morning: frost. I hate frost/Nic, Faithful Geek. More here. (Faithful Geek photo of a frosted fence)

Question: Does scraping frost off vehicle windows annoy you?

HucksOnline Blogos -- 2.18.15

February 18, 2015 - 3:58pm

The sun rises and shines on the locked front door of an old farm house on North Huetter Road in Kootenai County, Idaho early this morning. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

HucksOnline numbers (for Tuesday, Feb. 17): 10,041 page-views/6172 unique views

Keough: Why I Voted Against Repeal

February 18, 2015 - 3:46pm

I saw your comment on the blog about my vote on the bill to repeal the law allowing ‘historical racing machines’.  For me, the bill was not about supporting or not supporting the Tribes. It was about being fair.   In fact, I visited with a lobbyist for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe late Monday afternoon. The lobbyist said they supported the original bill and had no problem with it and would not have a problem now if the machines were those which the original bill called for.  I said, then why don’t we simply amend the law to clarify that?  Why don’t we put a maximum number of machines in law? Why don’t we enforce the law that says the machines have to be associated with a track?  According to the lobbyist “it was too late for that now”.  Well that seems strange: it was okay with the Tribes when first passed and the type of the machine is the problem and rather than make the effort to fix the problem we’ll just do away with it altogether?

Sounds like more of a market share turf war than an effort to look for a win-win solution.

And, that is why I voted no today.  If it is the wrong machine, then let’s fix that.  Why throw out the entire law, place the state – and the taxpayers – in danger of inevitable lawsuits and potentially lose Idaho’s horse racing industry and associated economic benefits that brings? Why not look for a middle ground that reduces the competition to the Tribes but allows what we originally approved and what the Tribe said they were okay with?

I know you are always interested in the full story and so offer this perspective to you!


NIC Hired Bekken From Arizona In 2010

February 18, 2015 - 3:39pm

Here's the North Idaho College news release from April 23, 2010, announcing the hiring of Joseph M. Bekken from Grand Canyon University in Arizona:

North Idaho College has hired Joseph Bekken as its new financial aid director. He plans to begin at NIC May 3. “We're so pleased to have Joseph as a part of the NIC financial aid team,” said NIC President Priscilla Bell. “He brings more than seven years experience in financial aid, which in a field with many complicated processes, will prove to be invaluable.” Bekken joins NIC after a six-year career in financial aid at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz. He began his career in 2003 as a financial intake specialist at the University of Phoenix before joining Grand Canyon University as a financial aid adviser in 2004. His career has included various positions in financial aid including loan processing, supervising, managing and eventually as director of finance counseling from 2008 to 2009. In that role, Bekken directed a staff of more than 40 at Grand Canyon University. More here. (Mug shot courtesy of Kootenai County Sheriff's Office)

Beagles Rule

February 18, 2015 - 3:26pm

William Alexander poses with Miss P, a 15-inch beagle, after she won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

DFO: My pup Huckleberry looks a lot like Miss P, only she's a 13-inch Beagle.

Question: What kind of dog do you have?

NIC Prez Addresses Bekken Arrest

February 18, 2015 - 3:15pm

President Joe Dunlap has issued this statement re: the arrest of financial aid director Joseph M. Bekken on charges alleging he offered financial aid for sex in a CraigsList ad:

"The individual charged in this case is no longer an employee of the college and North Idaho College has been cooperating fully with law enforcement from the very beginning of the investigation. I am grateful for the knowledge and training of our staff that resulted in a swift and decisive response to this incident. Communication throughout this process has been greatly enhanced by the work of NIC's school resource officer, who serves both NIC and the Coeur d'Alene Police Department. In addition, our institution's emphasis on compliance with Title IX training requirements for all employees has resulted in a heightened awareness on reporting incidents within the college. All of these factors helped NIC respond to this situation promptly and proactively."


NIC Official Faces Sex-for-Aid Counts

February 18, 2015 - 2:33pm

The director of financial aid at North Idaho College has been arrested on suspicion of committing five felonies including attempted misuse of public funds, attempted procurement of prostitution, burglary, using a computer in a scheme to defraud, and bribery. Joseph M. Bekken, 36, of Coeur d'Alene was arrested today, according to a press release from the Coeur d'Alene Police Department. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between Coeur d' Alene Police, FBI, North Idaho College, and the Kootenai County Prosecutors Office. According to the press release, on Feb. 2, NIC School Resource Officer Gus Wessel was alerted by the FBI about a post on Craigslist in the casual encounters section. The post talked about a proposition for NIC students. The proposition was for grant money in exchange for sexual favors. After a three week investigation with full cooperation from NIC's administrative team it was determined the poster of the ads on craigslist was Bekken. Bekken is in custody at the Kootenai County Public Safety Building. This incident remains under investigation. (Photo courtesy of North Idaho College)


Close Encounters Of Biden Kind

February 18, 2015 - 1:23pm

Vice President Joe Biden talks with Stephanie Carter, wife of incoming Defense Secretary Ash Carter during Carter's swearing in ceremony Tuesday at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Vice President Biden was criticized on Tuesday for putting his hands on Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's wife and whispering in her ear at Carter's swearing-in, but it wasn't the first time Biden has gotten up close and personal with someone. Biden faced similar criticism in January for whispering to the daughter of Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and then trying to give her a kiss on the head. Biden has also been photographed close-talking with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan/The Hill. More here.

Question: Do you appreciate close talkers?

SR News Quiz -- 2.15-19.2015

February 18, 2015 - 1:18pm

How much do you know about conflict on the Spokane City Council, a Little League champion's downfall, local golf courses and other news of note? Find out in the weekly News Quiz in The Spokesman Review. You qualify for 2 movie tickets or a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel simply by entering. You can take the quiz here.

  • Answer to Question No. 4: 11.7 cents.
  • Leaderboard: RaynTim & SFrederickson are the only two Berry Pickers among the current 60 finalists. The entry deadline for this week's contest is 5 p.m. Thursday.


February 18, 2015 - 1:08pm
KCRCC's conservative caucus has split into three: Rally Right Loyalists, Former Rally Righters, and Ron Paulers. A fight is brewing -- Precinct 52 Committeeman Bjorn Handeen.

Solons Have Broadband Secret

February 18, 2015 - 1:07pm

Even before legislators unveiled their last-ditch plan to save broadband in high schools, the leaders of the House and Senate acknowledged some schools will struggle to make the plan work. “Some rural districts may have a difficult time engaging suitable providers,” House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill said in emails to fellow lawmakers, obtained Wednesday by Idaho Education News. “We hope to provide special help to those school districts to acquire adequate services as a group.” Bedke and Hill sent similarly worded emails to their colleagues last weekend — laying out the groundwork of what has now emerged as the Legislature’s stopgap plan to replace the floundering Idaho Education Network/Kevin Richert, More here.

Shoshone County Inmate Escapes

February 18, 2015 - 1:02pm

Former Kellogg resident Roy J. Bieluch, 48, escaped from the Shoshone County Jail Tuesday night and deputies are searching for him. Bieluch had been in the jail since December 12 on charges of burglary, malicious injury to property and failure to appear. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall and 200 pounds with a muscular build, shaved head and grey goatee. He also has several tattoos. Anyone with information on his location is asked to call 911 or the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office at 208-556-1114.