Writings and observations

Most of the releases of the state quarters – those with designs emanating from the 50 states – have followed a smooth progression. Not so Idaho’s, owing partly to the peculiar timing of the shift in control of the governor’s office, and partly owing to what sounds like a screwup at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Idaho quarter designThe announcement of the Idaho quarter – those for Washington and Oregon were released earlier – came this week, though it might have saw in the treasury files for some time. Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review recounts:

And the only reason all of us know this today? Tim Woodward. The Idaho Statesman columnist and reporter, whose intrepid reporting on Idaho goings-on has brought things to light for decades in our state, has been following the state quarter saga closely, and he, alone, noticed that the U.S. Treasury had approved Idaho’s design in late June. Woodward contacted Gov. Jim Risch’s office, which the Treasury hadn’t notified. Then, once they confirmed it, he asked to see the quarter. The governor’s office declined, citing plans to unveil it ceremoniously later, so Woodward filed a public records request. That was Thursday, and by law, the governor’s office had three working days to respond. So today, they held a press conference and unveiled the quarter – one day before the deadline to respond to Woodward.

And what of the design?

As noted in this space earlier – in response to both the Washington and Oregon designs – the job of representing a state in a drawing the size of a quarter is really an impossible task.

We took a call yesterday from an Eastern Idaho newspaper inquiring about the decision to illustrate a Peregine Falcon rather than the traditional Idaho potato. We responded that the potato has gotten plenty of play already, and while an intact potato just looks like an undifferentiated oval, a potato on a dinner plate would be too complex a design for a quarter. On the other hand, Idaho now has a quarter featuring a falcon apparently ready to wash down its declaration of “esto perpetua” with a tasty snack of . . . Idaho.

But it works. Washington had the salmon at Mount Ranier, Oregon had Crater Lake. Idaho’s falls neatly in the nature scene pattern of western quarters.

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Idaho

Well, it must be an official election in Washington state. Mike the Mover is back on the ballot, running for the U.S. Senate.

Mike the MoverThis makes at least 15 elections for the former Michael Patrick Shanks – now legally Mike the Mover, and yes that is what he does for a living – and zero wins. Or even near-wins.

Why does he do it? When he ran for governor two years ago, the Seattle Times noted this: “He estimates his moving company will do about $150,000 in extra business this year because of name recognition he’ll gain from running for office — a pretty good return on a $1,360 filing fee. It wasn’t originally a money-making scheme, he said, but it worked out that way.”

Filing deadline for Washington candidates is tomorrow. But now that Mike’s in, we can all breathe easier.

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Washington

The little rural Idaho community of Garden Valley (which loosely bumps up against the little incorporated city of Crouch) is about to become a lot more substantial.

We’ve spent a good deal of time around the Garden Valley area (north of Horseshoe Bend, off Highway 55) over the years. It has always been lightly populated, home to a couple of hundred people or so at Crouch (one of the more charmingly funky communities in the state) and scattered residents along the South Fork of the Payette river. Mostly, the area looks like rural countryside, which is what it is.

That will be changing before long. The Boise County Commission has okayed the development plan called Southfork Landing for development; that is slated to add 605 houses to the immediate area. The people living there will more than double the population of the Garden Valley area, completely changing its character.

There are protests by local Boise Countians, which is why the action occurred today. A session earlier this week turned rancorous as vounty residents declared the commission wasn’t listening to them. The decision meeting was planned for next Tuesday, but was quietly reset for this morning. Commission Chair Roger Jackson said that “If everyone had kept quiet, it would have been done at the Tuesday meeting.”

On the other hand, what difference would it have made?

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Idaho