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Posts published in November 2014

Remembering Henry ‘Hank’ Day

carlson CHRIS


On an August weekend this past summer I took our two grandchildren to visit the nearby Cataldo Mission. We toured the visitor center and museum before visiting the Jesuit Mission that is the oldest building in Idaho, having been constructed by Father DeSmet in the 1830’s.

There were various plaques in and around the State Park with names of patrons but nowhere did I see the name of the gruff, Irish pixie, Hank Day, who led a fund-raising campaign that saved the Mission from irrevocable deterioration and led to its restoration.

Hank, and his friend, Harry Magnuson, were two of the wealthiest people to ever be born into and grow up in the Silver Valley. They both made fortunes with shrewd investments in penny stocks and a canny knack for investing in mines that provided regular returns. In turn, often quietly and with little fanfare, they reinvested in a vast array of civic and community projects.

As Judge Dick Magnuson told the Spokesman-Review in an article on Hank’s passing in the March 22, 1985 edition, “Few are aware of how much he really gave to the community.” The same can be said for the Judge’s brother, Harry.

Magnuson, however, is named on a plaque for being a significant supporter of the restoration project. Hank is not. He was more than content to let Harry get the lion’s share of credit for projects and causes they worked on together.

Saving and restoring the Cataldo Mission was just such a project. Both were devout Roman Catholics and both were financial boosters for Gonzaga University and Gonzaga Prep. Both recognized the importance of preserving the Old Mission as the visible symbol of the Jesuits extensive role in the early history of the inland northwest.

Both also played a critical role in providing Gonzaga University a line of credit that staved off bankruptcy in the early 60’s.

Hank was born on October 4th, 1902 and his first home was up the gulch just outside of Wallace that constituted the community of Burke. When he was five the family moved to Wallace just in time to survive the monstrous and devastating 1910 forest fire that destroyed part of Wallace and consumed hundreds of thousands of surrounding acres of forest.

Few realized how well educated Hank was. He received his degree in mining engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He did advance studies in Economic Geology and wrote his thesis on the underground geology of the Tamarack Mine where he worked during a couple of college summers.

His father was a co-founder of the Hercules Mine which over a number of years paid out $200 million to investors. Hank helped found the Day Mine in 1947, and remained an officer and ultimately board chiar until he retired in 1972. One of the bitter moments in his life was when his beloved mine was the object of a successful hostile take-over by Hecla in 1981.

Hank also was a director of the Coeur d’Alenes Company until 1966 when the steel fabricating and mining supply firm was acquired by Jimmy Coulson. During his career, Hank participated in almost all the civic activities going in the area, not to mention his legendary support for the University of Idaho and his fund-raising efforts to establish a College of Mines school at the university. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Ahead to today's elections (Boise Statesman, TF Times News, Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Yellowstone, Teton may expand bandwidth (Boise Statesman)
Legal fight over Clarkston pot ban continues (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow plans downtown public toilet (Moscow News)
Latah neighbors conflicting over water rights (Moscow News)
Nampa prepares to hire Idaho Center leaders (Nampa Press Tribune)
Barnes & Noble wins data turnover case (TF Times News)

Ahead to today's elections (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, Corvallis Gazette, KF Herald & News, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Loud public debate in Corvallis on open carry (Corvallis Gazette)
Springfield watcher spots illegal carports (Eugene Register Guard)
New UO mission statement approved (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath may get a rural OHSU hub in 2016 (KF Herald & News)
Former Kitzhaber aide complains on Hayes (Medford Tribune)
Athena may end its local police force (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Wildhorse reports large financial success (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hacker hits employment department records (Portland Oregonian)
Hot debate over city pot taxes (Salem Statesman Journal)

Ahead to today's elections (Seattle Times, Vancouver Columbian, Bremerton Sun, Longview News)
Marysville school chief was seeking mental health funds (Longview News)
Washington's DC clout at risk (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
2nd Walmart opening at Lacey (Olympian, Port Angeles News)
Sekiu Olsen's Resort sold to Idaho firm (Port Angeles News)
Stabilizing Coeur d'Alene river near Cataldo (Spokane Spokesman)
State might be auctioning Picassos (Spokane Spokesman)
Still working on Yakima nitrate pollution (Yakima Herald Republic)

Don’t screw it up this time



If one believes the polls, Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate next week, and retain the House of Representatives.

For the Republic, this may or may not be a good thing. As astronaut Alan Shepard, Jr. famously prayed, muttering into his microphone, on the launch-pad of America's first space-flight in May of 1961, “Shepard, don't f**k this up.”

We've had six years of a Democratic Senate and White House and seen the horrors of their monopoly. Harry Reid has been the hockey goalie blocking debate. I get his emails. On the other hand, Republicans didn't behave much better under Newt Gingrich. Comity evaporated. The sensible consensus is that regardless of party we are governed by greed-heads.

They Rs better make good use of their time, and they've only two years to show their stuff.

Hello Senate Rs. Shove bill after bill onto Obama's desk, passed by both houses. They should include, among many other things, mandatory up-or-down votes on regulations adopted by federal agencies now run amok.

For our purposes here in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District, such review ought to include the EPA's tawdry interpretation of the Clean Water Act. While Congress specifically confined the agency's authority to the navigable waters of the United States, EPA bent the rules to give itself authority over every molecule of H2O in the U.S.

Examples of “mission creep” are rampant in nearly every branch of the U.S. government and need to be stopped. We've come a long way from Richard Nixon's Council on Environmental Quality to Jimmy Carter's lame-duck Superfund, which is now on v 2.0 and slobbering for an upgrade.

Sen. Mike Crapo, who is not up for re-election this year, was in town the other day. The evening before, we blew the froth off a few with one of his long-time staffers, a personal friend from newspapering days, at a local pub. We introduced the staffer around and asked the miners – not CEOs or managers, just the people who do actual mining – what they'd like of the Senator.

To a man (and woman) they said, “Get the EPA and MSHA (the Mine Safety and Health Administration) off our backs and let us do our jobs.” Again, these were not corporate guys. They were mostly union guys and one shift-boss.

The working men and women of this nation have woken up to the perils of Progressivism, which unfortunately some of their unions at the national level have not. The working people have discovered the annoyance of a bureaucrat, uneducated in the nuances of the craft they perform, peering over their shoulders, citation books and lawsuits in hand.

It didn't used to be that way. The early EPA guys, even from Region X, were engineers and scientists: decent people. The early MSHA inspectors were experienced miners. They've all been replaced by MBAs, pencil-pushers and busybodies.

A decade or so ago, we shared an afternoon wine with Paul Glavin, who was at that time head of the United Steel Workers union's Northwestern U.S. region. It was Paul, a true gentleman, who posited that labour and management had common cause against the federal government's agenda. It is our common enemy if we want jobs and prosperity, and labour and management had better start talking to each other about this. There is evidence that this conversation has begun. (more…)

In the Briefings

Middleton signage

A cluster of political signs (and one commercial sign as well) posted on November 1, on a farm just outside of Middleton in Canyon County. (photo/Randy Stapilus)

As last week ended, political campaigns began to fold their tents – along with some strong final-weekend activity – and everyone prepared for absorbing the results on the evening of November 4. A large chunk of the news revolved in one way or another around those elections.

Watch here for election analysis on Tuesday night.

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Washington may lose clout in Congress (Lewiston Tribune)
Reviewing elections in Washington (Moscow News)
New logo planned for West Valley Humane (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon Co big businesses looking to hire (Nampa Press Tribune)
Twin Falls deals with many potholes (TF Times News)
Idaho coosts for broadband may drop (TF Times News)

Health insurance exchange fed site on track (Eugene Register Guard, Corvallis Gazette)
Lane County elections prepare for count (Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing Rogue Valley groundwater contamination (Medford Tribune)

Bremerton apartment complex underway (Bremerton Sun)
Kitsap reviewing mental health issues (Bremerton Sun)
Voters considering competing gun issues (Bremerton Sun, Port Angeles News)
Reviewing the new Everett port director (Everett Herald)
Washington could lose clout in Congress (Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
UW breaks through in anti-aging research (Seattle Times)
Expecting a low voter turnout (Spokane Spokesman)
Delta Air Lines brings more to Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)
Reviewing oil disaster preparedness in area (Vancouver Columbian)

Oregon watchposts

idaho RANDY

National news will be locked in on whatever happens with control of the U.S. Senate, while Washington has not so much as a U.S. Senate or governor's race to draw a lot of attention this year.

But there's plenty to watch, and plenty of interest.
First, what about turnout? Ballot returns so far have indicated substantial turnout. But the numbers are still unclear.

Oregon has a U.S. Senate race this year, the only one in the Northwest, but probably not a lot of people are really wondering how it's going to turn out; all that's likely to be of interest here is the margin. (Polling has been pretty uniformly showing Democrat Jeff Merkley more than 10 points ahead of Republican Monica Wehby.)

The governor's race is a lot more interesting, which is something of a surprise from, say, a year ago, when the Senate contest would logically have gotten more attention. Just enough baggage has piled on Governor John Kitzhaber, and enough of it just as ballots were heading out in the mail, to throw some question marks over his contest with Republican Dennis Richardson. Enough that Richardson might win? Not many analysts have gone that far, but some nerves doubtless are on edge in both parties over this one.

Odds are that both chambers of the legislature remain under narrow Democratic control, and the House doesn't seem to be up for grabs. If it changes hands, you can call that a true upset. The Senate, with its one-vote margin allowing for Democratic control, is a closer call; only a few tight races could significantly change things there. The Corvallis-Albany seat held by Republican Betsy Close seems thinly likely to change hands, but too the Medford-area seat held by Democrat Alan Bates is being fought down to the wire. (Bates is being outspent, and he has been quoted as saying that fewer than 1,000 votes probably will decide it.)

And then the ballot issues, several of which – polling suggests – are close enough as to be up for grabs. Pot legalization seems thinly likely to pass, but if it does not by much. GMO labeling could go either way. Among the hot buttons, only the drivers license rule change seems to have a clear outcome (it appeared headed toward defeat).

Even without a hot Senate race, Oregon can take its place among the states with a lot to watch this week.

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

A look ahead to what JUMP in Boise will be (Boise Statesman)
3 Idaho races to look at on Tuesday (Boise Statesman)
5 Idaho races to consider on Tuesday (IF Post Register)
Looking ahead to election this week (Lewiston Tribune)
Candidates linked to lobbyist donations (Nampa Press Tribune)
Caldwell council mulls president choice (Nampa Press Tribune)
Campaigns come to a close on Tuesday (Pocatello Journal)
Poll shows most Idaho Republicans ahead (TF Times News)

Eugene city hall project growing (Eugene Register Guard)
Pot businesses split on Measure 91 (KF Herald & News)
What's behind a planned new tax district (KF Herald & News)
Are high schools preparing for college? (Medford Tribune)
Overview of Cylvia Hayes (Portland Oregonian)
Looking back on central races (Salem Statesman Journal)

Reviewing some local political ads (Bremerton Sun)
Ballot issues draw in heavy funding (Everett Herald)
Substantial money in Cowlitz races (Longview News)
Reviewing the Sheldon race (Seattle Times)
Clark County charter provision in review (Vancouver Columbian)
Next round for health insurance exchange (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima Co jammed with $700k in settlement (Yakima Herald Republic)

An election night agenda

idaho RANDY

The big national story Tuesday night will have to do with control of the U.S. Senate, which as this is written is a very close call.

In Idaho, control of the legislature will not be much of a point of suspense. But there’ll be plenty to watch elsewhere.

Start with the voter turnout; information about that should be released early. High turnout tends to mark enthusiasm for something; low turn out, a turning off. Very early indicators from early-voting states around the country have been mixed (North Carolina running high, Nevada running low). The turnout level may give some meaning to the wins and losses in its wake. What are voters thinking?

Turnout could also affect how some of the Idaho races settle, too.

Attention always goes first to the top of the ballot, but in most Idaho races there’s not a lot of basis – at least in considering polling and other normal indicators - for expecting close contests. If the early results for congressional and governor races do show close numbers across a range of counties, expect a long night, but be wary of betting on that happening. Do the Republicans running for Congress reach landslides (which I define as 60 percent of the vote or better), as they typically have in the past, or does a generic dissatisfaction hit, making the races closer?

The governor’s race will get central attention, of course, after a number of tea-leaf readers have begun to conclude it’s close after all. How close?

The real interest more likely ought to go to places on the Idaho ballot that generally get little attention, those statewide offices like secretary of state, state treasurer and superintendent of public instruction, all of which have seen lively campaigns this year.

There’s not been a lot of polling on these races, either (when it’s really infrequent you get no trend lines or basis for comparison), and it’s hard to know how much the campaign messages have been sinking in. Many Idaho voters probably couldn’t tell you very accurately what the state secretary, treasurer and superintendent each do, and therefore how to assess the importance of the campaign arguments. Did some of those messages actually connect? Are voters willing to look beyond party labels, which is what many typically seem to use as a guide to voting?

That in fact may be another thing to watch for: Any sign of split-ticket voting, which has been in decline in Idaho (as in many other places) for a couple of generations now. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Attorneys battle in 4th district judge race (Boise Statesman)
Boise school board member quits, blasts board (Boise Statesman)
Balukoff says Otter only a part-time governor (Boise Statesman)
Moscow mobile park owner hit with big fines (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Clarkston sied over its ban on pot sales (Lewiston Tribune)
UW talks about expanding med school at Spokane (Moscow News)
Idaho school wifi costs may decrease (Nampa Press Tribune)
Reviewing U.S. Senate contest (Nampa Press Tribune)
Voter turnout in Magic Valley expected low (TF Times News)

OSU reaches $1 billion in fund campaign (Corvallis Gazette)
Woman detained at Portland for ebola exam (Portland Oregonian, Corvallis Gazette, KF Herald & News, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Eugene PUD recorded calls, faces blowback (Eugene Register Guard)
Studded tire season is back (KF Herald & News)
Jackson Co voter turnout running high (Medford Tribune)
Asphalt plan has to reapply for zoning at Talen (Medford Tribune)
Elk hunter gets varied results (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Our Oregon driving voter turnout (Portland Oregonian)
Marion County developing Ebola plan (Salem Statesman Journal)
Landlords put up fewer Section 8 limits (Salem Statesman Journal)

Olympic College gets more from trust (Bremerton Sun)
Fees for Olympic park may double (Bremerton Sun)
Another death in Marysville shooting (Seattle Times, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Inslee trying to build climate support (Everett Herald, Longview News)
Cowlitz officials prepare for Ebola (Longview News)
Mars Hill church shutting down (Seattle Times)
UW looks at new Spokane med school option (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane County may grab delapidated Mead land (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane council leader may face ethics charge for leak (Spokane Spokesman)
Ft Vancouver National Trust CEO departs (Vancouver Columbian)
Didier blocks planned GOP voter outreach (Yakima Herald Republic)