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Posts published in “Year: 2014”

A Christmas story



I have told this story every year since 1991 first because it happened, and second because there has to be someone else out there who can relate to it.

Christmas was the best kind of adventure for us kids. Growing up on the east coast of Vancouver Island, in a small coal-mining, fishing and pulp town, Christmas meant a blizzard-backed trip down-island over the Malahat Pass to Mecca, which went by the very English name of Victoria.

I cringe now at what the drive must have meant to my folks. It was like going over Camel's Hump in the dead of winter, packed with traffic. But to us kids it was plain high excitement.

I had been to Disneyland and I had been to Victoria. They did not compare. Disneyland had paper mache mountains and long lines, but Victoria had teak and brass, the Empress Hotel, the Crystal Gardens, the ship's chandlers, a wax museum and the roundabout.

It had also T. Eaton, Simpson-Sears, and the Hudson Bay Company, plus a place where you could buy Spode china, and a Wilson's, which meant pure English wool and tweed.

Most important to kids growing up in a one-storey town, Victoria had escalators and elevators. I realize that kids nowadays require a Mario Brothers distraction, but for Marc and me those moving stairs, and the little brass-trimmed rooms with the sliding doors that went up and down between floors, beat the socks off anything Disneyland had to offer.

Our parents parked us on the Hudson Bay Co. escalators, with a rendezvous time an hour later. Off they went to do serious Christmas shopping. So did we. This was my first big year for buying Christmas presents. I had dough. The source of my income was a newspaper route, which paid $4 per month. I had saved two months' pay. Serious cabbage.

Ditching my younger brother, I cruised the Hudson Bay Co. from basement to top floor. When you are 8 or so, and a boy, your mother is the most romantic figure in your life. I sought something for her so sweet and so feminine that she would remember my remembrance forever. Zeroing in on the perfume deck, a new world of love and excitement unveiled itself to me. I sniffed all the bottles and all the spritzes, and after a good half-hour's study, lit upon one. Its scent surpassed that of Butchart's Gardens in bloom, or even the elegant leathery odor of a Trans-Canada Airlines DC-3. It was sweet, wonderful: her. (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)

Not many store shootings in Idaho (Boise Statesman)
INL heavily involved in cybersecurity (IF Post Register)

Local theaters show "Interview" (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath commissioners on God and gun control (KF Herald & News)
Inmates barred from Pendleton projects (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Department Human Services hit by judgements (Salem Statesman Journal)

YMCA buys land for building at Stanwood (Everett Herald)
Baur reviews years as prosecutor (Longview News)
Two-year budget passed at Longview (Longview News)
Local theaters running Independent (Vancouver Columbian, Olympian)
Lewis-McChord unit upsizes for overseas (Tacoma News Tribune)
Mild weather expected for holidays (Yakima Herald Republic)

Your grammar, your job (or not)

strickland MICHAEL


“If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me.” Kyle Wiens in the Harvard Business Review.

While Idaho’s job market is slowly improving, the buzz around the Treasure Valley is still filled with stories of unemployment and underemployment. A business grammar course in the College of Western Idaho’s Business Partnerships /Workforce Development program suggests a way you can get an edge.

“Clear communication is the foundation for success in the business world, and grammar mistakes create barriers to this communication,” reads the introduction to the CWI student manual for the training. The consensus among teachers, scholars and grammarians is that clarity and correctness have taken a nosedive in the “information age.”

Employers often peruse Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages of job applicants that are filled with spelling mistakes, poor grammar, and textspeak. This is one of the quickest ways for a candidate to seal their own job rejection. According to Time, out of the 70 percent of hiring managers who utilize social media profiles to gather more information regarding an applicant -- one-third have declined on candidates due to “poor communication skills.”

“The employer is more apt to question your professionalism if you show a pattern of misspelled words… or your commentary seems rash, uninformed or non-cohesive,” said Jennifer Grasz, a CareerBuilder spokeswoman. (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)

New Boise police chief to stay on track (Boise Statesman)
2 wolves spotted in Asotin County Lewiston Tribune)
Free clinic in Lewiston stretched for resources (Lewiston Tribune)
Idaho owes more than $400k lawyer bills in marriage case (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Moscow News)
Caldwell may soon widen 21st Avenue (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bogus Basin prepares for opening (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pebble Creek skiing area opens (Pocatello Journal)

Highway 101 reopens from flooding (Eugene Register Guard)
New architect for Medford fire station (Medford Tribune)
Harkenrider ends 54 years on Hermiston council (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Fish/wildlife using drones to gather data (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Oregon electronic recycling will accept more (Salem Statesman Journal)

An aircraft carrier heads to scrap yard (Bremerton Sun)
Koster bounced from Snohomish ombudsman job (Everett Herald)
Chief deputy prosecutor at Cowlitz dismissed (Longview News)
KapStone and union keep on talking (Longview News)
Federal court banning jail waits for mentally ill (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Olympian)
Three more pot stores okayed near Tacoma (Olympian)
Deadline for health insurance arrives (Seattle Times, Olympian)
Tunnel work expected to end 2 years late (Seattle Times)
Spokane downtown seeing high tech light show (Spokane Spokesman)
Inslee will appointent new legislator (Tacoma News Tribune)
New sheriff takes over in Clark
Land trust gains 3000 acres near Mt St Helens (Vancouver Columbian)

When a bishop tries to mislead

carlson CHRIS


It always comes as a surprise, though it should not, when one sees “a man with a collar,” prove he is as fallible as the rest of us mere mortals, capable of misleading conduct and apparently as misguided by “the end justifies the means” philosophy as any other rudderless politician.

Such is the case with Archbishop Blasé Cupich, late of the Spokane diocese and the new Archbishop of Chicago.

In a recent article in the Spokesman-Review, the Archbishop impugns the integrity of Father Steve Dublinski, the current pastor at St. Augustine’s. This good priest served faithfully and well as the Vicar General (in effect, the chief operating officer for the Spokane diocese) for the past 12 years, first for Bishop William Skylstad and then for the Archbishop.

Anyone who knows, or has met or has worked with Father Steve knows he is a person whose integrity and commitment to truth and justice is above questioning and beyond reproach. He is devoted to the truth and the mission of the diocese.

Even if one does not know Father Steve, his action in resigning speaks volumes for him. It should be clear that such a resignation was an act of conscience on his part. It took courage to publicly split with the Bishop. It should also be obvious that the reason for Father Dublinski resigning as Vicar General was his refusal to go along with Cupich’s lawsuit for malpractice against the diocese’s outside legal counsel, the venerable Paine, Hamblen law firm.

If one reads carefully the article that appeared on December 16th in which Cupich is trying to undo the damage done to the diocese’ alleged case against the law firm, Cupich never denies having said to Vicar General Dublinski that he would “just throw some mud against the wall and see what sticks.

Rather, he says he never directed his lawyers to throw mud and see what sticks. It is a classic misdirection ploy that in the process has him implicitly questioning Father Steve’s integrity. This is simply outrageous and an insult to our intelligence. Ask yourself what would Father Steve gain by resisting Cupich’s apparent pressure to be supportive of his desires in this matter? (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)

Nuclear waste outgo held up at INL (Boise Statesman)
Inslee caught up in local levy variances (Moscow News)
Survey on dowtown Caldwell at C of I students (Nampa Press Tribune)
Questions arise about instant racing at Les Boise (Nampa Press Tribune)
Illnesses leading to more school absenteeism (TF Times News)

Highway 101 still closed by flooding (Eugene Register Guard)
Portland officials still battling over Mt Tabor (Portland Oregonian)
Attorney general shows list of bad charities (Salem Statesman Journal)

Port Orchard utility rates may rise (Bremerton Sun)
Snohomish ombudsman Koster apologizes on unions (Everett Herald)
Local officials call paving Mountain Loop road (Everett Herald)
Inslee not addressig school levy variance (Tacoma News Tribune, Longview News, Olympian)
Veterans Administration hiring more docs (Olympian)
Traffic getting much worse on I-405 (Seattle Times)
Frontier Airlines leaves Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)

Ambition in 2015

idaho RANDY

In 2016, Governor Jay Inslee will be up for a re-election that, presumably, he will be pursuing.
In 2015, he will be presenting (well, sort of already last week presented) a budget and legislative package that would have to rank as one of the most ambitious of recent years.

The headlines on four of his press releases from last week all by themselves give some of the flavor: “Inslee proposes sustainable, responsible, fair budget to ‘reinvest in Washington’;” “Inslee announces slate of proposals to curb pollution, transition Washington to cleaner sources of energy”; “Gov. Inslee calls for comprehensive statewide transportation program,” “Inslee proposes boldest new efforts in improving full continuum of education in 2 decades.”

He does this at a time when Republicans have come back into outright control of the state Senate, and Democrats maintain only the thinnest control of the state House. The Republican response to Inslee’s push is about what you might expect: Good luck with that.”

At this point, the probable outcome is that Inslee does push through a small number of relatively uncontroversial measures, but that most of them go no further.

Facing with this kind of situation, most governors (of whichever party) faced with a similar situation might tack toward the cautious and basic. Why simply offer a batch of proposals likely to get shot down, unceremoniously, in the legislature? (And yes, that
mostly does seem to be the likely result.)

The best answer that comes immediately to mind is that Inslee is planning to campaign for re-election in 2016on a package that looks a lot like this year’s budget proposal.

While the proposal package may have trouble at the statehouse, it might not make a bad basis for a campaign message and rationale, as well as forming a platform to running against the legislature as well as whatever Republican opponent solidifies. It may sink rather quickly in the next few months, but there seems to be a good chance it will re-emerge in 2016.

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)

Idaho gets health cre improvement grant (Boise Statesman)
INL at work on clean energy options (Boise Statesman)
Nuclear waste shipments at INL held up (IF Post Register)
Idaho agriculture hit by shipping slowdowns (IF Post Register)
What happens next with Idaho school broadband? (IF Post Register)
Breakout cows reaptured by meat processor (Pocatello Journal)
Newer churches under construction (Pocstello Journal)
Predator derby continues on track (TF Times News)

UO was a big subject in the news in Eugene (Eugene Register Guard)
Group finds illegal road in Crater Lake park (KF Herald & News)
Klamath still searching for new airline (KF Herald & News)
Oregon help for addicts a flawed system (Portland Oregonian)
Flooding possible in Salem area (Salem Statesman Journal)

Harrison hospital leader looks at transition (Bremerton Sun)
Puget Sound hit by dirty runoff (Everett Herald)
Longview city manager prepares to depart (Longview News)
Mount Rainier wearing away with climate change (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Publisher at Olympian will retire (Olympian)
Looking at orca die off (Seattle Times)
Military equipment goes to small police offices (Seattle Times)
The complexities of Spokane medical school growth (Spokane Spokesman)
Legislator/county commission at the same time (Vancouver Columbian)
Gorge Commission limited by funding (Vancouver Columbian)
Nitrate polling foundin Yakima valley (Yakima Herald Republic)

Cows without guns

idaho RANDY

In England, when the Guardian newspaper wrote last week about the great Pocatello cow escape, they tagged the breakout bovines the “Slaughterhouse five.”

British newspapers have a gift, don’t they?

But the first of the animals to break out, a heifer, sounded as if she had been inspired instead by the Dana Lyons song “Cows with Guns.” (“We will fight for bovine freedom/And hold our large heads high . . .”)

On December 12 she jumped a six-foot fence at Anderson Custom Pack and roared into a rampage, running through Pocatello’s north end, butting an animal control vehicle and two police cars. Finally, police shot and killed her. She may have been unarmed but, in truth, becoming dangerous and the stakes were high. (Sorry.)

Two days later four other cows, slated for the slaughter, went missing. Anderson spokesmen said they thought someone had let them loose; there’s not yet been an official determination on that one way or the other. However the escape happened, the animals were soon roaming around town. One of them was captured, and one was shot.

The other two evidently, at this writing, remain at large.

Here’s a problem, because a lot of people may be conflicted.

We don’t want cows roaming our streets, even cows that don’t ram motor vehicles. And a lot of us enjoy our beef (I do), even if we don’t try to devote a lot of thought about how it transitions from live animal to our plates. Yes, if we want our beef there will be slaughterhouses.

At the same time, most people love a good escape story. From “The Great Escape” to “Prison Break” most of us root for the people inside to get out, even if (as in “Prison Break”) some of them really are bad guys. And animals too (think about all those movies featuring an animal caged). We root for freedom, not for captivity. It’s hard not to cheer for the cows.

A few days after the second breakout, with two bovines still out there somewhere, the Farm Sanctuary group called in, and offered to find and take the animals back to their 300 acres at Orland, California, where they would be left to graze for the rest of their natural lives. (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)

Idaho businesses hit by shipping labor issues (Boise Statesman)
Bogus Basin ski off to snowy start (Boise Statesman)
River land donated for Idaho Falls park (IF Post Register)
Bergdahl investigation done (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Protest seeks improved US 95 safety (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
UI considers vaccination madate after mumps arrival (Lewiston Tribune)
Boise State battling over Fiesta Bowl tickets (Nampa Press Tribune)

Haggens buying local groceries (Eugene Register Guard, KF HErald & News)
Big storm headed for Oregon on weekend (Eugene Register Guard)
Carolers asked to leave a Wal-Mart (KF Herald & News)
Walden thinks water bill could pass in 2015 (KF Herald & News)
Medford Elk lodge carter revoked (Medford Tribune)
Oregon has fed deadline on license security (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pay is increases at Umatilla sheriff's office (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Outdoor medical pot growers reviewing new rules (Portland Oregonian)
Death at state hospital may lead to suit (Salem Statesman Journal)

Sound Transit settles on rail route to Lynnwood (Everett Herald)
Haggen stores plan on 146 more stores (Everett Herald, Olympian)
Weyerhauser retirees see pension cuts (Longview News)
Storm may be coming to Washington (Seattle Times, Longview News)
Spokane police deliver reform plans (Spokane Spokesman)
Pierce cities hiring mental health experts (Tacoma News Tribune)
Inslee says he didn't forget projects for SW (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima businesses consider carbon tax plan (Yakima Herald Republic)
Former Yakima library system leader dies (Yakima Herald Republic)

Hell in a handbasket

rainey BARRETT


We “punditry” types rely on words to praise or condemn when dealing with political, economic or related issues. The words and opinions come easier than facts and, too often, we throw the nouns and adjectives out there and walk away with few facts to support the opining.

But statistics - especially those compiled by people with a dedication to neutrality and letting the numbers speak for themselves - have garnered my respect over the years. While I don’t really understand how they do what they do, I’ve learned to appreciate those who work with numbers. Especially when their findings tend to support what many of us have said for a long, long time. These do.

Idaho is going to Hell in a handbasket.

Those are just my words again. But they’re based squarely on the findings of the Idaho Center For Fiscal Policy. A “gang that can shoot straight.”

Rather than go into all the messy numbers, here are just the headlines from the Center’s latest report.

“Idaho collects less in taxes than all but two other states.”

“Support for Idaho’s schools has been steadily decreasing and is unequal across school districts.”

“Idaho’s support for higher education has dropped sharply, leading to big increases in tuition and fees.”

“Idaho has steadily cut revenues since the late 1990's.”

“Idaho’s low and moderate income residents pay a larger share of their income in taxes than the highest earners”

“Idaho’s per capita income is lower than all but one state - Mississippi.”

Those are their clinical, statistical findings. And they form the factual basis for the words “Idaho: Hell in a handbasket”

To my mind, those six headlines tie together in an endless circle. You can enter the circle at any point and exit randomly. But the pattern of disintegration in Idaho’s economic conditions just goes on and on. Down and down. (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)

Idaho school broadand at risk in legal fight (Boise Statesman)
Fiesta Bowl tickets caught up in price issue (Boise Statesman)
Money for Hitt Road approved (IF Post Register)
Reviewing community policing in eastern Idaho (IF Post Register)
Group tries to move grizzlies into Selway-Bitterroot (Lewiston Tribune)
Inslee suggests capital gains tax (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Board of Education urges teacher pay raise (TF Times News)
Christensen named new editor of Times News (TF Times News)

Eugene may annex orchard at Santa Clara (Eugene Register Guard)
Walden visits Klamath, updated on air field (KF Herald & News)
Hurt snowboarder may sue Mt Bachelor (KF Herald & News)
Lowest gas prices in years (Medford Tribune)
Jackson holds off on GMO ban while case in court (Medford Tribune)
Umatilla Tribes buying back land (Pendleton E Oregonian)
State addiction care programs languish (Portland Oregonian)
Uber slows down its plans for Portland (Portland Oregonian)

New taxes in Inslee budget plan (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Bremerton Sun, Olympian, Longview News)
Poulsbo police station site may become apartments (Bremerton Sun)
Simpson sells mill at Longview, workers stay (Tacoma News Tribune, Longview News)
Debate continues over KapStone health care (Longview News)
Local electric rates set for next year (Port Angeles News)
Spokane transit seeks $300m tax proposal (Spokane Spokesman)