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Posts published in January 2015

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)

Low broadband usage by schools across state (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, Moscow News)
Batt, Andrus blast Otter's DIE agreement (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Asotin Sheriff deputizes police at Clarkston (Lewiston Tribune)
Should farmer get more water to grow organic? (Moscow News)
Canyon P&Z struggles over ethanol plant (Nampa Press Tribune)
Movement launches to save Pocatello post center (Pocatello Journal)
Conflicting ed budgets from Otter, Ybarra (TF Times News)

Springfield mill, razed in July, to be rebuilt (Eugene Register Guard)
ACLU spreads police-encounter app (Eugene Register Guard)
Giving high schoolers college credit explored (KF Herald & News)
Brammo Inc of Talent sold to Polaris Industries (Medford Tribune)
Blue Mountain College looks at free college plan (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hermiston reports lower crime rate (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Portland will defer now to state road budgeting (Portland Oregonian)
Federal timber payments to counties cut (Salem Statesman Journal)

No sponsors found for football ferry (Bremerton Sun)
Gun rights supporters protest in Olympia (Spokane Spokesman, Vancouver Columbian, Bremerton Sun)
Flu kills five people in Snohomish (Everett Herald)
Businesses benefiting from low gas prices (Longview News)
Liquor board pays $192k to critic to file no more (Longview News)
Does McCleary ruling cover higher ed too? (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Nippon Paper and Louisiana firm sue over plant (Port Angeles News)
Outlining what's next for Bertha (Seattle Times)
Limited use of broadband in Idaho schools (Spokane Spokesman)
Bill addressing oil train safety (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima considers rough intersection (Yakima Herald Republic)

A different SOS

idaho RANDY

State of the State addresses, in almost any state, usually follow a standard pattern. They start by recounting some of the challenges and advances faced by the jurisdiction, move on through one topic area after another, often somewhere around a half dozen, offering suggestions here and there, and wrapping up with a story or a few lines meant to be uplifting.

The SOS speeches in Washington and Idaho followed the usual pattern.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s combination inaugural-state of the state (much of which appears later in this edition), did not. Except for the last uplifting piece, it threw out the template entirely.
Instead, he focused on one bigger-picture topic: How community is undermined by inequality. There were no budget figures. There were no legislative proposals.

At least not specifically. The autobiographical elements in it seemed there to form a frame more than anything else; this wasn’t a meander through memories. (He only addressed two discrete aspects of his life, and with a glancing nod to some of the more recent headlines from last year.) His point was larger than Oregon but he kept coming back to, referring to, Oregon as he talked. As unconventional as it was, Kitzhaber clearly meant this as a state of the state speech, but one to be used in an unusual way.

The governor has legislative proposals, and a budget, coming, but in truth he didn’t need a speech to introduce those; most probably are already either in public conversation or can be reasonably guessed at. The point of this speech seemed to be its prospective use as a lodestar, as a direction he thought the legislature should take, a rough test against which legislation ought to be considered (not least, presumably, when it hits his desk).

It was meant to chart a direction, which is what state of states are intended to do.

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)

West Ada schools try for $96m school bond (Boise Statesman)
'Add the Words' legislation introduced (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
State advises schools to seek fed help on broadband (Lewiston Tribune)
CWI expansion in Otter budget plans (Nampa Press Tribune)
Caldwell urban renewal considers housing (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bell Marsh Creek Road closed by county (Pocatello Journal)
Small earthquakes around Challis and Montpelier (Pocatello Journal)
Planning underway for 2 TF elementary schools (TF Times News)

Columbia Bank corporate branding may be rejected by city (Astorian)
1st voter-elected Warrenton mayor takes office (Astorian)
Eugene fines for Uber ride now top $118k (Eugene Register Guard)
Eugene considers new taxes for library (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath development code under review (KF Herald & News)
Survey finds new kindergartners less prepared (Medford Tribune)
More police action with Aryan gang (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Local legislators go to work on budget (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Legislators will consider a bunch of pot bills (Portland Oregonian)

Scrambling for Seattle football game ferry (Bremerton Sun)
Inslee goes after WA's high property crime rate (Yakima Herald Republic, Bremerton Sun, Longview News)
Everett port in heavy-cargo upgrade (Everett Herald)
Liquor board may change rules on city alchol impact areas (Olympian)
Casinos on Peninsula untroubled by new state rules (Port Angeles News)
More illegal homeless camping seen around region (Seattle Times)
King County changes drug use in allergic reactions (Seattle Times)
Complaints about delays at ports rise (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane gun club loses tax benefits (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma group dislikes Pierce County office plan (Tacoma News Tribune)
Inslee could fill South Prairie city council seat (Tacoma News Tribune)
Herrera Beutler counter Clark censure move (Vancouver Columbian)
Judge rules that dairy polluted groundwater (Yakima Herald Republic)

Was Huntsman behind Deep Throat?

carlson CHRIS


Jon Huntsman, Senior, has published an autobiography covering his fascinating life, his endowment of the Huntsman Cancer Research Institute attached to the University of Utah's hospital, and numerous other charitable undertakings. Entitled Barefoot to Billionaire, it was written with the assistance of Jay Shelledy, the former editor of the Salt Lake Tribune and publisher of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Shelledy also assisted Huntsman in writing his best-selling book, Winners Never Cheat, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.  Huntsman is a graduate of Penn's famed Wharton School of Finance.

While initial sales are brisk, Shelledy reports, it has yet to be reviewed in either the New York Times Sunday book section, or the Washington Post’s, or the Los Angeles Times. That’s a real shame and the oversight will hopefully be corrected.

Why? If for no other reason alone the book is worth the time and the money because of some new insights into the Watergate scandal which brought down the administration of President Richard Nixon. As very few folks know, but many will find more than interesting, the father of Utah's one-time governor, Jon Huntsman, Jr., was once a Special Assistant to President Richard Nixon for secretarial matters.

What that means is that for slightly more than a year every piece of paper that went into and came out of the Oval office crossed Huntsman desk in the White House. It was quite a perch from which to watch the comings and goings in the “under siege” Oval Office.

Huntsman left before the proverbial horse pucky hit the fan, but nonetheless was interviewed and told he might be subpoenaed to testify before North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin's Senate Committee investigating Watergate.  Old Sam wanted to know what Young Jon knew and when he knew it.  Huntsman convinced the committee counsels he knew nothing prior to Watergate hitting the paper. Hence, he was never indicted or charged. He was just about the only higher up in the White House NOT charged or indicted.

Reading the passages in the book one wonders though if Huntsman didn't know more than he is letting on.  It is the way he words things that starts one wondering.  Add that to the fact that the "Deep Throat" identified by Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward was Mark Felt, the number two person at the FBI. Felt, however, has to have had source within the inner Nixon circle that was providing the damning information.

At about this same time period, muck-raking syndicated columnist Jack Anderson also started reporting on information regarding Watergate that was leaked to him. Throw into this stew one other important factoid: all three (Huntsman, Anderson and Felt) were members in good standing of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and all three attended the same LDS ward in the D.C. area.

Mere coincidence? Perhaps, but one rule in politics is there are no coincidences. (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)

Reconsidering wold reintroduction in Idaho (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
Siddoway insisting on teacher pay raises (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Inslee's agenda on education, energy, bridges (Lewiston Tribune)
New Representative Jordan speaks on add the words (Lewiston Tribune)
Pullman plans to widen intersection (Moscow News)
Caldwell moves ahead on Hope Plaza growth (Nampa Press Tribune)
New businesses consider Pine Ridge Mall (Pocatello Journal)
County to decide public access at Bell Marsh creek (Pocatello Journal)
Democratic caucus proposes noted (TF Times News)

Church wants $750k to block cell tower (Eugene Register Guard)
More wolf action seen in KF area (KF Herald & News)
Klamath Union HS renovation planned (Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News)
Debate over condition of historic Jacksonville hotel (Medford Tribune)
Medford may raise law enforcement, fire fees (Medford Tribune)
Pendleton cops: white supermacist group active (Pendleton E Oregonian)
New Representative Barreto prepares for work (Pendleont E Oregonian)
Governor, Hayes hire defense law firm (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Regional sanction may hit Hillsboro on air quality (Portland Oregonian)
Local protests arise over Keystone pipeline (Salem Statesman Journal)
Salem-Keizer low on some young student scores (Salem Statesman Journal)

USS Nimitz arrives at Bremerton (Bremerton Sun)
Representative Kilmer moves to appropriations (Tacoma News Tribune, Bremerton Sun)
Jail efforts on reducing assaults praised in audit (Everett Herald)
Inslee calls for revenue increase, school, road effort (Spokesman Review, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic,, Olympian, Longview News)
Longview tapwater panel starts work (Longview News)
Weyco production may halt for week to nine days (Longview News)
Thurston jail repairs authorized (Olympian)
Lower oil prices help NW economy (Seattle Times)
SpaceX leader may set up office in Seattle (Seattle Times)
Planning for improvements on I-5 near Tacoma (Tacoma News Tribune)
Legislator urges limit on free lobby meals (Tacoma News Tribune)
Lack of substitute teachers at Clark noted (Vancouver Columbian)
Dispute continues over C-Tran board (Vancouver Columbian)

An Idaho children’s book

strickland MICHAEL


I first met Stan “The Bookman” Steiner at a reading conference many years ago. He was dubbed “The Bookman” by his students because of his vast knowledge of children’s literature. That is why I was very pleased to see that the acclaimed Discover America State by State series continued with his P is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet. Lyrically written with his wife Joy, this title explores the lush land and rich history of a state too often overlooked.

Kids of all ages wil love the A to Z rhymes boasting about all the treasures found within Idaho’s borders — from the Appaloosa steed to the zinc mines to Mount Borah, to, you knew we couldn’t forget it, the potato. But after a few pages readers will also allow peregrine, Union Pacific, Quinceanera, Nex Perce, and other Idaho icons to share in the spotlight.

Amazon reveiwer K. Rue wrote:

The cover of this book caught my attention and once I glanced inside I was completely captivated. I purchased 4 copies. One for myself and one for each of our three children – to read to our eleven grandchildren. We live in Idaho but none of them do. What a wonderful way for them to learn about our state. Additionally, I placed a copy in my piano studio. It has been reviewed by numerous students and parents. All have been extremely impressed. The format allows one to enjoy the highlights with beautiful water color illustrations or read on for more in depth information.

Educators can find many wonderful and engaging strategies in this free teachers guide to the book.

A. M. Hansen added:

As a librarian and former early childhood educator, I was very impressed with this book for several reasons. I first heard about the book while researching my family history on various Idaho Internet sites. The main reason I purchased the book is I had read that my great grandmother was in it. Upon review of the book, I was so excited about the wonderful write up about Emma Yearian, Sheep Queen of Idaho, and that an alphabet letter had been designated just to her. In addition, I was elated that I was able to share this book with my Mother, which would be her grandmother. My Mother, whom just recently turned 88, resides with me and will be purchasing more books to give away as gifts. My co-worker, 90 years of age, and who has been a librarian for years, also loved this book. He often will mention to me, with a big smile on his face, how much he likes the illustration of the big potato on the flatbed train. I especially enjoyed the beautiful water colored illustrations. I felt like I was in beautiful Idaho again. I would highly recommend this book for every school and library in the State of Idaho.

Other critics chimed in, including blogger Limelite, who runs the Readers & Book Lovers thread on Daily Kos. “Sounds delightful!” she said.

You write about this series in such an inviting way that I’m inspired to learn my ABCs all over again. I think the organizing premise of state-by-state alphabet books is brilliant. Geography and literacy go hand in hand.

Reminds me that many kids first learn to read by reading road signs and advert logos from the windows of the family care during road trips.

Remember that old license plate game kids used to play? Reading and geography partner up again.

The text comes dancing to brilliant life behind the talented strokes of illustrator – and Idaho native — Jocelyn Slack’s brush. “P is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet” is as unique as Idaho itself. The Steiner’s “P is for Potato” excels through the love and knowledge of their home state.

It is not only rare to find a children’s book on our 43rd state, but it is a great discovery when children can find this one is done well.

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)

Otter calls for school funding increase (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
More on aftermath of Moscow shooting spress (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Caldwell factory gets tax incentive (Nampa Press Tribune)
Flu spreads in southeast Idaho (Pocatello Journal)
Hunting, fishing fees may rise (Pocatello Journal)

Ducks lose championship game (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Kitzhaber sworn in to fourth term (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Klamath economic development tries to go more private (KF Herald & News)
Local schools seek more unity with college credits (KF Herald & News)

Study finds watery soil added to Oso slide (Everett Herald)
Transportation high priority for legislature (Everett Herald)
UO Ducks lose national championship (Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Senate changes rules to set 2/3 for taxes (Spokesman Review, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Olympian, Longview News)
Thurston sheriff talks about opening closed jail (Olympian)
More riders for Seattle air shuttle (Port Angeles News)
Lots of seabirds dying off (Port Angeles News)
Seattle will look at viaduct tunnel stress (Seattle Times)
City driveway proposal becomes abortion debate (Spokane Spokesman)
Pam Roach wins Senate leadership spot (Tacoma News Tribune)
10th airline squadron of Lewis-McChord in decline (Tacoma News Tribune)

First of two, or three?

idaho RANDY

Rob McKenna, the former attorney general who narrowly lost his bid for governor in 2012 to now-incumbent Jay Inslee, has been sending out periodic missives on the foibles of Olympia, taking aim most generally (as you’d expect) at the Democrats, including his former opponent.

His email from last week was something of a cautionary note applicable to both parties, since the parties now split control of the Washington legislature. The key section goes like this:

Insiders in Olympia are already taking bets on how much extra time the Legislature will need to complete its work and pass a budget this year. With a fight over spending and new taxes looming, it’s no surprise that people are bracing for a special session, or two.
But there’s also no reason legislators can’t get the job done on time. Responding to another legislator’s joke about having bought a six-month gym membership in Olympia in expectation of special sessions, Sen. Andy Hill said this week, “If you’re saying today, ‘It’s going to take us two or three special sessions,’ I would argue you’re not negotiating in good faith, because we know what the problem is.”
He’s right. They know the problems they face and they have enough info today to start hammering out a budget compromise. We don’t need any games to see who will blink first. As citizens, we need to make it clear to our legislators that we expect them to get the public’s business done on time.

The view here long has been, and still is, that a few more days of legislative time is small price to pay if the result is better legislation and better budgeting.

If the delay is simply a factor of partisan intransigence, that’s another matter. Both parties might do well to pay attention to McKenna’s note on the subject.

In the Briefings

The Northwest’s newest member of Congress, Dan Newhouse (third from left) of Washington’s 4th district, is sworn into office by House Speaker John Boehner. (photo/Office of Representative Newhouse)

Here comes the legislature – over the next week.

That means different things in the three states. In Washington and Idaho, the legislatures kick off into full regular sessions starting today, with governor's state of the states among the leading early activities (today in Idaho, tomorrow in Washington. In Oregon, a pro forma organizational session will be held today and tomorrow, with a speech from the governor (combining inaugural and state and the state), but the full legislative session won't begin until February 2.

In the next Briefings you’ll find full reports on the governor’s address, the early legislation filed and early statements and policy moves.

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)

Previewing Otter state of state (Boise Statesman)
Profiling new chair Luker (Boise Statesman)
Looking at 2015 session in Idaho (Lewiston Tribune)
Looking at 2015 session in Washington (Lewiston Tribune)
Following up on killing spree at Moscow (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Canyon County explores 'community court' idea (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa plans to divest its golf courses (Nampa Press Tribune)
About the influential 100 Idaho list (TF Times News)

Heavy Ducks frenzy (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune)
Oregon Bar considers lawyer diversity (Portland Oregonian)

Edmonds looks at marsh restoration (Everett Herald)
Mill Creek to fill a seat on city council (Everett Herald)
Local electric car charging stations mostly unused (Longview News)
WA pot potency highly variable (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian, Longview News)
Legislature reconsiders drivers license system (Port Angeles News)
Two tribes will link wastewater efforts (Port Angeles News)
Parties far apart on state budget plans (Seattle Times)
Bellevie seeing more young professionals (Seattle Times)
Aftermath of Moscow shootings (Spokane Spokesman)
Previewing Washington legislature (Vancouver Columbian)
Lack of clarity on state e-cigarette laws (Vancouver Columbian)

Ever met a Muslim?

rainey BARRETT


Hate mail on the ol’ I-net keeps hitting new highs. Or lows. For several years, the target was Pres. Obama, his wife, kids and any non-white person supporting the President. Told a number of my friends to knock it off. Lost several.

Now the target I see most is Muslims. Any Muslim. Since the Paris terrorism, there’s been a sharp increase. Hardly a day goes I don’t get a couple hate mails. Some are supposed to be “joles” but many are filled with lengthy quotes from speeches or writings of some “noted authority” here or abroad on the dangers of the Muslim way of life. Checking the background of some writers, I found several hated somebody else before they got around to Muslims. Hate and racism du jour, I guess.

Just speculation on my part but I doubt many who circulate this mental garbage have ever met a Muslim much less had one as a friend. They’re a distinct minority in our Northwestern back yard. Had it not been for the military and living in Washington, D.C. as a reporter for a few years, I probably would’ve lived my entire life Muslim-less.

But I ‘ve gotten to know a few. And, while not being an authority on all things Muslim, I can say my experiences were interesting, mind-broadening and I found not a whole lot of difference from anyone else with a strong religious base in their history. Orthodox Jews are a good example. Some practice faithfully; some don’t. Baptists, Catholics and we Presbyterian/Methodists, too. Sometimes.

“But what about their supposed violence against all things not Muslim?” you ask. “And Sharria law and ‘death to the infidels’?’” Yes, there is that. Sometimes. “Course we non-Muslims had our crusades and some witch burnings. But we don’t talk much about those.

As a Presby/Methodist hybrid, I’ve attended a lot of Bible study classes trying to stay protestantly multilingual. One of the things that’s struck me repeatedly was how much violence and death there is in our own religious teachings. Lots of it. Moses, for example, wiping out whole villages and thousands of families from elderly to children during the trek from Egypt to the Promised Land. Wholesale slaughter! Before leaving Egypt, there was all that Passover killing. And all the murders of babies after Christ’s birth. Crucifixions, stoning, stabbing, poisonings, etc.

Then there were the instructions from God and/or his spokesmen on earth to kill certain people, punish family members, exact deadly vengeance on misdoers, run people out of town, confiscate property and on and on and on. Not to mention famines, plagues, drought and drowning everybody. Or those stake burnings. (more…)