Writings and observations

news

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)

Dixie case returned to Canyon County (Boise Statesman)
Profiling energy chair Thompson (IF Post Register)
DOE won’t protest state fines on waste (IF Post Register)
Asotin County works on its court fee structure (Lewiston Tribune)
School broadband deal voided, legislature’s next (Lewiston Tribune)
St. Alphonsus building offices in Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho ag had a good year in 2014 (Nampa Press Tribune)
Education Week ranks Idaho at 46 in schooling (Nampa Press Tribune)
ISU won’t buy 11 assault rifles (Pocatello Journal)
Most legislators seems to oppose Medicaid expansion (Pocatello Journal)
Otter sworn in to third term (TF Times News)
CSI responds to Obama college proposal (TF Times News)

Lawsuit filed over bullying at Eugene school (Eugene Register Guard)
Lane County uneasy about federal timber payments (Eugene Register Guard)
New Klamath water bill send to Senate (KF Herald & News)
Klamath college reaction favor Obama college plan (KF Herald & News)
Providence Medford bans sugar-heavy soda (Medford Tribune)
Pendleton high security will go all-electronic (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Freeze hits Milton-Freewater orchards (Pendleton E Oregonian)
What’s become a firable offense for coaches? (Portland Oregonian)
City finds pesticide at Salem park (Salem Statesman Journal)

South Kitsap schools set up on discrimination suit (Bremerton Sun)
Everett looks at city parking issues (Everett Herald)
Kalama Community Center has few renters (Longview News)
Possible impasse on KapStone talks over health (Longview News)
Local colleges weigh in on Obama college plan (Longview News)
WSU athletics hit $13m deficit (Spokane Spokesman)
Pacific Lutheran University union vote tangled (Tacoma News Tribune)
Legislator hopes to protect bi-state road projects (Vancouver Columbian)
State may change drivers licenses, ID cards (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take


 
A time lapse video in Portland.

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Oregon

news

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)

Committee chair profiling Barbieri, House Business (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Lewiston Tribune)
Mayor says Idaho Falls growth continues (IF Post Register)
Otter wants to return school money to 2009 level (IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Pullman pot store had record month in December (Moscow News)
Emergency quarantine in WA over avian flu (Moscow News)
Idaho’s 100 most influential listed (Nampa Press Tribune)
ISU public safety director retired (Pocatello)
Audit blasts using Pocatello assets for other cities (Pocatello Journal)
Idaho may fine DOE for late nuclear waste removal (Pocatello Journal)
Simpson wildfire funding bill returns (TF Times News)

Defining green forestry takes a change (KF Herald & News)
Real estate market coming back to normal (KF Herald & News)
Pendleton leaders support pot ban there (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Farm labor leaders review immigration law change (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Traffic death edge up, reversing downward trend (Portland Oregonian)
Contractor for Sellwood bridge files suit (Portland Oregonian)
Guilty plea from former CEO of Sunwest (Salem Statesman Journal)
Woodburn hits trucking scale-skippers (Salem Statesman Journal)

Bremerton plans upgrade to intersections (Bremerton Sun)
New Bremerton location planned for crisis center (Bremerton Sun)
Legislature looks at taxes for schools (Bremerton Sun)
Small local districts struggle with the paperwork (Olympian, Everett Herald)
Tax debate looms at legislature (Longview News)
Three Rivers 12-pleex theaters about to open (Longview News)
Flu cases rise in Clallam area (Port Angeles News)
Issues over move from state post to lobbying (Seattle Times)
Spokane downtown empty lot may be filled (Spokane Spokesman)
Two WA gas stations charging under $2 for gas (Tacoma News Tribune)
William Boeing dies (Tacoma News Tribune)
Inslee pushing hard on oil train rules (Vancouver Columbian)

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First Take

ridenbaugh Northwest
Reading

Today we’re releasing 100 Influential Idahoans 2015 (see the box above) which is about what it says: The 100 most influential Idahoans, at present.

Or, more or less. I make the point in its introduction – though little attention may be paid – that the book essentially is about the sources of influence around Idaho, a suggestion of how things change and happen in the state, more than it is that one person is ranked number 37 and another 38. Although the list is designed to be considered in a rough order – the people toward the top tend to have more sweeping impact than the people toward the bottom – any exact roster in this format is not only subjective but a comparison of the incomparable.

Why do it this way? (Years ago, as I was preparing an earlier version of the list, someone suggested listing the 100 names in alphabetical order.) Simply, people pay a lot more attention to it this way.

And I think there is some usefulness in considering who moves people, who pulls the strings, and so on. If Idaho is of interest to you, you may find it of use too.

Ordering information in the box above.

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books

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

More years ago than I want to recall I spent a year teaching 8th, 9th and 10th graders at Kootenai Jr.-Sr. High School near Harrison. I was fresh out of college, truly green behind the ears but still look back fondly on the year.

I felt I had a good impact on every student. Equally important though, I learned as much from the students and their parents. especially about the strong sense of community that binds all the residents together. Most of it derives from a shared struggle to make a living in a resource economy under transition.

In small communities no person is an island unto themselves. The shared struggle translates into one extending their sense of family to all their neighbors. Conversely, when any member of this small community dies it hits everyone hard because as the English poet John Donne put it so well five hundred years ago, any one’s death and everyone’s death diminishes us all.

These thoughts all flooded my mind as I read the tragic news of a two-year-old boy finding his mother’s concealed weapon in her purse last week while at the Wal-Mart in Hayden, pulling the trigger and killing his 29-year-old mother.

One just knows that the profound sense of deep grief almost overwhelmed all who heard the sad news. The entire family has to be distraught over Veronica Rutledge’s senseless death. A husband will never be the same nor a son.

Mrs. Rutledge came from a well-known and well-liked family, the Hendricks family, who reside in Harrison. Veronica was the valedictorian of her 2004 class. She and all her siblings were described by former Kootenai principal and Harrison Mayor Rich Lund as incredibly bright and all well-liked.

Are there lessons to be learned so that other lives might be saved? I think so.

First, many urban dwellers don’t understand why most rural residents own and/or carry weapons. One woman’s answer to why she carried was a tart “because I can’t carry a policeman around on my back to ensure my protection 24/7.”

In urban areas police protection is often just five minutes from the time of the call to 9-1-1. In a rural area it can be well over an hour. I asked two women who carry concealed weapons for thoughts on this tragedy and what could be done to prevent it from happening again.

Both said they thought it was a perfect storm of converging events and that the odds of it happening again were a million to one.

One woman who uses a purse similar to Veronica said part of the challenge is women’s clothing, unlike men’s, is designed to show her figure and a concealed and carried weapon is easily visible.

Robin Ball, who along with her husband, Steve, owns Spokane’s Sharp Shooting Indoor Range, said she believes women should wear their weapons and they “should dress for the gun.” She points out that for most threatening situations most women won’t have the time it takes to open the purse, open the internal zipper and pull out the weapon.

Robin offered some other practical advice. For example, she said if women choose the purse they should be conscious of having the purse appear to be a source of goodies to small children. One should not pull out gum, or candy, or a crayon from their purse. The child immediately sees it as a a source of goodies.

Third, if a woman chooses a weapon-carrying purse, she has to keep her eyes on it at all times, if nothing else to keep a thief from walking off with it. Robin emphasized she did not know Veronica’s circumstances, and was making a generic point.

Robin’s fourth point in some ways is the most important. Anyone who has a weapon in the home or carries a concealed weapon has to spend some time thinking through “what if” situations and worst case scenarios. She says too often people superficially think that having a locked drawer or a gun case is enough. This can and does often foster a false sense of security that one only recognizes after a tragedy.

Robin also believes trigger locks can foster a false sense of security. The emphasis has to be on adult responsibility. Both women stressed that Veronica may well have done everything absolutely correctly, and a tragedy like this could still have happened.

Both women also said they worry about complacent urban dwellers with at hand police protection outstripping the ability of voters to understand and respect why women carry weapons: It’s not just to protect themselves, it is to protect their families and their children.

How doubly sad that a mother who cared about protecting her child should by a twist of fate become a victim of that good intention.

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Carlson

news

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)

Profilings Resource chair Bair (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
State adopts rules on contracting, go to legislators (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Ammon in search of an identity (IF Post Register)
Idaho fines DOE over missing waste deadlines (IF Post Register)
Nez Perce jail found not liable in suicide (Lewiston Tribune)
Canyon senators look at legislative issues (Nampa Press Tribune)
Height of flu season arriving (Nampa Press Tribune)
Embazzlement charge for former CSI staffer (TF Times News)

Eugene’s Piercy delivers state of city (Eugene Register Guard)
RV manufacturer at Coburg ups hiring (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath send jail tax measure to ballot (KF Herald & News)
OR-7 now considered head of his pack (Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News)
Small growth in Oregon flu cases (Pendleton E Oregonian)
State asks opinions on pot rules (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Fight over chemical depot continues (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hales plans advisory vote on Portland street fund (Portland Oregonian)
Study puts Oregon at 41 among states in education (Portland Oregonian)
Nostalgia expressed for old PDX carpet (Portland Oregonian)
Oregon ACLU director Fidanque will retire (Salem Statesman Journal)
Protest grows over demolition of Howard Hall (Salem Statesman Journal)

Ace Paving in Bremerton bankrupt (Bremerton Sun)
Bainbridge sees pot shop location fight (Bremerton Sun)
Wyerhaeuser will slice some jobs at Longview (Longview News)
Not much flu activity in area as yet (Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
Tumwater brewery sale collapses, but new option emerges (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Inslee proposes new toxin source regulation (Vancouver Columbian, Olympian)
Yakima clerk, commission at odds on computers (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Hero: [heer-oh] noun, plural heroes; also heros. 1. a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. 2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal:

Police forces on the defensive and in fear of patrolling our streets. Protests in cities large and small. Police and community afraid of the other.

How did it become such a binary and non-nuanced argument, with defenders of our blue line insistent that any critique of police techniques or actions is an attack on them personally and endangers their safety? And why are some critics of police tactics and individual officers insisting that all police are corrupt and dangerous?

Our current culture of unquestioned hero worship of regular people just doing their jobs – difficult jobs – and a police culture embracing that hero worship could be a primary cause of the disconnect.

Heroes aren’t supposed to be wrong. Or bad. Or make mistakes. Post 9/11 it seems it’s assumed – and we’re constantly being coaxed to publicly acknowledge – that every single public safety officer is a hero. So when an officer does something bad or makes a mistake, it engenders a sense of real betrayal . You expect bad guys to be bad. You expect imperfect humans to make mistakes. You don’t expect either from a hero.

The unquestioned hero worship is unfair to officers as well. If an officer has been told for 15 years that they are without question a hero by putting on a uniform, there could be a sense of entitlement by that officer. Heroes may not expect to be criticized for their errors or may become overzealous because of righteousness. They may not expect to be talked back to or questioned. All of these behaviors are bound to lead to some very bad interactions with the public.

Without a doubt it takes a person with some bravery to enter a profession where you face bad guys and unpleasant situations on a daily basis. And even though police officer isn’t in the top ten most dangerous jobs (33 officers died by unlawful violence in the line of duty in 2013), it is still dangerous physically even if officer deaths. Officers engage in scuffles and incur minor and major injuries. And the threat of violence itself is stressful and mentally damaging.

I know a lot of officers and for the most part they are good decent people doing the best they can. They take their job seriously, some are very talented and positive influences in the community. And when they make mistakes, I assume they were acting in good faith doing the best they can. They simply made a mistake as we all do. Of course their jobs are particularly difficult at times, and their mistakes can carry severe consequences so we all hope that mistakes are rare. And if an officer makes too many mistakes, for the safety of the officer and others, it may be best for all of us if they to choose another profession. Either voluntarily or not.

And if they are dishonest, or corrupt they need to be immediately terminated, and if appropriate, prosecuted.

But applying for the job and putting on the uniform is too low of a standard to award a hero label. Some have acted heroically in the line of duty. And that is worthy of praise as a hero. But we can’t tell who has acted heroically based just on a uniform.

Our public servants who wear a uniform are humans. With human frailties and qualities. They may be in general a braver and more heroic group of people than most of us and in fact some of those people wearing uniforms do heroic acts in the performance of their jobs. It would be beneficial to officers, police forces and our communities if we just stopped the hero worship of the uniform. If we did that, maybe the public could more easily accept the occasional mistake for what it is, a mistake. And perhaps some officers would have a better understanding of a community’s legitimate concern and occasional outrage when officers engage in over reach, dishonesty, and abuse of power.

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Harris

news

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 Simplot beef processing plant for Kuna? (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Profiling Senator Rice, new ag chair (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune)
Bonneville County officials set priorities (IF Post Register)
Roads deadlier in north-central Idaho last year (Lewiston Tribune)
Cows may help with noxious weeds (Lewiston Tribune)
Syringa mobile homes seeing new water issues (Moscow News)
Staben urging increases in enrollment (Moscow News)
Pullman plans cemetery fee increases (Moscow News)
Ybarra adding a little more to her plans (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Chobani disputes NY Post accounts of trouble there (TF Times News)
State committee concerned over test questions (TF Times News)

Leaburg dam operators set gate to open (Eugene Register Guard)
Majority backs ‘In God we trust’ at county room (KF Herald & News)
Eugene council reschedules meetings for football (KF Herald & News)
Larson’s home furnishings at Medford nearly gone (Medford Tribune)
Farmers concerned about Boardman power line (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pendleton keeps business licenses the same (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Jewell sets fire plan that protects sage grouse (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Business leaders urge traffic congestion help (Portland Oregonian)
Salem may see revived commercial air service (Salem Statesman Journal)
Salem sets plan for Riverfront park area (Salem Statesman Journal)

Nimitz remaining in Everett a little longer (Bremerton Sun)
Boeing note record number of shipments (Everett Herald)
Monroe auditors find bookkeeping problems (Everett Herald)
Mine plans run aground near Mt St Helens (Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Lacey’s first recreational marijuana store opens (Olympian)
Lewis-McChord sends first unit to Iraq in 3 years (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
First Federal stock already oversubscribed (Port Angeles News)
Reviewing the first year of Washington legal pot (Port Angeles News)
Future of electric cars in time of cheap gas (Seattle Times)
Spokane’s Condon proposes jobs panel (Spokane Spokesman)
Rivers plans would license smokeless pot shops (Vancouver Columbian)
Cleanup of old gas station on W Nob Hill (Yakima Herald Republic)
Newhouse gets House committee assignments (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take


 
Austin Overman of LRSU competing in the November 2014 Precision Rifle Series in Idaho. This is the first “for points” match of the 2015 season even though it’s being held in 2014. (November 18)

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Idaho Idaho column

Bond DAVID
BOND

 
Rant

Dear Friends,

Please don’t, anymore, anyone, on FaceBook or in person, approach me with an article idea for the local newspaper.
I do not work for the Shoshone News-Press and never have. I can’t help you. There is nothing I can do for you.

Whilst laying on a death-bed three years ago at Kootenai, I did propose to then-editor Dan Drewry that I might start penning a column about What Went Wrong. It would be an attempt to correct our vision.

Our shared thought was that there are three types of news, and all were wrong, and that you cannot average them. It was that old Einstein thing; you could plant your butt on a flaming-hot stove, and stick your feet into a bucket of ice. On average, you’re comfortable. So much for averaging.

Seemed like a good idea, if you’ve sucked enough morphine and oxygen, to just try to get to the bottom of things. Our deal was, he kicked down a gallon of maple syrup every year from his family’s farm, and I would write as I pleased. No editing (save for typos); take it or leave it. Dan, sumbitch that he can be, never broke that contract. (A newspaperman who can keep his word is one worthy of knowing.)

The Haw-haw news you get from KHQ or KXLY or KREM where everybody leaves the news desk giggling, even if a comet bigger than Jupiter just smacked one-fifth of the planet away and knocked it into Outer Space, film at 11. Ha-ha, great weather tomorrow, look at somebody saving this nice cow. Then at 5:30 is the corporate CBS/NC/ABC news, where Scott Pelly repeats what was on Drudge the day before, but with a pro-Obama White House spin.

Then comes 6 p.m. Let us review:

5 p.m. Local Ha-ha news. (That comet will be cute in the night skies. Tee-hee.)

5:30 Network corporate news. (This network is assured by the Administration that no Islamists were involved in this comet attack.)

6 p.m.: Government News (which is PBS). Gwen Ifill declares, “We are screwed.”

I’ll take Gwen over every other hack in this business. And she works for the government news!

Meantime, and to wrap this up: I am not a contributor (for free or compensation) to the local newspaper. If you’ve got a personal problem, better buy an ad.

That is the new business model for newspapers, and it works. Every competitive newspaper I’ve ever fought for has failed. Salem, Seattle, Anchorage, Wallace, and a few others. There is honour in losing a good fight. Suck up to the advertisers, spin their thing, tell your staff that the price of Jet-A is just too much and he cannot afford to give you a Christmas turkey, and you might win a free boat. Not for this writer.

There are wounded Steelworkers, Iron Workers, hard-rock miners, loggers, beaten-up wives and state-hounded unemployed husbands, and the just-plain-screwed who need newspapers to give them a voice. Whence will their voices come?

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Bond