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Posts published in January 2015

Children and guns

carlson CHRIS


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. (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)

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)

On indiscriminate hero worship

harris ROBERT


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. (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 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)

Video: Rifles in Idaho

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)

Not any more



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?

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)

Goedde asked to help with school broadband issues (Boise Statesman)
Raybould takes over as resources chair (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Most of Idaho's statewides sworn in Monday (Boise Statesman)
Attempt to block dredging on lower Snake rejected (Lewiston Tribune)
Heavy storming in western Washington (Lewiston Tribune)
New Moscow council member sworn in (Moscow News)
Designer picked for Midway Park sports complex (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pine Ridge Mall loses three retail tenants (Pocatello Journal)
State proposes 3% pay raises for state workers (TF Times News)
TF power outage hits hospital (TF Times News)

City councils reschedule over UO national game (Eugene Register Guard)
New Klamath Co officials sworn in (KF Herald & News)
Klamath air quality in recent decline (KF Herald & News)
Mt Ashland ski area closes over lack of snow (Medford Tribune)
Army may want to keep chemical depot property (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pilot Rock police chief resigns (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Fritz reejcts proposed Portland transportation fee (Portland Oregonian)
State might allow industrial hemp planting (Portland Oregonian)
Salem reviews health of its older white oaks (Salem Statesman Journal)

USS Nimitz arrives for 16-month stay (Bremerton Sun)
Historic ship Kalakala will be scrapped (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Bremerton Sun, Port Angeles News)
Heavy rains in western Washington (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Olympian, Longview News)
Young Washington voters didn't vote (Longview News)
Council member Selby runs for Olympia mayor (Olympian)
Only modest tax revenue from pot so far (Port Angeles News)
New city immigration law leads to council protest (Spokane Spokesman)
Battle over running US 95 on Paradise Ridge (Spokane Spokesman)
Clark College student cite parking problems (Vancouver Columbian)

Who would be #2?

carlson CHRIS


Alright, political sports fans; since Lt. Governor Brad Little opened this parlor game of “What If . . .” by talking with the Spokesman Review’s Boise correspondent, Betsy Russell, a bit too candidly about how well prepared he is to step up, lets take the game a bit further.

Let’s play who would be Brad’s choice to be his number two? After all, it is possible that Governor Otter could step down mid-way through his third term to give Brad a running start. If he does, Brad can select his own number two subject only to State Senate confirmation

It’s hard to imagine any governor voluntarily quitting two years ahead of time. Has it happened? Sure, but not in Idaho. If Republicans recapture the presidency in 2016, and Butch is asked by the third Bush president to serve in his cabinet, Butch could not say no (David Leroy, the Bush family’s “man on the scene” would have to also bless).

So Brad, could, like John Evans before him, become Governor without having to step on lots of toes. And, heaven forbid, Otter could die in office, and Brad could ascend by that route.

Now the fun begins. There’d be lots of rhetoric about politics having nothing to do with it, that Brad is simply seeking the best person. Pure poppycock. Politics will have everything to do with it and you can bet Brad will have a poll to help him decide.

Allow me to help, Governor Little, and . toss out a few names that should be on your list:

#1. State Senator Shawn Keough (R-Sandpoint). The well-liked executive director of the Associated Logging Contractors of Idaho, was just elected to her tenth term. She’s overcome two vicious Tea Party challenges and is a moderate, pro-education Republican. She is co-chair of the powerful Joint Finance Appropriation committtee.

Senator Keough knows the budget and is more than qualified. And it appears she is the best chance for a woman to break the glass ceiling in Idaho bystepping up from lieutenant governor should Brad also be asked to serve in a Republican Administration.

#2. House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley). Has done a solid job as Speaker and has adroitly handled the Tea Party types. Smart, does his homework and knows how to lead. Only drawback is he and Brad are a lot alike.

#3. State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls). Smart, tough, caring, a true “compassionate conservative” who could handle any challenge he faces. His and his wife’s appearing before the Idaho Parole Board to speak on behalf of parole for the man who had murdered their son because they were convinced there was true remorse will always stand out as an incredible act reflecting their deeply held faith. (more…)

In the Briefings

On Schweitzer Mountain, near Sandpoint, on January 1. It is one of the ski areas open around Idaho. (photo/Schweitzer Mountain Resort)


You may notice a few changes, mostly small but some larger, in this edition of the Briefing, the first of 2015. Some of the type fonts have changed (to a new one called “Droid,” which was specially designed to be easily read on electronic documents), and we are developing a few new small features. More will emerge in the next few weeks. The old familiars from last year will, of course, be back.

For Washington and Idaho, next week's editions will likely be legislature-heavy, as those states' lawmakers come into session. (Oregon is next month.)