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Posts published in March 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)

Looking at IACI's self-review (Boise Statesman)
Unusual winters at Yellowstone (Boise Statesman)
No apology from Nuxoll for remarks on Hindus (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Legislators working on more gun legislation (Lewiston Tribune)
Ammo business exec speakers to Lewiston GOP (Lewiston Tribune)
Levies set for four Latah school districts (Moscow News)
Study suggests hot and dry ahead in western US (Moscow News)
Nampa legislators look into urban renewal (Nampa Press Tribune)
CWI starts a law enforcement training program (Nampa Press Tribune)
Constitutional carry bill fails for year (TF Times News)
State council on federal lands possible (TF Times News)

Eugene mental health clinic erred on medication (Eugene Register Guard)
City rules may delay massive downtown complex (Eugene Register Guard)
Wildlife plan not yet complete at Lower Klamath (KF Herald & News)
Atkins named as secretary of state (Medford Tribune)
School tracks in wet areas, may be upgraded (Medford Tribune)
State debating GMO rules (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hermiston considers electricity rate increase (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Kitzhaber seeks to keeo emails private (Portland Oregonian)
About Nestle pursuit of Gorge water (Portland Oregonian)
Huckestein named permanent Chemeketa president (Salem Statesman Journal)

30 acres of shellfish shore restored (Bremerton Sun)
Local housing agency leader retires (Bremerton Sun)
New Monroe school superintendent named (Everett Herald)
Body cams coming for Columbia Co cops (Longview News)
North Bonneville plans to open city pot shop (Tacoma News Tribune, Longview News)
Businesses optimistic about economy (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman)
Whaling by Makah could return (Seattle Times)
Idaho senator won't apologize over Hindu comment (Spokane Spokesman)
Gun activist rally held at federal building (Spokane Spokesman)
GOP rejects plans for oil-safety bill (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima manager doesn't win Arizona job (Yakima Herald Republic)

On tiered licensing

manning TRAVIS


The big hand of government is heavy. Right now, Idaho lawmakers are attempting to swipe local control from Idaho’s school districts and charters with House Bill 222, the career ladder and tiered licensure plan.

With only a couple weeks left, lawmakers finally decided to bring out this 33-page behemoth of a bill. Lawmakers got sidetracked this session with the Idaho Education Network debacle so put off dealing with this controversial legislation until now.

Idaho legislators are fond of railing against the federal government, demanding that Idaho have control of its own destiny, from healthcare to wilderness, environmental policy to education. Ironically, state lawmakers then hamstring local municipalities.

Gov. Otter and legislative leaders have touted the need to attract and retain high quality teachers in Idaho, but House Bill 222 doesn’t do that. This plan barely moves the needle in terms of attracting teachers because of all the heavy handed mandates couched in this proposal.

Teachers entering the education field have plummeted the past five years. Some districts have resorted to head-hunting organizations like Teach For America because they are desperate to hire for hard-to-fill positions. Provisional certification can be given to someone with a degree who wants to try out teaching, but it’s with little support. Districts are hiring hundreds of student teachers under emergency licenses because they have no other options.

And the big hand of government is trying to help fix the problem? I say, get out of the way and let’s have an open and honest conversation about political agendas getting ahead of truly improving Idaho’s public schools.

HB 222 makes teachers accountable for conditions over which they have little or no control. It is entirely unfair to connect a majority of student test scores to teachers, when there are so many factors that influence a child. Teachers are not afraid of accountability, but tying student test scores to teacher pay is flat out unethical.

There is nothing in the state Constitution about adequate tax breaks for corporations. Just ask IACI President Alex LaBeau, who’s recent email rant against teachers reveals a corporate entitlement attitude all too prevalent here in Idaho.

Disturbingly, the tiered licensure plan being pushed by the Idaho House was sold to the Governor’s taskforce on education last year with misleading data released from the Idaho State Department of Education. Department data only included white students. When comparing Idaho to other states with similar demographics, and excluding Idaho’s nearly 20 percent minority student population, it made Idaho’s data look bad. (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)

IACI suspends president, re-evaluates after email (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
Boise considers homelessness, may consider SLC (Boise Statesman)
Batt, Andrus sue on nuclear waste (Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Clearwater Paper president will retire (Lewiston Tribune)
Gritman hospital buys more property (Moscow News)
Canyon complaints rise over Deer Flat (Nampa Press Tribune)
Kimberly, Nuhl plan recreation districts (TF Times News)
SkyWest brings on a third flight to TF (TF Times News)

Eugene seeks to block Uber over safety issues (Eugene Register Guard)
Trustees approve tuition raise at UO (Eugene Register Guard)
KF gets new police chief (KF Herald & News)
Experts predicting big fires this summer (Medford Tribune)
Ashland schools reconsider transfer agreements (Medford Tribune)
Brown prepares to sign motor voter bill (Portland Oregonian, Medford Tribune)
Oregon COO Jordan quits (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesan Journal, Pendleton E Oregonian)

Inslee talks carbon tax at WWU (Bellingham Herald)
Last run of the USS Ranger (Bremerton Sun)
Everett council member named in juvenile lockup report (Everett Herald)
Oso mudslide legislation still moves ahead (Everett Herald)
Looking at rise in gas prices (Longview News)
Port of Kalama park construction underway (Longview News)
Ilwaco boat yard picks up business from Astoria (Longview News)
North Bonneville city opens pot shop (Seattle Times)
Microsoft tries selling smart phone overseas (Seattle Times)
Idaho Medicaid wants $250k from clinic (Spokane Spokesman)
Early Spokane charter schools filling (Spokesman Spokesman)
Tacoma housing market heats up again (Tacoma News Tribune)
New CEO Patel takes over at Franciscan (Tacoma News Tribune)
Job market holding strong (Vancouver Columbian)




T.S. Elliot, the great English poet, said in his epic The Waste Land, that April is the cruelest month. Being born in April, I have to wonder if he was right about that. March strikes me as crueler.

(A caveat to March. It was the month my wonderful mother was born until a few Octobers ago took her away from me.)

But March this year also marks the sixth month I have been banished from publishing in Hagadonia, even for free. I wrote for free, for years, just to give a voice to the miners up here – men and women too exhausted at the end of a long shift to put words to paper, but articulate nevertheless. All I did was take notes.

The miners and timbermen create the fat-cat economy people in Coeur d'Alene and Spokane and Seattle and Missoula enjoy. Burn up the saw-mills, pull down the headframes, your need to drive metal cars and live in wood houses prevails.

Coeur d'Alene offends me.

Rather than restore the fine old steamships that used to ply the lake, they burned them to the Plimsols and let them sink, to much hurrah. Louise Shadduck, a dearly-departed friend, wept. When Hagadonia acquired the Elizabeth, New Jersey, Daily Journal, one of its first moves was to haul 200 years' worth of newspaper archives to the garbage dump. This action against New Jersey's oldest newspaper led to a strike nobody wanted. I was there.

Whither history, then? From where comes the voice of the working man making history right now? Or is the working class beneath and above them an embarrassment to the putters at the Coeur d'Alene Resort?

On to my dearly-departed Mother. Patty was her name. She was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, but as a kid all I knew was that she could stuff 50 kids into a 1955 station wagon and take us anywhere. She was a community organizer in the real, not presidential sense. She led me to believe that reading good books was the best thing I could do, and she helped me through the flash-cards we had to do for arithmetic.

Mom hosted a University Women's meeting every Wednesday at our house on Vancouver Island, and I would sneak down the stairs to listen to these elegant ladies discuss nuclear disarmament, Nevil Shute's “On the Beach,” Ike's deals with Tito and Kru. Mom turned me on to writers like Norman Maclean. She never quit giving.

We talked every week, up until the time she died. Her ending is too horrible to write about. Imagine a great big beached fish, flopping about on a hospital bed, unaware, and having to pull the plugs out of your best friend.

She gave me a love of literature, from sitting on her lap and reading Dickens, to some great authors and poets in later years that she sent me.

Enough of that. I am crying. And enough of Hagadonia. They wouldn't get it.

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 dean of students at UI resigns (Boise Statesman)
Corps engineer takes new look at Snake dam breaching (Boise Statesman)
Legislatue trims its to-do list (TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Teacher pay increase considered by legislature (Lewiston Tribune)
Judge may bear down on Syringa case (Moscow News)
Rail lines near Pullman may be abaondoned (Moscow News)
Early planting begins in Magic Valley (TF Times News)

Center for mentally ill will close (Eugene Register Guard)
Green fuel bill clears legislature (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, Pendleeton E Oregonian)
What will Congress do with Klamath settlement? (KF Herald & News)
President of KCC receives pay raise (KF Herald & News)
Supreme Court case won't affect OR health rates (KF Herald & News)
Gas prices continue rise (Medford Tribune)
Blue Mountain college bond goes public (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Brown calls for inquiry of energy tax credits (Portland Oregonian)
Chief Joseph, Duniway headed to US Capitol (Salem Statesman Journal)

Reviewing effects of Supreme Court on health care (Bremerton Sun)
Olympic park seeks funds for road repair (Bremerton Sun)
Olympia city changes committee makeup, mayor role (Olympian)
Lanslides an ongoing problem near Port Angeles (Port Angeles News)
Port Angeles bans fireworks (Port Angeles News)
New Seattle city district plan yields more candidates (Seattle Times)
Medical school measure pursued at Olympia (Spokane Spokesman)
New traffic cams spotted near schools (Spokane Spokesman)
City of North Bonneville may open public pot shop (Vancouver Columbian)
Slow development on BPA power line (Vancouver Columbian)

The Hindu prayer

frazier DAVID


Looks like the Ada County Highway District isn’t the only governmental body making headlines based on religious prayer to open meetings.

With its history of accepting free trips to Turkey from the Islamic-based Gulen Society, it is no surprise the Idaho Senate is set to open its Tuesday session with a Hindu Mantra–according to a press release we received from Rajan Zed who bills himself as “President of Universal Society of Hinduism.”

We assume the release is legit since it included the image of Zed and appeared to come from him. When we did some additional research (Google), it looked like he has enjoyed a vast amount of prior publicity forcing legislative bodies to hear his Hindu invocation. Most notable was on July 12, 2007, when he appeared at the United States Senate as its guest Chaplain to the dismay of some Christians who were arrested. (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)

At Senate's Hindu prayer, partial GOP walkout (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
UI student dean resigns after 2 months (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Washington may raise minimum wage to $12 (Lewiston Tribune)
Boater say 'poison pill' in Deer Flat plan (Nampa Press Tribune)
Little action on road funding legislation (Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho may get March presidential primary (TF Times News)
Should state try to recoup IEN payments? (TF Times News)

Oil pipeline protest at Eugene brings artists (Eugene Register Guard)
Bill would let workers discuss salaries (Eugene Register Guard)
'In God We Trust' motto opponent gets death threat (KF Herald & News)
Gold Hill city hall cameras watching employees (Medford Tribune)
Aryan gang may get plea agreement (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Why gas prices rose so fast lately (Portand Oregonian)
Unemployment rate falls again to 6.3% (Salem Statesman Journal)

Very low snowpack around Washington (Bellingham Herald)
Adele Ferguson of Bremerton Sun dies (Bremerton Sun)
House votes for $12 minimum wage bill (Spokane Spokedsman, Vancouver Columbian, Bremerton Sun, Olympian)
Flu kills 9 people in Snohomish (Everett Herald)
Big pay boost for Lacey manager (Olympian)
Local lawmakers oppose gas tax (Port Angeles News)
Moneytree pushes to weaken state loaning laws (Seattle Times)
Why gas prices rose so fast lately (Tacoma News Tribune)
Plans for five waterfront blocks released (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima Clerk, commissioners battle rages (Yakima Herald Republic)

At the Benewah County Lincoln Day

carlson CHRIS


My Democratic sympathies are well known, so there was more than an eyebrow or two that arched up when I walked into the St. Maries Elk Club last Saturday, plopped my $10 down for the chili luncheon fare, and took a seat.

While some were surprised, they were no more surprised than I at the warm greetings I received. County GOP chair, former State Representative Dick Harwood, was his usual gracious self. I’ve known Harwood for years. While we seldom agree on much, we respect each others right to hold differing views and we keep our sense of humor.

Likewise, St. Maries City Councilman Judd Wilson, though a Tea Party Republican, is a good friend and we enjoy debating the issues and exchange book recommendations. Wilson knows I have a soft spot for Marines inasmuch as my son, Scott, is currently a captain in the Corps. Wilson is a retired USMC officer though he’d be quick to tell you that once a Marine, always a Marine.

I also enjoyed meeting the State GOP’s Second Vice Chair, Jim Pierce, who walked over and introduced himself. Said he was a fourth generation Idahoan who enjoyed my columns, though he seldom agreed with their point.

I said that wasn’t a bother. My purpose was achieved if I provoked a reader to see things from a different perspective and to revisit an isssue.

I came to listen to what Senator Mike Crapo had to say about current debates in Washington, D.C. I like Mike Crapo. He is thoughtful, intelligent and articulate. I have long admired the courage he showed when sitting on the Simpson/Bowles Coimmission that President Obama largely named to look at the catastrophic escalation of the national debt and recommend some tough castor oil.

President Obama began to lose me when he did not endorse the tough set of spending cuts, some new taxes and some genuine reforms to get us back on the path to fiscal sanity and balanced budgets. Crapo stood out in forthrightly defending the Commission’s work.

All that said, I was surprised by the Senator’s remarks. Frankly, he just tossed out “red meat” one-liners to his conservative audience. It was political cant, posturing and patronizing. (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)

Statehouse add words protesters arrested (Boise Statesman, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
A court settlement nears for juvenile mental health (Boise Statesman)
Idaho House votes for exam requirement for RU486 (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
UI student dean resigns (Moscow News)
Downtown Caldwell envisions plaza (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa council approves new St Al hospital (Nampa Press Tribune)
Debate over 'constitutional carry'? (Pocatello Journal)

Lawsuits suggest Astoria port is a troubled place (Astorian)
Warrenton consider pot future (Astorian)
Mass vaccinations at UO (Eugene Register Guard)
Finalists names for Eugene school superintendet (Eugene Register Guard)
Snowpack down to record lows (KF Herald & News)
Could Medford pot moratorium help black market? (Medford Tribune)
Josephine Co considers $4m unpaid PERS bill (Medford Tribune)
Pendleton considers major water rate hikes (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Legislators consider tax break for data centers (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Reviewing state legal costs in Kitzhaber case (Portland Oregonian)
State parks looking for rehab, not additions (Salem Statesman Journal)
State law would offer chemical regulation (Salem Statesman Journal)

Inslee talks about cost of college at WWU (Bellingham Herald)
State Senate, House conflict on labor bills (Bellingham Herald)
Senate approves transit legislation (Spokane Spokesman, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Bellingham Herald, Olympian, Bremerton Sun, Longview News)
State DNR rejects Navy training plan (Bremerton Sun)
Airlines planning under way at Paine Field (Everett Herald)
Owen kills 2/3 rule for Senate tax bills (Tacoma News Tribune, Yakima Herald Republic, Olympian, Longview News)
Simpson lumber sale led to layoffs (Longview News)
Clallam County looks at economic development money (Port Angeles News)
Pierce county sues to stop lawsuit over building (Tacoma News Tribune)
Oil trains could expand massively in Washington (Vancouver Columbian)
Motor oil spills into Sunnyside waterways (Yakima Herald Republic)