Saturday, March 31, 2007

Your Reporter Speaks

Throughout the two plus years that I have written Bay Views, I have posted around 300 times. The rascal that started me up this slippery slope? Dave Oliveria, Associate Editor of the Spokesman-Review, and moderator of the Zoo called Huckleberries. His encouragement and assistance has led me to a dream that I have harbored. A dream that I could realize by writing professionally.

I would like to say that great minds at the S/R insisted that I step up and become a star in their galaxy. Unfortunately I can't. What did happen was that my Thursday Morning paper included a new section called "Your Voice." Noticing that Bayview had been left out of the lineup of writers, I called the ringmaster of this circus, Tad Brooks.

Explaining why the S/R couldn't possibly survive without Bay Views, or for that matter, without me, Tad explored my qualifications. Ahem! They don't want a column written by an old fool that has opinions that haven't even been used yet. Tad wanted news, events and human interest stories about my community. Fortunately, a few friends stepped up, lied successfully, and got me the gig.

Starting Thursday, April 5, Bay Views will debut in print. No secret is safe now, since Bayview has it's very own tattletale. To crank out the most immediate events, we only have to go as far as Easter Weekend.

We have eggs. Lots of eggs. Saturday, April 7, egg hunts will kick off with 4 and under ages hustling around the grounds of the Captain's Wheel between 12:30-12:45, followed by the 5-8 year olds at Terry's Cafe from 12:45-1:00 and then on to the veterans. The 9-12 year olds will play lawn hockey from 1:00 to 1:15 or until all the eggs are gone, at the Boileau's R.V. park.

Easter Sunday,will find a Champagne Brunch at the Captains Wheel from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, prepared by the unbelievable Davena, assisted by Yours Truly.

We will for now, publish twice monthly, possibly increasing to weekly as the Summer activities progress. All organizations and groups are encouraged to e-mail me or collar me in Town with news to be disseminated. I'm excited, and I hope that having a community column is just as exciting for you.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Springtime In Bayview

Sunlight sparkles across Scenic Bay. Boats from the various marinas slowly edge toward Hudson Bay Resort, towed by small kicker boats, waiting their turn to be De-Winterized. The quiet is so profound you imagine the sound of fish swimming by. The long Winter wait is over. This resort, owned and operated by the McDonald Family, Features owner Jim McDonald, former State Legislator, and Managed by Son Gary.

The Sun has arrived at last in Bayview. Spring is here and the Village of Bayview readies for the Summer Season. Every year at this time, boat owners from Coeur d'Alene, Spokane and surrounding towns prepare their boats and float homes for the Summer Season to come.

Naval experimental vessels cruise back and forth from the Navy acoustical Research Base at the head of the bay, testing and developing new techniques for quieter, stealthy craft, both submarine and surface types.

Pile drivers and construction crews scurry about at the old Bayview Marina as new owners tear down and rebuild the docks and shoreline. The Buttonhook Restaurant has recently re-opened for the season, joining JD's, Terry's Cafe, a breakfast lunch establishment and The Captains Wheel Restaurant,Operated by Michael McFarland, former Kootenai County Commissioner, Bayview's only year round dinner house and Lounge.

Scenic Bay Marina, on the North side of the bay teams with activity, in the constant battle with nature, rebuilding and replacing older docks. The Bitter End Marina, catering to sailboats occupies the eastern most position with hundreds of sail craft of all sizes. This marina is owned and operated by Dick and Shirley Hanson. Dick is a former Idaho Fish & Game Commissioner. They also host a bed and breakfast, Dromore Manor.

Vista Bay Marina which sits at the extreme Southeast corner of the bay, features moorage, and a lodge which has morphed into a bar with light snacks, complimenting the dock and boater shower facilities.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tradgedy Strikes

An Icon has fallen. One of the eight wonders of the world is no more. No, the Eiffel Tower is still there. Taj Mahal is still with us too. This is more serious. An American West tradition as old as, well ... Cowboys, Homesteaders, Railroad workers, is gone.

It was reported yesterday, that the individual that bought the Mustang Ranch, in Nevada, couldn't make a go of it. He gave it to the Fire Department to practice with.
It burned to the ground, along with the culture, the tradition and the Social Benefits that went with it.

Nothing is sacred anymore. People are buying old churches, making apartments out of them, politicians are struggling to stay out of jail, (a development that never has been a problem in the past) Government Officials are being called to task for, (ahem) lying to us.

While volcanoes and earthquakes circle the Earth, famine, pestilence (God I wish I cud spel) are still abounding, tradition is lost. Chris, Bartender at the Wheel, who has his tip jar inscribed, "Mustang Ranch Hooker Fund",has to find a new gig.

What has this World come to, anyway. Nothing that was sacred back when I was young is around anymore. Well, maybe corruption. That is still around ... I grieve ...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Letter to Newspaper Editors

Alas, my Curmudgeon side has arisen. My fangs are showing. I am finally rebelling against the tyranny of the newspaper trade. After spending my entire Sunday Morning reading the Spokesman-Review, I have decided to fight back.

In this era of reduced readership, they still don't get it. Marketing is what it's all about. No, not producing more ads. That is part of the problem, but I'll get to that later. There are two issues in selling. One is content. The other is style. Wait! there is a third one that relates to readership. It for my purposes will be called "User Friendly."

While I sometimes have a problem with content, that is a subjective argument which isn't part of my bitch here. Our paper, and most others, as taught in all of the great schools of journalism teaches several annoying things.

The first and perhaps the worst sin is the "jump." For those of you not steeped in the hoary traditions of the trade, this is where a story starts out in a promenent position, usually the front page, teases you a little, then continues on an obscure later page, not only hard to find, but not even on an opposing page. This requires, then, either a Wilt Chamberlain reach, or you have to try to fold the paper back.

Folding the paper is an exercise requiring the utmost patience. I do not always possess this desirable trait. Since recycled paper was put into use, folding a page back has become an adventure. After exercising the tricky whip motion three times, I usually just rip hell out of the paper until what I want appears. Sometimes that never happens, since in my fury, it has degenerated into confetti which then requires even more effort.

People, if you are trying to keep me as a print customer, you have to make it easy to read, not harder. Example: Page one story jumps to page six. If it had jumped to seven, at the very least, the story would have faced me, not requiring the aforementioned fold back. How about the back page, which would have been easier. Oh, can't do that. You sold me out for the extra money earned from an advertiser for NOT burying their ad.

Comic section. While I read every section (except ads) in the paper, I savor the comics for a chuckle or two which offsets some of the hostility you have created in the previous ones. Wait!The front page of this section is obscured by an obnoxious half page ad, over lapping it. Not only is it overlapping, but it is attached to the right hand edge causing more effort. This is by this Curmudgeon, considered an unfriendly act. I do have to lose 10 or 15 pounds, but if you think for a minute that I'm going to do business with these creepos after pissing me off with their foldout, forget it.

O.K., I understand your point. Advertisers are what makes the wheels turn. Wrong!

Readers do. Why? Because it is always about circulation numbers. You lose reader, thence circulation, thence advertisers. You want to sell papers? Try selling them to us, not them. Advertisers follow the money, not the style. Say no to them a few times, increase readership and they will come to you anyway.

To finish this lengthy diatribe, If you are a company that is sponsoring a football game, you sell the product, ergo a winning team, not the ads that follow. As always, I'm surprised I had to say these things. It appeared obvious to me.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Getting Old

I have been deluding myself that I am middle age for several years now. Alas, today is my Sixty-Ninth birthday. I figure next year when I turn seventy I will no longer be able to deny that I am old. On the other hand, getting old is better than the alternative.

Went to the VA yesterday and all good indications. PSA coming back down, all other tests in the green. They claim I'll be a burden on them for some time to come, which is good news for me.

Hopefully, I will have an interactive 69th Birthday Party, but prospects are looking dim at this time. Well, It's Potato Salad Day at the Wheel, so I gotta go.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Conflicts of Interest

Since my post on "Conflicts of Interest," I have read Planning and Zoning's Cherie Howell's post in rebuttal.

In no way was I insinuating that either Rand Wichman or Jan Gera have anything but the highest moral standards.

What I AM saying is when a regulator quits and immediately goes to work for the regulated, it opens the door for suspicions as to when that person actually started advocating for the new employer. Before, or after they left the job at Kootenai County.

This lends a negative to the appearance of objectivity, if not the reality.

A person of high position at the Boeing Company went to jail for helping Boeing while still an employee of the Defense Department. That was called corruption.

The United States Government has a law called "the ethics in government act of 1978." This act prohibits any federal employee from representing anyone that was previously subject to that person's authority, for a period of two years. That law was for the purpose of preventing an employee from influencing contracts and such while sill in a position of authority with the government.

It apparently was feared that folks in Government would lay the groundwork for the future job by doing favors while still employed with the government.(Hat tip to Bill McCrory for the details.)

I regret that I had to spell this out. I thought it was obvious.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Are County Officials For Sale?

Rumors floating around that Bob Holland, Owner of Waterford Park,LLC has Rand Wichman as a consultant. Rand, after leaving his Planning Directorship, has popped up as a consultant for most of the high profile developments in the area lately.

Following in his footsteps, it appears that Jan Gera, Senior Secretary for the department has recently accepted a position with Gozzer Ranch. One can only wonder how long it will take before this one will be seen speeding along knocking off fishermen with huge wakes this Summer. Maybe she was hired to teach the employees good manners, hmmm?

Wealthy developers are apparently hedging their bets with the hiring away of Planning and Building Department employees, in an apparent attempt to have "insider" advocates on the payroll. Maybe it is time for Kootenai County to adopt a law similar to Federal Employees regarding a two year wait for employment before going to work for an industry that one previously regulated.

In another development, it appears that Commissioner Todd Tondee has hit the ground running. He is the Commissioner delegated to the day to day supervision of P & Z. Some department employees think he is doing a great job.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Great Drainage ... Death Trap

I tried to upload a picture, but my electronic disability prevented it. So, picture if you will a drainage swale. You know, the huge wide ditches along side our principle highways. Since I live in Bayview, Idaho, I will use US Highway 95 as my example.

You can always tell what a drainage swale by the crosses that are erected in monument to those that died there. In the infinite wisdom of our bureaucracy,These deep wide ditches are shaped just right for rolling a car over when it goes off the pavement.

80 per cent or more of our highway traffic deaths result from these high speed rollovers. It would appear that good drainage rules are set by a different bureaucracy than that which sets traffic safety rules. As a result, many motorists die that didn't have to.

In years past, guard rails were installed to keep us between the trees and on the pavement. None exist anywhere along this highway. Just the clusters of crosses to remind us of the unnecessary loss of life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spokane River

This is my second in a series of comments that shoot holes into the commonly accepted falsehoods generated by public institutions and the media. For instance, the term "Heavy Metals" is one that rolls right off the tongue without another thought. That in my opinion is the problem. Too much knee-jerk, not enough facts.

In my previous rant, I pointed out the millions of years of erosion that took place to form the Silver Valley. Erosion that uncovered vast amount of yes, heavy metals. Let's examine the term "Heavy Metals." For the purpose of this argument I will define it as being more dense than surrounding environment. Heavier than water? It sinks to the bottom. Heavier than the sand and gravel on the bottom? it sinks to bedrock.

Back to the Spokane River. Fishermen are warned not to eat the fish that are caught in the river due to pollution. Fishermen in Lake Coeur d'Alene are not. What really is screwing up the river, is industrial and sewage pollution.

First and foremost is the amounts of PCB's in the river. Although minute amounts can be found in old electronic equipment, the primary source appears to be old electrical transformers. These discarded transformers, or their previous contents, were dumped by our local electrical utilities.

Secondly, the increased amounts of treated sewage, (and untreated as well) is overcoming the river's ability to absorb and as a result is causing large algae blooms to occur in slack water. If we don't find a better way to disburse our sewage, we will find ourselves in a losing cycle that will eventually lead to serious problems

New technology is needed for the treatment and discharge of sewage. Those pipes that allow industrial sewage of unknown content must be immediately plugged at their outlets. We can win this war against water pollution, but not without first addressing the problem and finding new solutions.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Nasty Neighbors

I'm going to do a series of opinion pieces regarding clean water. This is the first.

Constant criticism emanating from Spokane regarding the legacy of pollution from the Silver Valley finally got to me. As generations of people, both political and of the media die and others take their place, history becomes revised. Why? Because nothing to this generation is newsworthy unless they can touch it, feel it and taste it.

I call it generational blindness. Few today realize that Spokane would be about the size of Ritzville were it not for the mines in the Silver Valley. The forefathers that built the city and surrounding areas Owned the mines that were blamed for eventually polluted the Spokane River. Most of the wealth in all surrounding areas came from the riches of the mining district.

God. Yes God created more pollution from the Mountains surrounding the mining district than did miners. As nature cut channels for the areas rivers, rock containing all of the minerals found in the area was ground to dust, thence floated down the river.

We speak of heavy metals. Aptly named. You see things that are heavy don't float. These heavy minerals such as gold, silver, lead, etc. that are too dense/heavy to float. What they do, is that when flooding occurs, the gravels and sand that contain them edge down stream very gradually.

Thousands of years after these elements are deposited in water, they eventually reached the glacial lake called Coeur d'Alene. A few more thousands of years, along the natural channel of the river, they edged closer, then finally flowed either over the falls at Post falls or settled out in the bed of the lake.

A few hundred years of flooding in the Spokane River leached some of these minerals on down the river for people centuries later to blame on others. Heavy minerals when later discovered and mined were of value. While some escaped, the purpose of the mining and milling was to capture these elements, not to allow them to escape down stream where they could then again be blamed on reckless Mining Robber Barons.

Try throwing a rock into the River at Enaville. Then imagine how long it will take to reach Post Falls, if ever. That rock is lighter by many times than Lead.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stereotypes Shattered

My stereotype of a State worker is, you know,One guy in the hole shoveling, two guys standing above the hole leaning on shovels, and the fourth with a clipboard.

No longer. This early afternoon, traveling south on Highway 95, after leaving the 45 MPH zone at Athol, things changed. As I sped up to 65 and maybe just a little more, I came to one of the seldom seen passing opportunities. Four lanes.

Going by me like a jet, was a state car. I was curious. Are they immune from traffic stops? This was a car with State of Idaho Industrial Commission. License number X3695.

I decided to speed up and see how fast she was going. When she hit 80, I backed off and wondered.

Was she hustling back to town to report she saw a recipient walking out to get his paper? Needed speed to cancel this malingering person from benefits? Actually, given the time and the fact that it was a State of Idaho car, I came up with the answer.

She was late going to lunch. An emergency requiring great haste, regardless of the endangered public. Oh well, back to the Stereotype again.

An Alternative Viewpoint

The early morning arrest Saturday, of State Probation Officer David Williams for Stalking his paper carrier wife this morning is very disturbing. One, it is not polite to hassle a woman just because she has left you.

Allegedly, however, some reports have the motive for this crime different than that which has been reported in the Spokesman-Review. This observer believes that he was merely trying to point out to the Coeur d'Alene Press Carrier that she was shaming herself by delivering an inferior, flawed product to the unsuspecting public.

Where the snoozepaper has three pages dedicated to news, sports and business, total, the rest is help wanted and other ads. It is now believed that this misguided fellow was just trying to do a public service in getting the Rag off the streets.

It has been further rumored that he was carrying a load of fish, so that the use of the delivery wouldn't be completely wasted.

At this point,however, we are hesitant to congratulate him for his humanitarian act, since of course he did allegedly harass the woman, depriving her of freedom not to associate.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Open Letter: To The Idaho Legislature

Currently, HB 201 is before the House in committee. I am a Senior Citizen with a limited income, as many other Mobile Home dwellers are.

Unlike many of the larger populated areas and inner cities, We here in Idaho pride ourselves on self sufficiency. While many working poor and retirees live in Mobile Homes, many of us are being booted out of parks that have been sold to speculators for the purpose of building Condo and such.

Currently, here in Kootenai County, we are sent tax bills for a value that doesn't exist. Why? Because if we are required to vacate our Mobile Home Parks, we are compelled to destroy them because some do not meet current code and can't legally be moved.

This essentially is a form of confiscation. While many people live in what some would be unacceptable housing, we are warm, dry, have indoor plumbing and electricity. Unlike our city Cousins, we don't want your low-income welfare citizen subsidized apartments. We just want to be left alone to survive by our abilities and needs and without your help.

All you have to do is remove the restrictions on moving an older mobile home from a dispossessed position to another where we are welcome. People that live in fifty year old houses are left in peace, why not us.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Outsiders, Git!

Recently, the Americans For Church & State Separation, led by Legal Director, Ayesha Khan, (now THATS a real Amuricun sounding name) butted in to what in my estimation is a problem that we can handle right here at home, thank you.

This Mongol/American thinks that he can save us from ourselves. Hey, Dude, we can handle our own quarrels without help from Washington, DC.

There are several folks here in North Idaho that believe there is a problem with the City of Coeur d'Alene partially funding a Salvation Army Community Center. We can work it out without your help. Raising the question is not objectionable to people that want to protect our laws from being later declared unconstitutional.

Please crawl back into the hole that you emerged from. We don't need Genghis, Kublai or Ayesha Khan to mediate.