Wednesday, November 28, 2007

When Journalists Meet

Today's the day. Taryn Hecker and Meghann Cuniff are heading this way for a beer fest. Hey, these are professional journalists, not pansies. We are going to do our best to scandalize Bayview.

They are, even as we speak, headed this way. No doubt, you are wondering why they would bother to come all this way. Well, aside from being a Babe magnet, I can' think of a single good reason. Anyway, we will get some good pictures, some laughs, and hopefully, a safe return for the ladies. As many of you know, both Meghann & Taryn got caught in the massive lay-off at the Spokesman-Review recently. Black Thursday, we call it. I haven't had the heart to visit the newsroom since. It's almost empty anyway.

I expect both will come up smelling like a rose, since there are very few people that are sharper than these. Any place they end up will be better for having them. They are truly special. (I'll attach a picture when I get one.)

We survived, yes we did. We met a man that fell into the cold waters of Scenic Bay, stayed in the water one and one half hours, and survived. More about that later. I had the distinct pleasure of entertaining Taryn Hecker and her buddy, Meghann Cuniff, both journalists extraordinaire. Did I mention that they are also great companions? We sat around, cut up some, and then hung it up. They also coached me on how to conduct an interview, considering that the almost drowning victim was sitting with us. He may not recover. Anyway, above, some pictures.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Speaking Down

This past week-end, I posted a comment on the Coeur d'Alene Press' blog. My purpose was to suggest that , unlike the column subject by Bob Paulus, The Spokesman-Review is far from dead. In those remarks, I at no time, as the Press attack dogs suggested, attacked Bob Paulus. I did, however, suggest that his premise was incorrect. I might have went just a little further, in suggesting that the Press, while a daily, still has a weekly mentality. I also suggested that I write more neighborhood news, than the entire Press staff. I went on to say that after two pages or so, of local news, mostly that of Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls, everything else comes from the Associated Press. I was accused of being overly proud of myself. Not so, although self assurance is not a sin.

I got no official notice, but, wow, you should have seen the insults come out. Lets see. I am a dishwasher in a bar. (Not a thing wrong with honest work) I'm a Freak. (undefined)

In an attempt to lay rumor to rest I am going to give you all an abbreviated biography. Licensed to sell real estate in the year 1969.

The boom market of 1977-1979 found me transferring from Real Estate Sales to the lending side.
As many of you know, the bottom fell out of the market in 1980. 1983. Back in the business again, this time with Seafirst Mortgage. That gig lasted until B of A took control, and they divested themselves of commissioned Loan Officers. Fall of1986. Founded, along with a partner, Westgate Mortgage Corp, as President and CEO. Spring of 1987, R/E market rates crashed again.

Jumping to 1990. I came back to Coeur d'Alene, a town I left in 1973. Probably before some of my detractors were born, or at least, off their Mom's breast. I wandered for a while, somewhat depressed at my business losses. I drove cab, and yes, occasionally washed dishes, wrote some commercial loans, and wandered up to Bayview, where I still reside.

I retired in 2000. One of the things that constantly ding those of us that are retired, and yes, forgotten, is that we are not quite ready for the rocking chair yet. Staying busy is staying alive. Most folks after 60 are not welcome in the very career fields that we thrived in. Nobody wants someone working for them that might take their job. My last attempt at that resulted in the excited employer telling me," that if everything is alright with my office manager, you are hired." I had thirty years in the industry. She had three. End of story.

I served as * Conductor/Entertainer on the Silverwood Train, cashiered at Wal*Mart. These are hobbies. Avocations, not to be confused with career moves. Retired people do many things to stay busy. I made world class potato salad at the Captain's Wheel Restaurant. not a bar, but a classy place to eat. Sure they have a bar. Name a good restaurant that has survived without serving liquor. When one retires, they tend toward their hobbies. Mine are varied. I'm a high hour private pilot, an amateur cook, a fisherman, and yes, a writer. None of these things are in any way disgraceful or demeaning. They are either physical or mental exercises that apparently not all that read me are familiar with.

To my detractors, I just say this. If you can attain my age, with my accomplishments, and with the friends that I have managed to make, you'll do alright. Remember the old adage:

"It only takes two hands to climb the ladder toward success. Many hands, however, of those that can't keep up, will attempt to pull you back down to their level of incompetence."

*At the insistence of Family Phil, I added the Silverwood gig.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Timberlake Fire District Election

No, Hades hasn’t dropped below freezing, but something almost as unusual has occurred. In an election that was under attended, a write-in candidate for fire commissioner in the Timberlake Fire District brought down the long time incumbent, Bat Masterson.

Jon Guinn, a retired US Air Force officer and long time volunteer fireman and EMT, originally turned in a petition to the Kootenai County Elections Department with ten signatures, five needed for a nomination and a position on the ballot. Five were unregistered and apparently, two lived just outside the district he was running in, thence keeping him off the ballot. Not to be deterred, he launched a write-in campaign, complete with yard signs and web site. Running against a long entrenched commissioner, Bat Masterson, he won going away, with a 190-141 victory.

Asked to what he attributed his amazing feat, he told us that “certainly a low turnout helped a lot, but he also referred to the “closed club” atmosphere with many of the meetings going to executive session, running the public off. Acknowledging that certain issues, such as personnel have to be discussed in private, he went on to claim that open meetings were rare, with two commissioners ruling the roost and the others followers. He went on to say that he wanted fair hiring and firing practices, transparent open meetings, and an end to the” good ‘ol boys” closed atmosphere. Guinn went on to point to one chief and five full-time firefighters being fired in the last two years, with much of the experience going with them.” He reckoned that perhaps two deserved it, and the others didn’t.

The Timberlake Fire District was originally formed with the merging of the Athol and Bayview Fire Departments, back in 2000. Now, only manned at the Athol location, the district has five fire stations, all dormant, except for the Little Blacktail station, built mostly from local funds. Now formed by five commission districts, and five fire stations.

Guinn is fearful that a firefighter might either be seriously injured, or killed by not having a qualified chief to make safety decisions while fighting a house fire. The,” do we enter to rescue a screaming occupant, or is to too late and risky to enter the hypothetical burning building decisions are being made by very inexperienced people.”

Jon Guinn comes from Walla Walla, Washington. He graduated from WSU with a degree in Police Science. Guinn spent over 20 years in the Air Force, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. His Air Force career was spent in Security and investigations. After retirement, he served the US Government as a Consulting contractor for security issues. He claims certification as an EMT, as well as having taken courses in fire investigation. Currently, he is on inactive status, as a volunteer firefighter with the district.

Unable to reach the defeated incumbent, Bat Masterson, we spokes to the president of the board, Sam Scheu. Scheu told us,"We could have done a better job of publicizing the election." He went on to say,"only four percent of the registered voters showed up to vote." When asked about the 23% voter turnout in the areas of the district lying in Bonner County, he suggested that," It could have been from concentrated campaigning. Perhaps we need to find ways to communicate with these folks better." We spoke to Kootenai County Elections Manager, Deedie Beard, who said, "I don't recall in my thirty years in this department, ever seeing a write-in candidate win, although I could have forgotten." She went on to describe the conditions needed for a write-in victory. "A small turnout in a small taxing district would usually be the case."

We spoke off the record to two other members of the Department who wished to remain anonymous. Neither was happy with the results.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I used too think that I was kind of a "gitter done" kind of guy. That was before I got into an on-line discussion of the word progressive, one of my hated words that goes right along with" moving forward," one that irritates Jim Kerchner and others. It started when Dave Oliveria used the word,"progressive," to describe the Coeur d'Alene City Council. Now I'm quite sure that many, if not all of the council members are go gitters, but there has to be some Republicans in the group. I'm left wondering whether they want to be called progressive, since that largely, overused and under-specific term was many years ago, claimed as a synonym for Liberal.

The opposite of progressive, of course, is Regressive. Now, I ask you. How many want to be thought of as regressive? Sounds terrible, doesn't it. Allow me to use an example, or two.

Progressive: A progressive society brought us Heroin, Crack Cocaine and methamphetamine. Starting around the time of the Vietnam war, our progressive society sent thousands to their deaths for what? Two parent homes are the oddity, not the norm, in a progressive society. Property crimes have run rampant, as dopers try to fund their recreational drug habit. Hanging out. Being cool. wearing one's hat backward, drooping pants. (with ass-crack showing) Trying out sex before dating? Progressive.

Regressive: Mom & Pop on an outing with their kids. Their natural kids, not yours and mine. Families sitting down at the dinner table together for dinner. (teens, excepted) Families that could make enough dough with one parent working, so that the other could keep the kids out of jail and reasonably under control. Going to church, worshiping anything other than the pursuit of pleasure? Regressive. Learning as an incentive for future life? Regressive, and ridiculed. Knowledge and the pursuit of? Regressive.

All-in-all, I've decided that I would rather be a Regressive, thank you very much!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bayview Says Goodbye

The following post is published, courtesy of the Spokesman-Review. By Herb Huseland

The year 1958 saw a new trailer park established on Main Street. Bayview Trailer Park, with 32 spaces, served as homes for many over the years, and vacation spots for many others. Possibly one of the last picturesque spots where lower-income people could rub elbows with middle- and upper-income neighbors is fast coming to a close.

Established 49 years ago, this park has long been the center of residential Bayview. While the town stretches west to the Farragut State Park boundary, Bayview Trailer park is smack dab in the middle of town. With the planned construction of condominiums and a two-story parking garage in the works for spring, it doesn't look good for families living west of the park, saving their views of the lake.

A year ago, the trailer park owner sent out notices alerting residents that the park would close on Sept. 30. Although the park was subsequently sold, the new owner opted to stick with the original eviction timetable.

According to published news reports, about a dozen parks have closed in Kootenai County over the past five years, with older mobile home parks being converted to more lucrative uses as commercial properties or higher-end housing.

Only three lonely mobile homes remain at the Bayview Trailer Park as of this writing. One has a tractor attached to it in preparation for exiting. Bare concrete slabs stare up at the sky, seeing daylight for the first time in years. Rubble strewn around the vacant spots tell of hasty removal or abandonment of these older homes, never intended to be moved more than once, yet called mobile homes. Local businesses stand silent, as the former neighbors aren't in line at the Mercantile, or on the next bar stool at JD's or the Captain's Wheel. The trailer park stands gutted, waiting for the inevitable sounds of new construction expected in the spring.

Jack and Charlene Soppit, still packing, operate the liquor store in town. Jack moved to the park 40 years ago. He subsequently married Charlene, and moved her and her daughters into his home. Skip Wilcox, retired from the U.S. Air Force, has been one of the more fortunate ones. He found another place to live. Some of the evicted trailer park residents still haven't. Older or disabled people are still looking for answers that aren't forthcoming.

The Captain's Wheel restaurant is sponsoring a farewell Thanksgiving potluck to say goodbye to friends from the Bayview Trailer Park. Former residents are encouraged to come from wherever they landed, for this, the last hurrah. Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m. Music will be provided by Good & Plenty. Everyone is invited.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Howard Benefit

Terry's Cafe put on a great Mexican dinner, Sunday, as a benefit for the Howard family, stricken with their son, David Howard's recent death in a hunting accident. Around forty dinners were bought, but in many cases, the $7.95 price tag was ignored as most folks dug deeper for what they could give. Terry Shepherd, proprietor of Terry's Cafe, staged a fund raiser for family expenses incurred.

Around $900.00 was collected from raffle, meals and collection jars. Not all has been accounted for, but Terry thought that $900.00 would be a representative figure. Many younger people, friends of the family, and many older members of the community attended. The food was great, but the reason for being there wasn't. The Community, as usual, and Terry in particular, rose to the occasion.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bayview Mailboat

L-R Shirley Williams, Argle Midland, John Thaxter

Several people have asked me to make the unedited version of my story that recently appeared in the Handle Extra, S/R, available. Space restrictions, always in play with a newspaper, cut around 300 words from the history. This is reprinted, courtesy of the Spokesman-Review.

The spirit of the Pony Express is not dead yet. In these modern times, with the internet, E-mail, bill pay on line, some old traditions endure. Bayview, the southern most town on Lake Pend Oreille features a mail boat, one of only three such methods of delivering the mail left in Idaho. We hitched a ride on this boat recently with the current mail man, John Thaxter.

Leaving Bayview at 9:00 am we set out for Lakeview, the once- thriving boom town, now a ghost of it’s former self, but still home to a few hardy souls. There are most always folks on the dock meeting the boat, but the first, always to stick their nose into the mail boat, are one or more of the dogs accompanying their owners. For the entire thirteen years John has run the mail route, dog treats are always presented. We met Rich McKinny, Rob Kilborn, Vicki Growe and of course, a big friendly dog. We met another resident, a part timer, Steve DeHart, who lives in Kodiak, Alaska most of the time. He tells of his son Craig’s birth in Lakeview. It seems that when his wife’s time had come, May 12, 1984, George Johnson, then the mail carrier, toted two midwives over to assist with the birth.

Onward up the lake we went, bypassing Cedar Creek, a regular stop because our mail man knew the only current resident wasn’t home. Pioneers, Jack Needham from Illinois homesteaded in the valley a small distance from the shore. At one time, Cedar Creek was known as Clara. Needham ran a 60-mile long trap line up into the Cabinet Mountains. in the valley he had claimed. More recently, Bayview resident and entrepreneurs, Dick and Shirley Hansen now own what was once the Needham place.

We next stopped at Whiskey Rock, where we were greeted by Argyle Mydland, a seven-year resident and Shirley Williams, having lived there year round for seventeen years. A dog, nosing up to us for the traditional treat was the first to greet us. The one story that stands out is the stranding of Ed Hall on Whiskey Rock. He was picked up finally by the steamer, Mary Moody, arguably the first official mail carrier. Old records indicate that Whiskey Rock got its name back in the 1890's. From 1931 to about 1947, Ed and Lillian Hall operated a resort and bar. Ed would boat over to Bayview in his 28-foot boat which was powered by an aircraft liberty engine, to pick up a dozen or so sailors for fun and frolic at Whiskey Rock. Jim MacDonald, mail boat operator between 1953 and 1965, tells us that Hall would wait until the sailors were broke, then cart them back to Bayview where he picked up another load. Attractions were slot machines and seemingly unlimited supplies of whiskey.
We stopped next at Granite Creek. There we were met by Earl Tacke, the only year round resident. Granite was originally settled by the Charles Schroeder family in 1893. After filling a homestead claim, they bought fifteen heads of cattle, delivered to Granite by barge. He operated a ranch there for many years. Old mine sites and glory holes dot the area. Granite is now home to several families.

On, to the final stop of the mail route, Kilroy. We met Ken Gonzer, Jack Garland and Velda McTighe and of course, another dog, sniffing for a treat. On the way back, we were treated to several stories about the lake and John Thaxter’s experiences. Asked what outstanding experiences he had in the thirteen year he has ran the lake, he told us,” I’ve had about six boat sinking rescues, usually alerted to by Bonner County Rescue, and four medical evacuations.”
Some of the history of mail service on the lake date back to the 1860's. Individuals that were heading up lake from Pend Oreille City,(Buttonhook Bay) would carry mail and goods on the way to their destinations. From 1866 to about 1872, the steamer,”Mary Moody was the official mail carrier, serving the water portion of the mail route from Ft. Walla Walla to Helena, and Ft. Benton, Montana.

From 1938-39, Jack McCollough ran mail between Bayview and the present route with the early inclusion of Pine Cone, no longer in existence, and Cape Horn. Roy Ellis had the route from 1939-42, and following the interruption for WW11, resumed the route in 1946 through 1950.
Danny Knolls carried the mail from 1942-1946, but drown in a storm, of which Lake Pend Oreille is famous. Max Krackenberg cruised the mail from 1950 to 1953 after which Jim MacDonald, owner of MacDonald’s Hudson Bay Resort took over. Jim ran the route from shortly after his parents, bought the resort. MacDonald ran the mail until 1965. It was then called the Star Marine Route. He delivered mail from Bayview to the Navy barge, anchored in Scenic Bay, then Lakeview, Cedar Creek, Cunningham’s Castle, (no longer exists) Whiskey Rock, Granite Creek, Kilroy and Pine Cove, Cape Horn, before the road was built and back to Bayview.

1965-78 was handled by Hugh Davis, a native of Arkansas. In 1965, he and his wife moved to Bayview, after running boats in Alaska. During the thirteen years he carried the mail he missed only two days. George and Darlene Johnston carried the mail from 1978-1991. Darlene would carry the mail during Summer and George during the Winter. Tragedy struck when Darlene was running one day in 1982. Just after gassing up at Boileau’s, and carrying a young man as passenger, the boat caught fire and sank. The passenger, 16 year old Joe Dory didn’t swim, nor did Darlene. Dory made it to shore. Darlene drown, after throwing the mail sacks overboard. Boyd Westphal ran the route 1991-93. John Thaxter, the present mail carrier and our host, runs the lake six days a week, through rain, snow, fog , well, everything but famine and pestilence.

Source: Historical data obtained, courtesy of Linda Hackbarth, Bayview Historian.
Without Linda, this story would have been the worse for lack of info ...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Don't screw with an Angry Woman

It turns out that a 28 year old woman, having a tiff with her husband, set his buffalo head on fire, in a wifely rage. The Buffalo head, not his. She was charged with arson. I haven't the technical knowledge of how to transfer her image to this blog, except to say that she is a 10.

We, here at Bayviews, have a sliding scale of guilt, mostly based on how devastating a beauty, or not, that they are. To imprison this rare beauty for just, what! (burning a dead head? Sorry, musicians) This lady is capable of turning heads in Hollywood. Hey, come to think of it, how many Hollywood maidens have to put up with a moldy animal head. Especially one that measures around three feet across.

The defense rests. The Asshole that talked her into putting that head up in her home needs counseling. As to the perpetrator, hey, she is welcome in Bayview, anytime.

For the real deal, go to the Idaho

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Aftermath (Newsroom Bloodbath)

I am stunned. I thought about the original estimates of a few. (I figured two North Idaho reporters.) I think of all the times I sail into the newsroom, stop to say Hi to the Bureau Chief, Scott Maben, sally over to the photo department, where Jesse Tinsley seemingly effortlessly creates prize winning photos, and also helps an overage reporter improve his photos.

Then, after a quick Quack at Meghann, on to my honorary Granddaughter, Taryn Hecker. Paula Davenport steps on my stories, I love her anyway. Some of the others, I know casually, but these people that I have named, have carved a spot in my heart, and they know it.

I can't hurt as much as my friends at the newsroom, but I'm a close second to Steve Smith, the Guy that cares a lot, and can't show it publicly. As a correspondent, I hurt even worse than most.

You see, it was the mentoring and helpfulness of these fine people, people that knew for every article that I wrote, it chipped away at their job security. I hurt for Taryn, my buddy at all times. Fortunatley, she will bounce back rapidly, and at her age, probably to a better future. I hurt for Boo & Goo. One more sour apple thrust upon their lives.

For those of you that still think I am a bloodsucking outlaw, I can only say this to you. When I run across a news story that is breaking, or I feel too close to the story to be objective, I immediately call Scott Maben with the information so that he can assign a reporter to the story. I have done this numerous times since I started writing for the S/R. Likewise, when the news department gets a tip that doesn't fit the breaking news department, they refer it on to me. We have had a close cooperative relationship. One that I hope continues.

I don't know how the correspondent gig will play out. I have always wanted to write, and when I got my chance I went for it. I am also of the same mind of those that criticize the correspondent program, except as previously stated by former journalism teacher, Marianne Love, neighborhood correspondents came before the fully staffed bureaus. Yes, I feel guilty. I liked all of those that were laid off.

How can I walk back into the newsroom without giving a loud QUACK in Meghann's direction.

I grieve for those that I could never even hold their sandals.As a correspondent, that was pretty much all of them.

Friday, November 02, 2007

My Big Break

Many of you, that is all of you that follow my column in the Your Voice section of the Spokesman-Review, will see, if you look for it, a feature that I was allowed to produce for the Handle Extra that prints tomorrow morning. I did a history of the mail boat out of Bayview and after several stops up the lake, ends at "Kilroy", which is fitting, because instead of Kilroy was here, it was Herb and Jesse Tinsley that was there.

It is a sad evening that I am celebrating my column, when many of my friends have been laid off at the Spokesman-Review. Jim Haggengruber, Taryn Hecker, or as most of you knew her as,"Taryn Brodwater." Paula Davenport, my college in the Idaho Voice, Meghann Cuiff, the voice of the local schools, and others, in other venues. To say that they will be missed, to to suggest that the atom bomb ended WW Deuce. An understatement of huge measure. This is a huge blow to the community, the paper, and journalism as an art form. These people are so sharp that they sometimes take my breath away. They will land right side up. I don't know whether the rest of us will. I Grieve ...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I grieve

'Today, Steve Smith, Editor of the Spokesman-review, gave proof to the rumors that a large number of reporters will be laid off. Well, they weren't rumors. Many, almost all former crackerjack reporters for the S/R Idaho Bureau have been dumped, laid off. All, seemingly from the North Idaho Bureau.

Gone is the guy with the envirionmental background, Jim Hagengruber, the guy that wrote headline stories about the fish kill in Scenic Bay, and always follows through with the best information possible.I am stunned. I thought about the original estimates of a few. (I figured two North Idaho reporters.) I think of all the times I sail into the newsroom, stop to say Hi to the Bureau Chief, Scott Maben, sally over to the photo department, where Jesse Tinsley seemingly effortlessly creates prize winning photos, and also helps an overage reporter improve his photos.

After a quick Quack at Meghann, on to my honorary Granddaughter, Taryn Hecker. Paula Davenport steps on my stories, I love her anyway. Some of the others, I know casually, but these people that I have named, have carved a spot in my heart, and they know it.

I can't hurt as much as my friends at the newsroom, but I'm a close second to Steve Smith, the Guy that cares a lot, and can't show it publicly. As a correspondent, I hurt even worse than most.

You see, it was the mentoring and helpfulness of these fine people, people that knew for every article that I wrote, it chipped away at their job security. I hurt for Taryn, my buddy at all times. Fortunately, she will bounce back rapidly, and at her age, probably to a better future. I hurt for Boo & Goo. One more sour apple thrust upon their Young lives.

How can I walk back into the newsroom without giving a loud QUACK in Meghann's direction.

I suspect that very soon, Steve Smith will be announcing the hiring of several new correspondents, coincidentally, former reporters.

I grieve for those that I could never even hold their sandals.As a correspondent, that was pretty much all of them.

I will not sleep well tonight.