Thursday, February 28, 2008

Float Homes

A couple of weeks ago, I published a controversial piece on the float home dilemma for the home owners. Since then, new legislation is being considered by the State Legislators , setting up a system for arbitration. This might be a fair way of handling the problem. We'll see. Since then I had an opportunity to speak with Chan Karupiah, owner of JD's and Scenic Bay Marinas.

Obviously, a marina operator is going to have a different perspective on the problem. I try to stay out of arguments that I am compromised or not objective about. This is an ethical thing that the Spokesman-Review requires of it's employees and correspondents. It must be stated here, that I rent a mobile home space from the above mentioned marina. Still, it might be useful to examine the positions of the marina owners, so as to get a complete picture.

Some of the proposed changes are not really that marginal. Eliminating one whole dock, since the purchase of the Boileau's dock last year leaves two parallel docks, one being unnecessary. Another, switching a boat house from it's grounded position to another more useful spot. The proposal to tear down the existing eyesore boat shop that exists between the Captain's Wheel and Scenic Bay Marina, thence rebuilding it over the water in another location, using the grandfathered footprint over the lake? Quite another story. From what I can gather, although a proposal is before the State of Idaho Land Board, I haven't seen detailed plans and specs for this new/old building, just the footprint. It might be useful to have fully engineered drawings to present, instead of a do over from what was rejected.

Chan believes that if it becomes more profitable to turn float home slips into boat slips, and if he begins to lose money in the process of reining in the rents, that he has the right to evict those float home owners, rather than allow the state to run his business. That consideration must be weighed, since I can find no law or proposed law that would prohibit a change of use such as that. In a controversial issue such as this, it is necessary to state both positions. I have done so here. Others may want to sit down with Chan and Hans for the purpose of understanding their positions and why. Me? I'm going to duck and run for cover.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ralph Nader, Hummm?

I think I have the answer for the spoilers out there. Ralph Nader has thrown his seventy-eleventh hat into the ring as a liberal or wacko third party candidate. In the interest of equality, which seems to be on ever one's mind, we need to talk Ron Paul into becoming the candidate of the er ... right? Or how about the other wacko? Genghis Khan faction? I'm not sure where he fits, but with this presidential race starting to become very entertaining, why not?

Here we have our very first serious Female candidate, Our very first serious black candidate, in our entire history. Add the moderate McCain, certifiably a war hero without the shadows that Kerry 's run produced. No matter what happens this year, it will be a monumental change in how we govern ourselves. All we need now, is to have Saturday Night Live resurrected for a show starring Nader and Paul, with a guest appearance from Ross Perot.

Most election cycles have me rooting uproariously for one candidate or the other. I confess that my favorite is John McCain. Having said that, at my advanced age, I'm starting to find humor in the various scenarios. Ms. Clinton didn't wow Washington with her gracious personality, nor did she endear herself to the military, by dissing them whenever possible.

Then we have Obama. Forget the smear regarding him wearing Somali dress. Any, repeat any visiting dignitary will, if asked, don native apparel. It is considered an honor to be asked to do so. Then there is John McCain. The Clinton's seem to be somewhat short on scandal there, so resurrecting a worn out discredited non-scandal from ten years ago, is at best a reach. The only candidate coming out unscathed is Hillary. Nobody wants to be the first to attack a woman, even if she deserves it. The old school still frowns on that, even though she would, in a heartbeat, attack stereotypes, such as women's lib. God forbid we would every give stay at home parents the same break.

What we have here, and I may enjoy this way more than when I was blinded by partisanship. This is going to be more entertaining than anything the striking writers could have come up with.
Just remember one thing. We have had good presidents and we have had mediocre presidents and we have had horrible presidents. All of you will categorize these differently. That's called freedom of thought. The main point is, that no matter who we elect, if it doesn't work out, this great country of ours will survive very nicely. You see, there isn't a hell of a lot a president can do, when congress levels the playing field, or the Supreme Court intervenes. Many political positions get abandoned when reality sets in. None of these candidates wants to bring our country down, it just seems that way when we pay to much attention to rhetoric. ... Just like mine.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Spring May be Just Around the corner

All kinds of fun stuff in store this and next month in Bayview. The huge piles of snow are receding, St Patrick's Day is coming with The Captain's Wheel annual pajama party , Saturday night, March 15. This has been a show stopper in the past. Just don your baby doll nightie, show up, enhance your image, ladies. The guys? We stand around gazing in awe at those previously hidden talents.

Baywinkle, our town moose is still around, but it is suspected that he will wander off soon, as the snow melts down in the hills, surrounding Bayview. Feeding the moose is dangerous, and is to be severely discouraged. If even one person is injured by this moose, even if it's the stupidity of the person, Fish and Game will kill him. He is not a pet, and is never going to be tame. Please do not mistake the placid look for docility.

A big round of applause for Bob Parsons and Cindy Garcia for all the help they gave those people that couldn't help themselves with snow removal. Also, lest we take her for granted, Terry Sheppard, the town Mom. Any time an elderly or ill person is discovered, you can find Terry at their doorstep with a kind word, some soup or a sandwich. She's been doing this so long, we sometimes are guilty of taking her for granted.

Speaking of taking people for granted, the Captain's Wheel will host the what? Fourteenth or fifteenth annual huckleberry pancake breakfast Saturday April 19, 8 to noon. They donate the space and some help, pay all the overhead as a community service. Don't forget Easter and the egg hunts. Saturday, March 22 will find the kids, ages birth through 6 at the Captain's Wheel from non to 12:15, then Terry's Cafe from 12:15 to 12:30 for Kids 7-12. Mark all of these down on your calendar. We'll see you soon in Bayview. Oh, and happy Washington's Birthday. We didn't have a picture of George, so we substituted one of Baywinkle.

Capistrano has the return of the swallows. Bayview has the return of the Robins. Yesterday, none. Today, dozens of them. Why Capistrano gets all of the publicity, I couldn't say, but here in Bayview, it's a sign of long suffering, soon over. Certainly, this Winter has been a doozy. Not that bad Winters are rare. it's just that the earlier patterns have happened in such a way that for the last ten years, we have had more benign Winters than not. A wake up call? Perhaps. So much for global warming. Perhaps next year, the Chicken Littles will be screaming "global cooling."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Moon over Hayden

These are pictures of the luner eclipse taken from Hayden, Wednesday evening with, i'm afraid a 55mm 12X lens, which doesn't as I learned take the place of a 300 mm lens, as hopefully, Jesse Tinsley will produce. Still, it was to the naked eye, a magnificent sight.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I grew up in the 40's and 50's when the term "politically correct' hadn't been coined yet. Ten years later it was a period of great class and racial upheaval in many parts of our county. Where I was raised, however, the subject didn't come up much. It was a problem of the South, or the industrial North, but not us, nestled in the suburbs of Seattle, on acreage. There was a black family or two at the end of the street. We were polite to them and they to us. We didn't mix, primarily, I think back then, because we didn't have many common interests. Possibly at that age, I was naive, but that is how I remember it.

Comes the 60's with the Viet Nam War, social and racial upheaval, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Among many black preachers, he made more sense than some of the more shrill of the lot. From those days of protests, marches and social upheaval, many good things started to happen, but not over night. It took 40 more years to bring us to where we are now, if anyone can define where that is.

The subject has occurred over and over this last month, as I watched election returns. Those same commentators that occupationally lynch those that step out of line with an unfortunate comment that may or may not be racist, are calmly breaking down the male vs female and the black versus white votes and interpreting them. That seems to me, but then I realize that rules are made by zealots, not the main stream, as blatant racism in and of itself. If any of you see this as an exception, or don't see the situation for what it is, are then Zealots heading 180 degrees the other direction, picking and choosing how equality should be interpreted.

I'll never forget that on Monday Night Football, Howard Cossell lost a brilliant career, by referring to a small Black runner, in the excitement of breaking off a great run, when he yelled,"look at that little Monkey run." Immediately, the PC Police jumped on that as proof that he was a racist. Never mind he was the ultimate ringside announcer for boxing, or that one of his best Buddies was Mohammed Ali. No, that one taken out of context ruined him and many others since.

Perhaps we should go back to the stuff what brung us, like allowing our elected officials make the rules, instead of self-appointed PC police. It is obvious that they lack a sense of consistency that defies any logic I've been able to discern. Equality is color blind, or economically blind, or ethnically blind. To use race or ethnicity when it suits the user, is of course what I will call Racist.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lake Pend Oreille Part Two

Debuting March 8 if everything goes alright, will be part one of a three part series on the rise and fall of Lake Pend Oreille as a trophy fishing lake. Cause, Mitigation and What now. I have the second part roughed out, (damned rough) and will be starting on part three soon. These will be seen in the Handle Extra.

Moving right along, I'm all wrote out for now, but hang in there. I never run out of things to say for long.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

When Party Animals Growl

Blogfest 2008 went off without a hitch, as our host, Dave Oliveria keeps the pizza coming. Dave is celebrating his fourth anniversary with the spokesman-review blog known as Huckleberries.

Guest of Honor, Doug Clark

Our Fearless Leader
No Collection of Pictures is complete without a Pin-up Girl

Taryn Hecker, Enthralled by something Spencer said.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Lake Pend Oreille is Dying

Lake Pend Oreille is dying. It isn’t dying from toxic waste or pollution, but is dying economically. This pristine body of water, once the home of commercial fishing, is in a slump the experts are afraid may be irreversible. The death of this lake was caused by human interruption of the food chain. Re-intervention to try to right the wrongs of the past are in motion, but hold only small hope for recovery. In this, the first of three parts, we are going to visit the causes. Parts two & three will address what is being done to mitigate and thirdly, the results as projected. We will as well, talk to business owners around the lake regarding the economic effect of this crisis.

This is the opening paragraph in a series of three articles I am writing for the Handle Extra, which will probably start in early March.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Television Bias

If you ever needed proof that broadcast journalism is biased, tonight proves it. I am an election return junkie. I've always been hooked, and will not go kicking and screaming into treatment. I don't know how many of you have picked up on this, but every network I've tuned into including Fox, keeps harping on the disarray the Republican Party is in because of the McCain-Huckabee campaigns.

Either these peope are terminally stupid, or, guess what! They just might have an agenda. They are essentially creating an issue where one didn't exist, or they aren't paying attention. With the Republican campaign virtually locked up, this is the message they are portraying, that the party is split wide open. Hey, guess what. It's a contest that isn't even close.

On the other hand, the Obama/Clinton race is neck and neck. Do they suggest the Democratic Party is divided and in disarray? If so, I haven't heard it. Spin is alive and well, and we have a grand example of where Television used to report the news, they no longer are doing that. Now they insist on making the news. The power of television commentators with a hidden agenda is much stronger than the candidates or issues involved. We are, for those that remember Orwell, heading into an era where communications conglomerates will be choosing our National Leaders.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Super Delegates

Little is known about the super delegates that we hear so much about. I'm going to try to unravel the mystery for those that are not aware of what they represent, who they are, and why they should get to vote at convention without being selected by the voters. If I make any substantial mistakes, I invite corrections in the comments.

Super delegates are those that hold elected office, such as Senators, members of the U.S. House of representatives, Governors, state party chair persons and others of that ilk. In the infinite wisdom of the parties, it was determined that while citizens could elect delegates to the several conventions, party leaders, senators and such should have a voice. In some cases, perhaps many, the delegation is led by the leading office holders of the parties. The Republicans have 463 delegates that are not pledged to any candidate, at least officially. Some are super delegates, others are elected delegates that chose not to declare their favorites.

The Democrats, however, have 796 super delegates. All of them are unelected, other than the fact that they were elected to their offices. It is feasible, that these insiders could vote against their own state delegates that were chosen by the voters. In the Republican race, it appears that McCain will go into the Republican convention with enough delegates to win hands down. That has been the story for many years in both parties.

Most interesting, however, is the Democrats. If Obama and Hillary get to the convention close, as they appear so far, and without a clear majority, we could see the will of the voters thrown aside by the insiders. I will not attempt to define who has the most insiders in their pockets, but with former President Clinton's wife running, one could assume that the Clinton faction may, and I say may, have the edge. It may boil down to who do you want to avoid pissing off? Clintons, or the relative newcomer, Obama.

For the politically inclined, a brokered convention hasn't happened in my memory since 1960 when the favorite, Senator Estes Kefauver was gunned down in a brokered convention by a junior Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy. Since only us old Farts remember those days, it gets more interesting than your favorite Soap Opera.

In a brokered convention, delegates that are pledged to a particular candidate, are only held to that person for a few ballots, depending on the rules of the State they represent. Most are released after two or three ballots to vote any way they want. That's when the horse trading begins. For starters, lets take the Republicans. A substantial amount of delegates were amassed by Romney, no longer in the race. Those could be thrown to whichever candidate can convince them to switch.

Operatives from the various campaigns will scout the floor, looking for a wavering delegation, hoping that they will switch the right direction. As a child, (I grew up in a very political family) We watched Eisenhower nominated, and the Kennedy/Nixon race unfold, all brokered conventions, since primaries hadn't been in vogue yet. While the Republican convention might not be as interesting, (but then again if Romney were to throw his delegates to Huckabee) that could change.

It's almost a given that neither Clinton or Obama will achieve a majority by the convention. If the professionals, (super delegates) don't swing it all one way, sit back and enjoy politics 101. It's entertainment and a serious civics lesson, all in one. Oh, and did I forget Florida and Michigan? Never in the history of this country, has a State political party been banned from a convention, with the exception of reconstruction years following the Civil War. This is totally unprecedented.

Two things can happen, or maybe three. One, the party caves in and seat the two State's delegates. Two, if they do, since Obama didn't and Clinton did campaign in those states, would the delegate count be fair? Next, one candidate or the other takes it to court. Not Florida again, please ... Last but not least, we could see the courts hold up the convention while special primary elections are held. I can't envision the democratic Party disenfranchising the whole state, especially, since the voters in those states would probably retaliate by voting Republican. Having fun yet? Just wait. It gets better.

No Lake Flood

I spoke with Mike Daugherty, US Corps of Engineers this morning about the mountain snow pack. He said, based on records so far, we only have 90% of normal snow in the higher elevations. The snow between 2000 and 4000 feet will melt long before the upper flathead drainage, resulting in very low potential for Summer flooding such as we had in 1997.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Snow Stymies Schools

Athol Elementary School, Friday, February 8. 2008

Three snow days for local schools in the Lakeland School District, and more. Some days were cut short. P.E. classes were canceled, due to an enormous amount of snow on the roof, making the gyms unsafe to occupy. Today, finds contractors and students, those over eighteen, hired to remove snow. Some of the school buildings have literally disappeared from sight, as snow berms rise higher and higher.

Tom Taggart, spokesman for Lakeland, said, "were on top of the problem. No buildings have been lost, nor are any unsafe buildings occupied. "Crews are working fast, in the hope that the snows of 2007-08 are gone. Melting has started, which brings yet another problem. Flooding. I have attempted to reach the Corps of Engineers, but to no avail. Soon, hopefully, we will know whether another 1997 is upon us, flood wise. More when I get it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday

I watched with great interest, the results as they came in last night.As a somewhat centered Republican. (I know that I'm center, because politically, nobody agrees with me about much)

I came away with several thoughts. The first, was that in states that hold either state conventions or caucuses, tend to show extremes in the sense that the vote totals are so one sided. Incidentally, I'd like to congratulate Molly Quinn, for making sense of this nationwide mess in her graphics, shown today in the spokesman-Review.

Some examples are:


West Virginia 52% 1% 47%

Colorado 13% 19% 59%


Alaska 25% 74%

Colorado 32% 67%

Idaho 17% 80%

Kansas 26% 74%

Minnesota 32% 67%

No. Dakota 37% 61%

All of these examples are essentially landslides. One wonders that if primaries were held in these states, the results would be different. Absent a well oiled political machine, and the power politics of party gatherings,(both) I think these results tend to skew the results, by in some cases, intimidation, lack of hidden ballots and the tendency of a tidal wave effect that can occur in these types of meetings.

Another conclusion I arrived at, perhaps the last, as I fell asleep listening to Barak Obama give his speech in Chicago at day's end. As I previously said, I'm not, at least by standards set by people not extremists, a liberal. I came away with the notion that this Dude is one fine orator. Maybe the best since guys like Everett Dirkson and Ronald Reagan, not to forget JFK. He speaks slowly, makes three or four word statements, mostly inane references to change, and other equally non-specific slogans. Every one of them sounded like they were written on tablets, carried down the mountain by a bearded man. The fact is, he doesn't have to talk policy. He just simply mesmerizes his audience. I thought at times that he sounded just like Martin Luther King, Jr. Others, sounding like John F. Kennedy.

If, Obama doesn't poop in his mess kit, or make a huge blunder,and he's able to avoid detailed discussions, and above all, avoids debating Hilary, he might be the Democratic nominee, or even, President of the United States.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Weather, Or Not

Many memories, including mine, are somewhat faulty, when trying to remember which year was THE year, snow wise. I contacted Spokesman-review's own Michelle Boss, who coordinated with cliff Harris, both of whom are outstanding weather guessers. There are, indeed some surprises, but then most of us remember the year that most inconvenienced us. Here are the records of the six top snow years, since 1894-95, which probably means none of you remember past then anyway.

1. 1915-16: 124.2"

2. 2007-08: 122.7" As of February 3

3. 1968-69: 117.8"

4. 1949-50: 116.6"

5. 1992-93: 114.5"

6. 1921-22: 112.1"

Clearly, this year, within 1.5" of the modern record, will set a new record. One must remember however, that these statistics are collected at the Coeur d'Alene Airport,(Pappy Boyington Field) and are not indicative of other more snowy areas, such as the Rathdrum-Spirit Lake Corridor, nor further north, where around Priest Lake, the weatherman may still be buried from any one of these years. What is interesting, is that the years most people remember, 49-50, 68-69 and 92-93, are all within 3.5" of each other. Now that's consistency.

Since we have one new storm on our doorsteps, and another slated for the week-end, it appears that the new record is safe for this year. the snowiest on record. Again, thanks to Michelle and Cliff for the information.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Newcomer Blues

This post is for the folks that having moved here, into the wonderful rural land of the Inland Empire, (Including North Idaho) That didn't bargain for a real Winter. It kind of reminds me of the old saw,"Caveat Emptor," which loosely translated, means buyer beware. About every ten years, we have a real old fashioned winter, of the old days. This is shaping up to be one of those Times.

I have lived here through several tough winters. It appears to me, that when extraordinary weather occurs, weather that is maybe every ten or so years, people come unglued. Hey, This is North Idaho, people. An area that, in the Winter, can reach up and bite you in the butt. This isn't about the average years, nor is it about Government dropping the ball.

Several years ago, I spoke with a resident of Blackwell Hill. He told me that oil deliveries had stopped , and he ran out of fuel. He was forced to burn wood furniture in the fireplace to survive. Back then, in 1968-69, neither Kootenai County, nor Coeur d'Alene City, had any spare funds to buy snow removal equipment. It was a given, that if a bad Winter occurred, it was up to the individuals and neighborhoods to cope with.

We have rapidly expanded the population in our area, to the extent that people that have migrated to this fair land, expect the same services that were prevalent in the place they left. Unfortunately, we are primarily a rural area. Just a few miles, or even a few blocks outside of Coeur d'Alene or Post Falls, you get rural. Rural areas do not develop tax dollars necessary to maintain a perfect winter snow collection service. You want Los Angeles, we don't have it. We do, however, have a bunch of nice things that L.A. doesn't have, like a better place to raise your kids, neighbors that given a chance will help you out when you need it, that sort of thing.

Bottom line, you wanted the rural experience, now is when the other side of the coin appears. Enjoy. I am. As a matter of fact, I probably am the only resident of Bayview, that never actually saw the moose, that has now been named, Baywinkle. He's still here, and doesn't seem to mind if you are around, unless, of course, you do something that startles him, in which case, he will probably stomp you to death just to make sure you aren't a troublemaker.

1949-50 ... 1968-69 ... 1992-93 ... 1996-97 ... The present time. If this Winter turns out to be like it can, add this one to the above list. It happens when you live above 2000 feet at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Get prepared, or , the other opportunity, is to go back from whence you came. Oh, and would you mind leaving your snow shovel behind?