Monday, November 30, 2009


L-R Retiring Deedie Beard and County Clerk, Dan English

A grand lady, dedicated to accuracy retired today. After 33 years in county government, and most of that as the elections director, Deedie Beard called it a career. The stories of late night counts and recounts haunt the hallways of the election department. Most of which occurred before the computerization of the whole process. Machine voting has taken over most of the counting process, along with modern paper ballot processing from the hinterlands of the county.

Within those 33 years of county service, Deedie once bragged, "not one person in this county knows how I think politically, or how I vote, and I intend to keep it that way." Two years ago I interviewed Deedee for a story I wrote in the Handle Extra about her stellar service. Deedie was honored today, by the county she served and by the state from within she served. Room one hundred in the county administration building was packed as co-workers, friends, of which she has many, and an extended family that pretty near collapsed the walls of the room. Cheers and tears ruled the day as Deedee's replacement quickly rose to the occasion, furnishing her with a fresh pack of Kleenex.

Deedie received awards from the county, Women's league of voters, and the Secretary of State, Ben Ysursa, naming her as the bar to which other county election departments could take lessons from. But plaques and certificates cannot take the place of the love and affection folks in Kootenai county hold for this wonderful person and administrator.

Unfortunately, the shadow of sore losers threatened to dampen the celebration as a lawsuit was filed late Monday afternoon, challenging the election itself, apparently without a request for a recount. In my opinion, with a five vote margin, the loser to Kennedy could have and probably should have called for a recount. Apparently the loser chose to insult the system itself, and by reference, the grand lady retiring.
What they hope to accomplish is unknown and the outcome deplorable. Attacking the very system that allows one to abuse it is interesting at best.

My take on this is that while conservatives certainly outnumber liberals in the panhandle, Extremism can and probably will move voters toward the more moderate middle. We saw that when Sali lost to Democrat Minnick last election cycle, and with the continued extremism we actually might see more Republicans voting to retain Minnick who isn't by any standard, liberal.

Please join me in congratulating Deedee Beard on one of the most astounding careers in public service ever seen in this neck of the woods.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Heros and Heroines

Sometimes things just happen when you least expect it. I ran into Elizabeth Anderson and her mother, visiting from the wilds of upper Minnesota Saturday. Elizabeth had brought her Mom up to see infamous Bayview. From a county planners standpoint it must be perceived as that. It must be pointed out that she works for Kootenai County Planning & Zoning. Among all of the vast projected large plats that have been requested from Harrison to the northern county line, her department has been extremely busy. Perhaps the word extremely isn't out of order either, as turn it loose growth advocates have clashed with Whoa, stop the train, no more building.

Stuck right in the middle is the Kootenai County Commissioners along with the planning and zoning people. Our region is at least up until the recession occurred, bursting with an unprecedented growth. A growth that as usual in these situations, hadn't been planned for. The last two or three years has found the county furiously trying to update their master plan where no plan really existed before.

But that isn't the real story here. You see, Elizabeth Anderson was stricken with breast cancer a while back. She cheerfully shifted gears and settled into a combat mode. Never fearing that she would loose her battle with cancer, she stuck her chest out, (figuratively speaking) and charged forth to meet the challenge. Losing both breasts, she underwent a year of chemotherapy which still has two treatments to go.

Meeting her and her Mom in Bayview over lunch was on my part a distinct pleasure of the highest kind. You see, It's not very often you get to sit next to a real hero that has done real heroic things.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Football Conferences

Many years ago, in 1959 the old Pacific Coast Conference broke up and reformed as the PAC-8. The purpose of the split was to get rid of dead wood. Idaho was dumped along with the University of Montana. Clearly, over may years, Idaho and Montana just couldn't keep up with the major markets. Shortly thereafter, the PAC-8 added Arizona and Arizona State, making up what is now the PAC-10. That is the abbreviated history of the major schools along the Pacific corridor.

It is now time to consider once more, a realignment of schools and conferences. For many years, Washington State has proven with only one or two exceptions that they can't compete regularly in the PAC-ten. Then we have number 6 ranked Boise State, 12 and zip, once more. clearly, they are overmatching the WAC conference and need to move to a higher plain. I propose that WSU and Boise State switch conferences, with WSU going to the WAC where they should be able to compete year after year. Boise State, on the other hand, can't get respect because of the inferior competition they face. Simple solution? Have Boise State join the PAC-ten where there would have every chance to excel, if they can.

Obviously, with this suggestion, I have not made myself very popular with WSU fans, but hey, that's the way I see it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Most of us, when the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, think of roast turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce and many other goodies that sometimes only appear on that holiday. Others think back to the beginnings of our country when a religious minority sailed to our shores to escape tyranny. They gave thanks when they arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, and again when they survived the wilderness winter that followed.

Today, we find almost every family with someone in financial distress, or with health related problems. It is so easy to sink into despair.I've done it myself more than once. Summer is over, the winds of early winter blow and rain splatters against the windows. We hunker down, hoping for an early spring, even before winter has truly arrived. We have mosquito born viruses that arrive every year a bit further north. HIV is still a killer, and now we have H1V1, or Swine Flu. These are some of the bad things going on.

Thanksgiving, though, is about positive things in our lives. The friend or relative that beat cancer. The new baby arriving. Our health still intact. (for the most part) The love we share with those very special people in our lives. Somewhere a person we know is dying, but babies are regularly born to take our places. For every person in personal distress, there is someone else that is extending a helping hand. Please remember, that though the Sun is not shining from the sky, it is still present from within. Whether a person is happy or sad, is from within. It is a slef induced condition. Have a truly happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Alternatives

No need to seat over a hot stove all day Thursday, just pop by the Captain's Wheel for a monster potluck dinner. Bring a side dish if possible, or just show up hungry. There will be Turkey and dressing and whatever. No-host bar will be open as well. The Wheel will open at Noon, and will stay open for an indefinate time, reopening for regular business Friday and the week-end.

We understand that a smaller potluck buffet will also be held at JD's. Y'all come on down.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Lynching Of Sarah Palin

I guess I'm confused about the reactions to Sarah Palin. It would seem that she is getting an unseemly amount of praise from one side, and the same in hate from the other side. Some like her politics. some like her beauty. Others resent her politics and resent her beauty, too. I call it all foul Play.

For sure, she isn't the arch-typical politician. Still, she had enough on the ball to raise above pettiness and become the governor of Alaska. Alaskans are a bit different from the lower 48. No, actually, they are a lot different. While we down here, over the years gained a certain amount of class and what some would call civilized society, Alaska is still in many ways, a frontier. Frontiers, like ours down here 100 years ago, tend to be a little rough and ready, and without many of the frills that the establishment calls normal.

Alaskans don't have the same standard of living that we do, accepting in one or two larger cities, of which there are few. Hunting, not so much a sport for trophies, but for subsistence has long been tradition there. They of course, don't have the benefit of high rise San Franciscans to keep them on the liberal path to enlightenment. They don't want or need them. Without the guidance of the Sierra club, the average Alaskan is more of a conservationist that those organized groups.

If there has been unfairness, and there has been, I would call some of it sexist, excepting many "liberated women" appear somehow threatened by her and her family's lifestyle. I'm not going to go into the children and their behavior, simply due to the fact that few families that I know of, can claim there are no skeletons in their respective closets. There is something in the bible about casting the first stone, and many should take heed of that. Keeping healthy young people sexually apart can be a daunting chore, one that most often fails So we have free clinics and tolerance for these activities,a but when a conservative family, or at least their children fall into the passion trap, suddenly we have a huge double standard. I, for one, would like to see her critics look into their own hearts and check it out for the two-faced principle.

Those of you that do not believe the same things or have the same political viewpoints as she ... fine. That doesn't forgive demonizing her or her family.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Political Correctness

Political correctness, long fostered by the main stream media, has reached a point of no return, apparently. The list of rearranged social and political standards is a long one, but today I just want to talk about one area.

As we all know, a tragedy struck a few days ago, when an army major,a Moslem, shot and killed thirteen people and injured thirty-one more. H did this while screaming Allahu Akbar. A a term much used by Islamic Terrorists. Yet, the media, with the exception of Cal Thomas, is afraid to tell it like it is. Everyone from Army Generals, down to beat reporters, sail gently around the subject of this, a terrorist act, as if it would condemn all of the Moslems in service as well. The above term in Arabic means, "God Is Great." Talk about misusing terminology.

We are now hearing reports of and from colleges in the medical world that this thug regularly spouted anti-American and pro Islamic slogans. None of his superiors were brave enough to risk the thought police by either disciplining him, or even throwing him out of the Army.

To quote an old saying, "it is time to call a spade a shovel." It is also time to bring sense into law enforcement. Profiling is now against the rules. Now I'm not talking about the arresting of a black person on the charge of "driving while black, or yellow, or pink or any other extreme use of that tool. What I am saying, is we better start watching those members of a religion that proposes the violent overthrow oof the United states. While certainly, not all people that worship as Islamic are not terrorists, it is reasonable to suspect that most will come from that group.

I start to worry, when general officers are so afraid of offending a minority, that they will excuse clues to what eventually transpired at Fort Hood, and will certainly happen again and again unless an effort is made to sort through the ranks and get rid of people that can't even pass a routine security Clearance. Now the Army, still embarrassed, rather than calling this a terrorist act, is going to prosecute the perpetrator as a simple murder. What a gutsy call.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nice Round Figures

No. ... Not those kind! Sometime tonight, or perhaps tomorrow, I will have exceeded 100,000 page views for this blog.It all started with my first post at the beginning of 2006. Currently, as I sit at my computer, 6:00 pm this date, I have 99,973 page views with an average of 70 to 80 per day. Thank you all for visiting.

I hope to get even bigger in 2010. I am currently accepting area ads for businesses in Kootenai county. These will be the size of the side bar pictures and are real reasonable. E-mail me for details if interested.

Lots of interesting stuff going on in the local area, some of which I can't talk about quite yet, but stay tuned.

8:45 pm pdst: We are within 13 page views of attaining the magic number. Through Site Meter, I can kind of identify the one that puts us over, but privacy laws prevent me from identiying it for sure. I will attempt to identify the winner by URL and a time line. If that person wishes to identify themselves they may do so by comment or by private e-mail. privacy will be respected.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Flack from Concerned Citizens

Much feces has been stirred against the Timberlake Fire District, and their chief, Jack Krill. First, I support the efforts of Chief Krill to modernize the department, so as to negate huge fire insurance rate increases. Some misunderstood this campaign to suggest that Chief Krill had personal motivations, or that he had used high pressure rhetoric to push a proposed future levy. I personally support the chief along with the volunteers that populate the fire commission. They have a thankless job in which along the way, certain restaurants and marinas were found out of compliance with current fire codes. The commissioners instructed the chief to remedy these conditions and bring these public facilities into compliance. This he has tried to do, with some compassion toward the hardship that such compliance that hadn't been required in the recent past, now surface.

During the election of two new commissioners, there has been a supposition that these candidates are anti Fire District who's purpose was to dismantle the current structure. This is simply not true. Both winning commissioners are dedicated toward continued community service. I fully support the fire district and the chief and voted for both commissioner-elects.The body of this post features an e-mail regarding a concern by a citizen and the reply by chief Krill. It is long, but informative:

"Mr. Brown:

I am very pleased you sent me an email; I truly value open and honest
communication and transparency in government business. I don't
believe we have met and I would very much like to meet with you.

We seem to be fighting a lot of battles to get the truth out and
properly educate the community. This sometimes takes time away from
more pressing fire district business. We do appreciate the support in
the community, but please understand that it is appreciated more when
it does not offend others. Respectfully, I do not believe you
portrayed Commissioner-elect Rudebaugh properly in that email
regarding the use of the copier and I do not believe he would
intentionally do anything to harm the fire district or his reputation.
Maybe I should have clarified the information we sent you in response
to your public records request. We realized there is contradiction
and confusion in that part of the fee schedule and I will have it
clarified in my chiefs report at the next commissioner meeting to
prevent future misunderstandings.

We welcome public participation at the fire commissioners meeting to
provide us with feedback and input. I would strongly encourage you to
attend our meetings held on the 3rd Wednesday monthly, 6:00 PM. The
next one is November 18 at the Bayview Community Center.

Although I regularly vote in elections, I am sorry to say that I did
not vote in this election. I was out of town for this election day
and didn't have the time before I left to vote absentee. Regardless,
there was no fire district or firefighter backed candidate(s) and I
was not and would not provide any personal opinion on any candidate,
my closest friends and coworkers can vouch for that. I respect all of
the candidates for their desire to serve the community.

All of us at Timberlake are excited to work with our two new
commissioners. I've met both of them and have the strong impression
that they will do what is best for the community and serve you well in
their positions. I've had the opportunity to speak several times with
Commissioner-elect Rudebaugh before the election (as I did with other
candidates) and know that he is taking the time, energy, and personal
cost to learn all he can about being a good fire commissioner. In
fact, he is attending the Idaho State Fire Commissioner Association
annual conference in Boise and paying for it own of his own pocket. I
don't know what the total cost will be, but believe it will be well
over $400. These two gentlemen will provide a fresh perspective on
the difficult challenges that we are faced with and help make some
very tough decisions that will impact the future of this fire

Thanks and I look forward to meeting with you,

Jack Krill"

Floating Patio

Scott & Jeannie Bjerge, operators of the floating patio at the boat launch in Bayview, have extended their winter hours. With the Buttonhook and the former Terry's Cafe closed for the winter, and the Captain's wheel closing Tuesday and Wednesdays, the town was left with just Ralph's Internet Cafe for snacks and soft drinks. Until further notice, the patio will be open week-ends from 11:00 am and Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:00 pm for diners as well as cocktails.

Monday, November 09, 2009

photo by Kathy Plonka, Spokesman-Review

It was a crisp winter night in Athol. The Saddle Up Grill had closed for the night. Owner Howard White was in a hurry to get home to Post Falls. It was his and wife Suz’s 13th wedding anniversary. Normally, with the couple working 16-hour days, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, they stayed in a motor home behind the restaurant. Due to sewage disposal problems, they had to quit doing that for a while. Howard would sleep in the Saddle Up Grill, so that he would have an early start at prepping for breakfast.

Howard closed, locked the doors and headed home for a date with his bride. It was Dec. 17, 2008, just a little short of two years in operation. About 4 a.m., a fire broke out in the dining room, probably caused by a space heater too close to upholstery. Timberlake Fire District, just a few blocks down the street, answered the call quickly and limited damage to the dining areas, saving the kitchen, except for severe smoke damage.

At the opening in March 2007, a lifelong dream was realized as Howie and Suz cranked out the first of many succulent smoked prime rib sandwiches, slathered with Suz’s secret barbecue sauce, along with what Howie called the world’s biggest and best burger. Twelve ounces of choice ground beef surrounded by all the fixings. Out back is a 500-gallon smoker, where they turn out their food from scratch along with their made-from-scratch barbecue ranch-style beans.

There is little doubt that had Howard White stayed that night in the restaurant, as he normally did, he would have been overcome by smoke and killed. The date with his wife probably saved his life.

Armed with an insurance policy, the couple figured a few months to rebuild, then back at it. This is when things started to come unwound. They bought this historic building, first used to house recruits headed for Farragut Naval training base. When a train with recruits came in late in the evening, they were put up in the bunkhouse. Many years later, it became the Saddle Up Inn. It was an owner contract, with title still residing with the previous owner. When the insurance company paid off, it paid the loan off. That left the Whites with a small amount of cash and a paid-in-full deed to a commercial lot and a half-burned building.

Today the Whites are without an income, or a restaurant without a loan to rebuild. Howard White’s one thought was, “Why, with the billions of dollars the federal government has thrown at the banks to stimulate the economy, don’t the banks then use the money for that purpose, instead of socking it away to protect themselves from bad loans?”

The Whites are hard-working people who enjoyed working 16-hour days to make what was once a dream come true. Now, it has turned into a nightmare. They are looking for help.

Help either in the form of donations, which can be sent to P.O. Box 16, Athol, Idaho 83801. Or the best solution, White hopes, is for a lender to step up with an SBA loan putting him and his wife back to serving smoked prime rib dinners.

Reprinted from my story in Sunday's spokesman-Review.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New Blog In Town

I just started a second blog. It is called "Kootenai country. You can reach it at: I did this because I wanted to geographically spread my wings a bit. I will also be offering cheap ad space on it as well. While Bayviews is primarily about the community and people that surround me, Kootenai country will encompass all of North Idaho. You'll find the occasional commentary, some humor, straight news of interest and of course, I will be poking fun at people doing dumb stuff. I hope you will slide over to the blog to catch whatever I'm expounding on currently.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Halloween At The Wheel

Halloween is over and the costumes and decorations have been put away. There were some real good imaginative outfits displayed, but Jen & Dan Williams, pictured above walked off with first prize. The place was packed and folks danced to the Riverside Band tunes as well.

Proving that a 30 something woman can still be hot, restaurant manager, Marie Streeter showed up with a costume that looked like a cross between a lady leprechaun and an English bar wench.

The Captain's Wheel will go to Winter hours, closing Tuesday and Wednesday starting today, but Ralph's Internet Cafe will be open until 5:00 pm both days.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Many of you that live in the Timberlake Fire district recently received a letter from Larry Spencer deriding the fire district, the fire chief and the need for more equipment. Spencer is a gadfly that hates all government and slams all projects that are proposed. He is currently suing North Idaho Community College over the education corridor, has opposed the Kroc center and just about every city and county official.

I posted a more balanced look at the fire district requests and status on this blog October 14. I suggest that those of you that received this letter check the blog for a little balance, in like telling both sides of the story. You can also go to and read it there. Spencer has a habit of dissing issues and candidates just before an election and in most cases, too late for a rebuttal. I detest these kinds of tactics.

This criticism does not necessarily apply to the Fire Commissioner race. While I'm not acquainted with three of the candidates, I fully support Rudy Rudebaugh. He is a local businessman, owning Victory Auto Parts and Solid Rock Solutions. You shouldn't hold Spencer's endorsement against him or other candidates.