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From Tami’s heart to your lawn

| August 7, 2020 1:00 AM

A meme from a Facebook friend launched those yard signs you may have seen around Kootenai County — you know, the ones that read: “Turn Off the News & Love Your Neighbor.”

The saying riveted Tami Martinez of Post Falls after she saw fear and sadness etched on the faces of fellow shoppers at a local grocer.

She got permission to re-print the message on yard signs, of three different designs, and ordered 75 of them. Her goal was to point the unsettled public back to what matters most in these isolated, pandemic times: People. And love for them.

Yeah, I know … revolutionary. And almost biblical.

Tami isn’t making a political statement. Or promoting ignorance. Or trying to get rich. (She gives the signs away.)

The signs have struck a chord.

A police officer who saw the sign posted in front of Tami’s place stopped by after work to thank her. He told her that the media have been brutal, as has the public treatment of police. The sign lifted his mood and that of fellow officers.

The signs have detractors, too. Two grumps groused that Tami was asking people to put their heads in the sand while their constitutional rights were under attack.

The signs, Tami says, were created to promote discussion and kindness. Tami said she is simply urging people to turn off the news and focus on neighbors. But it goes deeper than that.

“The point is turn off the obsession of sitting, looking, reading, and listening, long enough to notice those around you,” Tami told Huckleberries. “For some it might be an afternoon or day to turn the news off. For others, longer. I am all about being informed. It is the heaviness and the obsessive conversations about the news that is allowing some to lose their focus on the things that are important: family, neighbors, the golden rule.”

The Sermon on the Mount Author would approve of this message.

Vox populi

The late Ron Rankin was a conservative’s conservative. He fought for property tax cuts. He ran 10 often long-shot, election campaigns in 30 years, from highway commissioner to governor. His goal was to push his conservative agenda even in defeat. He was always for the little guy. When he finally won a county commission seat in 1996, he added his own pledge to his oath of office (found recently by former county clerk Dan English): “I will represent, and be an advocate for all taxpayers; I will practice open-door government to encourage input on public issues, and above all, I vow to be honest and above-board in my dealings while conducting the peoples’ business — So help me God!” In other words, the ultra-conservatives running the local GOP today would probably reject him as too focused on the public good and a “liberal.”

Huckleberries

• Ben and Jennifer Drake have added BBC Chicken Wings to their Crown & Thistle pub menu “for the foreseeable future.” The new item is in response to an online troll who trashed their wings before they were even offered. And harassment from Anti-Maskers who are upset that the Drakes require masks to be worn into the pub. The Drakes have had great feedback on the wings. And they never tire of telling the wings story.

• Poet’s Corner: She would never forget/through the years that came after/one bright summer morning/and her baby’s first laughter — The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“August Memory”).

• Last week, this column included a photo of retiring Coeur d’Alene Librarian Bette Ammon with a reptile on her head, a live alligator, in case you were wondering. His name is Chuck. Bette met Chuck during a children’s program by “Dan the Reptile Man.”

• Retired Coeur d’Alene attorney Steve McCrea has sold more than 100 copies of his 112-page paperback, “Silencing Thomas Kerl.” Kerl, a Coeur d’Alene attorney who helped develop the Fort Grounds, was convicted of violating the Espionage Act for speaking out against this country’s involvement in World War I. On Aug. 21, McCrea will tell Kerl’s story to the local Rotary Club.

Parting Shot

At McIntire Family Park in Hayden Thursday, July 30, Elvis tribute singer Ben Klein of Spokane was teasing a listener who wanted to drop money into his tip jar, but was afraid to come forward to do so. The Elvis impersonator continued, “If it wasn’t for social distancing, I’d plant a kiss right on your lips.” The potential tipster turned red. And demurred. But elsewhere in the audience, a 40-something blonde who may have had a thing for the faux Hunka Hunka Burning Love said to a friend: “I’d like that kiss.” Klein broke into song instead. The King may be old and may be fake and may even be dead, but he still makes hearts throb.

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You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at dfo@cdapress.com.

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