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Ron’s tribute worth reading at least twice

| August 21, 2020 1:00 AM

Ron Edinger will have the last word, after all.

Last Friday, city workers posted a new sign designating the softball diamond at Person Field as Ron Edinger Park. But it’s the lettering below the Edinger Park sign that will draw smiles.

“The park is so nice, we paid for it twice.”

Edinger, who served as a Coeur d’Alene mayor or a councilman for 50 years, made the statement during a joint meeting of the City Council and School District 271 board in late 2012. The two sides met to hammer out the sale of the district’s 3.6 acres at Person Field. Edinger rightly concluded that the School Board was trying to shake down the city. After all, according to sources, the city had given part of Person Field to the School District years earlier to help Lakes Middle School meet accreditation requirements.

But the school board, peopled by business-minded conservatives, insisted on selling the property. The district needed money for a new administration building.

Ultimately, the city paid $750,000 to buy back its former property at Person Field as well as the Bryan School play area, according to City Administrator Troy Tymesen. The Person Field portion cost $469,500.

Edinger’s words from the joint meeting resonated with Parks Director Bill Greenwood, who asked Jeff Connoway of Silver Creek Signs to add them. Said Greenwood: “I took that quote and ran with it.”

City officials, including the Parks and Recreation Commission, view the renaming of the softball field as spot on. Edinger and his brothers, Jim and Dick, umpired softball at Person Field and other city diamonds for decades. Ron’s daughter, Paula Austin, tells Huckleberries that, sometimes, the three were affectionately called “The Three Blind Mice” when they umpired together.

A move is afoot to name the whole Person complex after Ron. Before that happens, however, we should consider the man who lent his name to the green space posthumously more than 80 years ago.

Eugene Person was a popular Coeur d’Alene High track coach, assistant football coach, and teacher of civics and history for 14 years. His track teams won several championships, according to an old edition of the Coeur d’Alene Press. He played football and track at Washington State College, setting records in the hammer throw and shot put. Prior to the 1937 school year, he fell ill and later died at age 55 on Sept. 19.

Who knows what would have become of the school’s half of Person Field had the city not stepped in? Apartments? Duplexes? But wisdom prevailed. Despite the cost.

I’ll Drink to That

Not many people can say that the sheriff of Kootenai County bought them their first beer, when they were under-aged. But former Coeur d’Alene chamber manager Sandy Emerson can. It was 1963. Sandy was 18 and working as a deck hand for the legendary Fred Murphy. One Saturday, the annual Harrison Oldtimers Picnic was underway. So Fred dismissed the crew and took Sandy to One Shot Charlie’s. Fred and Sandy were seated comfortably when Sheriff John Bender approached and ordered a round of beer. In his book about Fred Murphy, Sandy’s father, Tom, fills in the rest: “Big John Bender must have thought Sandy was one of the ‘in’ people if he was with Fred Murphy. Sandy likes to tell how the first glass of beer he drank in a public drinking place was purchased for him by the Kootenai County sheriff.”

Huckleberries

• Poet’s Corner: Expect hot air/to blow our way/from now until/Election Day — The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Extended Forecast”).

• Tami Martinez, of Post Falls, has ordered another 100 yard signs — you know, the ones that advise: “Turn off the news & love your neighbor” (Huckleberries, Aug. 7). They’re yours for the asking (as of next Thursday) from Tami or at the UPS store in Post Falls.

• While the rest of us are fretting re: COVID-19 Without End Amen, Christa Hazel of Coeur d’Alene was encouraged by the fortune cookie from a recent PF Chang’s Boise meal: “Welcome a change coming soon into your life.” After five months of isolation, that’s what you call a ray of hope.

• Bumpersnicker (on a gray Dodge mini-van pulling out of Riverstone Monday) offering an appropriate message for our turbulent times: “Stop Global Whining.”

• Councilman Dan Gookin must be wearing foot coverings again. Huckleberries hasn’t heard differently from City Hall spies since our “Li’l Abner” decided to shake things up by going shoeless to the July 3 council meeting.

Parting Shot

A few months back, Cynthia Ackley Nunn and hubby, Colin, received a $12 check from the IRS, with a note, stating they had not been given a full refund. Now, fast forward to this month. The couple received a follow-up note from the IRS asking them not to cash their refund check. It may have been sent in error. Cynthia tells Huckleberries: “Guess we are going to have to pay it back but at least we enjoyed the Del Taco it just barely paid for.” If you have the clothes on your back and a couple of tacos in your tummy, after a close encounter with the IRS, consider it a win.

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D.F. “Dave” Oliveria can be contacted at dfo@cdapress.com.

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Edinger