Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sorry, but you're probably a newcomer

| October 23, 2020 1:00 AM

Jimmy McAndrew started the discussion by defining a “newcomer” to this area as someone who has been here less than 25 years.

He was reacting to an old Coeur d’Alene Press photo, posted on my Facebook page, showing a young Cecil Andrus during an October 1970 gubernatorial campaign stop here.

Jimmy considers Democrat Andrus to be the state’s most beloved governor ever. And doesn’t hesitate to tell newcomers that. And he defines a newcomer as someone who arrived after 1995.

Jimmy’s observation, of course, launched a virtual thread of one-upmanship.

For example:

• Linette Freeman of Coeur d’Alene said old-timers remember the posh Cloud 9 restaurant at the old North Shore Resort. Newcomers know only the Coeur d’Alene Resort, which superseded the North Shore and opened in May 1986. In other words, she sets her bar around 35 years.

• Kenny McAnally of Coeur d’Alene is more hard-nosed. He describes newcomers as “anyone whose parents didn’t grow up here.”

• Daniella Cross of Coeur d’Alene offered: “If you don’t remember bringing your car to Topper Too restaurant on Government Way, then you are a newcomer.” And Post Falls Councilwoman Kerri Thoreson trumped her by saying she’s an old-timer because she recalls the original Topper, bell hops and all, on Sherman Avenue. Kerri said she cried when that Topper was torn down.

• But Val FastHorse, IT director for the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe, bested everyone. She said old-timers are those who were here “pre-contact,” when Native Americans ran this place.

And moi? I first ate at Cloud 9 when I was editor of Duane Hagadone’s Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Mont. (1977-82). My teammates and I bought burgers and ice cream at Topper Too after church league softball ballgames. My parents didn’t grow up here. And, while Val’s ancestors were hunting, fishing, and roaming freely in these parts, before the coming of trappers and Jesuits, my forebears were scratching out a living for centuries on the Azores Islands (Portugal) in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

In other words, I’m not a newcomer. Or an old-timer. I’m a Not-Newcomer. And I’m OK with that.

Start your engines

Cecil Andrus wasn’t the only guv candidate chasing votes in Kootenai County in October 1970. On this day 50 years ago, GOP Gov. Don Samuelson dropped in for a ribbon cutting. The Press printed a front-page photo of Samuelson wielding giant scissors to open a new section of I-90 between Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls, 5.8 miles. Today, we zip between the two cities on I-90 without thinking about it. But 50 years ago, motorists used Seltice Way to travel between Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls. Samuelson told the crowd at the ribbon cutting that eastbound and westbound rest stops at Huetter would open soon. And a new stretch of Highway 95 between Coeur d’Alene and Garwood should be under contract in 1971 if funding was available. But all that construction spending didn’t save his job in November.


• Poet’s Corner: By the millions/does God make them,/but never comes/around to rake them – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Autumn Leaves”).

• Huckleberries has looked high and low, on both sides, for a partisan with a sense of humor and humility in our toxic political environment. One was found along Front Avenue, east of the library. Seems a homeowner on a corner lot wants to keep peace with neighbors who might take offense at his/her pro-Trump sign. A disclaimer is pasted above it: “Don’t hate me."

• Bumpersnicker (spotted on a Subaru Outback by daughter, Amy, in East Portland): “My other ride destroyed Alderaan.”

• Fan Mail: Don Strobel, a retired phone company worker, usually enjoys Huckleberries. But he was upset about last week’s item about noted poet Roger Dunsmore nailing copies of poems to telephone poles: “Promoting Roger Dunsmore fastening his poems to telephone poles, or any utility pole, poses a safety hazard to any utility worker that has to climb them. It is also illegal."

• Fan Mail II: Patricia Richardson also reacted to that item: “I work at Latourette's Salon, and we are lucky to be recipients of Roger's poetry. Thanks for sharing his story with the community.”

• News Item (from Cd’A Press on Oct. 25, 1995): “Seahawks’ Mirer benched in favor of Friesz.” You might be a newcomer if you don’t know the significance of that headline. Huckleberries will tell you why. Quarterback John Friesz played in the NFL for 10 years with four teams: San Diego, Washington, Seattle, and New England. Before that, he was an Idaho Vandal. And before that? He was the star QB of the Coeur d’Alene Vikings.

Parting Shot

Rep. Paul Amador is a fiscal conservative through and through. Even at home. That’s why he has hung on to the same frames for his glasses for – 20 years! Until now. You wouldn’t have known that his frames were as dated as the Y2K scare, however. Paul wears contacts in public. He had reserved the Stone Age spectacles for home.

Recently, Paul realized he needed new frames. He decided to splurge when he saw an online special offering a pair of glasses for $95. Later, he found an even better online deal — lenses, shipping and taxes for $46. “Maybe at that price,” Paul tells Huckleberries, “I can afford to change them out every 10 years.” Huckleberries is glad Paul influences state spending.

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You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at


Don Samuelson (far left) cutting the ribbon to open I-90. With Samuelson are (from left): Post Falls Mayor Cecil Meyer, Post Falls Chamber President Bob Bogner, CdA Chamber President Archie McGregor Jr., and Cda Mayor John McHugh. (From CDA Press, Oct. 23, 1970)