Friday, January 22, 2021

Tongue slip wrapped up mayor's term

| January 8, 2021 1:00 AM

We celebrated at the dedication of the new library — and for good reason.

It offered more books and more space. The children’s section filled the basement. Access for those with disabilities was easier. The library staff was excited to escape cramped quarters.

The city’s notables turned out for the event, including Duane Hagadone, who gave a short speech in which he urged city officials to fully support the new library.

Oh, I’m not talking about the new, new library on the edge of McEuen Park.

I mean the one that moved from 703 Lakeside Ave. to 201 Harrison Ave. (now St. Vinny’s HELP Center). Thirty-five years ago, on Jan. 2, 1986, then-mayor Jim Fromm checked out “Lake Wobegon Days” by Garrison Keillor to launch the new library in the old Louisiana Pacific building.

Fromm, who was soundly beaten by Ray Stone in a re-election bid just months before, was applauded for spearheading the purchase. Library supporters deserved a hand, as well. They raised more than $53,000 in four months to furnish the building.

Seven-year-old Toby Flesher had cleaned out his savings to donate $225 for a section of book shelving.

The Stone administration would move quickly to sell the old building, which appraised for $140,000 at the time. The city was strapped for cash and couldn’t afford to heat both the new library and old one.

Originally, Mr. and Mrs. R.S. Nelson had gifted the old structure to the city to be used as a library. Before that, in 1941, Don English had opened English Funeral home in the place.

Now, Lyons O’Dowd attorneys are housed in the refurbished, redbrick building at Seventh and Lakeside.

One of the fun moments at the library dedication was a slip of the tongue by Mayor Fromm during his short speech. Afterward, Fromm, who didn’t like Stone, said his faux pas might have been Freudian.

Amusingly, he had wished his “predecessor” a successful term in office.

Too early?

Dick Haugen, KVNI’s former “Voice of North Idaho,” began a Facebook debate by asking: “How early is too early to run a snow thrower?” Dick thought 7 a.m. was a fine beginning time. The query attracted 68 comments. Jordan Keough of Coeur d’Alene answered Dick’s question with a question: “It depends on the neighbors — owner or rental?” Offered Brian Walker, formerly of the Coeur d’Alene Press: “If anyone else has started, it’s fair game.” Steve Sibulsky, a former Coeur d’Alene resident who lost part of a finger to a snow blower, tossed in his two cents: “7 a.m. was always my guideline. However, here in (Arizona), nobody cares.” Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley had the right answer: “I go as early as 6 a.m. but justify it by doing long stretches of sidewalk, so the neighbors don’t complain.” Hey, if you plow my sidewalk, you can name your hours.


Poet’s Corner (from Jan. 6, 2016): Our holidays have quickly flown,/like fast clouds above a ridge;/they left us happy memories/and some old stuff in the fridge — The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Holidays”). Yeah, the rhyme may be dated in these COVID times.

Kandi Johnson of Rathdrum invested her stimulus check in her health and the local economy. She bought a ping-pong table from Priano’s. Explains Kandi: “Ping-pong gets your heart rate up, encourages social interactions, is low impact, and doesn’t require (big) ongoing expenses.” And you have something better to do with your stimulus check?

Much has been said of now ex-sheriff Ben Wolfinger’s long career with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office. But did you know that he and wife Mary spent one night of the Christmas holidays at The Coeur d’Alene Resort with their grandkids? Ben read them the “Christmas Story” from Luke 2. And then everyone watched “Elf.” Mary tells Huckleberries, “We decided to create memories with them instead of buying gifts.” Sounds like Sheriff Ben is settling into his next chapter of life as Grandpa.

Parting Shot

First, you should know that singer Gwen Stefani is engaged to Blake Shelton and they’re both coaches on “The Voice.” Onward. During the holidays, the Kellogg PD fielded noise complaints twice from residents on North Division Street, according to Sgt. Paul Twidt’s Roll Call report. They complained that an apartment dweller got louder as she got drunker. The gendarmes tried to restore the peace by encouraging Ms. Loud Drunk to use her inside voice. Seems the cops didn’t know whom they were talking to. The woman had once worked backstage for Stefani. In her mind, that made it OK to blare her music and talk loudly. The officers finally succeeded in showing her the error of her ways.

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