Sunday, March 03, 2024

HUCKLEBERRIES: This book ended quite happily

| March 4, 2022 1:00 AM

Even good ones, like Dixie Reid and the late Ron Edinger, can be wrong.

Both adamantly opposed building a library on any part of McEuen Field.

“I want to go on record as saying that I am close-mindedly opposed to any development on McEuen Field,” Councilwoman Reid said at a City Council meeting 25 years ago today.

Councilman Edinger made a motion, which was tabled, to expand the library at its Harrison Avenue site.

“It was my hope that the library board and library foundation would understand that a certain field is off limits,” Ron said.

The council discussion happened 10 days after Duane Hagadone withdrew his offer to build a botanical garden on McEuen Field and donate $2 million for a new library at the corner of Seventh and Front. Public protest prompted Duane to pull his proposal.

Although Duane’s plan fell through, he had planted an idea among library boosters — building a library at the edge of McEuen Field. Library board member Scott Reed said at the time that a library could be built on the site without disrupting the old American Legion diamond or the two softball fields.

Dixie and Ron would come around on the downtown library location (although Ron would unsuccessfully fight the planned overhaul of McEuen Field 15 years later).

On Aug. 15, 2000, Dixie and Ron joined the unanimous council vote to build the library where it is now.

On Sept. 9, 2007, the new library on the edge of McEuen Field opened its doors to the public.

It was the right decision.

Don't ‘Drop Trou’

The “drop trou” amendment has protected Coeur d’Alene values for a decade now. Never heard of it? On Feb. 21, 2012, on a 5-1 vote, our City Council closed a loophole that allowed some flashers to be treated differently than others. At that time, not all flashers were created equal, either in stature or the eyes of the law. City prosecutors could nail pervs for indecent exposure only if they could prove an offender did his thing with lewd intent. But the law didn’t cover those who simply wanted to annoy or offend. Councilman Dan Gookin cast the no vote. He felt the city’s disturbing the peace law could handle exhibitionists who showed their privates for shock value. The new law was deemed a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, it didn’t ban bare-bottomed mooning or women who lifted their shirts. Nor some of the attire at City Beach on hot summer days.


• Poet’s Corner: Your hours will bring joy,/your days will bring gladness;/how welcome you are,/you month of March Madness — The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Ode to a New Month”).

• Fifty years ago, reigning Miss USA Michele McDonald of Butler, Pa., visited Coeur d’Alene to model swimsuits at a J.C. Penney/Jaycees luncheon. She told the Press she had no special talent, stating: “No talent is necessary in this contest.” Her words, not Huckleberries'. Despite protests by women’s libbers of McDonald’s day, the Miss USA pageant still has a swimsuit component.

• Joel Pearl’s real estate agency in Hayden has succeeded in its attempt to send “positive vibes” with this readerboard message: “If Plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.”

• In a Facebook post this week, Mayor Jim Hammond offered this Carl Jung quote without context: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.” P’haps that’s something to mull in rush-hour traffic on U.S. 95.

• At Hurd Mercantile in Rockford, Wash., Wednesday, Huckleberries overheard a LOL (Little Old Lady) tell friends about a birthday card she’d received. The message had the Silver Ladies whooping. “It’s not too late to be what you want to be, unless you want to be younger,” recited Mature Birthday Girl, pausing for effect, “Then, you’re screwed.”

Parting Shot

In his Feb. 13 history column, Syd Albright may have provided a word to describe the flood of political refugees pouring into — and despoiling — North Idaho today: “Stampeders.” That was the label given to Johnny-Come-Lately fortune seekers during the Yukon gold rush of the late 1890s. Our modern Stampeders, of course, have already struck gold — mortgage equity gold — and aren’t going away.

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D.F. (Dave) Oliveria can be contacted at



Miss USA Michele McDonald with J.C. Penney manager Dan Unger, center, and local Jaycees representative and later mayor, Al Hassell (March 1972).