Huckleberries | Coeur d’Alene Press

Naomi Boutz had to do something when friend Jody suffered a random act of hatred.

So, last week, the Vine & Olive restaurant owner gave away free wine and beer for any donation of food.

Naomi told Huckleberries that her food drive helped her deal with the toxic negativity that is swamping Coeur d’Alene. Also, it made a statement that the Lake City has “a lot of work to do.”

The capture of 31 racists, bent on mischief, near downtown Saturday followed the attack on Jody.

“I’m so frustrated that being proactively mean is the new norm,” Naomi said.

Jody returned to her Idaho-licensed Lexus at the McEuen Park lot Thursday evening, June 9, to find Chinese food leftovers splattered across her front windshield. The guilty party left the take-out container on the hood and a bottle of cheap sparkling wine on top of the car.

This note was scrawled on the back of the Safeway receipt for the Brut wine: “Go Back to Cali where you belong. Don’t ruin Idaho, Hoe.”

Never mind that Jody was born in Idaho and has lived here her entire life. Nor that she is involved in Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, and other civic activities.

“She’s the last person who is ruining Idaho,” said Naomi.

Naomi and Jody can only guess that she was targeted for driving a luxury, albeit 6-year-old, car.

“Apparently, some people must believe that Idahoans can’t afford a Lexus,” Naomi said.

Naomi, who has lived in Idaho since age 2, has a front-row seat on the strange culture that has is affecting the Coeur d’Alene area. Regularly, she hears customers explain why they moved to North Idaho or hesitate to admit they’re recent transplants.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said.

She urges locals to stop swirling around the poisonous social media drain and promote positive change by talking to others one-on-one, listening, and finding common ground.

She concluded: “We need to contribute value instead of division.”

Recall fell flat

Ben Toews held elective office in Kootenai County long before he won the GOPrimary in May for Senate District 4, Sen. Mary Souza’s post. As an elected student senator at North Idaho College in June 1997, Toews joined a petition drive to recall three NIC trustees.

Students and the community were upset 25 years ago when trustees voted unanimously, without explanation, to oust president Bob Bennett. The firing created such an uproar that two trustees resigned: Steve Widmyer and Sue Thilo. Then, the students launched a recall effort to remove the other three: Chairwoman Jeanne Givens, Barb Chamberland, and Bob Ely.

But the petition drive was domed from the start.

First, the AG’s office said students would need an extraordinary 14,827 valid signatures each to trigger the recalls. Then, Toews & Co. learned that signatures collected at area businesses wouldn’t be valid unless someone witnessed every signature. Finally, summer was approaching.

Few wanted to waste the region’s short summer gathering signatures.

Like fine wine

And the answer is: 53 years and 155 days. The question: How old was Marie Widmyer of Coeur d’Alene on Saturday, June 4, when she stepped down from her year’s reign as 2021 Mrs. Idaho American? She relinquished her crown as the oldest woman ever to hold the title in Idaho Falls. “One of my goals was to hold the record as the oldest Mrs. Idaho,” Marie said. “But my ultimate goal is to have someone come along and break the record.” Marie said her reign as royalty gave her a platform to advocate for foster care. Now, she wants older candidates to chase their dreams and run for their own crowns. Said she, “It’s never too late to try new things and stretch yourself BEYOND your comfort zone.” Ellon Chase of Sugar City, the new Mrs. Idaho American, is a spring-chickenish 41 years old.


Poet’s Corner: This daily drizzle/makes hair frizzle – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Of Coiffures”).

Blast from Past: The effort to recall Mayor Sandi Bloem and council members Woody McEvers, Mike Kennedy, and Deanna Goodlander officially failed 10 years ago this weekend. Mary Souza, the late Kathy Sims and friends huffed and puffed but couldn’t get enough signatures to trigger recalls. The ringleaders were angry that Bloem & Co. decided on a series of 4-3 votes to move ahead with reconstruction of McEuen Park rather than seek an advisory vote on the issue. Huckleberries said then and will repeat now that Bloem & Co. were correct in moving ahead.

· Between songs at the City Park Sunday, a Stagecoach West band member thanked some in the audience for dancing and said: “Have you tried that on grass? It isn’t easy.” Without skipping a beat, a fellow musician interjected: “What kind of grass?”

· A Huckleberry Friend almost dropped the nozzle while pumping gas at the local NomNom station at 15th & Best when a small U-Heil, er U-Haul, truck pulled up to an adjacent pump. His first thought? He wondered how many supremacists in body armor, shin guards, and smoke bombs could pack into the back. And that’s life in Coeur d’Alene in 2022.

· On June 18, 2002, the City Council eliminated 280 street parking spots for non-residents in the Fortgrounds’ hood. The vote was unanimous. The council wanted to rescue the unique area from the jam of cars parked curbside by NIC students and summer visitors. The move was unpopular for other residents until new paid parking lots were built near Memorial Field.

Parting Shot

You’d better pay attention when former Hawaiian Reid Harlocker says all our spring rain is “starting to feel like Hilo Town Blues.” The Coeur d’Alene knows where of he speaks. He’s a native of the Hilo, Hawaii, the rainiest town in the USA, averaging 156.79 inches per year, almost double the amount of the second-place city, Maple Valley, Wash. Two massive mountains on the Big Island are responsible for the heavy rainfall: Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. “Once, when I was in high school,” Reid said, “it rained 20 inches in 24 hours.” Hilo’s rain, of course, has inspired Hawaiian songs, including Reid’s favorite, “Olamona Honey’s Tune.” Huckleberries likes rain songs, too, like “Rain, Rain, Go Away.”

You can contact DF “Dave” Olliveria at

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