Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Here's wishing all Main Street readers a happy, healthy and prosperous new year ... may the Bluebird of Happiness perch on your shoulder in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

#52 for 2009

This week's Main Street print column from the Coeur d'Alene Press HERE.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

THE Christmas gift of 2009 ...

I bet millions of people unwrapped Snuggies on Christmas this year. Our daughter Melani was one, as was my sister, Janna. Gail McGaughey specifically told her husband, Pat and daughter, Margie that she didn't want a Snuggie so it makes sense that she found one under the tree ... in animal print, no less! Carl Riegert gave one to his wife, Genie and Jan Nelson says she was on the receiving end of a Snuggie, too. Eden Irgens said Santa brought one for her daughter, Riley Sue. Brett and Annalee Seright's cat loves her feline Snuggie! Email a photo of you or someone you love, including the four-legged family members, in their Snuggie and I'll post them here!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And the winner is ...

Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call on Tuesday from Don Smith (pictured), owner of Medicine Man Pharmacy in Post Falls to tell me I'd won their December drawing. Out of all of the entrants in the Medicine Man group of eight stores my name was drawn to receive a $1,000 gift card to Jewelry Design Center. Merry Christmas and THANKS Don, Barry and Brian!

Over the river ...

... and through the woods, to Grandfather's house we go. If you're traveling for the Christmas holiday, some weather and road tips from the Press, HERE.

My Lifelong Santa

The holidays can be bittersweet, especially if you're missing someone you love. The first Christmas without my father and lifelong Santa in 2004 became a journey of discovery ... HERE.
*Pictured, my father, Ron Rankin aka Santa Claus in 1991.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The lights of Christmas

The Coeur d'Alene Press has provided a listing of reader-suggested homes with exceptional Christmas lighting displays HERE. And a house that resembles a snowman convention is HERE.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Good dog

Post Falls' first K-9 service dog spent his first day on-shift after spending six weeks in training with his partner, Officer Frank Bowne. On Monday I had the opportunity of meeting "Dino" the German Sheperd and checking out the new K-9 modified patrol car. What an asset for our local law enforcement efforts to have the new "guy" on the job. School children have submitted over 400 suggestions for a name, which will be announced after the Christmas vacation. "Dino" will be officially sworn in during the first council meeting of 2010 on January 5.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Family Photos

When holidays come around, it's the perfect opportunity for those memorable family photos. Nearly 30 years ago the daughters and I began a tradition that's endured ... the matching outfits family photos. I marvel at their good sportsmanship when well into their thirties they still humor me when I gift them with matching sweaters on any occassion all three are in the same state at the same time. This Christmas won't be one of those occassions but when it comes, I'll be ready. :) Any of you have a great family photo of everyone in matching fashions? HERE's an album with some of ours through the years.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Today Show

On the Today Show this morning from New York, Real Estate expert Barbara Corcoran featured a 4,500 sq. ft. Victorian on ten acres with a horse barn for the fire sale price of $539,000. In Coeur d'Alene. I'm not sure where the house is located but it has panoramic mountain views. I believe I've seen it featured in local real estate magazines. If you're the agent for this property, email a photo to me and I'll post it here.
*that was quick! Christina Swarat Ethridge knew the house and provided a link HERE. It's located in Cougar Gulch on Stach Road and is pending sale at $161,000 less than the original asking price. Randy and Christy Oetken of Windermere/Coeur d'Alene Realty are the agents.
**If any Today Show viewers see this and are disappointed that they may have missed out, there's another equestrian-friendly home on ten acres at Cougar Gulch HERE.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Way it Was

There were several inches of snow on the ground on December 17, 2008 as a storm moved in overnight. By the time morning dawned, North Idaho had received about two feet of snow in less than 24 hours! By the time winter turned to spring we would see record-breaking snowfall for the second winter in a row. Photos of those first days leading up to one of the whitest Christmases ever, HERE. *photo of a neighbor navigating Powderhorn Street early morning December 18, 2008 before the snowplows made a pass.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Going Home for Christmas ...

In today's Main Street column I wrote the following ... "Geri Pickup is hoping to mark an extraordinary 95 years on Dec. 21. She's a resident of Loyalton but has been at Kootenai Medical Center for the past few days. Geri's husband, Judd, passed away in May at age 95. The couple had been married for an incredible 73 years. Keep Geri in your thoughts and prayers."

I'm sad to report that Mrs. Pickup passed away last evening. But I also have to smile at the wonderful reunion she and her lifelong sweetheart are having in Heaven.

Sarah Palin Book Signing

Photos from the Coeur d'Alene appearance HERE.

A Hero Turns 90!

Vernon Baker of St. Maries earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in WWII in 1945, although it was not officially presented until 1997. Mr. Baker turns 90 on Dec. 17, the only living African American Medal of Honor recipient of the "greatest generation." He's also the last surviving member of the Army's segregated Buffalo Soldiers Brigade. In honor of his service and courage, Governor Butch Otter has proclaimed December 17 as "Vernon J. Baker Day."
I had the distinct privilege of meeting Mr. Baker at an event earlier this year. What a humble and delightful man. Like most of his era, he's a bit uncomfortable with the hero description, the memories of his fellow soldiers who didn't return from war always at the forefront of any conversation about his experience.
What a pleasure to recognize Vernon Baker in this week's Main Street Birthday Club!
Press story about Mr. Baker's birthday party HERE.

Main Street in print

This week's print Main Street column from the Coeur d'Alene Press, HERE.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Toys for Tots

For 62 years the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots program has made Christmas brighter for thousands of children. Locally the Young Marines of North Idaho pitched in to gather toys and contributions at Walmart in Post Falls. Seven members of the group collected 212 new toy donations, including a bicycle, and $290 in cash for Toys for Tots in just four hours.
The Young Marines of North Idaho is a program for youth age 9-18 and adult volunteer leaders are encouraged to contact Mrs. Pat Rector, Commanding Officer, for more information. 683-7804.
Pictured l-r: Hayden Evans, Jeremiah Jenkins and Tristan Webb.

Holidays and Heroes

Dozens of off-duty law enforcement and fire/rescue personnel spent the morning shopping with local children at WalMart. All of the gifts were wrapped by volunteers at the Greyhound Park while the children enjoyed lunch, movies and a visit with Santa. The annual event is funded by generous financial contributions from the community. Each child will also receive a turkey and all of the fixings for Christmas dinner. Coeur d'Alene Press story HERE. *Post Falls Chief of Police Scot Haug with two children he shopped with on Sunday.

Backyard Bird Count

I've long enjoyed photographing birds who come to visit in my backyard, and in 2008 snapped this shot of a robin in winter. If you enjoy watching the birdies this time of year, Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count starts December 14 through January 5. This count is the the longest running citizen-science survey in the world. From Alaska to Antarctica, tens of thousands of volunteers will add a new layer to more than a century of bird population information. Visit HERE for more information on how you can participate!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Season of the Bad Holiday Sweater

Christmas holiday parties are in full swing and it's time to break out the seasonal fashions for galas galore. Admit it, we all have some of those unfashionable fashion statements in the back of the closet. Dave Walker was a good sport to let me use this photo of him in a Christmas tree sweatshirt for illustrative purposes and if you'll be equally as sporting and email photos of you and your friends decked out in your bad sweaters, I'll make a little photo album to share. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Job Well Done

At the holiday party for Idaho Department of Labor staff, Judy Gray and Susan Fantleroy were recognized for their service as they celebrated their upcoming retirements. Judy (on left) has nearly 30 years with Job Service and Susan, 10 years. Each was treated to a slide show of their careers, friends and family during the dinner held at American Legion Post 143 in Post Falls.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

As close as I get

I'll be sleeping in my nice, warm bed and not on the sidewalk in front of Fred Meyers overnight, although I did spot the official tour bus on the east side of the Coeur d'Alene Resort about 11 p.m. Visiting with people in line for a couple of hours was interesting, these folks are well-prepared for the elements. But they still have about a dozen hours to go before they're having their books signed by Sarah. See photos HERE.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

To stand in line ... or not.

A few years ago, before Bob Barker retired, we met our daughter Sarah in L.A. with the goal of making it into the studio audience of The Price is Right. We stayed at a motel right across from the CBS studios and had a plan. The plan involved me sitting on the sidewalk in line starting at 11 p.m. the night before while Bert and Sarah slept in comfort. I was determined to get single digit tickets and a front row seat in the audience. Just before dawn, Bert came and took my spot in line while I caught a few winks. By the time they started handing out the numbered passes at 6:30 a.m. all three of us were in line. We received tickets 7, 8, 9 out of 250 handed out that morning. Fast forward to today and I'm seriously pondering doing something similar to get an autographed copy of Sarah Palin's Going Rogue. A couple of distinct differences between our Price is Right adventure and this one ... about 70 degrees difference in the overnight temperatures in line, I'm a few years older and wiser than I was then and I know I'll not be driving home in a new car.
Any of you planning to camp out tonight?

Coeur d'Alene Press story re: Palin signing at Fred Meyers HERE.

In print

This week's Main Street column from the Coeur d'Alene Press, HERE.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gingerbread House 101

On Monday my sister, Janna Scharf provided a tutorial to a couple of apprentice gingerbread artists at her Hayden home. I'm more of a decorating Christmas cookies kind of gal so this was way beyond my holiday artistry skill set. Fellow pupil John Hough (pictured) jumped in to create Santa's house. Me? I'm now the landlord of a chocolate river rock cottage, complete with bluebirds of happiness in the tree and on the mailbox. To see the process and finished houses click HERE.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Somber Start

The procession made its way westward on I-90, multiple law enforcement agencies from Kootenai County paying their respects to fellow fallen officers of the Lakewood, Washington police force. More photos HERE.

Police Procession

"The Coeur d’Alene Police Department Honor Guard will be joined by deputies from Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department, officers from Post Falls Police, and Idaho State Police as they drive in procession as a show of mourning and respect. Our officers will join thousands of law enforcement personnel from around the country to honor the lives of the Lakewood officers that made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their life in the line of duty." Sgt. Christie Wood, Coeur d'Alene Police Department

*Sgt. Wood emailed approval this morning in response to my request to let More Main Street readers know that the caravan will be visible on I-90 through Post Falls about 12:30 p.m. today for those of you who would like to show your support for our local men and women in uniform who are representing us all in Lakewood.

"A Date Which Will Live in Infamy"

December 7, 1941. Today we honor those who served and gave the last full measure of devotion in service to their country at Pearl Harbor. To read more about the attack that launched America into World War II, click HERE.


An arctic cold front has arrived, this is the temperature on the patio of my Post Falls home this morning. Single digit temps over night this week call for some precautions. Bundle up, top off your gas tank in the event you get stranded and make sure your pets have shelter and fresh water. I think I prefer the past two years' snowy Decembers, when the temperatures hovered in the 20 above zero range! *The second part of Cliff Harris' Press column has the forecast for North Idaho HERE.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Soaring with the eagles

The eagles have arrived on Lake Coeur d'Alene! Going out to Higgens Point two or three times a week to watch them is one of my favorite winter pastimes. Some of the eagle photos I've taken the last few years are HERE. If you'd like more info on this activity click HERE. And if you get some good eagle photos, email them to More Main Street and I'll post them here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas in Post Falls

On Friday night the Post Falls community came together for the annual kick off celebration of the Christmas season. Photos of the fun HERE. Coeur d'Alene Press story HERE.

Three of a Kind

Triplets Rheanna, Cheyene and Andrew Fisher visited the Post Falls Museum on Friday night and were greeted by members of the Post Falls Historical Society. The museum, located on the corner of Spokane Street and 4th Ave., is decked out for the holidays and features a number of displays from the early years of Post Falls.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A distinct honor

The 27th Annual Women of Distinction Awards were presented today by the Soroptimists at the beautiful Cedars Floating Restaurant. What an incredible celebration of women making a difference in our communities. Congratulations to all of the recipients!
seated- Gratia Griffith/Senior Volunteer and Jackie Kirk/Public Service. Standing (l-r) Heidi Rogers/Education, Pam Houser/Community Service, Susan Herbst/Health, Tori Gray/Business & Professional, Florine Dooley accepting for Len Mattei/Arts & Culture and Rachel Dolezal/Community Activism.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

River Rescue

The Kootenai County Sheriff's Marine Division has added a new boathouse, which will store one patrol boat and a fire department boat in the summer at Red Lion Templin's Resort Marina on the Spokane River. Kudos to the Red Lion for this generous partnership which will improve response time on the river. Press story HERE.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Warming Center on a cold night

Because the weatherman is forecasting temperatures in the low-teens St Vincent de Paul North Idaho will be opening their Warming Center. This is a place for the homeless to get out of the fridged weather, have some warm food, and enjoy a safe place to lay their heads. The address for the Warming Center is 117 E Walnut in Coeur d'Alene. Hours will be 8 pm-7 am for as long as the temps are below 15 degrees. They're anticipating a full house tonight.

I Love Where I Live ...

The latest installment of I Love Where I Live took place today at the Legislative Send-Off hosted by the Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene Chambers of Commerce. About 80 people were gathered for lunch before hearing from our local legislators. My fellow city councilor Skip Hissong mentioned that the parents of slain Lakewood, WA police officer Tina Griswald, who live in Post Falls, were in need of money for the unexpected expenses involved in traveling to their daughter's memorial services, etc. So we passed a basket around the room and in less than ten minutes time had collected $647 for the Delongs. Again, even in challenging economic times, the people in our communities exhibit a generosity that's unparelleled.

New Guy

After a months-long, nationwide search, the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce has filled the CEO position vacated by Jonathan Coe last summer and Todd Christensen was right next door in Washington. PRESS story HERE.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

All Access

People who move here from other states are always in awe of how much access we have to our elected representatives. On Tuesday night at Ron Nilson's home, State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna was there as were State Senators Jim Hammond and John Goedde, Reps. Frank Henderson and Bob Nonini, former state senators Dick Compton and Kathy Simms and former state rep Dean Haagenson. Last Saturday I chatted with Governor Butch Otter at Festival of the Trees. Today the annual Legislative Send-Off, hosted by the Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene Chambers, will be another opportunity to hear from our legislators and share our concerns and issues prior to the 2010 session starting in January. Idaho is unique in many ways and our elected officials are truly accessible to the public. Pictured: Ron Nilson, Kerri Thoreson, Tom Luna


Ava and Ashley Yates, darling daughters of Eli and Ingrid, enjoyed the Festival of Trees Senior Social with their great grandmothers, Eileen Yates and Marie Knutson.

Fallen Heroes

The tragic killing of four western Washington police officers this past Sunday has impacted many in our area. Slain officer Tina Griswold was a daughter, sister, wife and mother. Her parents, Stan and Genie DeLong, live in Post Falls and her sister, Tiffiny Ryan lives in Coeur d’Alene. Her law enforcement "family" and the citizens they all protect and serve share Officer Griswold’s loved ones’ grief. Story from Press HERE.

UPDATE: The wanted fugitive in the killings, Maurice Clemmons, was shot and killed early Tuesday morning by a Seattle police officer.