Monday, May 31, 2010

Rainy Day

This Memorial Day was one of the wettest in recent years and just about every ceremony was held in the rain. Paul Sullivan of the Marine Corps League smiled when a serious downpour held off until after their ceremony at Coeur d'Alene Memorial Gardens mid-afternoon.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Paying our respects

Most years I'm able to attend at least three ceremonies honoring veterans but have to alternate between the Forest Cemetery ceremony (where my father, Ronald D. Rankin, is buried) and Post Falls where American Legion Post 143 remembers those who served. Hayden's ceremony is also at 11 a.m. so I generally pay my respects later in the afternoon on my way to the Marine Corps League's program at Coeur d'Alene Memorial Gardens. To see the beauty of these public places in a sea of flags, to see the many aging veterans who still serve to ensure their fellow vets are honored is an honor for me. I encourage you to attend one or many of the following in our communities on Memorial Day ... at the 3rd Street docks in Coeur d'Alene, there will be the ringing of the bell at 9 a.m. followed by the laying of a wreath in the water by American Legion Post 14. At 10 a.m. a brief ceremony at St. Thomas Cemetery and at 11 a.m. a ceremony at Forest Cemetery. Also at 11 a.m. Post Falls American Legion Post 143 will hold a service at Evergreen Cemetery and Robert J. Gordon Veterans Memorial Plaza at Hayden City Hall will be the site of a ceremony that includes the Albeni Pipe & Drum Corps. The Post Falls Historical Society will dedicate a new veterans display at the Post Falls Museum at 1 p.m. and at 2 p.m. the Marine Corps League hosts Memorial Day services at Coeur d'Alene Memorial Gardens on N. Government Way. *pictured is my father's gravesite near the Civil War statue in Forest Cemetery. He was a veteran of WWII and Korea, surviving the Battle of the Chosin Resevoir. After his death in 2004 the veterans memorial at the Kootenai County Courthouse was named in his honor. I have the honor of serving as the curator of the Ronald D. Rankin Veterans Memorial Plaza.

Veterans of the Schitsu' umsh

The dedication of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe Veterans Memorial took place on May 29. Idaho Governor Butch Otter and US Senator Mike Crapo along with Tribal Chairman Chief Allen and Vice-Chair Ernie Stensgar paid tribute to the veterans of the tribe. Although it was cold and blustery, the warmth of the tribe's hospitality and the pride of a people for our heroes made for a great day. The Coeur d'Alene Press story is HERE and my album of photographs is HERE. I encourage everyone to visit this incredible memorial to veterans in Plummer, at the trailhead of the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.

Crossing the Boardwalk

Coeur d'Alene boasts the world's largest floating boardwalk surrounding the Coeur d'Alene Resort Marina. Boats come and go under a pedestrian bridge. The original Boardwalk Marina bridge was completed in the spring of 1985, and christened in front of a live TV audience on Good Morning America. Since then, an electronic counter on the boardwalk has recorded more than one million visitors per year.The new bridge, opened Memorial Day weekend this year, is built of Alaskan yellow cedar to extend its life over the original. The channel beneath the bridge provides the only means of access for all the boats in the marina, as well as for boating visitors. *I've added a small photo of the boardwalk bridge taken in May 2008 when the lake flooded during the spring thaw of record breaking snowfall.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Your Vote Counts

Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 25, is Primary Election Day in Idaho. Here in Kootenai County this election will actually seat two county commissioners and other officials because there are no Democrat candidates appearing on the ballot for the November General Election. Story HERE.
Does one vote, your vote, count? Absolutely. When the "Wednesday Morning Quarterbacking" begins in two days, will you have been a participant in the process or just a bystander?
The polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and you can find information on where to vote at the Kootenai County Elections website HERE or call 446-1030.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Outta the ball park!

The Lady Trojan softball team achieved something no Post Falls softball team before them have when they took the State Championship in Twin Falls on Saturday. And for the second time in as many months, (the Trojan Boys Basketball team earned State Champ this year), the community turned out to enthusiastically welcome the victors home. A caravan through town with the team bus, and a police and fire truck escort capped off a fairytale season for the home team!
More photos of the celebration HERE. Sports story from The Press HERE.

Burgers on the Barby

On Friday I joined Post Falls Chamber President/CEO Pam Houser as May's celebrity chefs for Community 1st Bank's customer and community appreciation BBQ. We flamed up the grill pretty good and managed to serve over 125 burgers and hot dogs by the end of lunch. Photos HERE.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rocking Coeur d'Alene

Carli Osika is 14-years-old and talented beyond her years. She's a student at CDA Rock School in Hayden and surely in the running for Valedictorian! Check out her YouTube video HERE.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Century Plus Three

Ace Walden is celebrating his 103rd birthday today. He's lived all but about four years of his 103 years in Coeur d'Alene. What I admire about Ace is not that he's achieved over a century of life but that he's had a life well-lived, much of it in the service of others. This photograph is from the 2007 4th of July parade, when he was honored as Grand Marshal. Driving him down the parade route that day was an honor for me. Happiest of birthdays, Ace!

Goin' to the Dogs

My dog-daughter, Annie, made a lot of new friends at Dog d'Alene in downtown Coeur d'Alene on Saturday, including the mascot from Paws and Claws Pet Resort. More about the event HERE. See photos HERE.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great Grillers

If you drove by Tim's Custom Meats on Government Way last Saturday, you might have noticed a parking lot full of bbq grills and no small amount of smoke. The Pacific Northwest BBQ Association is holding classes to certify judges for upcoming competitions in the region. It also gives grillers the opportunity to hone their skills and learn the ins and outs of competing.
Jeff Selle of Post Falls, along with his dad, Dave, and brother, Rob cleaned up ... between them taking home several ribbons, including Jeff's Grand Champion trophy. On Sunday, the Selles' Rub 'em Raw team served up a bbq dinner for about thirty friends and family at Q'emiln Park. Even if you didn't get to taste the best bbq this side of the Rio Grande, you can check out photos HERE.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Remembering Christina

In the audience at the Junior Miss Program last Saturday night in the Post Falls High School arena was proud grandmother, Bev Finney. Her 8-year-old granddaughter, Courtney Finney, was one of a couple dozen little misses providing special entertainment during the program. Bev's memories of a night just like that in years past brought both a smile and a tinge of sadness. Christina Finney was named Post Falls Junior Miss in 1994, representing her community in parades and at the Idaho Junior Miss Program. She had a stellar senior year, enjoying success as a cross country athlete. On June 1, 1995 ... just days after her 18th birthday and before graduation, Christina died in a car accident just a few blocks from the high school on a sunny afternoon.
On Saturday when Hailey Smith was chosen 2010 Post Falls Junior Miss, Bev was reminded of her sweet daughter Christina. Hailey is also a cross country runner, who in an ironic twist, received the Christina Finney Spirit Award in the sport this year.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Slowing the flow

For the first time, Avista Utilities has forced Lake Coeur d'Alene to fill by slowing the flow through the Post Falls Dam to raise the level of the lake. Avista will keep the lake near its present level until the middle of June when it will be raised a few inches to summer level. The spill gates at the dam will most likely be completely closed around Memorial Day. This photo was taken on April 5 and shows much lower flow than is usual in the spring. A few years ago the spill gates stayed open until after the 4th of July due to heavy snows causing spring flooding. More HERE from the Press.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Heroes among us

On this Mother's Day morning I'm humbled by the resilience and faith of Cyndie Johnson. On Saturday Cyndie and her daughter, Aubree Johnson Chesnut were among the participants in the 2nd Annual Jordan Johnson Memorial Run to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Kootenai County. Cyndie has not just endured but triumphed over tragedy that could have sent any mother to the depths. Her athletic 15-year-old son, Jordan died unexpectedly in his sleep from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart)in November 2006. Five months later a drunk driver hit the motorcycle Cyndie and her husband, Tom were riding, killing Tom and seriously injuring Cyndie. The loss of her high-school-sweetheart husband while still grieving the loss of their son is beyond what any of us can imagine. But the Johnson family has chosen to honor Jordan and Tom's lives with the commitment to others through the Boys and Girls Club of Kootenai County. Cyndie and her daughters, Desiree and Aubree deserve the sun that's shining on Mother's Day today. Photos from Jordan's Memorial Run HERE.

Friday, May 7, 2010

This week's Main Street May 5, 2010

The print version of Main Street, HERE.

Roller Coaster King!

At the conclusion of the three-day Idaho Conference on Recreation and Tourism in Boise this week, awards were presented. I had the pleasure of watching Gary Norton, owner and creator of Silverwood Theme Park, receive the Take Pride in Idaho Award from Lt. Governor Brad Little for his contributions to the $3 billion industry in our great state. Gary's wife, Jeannie and son, Paul were there as were my friends from the top-notch Silverwood marketing team, Nancy DiGiammarco, Layne Pitcher and Mark Robitille. Jennifer Ross from Hayden's Triple Play/Holiday Inn was also in our North Idaho/Region 1 cheering section. The Coeur d'Alene Press story about Silverwood is HERE.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Beautiful Blanket

For those of you who watched Super Saver win the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, here's a little trivia about the blanket of roses he wore in the winner's circle. In a Kroger grocery store in Louisville, several floral designers spent about 8 hours hand stitching each individual rose. The "blanket" weighed 40 pounds when finished. After being on display overnight at the store, the arrangement was delivered to Churchill Downs with a police escort. Thanks to my niece, Veronica, who lives in Louisville, for this photo and interesting behind-the-scenes look at the Run for the Roses.