North Idaho

COOLEST April On Record In Coeur d'Alene

Our cold, gray Spring is breaking records in Coeur d'Alene.  April 2011 will go down as the COLDEST on record at the Coeur d'Alene airport.  The average temperature was 41.2 degrees, which is 5.4 degrees below average, and that breaks the record of 41.4 degrees set back in 2008.  Both 2011 and 2008 were La Nina years.  La Nina is the abnormal cooling of the sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific that has been influencing our weather pattern since late Fall.  The long-range forecast is calling for more cool, wet weather for at least the first half of May. 

What The Heck Is A Guberif?

To answer the headline, it's "Firebug" spelled backwards.  More to the point, Guberif is a character created in 1950 to remind Idahoans to be careful not to accidentally set a wildfire.  Kind of like Smokey Bear (that's right, there's no "the" in his name), but not nearly as memorable.  Until now, perhaps, because Guberif is making a comeback.  

Craft Beer, The Race Across America, Autism And Sandpoint, Idaho

Craft Beer, the Race Across America, and Autism; at first glance you would say they have nothing in common, but you would be wrong. What they have in common, is a four man cycling team from Sandpoint, Idaho on a mission. For Jacob Styer, Mel Dick, Wayne Pignolet, and Al Lemire the race will be a reality.The Race Across America is one of the most respected and longest running annual endurance events holding legendary stature the world over. It is one of the pinnacles of sporting accomplishment, globally seen as the highest rung of the endurance sports ladder. Since 1982, RAAM has a rich and storied history standing as a monument to human endeavors. The Race Across America is an event so staggering that merely to finish is, for most, the accomplishment of a lifetime. RAAM inspires everyone that it touches. A monumental race contested with the utmost of sportsmanship and zeal. Truly, RAAM is larger than life. A breeding ground for champions, a testing ground for elite riders and a shining example of the strength of human spirit. So, deciding to participate is not something to be taken lightly, but for some the road to the race has an interesting beginning.The whole adventure started around a campfire in the Grand Teton's of Wyoming after way too many beers, lots of laughs and some joking around. Now two years later, out of the ashes, rises Team Laughing Dog to compete and hopefully complete The Race Across America to raise awareness and  funds for organizations that support families living with autism.Prior to joining Team Laughing Dog, most team members had very few interactions with those on the Autism Spectrum. During the journey as Team Laughing Dog, the team members have come to understand Autism and Aspergers better because of education and more regular interactions with children and families affected by autism in the Sandpoint community. It's given the purpose a more personal feel.There are too many families who do not have even the basic services that autism requires, such as child care, medical care or education. Often these services are not available because there are no qualified providers, particularly in rural areas. Many times they are not an option, because families just can't afford to pay for them or the services are too far from home.Team Laughing Dog wants to help change all that, with a goal of raising $1 million to provide the services these families need – in the communities where they live. The team actively works with local autism service providers and chapters of the Autism Society of America to create and/or maintain these programs.It has not been, (and will not be), an easy road for any of the four riders, the two alternate riders (Jim Mellen and Mike Murray), and their crew of ten volunteers. The training schedules are grueling, North Idaho weather doesn't always permit outdoor training, and when they were able to do their first training ride outside it also came with some hardship. During that ride Mel Dick suffered a broken hip that required surgery after a crash. His ability to compete in the race is at question, but his heart and spirit are ready to race and regardless of the outcome he will be there for his team. In a blog post he had written after the crash he said:"Emotionally, it has been a week of ups and downs. Coming to grips with the possibility of not being able to ride.  Replaying the crash over and over again.  Going in an out of consciousness from the constant stream of pain medications. Thinking about the countless hours of training and preparation. Frankly, it was a bit overwhelming.The week has allowed me to reflect on the reasons I got involved in RAAM in the first place–to achieve a dream, to have fun, to meet new people, to do something challenging and to make a difference in the lives of others.After much thought, I realize how lucky I am.  I'm achieving a dream, I am having fun, I've met countless new people, many of who have become great new friends, I've been challenged physically and mentally beyond anything I could have imagined 2 years ago and most importantly I truly believe we are making a difference in the lives of families dealing with autism."The entire Team's feelings are expressed through Mel's words. They are achieving a dream, having fun, meeting new people, making new friends, and being challenged everyday. With every passing hour they move one step closer to fulfilling their mission to raise awareness and funds for organizations that support families living with autism along with being the premier amateur ultra-endurance cycling team in the U.S. In the words of the team and it's crew "We compete in cycling events such as the Race Across America and other nonstop long distance races to raise awareness of the difficulty of living with autism." The Race Across America is a 24/7 race and families dealing with autism don't get to take a time out, so the entire crew of Team Laughing Dog won't either.

Women In Business Luncheon Showcases Fashion At Affordable Prices

The Women In Business Committee of the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is hosting a fashion show for all budgets on Tuesday, May 3, at the Sandpoint Center Community Room. The Community Assistance League (CAL) will be presenting a spring fashion show designed to fit any budget. Clothing will be available for purchase after the luncheon. CAL will also have their cookbooks for sale.

Silver Valley Gathers To Remember Sunshine Mine

People in the Silver Valley today are gathering for a solemn memorial service for the 91 miners who died in an underground fire at the Sunshine Mine on May 2, 1972."There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about them," Bill Delbridge said at the 38th anniversary of the disaster last year, as he remembered his father, brother, and cousin who lost their lives in the mine fire. "I lost my father, Gene Johnson. I lost an uncle, Robert Barker and I lost a brother-in-law Richard Lynch," Peggy White, who helped organize last year's memorial, said in 2010. "We want to make sure that they're honored for their lives they have given up."While 91 lives were lost, two miners - Ron Flory and Tom Wilkinson - survived. Flory and Wilkinson were on the 48th floor, 11 floors below where the fire broke out. Within a few minutes of the fire starting, carbon monoxide and smoke quickly descended from floor to floor. When Wilkinson passed out Flory hauled him deeper down into the mine and away from the smoke."It was just the right place as the right time. A guardian angel was definitely watching over us," Flory said.

Hecla Resumes Operations At Lucky Friday

Hecla confirmed Friday morning that work has resumed at the Lucky Friday mine.Work has been shut down for two weeks since a ground collapse on April 15 in which miner Larry Marek was killed.Hecla spokeswoman Stephanie Bales said that miners will be returning to work gradually over the next week. 

Get Rid of Old Prescription Drugs This Weekend

If you have prescription drugs you're not using anymore, or ones that are past their expiration date, don't flush them down the toilet or leave them in the cabinet. This weekend, you can drop them off at Post Falls City Hall.Here's the press release from Post Falls Police:

Kootenai Humane Society Animal Lover Shortage

Kootenai County, ID - The Kootenai Humane Society relies on its thrift store to help keep its doors open and help shelter pets in need. But the store is experiencing a major shortage of volunteers and its reaching out to the community. "Even if you can help out for a few hours," says KHS's Adoption Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, Idella Mansfield. According to KHS, the thrift store is now down to one part-time volunteer. If you'd like to help out contact the Kootenai Humane Society at 208-667-5373.

Idaho Teachers Fight Back Against Education Reform Plan

The National Education Association is supporting an effort by Idaho teachers seeking to overturn three education bills passed by state lawmakers. Teachers want voters to decide if Idaho should phase out teacher tenure, restrict collective bargaining and introduce merit pay. Idaho Education Association spokeswoman Julie Fanselow told the Idaho Statesman the IEA received $75,000 from the NEA to pay for printing costs and signature gatherers

Auction To Benefit Youth Camp

A live and silent auction will be held at St. Pius X Catholic Church on Friday, April 29. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the North Idaho Catholic Youth Camp. The auction features many items donated from all over the community, including autographed Gonzaga Bulldogs memorabilia, tickets to the musical Wicked, and a night at the Davenport Hotel. Doors open at 5:30pm for the silent part of the auction, with the first tables closing at 6:30pm. A dinner will be served at 7:00pm, with turkey and ham prepared by the Knights of Columbus. The live auction begins at 8:00pm. Tickets are $20 at the door. Advance tickets can be reserved for $15 at

MSHA Begins Lucky Friday Accident Investigation

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has begun its investigation into the deadly collapse at the Lucky Friday mine in the Silver Valley. MSHA has dispatched a 5-person team to the mine to begin a comprehensive investigation into the roof collapse on April 15 that killed miner Larry Marek. The team plans to conduct an inspection of the mine, including the section where the accident took place, interview miners and Lucky Friday managers, and review the conditions of the mine and work procedures at the time of the incident.

Memorial Service This Afternoon For Larry Marek

A memorial service for miner Larry Marek will be held at the Kellogg High School gym this afternoon at 5 p.m.Marek died April 15 during a collapse inside the Lucky Friday mine.The memorial is open to the community and his family asks that people wear casual clothes to the memorial, including hunting and mining attire.

Coeur d'Alene Couple Still Cooking After Fire Destroys Their School

Frank and Lynne Wiedemann have been living and learning in Mexico since 1989. They began "Cook With Us Culinary Adventures" a cooks tour company, as a way to share their love of Mexico; it's amazing cuisine, friendly people, and rich cultural traditions.   This was a magical time in their lives as they met students from around the world who came to their cooking school in Todos Santos to learn the art of Mexican cooking and explore  the rustic beauty of Baja.  In 2009 the pair changed direction and are now based in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Lynne teaches cooking classes in authentic Mexican cuisine, they host and cater elaborate Mexican fiestas, cook and test recipes for publication and partner with Mike Gonzalez, KXLY 4 morning anchor and host of the "In The Kitchen" TV show that airs on sister station KXMN and KAPP/KVEW Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 am across Eastern Washington. Sadly, when the cooking school in Mexico burned to the ground it seemed as if all was lost.  It took the couple some time to heal from the loss but they are up and running again.  It's true Lynne says, "when one door closes another opens"  if we are open to the opportunity.

Silver Saturdays May Never End

How does skiing on Memorial Day weekend sound?  The folks at Silver Mountain say it's possible.  Silver received another foot of snow yesterday, and still has more than 100 inches at the base.  While normal operations ended in early April, Silver stays open each Saturday as long as there's sufficient demand.  Last weekend, 1,500 skiers and riders turned out for "Silver Saturday."   A Silver spokesperson says they're putting together a staffing plan with the hopes of staying open - on Saturdays only - through the end of May.  Keep an eye on the Silver Mountain website for details.

Biggest Year Ever for Hayden Kite Festival

The City of Hayden just sent us photos from the weekend's 5th Annual Hayden Kite Festival. I'm a little bummed I wasn't there because by the looks of it, the hot air balloon stole the show (see below). Besides that, those kites are just gorgeous. They had about 50 participants and more than 150 people watching the event. It was the highest attended Hayden Kite Festival to date. That's not surprise. Saturday was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Much better than what we're putting up with this week. 

Murder-For-Hire Trial Underway for Sandpoint Attorney

Jury selection is underway in Boise in the federal murder-for-hire trial of a Sandpoint attorney. Edgar Steele is charged with hiring a man to kill his wife and mother-in-law. The FBI says it has recordings of Steele hiring Larry Fairfax to plant a bomb under Cyndi Steele's car last year. Fairfax told the FBI that Steele hired him, but failed to tell federal agents he had actually planted a device. That device was found when Cyndi Steele took her car in for a routine oil check several days later. Federal prosecutors say Steele wanted his wife dead becausehe was hoping for an insurance payout and because he wanted a relationship with another woman. Steele's supporters say he's been framed by the government because he's represented unpopular clients like the Aryan Nations. His attorneys insist the tape recordings were altered to make Steele look guilty.

Idaho Man Claims He's Being Unfairly Judged Because Of His Van

A Coeur d'Alene man is making a big statement with his bluish grey van. He says that he's being unfairly judged because neighbors are on high alert for a similar van in connection with a string of attempted child lurings.He posted a message on the side of the van letting people know that he lives next to a school, likes his van, and was profiled while driving home.Coeur d'Alene police confirm at least one woman called to report his van driving near the school.  The van's owner wants an apology from that woman.

Closed Lifts Aren't Keeping People Off The Slopes

While many Inland Northwesterners were basking in the first sunny, mild weekend of the Spring, the ski season continued for the die-hards who are enjoying amazing post-season conditions.  Mary Berryhill sent the above photo of a lone skier climbing up a run at Schweitzer Mountain on Easter Sunday.  "There's lots of good skiing left for the cross-country or 'touring' skier", Mary said.

Sandpoint Woman Seriously Injured After Deer Hits Vehicle

A North Idaho woman was seriously injured in a car accident west of Sandpoint after a deer was struck by another car and then went through her windshield.Keith Nicholas, 37, of Libby, MT. was traveling eastbound on US 2 when a deer jumped in front of his Merkur XR4TI from a ditch along the side of the road. The deer was hit by Nicholas' SUV and thrown into the westbound lane where it went through the windshield of a Toyota Scion driven by Judith Linker, 69, of Sandpoint.After the deer hit her car, Linker's Scion drifted into oncoming traffic and off the shoulder, hitting a high tension power pole, then went through a creek and came to a rest on the opposite bank of the creek.

Boat Owner Watches Thieves Take Off In His Boat, Run Out Of Gas

COEUR D'ALENE--  A Coeur d'Alene man watched two men take off in his fishing boat Sunday morning, said a Kootenai County Sheriff's Department news release.  It happened on Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive west of Higgins Point. Kootenai County Sheriff's Department, Coeur d'Alene Police and Idaho State Police responded to the call.

Friends Remember Miner Larry Marek

The worst fears of Silver Valley residents were realized Sunday when Hecla Mining company announced miner Larry Marek did not survive the ground fall. KXLY4's Jeff Humphrey reports.

Breakfast With The Easter Bunny To Help Morgan

The Easter Bunny is hopping in a day early to help spread Easter cheer to a Rathdrum 1st grader recently diagnosed with leukemia.  Saturday's "Breakfast with the Bunny" is a fundraiser to help Morgan Haskell with medical expenses.   She was just diagnosed this month.  The breakfast is from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 23rd at John Brown Elementary in Rathdrum.  The cost is $5 per person.    

Rally, Boat Parade Planned To Keep Boat Ramp In Downtown CDA

COEUR D'ALENE-- A group opposed to a multi-million dollar project to redevelop McEuen Park is taking advantage of the beautiful weather forecasted for Saturday with a rally and boat parade. A member of the group "Friends Of McEuen," Julie Clark, says it's an opportunity for community members to send a message that they do not want the boat ramp moved from downtown Coeur d'Alene.  Moving the boat ramp to Silver Beach is just one of many proposed changes.  Under the plan the revamped park would have everything from an amphitheater to a dog park, a new parking garage, a skate park, ice skating and a sledding hill for the winter months. Some say it's a huge opportunity for Coeur d'Alene while others argue it's unrealistic even overindulgent.

CDA Arbor Day Celebration

Coeur d'Alene will be having a community-wide Arbor Day Celebration at East Tubbs Hill Park on Saturday, April 30th.  It will start with a pancake breakfast sponsored by Sun Valley Tree Service at 9:00 a.m., followed by a ceremony and tree planting at 9:45 a.m.  There will also be a display of Arbor Day button and poster art, door prizes, and tree care information.  Free tree seedlings will be given to all attendees by Cub Scout Troop 210 and the Idaho Department of Lands.  At 10:15, guided hikes of Tubbs Hill will be offered, highlighting native trees, wildflowers, and the native vegetation restoration project.  Hike leaders will be from the Urban Forestry Committee, Tubbs Hill Foundation, and the Native Plant Society. At this event, Coeur d'Alene will be presented with a Tree City USA award, as well as a Tree City "Growth" award.  This will be the 27th consecutive year of Tree City USA recognition for Coeur d'Alene.