News, views and advertising of the Grand Coulee Dam Area

Articles written by Roger Lucas


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  • Visiting the Prudhoe Bay protected area

    Roger Lucas|Jun 19, 2024

    My son Paul is a month into a five-month trip to Alaska. He called Sunday from a small campsite near Prudhoe Bay, where you can get to the gate but you can’t get in unless you have a permit or work there. There are about 2,000 workers at the oil site, mostly Eskimos who reside in nearby villages. The oil-and-gas site is expansive and the living quarters are huge, allowing for an influx of temporary workers. It is claimed that the oil companies are highly sensitive to environmental issues since the big Exxon Valdez oil tanker issue in 1989. A n...

  • Sometimes dreams do come true

    Roger Lucas|Jun 12, 2024

    Dreams did come true for Colleen Leskinen of Nespelem. Last week Colleen had an open house for her new daycare center. The daycare, just 50 yards from Colleen’s house, will be fully operable when state licensing officials make their official visit and signoff on the 2,400 square foot daycare building. Colleen is licensed for 35 children. She currently has 28. Building a new facility has long been a dream of Colleen’s. Her dream has come true. Her home and new daycare building is at the end of a long lane. If her dog Duke doesn’t announce your...

  • Why are so many people angry?

    Roger Lucas|May 29, 2024

    Service people catch the brunt of angry people. They have to take it out on somebody, I guess. You constantly read of incidents of anger interrupting airline travel. Usually, it is some small inconvenience brought on by someone who is having a very bad day. Incidents that you read about would have been unheard of in travel 50 years ago. I have traveled a lot, flying all over, and I never saw anger that you read about today. Airlines need to develop a D.B. Cooper drop from 30,000 feet to cool off some of these characters. Airline attendants are...

  • On the way to Skagway

    Roger Lucas|May 22, 2024

    It’s true; apples don’t fall far from trees. Over the years I have been fortunate to travel quite a bit. Now it’s my oldest son Paul’s time to travel. He retired a year ago and started planning a near five-month trip to Alaska. He is the Daniel Boone member of the family. His travels are outdoor treks, living in the great outdoors. He has a half dozen canoe trips on Yellowstone Lake, living along the shoreline in all kind of situations, most of the time alone. On his last trip there, he had a grizzly bear in his camp only a few feet away. When...

  • The watcher became the watched

    Roger Lucas|May 15, 2024

    Last Saturday was my 34th Colorama Parade. I will likely remember this one more than the rest. I had sat at my vantage point for over an hour before the parade started. It was really hot out. Just as the first part of the parade reached my location the heat got to me and I passed out. This is really about our local healthcare providers and how they help us when we have problems. On the scene almost immediately was Rick Paris and his ambulance crew. While I wasn’t tuned in to much, I remember how pleased I was that Paris was on the scene. I h...

  • Sunday is Mother's Day

    Roger Lucas|May 8, 2024

    We honor our mothers this week. This, of course, is something we should do all year long. I was born at the beginning of the Great Depression. My mother was a depression mother, the kind that is made of kindness and steel. She was the rock of the family. During the 1930s jobs were scarce. My father often had to work out of town and returned home for the weekends. I remember he worked one full year at Moses Lake. The depression is what brought my parents and siblings to Palouse. My father, who was born in Palouse, was discharged out of the army...

  • Where did those taters come from?

    Roger Lucas|May 1, 2024

    I decided to quit my job with Potlatch Forests and move to southern Idaho so I could see my future wife more easily and not have to drive 500 miles on weekends to see her. I guess that’s when I came in contact with Idaho potatoes. If you are in Idaho you wouldn’t be served anything but. Wherever we went and ate out I would ask the waitress if these were Idaho potatoes. I did it as a lark and would get the funniest looks. The answer was usually yes, they were, or I don’t know I will ask the cook. I really didn’t care, I was just having a littl...

  • Could a man be dog's best friend?

    Roger Lucas|Apr 17, 2024

    If a dog is man’s best friend, then why can’t a man be a dog’s best friend? I lost my little dog over a year ago. She had been with me for about 15 years. Now I don’t want to pick a fight with people who feel differently about pets. I bought my little dog when she was just a small puppy. A woman was selling her dog’s puppies out of the trunk of her car on Bureau property near The Star newspaper corner. I paid $50 for the puppy. Upon the advice of my wife, I eventually picked a female puppy, while I liked the color of the male puppy better. My i...

  • Where have all the "ohs" and "ahs" gone?

    Roger Lucas|Apr 10, 2024

    Ohs and ahs were the favorite two words uttered in the early days when visitors viewed Grand Coulee Dam. My first experience with the dam was in 1948, when a couple of buddies and I escaped the halls of our high school for the day and drove up here. I can’t say we were too excited, but it was clearly a memorable event. We started out from Palouse, hit Spokane, then the coulee, and we ended up in Moses Lake. My next trip here was in 1953, after I was married, when we moved to Grand Coulee after I took a job grading lumber at the mill in L...

  • Jobs suitable for kids

    Roger Lucas|Apr 3, 2024

    When I was growing up in Palouse, I always had a job, or two. One of my early jobs wasn’t one of my best. In fact, it was often dangerous. We had a small bowling alley, six lanes if I remember correctly. I set pins. We didn’t have any automation in those days. They painted a black circle and the task was to set the pins exactly in the circle. If you didn’t put them exactly in the circle, the good bowlers would get really angry with you and sometimes let go with a bowling ball before you were ready. I was paid five cents a line. It was a crapp...

  • Buck kicked the bucket

    Roger Lucas|Mar 27, 2024

    One of the things we liked to do when growing up in Palouse was go to the Washington State College baseball games. We really didn’t care about the game, but we went to see baseball coach Buck Bailey kick the bucket. Buck came to WSC in 1927 as an assistant football coach and became baseball coach. He was coach for 32 years and was tragically, along with his wife, killed in an auto accident in 1965. We didn’t care about his long time as baseball coach or his successful 603-305 record. We came to see Bailey kick the bucket. There were a number of...

  • Listening for that whistle

    Roger Lucas|Mar 20, 2024

    Answering an advertisement started my love of the railroads. I saw the ad in our hometown newspaper, The Palouse Republic. The ad was seeking people to apply for menial labor on our section of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The section ran from Palouse to Tekoa, about 50 miles of track. I was a junior in high school, but 16, the minimum age suggested in the ad. The track foreman, Bill Fisher, did the interview. He went on to complete 50 years as track foreman, a distinctive achievement. I was hired on to work Saturdays that could lead to...

  • You can skate anywhere

    Roger Lucas|Mar 6, 2024

    This is about ice skating. I wish I could claim to be good on a pair of ice skates. But, no luck. When I was growing up in Palouse, we were able to ice skate on the Palouse River. It would nearly freeze solid so there wasn’t much danger in falling through the ice. I wasn’t much good because my ankles let me down, but I gave it a whirl anyway. We had the type of skates that screwed onto your shoes. That was the state of the art, Palouse style, at the time. Later, much later, I got regular ice skating shoes. It didn’t change my proficiency on th...

  • Gotta watch the Zags

    Roger Lucas|Feb 28, 2024

    We are a Gonzaga household. Not the usual kind of specific fans. For instance, I don’t focus on the individual players. I don’t know them by number and can seldom identify any of the players while watching the games. I leave that to my great grandson, Damon Landeros, who often comes up to the house to watch Gonzaga games with me. I started watching the Zags several years ago when I was intrigued by how a small university could develop such a strong basketball program. I haven’t been disappointed. The Zags give me something to watch up to and i...

  • The advanced design

    Roger Lucas|Feb 21, 2024

    Winters in Palouse were much worse when I was growing up than what they are experiencing now. I can remember when we got our first refrigerator. That was in 1938. My mother was still using it in 1971. There was an emblem on the front telling it was a Philco Advanced Design refrigerator. It was still being used when my mother died. I doubt that many refrigerators last that long. It was a big deal for me. It meant that I didn’t have to go to the icehouse for a block of ice a couple times a week. It wasn’t unusual for snow drifts in the middle of...

  • Ribbons, medals, and trophies needed for future wrestlers

    Roger Lucas|Feb 14, 2024

    They better start making them soon because Lake Roosevelt will be winning them. Look ahead seven years or so and a new batch of wrestlers will be ready here. Victor Landeros, with the help of parents, is preparing 50-60 kids to become a dynamic wrestling force at Lake Roosevelt. Victor was a force of his own when he roamed the halls here. He’s got wrestling in his blood. He’s been building on the little kids’ wrestling program, Coulee Crushers, for both boys and girls. It’s paying off with large turnouts and with good results in tournam...

  • Those early postal days

    Roger Lucas|Feb 7, 2024

    Box 92 was our portal to the outside world. I was fascinated with what I could do through the mail. They were the days of the Penny Postcard and the thrill of receiving mail, addressed to me. My aunt Voe was the postmaster at Palouse. She always greeted me when I came in. Actually, I think she greeted everyone. There were not many secrets back then. It was like the phones and the party lines. Everyone knew other peoples’ business, but who really cared. It was the days when people could collect, over time, dishes until they had a set. A real D...

  • This is a friendly place

    Roger Lucas|Jan 31, 2024

    I attended last Friday’s senior night at Lake Roosevelt High School. The place was packed and the Raiders won all three basketball games. I went to support my great grandson, Damon Landeros, who is a senior, and who has played four years for the Raiders. It was quite a night, I watched three games and enjoyed probably an hour of recognition of seniors. It will be a night that these seniors will long remember. What struck me was the display of friendship. It was a night that brought friendships back. After the third game, a lot of people s...

  • Those basketball seasons…

    Roger Lucas|Jan 24, 2024

    Palouse was the easternmost team in the Whitman County basketball league. We usually ended up as one of the top teams in the league. Colfax, the county seat, and the largest city in the county, was often the leader. So when Palouse played Colfax it was a big deal. Other teams in the county included St. John, Pine City, Steptoe, Garfield, Oakesdale, Rosalia and Lacrosse. Steptoe’s gym was not regular size. The out-of-bounds line was against the wall at court side. They allowed one row of chairs on the floor and you had to raise your feet when p...

  • Just a taste of winter

    Roger Lucas|Jan 17, 2024

    We are finally getting an idea of what winter is all about. It was decided that the playoff game at Buffalo was important enough to play Monday, despite the weather. However, the last week was hardly a blip as far as winters go. Years ago, while working at the Potlatch Forest Inc. mill at Potlatch, Idaho, I went to work one day when it was - 41 degrees. We worked under a metal roof with open sides. Our boss sat in a heated office where he could see all the planer operations. His response when people complained about the cold was to tell them...

  • Idaho wagon train massacres

    Roger Lucas|Jan 10, 2024

    While traveling in Idaho, we ran into a group of wagons doing a reenactment of the Oregon Trail days. Those on the wagon train reported how much fun they were having. It was a far cry from two wagon trains that ended as massacres while in Idaho, the Ward train and the Van Ornum/Utter trains. The trains crossed the Snake River at a place that was shallow enough and where the rushing river was still about 60 miles east of Boise. You can still see ruts at the river crossing. The ward group in 1854 consisted of 20 people and five wagons. While in...

  • Made those resolutions yet?

    Roger Lucas|Jan 3, 2024

    How about making an effort to visit a national park this year. It’s a great way to rebuild your appreciation of our country. We have three great national parks in our own state and a couple of others within a day’s drive. One of my favorites is Olympic National Park. It’s a day’s drive away but will take you to our coast, and inside the park offers a unique experience. The Rain Forest is unique and a bit scary with the moss hanging from the trees. Allow time to go into the Rain Forest for at least a couple of miles. Quite often you will ru...

  • I'd take a small plane anytime

    Roger Lucas|Dec 13, 2023

    My love for flying in a small plane came gradually. The first small plane ride was when I lived here the first time, in 1954. I was a lumber grader at the small planer mill above the dam. There was a guy working on the crew who had been a bush pilot in Alaska who had his own plane. The guy invited me to go along with him on a Saturday flight. We flew to Spokane, Missoula, Orifino, to the Pullman-Moscow airport, and then home. We took all day. That was my first experience in a small plane. The next time was when I started writing for the Idaho...

  • Watch out for the Mormon crickets

    Roger Lucas|Dec 6, 2023

    America has a love affair with ghost towns. I’ve visited several, but the most memorable is Silver City, Idaho. Silver City is about 75 miles south of Boise and is probably the most significant thing in Owyhee County. This county is in the southwest corner of Idaho. We lived in Nampa at the time and used our weekends to explore the area. We had read about the ghost town and headed out that way. The county seat of Owyhee County is Murphy. Barely 100 people call it home. Not many buildings there. In front of its courthouse is a lone parking m...

  • Family and other views

    Roger Lucas|Nov 29, 2023

    First Lady Rosalynn Carter died last week. She was 96 and under hospice care at her home in Plains, Georgia. Her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, 99, is also under hospice services in his home in Plains. The Carters have made a legacy of service to others. Who says you can’t be of service and make important decisions when you begin to age. Try keeping up with President Joe Biden for a week or so. Some are giving aging a bum rap. So if he wins reelection he will be in his mid 80s. You do stumble a bit when you get in your 80s, but if t...

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