Saturday, March 30, 2013

Meet Washington's new pot consultant

Posted By on Sat, Mar 30, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Well, if you were starting to feel hopeful that all the issues surrounding Washington's new marijuana market were being untangled, think again.

In the interview below with TVW, a public affairs network that covers state government, Washington's new marijuana consultant, Mark Kleiman, explains everything from his expectations for pot demand to his concerns about the state enabling drug addiction.

Kleiman and a team of about 40 other people — mostly academics and drug policy experts from his BOTEC Analysis Corporation— will be advising the Liquor Control Board about regulations it is expected to set this year for the state's new recreational marijuana market.

For one, the new market may not be the windfall some are expecting. Kleiman says widely cited estimates pot licensing and taxes could bring the state $450 million in revenue are wishful thinking. He believes it'll be more like 40 percent of that, or $180 million a year.

But the biggest challenge he foresees, like most people anxiously watching this process, is whether Washington can regulate pot and still keep prices competitive. On that, he's not sure.

Here's the full interview:

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Friday, March 29, 2013

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Helms Alee, The English Beat, Roger Clyne

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 3:54 PM


By day, Ben Verellen is an engineer by trade, hand-building custom amplifiers — some of the loudest in the business — for bands like Minus the Bear, Against Me and Sick of It All.

And with the rest of his time, he plays in a band called Helms Alee: a confounding, skin-tingling heavy rock band which has wooed critics with their angular, out-of-nowhere tracks. They’ve toured with giants like Torche and Big Business, and were named Best Metal Band by Seattle Weekly in 2011. Read more about Verellen and Helms Alee here, and see him perform tonight at Mootsy's with Hooves, Aranya and Mercy Brown. ($5, 21 and up, show starts at 8 pm.)

Also tonight:

Baby Bar | Dept. of Martyrs, Event Staph, Duck Duck Suckerpunch (21+)

Bing Crosby Theater | "A Concert for Gabby" feat. Tommy G and The Nug Jug Band, Raze the City, WayWard 2 (All-ages, $12, show starts at 8 pm) 

The Center | The English Beat (all-ages, $20, show starts at 8 pm)


Knitting Factory | Hell Yeah, All That Remains, Nonpoint (All-ages, $23)

The Phat House | Cracker Factory, The Camaros (21+)


The Center | Roger Clyne and The Peace Makers, Buffalo Jones (All-ages,  $20, show starts at 8 pm)

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CAT FRIDAY: Who's going to be the Internet's next famous cat?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Hey cat people, remember the post in which we first told you about this awesome organization called AmazeCats? Last winter the creative cat-loving folks behind the Toronto-based site hosted a fun competition — the Whisker Wars — that pitted famous Internet cats against each other in a crazy battle to find out the Best Cat on the Internet. Whoa.

The claws came out and the cats, quite literally, got a little catty with each other. The one and only (yes, I am biased on this) LIL BUB won the competition, and teamed up with some of her competitors to be featured in AmazeCats’ Famous Cats of the Internet Playing Cards. All proceeds from the sale of the cute card decks ($12) go to help kitties in need through the Stray Cat Alliance, a national nonprofit that helps educate people on how to care for stray and feral kitties.

AmazeCats co-founder Megan Wilkinson tells us that since launching the Famous Cat cards, the campaign to benefit Stray Cat Alliance has been incredibly successful. Help out the cause and buy your own deck.

To follow up with the fun that was had during last fall’s Whisker Wars, AmazeCats recently kicked off another kitty bracket to determine which up-and-coming feline will be crowned AmazeCats' Next Top Cat.

Earlier this month, fans could nominate their favorite soon-to-be-famous kitty with an online presence on the AmazeCats Facebook page. Then the top 60 nominees just battled it out to be narrowed down to final 32 kitties, who now will compete in a bracket-style competition. (If you’re feeling like there’s a hole in your life once March Madness ends next week, you can get another bracket fix with cute cats!) Voting for the Next Top Cat will take place on AmazeCats’ Facebook page, Wilkinson says.


Here’s a few of up-and-comers you should keep an eye out for if you plan on following the upcoming rounds of the competition. A few of these cats have been featured in past Cat Friday posts! We knew they were stars before many people did.

The Little Kitty That Could (3,382 votes)

There is no possible way that any human could hear Pretzel’s story and not fall in love with this adorable little kitten. Born blind and with deformed and twisted legs, Pretzel, aka The Little Kitty That Could, was found on the side of a highway in Florida when she was only five weeks old. The little seal-point Siamese kitten has proven everyone’s doubts wrong that she couldn’t live a happy, mostly normal life. This tiny trooper recently received the first of several operations at the University of Florida to correct the deformities in her back legs. Pretzel has gained a following of people all over the world on her Facebook page, where her mom, Carmen, frequently posts updates on her progress and stories of the naughty kitten antics she is also known for.


Anakin, the Two-Legged Cat (2,807 votes)

We profiled Anakin and his brother-from-another-mother, Mika, a few weeks ago! Read about this odds-defying kitty here, and follow him on his Facebook page.

City the Kitty (850 votes)

This handsome mitten-pawed orange tabby has also been featured in our Celebri-cats feature on Cat Friday.

Corky the Cradle Cat (2,674 votes)

We’ve also written about little cutie Corky, another doubt-erasing kitty!

Little Bear (4,078 votes)

This little guy has a similar story to Pretzel, The Little Kitty That Could. The black kitten was born with deformed front legs, and his back legs are also backwards — his back left should be his right leg, and vice versa. He, like Pretzel, also just received a corrective surgery to fix the bone deformities in one of his front legs. The New Hampshire-dwelling kitty may have been born with some physical differences, but that doesn’t stop him from having fun in any way! Little Bear’s best friend is a German Shepherd named Luna. He's also on the cover of the current issue of Modern Cat magazine. So really, he’s already a star!


Smoosh (1,040 votes)

In case you didn’t know, Smoosh is the lucky BF of LIL BUB. We’ve written about him, too.

Sam Has Eyebrows (306 votes)

Whatya know… we’ve also profiled Sam as a big up-and-comer in the Cat Interwebs. I’m sadly surprised to see he only pulled in a mere 306 votes, though. Come on, cat people! 

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Celebrate the state parks' centennial with a free day this weekend

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Could the weather at Riverside State Park be this beautiful Saturday? We can hope. - LISA WAANANEN
  • Lisa Waananen
  • Could the weather at Riverside State Park be this beautiful Saturday? We can hope.

The weather is supposed to be excellent this weekend — sunny and in the 60s, the forecast says — so it’s probably going to be a beautiful day to visit the state’s parks for free.

A lot of the year’s free days are based on various holidays, but this one’s a special treat to commemorate the state parks system’s 100th birthday. It was technically March 19 — but that was a Tuesday, so it’s nice that they waited for this weekend to celebrate.

The parks already had one free day on Jan. 21 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but there are 10 more this year:

  • April 27 and 28 for National Parks Week
  • June 1 for National Trails day
  • June 8 and 9 for National Get Outdoors Day
  • Aug. 4 for peak season
  • Sept. 28 for National Public Lands Day
  • Nov. 9, 10 and 11 for Veterans Day weekend

Visitors to state parks typically need a Discover Pass, which costs $10 for a day or $30 for a year. (You can get fined $99 for not having one.)

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Want to design the entryway to the new McEuen Park?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 1:14 PM

It may have spawned one of the biggest controversies in Coeur d'Alene's recent memory, but McEuen Field is now on its way to big changes.

Ground has been broken, trees have been uprooted. Now, the Coeur d'Alene Arts Commission is looking for artists to help design the entryway arch that will welcome people into the new park.

There is no theme, but we're guessing they don't want anything with the word "recall."

The city is apparently willing to spend up to $110,000 on the arch, according to its information packet for artists. Applications are due May 24.

Here's the full packet:


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Dispatches from the local music scene

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 9:37 AM

If anyone ever says to you that there's nothing going on in the local music scene, feel free to smack them in the mouth with this blog. Here are a few notes from around town (and beyond) of the hard work local musicians are putting into their art:

First up, North Idaho indie pop band the Flying Mammals is on a tour of the midwest — but are taking a break from their tour schedule to play music for cancer patients at Midwestern Regional Medical Center. The band decided to stray from their tour when they learned that longtime fan of the band, Melvin Hall, is a patient there. Check out the band's music here.

Local purveyor of all things dark and creepy, Dan Ocean — aka Black Ceiling — continues to woo listeners around the world. He has more tape releases than we have fingers, and has another release coming out in April. For now, see his current release here.

FAUS, the local hardcore outfit who was one of our first Bands to Watch, released an album a couple weeks back that brings the pain. If you're into ear-blasting this is for you.

And one of our favorite bands to come out of the Palouse — electronic duo Psychic Rites — has been hard at work over the winter months. They've put out two demos recently, with the plan to have a full release out in September. They shot a music video. They just played Boise's superfest, Treefort. And the other day, they released this "Psychic Rites Starter Kit" for those of you new to the band (or old, even): a Psychic Rites Sampler, a a 15-track CD, and a patch designed by the band. Listen here.

Local bands with news to share should email me, Leah, at [email protected] 

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MORNING BRIEFING: Wolf worries, a landslide and keeping up with the Joneses

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 7:44 AM


Body believed to be missing teen found buried in the woods. (KHQ)

Armed robber ties up manager of Spokane Valley tavern. (S-R)

Colville residents and farmers voice concerns over growing wolf population. (KXLY)


Huge landslide threatens homes on Whidbey Island. (Seattle Times)

Montana considering joining states that ban cell phones while driving. (Missoulian)


Search warrants of Newtown shooter's home reveal arsenal. (NY Times)

Study says income inequality has also created arms-race style spending for middle-class families. (Wash Post)

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

GOOD READS: Answering your questions about DOMA

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Back from a short hiatus, GOOD READS is on a new mission: helping you understand the big issues flooding your Facebook and Twitter feeds or filling the pages of the newspaper on your doorstep (ha!). This week, the Supreme Court's consideration of the Defense of Marriage Act.

As you have definitely heard — or at least seen red equals signs about — the Supreme Court has started hearing two important marriage equality cases. The justices will get to a review of California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in that state, but they're starting with the Defense of Marriage Act. The act prevents same-sex couples from receiving federal marriage benefits, even if their state (like Washington) recognizes their union. We're here to catch you up.

How did this all start? (NYT)

What are the justices saying? (NPR)

What if I want to read or hear the arguments, word for word, myself? (WashPo) 

How are Americans feeling about gay marriage these days? (Pew)

Any idea which way the justices might be leaning?

What will this ruling mean for gay and lesbian couples? (Forbes) What about LGBT troops? (Politico)

And in what we're guessing is your most burning question, what does Stephen Colbert have to say?

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March Madness continues at the Spokane Arena this weekend

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 2:39 PM

click image Stanford celebrates after beating Michigan in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Tuesday. - STANFORD ATHLETICS
  • Stanford Athletics
  • Stanford celebrates after beating Michigan in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Tuesday.

Both the men’s and women’s Gonzaga teams may be out of the tournament this year, but the madness marches on here in Spokane with the women’s third round and quarterfinals. The bracket is closing in — 32 teams get whittled down to the Sweet Sixteen on Saturday, and by next Monday night only one team playing in Spokane will move on to the Final Four in New Orleans.

We wrote about this in our event picks for this week’s issue, but we couldn’t include any specifics about the teams since our deadline came along before all the second-round games got started.

click image bracket.png.jpg

But now we know exactly which teams are still vying for that spot in the Final Four: Stanford, California, Georgia and LSU.

No. 6 seed LSU knocked out No. 3 seed Penn State to reach the Sweet Sixteen, but otherwise there haven’t been many upsets in the Spokane Regional. If that continues Saturday, Monday will bring an intense Pac-12 rematch between Stanford and Cal. Stanford is aiming for a sixth consecutive Final Four appearance and finished conference play with a 17-1 record this year, but that single loss was a Jan. 13 game against — you guessed it — Cal.

Tickets for the whole event — two games Saturday and one on Monday — are $45, and earn the ticket-purchaser first dibs on tickets for next year’s men’s games. As of today, single-game tickets are also available for $25.

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MORNING BRIEFING: Cooper's job offer, jail video and smelt

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 8:10 AM


Military families in Spokane wary of sequester cuts to schools at Fairchild Air Force Base. (KXLY)

Surveillance video released of moments before inmate's death at Spokane County Jail in February. (KREM)

Developers outlining ambitious plans for Coeur d'Alene site. (S-R)


Statewide report finds 25,000 high-skill jobs unfilled, pushes investment in tech training. (Seattle Times)

Smelt fish returning up Columbia River and tributaries in greater numbers.


U.S. companies paying smaller percentage of their profits to taxes. (Wash Post)

NBC offers Matt Lauer's "Today" show position to CNN's Anderson Cooper. (NYTimes)

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