Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Opening day for Riverfront Park's Fountain Cafe

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 3:07 PM

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A chilly wind showed up to knock around the balloons set out for the Fountain Cafe’s opening day in Riverfront Park. But the sun also made an appearance, as if reminding us that there’s plenty of summer ahead for lunches and after-work drinks in the park.

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Construction began last fall for the cafe, which has all-outdoor patio seating right next to the Rotary Fountain. Earlier this year we wrote about the plans and extensive menu, which includes salads and healthy wraps along with traditional concession stand favorites like chili dogs and ice cream.

Take note of the beverage list, too — there’s wine and beer, including No-Li on tap. 


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MORNING BRIEFING: Sexy time at jail, NBA player comes out, light sabers are scary

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 7:41 AM

HERE

Local smokers: we suggest you light up no closer than 25 feet from business doors — or else you might find yourself slapped with a $50 ticket. (SR)

One Spokane neighborhood has gone from safe to super-sketchy since 2013 began. (KREM)

An Airway Heights Corrections Center counselor is in hot water after engaging in sexual activity with an inmate. (KXLY)

THERE

Jason Collins, an NBA player, comes out of the closet. He is the first active player in major US sports to do so. (SR)

Investigators find female DNA on Boston bombs. (LA Times)

Pot activists in Idaho see their kids taken away to foster care?! (SR)

A homemade lightsaber scares the crap out of Seattle cops. (KHQ)

WE FEEL YOUR PAIN, GUYS

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Monday, April 29, 2013

VIDEO: Behind the scenes with No-Li Brewmaster Mark Irvin

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 4:21 PM

If you don’t already want a beer after work, this will change your mind. A couple of weeks ago — it was actually the day No-Li got federal approval for “Spokane Style” beerThe Inlander stopped by the brewhouse on Trent Avenue to talk with No-Li Brewmaster and Owner Mark Irvin.

That lucky beer-holding hand to the right of the frame during the interview belongs to Arts & Culture Editor Mike Bookey, who also wrote this companion feature about No-Li for this week’s beer issue. Videographer Nathan Brand filmed and edited these videos from their visit.

First, here’s a short feature on how the brewery got started and how it’s grown. “Nothing makes you happier than watching somebody you don’t know walk up to the bar and order a pint of your beer,” Irvin says.

And here, for the beer nerds, Irvin tastes and describes five of No-Li’s flagship beers. This is what you should memorize for the next time someone from out of town sees a No-Li tap handle and asks you about it. (Or you can just tell them to try it and see.)


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MORNING BRIEFING: Art scams, super glue, Tebow, Obama funny guy

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 7:37 AM

HERE

South Hillies who were initially skeptical about the relocation of Jefferson Elementary actually think it's kinda cool now. (SR)

The most high-brow crime to ever hit Spokane: yes, folks, we've got an fine art criminal on our hands! (KXLY)

Super glue: a crook's best friend? What'll they think of next? (KXLY)

We advise you against wearing a short skirt today. (SR)

THERE

A Washington judge makes stoners statewide giddy when he demands that cops return weed that was taken from a man during a traffic stop. (KXLY)

Tebow! Out! (NYT)

Apparently we missed what earned last night's Mad Men an A grade… (AV Club)

As per usual, President Obama continues to be awesome AND hilarious at last night's White House Correspondents' Dinner. "I'm not the strapping young Muslim socialist I used to be." BAHAHAHA!

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Friday, April 26, 2013

CAT FRIDAY: We love Pokey, Grumpy Cat's brother

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Tardar Sauce, aka Tard, who's most widely known as Grumpy Cat, is now one of the most recognizable memes, cats and animal celebrities of all time. It's pretty awesome to think that here at Cat Friday, we were some of the earliest fans of this little cat who to date has more than 870,000 followers on her official Facebook (there are a few fakes out there, people, just warning you), and has actually made people who've met her in person cry with joy.

Behind Grumpy, though, is — who we feel — an equally cute and highly overlooked brother, Pokey. We've known about Pokey for quite some time because we're huge cat freaks, but it's about time Pokey got some recognition!

What's maybe the most ironic when it comes to Tard and Pokey is that Pokey is actually the grumpy one, his owners say, and his "grumpy" looking sister, is actually quite sweet and calm. 

Just look at those beautiful gold eyes! We really wish Pokey had more of a place in the limelight too, other than the occasional photos of him on Grumpy's page.

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Details released on $190,000 settlement with former assistant police chief

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Mayor David Condon addressing reporters Friday. - JACOB JONES
  • Jacob Jones
  • Mayor David Condon addressing reporters Friday.

Under pressure from a recently filed $750,000 damage claim, the City of Spokane today released details of a $190,000 settlement with former Assistant Police Chief Scott Stephens over alleged threats and disciplinary actions from last December. 

Mayor David Condon told reporters this afternoon the city had worked with police officials, investigators and Stephens to negotiate a settlement that was "fair for all," avoiding a potential lawsuit.

"I believe that the settlement that we have come to really takes into concern all of the parties," Condon says. "I think it is one that is fair."

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Stephens will resign from the police department as part of the agreement. His $190,000 settlement is equivalent to about a year of salary and benefits at the rank of assistant chief. Condon says the figure was negotiated based on several legal issues and considerations.

Stephens, a 28-year veteran of the department, previously served as interim police chief for several months in 2012. As part of a personnel restructuring under new Police Chief Frank Straub in December, Stephens was demoted from assistant chief to captain. 

Straub placed Stephens on administrative leave on Dec. 20 after a coworker reported Stephens had made threatening statements in response to his demotion. Officials report Stephens denied making any threat, saying he was misunderstood while "venting" about the demotion.

Retired federal Judge Michael Hogan, brought in by the city to investigate the circumstances leading to Stephens' administrative leave, released a 1.5-page report through the Mayor's Office today outlining his findings in the case. He reports the dispute started over an emotional conversation Stephens had with a coworker on Dec. 19. 

"During the conversation, when both parties agree Stephens was 'venting,' Stephens made statements, according to his colleague, to the effect that he did not think anyone would blame him if he took action, which his colleague perceived to be violent action, because of the way he had been treated."

The report states Straub and his command staff decided to have a captain who was close with Stephens call to ask about how he was doing.

"The captain who made that call reported that Stephens seemed to be fine," the report states, "but that he did make at least one remark that appeared to confirm the concerns of the colleague who had previously spoken with Stephens."

Straub confronted Stephens the following day at which point Stephens maintained any perceived threat was mistaken or taken out of context, saying "he would never be a threat to himself or others."

The chief then placed Stephens on administrative leave, effective immediately.

"The chief [also] requested that he immediately seek counseling and determination that he was fit for duty," the report states. "Stephens did so, and did receive clearance as being fit for duty."

Stephens contacted an attorney, arguing the administrative leave had tarnished his reputation as the administration allegedly tried to force him out of the department.

Through his attorney, Bob Dunn, Stephens filed a damage claim April 16 seeking $750,000. He claimed violations of his First Amendment rights, invasion of privacy, wrongful termination and emotional distress.

Hogan concluded in his report that Straub and other police officials "reacted appropriately given the nature of the perceived threat."

The judge also found Stephens had made threatening statements, but that they should be balanced with appropriate context and a consideration of his long public service.

"The finder of fact believes that such statements were made; however, taken in the context of the events of the day and the colleague to whom Stephens was speaking, there is consideration that should be given, even though such statements are arguably actionable."

Condon says the settlement will not impact the city's insurance rates because the city self-insures. He acknowledged frustration with the length of the dispute, but argued officials needed time to go through the proper process.

"It does take time," he says. "As we've noticed in the past, if you don't do things with a deliberate approach, with a purposeful method, these cases can be much worse."

Officials say the settlement concludes any investigations.


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What CDA school board candidates said about the district’s most controversial issue

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 12:56 PM

For years, the Coeur d’Alene School District had come under attack for its International Baccalaureate program, a world-renowned curriculum intended to teach critical thinking and global knowledge. Critics saw it as a waste of money at minimum, and a UnitedNations-driven socialist reeducation conspiracy at worst.

But when a new crop of board members took over, they ditched both the IB program and the Primary Years Programme. But the programs had ardent supporters, and the school board faced backlash.

Last night, at the Mica Flats Grange Hall, three sets of school board candidates talked about everything from bus contracting to what they think about the phrase “progressive education.” (Most didn’t like it.)

Inevitably, they got asked about PYP and IB. Here were their answers:

CHRISTA HAZEL

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I’d have to say with the International Baccalaureate, boy, that is ahot-button controversy. Here’s my stance on International Baccalaureate — and Iam focusing strictly on the international Baccalaureate program at Lake CityHigh school. I look at that issue separately from PYP.

I have concerns that I would have asked questions about at the board level.It’s my understanding that, initially, the committee that recommended[Advanced Placement] or IB — they didn’t choose IB. And I know what it’s like toserve on a committee, and know whether or not thoserecommendations are followed at a district level. I know what that feels like.So that’s one question I would have followed on.

The second thing I would have looked at is the actual true costs. I wouldhave liked to have known, in addition to the students that actually graduated, Iwanted to see the number of students that weren’t enrolled in IB, but took thoseclasses because AP wasn’t giving them what they wanted. I would have wanted toknow those facts. Knowing that, I do have concerns about the costs ofInternational Baccalaureate. It would have required a conversation of thebenefits versus the costs, and then compare it to the big scheme.

I wish I could give you a concrete answer on IB, but I just can’t, becausethat data wasn’t provided in a school district format. When it was reviewed, Ifelt like the data was framed in a subjective viewpoint. For me, the issue hadnothing to do with the United Nations or UNESCO. It had everything to do withdollars and sense. And to me it just needed to be objective data. I wish we hadseen that.


BRENT REGAN

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The entire IB/PYP discussion and vote occurred before my time on the board.But I did research the topic, and I did come up to testify at the PYP hearing.The information I’ve seen on IB, it was expensive. It wasn’t terribly effective.It was divisive, because there was a lot of conflict over it. And also it wasexclusionary. If you had a facility that was PYP, it could only be PYP. Itcouldn’t have anything else.

But, beyond that, it’s the desire to have the IB, PYP, is the desire forother options in the school system. There is a need to address those kinds ofprograms and to have that available in various school facilities. And so, whatthe board is undertaking is looking at ways to evaluate and adopt thoseprograms, so we that we have options for that parents that are out there.

When I spoke at the opening of the Rathdrum Stem Academy, I looked out and Isaw 250, 265 bright faced students, happy as could be. Another 250 on a waitinglist. Now, these are students and parents — over 500 hundred of them — who hadsigned up for this new school that had never opened its doors.

Well, I think as a district, how bad does your product have to be, to haveover 500 people want to move, want to change, without ever seeing what it isthey’re getting into? So the need to have these programs is there. And I thinkthe board recognizes that — I certainly recognize it. And I want to put intoplace a system where we can evaluate the programs, avoid the pitfalls of PYPand IB. And then we can have these programs available.

We’ve already started. We looked at one called core knowledge. We had awonderful presentation on that, we’re farming that out to see if there is anyinterest in the district. If there is, we’ll certainly bring it back in. Butthere is a need out there. We are looking into it. And we’re looking forsolutions. Thank you.


BJORN HANDEEN

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Well, as a matter of fact, I’m a product of IB. I was in an IB school, I tookIB for four years, in St. Paul, Minnesota. I could tell you stories that wouldcurl your toes. Well, I might as well.

The first book in our 9th grade pre-IB literature class was calledGiovanni’s Room. It amounted to gay erotica. I was 14. I had to read it.You know, IB, from the inside it looks more like a marketing gimmick, for peoplewho like to consider themselves sophisticated. But in reality, I saw the bestminds of my class become unemployed history or humanities majors. It reallydidn’t do us any favors. Thank you.


TOM HEARN

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I’d like to speak to how this PYP program was handled, and mishandled in myjudgment. I’m not here saying that we need to have IB and PYP back in theschools.

But I am saying pretty clearly that teachers and the parents particularlywere left out of the discussion here. If you look back at what happened here — first of all there was not a survey or a vote done on what the parents wanted atHayden Meadows school. There were some promises that was going to take place,that never took place. The teachers were also not given a voice in this. It wasa decision by certain people on the board to get rid of this program forwhatever reason — political reasons, ideological reasons, whatever. They ran foroffice last time, to get rid of this program, and they got on the board, theygot a majority, and they got rid of the program.

The thing that concerned me was how this was handled. There was a publichearing and at the public hearing — it really wasn’t a true public hearing.People were allowed to go up and vent their feelings, and then the board membersread prepared statements and killed the program.

I’ve been on boards. I’ve conducted public hearings. That’s not how you do apublic hearing. Public hearings, you absorb information from the people, andthen you take it under advisement. You think about it, then you come back withsome kind of decision.

You don’t just listen to everybody, let them express their emotions or theirthoughts and then kill the program. I thought the whole thing was seriouslymishandled, I spoke against how it was handled. I’m not here to say that we needto get the IB and PYP program back.

I am saying parents deserve a voice, they deserve a vote. If I was on theboard that's one of the actions I would ask, is that the parents of HaydenMeadows school be given a chance to express their opinion.

One of the things I’ve heard is that the parents there, the teachers there,some of them are pretty tired of this whole thing, they’d like to move on.That’s their decision. But I still think they deserve a vote, they deserve avoice. And I will not be part of establishing or eliminating any program in theCoeur d’Alene School District, without full input of the parents and teachers.


ANNSEDDON

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We have two issues. One is IB, one is PYP. I did a lot of research on IB.First of all, there was declining enrollment in IB. It was getting harder tojustify it. Second, I love facts, I love statistics. I ran them, I wish Ibrought them. The reality was the students coming out of the [IB] program werenot getting the college credit that the [AP] students were getting.

When the IB was advertised to the public, it was advertised as a program thatwould give students that would a great deal of college credit, and it wasn’tmaterializing. Coupled with that, [it was] expensive.

Now let’s move onto PYP, not to mix the two. I did a tremendous amount ofresearch on PYP.

I read every manual I could find. In fact, I read manuals the parents didn’tknow about, that the administration didn’t know about. Something called theparent’s manual to PYP.

I went personally to the school a number of times. I met privately withparents. I met with parents in groups. I met with the administrators. I reallystudied the issue. Thoroughly.

What really swayed me was the conversation I had with Ms. [SuperintendentHazel] Bauman, when I asked her, why can’t we just set out a parallel program,for the parents who don’t want to have the philosophy and the socio-teachings ofthe PYP program, they could just go on a different strand, through a differentset of classes?

And the answer was that PYP would not allow it.

The program was based with Geneva. To be a PYP school —and I’ve read aboutthis thoroughly, from the original PYP materials — that every person in theschool — that would be staff, teachers, custodians, students, parents — thatevery person had to believe in and teach and support the PYP program. I had tomake a decision as a board member. And to me that was giving away sovereignty.

Think about it: We were being told we couldn’t do with our school propertywhat we wanted to do with our school property. In other words, to simply set upsome parallel classrooms was not allowed.

So after all of my study, and all of my talk, and all of my angst-ing aboutit, I decided I really needed to be a responsible board member and to say, no,we need the sovereignty of our schools. And so that was what pushed me over todecide that it needed to go. I’m glad to see that Hayden Meadows is movingforward. They’re a wonderful school, they have a dedicated staff. I’m surewhatever they do they’re going to succeed. They have a very supportive parentbody. Thank you very much.


DAVE EUBANKS

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I think most everybody’s got their own opinion on PYP and how it was handled,and IB and what the issues were there. But I also think it’s time to moveforward. It’s my understanding that come July 1 of this year, because the boardhas killed both of those programs, the materials have to be shredded, and therecan be no further discussion of PYP or IB in either of those schools.

From this point on, all we can do is to learn from the lessons from what hashappened and move forward. We have so many challenges ahead of us for our kidsin this district. The world is getting smaller and the future is going to beincredibly competitive. We need to give all of our kids, from the least capableto the most capable, the best education we can afford. I think that’s reallywhere we need to go now. I do agree, I have talked to people at Hayden Meadows,I think they have moved on. But I would also agree with Tom, that if the parentsof Hayden Meadows wanted to pursue PYP, I would be open to letting them do that.

But the new Common Core — and this is an issue I know — the new Common Core isvery similar to PYP. It’s just that it is homegrown. I say that we move forward,and move our kids forward as well.

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MORNING BRIEFING: Planes and Drones, Guns and Gays

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 9:42 AM

HERE

A new Washington state bill, supported by Spokane Valley's Sen. Mike Padden, would allow religious couples to refuse service to certain people because of their religion. Like, say, florists can refuse to serve same-sex couples. (AP)

How do you know if your house is haunted?* *By meth. (KXLY)

Moses Lake could be a key part of the droneospace industry. (SR)

Former Police Chief Scott Stephens is getting paid $120,000 to just leave already. (SR)

THERE

Our long national nightmare of airplane delays is nearing an end. (Washington Post)

Another shot at gun control. (NYT)

Poker, the Russian mob, and an innocent ambassador. Interested yet? (Atlantic)



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Thursday, April 25, 2013

CITY HALL EYEBALL: Council members reassure us they're OK with coal

Posted By on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 1:41 PM

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After Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart joined an anti-coal group that launched this week, the city put out a press release to make sure everyone knows Stuckart wasn't acting on behalf of the city.

The release specified that Council Members Nancy McLaughlin, Mike Allen, Steve Salvatori and Mike Fagan aren't speaking out against some proposed plans to transport coal through Spokane to be exported to Asia

Fagan, for one, is doing the opposite. 

"It's putting people back to work, it's generating revenue, it's growing the tax base to participate in overseas commerce," he tells the Inlander of increased coal transport through town. "It's a win-win."

Last year, the EPA called coal dust an environmental and human health concern. Fagan says he and other council members await government studies about potential health hazards from coal dust, but until then he's not convinced it's harmful because local air quality officials haven't expressed concern.

From the release:

“Our city will not support efforts to politicize the transportation of goods and commodities – an essential piece of commerce and job growth for our region," the majority of the councilmembers said. "The state and federal government are currently conducting a thorough environmental review. We support the timely completion of that ongoing process.”

The group Stuckart joined, the Leadership Alliance Against Coal, includes the mayors of Seattle, Shoreline and Bainbridge Island, chairmen of the Tulalip Tribes and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and others. Its goal, according to an announcement from Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's office, is to advocate against coal trains and coal exports with hopes of getting state and federal agencies to deny permits for companies hoping to export coal through the area.

Stuckart sent the following statement to the group to use in its announcement:

"The City of Spokane cannot afford to have additional coal trains coming through that disrupt truck routes, emergency services and the health of our citizens," said Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart. "In addition we must address climate change as elected leaders and must take action. I am proud to be part of the Leadership Alliance and look forward to working with Tribal and elected leaders across the state to represent our communities."

Stuckart says he's not surprised by the other council members' opposition or the city's statement. He says an Associated Press story about the group mischaracterized his support as broad support from the city, causing officials to feel misrepresented. The AP story, as it appears here in The Oregonian, ends with, "City leaders are from Seattle, King County, Spokane, Edmonds, Marysville and others."

Fagan says he's since received emails from constituents concerned that the council and city had taken a stance against coal trains, as Stuckart has. 

 "I think they're just clarifying," Stuckart says, "so nobody thinks the City of Spokane is joining that alliance or has done anything as radical as I have."

More City Hall Eyeball right here.


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MORNING BRIEFING: The Fall of Moses

Posted By on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 9:19 AM

HERE

Coeur d'Alene moves to add "sexual orientation" to its non-discrimination list. (SR)

Officer Tim Moses, tangled up in the Otto Zehm case, has been charged with making a false-statement. He resigned from the police department, and pleaded guilty, in exchange for not being charged with a felony. (SR)

Is a missing work glove a good reason to shoot a man? (KREM)

THERE

Check out Boston Magazine's most recent cover. (The Atlantic)

Doctors say that charging cancer patients $100,000 a year for drugs is unacceptable. (NYT)

No, Bill Clinton says, he does not think he'll be asking George W. Bush to paint his portrait. (Salon)

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