Saturday, August 31, 2013

What our members of Congress have been saying about Syria

Posted By on Sat, Aug 31, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Earlier today in the White House Rose Garden, President Obama announced he has decided the U.S. should use military force against the Syrian government in retaliation for chemical weapons attacks. However, he will wait for Congressional authorization. A vote in Congress most likely won’t happen until lawmakers return to Washington D.C. on Sept. 9.

Members of Congress, including those from Idaho, had told Obama any military action should require approval from Congress. Much of the recent discussion about Syria has focused on that aspect, so lawmakers haven’t yet given much indication about which way they will vote. Many have requested feedback from constituents.

Here’s what local lawmakers have said this week about military action in Syria:

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

In a statement released Friday, related to an article published Wednesday:

“The use of chemical weapons, as well as conventional weapons, on innocent civilians in Syria is abhorrent and must end. However, as the recent past has taught us, we must be exceedingly cautious in making any decision that holds the possibility of entangling our nation in a long, drawn-out conflict.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

In a Tacoma News Tribune article published Wednesday:

“Senator Cantwell has serious questions about the strategic goals of a military strike in Syria and possible outcomes,” the statement said. “She looks forward to hearing more from the Obama administration on its strategy to promote a stable Syria and avoid open-ended involvement in an escalated regional conflict.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

Posted on Facebook on Friday:

“As the crisis continues in Syria, should the President determine military action is necessary, he needs to respect the Constitution and recognize the authority for action in Syria must come from Congress. The violation of human rights and loss of life is horrendous, yet the President must make his case to Congress and the American people before launching any military strike. Keep calling my office to let me know your thoughts.”

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Posted on Facebook on Wednesday:

“Many of you are asking my thoughts on Syria. Syria is a difficult and tragic situation and one that I continue to monitor. U.S. involvement in Syria must be consistent with protecting our national security interests. It is paramount that the President engage in a full dialogue with the American people and with Congress before taking any action.”

Sen. James Risch (R-ID)

In a Friday interview with the Idaho Statesman, Risch questioned the long-term consequences and whether it was America’s responsibility to interfere:

“We shouldn’t just be attacking to be punitive,” Risch said in a telephone interview Friday. “I have real reservations about this. . . .What concerns me the most is where are we going with this?”

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID)

In a newsletter statement dated Friday:

“…it is imperative that President Obama consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military forces against Syria. The president should not be under any illusion that Congress will be silent should he move forward without our consent. When it comes to the power to declare war, Congress’ rights, and the president’s responsibilities, are not open to interpretation; they are established facts. What’s at stake here isn’t the wisdom of going to war with Syria – that is a debate that can and should take place – it’s the question of whether the president will follow the Constitution and whether the Congress will demand that he follow it.”

The newsletter statement concludes:

“President Obama has yet to make a credible case for action in Syria.   The United States – as a free people – should be eternally vigilant against threats to our liberty, both foreign and domestic.  But we must do so after robust debate in Congress about the appropriateness of action in Syria and a vote for or against authorization.”

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Friday, August 30, 2013

End-of-summer reflections and regrets

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Technically there is still some summer to be had, and the weather this coming weekend looks plenty warm. It seems like only a few weeks ago that we put together this year's summer guide. But somehow it's already Labor Day, and the end of our most ambitious summer plans.

Now, for the most part, thinking back on this summer mostly reminded us of all the awesome things we’ve gotten to do and take part in. But there are always a few things that slip by — and suddenly it’s the school year again, with football games and jackets and eventually snow. So here are some of our summer regrets:

Not fixing up my '66 Pontiac to catch one of the last shows ever at the Auto-Vue drive-in movie theater, which closes this weekend.

Not swimming in any regional lakes or rivers, much less tubing the Spokane River, which seems to be probably the best thing about living here.  

Should have tried Geno's before it caught fire. Will just have to visit the new Geno’s.

Did not attend the KYRS Music Fest in Peaceful Valley.


Not visiting Pullman more often while the WSU students were out of town for the summer break — football weekends are just completely different. And Huckleberry Ripple ice cream from Ferdinand’s once a summer is not enough.

Not going to see what is most likely the final Royal Fireworks Concert. 

Not drinking a single beer in a park, not at the Fountain Cafe in Riverfront Park or the Park Bench Cafe in Manito Park. (Still possible through at least part of September.)

I spent pretty much all summer meaning to make key lime cheesecake, and I finally did that last weekend. It turned out quite well, but a little practice would’ve helped.

Not becoming best friends with someone who owns a boat and cabin on Coeur d’Alene.


Not (yet) visiting Lovitt Restaurant in Colville for its excellent locally sourced food, big friendly porch and view of the valley.

Missing Terrible Buttons' performance at Pig Out in the Park last night. Do they have all their members back after their drummer broke a finger (or was it multiple fingers?) earlier this summer? I would know if I'd seen the show.

Never seeing the serious cash potential of selling old Inlanders on Ebay.

Spending too much time inside browsing the mayor's proposed 2014 budget, all 628 pages of it.

Not finding a way to spend every summer night on the roof of the Saranac building — maybe my favorite spot in Spokane — after seeing an enchanting Cathedral Pearls show there this spring. Seriously, can I live up there?


No matter how bad the reviews were, not seeing The Great Gatsby in the theater. Baz Luhrmann paired back up with Leonardo DiCaprio? Now that it's out on DVD, it just won't be the same.


I feel like I did quite a bit this summer that I'd had on my mental summer to-do list, but the things I wish I'd done are:

Hike to the top of Mt. Spokane.

Float the Little Spokane River.

Read a book outside on a blanket on the grass.

Bike the Hiawatha Trail.


I’ve missed a dozen authors to visit Auntie's Bookstore and I'm still trying to get over there for an open mic night one of these Fridays.

Bloomsday snuck up on me at the beginning of the summer, so I've already signed up for SpokeFest on Sept. 8.

After just barely getting to experience the FBC before it ended, I'm hoping to find a new group of bikers in Wheelsport's Tuesday night rides.


I didn't go to Sasquatch or Bumbershoot or Capital Hill Block Party or even the Garland Street Fair. I did go see Phish at the Gorge but because of a recent voter initiative I don't remember the second half of the show.


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THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Pig out on a smorgasbord of genres

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Today – Monday


Pig Out in the Park is continuing to hawk its goods throughout the weekend. When you’re not waiting in line for the elusive cronut, we recommend you check out these awesome acts.


The almost forgotten, yet super cool San Francisco-area rapper Celly Cel is hitting up The Hop! Saturday along with local Spokane hip-hop talent.

Also The Strangers have their CD release party happening at Luxe Coffeehouse. Check out our making-of video here.



Last August, Baroness was on tour in the United Kingdom when their bus took a nosedive off of a viaduct. While the event had no fatalities, frontman John Baizley suffered serious injuries resulting in many canceled tour dates. Now one year later, with several lineup changes, the Savannah, Ga.-based act rolls into Spokane Sunday at the Knitting Factory to continue what they started — promoting their 2012 disc Yellow & Green. The album was included on many of the top best album of the year lists, including the Inlander’s. Especially refreshing is the track “March to the Sea,” which includes sinus-rattling drums and bass but also insanely beautiful yet intricate guitar riffs. Baroness has been through hell and back and Sunday they’re here to tell us about it. The show starts at 9 pm and is all-ages.

Saturday – Monday

Be sure to check back here at the Inlander’s music blog for updated coverage of Seattle’s Bumbershoot Music Festival.


So Tuesday isn’t the weekend, but technically this week Monday is part of the weekend so Tuesday is close enough.

The list of bands that incorporate a viola in its lineup of instruments is short. There’s The Velvet Underground (when John Cale was still with them), The Flobots, indie band The Rentals, occasionally Trampled By Turtles and probably a few more obscure ones. Joining that select group, after forming last year, is the four-piece Night Cadet. The Seattle band plays Mootsy’s Tuesday at 10 pm, bringing along with them that instrument that’s wider and fatter than a violin. As far as recommended watching goes, you’ll want to check out the band’s YouTube cover of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own.” After one viewing (seen above) it becomes clear why the band refers to their music genre as dream pop. The show also features Hannah Reader and S. It’s $6.

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MORNING BRIEFING: In which pot law blows forward, France becomes America's biggest ally and a former Gonzaga basketball star is robbed

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 8:06 AM

Happy Labor Day weekend!


Pro-pot advocates rejoiced yesterday when Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that, based on a phone conversation with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, he believes the state is free to move forward in implementing new regulations for recreational marijuana without federal interference. (Inlander)

After a temporary evacuation for a bomb threat at a Pullman elementary school yesterday, the Pullman Police Department announced the call came from an IP address overseas (so not just a kid trying to get out of a test). (KXLY)

Hydroplanes will rev up engines today in Coeur d’Alene for the first time in 45 years for the Diamond Cup. The watery event runs through the weekend. (Inlander)

A threesome of suspected residential burglars stole (among other alleged robberies) championship items belonging to former Gonzaga basketball star Adam Morrison, according to court documents. (SR)


France, yes France, is the now only other major country left willing to go along with the United States’ plans to strike Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons, after a vote in British Parliament decided against military action. (Seattle Times)


Has the new documentary Blackfish taken a hit out of SeaWorld’s business? Even as attendance has dropped six percent, park officials say no. Read our review of the film here. (LAT)

The inventor of the foam finger is not pleased with the way his creation was “used” at a certain Sunday awards show performance (no, we are not going to mention her name on this blog). (DB)

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

FOOD BLOTTER: Burger King delivery, waffle cones and a local beer life lesson

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Hopefully you didn’t ruin your appetite for food news at Pig Out in the Park. Like with swimming, you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating anything chocolate-dipped or deep-fried before reading this.

Tonight is the Inland NW Ale Trail kickoff at Saranac Public House. Pick up a map, drink local beer. Festivities begin at 5:30.

This week’s Entree newsletter has news of some chains coming to town: Teriyaki Grill in Couer d’Alene, Buffalo Wild Wings in the Valley and Nothing Bundt Cakes on the South Hill. Read more about them here, plus Coeur d’Alene new barbecue festival that benefits the Panhandle Parks Foundation. (Subcribe to the weekly newsletter here.)

In other chain restaurant news both flattering and fattening, Burger King selected Spokane to be among its locations with delivery service. It’s a special honor, of a sort, to see Spokane on the list since the other 14 cities on the list are pretty bigs ones. The press release quotes the Burger King director of Non Traditional Channels and BKDelivers: “This expansion was an easy decision as both Minneapolis and Spokane have some of our most loyal guests and the BURGER KING® brand is excited to offer them the opportunity to enjoy the food they love, delivered to them in the comfort of their home, dorm or office.” The one location offering delivery in Spokane for now is on the North Side, but two additional locations near Gonzaga and in Spokane Valley will be added soon.

There’s been a lot of construction and activity at the former Ugly Bettie’s ever since the bar closed in July. Now we know what’s coming soon: Borracho Tacos & Tequileria, featuring Mexican cuisine, infused tequilas and more.

It’s a full week away, but it’s going to seem sooner because of Labor Day, so: On Sept. 7, the Hierophant Meadery & Apothecary is hosting a grand opening and mead tasting in Green Bluff. On the same day, Manito Tap House is having a 2nd birthday party with music and, naturally, an impressive list of rare beers you won’t find too many other places.

If you missed it earlier this week, a server at the Flying Goat got a $500 tip as part of a road trip project called Aaron’s Last Wish.

Mad Bomber Brewing Company, a startup in Hayden, has an ambitious Kickstarter campaign going to raise money for unanticipated costs for permits, fees and equipment. The name of the brewery comes from the owners’ experience as Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians (the job of the guys in The Hurt Locker) and other military jobs. “It turns out that taking apart explosive devices is much simpler than starting a business, especially one that involves the production and sale of alcohol,” the Kickstarter message says.

The newly renamed Inland NW Craft Beer Festival announced the lineup this week. A huge number of the breweries, especially the local ones, have either come into existence or substantially upped their distribution and brewing capacity in the past year.

Speaking of beer and the fall, how soon is too soon for fall seasonals? Does anyone want to drink pumpkin beer when it’s still 90 degrees out?

If you were initially skeptical of Instagram video, feel free to be won over by this sweet little process video showing the birth of a waffle cone at The Scoop.

The zombie donut at Dawn of the Donut now has a name: Dee Leschuse.

After applying for a liquor license a while ago, Little Euro in Spokane Valley is now serving mimosas with fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Finally, a valuable life lesson from Paradise Creek Brewery that WSU students won’t learn in class:

Feast on previous food news here.

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Feds won't sue Washington, Colorado to prevent pot law implemention

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:20 AM

  • From governor's office

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced today that, based on a phone conversation with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, he believes the state is free to move forward in implementing new regulations for recreational marijuana, in accordance with last year's Initiative 502.

Inslee announced in a press conference and statement today that Holder told him in the call and an accompanying letter that the federal government will not sue Washington or Colorado over their regulation of a product that remains illegal under federal law.

"What we've seen is a validation of a reason to believe we are on the right track," Inslee said.

The Washington Liquor Control Board is currently finalizing its rules for licensing marijuana producers, processors and sellers, and expects to start issuing licenses by the end of the year.

Holder also outlined eight points about which the federal government remains concerned, Inslee said. Among them: keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors and within the borders of the state and ensuring marijuana businesses aren't fronts for other illegal activity. (UPDATE: See the full letter and memorandum from Holder below.) Inslee said these have also been priorities of the state, so he believes the feds will be satisfied with Washington's regulation and enforcement.

A formal agreement is unlikely, Inslee said, but he and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson say they will continue talking with Holder about other unanswered questions, like whether marijuana business owners will see any respite from federal laws precluding banks from accepting their money because of the drug's federal status. Inslee said his administration is also considering ways to better regulate the medical marijuana market, but wouldn't elaborate on specifics.

"There's not going to be total elimination of any uncertainty associated with these businesses," Inslee said, but the announcement is "good enough today and a great step forward."

"For people who believe in democracy, they ought to enjoy today because we're following the will of the voters of Washington."  

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MORNING BRIEFING: In which Obama worries about domestic gun control while grappling over Syria and Cami Bradley moves on in AGT

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 9:42 AM


Yesterday, the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre’s board of directors announced they are shutting down for good after nearly 50 seasons. (Inlander)

The co-owner of Broadway Bar and Grill in Spokane Valley is accused of fraudulently collecting nearly $250,000 in workers' compensation benefits. (MPDN)

The first of two memorials for World War II veteran Delbert Belton, who was beaten to death in the Eagles Lodge parking lot last week, is scheduled for noon at Greenwood Cemetery. It is a public event. (KREM)


Four months after a gun control bill failed in the Senate, the Obama administration added two more executive actions today to a list of 23 steps to reduce gun violence. (SR)

The NFL will lose a lot of money after an announcement today that they and more than 4,500 retired players reached a proposed hard-hitting $765-million settlement of concussion-related lawsuits. (LAT)

Some neighbors are more aggressive than others. This Tacoma, Wash., man is accused of tossing a neighbor’s beloved Chihuahua out of a window. (SPI)


Cami Bradley has made it through to the Top 12 on America’s Got Talent. (Hollywood Life)

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MUSIC: The Avett Brothers surprise with October tour date in Spokane

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 8:25 AM

The banjo-loving Avett Brothers surprised fans this morning by announcing additional tour dates to their end-of–the-year schedule. Spokane was one of the cities selected by the folk group. They will play the INB Performing Arts Center Oct. 19 sandwiched between gigs in Seattle and Montana.

For those who missed the lively set at Sandpoint a few weekends ago, it's another opportunity to see the act.

According to the band’s website, pre-sale for the show in Spokane will be Tuesday, Sept. 3 at noon local market time. Public on-sale begins Sept. 6. Tickets will start at $34.50. Nicholas David will be the opening performer.

The band’s new album, Magpie and the Dandelion, hits stores just days before the Spokane show on Oct. 15. Their new single (see above), “Another is Waiting,” is already out.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Washington Water Power letters come down for restoration

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 1:59 PM


Workers take down the letters on Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Lisa Waananen

The iconic “Washington Water Power” letters disappear in two and threes, carried carefully from the roof of Avista’s Post Street building to the ground by a crane. The green letters will be restored and updated with LED lighting before resuming their place in the Spokane skyline.

The lettering restoration is just one of Avista’s ongoing projects in the Riverfront Park area — the company started completely reshaping and renovating Huntington Park beside the falls at the beginning of July, and is also working on the Upper Falls Powerhouse and the Theme Stream Bridge on the western edge of the park.

“The project is part of an effort to give visitors to the falls improved views of the river and shoreline area,” a press release says.


Construction at Huntington Park last week. Photo by Jacob Jones

The historic Washington Water Power building on Post Street was designed by well-known Spokane architect Kirtland Cutter and built in 1909. Four iron cupolas graced the roof until World War II, when they were donated for the war effort, according to Avista.

All of these projects are scheduled to be done for Avista’s 125th anniversary in 2014 — the company started as Washington Water Power in 1889 — and the 40th anniversary of the ’74 Expo in Riverfront Park.

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Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre decides to close

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Last week's issue of The Inlander featured a passionate opinion piece by one of our commentators, Mary Lou Reed, urging readers to do whatever they could to save the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre.

The long-running professional production group made public their serious financial issues (they needed north of $150,000 to keep afloat) earlier this month. But today, the theater's board of directors announced that they were shutting down the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre.

Not closing for the season, mind you, but for good.

People who made donations during the panicked plea for cash a few weeks back were told that their contributions would be used to settle the theater's debts, which in a release from board president Joseph Andersen, were said to be substantial.

"With both season ticket and individual ticket sales down significantly this year, there is no indication Coeur d'Alene has an appetite for the type of presentation our organization, in its current form, is consistently able to produce," wrote Anderson.

He went on to say that the board chose not to solicit more funds from individuals or businesses to keep the theater afloat because they were unable to offer a "fresh face and revised vision for our organization." 

[UPDATE 4:36 pm]

Michelle Mendez, the former executive director of the CDA Summer Theatre just got back to me. She, along with artistic director Roger Welch, were let go on Monday evening after they were "excused" from a board of director's executive session meeting.

"I'm shocked. We raised $60,000 in less than two weeks," says Mendez of the rapid fundraising efforts the theater engaged in during the tail end of the theater's season. 

Mendez, who was executive director this year and spent the three years prior as business manager, says the locks on the CDA Summer Theatre offices have been changed and she hasn't had a chance to retrieve her personal belongings from the building.

The reason she says this came as such a shocker was that she and her staff had prepared a proposal for the board to retool the theater, including trimming down to three shows. She thought those changes, along with increased fundraising, would help solve the theater's financial woes.

But, she says the board was not keen in increasing their fundraising from the community. In the past, the theater — unlike most other nonprofit artistic organizations — has relied almost entirely on ticket sales to fund the operation, rather than going after donations, grants and other funding options.

"The statement came from a board that was notinterested in doing any kind of fundraising at all," she says, adding that she's recommended increasing fundraising since she arrived with the organization four years ago.

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