After nearly five years in enemy captivity, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, appears to be headed home following his successful return to American custody, according to new reports from U.S. officials, ending his long ordeal as the only American prisoner of war in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
The Associated Press and other media reported this morning Bergdahl had been released by his Taliban captors and is now in U.S. custody. Held since June 30, 2009, the U.S. officials had recently stepped up negotiation efforts with the Taliban to secure his release.
The AP reports Bergdahl was released in exchange for five Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. The Qatar government mediated the negotiations. Bergdahl is said to be in good condition.
New video of Bergdahl surfaced in January, renewing local hopes his freedom might be approaching. His family has received strong support from the Hailey community and beyond, with numerous Spokane billboards calling for his release.
UPDATE: President Obama has released an official statement on Bergdahl's release, expressing the nation's relief and and thanking the Qatar government for its assistance.
"On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal," the statement reads, adding, "Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield."
After months of planning and weeks of telling you about it, Volume is finally here. Our music festival is taking over downtown venues for two nights with more than 80 bands — and yes, it can get a little chaotic. Here’s everything we’ve published so far and everything you need to know.
How to Get Tickets
Wristbands are required for entry to all venues, and you can buy them at the temporary Volume HQ at Sprague and Stevens from 5-9 pm Friday and 5-8 pm Saturday. (For you smart folks who bought them early, Will Call is at the same location.) Venues also have some on hand for purchase at the door. Cost is $25 for both nights or $15 for a single night, and we’re taking both cash and credit card at Will Call.
What’s Happening When
The full up-to-date schedule is here. (You can customize your own, which is super helpful.) There have been two significant changes since the print copies came out — The Flavr Blue is now performing Friday, and the Flying Spiders are performing Saturday.
The Hashtag: #Volume509
The band profiles are here. Also see our longer profiles on this year’s five Bands to Watch: Sam Platts & the Kootenai Three, Mama Doll, Normal Babies, Blackwater Prophet, Bloody Gloves. Here are bands from around the region you should check out.
What’s New This Year
What’s Open to All-Ages
In short, those under 21 can see any show at the Bartlett and the Big Dipper, and shows until 9 pm at Club 412 and Neato Burrito. But we’ve also got the full list of all-ages shows here.
What You Should See, According to the Experts
Not sure what to see? We asked local musicians to give us their lineup advice. Here’s what we heard from Karli Ingersoll, Kent Ueland, Dan Ocean and Aaron Bocook. And here are other curated lineups lists for all musical tastes.
What Else You Might Want to Buy
Volume T-Shirts ($15), snacks from the food trucks parked at Sprague and Stevens, drink specials at venues (ask the bartender), band merch.
Other Music Around Town
Volume is by far the biggest show around town this weekend, but by no means the only one. Browse our full music listings here.
We at the Inlander almost don’t remember what it was like to not be old enough to legally drink, but we do know it was a dark and limited time. That being said, there are four Volume venues this weekend that are all-ages touting eclectic and awesome lineups. There are no excuses to miss out on those. This means these locations will most likely be more packed than others — beware over-21 set — so just plan on arriving at the shows of your choice a bit early. If you still haven't bought tickets come on down to Sprague and Stevens this evening after 5 pm.
*Current or past Bands to Watch.
NEATO BURRITO (until 9 pm)
3:30 pm Pub Science: Theories on the Future of Music
5:30 pm Sea Giant
6:05 pm Poet Isaac Grambo
6:30 pm The Colourflies
7:05 pm Poet Oliver Lee
7:30 pm Ouija Bored
8:30 pm The Bettys
Poetry in Spokane is getting good — like, really good. If you were at Terrain's literature park last year or the poetry slam finals this weekend or Neato Burrito basically any Wednesday of the year, you know this. If not, this weekend is your chance to catch up. As one of the cool new things happening at Volume this year, five local poets will read in between local bands. Below, find more about the poets and when and where they'll read.
Friday, 6:45 pm at the Bartlett
Here, he reads his so-good-it-hurts poem, "Dandelions."
Friday, 7:35 pm at the Bartlett
Friday, 8:50 pm at the Bartlett
Saturday, 6:05 pm at Neato Burrito
Isaac Grambo hosts the Spokane Poetry Slam and helped coordinate the 2013 Individual World Poetry Slam, which was hosted in Spokane last year. Get a taste of his work in this Spokane Public Radio interview and in the video below.
Saturday, 7:05 pm at Neato Burrito
You won't find this poet's work online, so you'll have to actually go to the reading to take it in (which is better than YouTube anyway). Mark Anderson, who gathered the poets for Volume this year, says in just over a year, Oliver Lee has already impressed the local scene, placing in the Last Chance Slam for the Individual World Poetry Slam, competing as a finalist at this month's Spokane Poetry Slam finals and winning the poetry slam organized as part of this year's 50 Hour Slam film competition.
Are you looking at the Volume schedule and feeling your eyes start to cross? Yeah, us too. For a little help, we asked some of Spokane’s favorite musicians to send us their dream schedules — some of which are only possible if you have two bodies. Or if you sprint between venues. We suggest sprinting over dismemberment. — Leah Sottile
2012 Band to Watch: Terrible Buttons
6 pm, Irv’s: Silver Treason
Nobody in this town plays country tunes like this lot. Kevin Cameron is a powerhouse of a frontman, and after a long hiatus, they’re likely to be taking some serious names that night.
7 pm, Irv’s: Cedar & Boyer; The Bartlett: Cloud Person
This is a tough one. Cedar & Boyer are incredible. Smooth, intricate folk tunes with a handsome husband-and-wife duo to boot. Some of my favorite people making beautiful music. Cloud Person is a Seattle crew masterminded by Pete Jordan, another great folk songwriter. They make a big sound, and should get all the love Spokane has to muster. I’m personally indebted to both crews, so I’ll let y’all decide.
8 pm, nYne: Water Monster
Strangled Darlings are playing at the same time, and they throw a helluva show. But Water Monster is something brand-new. Not just new for Spokane, but in a more general and epic sort of way. It’s hard to walk off your front porch without stepping on a synth-pop band these days, but Water Monster defies all those stereotypes. Original, pounding, incredibly arranged tunes fronted by Max Harnishfeger, who is a real staple of this scene.
9 pm… I hope you brought those fancy New Balance sneaks, because…
Irv’s: Marshall McLean Band; 9:10 pm, The Bartlett: The Rustics; 9:15 pm, Club 412: Pine League
These bands all play at almost the exact same time. If you haven’t fallen in love with Marshall McLean yet, you probably don’t go out much. He’s the most renowned songwriter to come out of our town, like, ever (winning 2006 Gibson Songwriter of the Year). The Rustics are earthy, catchy, hippie folk that will make you smile. Try being a grouch; I dare you. Their time as one of Spokane’s best is just beginning, and it’s always smart to get in on the ground floor. Finally, Pine League is f—-ing rock music. Tyler Aker, their fearless leader, has enough soul to capture a crowd by his lonesome on a bad day. But throw in members of Diamond Speedboat and The Lion, Oh My! and you’ve got yourself a kickass rock band. This will only be their 4th or 5th show, and the rawness is the cherry on top.
10:50 pm, nYne: The Camaros
You’ll need a break after the 9 o’clock eargasm you just had. Get some food and liquor up for the always-entertaining Camaros. These guys have been around forever, and you won’t hear a bad word about them. That’s incredibly rare. They just make great punk/rock tunes, they play them spot-on, and they don’t give a shit if you like them or not. Because who the f—- are you?! These guys are in my top 10 Spokane bands for sure. Word on the street is that they’ve got a new record coming very soon, and they still don’t give a shit if you buy it. But you will.
11:15 pm, Red Room Lounge: Dead Serious Lovers
This is the best band in Spokane. If you miss this, I will find you.
11:50 pm, nYne: Terrible Buttons
Lets get drunk and make some mistakes, eh?
11 am, Boots Bakery: Tribute to Isamu Jordan
I cant say anything about Som that hasn’t already been said. A pioneer for this town and the scene, a great MC, and an even better friend. He is truly missed, and I won’t miss a chance to let the ether know it.
2 pm, INK Art Space: State of the Scene
We’ve all got our own opinions and thoughts about where we’ve been and where we are. But I want to hear what some of the hardest-working scene builders have to say on the subject. INK is also the newest space on a burgeoning block, so come check it out and maybe throw in your two bits.
6 pm, nYne: Scott Ryan
This guy knows his shit. Perfectly crafted songs, perfectly performed. Rumors of some accompaniment for this one, but it doesn’t matter: this guy shouldn’t be missed.
7 pm, Big Dipper: 66beat
Been a while since I’ve seen these guys. It’s dark, it’s heartfelt, and it’s f—-ing loud. Sounds like a perfect reintroduction to The Dipper.
7:30 pm, Red Room Lounge: Bandit Train
Saw these guys for the first time at the Bartlett recently, and was truly blown away. It’s like if you melted down your original Nintendo and that old M83 record, mixed ’em up, and then printed it on a laserdisc. So why the f—- not (and why the f—- haven’t I tried that?!)
9:20 pm, The Bartlett: Mama Doll
These guys are going to be big. Like, Burt Reynolds big. Dark folk stuff, spot-on harmonies, in a very sexy four-piece package. They’re selling out every room they play, so show up early.
9:50 pm, Club 412 mainstage: Blackwater Prophet; 10 pm, Irv’s: Folkinception; 10:10 pm, The Bartlett: Kithkin
I admit, I haven’t seen Blackwater Prophet live yet, so you’ll see me at this one. However, I have heard the rave reviews. Heavy shit with a tinge of blues and a lot of buzz.
Folkinception, contrarily, I’ve seen, like, 100 times, and I’m not even close to over it. These guys are pure passion and it’s better every single time. It’s country, it’s jam, it’s folk, it’s badass. Buy that record. Kithkin is my very favorite of the current “buzzworthy” Seattle bands. They practically burned Mootsy’s to the ground last time they were here. If you’re looking for the most entertaining live show at Volume, look no further.
11:30 pm, nYne: The Hoot Hoots
Think Blue Album-era Weezer on a Bukowski-level mixture of coke and LSD. Matching costumes, singing about dinosaurs and videogames and, dammit, stealing my little heart. If you know me, I’ve probably told you how much I love this band. And they’ve done Terrible Buttons a lot of favors, so help me pay them back, eh?
A couple weeks ago, the Inlander profiled local hip-hop collective Flying Spiders, who had just returned to playing live after the death last year of their front man, Isamu Jordan.
With the band back in action, they've been added to the lineup of Volume, the Inlander's music festival which kicks off tonight in downtown Spokane.
Flying Spiders are set to take the stage at the Red Room Lounge at 11:50 pm on Saturday night. Find the full up-to-date schedule here.
If you don't have tickets yet, you can get them until 5 pm at Inlander headquarters (1227 W. Summit Parkway in Kendall Yards) or visit the Volume tent at the corner of Stevens and Sprague from 5- 9 pm. Will call pickup is available at both locations, too.
Amid national outcry over treatment delays within the Department of Veterans Affairs, Spokane's VA hospital says it's making progress toward better care after a 2012 report identified problems. (Inlander)
Three people have been charged with beating a man to death for stealing drugs and cash. The victim's body was found in Kootenai County earlier this month. (SR)
Spokane City Councilmembers are looking for ways to make crosswalks safer after the October collision that killed a 5-year-old girl who was crossing Monroe Street with her mother. (KREM)
Three megaloads have been stuck near Clarkston, Wash., for five months waiting to receive permits. (CdA Press)
The Seattle City Council will vote Monday on an ordinance to require a $15 minimum wage for nearly all workers, phased in over the next seven years. (Seattle Times)
Police knew about the videos Elliot Rodger posted online threatening his "Day of Retribution" before killing six people last week, but they never viewed them. (AP)
Conflict in Syria continues to ravage that country, with nearly 2,000 people dead at the hands of the government so far this year. (BBC)
Former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer wants to buy the Los Angeles Clippers from embattled owner Donald Sterling for $2 billion, the highest price ever paid for an NBA team. (Businessweek)
U.S. officials say Edward Snowden never raised substantial concerns about unconstitutional programs during his time at the NSA. He disputes that. (Reuters)
Two students were declared co-winners of the Scripps National Spelling Bee after they ran through the entire official word list. (WaPo)
If you don't already have your tickets for our two-day, 80-band music festival that starts tonight, the bad news is they go up in price today. But the good news is they're still a steal: $15 a day or $25 for both days. (Remember: 80 bands!) If you have bought your wristbands, pick them up before 5:30 pm at Inlander HQ (1227 W. Summit Pkwy) or from 5-9 pm at our will call booth at Stevens and Sprague. To plan your weekend, learn about the bands here, check out the full schedule here and find recommendations based on what you're into here.
OK, so we don’t exactly know why the immensely popular horror-folk act Terrible Buttons are breaking up — they’re staying silent on the subject. What we do know is the seven-piece is breaking up and their final show is tomorrow at Volume at the nYne stage at 11:50 pm. (Purchase your tickets at the booth at Stevens and Sprague tomorrow).
The news broke three weeks ago, just one day after a packed Bartlett show on the band’s Facebook page. It read:
It’s with heavy hearts that we announce the end of this little experiment known as Terrible Buttons.
"Wild ride" is too tame a phrase to describe our time together. We will NEVER forget the support we've recieved from all of you, and we trust that the tunes will live on! Thank you so much to everyone who came out to The Bartlett last night, and come see our last show at Volume: Inlander Music Festival eh? We'd also like to say a big "I'm sorry" to the fine people of Alaska for being little teases and cancelling our plans to head back up there this summer.
We've truly had the time of our lives these last 5 years, but the circus gotta leave town eventually.
See you at the next stop,
Terrible Buttons (RIP)
Kent, Sarah, Kris, Tyler, Jon, KB, Ryan
For bandleader Kent Ueland, who answered our questions via email, the termination of the band is bittersweet.
“This is the end of what has been the focal point of my life, and the lives of all us T Butts, for the past five years,” says Ueland, who will now concentrate on his solo project the Holy Broke, which plays Volume at the Bartlett Friday at 6 pm. “But there's also a sense of freedom and excitement for what's next.”
The much beloved band was named Best Local Band in the Inlander’s Best Of readers poll the last two years running, and was a 2012 Band to Watch. After five years exciting and igniting the Spokane scene, it will certainly be sad to see them go.
So what’s going to go down at the last Buttons show ever? Many might cry, as singer Sarah Berentson (also of Mama Doll, a 2014 Band to Watch) says she will most likely do. But as Ueland suggests, the best way to prepare would be to just bring your dancing shoes.
“Expect to f—- some shit up,” Ueland says. “If you gotta lose your home, might as well burn the f—-er down.”
In the face of intense national criticism targeting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane says it has worked to address care and consultation delays previously uncovered by oversight investigators who found routine confusion or miscommunication had held up treatment for local patients.
The VA Office of Inspector General, which conducts accountability audits and patient care reviews, released an “interim” report on Wednesday addressing allegations of patient treatment delays and scheduling manipulation at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, that may have led to patient deaths. The director of that facility, Sharon Helman, previously oversaw the Spokane facility until 2010.
In Phoenix and other facilities, investigators found a broad, “systemic” practice of manipulating appointments and treatment dates to minimize the appearance of waiting periods or delays in care. The report found 1,700 veterans who had been left off of wait lists and alluded to 42 VA centers now under investigation.
The report also listed 18 previous investigations in which treatment delays had been identified in recent years, including findings against the Spokane center from September of 2012. The Spokane investigation found multiple cases in which communication problems between care providers and specialized consultants had led to appointments getting pushed back or canceled.
“[Investigators] did identify several factors that contributed to a breakdown in the consultation process,” the 2012 OIG report states. “Delays in care did result in the adverse patient outcome of increased or unrelieved pain or an exacerbation of symptoms.”
A review of 15 cases found seven of the patients had suffered “adverse” care outcomes as a result of treatment delays ranging from six weeks to 11 months, the report states. Most of those cases involved assessment or treatment for chronic pain injuries.
Bret Bowers, public affairs officer for the Spokane facility, defended the center’s practices via email today. He noted strict media protocols did not allow him to answer any questions over the phone, but responded that the Spokane center follows all of the standard VA guidelines for timely care and consultation scheduling.
“When a new patient requests care, every attempt is made to give the patient an appointment within 30 days of their desired date,” Bowers writes. “Regarding internal consults, our goal is for all eligible Veterans to be scheduled and seen within 90 days.”
Bowers notes the Spokane center also has a 24/7 emergency room for urgent care needs: “All Veterans are seen, and treated based upon the urgency of their condition.”
The 2012 report also found that scheduling problems sometimes led to care providers and consultants exchanging inappropriate comments within the medical records of their patients.
“Non-existent or poor communications between [primary care providers] and consultants was a source of frustration,” the report finds, adding, “In breach of [VA policy], PCPs often expressed dissatisfaction with this process by writing inappropriate comments in consult notes. Consultants, in turn, sometimes responded with unprofessional comments.”
OIG offered three recommendations for improving care, including establishing a comprehensive consultation process, tracking consultations and ensuring proper communication between care providers.
Spokane VA administrators responded to the 2012 report by strengthening its policies regarding consultation practices and conducting additional training on appropriate practices. It also instituted monthly reviews of all consultations to “ensure proper completion.” Bowers says OIG followed up and closed its investigation in May of 2013 with "no further inquiry."
The Spokane center has seen a slight increase in patients since 2012, Bowers explains, reporting the center served 29,362 unique veterans in 2013. Its 877 employees provided 330,595 outpatient services and 18,467 days of bed care.
Bowers declined to confirm whether any disciplinary action was taken based on the findings in the 2012 report. He also could not say whether the Spokane facility was included among the 42 centers now under additional investigation. OIG has said it will not identify those facilities to protect the integrity of the process.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray, a vocal advocate of veterans rights, called the new OIG report a confirmation of “deep-seated” problems within the system, demanding VA officials impose new transparency and accountability.
“It needs to put an end to what appears to be a pervasive culture of lying, cheating, and mismanagement,” Murray says in a statement. “And it needs to act right away — without waiting for more reports to come out detailing even more systemwide failures.”
Investigators expect to release a final, more comprehensive report later this year.
A new Italian restaurant on Coeur d’Alene’s Fourth Street corridor, Uva Trattoria, is now open. An Italian deli, Marina’s New York Deli, opened recently in North Spokane, too. Read more about what both are offering in this week’s Entree newsletter.
Java on Sherman is now open in their new location a few blocks down at 819 Sherman.
Also changing location is North Spokane Mexican restaurant Pueblo Amigo, moving just a short ways from Francis down to a space near NorthTown Mall.
A new cafe is coming to the International District location that was previously the Flying Pig: The Ivory Table, which is opening June 3. They’re currently seeking artists who’d like their work displayed.
A new restaurant called Palouse Caboose is coming to Palouse, Wash., later this summer.
More than 100 people were in line by 7:30 this morning for the opening of a new Papa John’s on the South Hill, hoping to be among the lucky first customers to win free pizza for a year. The owner is Matt Goodwin, who also owns Press, the Volstead Act and the Boiler Room.
With the new Target on the South Hill getting closer to opening, the developer announced some other nearby businesses, including a Cafe Rio and Anthony’s Beach Cafe.
It seems like only a little while since we first found out about the pack of restaurants opening in Kendall Yards. With the Wandering Table now open — here’s the full story from this week’s issue — the only eatery still under construction is Veraci Pizza. And they’re in the hiring phase.
It looks like designer extraordinaire Karli Ingersoll is working on the logo for Durkin’s Liquor Bar. As mentioned before, the new Main Avenue restaurant from the people behind Madeleine’s and Casper Fry is presumably named after Jimmie Durkin, famous liquor king of early Spokane. Looking through old papers, it doesn’t seem like Durkin had much consistent branding for his downtown stores — but he knew what he was doing with the ad copy.
It’s on the other side of the state, unfortunately, but the Washington Brewers Festival on June 13-15 is the biggest one yet with 88 breweries, including a respectable Spokane-area delegation: Iron Goat, No-Li, Orlison, Paradise Creek, Ramblin’ Road and Twelve String. See the full list of breweries here and — just announced — what they’re all pouring.
Paradise Creek is also celebrating its 4th anniversary tomorrow with three casks and other festivities.
No-Li’s latest in its Expo Series is Noble Hop, an extra pale ale. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but it better be delicious since the bottle is my favorite color.
And on a sadder note, the craft beer community is mourning the death of Jack Joyce, who co-founded Rogue Ales in 1988 and helped forge the path for the resurgence of local craft brewers.
Finally, it’s not possible to write a blog post for the Inlander this week without mentioning Volume, our massive music festival, but fortunately there’s a good reason to mention it here. We’re setting up Volume HQ at the parking lot on Sprague across from the Satellite and Irv’s, and joining us will be several food trucks: Bistro Box, Shameless Sausages, King of Tacos and Fatburger. And you should buy a Volume wristband because it will be a fun time — and you get discounts at Bistango, Rock City Grill, Atticus and River City Brewing — but you don’t need a wristband to come enjoy our mini food truck rally.
Read previous food news here.