Friday, April 14, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Spokane's Outercourse, Dancing Plague of 1518 kick off mini-tour

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 5:08 PM


For those who were willing to come out on Thursday for a free local show at the Baby Bar, Outercourse and the Dancing Plague of 1518 kicked off their upcoming four-show tour last night, and it was a blaring launch.

Connor Knowles' solo project, Dancing Plague, opened the night with an equally haunting and thumping set of darkwave electronic music, using a beats machine, guitar riffs, synth layers, processed vocals and found sounds to pair with his projected visuals.

The Dancing Plague of 1518 will be damned if you don't find yourself at least nodding along to the whirling basslines or shifting your feet with his syncopated synthetic drums. Knowles' act is a refreshing addition to a local music scene that often gets labeled as being too genre-specific. Knowles has come out with two EPs over the short year or so he's recorded as this project.

Heavy Seventeen linked the two touring acts with a middle set that offered up plenty of lo-fi alt-rock vibes. There was plenty of bobbing and shuffling from the crowd as the band enjoyed playing slacker rock that feels timeless. It was a treat to listen to some good buzzing alt-rock and to see the fun that frontman Matt Lakin and company have.

Outercourse closed out the night with a set that seemed to only get better the further they got into it. Fresh off the release of their Spring '17 tape, the band, led by vocalist and guitarist Ben Jennings, showed the acumen it takes to be a solid lo-fi project.

Jennings and fellow guitarist Alex Smith adeptly slice through the mix of bassist Adam Smith and drummer Norman Robbins. Jennings' vocals rest atop the lo-fi buzzing and pinging guitars and will quickly swerve from yelps and singing into gravelly shouts whenever he and Smith rip into their next bouncing riff.

This is most likely the final lineup for Jennings' project, which has seen its current members swap instruments over the last three years. And it's the final roster for good reason, as their closing number, "Mel's Hole," played to the individual fortes of each member. It was a pleasure to see the band play off of each other in the closing break, with Robbins blasting through the solos on his battered drum kit.

Outercourse and Dancing Plague of 1518 will play Eugene (Old Nick's Pub), Tacoma (Bob's Java Jive) and Bellingham (The Swillery) over the holiday weekend, April 14-16.
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Drumheller No! Spokane County Dems used scholarship money for operations, leaving some members irate

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 4:56 PM

Former Spokane County Democrats chairwoman Sally Jackson was irate when the Democrats took money from the fund that was supposed to be used for scholarships. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Former Spokane County Democrats chairwoman Sally Jackson was irate when the Democrats took money from the fund that was supposed to be used for scholarships.

When Dan Lambert arrived at Lincoln Center for the Spokane County Democrats' viewing party of the second presidential debate, it wasn't just to watch Hillary Clinton duke it out with Donald Trump.

Lambert, a Spokane County Democratic party activist for 28 years, came armed with a copy of Spokane County Democrats' board minutes from 2009, and the copy of a dead party member's will. He wanted to show the minutes to Jim CastroLang — then both the chair and the executive director of the Spokane County Democrats. Lambert says that CastroLang looked shocked by what he saw.

“He turned a couple shades lighter [in] color,” Lambert says. “This was all new information. He did not know about this.”

This week, we have a story about the resignation of CastroLang after a Public Disclosure Commission complaint revealed the local Democratic party's error-strewn, heavily delayed reporting to the PDC. Internally, longtime party members' frustration regarding their leadership was about more than just mistakes with campaign finance PDC filings.

It was about CastroLang's decision to take money specifically set aside for scholarships (and nothing else) and use it to pay operating costs.

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Spokane County prosecutor appointed to Superior Court bench

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 12:08 PM

Hazel speaking at a Spokane County Bar Association luncheon during his tenure as president. - COURTESY OF TONY HAZEL
  • Courtesy of Tony Hazel
  • Hazel speaking at a Spokane County Bar Association luncheon during his tenure as president.

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed a career prosecuting attorney to the Spokane County Superior Court bench, replacing the late Judge Sam Cozza.

Tony Hazel, a proponent of criminal justice reform and a prosecutor in Spokane for the past 13 years, will fill the final spot on the 12-person bench. Cozza was Spokane's presiding judge when he died in mid-January, and Judge Michael Price has taken on that role. Details on what types of cases Hazel will handle as a judge are still being worked out, he says. He expects to be seated on the bench within a couple of weeks.

"I'm honored to have been selected, and I look forward to pursuing the judgeship for some time," Hazel says, indicating that he intends to run for re-election when the term is up in 2020. "I'm committed to public safety and fairness, and ensuring that I run the people's courtroom in a manner that gives justice a chance to prevail."

Hazel, a graduate of Gonzaga University and the Gonzaga School of Law, started his career as a prosecutor in Yakima before taking the job in Spokane. The bulk of his experience is in criminal prosecutions, he says. Hazel helped establish the identity theft task force in Spokane, and has handled multiple homicide cases.

Recently, though, Hazel has worked on the civil side of the law, specifically on cases involving mental health.

Throughout his tenure, Hazel has been one of the leaders in local criminal justice reform within the prosecutor's office. Hazel served on the public safety transition team when Mayor David Condon was first elected in 2011, and was part of the panel pushing to reactivate the Regional Law and Justice Council.

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Shoddy police investigation leading to wrongful convictions will cost the state more than $750,000

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 10:26 AM

FROM LEFT: Robert Larson, Paul Statler and Tyler Gassman. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • FROM LEFT: Robert Larson, Paul Statler and Tyler Gassman.

Reckless police work and careless prosecution cost three men years of their lives when they were wrongly convicted in 2009 of a drug-rip robbery. The three men were released from prison, and their convictions were overturned in 2012 when a judge ruled the men were "legally" innocent, meaning the evidence against them was insufficient.

But earlier this week, another Spokane judge ruled that the men are "actually" innocent. That means law enforcement's mistake is going to cost the state at least $751,465.75, attorneys say, under the state's wrongly convicted persons law.

According to the law, people wrongly convicted of felonies are entitled to compensation from the state only if there is "clear and convincing" evidence that they did not commit the crime. A conviction overturned due to a procedural error or deficient evidence doesn't count.

"[The police] were locked in on these guys and doing everything they could to get them convicted," says Toby Marshall, a Seattle attorney who worked on the civil compensation case. "They weren't searching for the truth."

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A rogue bulldozer, a big bomb, exploding rocket fuel and other morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 9:49 AM

The ospreys are back at Kendall Yards, and their talons are sharper than ever! - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • The ospreys are back at Kendall Yards, and their talons are sharper than ever!


Brothers, can you spare some dimes?

Catholic Charities asks Spokane Valley and Spokane County for, well, charity to help fund their 24/7 shelters.

The yeast of these
How yeast can give vegans protein and make vegan food taste less bland.


The Spokesman Boys and the Mystery of the Runaway Bulldozer
Who approved the illegal road on the South Hill bluff? The contractor who bulldozed it is playing coy. (Spokesman-Review)

Public records for thee, but not for me
Unlike Idaho, Washington legislators exempt themselves from the public records act, because the business of the public is — Shhhhh!a secret. (Spokesman-Review)

The walls in the way of the wall

Does the city's Bosch Lot plan for a new climbing gym violate the city's charter? (Spokesman-Review)

Okay, actually it is rocket science
A rocket club experiment goes bad and injures four University of Idaho students — one critically.

Bomb away!
Trump drops the "Mother of All Bombs" on Afghanistan. (New Yorker)
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

As House of Charity plans to cut hours, a call for Valley and county to step up with funding

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 5:30 PM

People who are chronically homeless, and often most visible when they have nowhere to go during the day, could soon be back in downtown and other common areas, as House of Charity will have to shut down its daytime hours and extra sleeping space as of May 1.

Almost as soon as Spokane's pilot 24/7 shelter system 
Rob McCann speaks during a press conference at House of Charity on Thursday. - SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL PHOTO
  • Samantha Wohlfeil photo
  • Rob McCann speaks during a press conference at House of Charity on Thursday.
was completely up and  running, with places for single people, families and children to go during the day, it became clear that the funding would quickly run out, says Rob McCann, president and CEO of Catholic Charities.

At least, that's the case for the House of Charity's expanded evening sleeping space that allowed an extra 200 people to sleep on the lower floor of the shelter since last November, and its daytime hours that started in January.

Before the lower floor was opened so more people could stay, House of Charity accepted only about 100 men per night to sleep upstairs. With the expanded space, women were allowed to stay for the first time, and HOC allowed people with pets as well. Significantly, the space was open every night all winter, where normally it was only open when the weather dipped into cold enough temperatures.

Since January, the shelter has been open during the day, so anyone can stay inside as they need.

But by February, it was clear that a boost of money from the city that allowed for those extra hours wouldn't be enough to keep things going after May, McCann said during a press conference Thursday morning.

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Testing future doctors, running risks and getting a boost from meatless protein

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 10:47 AM

Future doctors tested at WSU med school

As WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine prepares to greet 60 first-year medical students this fall, they’ve added a perk to the program. The future doctors will be able to enroll in a “Scientific Wellness” program offered by Seattle biotechnology company Arivale, featuring assessment of their DNA, blood and even saliva — all aimed at discovering potential areas of health vulnerability. Arivale dietitians and nurses will then follow up with monthly coaching based on “actionable” information the tests uncover.

“We are going to be the first medical school in the country to offer a scientific wellness program (to our students) so that they can learn firsthand what it means to be involved in precision or personalized medicine,” says the medical school’s founding dean, John Tomkowiak. The goal is to produce physicians who are not only proficient in the use of cutting-edge technology to optimize wellness, but also empathetic to the struggles of making lifestyle changes based on the findings. The Arivale program is also available to the public; the first year costs $3,500.

Marathon risks aren't just for runners
Runners in marathon races face fatigue, blisters and dehydration, but for people in the vicinity of the race, the risk of death from a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest is increased simply because of the crowds. A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that ambulance times were increased by four minutes on average in neighborhoods near a marathon, and the rate of death within a month was 28 percent, versus 25 percent for other days. The study examined marathons in 11 cities, including Seattle: “Any event that draws a crowd and causes traffic detours — parades, ballgames, concerts, fairs — may cause similar problems, researchers warn.”

Delicious recipes feature nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast offers 3 to 6 grams of complete protein per tablespoon and as a bonus, it is a “great flavor booster,” says Alison Collins of Spokane’s Boots Bakery. Find recipes for Boots Bakery’s Power Salad Dressing and Versatile Vegan Cheesy Sauce in the newest issue of InHealth.
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Spokane County Dems in disarray, a piece of Riverfront Park to be sold and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 10:05 AM


NEWS: How the Spokane County Democrats came crashing down.

MUSIC: Supervillain, the local rock trio, not comic-book characters, are celebrating the release of their new album. It's probably not what you were expecting.

PICKUP ARTIST: I followed a local pickup artist on a recent date.


Down by the river
The city of Spokane considers selling off a piece of Riverfront Park in order to build a rock-climbing gym along the shore of the Spokane River. (Spokesman-Review)

"Imperial Wizard"
A "celebrity" Klansman from Mississippi showed up at a Donald Trump rally in Portland last month. (Willamette Week)

United we fall
The man who was yanked from his seat aboard a United flight and dragged down the aisle has a concussion, a broken nose and is missing teeth, his lawyers say. (Associated Press) ICYMI, watch the video here.

New York judge found dead
Police pulled the body of Sheila Abdus-Salaam from the Hudson River on Wednesday. Abdus-Salaam, a judge on the state's highest court, was the first African American woman to serve on that bench. (New York Times)
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Help people find Gonzaga and Spokane with this T-shirt

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 1:51 PM


Perhaps you're like me and it's taken a week or so for it to really sink in that the little Jesuit school in little ol' (but still not desolate and crumbling) Spokane, Washington, played in the NCAA championship game. Further putting the school and city on the map — and hopefully to rest how to pronounce either name — Gonzaga achieved something monumental in being one of the final two of 68 out of 351.

In recognition of this historical moment, online T-shirt design company Breaking T is selling two Gonzaga-oriented shirts: one literally putting the city and school on a map, and the other reclassifying the Zags' label from "Mid-Major" to "Major." Breaking T is producing these shirts along with SB Nation's Gonzaga-focused blog The Slipper Still Fits as a fun way to cap off a historic season.

The shirts retail for $24 each, and are offered in unisex size "vintage heather" navy-blue tees.
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The Fox announces summer concerts from big names: Lightfoot, Lovett, Alpert, Etheridge

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 1:16 PM

Melissa Etheridge will perform at the Fox Theater on Aug. 4.
  • Melissa Etheridge will perform at the Fox Theater on Aug. 4.

And the summer concert announcements keep rolling in. The Fox Theater has just announced four big shows in June, July and August, all featuring artists who have played the Inland Northwest before.

Unless otherwise noted, tickets for these events go on sale at midnight through TicketsWest.

June 11, Gordon Lightfoot: The Canadian singer-songwriter was a staple of '70s soft rock radio, racking up Top 10 hits with easygoing tunes like "Sundown," "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and "If You Could Read My Mind." Lightfoot last performed in Spokane in 2013 (he was also a performer at Expo '74), and he returns following the debut of a new single titled "Plans of My Own," his first original release since 2004. Tickets run from $36 to $101, and they go on sale at 10 am on Fri, April 13.

July 14, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band: The last time Lovett was in town, he was performing with just an acoustic guitar and fellow Texan Robert Earl Keen. This time, he'll have his so-called Large Band in tow, which should make for a rollicking, high-energy evening of old-school country, swing and Americana songs. Tickets range from $40 to $85.

July 27, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall: One of the most famous and bestselling trumpeters in history, Alpert is perhaps best known for founding the Tijuana Brass, whose 1965 album Whipped Cream and Other Delights is a landmark of instrumental jazz. Alpert frequently performs with his wife Lani Hall, a renowned vocalist and an original member of Sérgio Mendes' bossa nova group Brasil '66, and the set list for their upcoming Spokane concert will feature classics from both of their esteemed careers. Tickets are $38 and $48.

Aug. 4, Melissa Etheridge: Dabbling in blues-rock, folk and country sounds, Etheridge, with her commanding voice and virtuosic guitar skills, was one of the defining voices of the mid-'90s singer-songwriter boom. She'll hit the Fox in August — she last played here in 2015 on a co-headlining tour with Joan Jett and Blondie — bringing along hits like "I'm the Only One," "Come to My Window" and "Like the Way I Do." Tickets will run you $48 to $85.
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