Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy holidays from the Inlander!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Santa has some unusual-looking reindeer this year: 
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State Supreme Court: Cop's confidence doesn't make it a DUI

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Just because a cop has “no doubt” that someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean that they are — legally speaking.

That’s the takeaway from a Washington state Supreme Court ruling handed down last week just in time one of the biggest drunk driving nights of the year.

The case involved Ryan Richard Quaale who was doing 56 mph in his truck in a residential area in Mead north of Spokane. According to the opinion’s description of events, Quaale turned off his headlights and gave chase when a state trooper attempted to pull him over. Quaale eventually gave up and surrendered to the trooper, who noticed a strong odor of “intoxicants” on his breathe.

The trooper gave Quaale a horizontal gaze nystagmus test to assess his sobriety. Someone subjected to a HGN test is asked to look at a pen or finger that is moved horizontally. If their gaze is shaky, it’s an indicator they are under the influence.

After failing the HGN test, the trooper booked Quaale on charges of reckless driving and attempting to elude. Quaale refused to take a breathalyzer test, but was still charged with a DUI.

After being tried twice, Quaale was found guilty of attempting to elude and DUI. However, an appeals court later reversed the DUI conviction because prosecutors relied on the trooper’s testimony that he had “no doubt” Quaale was impaired because he failed the HGN test. The Supreme Court agrees:

“Although an officer may testify that the test revealed signs consistent with alcohol consumption, the officer here cast his conclusion in absolute terms and improperly gave the appearance that the HGN test may produce scientifically certain results,” reads the court’s majority opinion.

Quaale will now have a third trial to determine if he should get a DUI.   
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Colorado's unhip neighbors file a lawsuit, and R.I.P. Joe Cocker

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

The big weed news this week was the attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska filing a lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Colorado’s voter-approved law that legalizes marijuana, reports The Cannabist. The central gripe of the lawsuit is that legal weed is flowing from Colorado into the two neighboring states where law enforcement is using more resources to chase stoners. The lawsuit argues that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and the nation’s top court should strike down Colorado’s legalization ballot initiative.

Speaking of Colorado, a campaign is being mounted to get a measure on the 2016 ballot that would, if passed, prohibit sheriffs from denying concealed carry permits to people because of pot use.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that a medical marijuana delivery service that uses a smartphone mobile app is illegal.

New research from analysts at Morgan Stanley have found that teens are more likely to light up joints than cigarettes, which could have big implications for the tobacco industry.

Looking to have a green Christmas? The Cannabist has a recipe for a ganjabread house.

Joe Cocker died this week. R.I.P.
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Skiing Santa, bells in spades and a Christmas Eve at the theater

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 10:33 AM


It's Christmas Eve, so chances are good you have some plans with your family. Chances are also good for many of you that you need something worthwhile to do to make that family time go better than sitting around and staring at each other over Aunt Ida's peanut brittle. That's where our extensive event listings and Staff Picks come in. 

Here are a few choice opportunities in the area for Wednesday, Dec. 24: 

SPORTS & OUTDOORS | Schweitzer actually has enough snow for skiers to hit the slopes, and Wednesday they can join Santa for some turns and a balloon parade. 

MUSIC EVENTS & CONCERTS | In case you missed our Bloglander post about the event, St. John's Cathedral is helping celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the famous World War I Christmas Truce with a carillon concert

THEATER | In a somewhat related event, The Bing is hosting a one-night-only performance of All Is Calm, a play about that night on the battlefield when enemy soldiers put down their arms and shared a little holiday spirit. Read our story about the production right here, and you better hurry if you want tickets. 

We'll be taking a pause from the What's Up Today? blog for Christmas, but we'll be back to help you make the most of our community on Friday. Cheers!
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MB: Stolen iPad returned, hospital penalties and Guantanamo Bay

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 10:08 AM


Police searching for suspect after Tuesday night stabbing in North Spokane. (KXLY)

After community outrage, horrible person returns iPad stolen from disabled man to become slightly less horrible. (KREM)

Idaho State Police kick out people parked along highway to watch bald eagles at Lake Coeur d’Alene. (S-R)

Some Idaho hospitals to be penalized for safety standards. (Idaho Statesman)

VA clears debt of veteran dying of brain cancer. (Seattle Times)

Oregon employers brace for wage hike, healthcare changes and legal pot. (Oregonian)


Teenager with gun killed by police in St. Louis area, sparking new concerns of unrest. (Post Dispatch)

Sony to release “The Interview” streaming on demand at YouTube, other sites. (NYT)

U.S. prepares to ramp up transfers of prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay. (WaPost)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

St. John's Cathedral commemorates 100th anniversary of 1914 Christmas Truce

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 12:05 PM

On Christmas Eve in 1914, during World War I, a true holiday miracle took place in the trenches of Messines, Belgium, when a temporary, unofficial truce was decided in honor of Christmas Day. Gun fire and explosions ceased as British, Belgian, French and German soldiers shook hands and exchanged holiday wishes. These men caught in the midst of war came together over coffee, tea and chocolate, joining in a chorus of "Silent Night" — a harmony that would echo long into history. 

Now, a century later, carillonneurs (aka bell ringers) in 11 different countries around the world commemorate that remarkable truce on its 100th anniversary. Spokane's St. John's Cathedral is one of 78 carillons participating in the worldwide recognition of the Christmas Eve Truce, with Carillonneur Jonathan Lehrer — winner of the 2010 International Carillon competition — leading the cathedral's 49-bell carillon.

The historic, 90-year-old St. John's Cathedral begins the carillon concert on Christmas Eve, following its family Christmas Eve Eucharist at 4 pm, and again at 9:15 pm, prior to the Christmas Eve Choral Eucharist. 

The ringing of the bells are open to all, and St. John's invites the Spokane community to join together in holiday spirit similar to one the expressed by the soldiers a century ago. 


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TUESDAY TASTE: A second Trip and Funkadelic comeback

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Even during the week of Christmas the entertainment biz is trying to find its way into your wallet with new music and DVD releases, and we're here to help you separate the good from the bad every Tuesday. 

Not much in the way of new music this week, with one notable exception. You got the funk? Funkadelic is releasing its first new music in 33 years on CD Tuesday (it came out digitally a couple weeks back), and First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate has all the usual suspects you want from a Parliament/Funkadelic release—George Clinton leading the charge, contributions from Sly Stone and a slew of bad mofos. Here's a tune called "Ain't That Funkin' Kind of Hard on You:"

Remarkably, there are two worthy indie flicks newly released this week that you should consider for some holiday viewing. 

The Trip to Italy is the follow-up to The Trip, in which British actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play exaggerated versions of themselves, bouncing through travel hotspots, exploring fine cuisine and lodgings while delivering their best Michael Caine impressions (among others). The original took them through their native Britain, while the follow-up leads them to, yes, Italy for visits to Pompeii and Sicily. 
Pride stars some seriously great actors (Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine) in a true story about a group of gay and lesbian activists who join forces with some rough-and-tumble striking miners in mid-80s England. Pride was nominated for a Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) Golden Globe. 

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Some good brass, local film debut and a modern classic

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Every day on our site, you can find a huge number of events happening in the area, as well as Staff Picks to help guide you to the best of the best. 

If that's still too much scrolling for you, we can help. Here are some highlights for Tuesday, Dec. 23: 

MUSIC EVENTS & CONCERTS | Looking for a wee twist on the same ol' Christmas songs delivered the same ol' ways? This show could be for you—Clarion Brass: This Is What Christmas Sounds Like promises "quirky" takes on the tunes from Spokane's brass badasses. 

FILM | The Magic Lantern is hosting the premiere of Manhandlers, made entirely with local actors by Spokane filmmaker Adam J. Pitzler. 

FILM | It's Totally Tubular Tuesday again at The Garland, and this week the theater is showing the modern classic A Christmas Story. Sure, you could wait for the 24-hour marathon on TV two days later, but why pass up the chance to see the goods on the big screen for cheap?

Here's the trailer: 

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MB: A little kettle gold, a growing economy and Joe Cocker

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 9:40 AM


Local Salvation Army finds $1,200 gold piece in donation kettle for sixth year in a row, wrapped in $100 bill for good measure. (KREM)

Post Falls man gets 20-year sentence for extortion, threatening to kill wife after she would pay for his back surgery. (CdAPress)

Idaho must pay attorneys for couples in same-sex marriage case. (S-R)


Federal judge rules jail wait times too long for mental health evaluations. (Seattle Times)

Vancouver 911 caller says police mistakenly shot him without any warning. (Oregonian)

Montana governor opposes expanding bomber training area to size larger than West Virginia. (Missoulian)


U.S. economy jumps 5 percent, the fastest growth in more than a decade. (NYTimes)

FAA facing many conflicting warnings on drone regulation. (WaPost)

Iconic rocker Joe Cocker died yesterday from lung cancer. (Rolling Stone)

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Making peace with a slow season start, and vowing to stay true to your mountain

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 1:13 PM

  • Schweitzer Mountain Resort
I have had the conversation with many people about the "weird" start to the ski season.

My go-to response is, “You have to take the good with the bad.”

I moved to Sandpoint in 2002 and it was a couple of years later, the season of 2004-05, that Schweitzer Mountain Resort closed in early March, for the first time, and then reopened at the end of March after a late season storm cycle. Since then, all of the resorts in the Inland Northwest have had some great snow years – nine great consecutive seasons.

Although the season is far from over, I thought I would concoct up a vow to my ski resort and mountain town to let them know that I my heart is still with you – even in warm temps and low precip. I have left it generic so it is adaptable for your unique situation:

I, (insert ski bum’s name), take you, (insert your local ski hill or the mountain town you swore an oath to, two years ago, when the snow fall was off the charts and so many powder days that ‘best days’ were replaced with new ones on a regular basis), to be my ski hill and mountain town, secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner in life, my one true love, and the best place to be on those epic powder days, whether bluebird or not.

On this serious lack-of-snow season, I affirm to you in the presence of Ullr and my fellow ski bums my sacred promise to stay by your side as your faithful ski bum and loyal powder skier in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, as well as through the epic seasons and the bad.

I promise to love you, be the first in line on the epic powder day and to comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve your snowfall and sunny day goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and cherish you for as long as my knees will hold out.

(Raise 16-ounce PBR tallboy), Cheers!

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