Sunday, October 23, 2016

THIS WEEK: Monty Python vets, genius poets, rhinos, Soul Pimps and more

Posted By on Sun, Oct 23, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Monty Python founders Eric Idle (left) and John Cleese are coming to Spokane Friday.
  • Monty Python founders Eric Idle (left) and John Cleese are coming to Spokane Friday.

We're barreling toward the end of October and Halloween, so get your costumes prepped and pumpkin-spice drink of choice prepared to hit the town. There are plenty of options in our event listings and Staff Picks for your perusal. 

Here are some highlights of the week ahead: 

Monday, Oct. 24

FILM | Gene Wilder had so many iconic film roles in his life that it’s hard to pick just one that best represents the man’s incredible comedic chops. While you can certainly make the case for Willy Wonka, I’m going with Dr. Frederick Frankenstein from Mel Brooks’ 1974 flickYoung Frankenstein — although he would prefer if you pronounced it “Fronkensteen.” It's showing at the Bing Crosby Theater tonight. 

LIVE MUSIC | Get your roots-music on with the mighty fine Jared & the Mill, headlining a show at The Bartlett. Here's a little sample: 

Tuesday, Oct. 25

WORDS | Gonzaga political science lecturer Sean Swan is featured at a free talk on Europe at a Crossroads in the school's Magnuson Theatre. 

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Friday, October 21, 2016

WSU student who knocked Trump supporter's phone out of his hand could be charged

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 5:41 PM

Fernando Reyes standing in the middle of a crowd of protesters holding a Trump flag and a phone - WILSON CRISCIONE
  • Wilson Criscione
  • Fernando Reyes standing in the middle of a crowd of protesters holding a Trump flag and a phone

On Wednesday, a man stood in the middle of the crowd at Washington State University's campus holding a Donald Trump flag and a phone. Surrounding him, protesters held up signs and shouted in opposition to the 'Trump Wall' that was erected by WSU College Republicans.   

The man in the middle of the crowd is named Fernando Reyes. He was recording the scene for a live video on Facebook.

More than an hour and a half into the video, one of the protesters, a student, shoved Reyes' phone away from him. When Reyes found him again about 10 minutes later, the student shoved the phone away again. 

Now, that student could be charged with a gross misdemeanor.

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More than a quarter of all Spokane County jobs fall below the Initiative 1433 minimum wage threshhold

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 2:53 PM

More than a quarter of the jobs in Spokane County pay less than $12.23 an hour. Initiative 1433 would change that, impacting fast food joints and coffee stands in particular.
  • More than a quarter of the jobs in Spokane County pay less than $12.23 an hour. Initiative 1433 would change that, impacting fast food joints and coffee stands in particular.

We've written a lot about the minimum-wage hikes proposed by Initiative 1433 — reaching $13.50 by 2020 — but so far, we haven't really gotten into just how big that change would be for Spokane County. 

In other words, just how many local jobs would have their pay structure altered because of the initiative? And how much would that cost local businesses? 

This week, Anneliese Vance-Sherman, the regional economist for King County, sent over a rough estimate from Scott Bailey of the Washington Employment Security Department.

He essentially creates a "What If" scenario.

Like, say, Earth 2, from The Flash, except instead of the alternate-universe being plagued by the malevolent speedster supervillain Zoom, this Earth 2 is exactly the same in every way except that Initiative 1433 was already fully implemented in Washington state. Then he takes that lens and applies it to the economic situation last year. 

First, Bailey provides a crucial caveat: 

"This exercise does NOT imply what the impact of an increase in the minimum wage would be, as employers may react to an increase in a number of ways (e.g. reduce profits, increase prices, increase automation, reduce hours worked, up-skill lower-wage jobs, etc.)" 

In other words, it just gives a sense of the scope of the required wage increases, not their actual impact. 

— Last year, there were 226,457 jobs in Spokane County. 

— Over 15,000 of those jobs in Spokane County were minimum-wage jobs, about 6.7 percent of the total. 

— But a much larger number of jobs — 59,608 — were paid below $12.23 an hour. Why is that strangely specific number important? Because, assuming a typical rate of inflation, that's would bring us to $13.50 by 2020: All these jobs — 26.3 percent of jobs in the county in 2015 — would have to pay higher wages if Initiative 1433 is passed. 

— Of course, many of these jobs are part-time jobs. So it's also instructive to lump part-time jobs together to look at the number of full-time equivalent jobs in the county. Last year, 3.2 percent of full-time equivalent jobs in 2015 paid minimum wage while 18.5 percent were paid below the initiative's proposed threshold. 

— Okay, that's the worker angle. But about how much more in salaries, theoretically, should Spokane County expect to pay? More than $96.6 million in today's dollars, the data suggests  — about 1.1 percent of their total payroll. 

That number differs from county to county, the data shows. Spokane has a lot more low-wage jobs than Snohomish County, so far fewer jobs would be impacted.  

Nearly a third of Lewis County is paid below $12.23 an hour currently, compared to less than 6 percent in Whitman County.

But, of course, the impact is radically different for different industries. The construction and manufacturing industries already pay their workers relatively well, so they're unlikely to see much of a change in their payroll at all. But the agricultural, fishing and forestry industries would see a significant big bump. 

And for fast-food joints and coffee shops? The impact would be massive. Taking into account the minimum wage increases already scheduled in Seattle, fast food joints and coffee shops statewide would have had to spend more than 10 percent more on average on their entire payroll to comply with the initiative. 
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THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: The 1975, Isamu Jordan Benefit, Paul Nelson Band

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 11:03 AM

The 1975's first Spokane show ever already sold out weeks ago.
  • The 1975's first Spokane show ever already sold out weeks ago.

Even without their fearless leader Isamu “Som” Jordan, Spokane’s own hip-hop orchestra, Flying Spiders, have persevered in the past three years since Jordan’s death. But the multi-piece crew will never forget the rapper/writer/teacher. Friday, the annual Isamu Jordan Benefit heads to the Observatory with the help of local acts Bandit Train and the Smokes. The night will raise money for Jordan's family while celebrating the life and times of one of Spokane's biggest fans. As author Jess Walter wrote in the Inlander following Jordan’s death: “Som showed that, as an artist, you could burst with pride over being from Spokane and still push it to be better.” That rings true today as much as ever. The 8 pm show includes a $10 suggested donation.

Also, catch Karrie O'Neill free solo at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars tonight starting at 5:30 pm. We wrote about the local singer-songwriter's brand new album and upcoming national tour in this week's music section. 

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Spokane artists receive Artist Trust grants to complete art, music, poetry projects

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 9:54 AM

Spokane Arts Month continues for another week, but the local arts community has another reason to celebrate the vibrancy of our creative minds.

Earlier this week, the statewide arts advocacy nonprofit Artist Trust announced a long list of recipients for its 2016 Grants for Artist Projects (GAP). On that list of 61 grant winners, chosen from an applicant pool of nearly 400, are five names familiar to those who keep close eyes on the local arts scene:

Brooke Matson, a poet and the executive director of the nonprofit Spark Central literacy center in Kendall Yards, received Artist Trust's Centrum residency. The award allows her to spend a month at Centrum, an artist retreat in Port Townsend, Washington, and also comes with a $500 stipend. Matson plans to use the time to work on her ongoing project Impossible Things: A Poetic Interrogation of Matter, which melds poetry, chemistry and physics to examine the nature of "human trauma, both personal and societal."

Julie Gautier-Downes, a photographer and installation artist who relocated to Spokane a year ago, plans to use the $1,500 GAP visual arts grant to create an installation that examines fractured connection with her childhood home, called "Dislocated Memories."

Ellen Welcker, a Spokane poet, received a $1,500 GAP literary grant for her project called "The Pink Tablet," a 29-page poem in the theme of a modern fairy tale.

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Clinton/Trump comedy throwdown, Urban Outfitters opens in Spokane and more morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 9:33 AM



• The new Washington State University med school in Spokane has received preliminary accreditation

• Rigged elections? Virtually nonexistent. Rigged elections and conspiracies on television and in movies? Everywhere, helping stoke the fury of unenlightened voters

• Former Sesame Street actor Bob McGrath dropped by Spokane Thursday and shared some words of wisdom. 


Maybe possibly happening?
Is the Ridpath finally, truly on the path to a brighter future? The Spokesman's Shawn Vestal thinks so. 

Attention Spokane shoppers
You've been waiting so patiently for this day to arrive — Urban Outfitters is now open downtown after a year of construction. And today there's a party to celebrate the reopening of Wall Street downtown as well. (KXLY/KREM)

Get your stoke on
A Seattle businessman has bought Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg, and says he plans to "up the stoke" at the ski resort and water park. Better wear water wings if the stoke gets too upped. 


March on Mosul continues
The anti-ISIS forces battling to retake Mosul in northern Iraq made more progress Thursday despite repeated suicide-bomber attacks. (Washington Post)

Wait and see
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump now says he'll accept the results on Election Day "if I win." That's not looking very likely as of today. (New York Times/

Trump and Clinton hone their standup
A day after facing off in their third and final debate, Trump and Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton sat (almost) next to each other at a fundraiser for underprivileged kids, and roasted each other in generally light-hearted speeches. They even shook hands at the end of the night. (CNN)

Here are some highlights from the Al Smith dinner: 

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

WSU med school news, flu season arrives and Sesame Street vet visits Young Child Expo

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 4:32 PM

Former Sesame Street actor Bob McGrath was in Spokane Thursday.
  • Former Sesame Street actor Bob McGrath was in Spokane Thursday.

Sing, Sing a Song

Longtime Sesame Street cast member Bob McGrath talked, sang and showed videos from his tenure on the revolutionary children’s show as he implored educators attending the second annual Young Child Expo in Spokane on Thursday not to neglect music in early childhood development. “The arts can help kids learn to realize they can be creative, flexible and imaginative. Kids can remember so much through music.”

And he even sang a few bars from Kermit the Frog’s biggest hit “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green.”

“With that one simple song, Kermit helped kids appreciate diversity in this wonderful country of ours,” says McGrath, who is no longer with Sesame Street. Forty years after the song was written, “It’s still one of the most poignant statements about racial differences and pride in who you are.”

Read more about the Young Child Expo here.
WSU's Spokane-based med school has been granted preliminary accreditation. - WSU PHOTO
  • WSU photo
  • WSU's Spokane-based med school has been granted preliminary accreditation.

WSU Medical School Making the Grade

Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine received notice that it has been granted preliminary accreditation, which means it can start recruiting students for the charter class of 2017. Even though students haven't even been accepted yet, the medical school is already creating ripples of economic growth in the region.

Flu’s Not Fun
No excuses. If you are at least 6 months old, you need a flu shot. Already this fall there has been a flu-related death in Spokane. Here’s where you can find a vaccine. It's quick and mostly painless.

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How movies and TV shows boost a conspiracy-minded "rigged!" mentality

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 1:42 PM

You say the election can't be rigged against Trump, but then how come the Springfield election was rigged against Sideshow Bob opponent Joe Quimby? Huh? Didn't think about that, didja? - THE SIMPSONS
  • The Simpsons
  • You say the election can't be rigged against Trump, but then how come the Springfield election was rigged against Sideshow Bob opponent Joe Quimby? Huh? Didn't think about that, didja?

The big headline made by the debate last night, beyond the claim that nobody respects nasty women more than Donald Trump, was that Trump would not promise to concede the election if — and let's be honest, probably when — he loses.

No spoilers, the TV showman promises. You'll have to wait for the series finale to see what zany stuff he'll do if he loses.

This, of course, comes after more of week of Trump claiming that the election was "rigged." And while surrogates have tried to explain that, now, now, he's just talking about media bias, Trump himself has come out to say, no, no, he's actually talking about rigging happening at the polling places.

It's turned into a blame game between liberal and conservative pundits, with many arguing that a presidential candidate making claims that the election would be rigged before the election is unprecedented, and many conservatives citing the Diebold voter machine conspiracies in 2004 and noting that Al Gore did not exactly concede immediately after the razor-tight 2000 election.

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New WSU medical school has received preliminary accreditation, kicking off the recruiting process

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 12:00 PM

WSU Spokane's health sciences building on the Riverpoint campus - WSU-SPOKANE
  • WSU-Spokane
  • WSU Spokane's health sciences building on the Riverpoint campus
When Kirk Schulz took over as Washington State University president earlier this year, he said one of the main things that attracted him to the job was the chance to open the second publicly funded medical school in Washington. 

He won't have to wait much longer. 

This week, the school passed a major milestone in its goal to enroll the first students into the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine by August 2017. WSU received preliminary accreditation from the accrediting agency in the U.S. and Canada: the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. 

That means WSU can begin recruiting students, though it can't accept them until early November, after WSU is voted into the Association of American Medical Colleges. 

"This is a significant moment in Washington State University's 126-year history," said Schulz in a statement. "It puts us one step closer to educating physicians who will practice in Washington's underserved communities and furthers the university's land-grant mission to serve the needs of the state." 

The University of Washington used to partner with WSU to offer medical education in Spokane, but that changed after WSU announced plans to launch its own medical school. The two schools butted heads over the plans to expand medical education in Spokane, with the UW concerned WSU's program would hurt their the UW's expansion plans for Spokane. The two sides later came to an agreement that WSU would freely pursue its own medical school.

Late WSU President Elson Floyd sold state legislators on his vision, convincing lawmakers to change a 100-year-old provision that allowed only University of Washington to operate a medical school in the state. Gov. Jay Inslee signed that bill into law a year and a half ago, and the legislature also gave WSU $2.5 million to begin the accreditation process. Floyd died in June 2015 after a battle with cancer. 

The UW, meanwhile, partnered with Gonzaga for its medical education program. This school year, as part of the partnership with the UW, Gonzaga welcomed 60 new medical students on its campus in September — the largest-ever class of medical students in Spokane. 

But with WSU receiving preliminary accreditation this week, the rift between the two medical school programs seems to be in the past. Schulz last week told the Inlander that he was supportive of the UW-Gonzaga partnership, saying both medical schools will be good for Spokane. And Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh issued a statement yesterday congratulating WSU for receiving accreditation. 

"This is a wonderful step toward continued growth of health science education and related research for the Inland Northwest, and a significant milestone for Spokane," McCulloh said. 

WSU expects 60 students in its inaugural class. Students will receive medical education across four of WSU's campuses: Everett, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver. The goal, according to the school, is to help fill health care gaps in rural and medically underserved areas of the state. 

John Tomkowiak, founding dean of the college of medicine, said students training in different settings across the state will increase the likelihood that they remain here to practice medicine. 

"We're absolutely ecstatic," Tomkowiak said. "My team has worked so hard to get us to this point. Now we can move ahead with our work to begin recruiting medical students and preparing doctors to meet the state's health care needs." 
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Trump's Aleppo ramble, WSU "Trump wall" and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 9:56 AM

If you're reading this, then you made it. Last night was the final presidential debate before the election. You should read our Election Issue (here's a taste), and then you should go vote November 8.

But in case you missed the final debate (and you missed a doozy) here is a sample. Donald Trump was asked to clear up his thoughts on Aleppo, the embattled Syrian city that has been a focal point in the conflict there. Trump incorrectly stated that Aleppo had fallen. Read what he said and tell us if you got anything out of it: (H/T Vox)
"Well, Aleppo is a disaster. It's a humanitarian nightmare. But it has fallen from any standpoint. I mean, what do you need, a signed document? Take a look at Aleppo. It is so sad when you see what's happened. And a lot of this is because of Hillary Clinton. Because what's happened is by fighting Assad, who turned out to be a lot tougher than she thought, and now she is going to say, 'Oh, he loves Assad.' He's just much tougher and much smarter than her and Obama. And everyone thought he was gone two years ago, three years ago. He aligned with Russia. He now also aligned with Iran, who we made very powerful. We gave them $150 billion back. We give them $1.7 billion in cash. I mean cash, bundles of cash as big as this stage. We gave them $1.7 billion. 

Now they have aligned, he has aligned with Russia and Iran. They don't want ISIS. But they have other things because we're backing, we're backing rebels. We don't know who the rebels are. We're giving them lots of money, lots of everything. We don't know who the rebels are. And when and if, and it's not going to happen because you have Russia and you have Iran now. But if they ever did overthrow Assad, you might end up as bad as Assad is, and he is a bad guy. 

But you may very well end up with worse than Assad. If she did nothing, we'd be in much better shape. And this is what has caused the great migration where she has taken in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who probably in many cases, not probably, who are definitely in many cases ISIS-aligned. And we now have them in our country and wait until you see this is going to be the great Trojan horse. 

And wait until you see what happens in the coming years. Lots of luck, Hillary. Thanks for doing a great job."
There are more than a few incorrect statements in there. Assad was aligned with Russia and Iran before the Syrian civil war broke out, for example, not as a result of it. And refugees as a "Trojan Horse," as Trump says, doesn't hold either. Actually your chances of being killed by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion. But the larger point is Trump's response to a major policy question is basically ignorant drivel.

And now your morning briefing:


• The Trump Wall at Washington State University. WSU students were there. This is what they saw.

•  Here's what Halloween costumes Washingtonians are Googling more than any other states. 


• Area law enforcement agencies have switched to a more detailed method of collecting crime stats. The changes will make it look like crime is rising and will make it difficult to make year-to-year comparisons. On the other hand, we'll get a more details, and hopefully more accurate peek into crime in Spokane. (Spokesman-Review

Wells Fargo is now under criminal investigation for identity theft after allegations surfaced that the bank opened millions of accounts and credit cards for customers without their knowledge. The United States' third largest bank just lost it's good standing with the Better Business Bureau, perhaps the biggest company to ever lose that accreditation. (Reuters, CNBC)

• Although largely out of the spotlight of national media, Native Americans are killed by police at a higher rate than any other group. A must read. (In These Times)
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