It's still the beginning of the annual period from spring through late summer that animal welfare workers refer to as "kitten season" — the time of year when the most un-spayed female cats become pregnant and give birth. Even though it's early, the Spokane Humane Society has already taken in around 150 kittens born this spring, and that number will exponentially increase in the coming months.
To spread the word that these kittens rely heavily on the community's support during their early stage of life, SHS is hosting its first ever Kitten Shower this Friday evening. The event is just what the name implies — a baby shower, but for homeless kittens. The concept has proven to be a successful way for animal sheltering organizations across the United States to collect much-needed supplies and to teach the community about the intensive process of caring for kittens until they're old enough to be adopted (usually around two months).
The drop-in event this Friday, April 17, is happening from 6-8 pm at the Northeast Community Center (4001 N. Cook, in the Hillyard neighborhood). Those interested in learning more about fostering kittens for the Humane Society are invited to attend, as well as anyone who wants to support the shelter's efforts to raise kittens — many without mothers — from their earliest days. The shelter is collecting donated supplies that are in demand this time of year (see a list of requested items below).
April Fools' Day is an unrelenting online troll fest these days. Since cats rule all corners of the web, it's appropriate that some of the best viral pranks this year featured cats front and center. Some of the feline-centric jokes this year were so damn good, it's depressing to cat lovers that they're not real, especially in a world where cat cafes are a thing, and anyone's cat can give Grumpy a run for her money.
Just pushing the envelope of "it could be real" was a totally genius prank pulled by the Colorado Springs Independent alt-weekly, which actually went as far to put its joke on the cover of its April 1 issue. You can see why some readers took it seriously. The Independent used the opportunity to make light of an issue facing city developers improving a park site, which has been found to be contaminated with asbestos.
Perhaps the most viral joke this week was the clever ploy pulled off by Groupon: Grouber, an Uber-like ride service that replaced humans with feline drivers and was pitched as a service for Groupon users heading out to redeem an offer. With catchy copy like this, who could resist?
Our drivers are spayed, neutered and have no reason to curl up in your lap and make it awkward. Trust us, these cats are cool. And every Grouber experience should be a paws-itive one.
Grouber cars are purportedly directed by a red laser beam projected from the front of the car that plots the trip's route, since you know — cats + laser pointers.
As much as both cat lovers and the indifferent laughed and admired the legitimate attempt of these two well-pulled pranks, this next one has no reason to not be real someday.
The supposed launch of a cat-proof sofa from Ikea is also something that should and could be real, but sadly isn't, yet.
Microsoft got into the game, too, with Office for Cats, a suite of products called PowerPounce, OneNap and Meow.
Cats are (for good reason) not being trained to become seeing-eye-pets to guide blind people.
Music streaming service Rdio is also not partnering with famous cats to release a new cat-centric music service, Rdio-Meowz.
Ever want to be on TV? Start practicing your best zombie moans and hobbling walks tonight, because locals are being cast as undead extras for the second season of Syfy's Z Nation series being filmed in and around Spokane.
The last local audition session for the show is being held tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, from 9 am-4 pm in Spokane Valley, at Redeemer Lutheran Church. Interested actors must be at least 18 years old and live in Washington state. There's a $5 fee if you're not with a talent agent or don't have a Casting Networks Account.
Pre-registration for tomorrow's auditions is open online until 6 pm tonight, but those who miss this deadline can still show up — just be prepared to wait.
While the next season of the Walking Dead lookalike is set to resume filming in Spokane later this year, the future of the Z Nation's impact on regional film industry professionals and actors in the coming years is a less clear. Right now, a bill in the state legislature (SB 6027) is seeking to boost Washington's film incentive program, which industry advocates argue is necessary for projects like Z Nation and others to continue being made in the Evergreen State.
Washington's film incentive program essentially offers cash rebates for qualifying productions made within state borders. Funded by a portion of the state's business and occupation tax liabilities (corporations/individuals can choose to contribute to this fund, getting a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, up to $1 million), qualifying productions can apply to get 30 percent of what they spent here back from the state.
That fund, however, is currently capped at $3.5 million, making Washington's the fifth smallest incentive program in the nation — well behind many other states with enormous incentive pools for filmmakers. It's why so many movies are made in Vancouver, British Columbia (which has no cap on its incentives), and other states like Alabama, Louisiana and New Mexico. As of now, Washington Filmworks, which oversees the program, has already received more requests than it can award to qualifying projects seeking to get some money back in return for the economic impact of locating work in-state.
The bill being considered (no vote on it has been set yet; the current session ends on April 26) would gradually boost Washington's program to an annual cap of $10 million by the year 2019. This increase would result in a $3.5 million loss in state revenue during the current budget biennium and a $17 million loss during the 2017-19 biennium. These numbers are the biggest factors working against the request for an increased program cap, as state lawmakers work to balance the state budget while maintaining basic programs.
Film industry supporters from around the state testified on Wednesday during a Senate Ways & Means hearing (captured in the video below), including several Spokane residents whose livelihoods rely on their home state remaining competitive with its neighbors, like Oregon. Our southern neighbor caps its program at $10 million a year, allowing it to sustain several ongoing projects for films and television series.
Select a movie on each slide that was filmed in or around the Spokane area.
Ham on Regal was born in the fall of 1963, with the opening of Joel E. Ferris High School. Two parent-teacher groups combined to put together a show that would raise funds to support school activities. The success of the show truly bonded the two groups and laid the foundation for the tremendously strong parent-school community we now enjoy at Ferris.And here's a promo for this weekend's show.
The Ham on Regal Players acquired its name from the title of the 1969 production. While searching for a name for the show, the chairman suggested “Ham on Regal” because the school faces Regal Street. Since then, the troupe has been known as the Ham on Regal Players or "Hams" for short. The five decade long venture stems from the work of thousands of parents and teachers over the past 52+ years.
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