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Monday, August 3, 2015

VIDEO: Keith Urban played a Spokane backyard party over the weekend, for a good cause

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 3:20 PM

Keith Urban evokes his inner Steve Miller at a backyard benefit concert in Spokane. - JER MCGREGOR
  • Jer McGregor
  • Keith Urban evokes his inner Steve Miller at a backyard benefit concert in Spokane.

Spokane had one of the biggest stars of the music world drop by over the weekend, but it wasn't for a show at the arena or the Festival at Sandpoint. 

Rather, Keith Urban — country superstar, American Idol judge and husband of Nicole Kidman — stopped by the Lilac City for a concert in the backyard of Fritz H. Wolff, local businessman and philanthropist. The mini-concert raised more than $500,000 for the Community Cancer Fund, which is dedicated to battling cancer in the Inland Northwest.  

We have a little video of Urban performing a little Steve Miller tune. Enjoy: 

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VIDEO: Scenes from Spokane's KuroNekoCon 2015

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 10:04 AM


The KuroNekoCon took over a large part of the Spokane Convention Center over the weekend to host fans of Japanese anime in a family-friendly environment. Among the programming were costume contests, speed-dating rounds, dance lessons, foam-sword battles and all manner of arts and crafts opportunities for cosplayers to learn some new tricks. 

Inlander intern Erin Robinson checked out the scene, and came back with this video: 

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Driving Mr. Jackson: Behind the scenes look at chauffeuring Samuel L. Jackson in Spokane

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 10:36 AM

Officer Gordon Grant in "baby blue," his unmarked patrol car. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Officer Gordon Grant in "baby blue," his unmarked patrol car.

Gordon Grant, the almost-30-year Spokane police officer, is somewhat of a local celebrity. Grant grew up in Spokane (he went to Ferris High School), and despite his youthful ambitions to find a law enforcement job elsewhere, he landed back in Spokane after a year playing football in Canada. Ask a long-time Spokanite about Officer Grant, and they might tell you about having him as a D.A.R.E officer or talking with him at Cops 'n Kids, the community event he's organized for the past 22 years. But one story you might not know about Grant starts with the desktop image on his computer.

It's of Grant with his arm around Samuel L Jackson. 

"Just chillin' with my homeboy," Grant says, showing off the picture one June morning. 

When Jackson was in Spokane filming 2006 flick Home of the Brave, he needed someone to drive him and his crew around town. He specifically asked for someone who was intimately familiar with the city. He wanted someone who knew where to go and, more importantly, where not to go. 

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Friday, July 17, 2015

CAT FRIDAY: Play with cats online at the Spokane Humane Society

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 3:40 PM

Users can control the Petcube laser pointer to interact with shelter cats like these little tabbies. - PETCUBE
  • Petcube
  • Users can control the Petcube laser pointer to interact with shelter cats like these little tabbies.

I've always dreamed of having a way to see what my cat, Alice, is up to during the day while at work, or during the rare times I'm out of town.

Sure, you could set up a webcam or use a home security system to check on furry loved ones holding down the fort, but a new product recently hit the market that's made for this specific purpose.

Petcube is a gadget that lets you see and interact with your pets from an iOS or Android smartphone. The device was in part made possible thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, and it's recently rolled out for purchase by non-backers of the campaign, which raised more than $250,000 back in fall 2013. It retails for $199 and can be purchased online from the company's site, and through Amazon, BestBuy and a few other retailers.

To promote the product and the noble cause of adopting a pet from a shelter, Petcubes have been distributed to several shelters and rescues across the U.S., including our own Spokane Humane Society. The cube there went online early this week, and lets users who download the Petcube app (find the Android version here; and the iOS version here) watch and interact with cats in the communal cat adoption room "Catlantis" at the shelter, says SHS outreach and volunteer coordinator Jenna Carroll. 

While the Petcube is programmed to allow users to talk to their feline and canine friends through a microphone, and to control a laser pointer for playtime, the SHS cube doesn't let you talk to its cats (because, well: trolls. It would be weird for visitors and staff, too.), however you can play with them. The 4-inch cube sits up on a shelf high above the room offering a wide-angled view of the space. 

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

VIDEO: Battle of the Cheap Eats Inlander food experts

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 4:05 PM


One sunny afternoon, two interns went to three Spokane eateries in search of items to stump the best Inlander foodies. They brought back three deliciously cheap meals to the second floor of the Inlander building in Kendall Yards, and challenged Mike Bookey and Laura Regester's knowledge of this local fare.

They sat them down in a meeting room, blindfolded them, and pressed record. Who will be the best at determining the restaurant of origin and price of these foods? Will they miss their mouths when they eat? Is that chicken or beef? Watch and find out, and check out links to all the Cheap Eats 2015 stories below: 

THIS YEAR'S CHEAP EATS ISSUE INCLUDES:

New and Cheap, a roundup of great, new cheap grub options in Spokane. 
Rolling Goodies, a look at the latest food truck sweet deals
Burger Brawl, in which Inlander staffers eat every burger from Zip's at once. Every. Burger. 
Just Desserts helps you find sweet treats on the cheap. 
The Nicest Price is free, and here's where you can find free food. 
Hot and Cold, where to find great deli deals. 
Keeping It Classic. Or Not, a showdown between old-school favorites and cheap rising stars on the scene. 
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Even Trump gaffes can't discourage Spokane native competing for Miss USA 2015

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 11:06 AM

2015 Miss Washington USA, Kenzi Novell - MISSWASHINGTONUSA.COM
  • Misswashingtonusa.com
  • 2015 Miss Washington USA, Kenzi Novell

There's been quite a few headlines regarding the Miss USA pageant lately. With Donald Trump in the spotlight for his racist remarks and the announcement of NBC's decision to not air the show, the actual contestants have been overshadowed by controversy.  

Normally, we wouldn't care, but in this year's pageant, Washington State is represented by Spokane native and Gonzaga University graduate Kenzi Novell. This year's Miss Washington was born and raised in Spokane, and has spent the majority of her life living here. She attended Lewis and Clark High School and then went on to Gonzaga, where she majored in public relations. This hometown gal completed her first year of college at the University of Washington, but said she was drawn back to GU because of the small class sizes and the community feel. "You're not just a number there" Novell said of Gonzaga.  

During her time in college, the 24-year-old Novell was part of the Gonzaga Bomb Squad, a hip-hop dance team that performs regularly at men's and women's basketball games, as well as events like new student orientation and flash mobs at Riverfront Park. Novell claims that she is country girl at heart, but wanted to try something new, so she tried out for the hip-hop group over the traditional dance team. 

It is actually through dancing that Kenzi got involved in pageants in the first place. When she was younger, her dance teacher taught choreography for a pageant that needed participants. When she got word of the event, Novell says her competitiveness got the best of her and she had to try out. Now, 17 pageants later, she's heading to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to compete for the national title of Miss USA. 

On TV its seems like everything is so fluid. We see all of the beautiful pageants queens under the lights and in front of the cameras, but is there ever anything that goes wrong behind the scenes? Novell said she's had a few mishaps — the main one being a white, see-through swimsuit that she didn't realize was translucent until the day she was supposed to wear it. After running to the store and sewing in an extra layer, Novell said she fixed everything and was able to continue on like nothing was wrong. 

Novell says she is looking forward to this pageant, even amidst the drama from Miss USA owner Donald Trump. After hearing the news that NBC and Univision would not air the show, Novell said, "It was a surprise and it was kind of unfortunate. But we [Miss USA participants] all rallied together and will make the most of it." She says she is very thankful for Reelz, the independent TV network, for picking up the show so that her family here in Washington that can't make it to Baton Rouge can still watch the show. 

Once all is done and the pageant has wrapped up, Novell says she can't wait to return to Spokane. Asked the first thing she will do once she gets back, she immediately said she will stop by Jacob's Java on the South Hill for one of their specialty cheese bagels. 

The Miss USA pageant will air on Reelz on July 12 at 5 pm Pacific time. Here's a look at Novell's official contestant video: 

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Monday, June 29, 2015

VIDEO: Hoopfest 2015 — Images from an Inlander intern, and player

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 2:35 PM


When I looked up the weather and saw that the temperatures for both Saturday and Sunday of Hoopfest were going to be in the 100s, I immediately thought about forfeiting my games and spending the weekend at a lake instead of in downtown Spokane. Sadly, this couldn't be the case because my teammates didn't like the idea of wasting the entry fee money.

So, on Saturday morning I loaded up a cooler full of water and Gatorade and made my way to the patch of smoldering asphalt known as my court — as did all of the other people attending Hoopfest.

Despite the heat, Hoopfest ended up having a great turnout. Even ESPN got in on the action and broadcasted live right from downtown. I couldn't let ESPN or our local TV stations do all of the video reporting that weekend, so I grabbed my portable camera and in between games took shots of what was going on around me. If you missed Hoopfest or want to relive the memories, watch this quick video and see glimpses of the action that happened at this year's 3-on-3 tournament.

(And in case you were wondering, my team was not able to go home with a "Champion" t-shirt. Or any t-shirt besides the one you earn for participating.) 

Take a look: 

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Where to buy and shoot off fireworks

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 10:04 AM


Although it's illegal to buy, sell and shoot fireworks in most of Spokane County (including within city limits), there are some places where it's allowed. With the Fourth of July around the corner, here's a handy guide for where and when you can buy 'em and where you can shoot 'em, along with some safety tips and injury statistics from 2014. 
 
According to state law, fireworks can be sold starting June 28 (this Sunday) from noon to 11 pm. From the 29th through the Fourth of July, you can buy them from 9 am to 9 pm, but some cities have passed ordinances and set stricter rules. The complete list of Washington cities that allow the sale and discharge of fireworks can be found here. See below for those nearby: 

Deer Park has the least restrictive sales and discharge rules in Spokane County: starting June 28, you can buy fireworks from noon to 10 pm. Then from the 29th until July 3 you can buy them from 9 am to 10 pm, but you can shoot them off within Deer Park city limits until July 1. You have until the July 4 to empty your stash, otherwise you have to wait till next year. 

Airway Heights and Medical Lake are the only other two cities within Spokane County that allow firework sale and discharge. Both cities only allow them to be shot off on the Fourth — Airway Heights from 9 am to midnight, Medical Lake from 9 am to 11 pm. 

Neighboring Stevens and Ferry Counties just north of Spokane allow sale and discharge according to state law, save a few cities. Same goes for Lincoln County, west of Spokane.

Last year the State Fire Marshal's Office documented 432 firework-related injuries and fires. Most of them occurred on the Fourth of July. Property damage totaled $320,240 in 2014 alone, about half of which was to residential property.

"With summer weather conditions continuing to be warm and dry this summer, vegetation is extremely susceptible to fire," says Deputy State Fire Marshal Lysandra Davis. "A small fire can easily get out of control in these conditions." 

A few tips from the State Fire Marshal's Office:
  • Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby. 

  • Don't get drunk or high and shoot off fireworks. 

  • Always set fireworks off outdoors on a driveway or sidewalk. 

  • Don't shoot fireworks at other people. 

  • Don't try to re-light a dud.

  • Don't try to make your own. 
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Friday, June 19, 2015

You've seen our marijuana survey, now tell us your story from Year 1 of legalization

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 3:55 PM


Many thanks to those of you who took the time to fill out our totally unscientific survey about Washington's first year with legal, recreational marijuana stores. If you haven't done it yet, please do! You can find our marijuana survey right here, and it's just 15 questions long, so it won't take long at all. And it's totally anonymous. 

In addition to the survey, we'd like to hear your stories, in your words, about the first year of legal recreational marijuana in Washington — the good, the bad, the ugly, and the hilarious. 

Did you learn anything new? Did you find out edibles are NOT your thing? Did you find a pot brownie perfect for getting through Thanksgiving dinner with the family — or for sharing with grandma? Did you meet someone famous on a munchie run? 
harold_kumar.jpg

Go right here and tell us your story
for potential use in an upcoming issue of the Inlander

Any stories we use will be anonymous, but as you'll see, we need your name and email to confirm. Again, go right here and write us a tale of your experiences with legal pot the past year. 


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As Spokane city pools open Monday, SRHD launches Pool Safe campaign

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 2:45 PM

Witter Aquatics Center
  • Witter Aquatics Center

The first official day of summer is this Sunday, and that also means the official opening of Spokane pools isn’t far behind — in fact, it’s just a day later. All City of Spokane pools open on Monday, June 22, and it’s about time! Since the weather forecast isn't looking to cool off any time soon, get ready to suit up and pack your floaties. But before heading out to one of the six Spokane city pools, don't overlook safety.

As summer begins the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) is launching a Pool Safe campaign, reminding everyone of the risks at pools. Safety both at home and at public pools is critical, even more so with the littlest water splashers. In the United States, drowning is a leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 4. But don’t overlook someone older. For people of all ages, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death. While these numbers sound scary, drowning is entirely preventable, and awareness is the first step to prevention.

The Pool Safe campaign asks swimmers and parents to realize that lifeguards can’t realistically always watch every child — responsible supervision from an adult or guardian is key. Bring lifejackets for kids who aren’t great swimmers and teach them to stay away from the pool’s suction drain. Campaign material from SRHD illustrates other important tips for swimming at home and at a public pool. 

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