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Monday, December 19, 2016

Where to dine, how to help others if you're spending the holidays alone

Posted By and on Mon, Dec 19, 2016 at 3:40 PM


Some in the community may find themselves alone this holiday season, for a host of reasons: those who are homeless, orphaned, widowed, or financially unable to travel, those who don't want to spend the season with their family, or those who are voluntarily trying the holidays unaccompanied. Alone, you'll often find yourself dealing with the difficult task of figuring out what to do when everyone else, it may seem, has plans. The following suggestions offer some solutions to make the holidays a little brighter to those flying solo:

Places to eat a holiday meal
Scratch Restaurant, in downtown Spokane, is open on Christmas Eve from 4-7 pm. Reservations are highly suggested.

Clinkerdagger, a classic locale for special events, is open Christmas Eve from 11 am-2:30 pm and 4-9 pm, and on Christmas from 12-8 pm. Reservations fill up quickly during the holidays.

Safari Room Fresh Bar & Grill at the Davenport Tower is open every day 6 am to close, including Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Places to volunteer
Volunteers of America offers special volunteer opportunities for the holidays, including a two-hour shift wrapping donated gifts and the chance to contribute a dish to a holiday meal. More information and items to donate are available on their website.

Union Gospel Mission needs all the help they can get this winter and is asking for short-term volunteers to serve meals to the hungry. Contact Laurie at 532-3809 to find out how you can get involved.

The City Gate needs extra volunteers to serve meals on Christmas. Contact them to fill out an application.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ho, ho, holy cow, Santa visits Avista Stadium Tuesday and Thursday

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2016 at 10:03 AM


For some people, today marks just 11 more shopping days until Christmas.

For others, myself included, today marks 61 days until the opening of baseball's spring training. (Yes, I'm a total  baseball dork. Sue me).

The combination of those two factors makes Santa's visits this week to Avista Stadium, home to the Spokane Indians, all the more exciting.

From 4-6 pm both today and Thursday, Santa will drop by and hardball fans and their kids can get their picture taken with the fat jolly guy — he was probably a third baseman in his younger days — for free, as well as with OTTO the team mascot, Doris the Spokanasaurus and Recycleman.

There will be free hot chocolate and candy canes to enjoy while you wait, as well as 20 percent off everything in the team store and some deals on tickets for the 2017 season.
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Friday, December 9, 2016

CAT FRIDAY: Our exclusive guide to gifts for the cats and cat people you know

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 5:16 PM

It wouldn't be the holidays without Cat Friday's annual list of top gifts ideas for all of you out there looking to find something super original and cute for the feline fans on your list, and their respective companions. (Find past year's Cat Friday gift guides here: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.) Chances are, they already own a lot of cat stuff. You don't want to gift them an awkward duplicate item, or something that was viral, like, last year. Enter yours truly, the Inlander's resident cat lady here to help you out.

Cocoa and the rest of the Neko plush each come in different poses.
  • Cocoa and the rest of the Neko plush each come in different poses.
Neko Atsume keychain plushies
It's pretty much a given that any cat person you know has downloaded and collected every single regular and "special" neko in this addicting-ly cute Japanese mobile game. (Sadly, I lost my own Cat Book records when switching phones, and with only a few more specials to go!) Anyhow, imagine my surprise and delight to recently discover that the game has gained enough of a foothold in the states that one can now find all sorts of accessories and collectibles to add to your IRL neko collection. Obviously Amazon and Ebay are the easiest places to look, especially for Neko Atsume gear that's perhaps not sold yet by many U.S. retailers. I've yet to see the smiley neko's likenesses anywhere locally.) Prices on Amazon for the little keychain-sized plushies average around $15. Having already purchased one for someone on my shopping list, I can promise they are adorable in person, standing about 5 inches high, and featuring the utmost attention to detail.

Cat wine
Feel less guilty about your wine habits and drink with your cat.
  • Feel less guilty about your wine habits and drink with your cat.
Your cat people pals probably heard all about this weirdly real product — it really is (nonalcoholic) wine for cats — but most of them probably were hesitant to try it since their Picky McPickerson cat usually won't go for things that don't reek of meat or fish paté. That's why you should be the thoughtful, cool person who gets them and their cat a classy collection of vino to enjoy together during their next night in. Cat lovers can rest assured that this product is completely pet friendly (for dogs, too), made from beet juice and catnip (grapes are not good for cat or dogs, duh!). Order directly from the product maker's site, Apollo Peak, and don't forget a corresponding human-friendly bottle for Mr. Fluffypants' owner. Varietals including Pinot Meow, Catbernet, White Kittendel and Moscato range from $5-$13, depending on size.

Feline fashion is far from frumpy these days.
  • Feline fashion is far from frumpy these days.
Anything from the Modcloth "Cat Fashion" category
Every gal with a penchant for retro-influenced, classy clothing knows about Modcloth, and chances are, so do all my fellow cat ladies. The popular online fashion retailer is the place to go for the most stylish fashion pieces that pay homage to the loves of our lives: cats. With cat-themed designs on everything from leggings and tees to tights and shoes, you can probably even ask the cat lady you're shopping for to share her Modcloth favorites list — it probably includes everything with cats on it in the store's inventory. If you're a little less sure of what she already has hanging in her closet, a gift card may feel like a thoughtless gift (we promise it's not), but she'll be able to pick out something in the purr-fect size and style.

The Lion in the Living Room: How Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World
You'll obviously read this cuddled up with your own little lion.
  • You'll obviously read this cuddled up with your own little lion.
Most cat people have what seems like an infinite knowledge on their beloved species, but there's no doubt they'd love to learn more. This new book by Abigail Tucker offers a well-researched history into cats' fascinating domestication, and features insights from a range of experts; breeders, animal rights activists, scientists and more. While offering a wealth of information about humans' infatuation with cats, the book also objectively examines some of the more negative elements that cats' domestication has brought with it, like bird species' high mortality rates due to cats' predatory nature.

The Lion in the Living Room has so far received rave reviews, including this comment from the Seattle Times: "[Tucker] is an engaging writer and a sucker for the felines...her brief, lighthearted book takes us on a fascinating journey...Will this book change your opinion on cats? Probably not. Will you enjoy reading it? Absolutely, particularly with your own tiny lion close by."

Meow-y Catmas!
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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Some idiot took a Walmart truck on a high-speed chase and our local TV news knew how to handle it

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 3:47 PM


This morning, some dude who was apparently smart enough to work a big-rig transmission but dumb enough to think he could get away with stealing a Walmart semi-truck inside Spokane city limits went on rampage throughout the city, with police in his wake.

He then crashed the truck, full of the sort of goods you can get at rock-bottom prices at Walmart, but not before running over a car, hitting a home and putting a whole lot of lives in danger. Then, he ran from the police, leading to a school lockdown throughout a large portion of the city.

It was a mess. And thankfully the dipshit was apprehended and no one was hurt. But there was some good that came out of this mess, and that is this video produced by KHQ, Spokane's NBC affiliate.
You know something's up when the foreboding bass leads us into a shot of a seemingly uneventful intersection. But then — holy shit — there's the Walmart semi truck in question, caught in a freeze frame as it takes a too-wide turn at an intersection and whips around in the lane as the guitar of Satan himself jackhammers up through the pavement on its way up from hell and the drums of Thor tell us that — in case you haven't noticed — this is nefarious business.

If you're not slam-dancing too hard at this point, you can see the Blues Brothers level of police cruisers in pursuit. It gets a little hard to see the truck, but he's out there. Yeah, he's out there, all right, driving like a madman and probably playing this very soundtrack in the cab of that illicitly acquired merchandise delivery vehicle.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What We've Been... watching

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 3:43 PM

A while back, we Inlander staffers started a blog series called "What We've Been..." in which we thoughtfully suggested and raved about our current obsessions, whether that be a great new book, album or beer we couldn't stop thinking about. For this newly revived series, we'll do our darnedest to introduce readers to a wide range of modern culture elements that you may or may not have heard about. Consider it our random review of all things cool, and a complementary feature to our weekly "For Your Consideration" series in the Arts and Culture section.

Find past installments of "What We've Been..." here.

To my own satisfaction, we do eventually learn why Greg is wearing a teapot on his head.
  • To my own satisfaction, we do eventually learn why Greg is wearing a teapot on his head.
This gif recently spotted on a friend's Facebook page first sent me on the quest to discover Over the Garden Wall, a charming storybook-style miniseries from Cartoon Network, released back in fall 2014. With just 10 11-minute episodes, in one sitting you can enjoy this very worthwhile dark fantasy about two brothers — Wirt (voiced by Elijah Wood) and Greg — lost in a fairytale-esque land and trying to find their way home. With their silly costumes and quirky personalities, the brothers encounter a host of unusual characters along the way, including the talking bird Beatrice and a foreboding Woodsman (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) who warns them of the ominous "beast." (Note: While OTGW is indeed kid-friendly, there are some terrifying creatures that are likely to scare the littlest fans.)

Over the Garden Wall creator Patrick McHale (a former writer/director for Adventure Time) was directly influenced by Americana art, folklore and 19th century children's storybooks when creating the show's beautiful, enchanting art style. Viewers with a careful eye will notice many direct and loose references to traditional fairytales in the scenes and story; some may also sense hints of the delightful and emotional reveal in the final episode. If you missed this lovely series during its original or subsequent airings, find all 10 episodes on Hulu.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

On December 9, give back to the community with $10 Schweitzer tickets

Posted By on Tue, Dec 6, 2016 at 10:34 AM

Schweitzer's 2015 Community Day
  • Schweitzer's 2015 Community Day

This Friday, hit the slopes on Schweitzer for only $10 for an all-day pass. No, it's not a scam, it's Schweitzer's annual "Community Day," where the resort gives back to the community by offering tickets for a lower price, and then donating all profits from the day to local charities.

Schweitzer donates 100 percent of the revenue to local non-profits Bonner Partners in Care Clinic (BPICC) and Community Cancer Services (CCS). BPICC has served the uninsured population in Bonner County since 2003, providing basic health care, prescription services, and more; CCS provides information and emotional and financial support to members of the Sandpoint community affected by cancer. Schweitzer has been able to donate over $149,717 to these non-profits; a lot of money knowing many people struggle with health care in the area.

Community Day is meant to be cheap, with low ticket prices drawing in more skiers and snowboarders (including those who may not usually be able to afford the prices.) For $10 you can spend a day enjoying yourself, knowing you gave back to the community— and even if you don't ski, you can purchase a ticket online and choose the organization you'd like to donate to. Tickets will also be on sale directly from the organizations' outlets and across Schweitzer on Dec. 9, with all proceeds made on the mountain being split evenly between the two organizations. On-mountain ticket sales begin at 8:30am and lifts are open 9 am  to 3:30 pm.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Let it snow: Where you can ski this weekend

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 1:54 PM

Schweitzer Mountain Resort opens for the season on Friday.
  • Schweitzer Mountain Resort opens for the season on Friday.

Patience is not exactly a virtue of the snow-loving skiers and snowboarders I know —understandable given that the elements conspire to put their favorite hobby on hold for at least a few months every year, barring some serious travel.

With the temps down and some snow in the air, we're finally getting some openings at area ski resorts.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort announced today that the Sandpoint ski spot will open for the season this Friday, with Musical Chairs and Basin Quad Express both running and adult tickets going for $45. On Saturday, the resort will add the Lakeview Triple run to the mix, and adult tix rise to $55 for a full day.

To check out some of the more far-flung resorts in the region, you'll want to peruse our massive resort guide.

Here's the lowdown on the resorts close to home:

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Inlander presents the inaugural Pop-Up Martini Party

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2016 at 1:26 PM


The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is widely believed to be the busiest bar night of the year in America. With friends and family in from out of town, the kitchen most likely occupied, and a stressful holiday approaching, it's a great time to catch up with a cocktail in your hand.

Have no fear— the Inlander is here to help.

From 4 to 7 pm tonight at The Reserve in downtown Spokane, there will be $3 martinis and $5 drink specials, sure to get you cheaply and sufficiently relaxed to deal with the hubbub of tomorrow's family festivities.

This is the first of our new Pop-Up happy hour series and this time around, we'll have giveaways including Coeur d'Alene Holiday Cruise tickets, Inlander swag, a River City Brewing growler, Tom Sawyer coffee and more.

DJ Jazzy will be spinning some tunes for your sipping pleasure.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tips to survive Thanksgiving with your politically-opposed relatives

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 4:26 PM

For reasons we're all keenly aware, this year's Thanksgiving holiday might test our limits of patience and understanding a little more than usual.

To get through the meal, or your relatives' stay, as peacefully as possible, putting a ban on any and all political talk might be the only option for some families. Others, meanwhile, might be choosing not to sit down for dinner with their politically-opposed family members (including one Spokane woman recently interviewed by the New York Times). And then there are families who might openly welcome a discussion of America's volatile political beliefs in an attempt to understand just why Uncle Billy or cousin Sally voted for their candidate of choice.

We've been seeing lots of helpful advice on this matter in the past couple days; so let's review.

The nonprofit anti-hate group Showing Up for Racial Justice has outlined some tips for bringing up the election and the subsequent concerns many of us feel with a nagging sense of urgency. A new splash page replacing the organization's home page explicitly encourages white Americans to prompt tough conversations with other white people about racial justice. There is a printable discussion guide, and even a holiday hotline (text line, rather, but if you're really stuck, a representative can be available for a coaching call) that offers helpful talking points to get conversation back on track and productive.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Ice Storm '96 was 20 years ago this week

Posted By on Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 4:45 PM

A tree splintered by Ice Storm's wrath, in Spokane's Corbin Park. - DAN HAGERMAN
  • Dan Hagerman
  • A tree splintered by Ice Storm's wrath, in Spokane's Corbin Park.

While many of us last week looked back to events that happened a year ago — the massive windstorm that left so many without power (and heat) for days — another major weather milestone that happened around this time is also remembered: Ice Storm 1996.

Let's recap the details surrounding Ice Storm:
  • Ice Storm began on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 1996
  • Before that, between 2-4 inches of snow had accumulated in the area
  • Things went from fine to worse when 1.5 inches of freezing rain fell on top of the snow, coating everything in sheets of ice
  • Trees could not withstand the weight and crashed down on power lines and buildings (this site has dozens of photos showing the storm's aftermath)
  • Then-mayor of Spokane Jack Geraghty declared a state of emergency, which lasted until Dec. 1, 1996
  • More than half of the city's residents lost power; three days after the storm 100,000 people in the region were still without power
  • It took up to two weeks for some outlying areas to reconnect to the power grid
  • The damage from Ice Storm caused the worst power outage in 108 years (in other words, since electricity had existed out West). According to Avista, the only event on record to cause more power outages than Ice Storm was last November's unprecedented windstorm.
  • Four people lost their lives in events relating to the storm
  • Total damages were estimated at more than $22 million
  • Ice Storm remains one of the region's most severe weather events on record
Several of us on the Inlander staff, have lasting memories of Ice Storm, which we share below. Leave your own Ice Storm memories in the comments!

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