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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Marathon swimmer attempts 34-mile swim of Lake Pend Oreille today

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 8:19 AM


While the rest of us sit inside at our air-conditioned desks or do whatever else we can to stay cool today, it's fair to say Elaine K. Howley has the most strenuous plan to beat the heat. The 45-year-old open-water swimmer is attempting a solo, non-stop swim of the length of Idaho's largest lake, Lake Pend Oreille — a total of 34 miles from the southern tip at Buttonhook Bay up to Sandpoint's City Beach in the northwest. 
Ultra-marathon swimmer Elaine K. Howley.
  • Ultra-marathon swimmer Elaine K. Howley.

If Howley is successful, she'll be the first person to do so. It's expected to take the Boston-based ultra-marathon swimmer between 17 and 20 hours to complete her journey if conditions are fair, but could take as many as 24 hours if the water is choppy. Follow Howley's progress throughout the day via the Sandpoint Online Facebook page, which is posting frequent photo and video updates of her swim. 

Howley's impressive resume includes the "Triple Crown" of ultra-marathon, open-water swims — solo crossings of the Catalina Island channel (20.4 miles), the English Channel (21 miles), and a circumnavigation of Manhattan Island (28.5 miles). Adding to her swimming skill set is certification as an ice swimmer. She completed a 1-mile swim in Boston Harbor's 41-degree water in December 2012 without a wet suit.

As she swims today, Howley is supported by an experienced boat and kayak crew, though rules of the Marathon Swimmers Federation (which she co-authored) state that a swimmer may not touch the boat or any crew members, and may not wear a wetsuit. The latter shouldn't be an issue as Lake Pend Oreille averages a surface temp of 65-70 degrees this time of year.

The marathon swim is in part helping to promote the upcoming Long Bridge Swim, a 19-year Sandpoint summer tradition that helps raise funds for swimming lessons and aquatic safety. Participants in the annual event, this year on Sat, Aug. 2, swim the length of the bridge over a 1.76-mile stretch of the lake near Sandpoint. Long Bridge Swim founder Eric Ridgway challenged Howley to swim Lake Pend Oreille to help promote aquatic recreation in the Sandpoint area and the Long Bridge event

“We have such an incredibly beautiful lake here that I am sure that we are going to have many more open water swimmers coming in the years ahead to take on the challenges of this fresh water playground,” Ridgway told Sandpoint Online.

KEOKEE PUBLISHING
  • Keokee Publishing

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Monday, July 28, 2014

PHOTOS: The First Pacific Northwest HOG Rally

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Lone Wolf Harley Davidson hosted the first Pacific Northwest HOG Rally this weekend at its 11-acre complex. The rally was host to over 1,600 registered bikers, along with locals and 121 volunteers. Bands, food, beer and local vendors in the biking community were also part of the event. 

Over 1,600 riders registered their bikes at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson for the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Over 1,600 riders registered their bikes at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson for the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally.

Suzzi, a stuffed monkey, belonging to Fred Taylor, always sits on the back of his motorcycle. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Suzzi, a stuffed monkey, belonging to Fred Taylor, always sits on the back of his motorcycle.

Becky Rohwer, left, ride leader, demonstrates to the bikers the hand signals that everyone will use. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Becky Rohwer, left, ride leader, demonstrates to the bikers the hand signals that everyone will use.

Over 1,000 motorcycles sit on the grass at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson while their owners enjoy the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Over 1,000 motorcycles sit on the grass at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson while their owners enjoy the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally.

A rider fixes his jacket before he approaches the start of the "slow race," a race where riders drive as slowly as possible on a set course. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • A rider fixes his jacket before he approaches the start of the "slow race," a race where riders drive as slowly as possible on a set course.

About 170 riders took part in the final ride of the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • About 170 riders took part in the final ride of the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson.

A band preforms for the crowd at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson for the Pacific Northwest Hog Rally. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • A band preforms for the crowd at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson for the Pacific Northwest Hog Rally.

Lone Wolf Harley Davidson played host to the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally and over 1,600 registered riders. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Lone Wolf Harley Davidson played host to the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally and over 1,600 registered riders.

Carolyn Fritz, of Phoenix, has her boot polished by Angie Spencer of Black Sheep, Harley Davidsons For Christ, at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Carolyn Fritz, of Phoenix, has her boot polished by Angie Spencer of Black Sheep, Harley Davidsons For Christ, at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson.

Volunteer Jake Varela flips burgers at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson for the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Volunteer Jake Varela flips burgers at Lone Wolf Harley Davidson for the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Inlander and Time magazine: Our homage

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM

We wanted to acknowledge, for those not paying close attention, that this week's Al French cover is an homage to Time magazine. We saw their cover design on May 19 for another strong character, and we simply couldn't resist making a version of our own. (No, we don't think Putin and French have much in common, besides being ambitious and powerful in their own way.) Kudos to the Inlander's art director, Chris Bovey.  
time_inlander2.jpg

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

PHOTOS: Cowboys, calves and wild horses at the Cheney Rodeo

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Hundreds of people gathered under the hot Cheney sun to watch the Cheney Rodeo on Sunday, July 13. Fans cheered and yelled as brave cowboys rode wild horses, roped calves and took down bulls.

Barely holding on at the Cheney Rodeo. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Barely holding on at the Cheney Rodeo.

A cowboy chases a calf, in which he will rope and tie up in the fastest time. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • A cowboy chases a calf, in which he will rope and tie up in the fastest time.

10-year-old May Withrow, center, watches the Cheney Rodeo with her father, Al. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • 10-year-old May Withrow, center, watches the Cheney Rodeo with her father, Al.

A cowboy jumps off his horse and takes down this bull by the horns. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • A cowboy jumps off his horse and takes down this bull by the horns.

Flying high. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Flying high.

The Armed Forces display the flags. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • The Armed Forces display the flags.

Katherine Merck, Miss Spokane Interstate Rodeo - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Katherine Merck, Miss Spokane Interstate Rodeo

The Cheney Rodeo Flag Team rides into the BiMart Arena with the flags of the companies who have sponsored the Rodeo. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • The Cheney Rodeo Flag Team rides into the BiMart Arena with the flags of the companies who have sponsored the Rodeo.

... Just a little bit longer... - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • ... Just a little bit longer...

Family time with the Gerards. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Family time with the Gerards.

Two herders ride to help a cowboy off of his horse. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Two herders ride to help a cowboy off of his horse.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

CAT FRIDAY: Too many cats

Posted By on Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 4:42 PM


Today's post isn't going to be the most uplifting, but this information needs to be shared.

There are too many cats in Spokane.

During the first week of the month, between July 1-6, the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services (SCRAPS) took in a total of 234 animals — 145 cats and 89 dogs. Many of the dogs were brought in following the Fourth of July fireworks, and a large percentage have since been reclaimed because their owners had the foresight to microchip or ID tag their pets. Yet, during the same 6-day period last year, SCRAPS took in roughly half as many animals — 43 dogs and 59 cats. 

The cats, unfortunately, haven't been as lucky as their canine cohorts. SCRAPS moved into its brand new, centrally-located facility (6815 E. Trent Ave.) about a month ago — a facility that includes 100 cat kennels; twice as many as its former building — but with all these new feline residents, the shelter's cat room is full. A video by KHQ news shows just what that's like, as cats beginning crying out for attention as soon as the photographer and SCRAPS director Nancy Hill walk into the room. 
Molly (4220) is a sweet, friendly adult calico currently waiting for a home at SCRAPS. - COURTESY OF SCRAPS
  • Courtesy of SCRAPS
  • Molly (4220) is a sweet, friendly adult calico currently waiting for a home at SCRAPS.

In the video, Hill credits the recent influx to one thing: owners are not spaying and neutering their cats. Though it is indeed kitten season, and all the kittens ending up in shelters are irresistibly cute, adorable and playful, they're going to grow up and many of them, sadly, will end up back in a shelter.

There is a little bit of silver lining in this unfortunate situation. Earlier today SCRAPS shared on its Facebook page that 58 total dogs and cats have been adopted since the shelter announced an ongoing adoption special to help find homes for its wave of new residents. From now until Sun, July 13, all animals — dogs, cats, puppies and kittens — have their adoption fees waived. Adoptees just pay the $15 cat or $25 dog licensing fee for their new pet. You really can't find a better deal. All pets come spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. The regular adoption fee for cats under 6 months is $62.70; cats older than that are $40 and all dogs are $87.04. SCRAPS is open tonight until 5:30 pm, tomorrow from 10 am-5:30 pm and Sunday from 10 am-5 pm.

This post might have raised some questions about what to do if you find a homeless animal, like a litter of kittens that seem to be living outdoors on their own. Back at the beginning of "kitten season" we featured some local shelter staff's tips on what to do if you find homeless kittens.

Just yesterday, an Inlander staffer found a tiny grey kitten wandering around her front yard panting in the heat. He's luckier than many other kittens — he's already spoken for and saw a vet this morning who gave him a mostly clean bill of health. The first and best thing to do if you find a kitten, like Inlander staffer Gail did yesterday, is to ask around your neighborhood to see if anyone's missing a cat. Posting a "found" notice in on Craigslist with details about the cat and photos is another way to try and reunite the cat with its family. While you're at it, scroll through the "lost" pet posting to see if any match the description, too.

If you're not able to house the cat while trying to find its owners, you can take the animal to SCRAPS where it will be impounded and also scanned for a microchip. Unfortunately, the chances of it being reunited with an owner after being brought the shelter are staggeringly low. Less than 5 percent of cats entering shelters end up being reunited with their owner, compared to 26 percent of dogs. 

The bottom line is — if you're able — do as much in your power to help a lost pet find its owner if the animal doesn't have a tag, microchip or a searching owner.

Pet overpopulation is a shared issue in every community. Encourage people you know to spay and neuter their pets, and to get a microchip or collar for their pets if they let them outside, even supervised. You never know when accidents may strike. If money is an issue, there are many resources to help paying for a spay/neuter surgery, not limited to: SCRAPS's free spay/neuter vouchersSpokAnimal's and the Spokane Humane Society's low-cost clinics; along with the many services offered by Pet Savers.
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

S’mores marshmallows toasted or torched? What you told us

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 10:41 AM

smores2.png

This week’s Outdoors Issue inspired our latest entirely unscientific food preference poll: What’s your s’more style — marshmallow carefully toasted or intentionally engulfed in flame?

A reminder, first of all, that if you have intentions to go make s’mores around a rustic campfire somewhere in the Inland Northwest this summer, check for burn bans and fire rules first.

Now, the results: Maybe it’s impatience or maybe we just enjoy setting things on fire, but the majority of comments were in favor of marshmallows purposely set ablaze.

smores1.png

A number of commenters volunteered a preference for the other ingredients, too, with suggestions of Oreos instead of graham crackers and the addition of Nutella. Mr. Goodbar was suggested as a chocolate of choice, but the most frequent recommendation was to use a Reese’s peanut butter cup as the chocolate layer.

On the spectrum of toastiness, some say they go for flames more than once on a single marshmallow. The most specific and intriguing response in the “Both/Depends” category came from Vintage Hill:

Depends on the wine you are having. A nice late harvest Semillon made dry likes the golden brown version with a milk chocolate bar. Same with a Cab. Sauv. but change the chocolate to a darker bar, even for some very tannic CS’s bittersweet is the call. Burn it and you are in Cab Franc country all the way.

We've previously tallied responses on hot vs. iced coffee, leftover pizza and favorite fries condiment from Zip's.


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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Worth the effort: Testing out Riverfront Park's free Wi-Fi

Posted By on Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 3:44 PM

image002.jpg

Offering 45 free minutes daily, Riverfront Park's new, outdoor wireless Internet service is worth figuring out how to set up. The park launched the new Wi-Fi services, provided by Spokane-based Ptera wireless, in time for last weekend's Hoopfest activities. The initial coverage area stretches in a triangle shape from City Hall east to the corner of the INB Performing Arts Center, and then up to the Pavilion.

After I had gone through the registration process, I was able to walk around the park and even across Spokane Falls Boulevard before losing my connection. Before you can enjoy the new hot spot though, you'll have to go through a little bit of a process. Here's our step-by-step instructions on how to get logged in.

Once "Riverfront Park Free Ptera Wifi" has been selected from your list of Wi-Fi options, the login screen should pop up.

IMG_3575.PNG

If your Wi-Fi setting is set to auto-login (on iOS), which it probably is, then you'll have to follow the steps shown to turn that off. After that is done, reconnecting should make a new login screen appear:

IMG_3581.PNG

Scroll down to register through your Facebook, Twitter or email. Once you get to the next screen, you can click "done" in the upper right corner and begin enjoying your 45 minutes of free Wi-Fi. Additional time is available to purchase. We were even able to stream videos via the connection with no problem.


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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

VIDEO: Rafting the Spokane River and this week's Outdoors Issue

Posted By on Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 1:14 PM

We've finally gotten that hot streak of summer weather that makes it seem impossible to stay inside. To help you out the door, we will release our Outdoors Issue this week with expert advice for novice campers, the latest in outdoor gear, trip planning tips and a guide on taking better photos of the beautiful Inland Northwest. Check newsstands Thursday.

The Inlander editorial staff got into the spirit early with a soggy rafting trip down the Spokane River last week. Enjoy some of the footage our art director got by strapping a GoPro to his raft.


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Monday, June 30, 2014

Tell us your stories about pot

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 11:16 AM

We're working on a series of stories all about the new recreational marijuana market in Washington: who's behind it, how to find it and how not to break the law. Now, we want your help.

Go here or use the form below to share your (true, please) marijuana memories — best, worst or somewhere in between. We'll allow you to be anonymous in the paper, but if you're OK with us using your initials or other basic information, we'd love that too. All the details are in the survey below and you can send any questions to heidig@inlander.com. We need your stories by Friday, July 4.



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Friday, June 27, 2014

What’s new downtown if you haven’t been here since last year's Hoopfest

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Cocktails, restaurants, parking meters, Huntington Park and a lot more. - INLANDER STAFF
  • Inlander Staff
  • Cocktails, restaurants, parking meters, Huntington Park and a lot more.

When downtown Spokane’s streets transformed into basketball courts last year, the Inlander was still located in the Hutton building on Washington Street. That reminded us just how much has changed in the past year, so here are some of the highlights you’ll notice this weekend if you haven’t walked Spokane's downtown streets since last year’s Hoopfest.

1. Huntington Park and the Centennial Trail

The newly renovated Huntington Park has only been open a month, but it connects with Riverfront Park so seamlessly that visitors could easily think they remember it being that way forever. The overlook on the south side of the falls is owned by Avista, and late last summer the power company closed off the whole area for renovations that include better access, art installations and more informational signs about the area. The most visible difference is the plaza by City Hall, right across Post Street from Riverfront Park, which is still in the process of getting a name.

About the time the park closed for renovations, the Centennial Trail opened on the north side of the river through the new Kendall Yards neighborhood, including an underpass beneath the Monroe Street Bridge. Stick to the right side of the path under the bridge, where the roar of the falls makes it hard to hear approaching bicycles.

2. Those walls by the Convention Center and other construction

It’s hard to miss the massive construction project near the Convention Center, which has been closing lanes and sidewalks all year. The former parking lot first became a giant hole in the ground, and is now beginning to take shape as a giant hotel. It’s a project of Walt Worthy, who also owns the Davenport, and it’s planned to open next summer as a modern hotel with more thant 700 rooms and a direct connection to the Convention Center.

That’s not the only construction downtown, though — nearby on Main Avenue the historic Bennett Block is under renovation. Former Bennett Block tenant Spokane Exercise Equipment moved a block to the east, which is also a hub for big renovations after two longtime businesses — Huppin’s and Dutch’s — closed last year. Madeleine’s will be moving there, and the owners are also opening another place called Durkin’s Liquor Bar.

Farther down on Main, the former Merlyn’s (which moved next door) is under construction to become a new market-style building with a brewery, bakery and other businesses. And up on Sprague near the Davenport, the historic Germond Building is also being renovated for apartments upstairs and retail at street level.

Since the Inlander moved out of the Hutton Building, the lower floors have been renovated to become the downtown hub for STCU, and the upper floors are under construction. Ground floor tenant Sweet Frostings Blissful Bakeshop is doing its own expansion and renovation right now, but remains open through construction.

3. “Smart meters” for street parking

After talking about it for a while and researching the best systems, Spokane finally got “smart meters” that let you pay for street parking with a credit card. This is great if you don’t have pocketfuls of loose change on you, but note that paying with card means there’s a minimum payment of $1.20 (an hour). The smart meters are concentrated near the center of downtown. The city has also been adjusting the time limits at some meters around the fringes of downtown, so don’t be surprised if that old 10-hour meter is now labeled 4-hour or “All Day.”

4. A smaller visitor center in the mall

If you try to stop by the old visitor center at the corner of Main and Browne, you’ll find an empty building. Late last year, Visit Spokane decided to forgo the permanent center in favor of more flexible outreach. In other words, if it’s traditional brochures and advice you’re looking for, stop by the Visit Spokane welcome kiosk on the ground floor of River Park Square.

5. Ramen, brunch and other new eats

We do our best to keep track, but the downtown restaurant scene has been crazy with openings (and closings and reopenings) in the past year. Entirely new is Nudo, a ramen house where Berg’s Shoes was located for many decades. Pho City opened right around Hoopfest last year, and Wild Dawgs reopened with new owners next door later in the year. Ciao Mambo closed and reopened as a MacKenzie River location, and Mi Casa recently opened near the Plaza in the former Rex’s Burgers space. It’s maybe best known for its bar, but Borracho Tacos & Tequileria opens early for breakfast burritos and, recently, all the World Cup games.

On the other side of the river, Kendall Yards had only Central Food at this time last year. Now there’s the Yards Bruncheon and the Wandering Table, plus Brain Freeze Creamery. Nearby, Irish pub and restaurant Knockaderry opened in the former Sidebar location by the courthouse.

6. Cocktails, cider, root beer and other new drinks

A lot of new breweries, distilleries and nightlife spots have been popping up beyond the downtown core, but there’s plenty new to sip downtown. Last July, the venerable Blue Spark shut its doors and the space was quiet for a while, but about a month ago the space reopened as a new bar, Underground 15. Downtown Spokane’s first cidery, Liberty Ciderworks, opened its tasting room in April, and Walla Walla-based winery Patit Creek Cellars opened a tasting room on Sprague.

For cocktails, the Blind Buck opened in a speakeasy-style space next to the still-empty Globe late last summer, and the Volstead Act opened with vintage-style cocktails not long after. Santé also added a bar to its restaurant space, called the Butcher Bar. After opening the brewery side of things early last year, River City Brewing added a taproom in the fall — and, since it’s kid-friendly, they also serve a housemade root beer. If you don’t have time to catch a show at the Bartlett, you can stop by the music venue’s small cafe for coffee or happy hour.

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