Thursday, April 27, 2017

Trump's tax plan, fish cook's beef with homeless people and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 9:30 AM


NEWS: Idaho miners are standing a few thousand feet above where they would normally be working. They've been on strike for more than a month, and they're in it for the long haul.

MUSIC: Festival season is upon us. Your guide to the best music gatherings in the Pacific Northwest this spring and summer.

KIDS: What happens to kids in Washington state who no one else wants? One boy's three-day journey through three states tells part of the story.

SEAHAWKS: The NFL draft starts today, and the Hawks have several holes to fill.


Chef Chad White: not happy with some of his neighbors.
  • Chef Chad White: not happy with some of his neighbors.
Do you even ceviche, bro?
Man opens restaurant near homeless shelter, complains about homeless people. (KREM)

Bungled bluff road at the center of lawsuit
The forested land along High Drive Bluff that was errantly dug and scraped into a road is now the center of a lawsuit. The landowner is suing the contractor. (Spokesman-Review)

The winners and losers in President Donald Trump's proposed tax plan (New York Times) and a more comprehensive guide to the proposal. (The Atlantic)

At death's door
Arkansas is scheduled to execute Kenneth Williams tonight; he will be the fourth man the state kills within eight days. Arkansas had originally scheduled eight executions in the span of a month in order to use up the state's supply of the controversial
sedative drug midazolam before it expires. (The Marshall Project)

A letter written by the 38-year-old Williams, who has killed three people, including a college student and a retired prison warden. He's also reportedly responsible for the death of a fourth person in a vehicle accident.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Carlyle Care Center to stop providing assisted living for 127 people with chronic mental health issues

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 4:23 PM

By the end of October, the 127-bed Carlyle Care Center will stop providing round-the-clock care to people with chronic mental illness, nonprofit Pioneer Human Services announced to staff and residents on Wednesday, April 26.

The Carlyle, at Post Street and Second Avenue in downt
As of the end of October, the Carlyle Care Center will no longer provide care for 127 people with chronic mental illness.
  • As of the end of October, the Carlyle Care Center will no longer provide care for 127 people with chronic mental illness.
own Spokane, often serves people who would otherwise be homeless, are transitioning out of Eastern State Hospital or Sacred Heart's Adult Psychiatric Unit, are in hospice care, or have a court order to be in a residential care facility, according to Pioneer.

The people who live there, long-term or short-term, are referred in, and often on Medicaid. They receive meals, medications, nursing care, room cleaning, activities and other care.

Because Medicaid rates haven't kept pace with the cost of providing that intensive care, the facility will have to transition and provide a different type of service, says Hilary Young, a Pioneer spokeswoman.

"Like a lot of publicly funded services, rates have not kept pace with the costs," Young says. "It's really expensive."

Some of the residents at the Carlyle already transition in and out in a manner of weeks or months, so some of them would already be on their way to lower-level service facilities, she says. About half the residents stay for more than a year, and the other half stay for less time.

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ACLU report highlights unique policing policy in Spokane Public Schools

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 2:47 PM

Spokane Public Schools has made a number of changes to reduce arrests and exclusionary discipline. - JENNIFER DEBARROS PHOTO
  • Jennifer DeBarros photo
  • Spokane Public Schools has made a number of changes to reduce arrests and exclusionary discipline.

Spokane Public Schools does school policing differently than every other school district in Washington. In a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington calling for a reform of school policing, those differences are mostly used as a positive example for other schools.

But for the district, the report still doesn't illustrate the changing culture around student discipline and arrests.

"Though it calls out our best practices, and I think that's positive, I don't think it reflects the situation Spokane Public Schools is in today," says Kevin Morrison, Spokane Public Schools spokesperson.

Since advocates called for a reduction in students being suspended, expelled or arrested in Spokane Public Schools — especially special education students and minorities — the district made a number of changes over the past year focusing on "restorative practices" to punish kids less and instead address the root cause of misbehavior. It's resulted in a reduction in suspensions and arrests, along with changes to district policy.

The most recent change came last month, with a "District and Campus Safety" policy that, among other things, details use-of-force guidelines and encourages officers to use restorative practices when possible.

The ACLU report, called Students Not Suspects: The Need to Reform School Policing in Washington State, used Spokane's policies as an example of what other districts could do.

"I think Spokane has taken significant steps over the past year to make changes to its school policing policies," says Vanessa Hernandez, the report's author. "It's one of the few districts that has a comprehensive policy on training requirements and the offenses for which officers may arrest students and for community complaints."

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Washington AG files lawsuit against Grant County agricultural company accused of sexually harassing female workers

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 12:44 PM

The supervisor at a Quincy, Washington, onion-packing shed is accused of groping his female workers, rubbing his groin on them and "requiring or attempting to require" the women to have sex with him in order to keep their jobs.

Those allegations against Hermilo Cruz and his 
Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Horning Brothers of Quincy, Washington.
  • Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Horning Brothers of Quincy, Washington.
employer, agricultural company Horning Brothers, are the basis for a federal civil lawsuit rights lawsuit brought by the civil rights unit in the Washington State Attorney General's Office.

Neither Cruz, nor anyone at Horning Brothers, immediately responded to requests for comment.

The complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Washington also accuses the company of sexual discrimination in its hiring practices due to a "policy and practice" since at least 2012 of hiring only women in the onion-packing shed, where Cruz is the foreman.

Cruz is also accused of requesting intimate photos and suggestively licking his lips and grabbing his groin. Employees who reported his behavior were "reprimanded, discharged or not rehired the following season," according to a news release from the state AG's Office. Cruz's conduct, and his employer's failure to mitigate it, violate federal and state law, the lawsuit says.

"Low-wage agricultural workers are part of a vulnerable population with limited resources," Attorney General Bob Ferguson says in a prepared statement. "They deserve to be heard. No woman should be forced to accept sexual harassment as a condition of her employment."

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Police Chief Meidl: In Spokane, undocumented immigrant crime is practically nonexistent

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 10:51 AM

In Police Chief Meidl's experience, Spokane has relatively few undocumented immigrants — and even fewer of them are dangerous. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • In Police Chief Meidl's experience, Spokane has relatively few undocumented immigrants — and even fewer of them are dangerous.

Last week, we published a story about the controversial response from the Spokane Human Rights Commission over City Councilman Mike Fagan's diatribe against "illegal aliens" during a council meeting.

Fagan's remarks detailed several gory and violent episodes involving assailants who were in the United States illegally. Several members of the human rights commission felt that by using these anecdotes, Fagan was painting a grossly inaccurate picture of undocumented immigrants.

But how about the reality? Is illegal immigration causing an uptick in violent crime or property crime in this city?

Last week, the Inlander called up Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl, and he was crystal clear on the answer.

"We do not have an undocumented immigrant problem in the city of Spokane," Meidl says. "The complaints we are hearing in the community are not stemming from undocumented immigrants."

In his 23 years with the Spokane Police Department, Meidl says that, to his knowledge, he's had a grand total of two contacts with undocumented immigrants.

"One was an assault call unrelated to his documented status," Meidl says. And the other was a neighbor concerned about the way an undocumented immigrant was looking at his kids. That's all.

Just to make sure that his experience wasn't unique, Meidl says he brought in two of his majors and asked him the same question.

"We had over 80 years of experience [between the three of us]," he says. "All three of us had a total of five contacts with undocumented immigrants. The primary reason for these contacts didn't have anything with their immigration status."

For all the challenges that face the Spokane police department, he says, this certainly isn't one.

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Chemicals in the water at Fairchild, $425 for pre-muddied jeans, and morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 9:37 AM


NEWS: With a state mandate to make class sizes smaller for early elementary school students, and unexpected increasing enrollment, Spokane Public Schools are looking at changing which grades are placed at the same schools, which will hopefully save on costs to build new facilities.
These jeans aren't really muddy, but they are really $425.
  • These jeans aren't really muddy, but they are really $425.

 There's Something Rotten about the next season of shows ready to Rent the INB Performing Arts Center, bringing The Sound of Music and their Dirty Dancing to (Mo)town, for the Best of Broadway.


Something in the water
Fairchild Air Force Base is among dozens of military bases where tests have found dangerous chemicals from foam used to fight fires in wells that aren't used for drinking water, and test results for nearby wells that are used for drinking are expected back next week. (Spokesman-Review)

Goodbye NAFTA?
Politico reports that the White House is putting together an executive order to pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, possibly as a power move to renegotiate the agreement. (Politico)

Out of money? We'll throw your food in the trash, kid
An Army veteran is criticizing some Texas schools that take food from kids who can't pay for their food at the end of the lunch line and throw it away in front of them, then hand them a sandwich or other substitute meal. (KREM2/WFAA-TV)

That's so dirty
Too rich to get outside and do some good old-fashioned manual labor, but want that authentic working man's look? Nordstrom's got you covered, with a $425 pair of jeans they've made to look like they're muddy, so you don't have to.

According to Nordstrom, these jeans "embody rugged, Americana workwear that's seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you're not afraid to get down and dirty." (emphasis added)

But if you have to buy jeans that are pre-caked in mud for you, doesn't that mean you are afraid to get down and dirty? Asking for a friend...

Those of us who can't afford artisan mud stains will just have to keep dirtying our jeans with sweat and elbow grease, while you ponder just how authentic the stain on your butt pocket looks. (Kansas City Star)
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Short on classrooms, Spokane Public Schools seeks input on grade configuration

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 10:05 AM

Spokane Public Schools may need to add several more elementary schools to alleviate overcrowding. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Spokane Public Schools may need to add several more elementary schools to alleviate overcrowding.

In 2003, when Spokane Public Schools was coming up with a long-term plan for construction, the task was simpler.

Enrollment was declining at the time, so they didn't need to plan to add more school buildings — just better ones.

Two things have put a hitch in that plan. First, in the past few years, enrollment in the district has increased by a couple of thousand students. Second, districts across Washington have been mandated by the state to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade.

The class size reduction alone, says Spokane Public Schools associate superintendent Mark Anderson, means the district would have to add more schools — around five new elementary schools just for the K-3 size reduction.

So the district is trying to find a way to configure the grades in a way that will cost less for new buildings and make sense for the community. The best way to to do that is up for debate.

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North Monroe 'road diet' proceeds, Post Falls company responds to racism allegations, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 8:59 AM


NEWS: Spokane County doesn't plan to put body cameras on Sheriff's deputies, even when a free deal (for a year) comes along.

COMMENT: It's time to stop acting like Spokane needs a stamp of approval from Seattle.


Some businesses on North Monroe aren't excited about the city's lane reduction plan. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Some businesses on North Monroe aren't excited about the city's lane reduction plan.
Diets aren't for everyone
The city of Spokane, despite some opposition from businesses, is moving forward into the design phase of its $7.1 million North Monroe "road diet" plan. (Spokesman-Review)

Post Falls company under fire for racism
Take a look at this, let's say, questionable image of a black girl eating a watermelon that a Post Falls company posts on the side of its trucks. This company, Dixie Services, also uses a Confederate flag as its logo. People are calling for the company to take the images down, but the owner says "there's a lot of goodness and happiness" associated with the flag, and he sees nothing wrong with the picture of a black girl eating watermelon. (KXLY)

Is it finally happening?

In the the seemingly never-ending plan to turn the Ridpath Hotel into affordable apartments, Spokane City Council has now decided to loan developer Ron Wells $1.75 million once he closes on the property next month. (Spokesman-Review)

Build that wall! (someday)
President Donald Trump may not get his border wall as soon as he hoped for, after backing down from demanding payment for it on Monday to avoid a potential government shutdown. (Associated Press)

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Spokane County says "no thanks" to free body cameras, no charge for a year's worth of storage

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 2:34 PM

Spokane County: Thanks, but no thanks.
  • Spokane County: Thanks, but no thanks.

Earlier this month, Axon (the company formerly known as Taser), announced that it is offering free body cameras and a year's subscription to its cloud storage service to any American law enforcement agency.

Even with the discount, Spokane County commissioners say it's unlikely that county Sheriff's deputies will start wearing what many police reform advocates say is an essential police accountability tool any time soon.

"Where are we going to get the biggest bang for the buck for the public?" Commissioner Al French says. "My suspicion is that means putting more deputies on the road than putting cameras on the ones we have."

In theory, French says, he's in favor of body cameras. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich agrees.

"If I had half a million dollars I could throw at this, my world would be a whole lot better," French says. "I just don't have the funds. That's where the rub is."

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Built to Spill headlines Volume, French election, and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 9:06 AM


Pump up the Volume
The lineup for Volume 2017 is here, and it includes Built to Spill, Chastity Belt, J GRGRY, Ras Kass, Lithics, and many, many more performers. Check out all the bands and venues for the June 2-3 event here

There's nothing to do around here... not!
There is SO much to do this week, including concerts, comedy, live discussions about national parks and rainforests, symphony, theater, film and food!


Doomsday is nigh
With plenty of construction throughout the Bloomsday course, Doomsday Hill is ready for the race, and other parts of downtown under construction will be prepped for all the foot traffic. (Spokesman-Review)

French opt for two out-of-the-mainstream candidates

The two candidates who voters sent on to a runoff vote next month in France's presidential election are both outsiders; one is a former investment banker and pro-European Union, while the other opposes the EU and wants far-right "France first" policies. (New York Times)

UW prepares for research cuts
For many years, federal money has been used for research and building new facilities at the University of Washington, which receives more federal research funding than any other public university in the country, but President Donald Trump's budget proposal could put that in jeopardy. (Seattle Times)
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