Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Washington state judge asks Homeland Security to back off immigration enforcement at courthouses

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 3:13 PM

Washington state Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst
  • Washington state Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst

An apparent uptick in federal immigration enforcement in and around local courthouses in Washington has the state's top judge concerned about a chilling effect on equal justice for all.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote an open letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly (embedded at the bottom of this post), calling for him to curtail enforcement on courthouse campuses.

"In many locations around our state, a courthouse is the only place where individuals are ensured of a trusted public forum where they will be treated with dignity, respect and fairness," Fairhurst writes. "This includes victims in need of protection from domestic violence, criminal defendants being held accountable for their actions, witnesses summoned to testify and families who may be in crisis."

She continues: "The fear of apprehension by immigration officials deters individuals from accessing our courthouses and erodes this trust, even for those with lawful immigration status."

Citing reports of ICE agents milling around courthouses from attorneys and other judges, Fairhurst calls for Kelly to designate those campuses as "sensitive locations," where immigration enforcement is limited. Other "sensitive locations" include schools, places of worship and hospitals.

Judges in neighboring states have raised similar concerns.

• California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye also wrote a letter to Kelly and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking that immigration arrests at courthouses stop altogether.

• A judge in Oregon allegedly helped an undocumented immigrant escape immigration agents through the courtroom's backdoor. Multnomah County Judge Monica Herranz is currently under investigation after a federal prosecutor filed a complaint.

The defendant in that case pleaded guilty to a DUI in a deal that suspended his sentence and placed him in a diversion program. He was arrested two weeks later at a follow-up hearing, according to the Willamette Week.

• And ICE agents in El Paso, Texas, arrested a women immediately after she obtained a protective order against an allegedly abusive boyfriend. The woman was in the U.S. illegally, NPR reports.

"These developments are deeply troubling because they impede the fundamental mission of our courts," Fairhurst writes of the situation in Washington state. "Which is to ensure due process and access to justice for everyone, regardless of their immigration status."

Kelly John Dhs Ice 032217 by MitchRyals on Scribd

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Is this SR reporter committing 'old-fashioned plagiarism' or just aggregating?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 2:30 PM

Longtime Spokesman-Review outdoors reporter and editor Rich Landers has for more than 40 years written about everything from bear spray guidelines to rafting season in Idaho.

But what readers may not realize is that while many of his stories are thorough, well-reported pieces of journalism, the award-winning journalist and well-known regional outdoors expert has also repeatedly presented other writers’ work as his own.

Over the last few months, the Inlander has found several instances going back through 2016 where pieces “By Rich Landers” did not give credit to the source of quotes or entire sections of prose.

Most recently, the Spokesman-Review published on Sunday a story under Landers’ byline about Idaho’s rafting outfitters getting excited for the upcoming season.

Landers’ story begins: “Mother Nature blessed Idaho with deep snow in the mountains this winter, ranging from 98 percent to 180 percent of normal statewide, setting up an outstanding year for fishing and whitewater boating on the state’s world-class rivers.”

What’s not clear to anyone but the reporter is that this exact sentence came from an online article by the Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association. Landers only changed the word “Idaho’s” to “the state’s.”

In fact, 355 words of Landers’ 458-word article in the Sunday Spokesman-Review were reproduced verbatim from the association’s piece, including quotes from four people who the association interviewed but Landers apparently never did.
What Landers' rafting story looked like in Sunday's Spokesman-Review.
  • What Landers' rafting story looked like in Sunday's Spokesman-Review.

Journalism professionals who were shown examples of Landers’ articles that appeared to have copied previously-published sources say that Landers committed a cardinal sin of journalism: plagiarism.

“It certainly looks like old-fashioned plagiarism,” writes Indira Lakshmanan, the Newmark Chair in Journalism Ethics for the Poynter Institute.

When asked for comment, Landers said in an email, “Most of the stories you cite evolved from my blog. They all include information from other sources or publications. They all cite the source at least once in the story with hot links to the complete text of the original story or publication. They all have a great deal of additional perspective or information from my reporting.”
But journalism professionals agree, attribution is needed throughout a piece, not just in one place.

"In cases where language used is exactly like that used elsewhere, or close to it, I tell students that they should always attribute the source (with quotation marks, if exact language). No one expects a reporter to be an expert on every issue. It is a strength – not a weakness – to cite other sources clearly and coherently," writes James McPherson, chair of communication studies at Whitworth. "With a young writer, I might assume ignorance of appropriate standards, but Landers has been at this far too long, in my view, for that to be a valid excuse."

In the case of the rafting story, Landers says he added enough information to the piece for it not to go under the byline of the association.

"I can’t remember another time ever that I used the lead from a release, but this one worked and I went with it. I changed and added qualifiers to the media release such as the possibility of quick snowpack meltoff – enough that it couldn’t be under the byline of the IOGA," Landers writes. "That said, the information in the story was attributed to the outfitters or Stuebner."

The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics is clear on standards for plagiarism, summing it up in four simple words: “Never plagiarize. Always attribute.”

The examples of copied text found by the Inlander include more than just sections of writing that’s been lifted from press releases, which some could argue are, by design, meant to give reporters material to use.

“Journalists have a long history of using information from press releases and from wire copy, so in that sense this isn’t new,” writes Elizabeth Blanks Hindman, an associate professor in Washington State University’s Murrow College, whose research focuses on media ethics. “So what he’s doing doesn’t necessarily violate journalistic practice. Nevertheless, transparency is a good thing, and journalists should be very, very clear about their sources of information. In that regard, these stories could be better.”

The Inlander asked Lakshmanan, “Have standards changed in the digital age to the point where this is acceptable?”

“I would not say that the rules have changed in the digital age,” she writes. “On top of apparently copying other reporters’ work, it is also wrong to take wholesale material from press releases without attribution - whether it is on a digital website or not.”

Back on Dec. 18, readers who saw Landers’ piece on recommendations for carrying bear spray might not have realized that full paragraphs of that piece had already been published in The Missoulian five days before.

In that case, Landers attributed two paragraphs of reporting to The Missoulian, and did expand the story with original reporting, but the piece heavily lifted sections of reporting without attribution.

A side-by-side comparison — showing Landers’ story on the left, with the Missoulian’s Rob Chaney’s piece on the right — shows sections of 15, 35, 55 words in a row that are verbatim from the other article; and the string of exactly copied words would be longer had a few changes not been made:
Made with's free comparison tool
  • Made with's free comparison tool

Journalism students are taught early on that when someone reads a quote in an article, they assume the writer spoke with that person. To not cite that someone else did that interview is deceiving.

When it was pointed out that a piece credited to Landers about a pack horse surviving for six weeks in Wyoming used quotes, without attribution, from a report in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Landers said the report had improperly been pulled from his blog.

“The pack horse story was picked up by our news editors from my blog, which had a hot link to the original story plus an ongoing discussion based on comments on social media,” Landers writes. “The story as it appeared in print should have had a 'Staff and wire reports' byline. I mentioned this the next day to at least one editor.”

Often in the Outdoors Blog, Landers, like many reporters compiling materials for online posts, will summarize a story from another publication, link to it, and paste some or all of the story into the blog, but clearly indenting the text to indicate that entire portion comes from another source.

In print, that distinction is lost.

The Spokesman's managing editor, Joe Palmquist, defended Landers in a written statement this afternoon: “I have worked with Rich Landers for 28 years. He has the highest regard for original reporting and recognizes the value of those stories to our readers. On a daily basis, the news media uses published stories to localize and edits them (shorten or expand), but Rich Landers always gives credit to the original story and publication. Regarding press releases, every day, the news media does indeed read, refine, check and use information from press releases.

"There was one instance where the copy desk did use one of his blog items and it was used in print. Rich’s byline was mistakenly added. It was clearly attributed on the blog and in print, but we regret his name was put on that story.”

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How the Trump budget would (and wouldn't) impact Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels

Killing the Community Development Block Grant program wouldn't gut Meals on Wheels — but it still could hurt.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 1:46 PM

In this 2013 photo, Meals on Wheels volunteer Ed Eichwald drives to make a delivery in Coeur d'Alene. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • In this 2013 photo, Meals on Wheels volunteer Ed Eichwald drives to make a delivery in Coeur d'Alene.

The Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels isn't just about delivering meals — though last year, they delivered 264,000. Sometimes, it's about saving lives.

That's happened twice this year alone. Meals on Wheels volunteers have come to the door to discover that elderly meal recipients had had a nasty fall.

"With one, a driver heard some moaning through the door," says Pam Almeida, director of the local Meals on Wheels for the last 18 years. "And we were able to call the fire department to get in."

Last year, volunteers saved seven lives, Almeida says. And then there are the lives Meals on Wheels has saved by delivering air conditioners during heat waves or simply by giving the elderly someone to talk to for a moment. 
During the heat wave a few years go, Meals on Wheels brought air conditioners to overheated families.
  • During the heat wave a few years go, Meals on Wheels brought air conditioners to overheated families.

"Loneliness can kill," Almeida says. "Our drivers are often the only person somebody will see in a given day. Human contact is such a necessity."

It's no wonder, then, that potential cuts to Meals on Wheels sparked by the Trump budget even has, say, Colin Kaepernick concerned. But a lot of the tone of the coverage has suggested that the entire Meals on Wheels program hinged directly federal funding. That's false.

The most direct way that the local Meals on Wheels would be hurt by the Trump budget is through its elimination of the Community Development Block Grant program.

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Teen's family speaks about wrongful death settlement, attack in London and other morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 9:35 AM


NEWS: "I don't have any faith or trust in our local government. I know that they'll just do whatever they need to do to cover their own ass." — The family who recently settled with Spokane County over the death of teenager Ryan Holyk in 2014 speaks out for the first time about Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich's statements on the case.
Ryan Holyk's family
  • Ryan Holyk's family

Holyk's mother has created a fundraiser and scholarship in his name.

MUSIC: The band TOOL will play the Gorge on June 17. Tickets go on sale Friday.

MUSIC: Didn't make it to see the Meat Puppets on Monday? Dan Nailen's got you covered, with a review of the show: "There's a certain joy in watching grizzled old punks smiling at each other as they play to a packed club." Read more here.


Possible terror attack in London
Police were treating an attack in London as "terrorist incident," after multiple people were run over Wednesday and a police officer was stabbed outside Parliament, the BBC reports. (BBC)

Whipping for health
Republicans are trying to gather enough votes plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it, but there are still holdouts. (Politico)

Money problems
With rapid inflation, Argentina's banks are having trouble storing all of their "increasingly worthless banknotes." (El Pais)
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ryan Holyk's mother remembers her son with annual fundraiser and scholarship

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 4:06 PM

Carrie and Norm Thomson (center) during an annual fundraiser in memory of their son. - COURTESY OF RYAN HOLYK'S FAMILY
  • Courtesy of Ryan Holyk's family
  • Carrie and Norm Thomson (center) during an annual fundraiser in memory of their son.

After the initial phone call, a harrowing 10 days in the hospital and the wrongful death lawsuit that dragged on for two years following Ryan Holyk's death, his family is finally finding some peace.

Since the 15-year-old was struck and killed, evidence shows, by a speeding Spokane Valley deputy in 2014, his family has put on a fundraiser called Ryan's Ramble. The events vary each year — from a fun run to last year's hot dog grill and silent auction. The proceeds are donated to Marissa's Lids for Kids, an organization that provides underserved kids with bicycle helmets and raises awareness about helmet safety.
Ryan Holyk
  • Ryan Holyk

This year's event will be May 20 at Daley's Cheap Shots in Spokane Valley. There will be a cover charge, a silent auction, a raffle and a corn hole bags tournament. The event is all-ages.

"I started this because I wanted something positive to come out of this situation, and I had to find something else to focus on," Thomson says. "I just wanted a day of positivity and helping our community."

The past two years have been so successful, Thomson says, that some of the proceeds this year will go toward a service-based scholarship in her son's memory. This would have been Ryan's senior year of high school.

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Holyk family speaks for the first time about $1 million settlement, disputes Sheriff's narrative

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 10:40 AM

Ryan Holyk's family
  • Ryan Holyk's family

When Carrie Thomson agreed to settle the wrongful-death lawsuit following her 15-year-old son's tragic death, she thought she would finally hear an apology — that the Spokane County Sheriff's Office would take some responsibility. Ryan Holyk died from a severe head injury in 2014 after a sheriff's deputy hit him with a patrol vehicle, evidence shows.

Instead, what she says she heard from Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich were denials that Deputy Joe Bodman had any culpability in the accident that caused her son's death; skepticism that the deputy actually collided with the teen; and misguided praise of the police investigations.

"I just feel like [Knezovich] turns stuff around," Thomson says, speaking publicly for the first time since the settlement earlier this month. "During his press conference the other day, he said they determined that Bodman had no part in it, when just last summer they released a statement saying they found Ryan's hat band imprint and DNA on the bumper. So how can you turn around and say now that Bodman had nothing to do with it?"
Ryan Holyk
  • Ryan Holyk

Thomson explains that the lawsuit was never about money, but about getting to the truth of what happened the evening of May 23, 2014.

"You hear about corruption and watching out for each other, and the one effect this whole thing has had on me is to know that's real," Thomson says. "That really does happen and I'm just blown away by it. I don't have any faith or trust in our local government. I know that they'll just do whatever they need to do to cover their own ass."

The wrongful death lawsuit was settled out of court for $1 million. Knezovich, for his part, says he wanted the case to go to trial. "That is the only way the facts come out in totality," he says.
Let's break down the whole story, using statements from Knezovich during a news conference announcing the settlement and on his radio program, along with statements from Thomson, context from the police investigations, witness statements and sworn pretrial testimony.

1. Who is responsible?

What Knezovich said earlier this month: "It was the fact that the evidence consistently showed that Joe Bodman was not the causal effect of this."

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Spokane River turns deadly, Trump's court nominee questioned, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 9:14 AM


MUSIC: Spoon is coming to Spokane's Knitting Factory on Aug. 28.

NEWS: The cost for repairing Spokane County roads due to flooding is estimated at $9 million.


Help find this man
A man picked up a woman on Division after her car ran out of gas, then sexually assaulted her at gunpoint, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Deputies are asking for the public's help in finding the man, who is white, in his 40s with shoulder-length brown hair. (KXLY)

Body found in river
Emergency crews using a helicopter and divers pulled a body from the Spokane River near Canada Island yesterday, according to Spokane Police. Police are investigating the death. (Spokesman-Review)

Speaking of the river...
The Spokane River is rising, and it's getting dangerously close to flooding some Peaceful Valley homes by the shore. (Spokesman-Review)

Might as well not fly then
If you're flying to the U.S. from one of these 10 airports in the Middle East or Africa, you can't bring most types of electronic devices with you onto the plane, according to a new ban by the Trump administration.

Grilling Neil Gorsuch

President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is in his second day of confirmation hearings. Today, he praised Merrick Garland, the judge who was Obama's nominee, but wouldn't say if Garland had been treated fairly or not.
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Flooding has drained Spokane County's budget for road repairs

Cost for repairs estimated at $9 million

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 3:06 PM

This was a road, once - COURTESY OF SPOKANE COUNTY
  • Courtesy of Spokane County
  • This was a road, once

As dozens of Spokane County roads are flooded due to rapid snow melt, the long-term damage will cause at least $9 million in needed repairs, says Public Works Spokeswoman Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter.

And that number is likely to keep rising, she says. Just a month ago, the county estimated it would cost $1 million to repair flood-damaged roads.

"It's going to require a lot of money," Wheatley-Billeter says.

Hopefully, she says, not all of that money will come from the county budget. The county will apply for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and whatever FEMA gives the county will help with road maintenance this year.

But Wheatley-Billeter says Spokane County is already $2 million over the maintenance budget for the entire year — and it's only March.

"We have a pot of money, and the more you can spend earlier in the year means the less [you can spend] later in the year," she says.

Right now, there are two dozen roads closed due to washouts in Spokane County, and that doesn't include roads closed in incorporated areas (click here for a map of road closures in the county). A few of those roads have been under water for more than a month. The longer they are, the more costly it gets.

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Supreme Court nominee's hearings begin, Trump's (non) wiretaps and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch
  • Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch


The Spokane Transit Authority CEO sees some potential pain in President Trump's proposed budget, particularly for the planned Central City Line.

InHealth: Laughing gas for labor pain? It's a thing.

What's Up: Meat Puppets, STRFKR and Lilac City Fairy Tales are among the many worthy things going on in the Inland Northwest this week.


Huddle up, or maybe not
A high school football coach from Ferris High School is under investigation for allegations he exposed himself to some players last summer. (KXLY)

Rising waters
Officials throughout the Inland Northwest are warning drivers to watch for flooding, including in Kootenai County. (KREM)

Well, duh
FBI Director James Comey told Congress this morning that there is no evidence of any wiretapping at Trump Tower, as the president has contended while offering no proof.

Cheers, mates
England is officially kicking off its Brexit process next week, BBC reports.

Supreme hearing
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearings kick off today, and it won't be pretty. (CNN)
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Friday, March 17, 2017

STA CEO wasn't worried about Trump slashing transit — but now the Central City Line is in peril

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 2:58 PM

"Hang on a minute, lads..." - THE ITALIAN JOB
  • The Italian Job
  • "Hang on a minute, lads..."

In the aftermath of the election, with Spokane voters finally approving the high-frequency electric "Central City" bus line, the Inlander asked Spokane Transit Authority CEO E. Susan
Meyer about the impact of newly elected President Donald Trump.

Since STA was anticipating the vast bulk of the Central City Line construction funding to come from the federal government's Small Starts grant, was there a possibility that the new administration could put the electric bus route in jeopardy?

"No! We don't think so. The Small Start and New Starts grants have been in place for, like, 35 to 50 years," Meyer said. "It's hard to predict. Let me say this: No new administration has ever changed the funding for Small Starts and New Start projects that have been approved."

In our conversation back in November, I noted that Trump has floated a big infrastructure package, but asked if there was a concern that he saw infrastructure as mostly about roads and bridges, not buses. Meyer wasn't worried.

"I cannot peg him that way," Meyer says. "He's a big city man. He's an urban experience guy. He knows how important transit is. If he were maybe of another ilk or from a smaller area — we'll just have to wait and see."

Now, we've waited and we've seen: Trump's budget proposal would completely eliminate both the Small Starts and the New Starts grant programs.

So if it passes — and that's a big if — the proposed Central City Line funding plan would suddenly have a gaping hole. "If $54 million dollars are not coming from the federal government, the board will have to decide if there are other options for funding the project," Meyer says.

But that potential conversation is a long way off. And in the meantime, STA is proceeding with the Central City Line grant process with the hopes that the grants program will be saved.

"There is nothing to suggest to us we should do anything but stay the course," Meyer says.

Meyer says she'll communicate with the local congressional delegation in order to stress the importance of these programs.

"[We have a] tremendous amount of community support," Meyer says. "Voters and the public have been counting on this program."

Meyer still strikes a hopeful note that Congress will maintain funding for the grant programs. She points to how Congress overwhelmingly passed the FAST Act in 2015, which reauthorized funding for transit and other transportation projects.

"The amounts of New Starts and Small Starts [grants] have gone up and down over the years," Meyer says. "[But] the programs have never been zeroed out."

Meyer says that it's not just transit hit by eliminations in the Department of Transporation's budget. The budget would also kill the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants. Two of those grants have gone to help fund construction of the North Spokane Corridor.

If the president's budget passes, Meyer says that grant agreements that had already been signed would continue to be funded by the federal government. But the rest would not. While it may take a while for the next budget to get passed by Congress, Meyer says it isn't feasible that STA could get their grant in under the wire before the axe falls. STA's hope was to have funding for constructing the Central City Line in the Trump's 2019 budget.

Asked if she was surprised with Trump's budget slashing transit grants, Meyer said yes and no.

"If one has listened to the president over time, he has talked about reducing the size of government. [But] the surprising thing is that he has committed to a $1 trillion infrastructure package," Meyer says. "Lots of infrastructure projects would not be funded if [his cuts go] forward. There is a contradiction. ... [The Small Starts program] is a huge infrastructure program. Eliminating that doesn't make sense."
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