Thursday, September 29, 2016

Idaho pot activists launch new campaign for medical marijuana

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 12:20 PM


A new initiative petition seeking to reform Idaho’s stringent marijuana laws has hit the streets. 

Earlier this month, the Idaho Secretary of State's Office approved a petition that, if passed into law, would create a medical marijuana program in the Gem State. Current Idaho law takes a particularly harsh approach to marijuana compared to neighboring states, which allow some sort of medical use of the drug or have outright legalized it like Washington and Oregon. In Idaho, possession of cannabis is a misdemeanor offense and the state doesn’t sanction the medical use of the drug.

If the initiative qualifies for the ballot and is passed, Idaho will join 25 other states that have a medical marijuana law. The initiative includes a long list of qualifying conditions that encompasses cancer, glaucoma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and others. Patients that qualify for the program established by the initiative can legally possess 24 ounces of usable marijuana and 12 plants.

“We didn’t want to leave anything out,” says Angela Osborn, board secretary for the Idaho Medical Marijuana Association, or IMMA, the group sponsoring the petition. “We didn’t want to leave a patient out; we didn’t want to leave a disease out. We want it super simple and to help as many people as possible.”

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Condon settles ethics complaint, suicide calls to Spokane police and other news

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 9:08 AM


On the Cover: This week on the cover, staff writer Daniel Walters examines a single street's divide between the West Central Neighborhood and the swanky new Kendall Yards development.

NEWS: Been living under a rock in Spokane for the past year? Here's everything you need to know. (The police chief's potty mouth, the mayor's secret meetings, a botched "investigation," and whether or not public officials were honest about it all.)

FOOD: You guys, Nectar Beer & Wine is opening a second location in the Perry District, and Allie's Vegan Pizzeria & Cafe is also opening a second location on the South Hill. Read about them here.

NEWS: A woman who was allegedly gang raped during an off-campus party in 2013 is suing North Idaho College in federal court for intentionally misleading her about her Title IX rights and not investigating the attackers. 


• Spokane police rush to help someone thinking of suicide about three times per day, according to a new report released by the department. The report is based on 556 "suicidal person" calls from the first half of 2016. (Spokesman-Review)

• Two Lakeland Jr. High students were found with "hit lists" and arrested yesterday. The juveniles, ages 13 and 14, were booked into the Kootenai County Juvenile Detention Center. (KXLY)

• A 14-year-old boy in South Carolina killed his father and then shot two boys and a teacher at an elementary school near his home. All three victims at the school sustained non-life threatening injuries. (CNN)

• A commuter train crash in New Jersey this morning has killed at least 1 person and injured at least 100 more, according to initial reports. (New York Times

• In a case that will directly impact the Washington Redskins, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on whether or not a disparaging registered trademark is protected free speech under the first amendment. (Washington Post)

• Police abuse of confidential databases is rampant nationwide, an investigation by the Associated Press found. 
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

North Idaho College sued in federal court for its response to a reported gang rape in 2013

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 5:06 PM

A woman who says she was gang raped at an off-campus party in 2013 has sued North Idaho College, accusing the school of forcing her to re-encounter her attackers in her dormitory and of intentionally misleading her about her rights under federal Title IX standards. 

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, the assault took place when the victim was a 17-year-old freshman at NIC in November 2013. She became intoxicated at the party, but when she was falling in and out of consciousness, she recalls three men that she knew sexually assaulting her, the lawsuit says. 

The following day, the complaint filed in court says that the victim texted her friend — a resident assistant at the time — describing the incident, including how one man was standing by "asking for a turn" during the assault. The 17-year-old also explained to her friend how she felt "disgusted with herself" afterward. The friend notified her supervisor about the incident, and eventually the school's vice president of student services and a campus counselor were both notified.

The lawsuit contends that NIC officials did nothing to investigate the men she says attacked her. Instead, it states, they attempted to convince her to move out of the dorms, and "thereafter punished" her for her actions "in the wake of the emotional and psychological turmoil," the lawsuit says. 

About a month after the incident, the resident assistant at the dorm noted that the victim entered the dorm at 1:35 am "distraught and intoxicated," saying "all she wants to do is drink to forget what happened." Soon after that, the school had her sign a "behavior contract" to address her drinking issue. The school then assigned the resident assistant to track when the victim came and went from the dorm, according to the lawsuit. 

The victim was disciplined by NIC in April 2014 for writing graffiti on the windows that expressed her dissatisfaction with the way she was being treated by the school, the complaint says.

The lawsuit says the school then intentionally misled her regarding her Title IX rights, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. When the victim asked the Title IX coordinator if the assault "qualified" for a Title IX complaint, the coordinator responded that he did not understand what she meant by "qualify for a complaint," but that it did fall under the purview of Title IX and it was his job to investigate all allegations. 

NIC spokesman Tom Greene says the college cannot comment on pending litigation. 

Rebecca Rainey, an Idaho attorney representing the young woman in the case, says her client reported the assault to police the spring after the November assault, but no charges were filed. Rainey says the men involved were not named in the lawsuit because she says the lawsuit is about "the school's lack of response and inaction." 
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Condon strikes deal, avoiding ethics commission hearing over alleged dishonesty

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 5:03 PM

NOW member Sherry Jones explains why she decided to settle the organization's ethics complaint against the mayor, instead of grilling the mayor on his alleged dishonesty - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • NOW member Sherry Jones explains why she decided to settle the organization's ethics complaint against the mayor, instead of grilling the mayor on his alleged dishonesty

For over nine months, a crucial question has been hanging before the city's ethics commission: Was Mayor David Condon honest or dishonest when he said "no," at a press conference a year ago, when the Inlander asked him if there had been any sexual harassment complaints "lodged" against former police Chief Frank Straub?

Two months after that clear denial, records revealed that former police spokeswoman Monique Cotton had personally complained to the mayor and City Administrator Theresa Sanders that Straub had grabbed her "ass" and tried to kiss her. 

Since December, the ethics commission, Condon's attorney Jim King, and the National Organization for Women's attorney, Rick Eichstaedt, have been fighting over the minutia of that press conference to determine whether the mayor's comment violated the city's ethics code. 

But just an hour and a half before the mayor was scheduled to be grilled before the ethics commission, NOW and Condon came to an agreement: NOW would withdraw their complaint in exchange for seats on the mayor's  "21st Century Workforce Task Force." Specifically, they'd get seats on "Gender Pay and Equity Report" and the "Sexual Harassment Policies and Procedures" subcommittees, where they would have the ability to weigh on the process modifying the city's sexual harassment, gender equity, and workforce training policies. It would also guarantee mandatory sexual harassment training for city employees.

"This was a very difficult decision for us," Sherry Jones, with NOW, said at a press conference at noon. "Exacting a pound of the mayor's flesh was never our goal. We wanted accountability, yes, but more importantly, we wanted to make sure that sexual harassment complaints never again go uninvestigated."

While Condon had already committed to reform the city's equity and sexual harassment policies, the settlement guaranteed NOW would be able to have input in the process and set a deadline to have the process completed by the end of the year. 

“The city is committed to protecting the well-being of our employees and ensuring they are treated fairly and appropriately, including addressing sexual discrimination and harassment,” Condon said in a press release. “This task force brings a tremendous mix of perspectives that will create a transformational organization to become the employer of choice.”

The settlement, however, did not include an admission of guilt from the mayor and did not include anything to specifically address NOW's concerns about the mayor's dishonesty. 

"We wanted to hold Mayor Condon's feet to the fire on this issue, for sure," Jones says. "On the other hand, are we going to be able to guarantee he's always honest in the future or anyone is? No."

But focusing narrowly on the question of dishonesty, Jones says, wouldn't necessarily have pushed forward the ultimate goal of improving workplace safety and equality for female city employees. 

"The struggle with dealing with the ethics commission is... so what? He gets a $75 fine? What really happens with the result of that?" Eichstaedt says, referencing the small fine the commission leveled against Sanders for being untruthful. "If we want to effectuate systemic change, that might not be the best outcome." 

He also says the agreement also calls for the mayor to review the ethics commission process itself, a process which Eichstaedt says needs reform. 

"It doesn’t have to be a process where you have to lawyer up to file a claim," Eichstaedt says. "If you’re somebody like the mayor and you're the subject of a frivolous claim, you also [shouldn't] have to lawyer up." 

City Council President Ben Stuckart has previously floated the idea of Spokane, like Chicago, having an "inspector general" who would independently conduct investigations and assess ethics hearings. 

By settling, however, it leaves the actual ethical question unanswered: Was the mayor honest or dishonest in his statement to the Inlander? I've combed through the documents filed by King and Eichstaedt, public records, and the massive report by independent investigator Kris Cappel to attempt to summarize the best cases for and against Condon.

The case for "honesty"
In his briefs, the mayor's attorney, Jim King, argues that the mayor wasn't unethical because his statement was true, that all the pieces of evidence" unmistakably show that Mayor Condon was honest the press conference."

At that time, no one had filed an official, formal complaint with the city regarding sexual harassment, King says. 

A second and a half after the mayor's denial, Condon was asked by KHQ reporter Patrick Erickson: "There have been rumors of an inappropriate relationship between the Chief and Ms. Dugaw. Has that been brought up at all? Was that any part of this as well?" 

The mayor responded, "The critical thing is the management style. The issue with the — that you speak of ... there has been no official filings of anything." 

King argues that Condon had no idea that "Ms. Dugaw" was a reference to Cotton's maiden name, and that the mayor's comment, in fact, was a clarification of his response to the Inlander, that the mayor was only referring to the lack of official filings, when he denied there had been any sexual harassment complaints. 

And while King doesn't mention this, City Administrator Theresa Sanders' own notes detailing the conversation she had with Cotton over sexual harassment, quoted Cotton as saying she "cannot be party to a complaint regarding sexual harassment. This person has hurt me enough. I don't want to be hurt by him anymore."

If Sanders' quotes are accurate, it suggests that Cotton herself didn't believe she was making a complaint by bringing her allegations to the mayor and Sanders. She had pleaded with the mayor, Sanders, and city spokesman Brian Coddington to keep her complaint confidential.

For eight of the nine months that this ethics complaint had been argued, the debate focused on the definition of the phrase "complaint," with King preferring a very narrow definition and Eichstaedt preferring a much broader one.  

But when the Yakima County Superior Court Judge Blaine Gibson dismissed the recall charges against Condon, he seized upon another word: "lodged." 

He cited the Inlander's vibrant active verb choice as a reason for dismissing the charge. The verb "lodged," the judge argued, could imply something more formal than a casual complaint. 

"The problem is one of semantics," Gibson said. "I think most people would understand the word 'lodged' to refer to something more formal than simply complaining."

Indeed, the Cambridge dictionary definition of "lodge" includes the definition "to formally make a complaint to an official." Gibson did not believe an issue of semantics met the very high bar required to initiate a recall in Washington state. So it's reasonable to think that it would not meet the standard for "dishonesty" before the ethics commission either.

The case for "dishonesty"
The Merriam-Webster definition of the verb "lodge" includes, "to lay (as a complaint) before a proper authority." 

You better believe that Cotton laid her complaint, about sexual harassment, before to the proper authorities. She met with the mayor himself in her lawyer Bob Dunn's office, and alluded to inappropriate touching by Straub.

She'd discussed her concerns about harassment in a phone call with City Administrator Theresa Sanders, Straub's immediate superior, where she said Straub had grabbed her "ass" and tried to kiss her. She told her she had the texts that could prove it. She alluded to the harassment again, in writing, in a text message. Her allegations were a major reason why she was moved out of the police department and into a position in the parks department.

And Cotton's allegations caused the city to conduct a "limited investigation" into the matter, Cappel found: The mayor and Sanders brought Cotton's allegations to city attorneys, who told Straub that Cotton had accused him of sexual harassment. Straub, according to Condon and Sanders, denied the allegations. 

"He investigated, he disciplined, he moved Monique," Eichstaedt says of Condon. "It smelled, tasted, felt look exactly like a complaint."

Not only that, but you want formal? How about a letter, chock full of legal language to and from her lawyer to Condon and Sanders, intended to "formalize" a request for the mayor to approve a “minor contract claim” of $13,276.89.  

"A promise was made for services rendered, my client relied on those promises, and then performed as requested," Dunn wrote.

And in this letter, Dunn threatened to file a formal legal claim — the first step to a lawsuit — that would accuse Straub of "predatory and sexually inappropriate misconduct and outrageous interactions, including physical and emotional assaults with and against subordinate female City employees" and of "causing and creating a work environment so sexually charged and hostile that it caused the constructive discharge of my client."

And while no legal claim was filed, the Inlander's question was about whether any complaint was lodged, not whether a formal legal claim had been filed. Arguably, a "minor contract claim" memorialized in a letter would count as an official filing. 

Furthermore, the report that the mayor and city council commissioned from independent investigator Kris Cappel refers specifically to Monique Cotton's sexual harassment allegations as a "complaint" more than 35 times

Even when Cappel found that the city had addressed Cotton's allegations effectively, she referred to it, unabashedly, as a complaint.  
Ms. Cotton was reassigned to the Parks Division as a result of complaints she raised about Chief Straub in April 2015. Those complaints included allegations of sexual harassment and offensive and inappropriate treatment by Chief Straub during a meeting on March 31, 2015. Ms. Cotton’s complaints were shared with Mayor Condon in a private meeting at Ms. Cotton’s attorney’s office, and with Ms. Sanders in a series of in-person meetings, telephone calls, and text messages.
In fact, Cappel titles a section of the report "What constitutes a 'complaint?" In it, she notes that the city code doesn't formally define "complaint." She notes that HR has investigated situations based only on complaints made orally. 
While the SPD policy is somewhat ambiguous in that it refers to both “complaints” and “concerns,” the context and references throughout the policy indicate that an employee’s concerns or allegations need not be communicated formally (as in writing or using a specific form) to constitute a complaint.”
Ultimately, the question of honesty often comes down to intent. Did Condon believe that there actually had been any sexual harassment complaint lodged against Straub when he denied it to the Inlander?

But Eichstaedt points out that Condon acknowledges that Cotton's complaining would be a "complaint" in his interview with Cappel. 
Q: Did you consider what she [Ms. Cotton] was telling you – and that is
that she was sexually harassed by Straub. Did you consider that she
was making a complain

A: In the sense I – yes. I turned that over to – to – to Theresa to – to
further take through the process, yeah.

Q: So you did – you did think that Monique was making a complaint? She
was complaining about something?

A: She was complaining about something, yes.

Not only that, he argues, Cotton's claim that she'd been inappropriately grabbed by Straub wasn't the only sexual harassment issue at play from Condon's perspective. 

In Condon's interview with Cappel,  he said that sexually graphic language Straub used in the explosive March 31 meeting with Cotton and several members of police leadership "was very uncomfortable for [Cotton] in a sexual harassment connotation."

According to witnesses, Straub yelled at Cotton that she'd "f—-ed him," made him "look like a f—-ing asshole" and told her she'd "f—-ed him in the ass and broke the d—- off."

And even though Cotton wasn't interviewed as part of the investigation over the March 31 incident, and even though she discussed the issue in the same meetings where she disclosed her sexual harassment, King himself has referred to Cotton's verbal concerns about the March 31 incident as "a complaint" multiple times. 

“The Mayor consulted with the city attorney’s office after receiving Ms. Cotton’s complaint of misbehavior after receiving Ms. Cotton’s complaint of misbehavior of Chief Straub  at the March 31 meeting,”  King said at the recall hearing. 

But there's another issue, beyond whether what Condon said was technically true: Trust. When public officials or reporters feel they've been deceived, they're more likely to be skeptical of statements in the future. 

"I do think that the battle between the press and the administration has sometimes tightened into an insoluble knot, as has the conflict between the mayor and the City Council," Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal wrote shortly after the release of the Cappel report. 

In a podcast from August, Spokesman-Review reporter Nick Deshais detailed all the ways the city tried to shut down his reporting on the Straub scandal.

“From the very beginning, they’ve come up with any way they can think of to not let this information get out there,” Deshais said. “I’ve got, ‘It didn’t happen.' I got, I’m being 'destructive.' ... They say, “Nick, these are people’s lives. You know, basically trying to put some guilt trip on me that I’m hurting people.”

That's one reason, he said, he casts such a wide net when he files a public records request. He doesn't want public officials to be able to find a way to dance around it. 

“There is a little bit of — when I know people are lying to my face, I kind of want to just prove them wrong,” Deshais said. “We want to get the truth out. [City spokesman Brian Coddington] wants to get a story that makes the city look good [out].”

But as for City Council President Ben Stuckart, who's repeatedly called the mayor a "liar," says the relationship between himself and the mayor has been thawing since the recall was rejected earlier this month.

Last Friday, for the first time in six months, Stuckart says, he and the mayor had a wide-ranging, free-flowing conversation about a slew of different topics.

"We had a frank discussion, the day the recall failed. I think both the administration and council are really eager to move forward," Stuckart says. "We’ve got to hit the reset button. He agreed." 

And Stuckart says that reset starts with recognizing that both have the best interests of the city at heart and choosing to trust each other.

"To me, that means really taking everything at face value and not questioning it," Stuckart says.

Condon and Stuckart, friends again
  • Condon and Stuckart, friends again

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Witness tampering, bridge bashing and other fun Spokane things in today's headlines

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 9:40 AM

Study? What am I? Some kind of *nerd?*
  • Study? What am I? Some kind of *nerd?*


License to Kill

Columnist Shawn Vestal argues that cops still need to be given some slack when it comes to use of force — but not the incredible amount of leeway given to officers in Washington state. [Spokesman-Review]

You Must Be This Short to Ride the Underpass

Another day, another truck running into another bridge. [KREM]

"Will You Accept a Collect Call From: I Swear If You Testify I'll..."
If you're in jail, don't to tell your girlfriend, who a judge has placed no-contact order on you for, not to testify. At least, if you do, don't do it on the phones that the jail is recording. [Spokesman-Review


But that would take away some of his cool dude slacker mystique!
Trump's aides are pleading with him to maybe practice a little bit before the next debate, even though it's really boring.  [New York Times]

In Soviet Russia, Plane Shoots Down Missile
Yeah, the missile that took down the passenger plane in the Ukraine was fired from inside Russia. In my day that kinda thing woulda sparked a thermonuclear war

Frog of Hate
Why a Cartoon Frog was just named a hate symbol.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New police chief tapped, WSU player cleared, debate reaction and morning news

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 9:13 AM



NEWS: The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that a homeless woman doesn't have to pay $15 per month in fines imposed by a Benton County District Court judge. 

ARTS & CULTURE: Steve Martin and Martin Short cancelled the show they had scheduled in Spokane this fall. 

NEWS: Spokane's property crime rate is still bad, but not as bad as it used to be, according to data released by the FBI


Post-debate debate
A majority of pundits and pollsters — other than Fox News, Breitbart and the Drudge Report — agree that Hillary Clinton won the presidential debate against Donald Trump last night. Trump, in the spin room after the debate, said that he was given a "defective mic," and this morning doubled down on attacks against a former Miss Universe winner after Clinton brought up how Trump used to call her "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping." 

Gubernatorial debate
Closer to home, the two Washington gubernatorial candidates, Gov. Jay Inslee and Bill Bryant, squared off in their own debate Monday night. The two clashed on education, taxes, mental health, and homelessness. (Seattle Times)

No charges for WSU football player

Shalom Luani, who was arrested on felony assault charges after police said he threw a punch that broke someone's nose at a Domino's Pizza, won't be charged, the Whitman County prosecutor says. The prosecutor said there was evidence that Luani threw the punch, but that a jury would not be able to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn't self defense. (Spokesman-Review)

Police chief pick
Mayor David Condon again picked Craig Meidl as police chief, but this time after Meidl went through a selection process. (Spokesman-Review)
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Spokane's property crime rate officially plummeted more than 12 percent last year — but it's still pretty bad

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Property crime rates per 100,000. The apparent plunge in property crimes in Spokane in 2005 is a bit deceptive — the county eliminated the Crime Check phone number that same year, making it harder to report property crimes. In 2008, Crime Check was established, and it rose back to its baseline level - DANIEL WALTERS GRAPH
  • Daniel Walters graph
  • Property crime rates per 100,000. The apparent plunge in property crimes in Spokane in 2005 is a bit deceptive — the county eliminated the Crime Check phone number that same year, making it harder to report property crimes. In 2008, Crime Check was established, and it rose back to its baseline level

Looking at Spokane's internal CompStat reports, it appeared that the property-crime rate had fallen significantly from 2014 to 2015. But CompStat can be messy, plagued with redundancies and holes. For example, it doesn't include attempted property crimes in its total calculations, where the data released by the FBI does. 

So for months we've been waiting, twiddling our thumbs, for the official data to come in. 

Finally, the FBI released the national data last week, confirming about a 12 percent decrease in the Spokane property crime rate. Violent crime also slightly decreased by about 4.7 percent. 

That's good news.

City Council President Ben Stuckart points to the more decentralized precinct model, increased funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (C.O.P.S.) program, and the decision to hire more police officers as possible reasons for the improvement. 

However, Spokane's property-crime rate still remains more than two times higher than the Washington state average and more than four times higher than the Idaho state average. Property crime still has not fallen below 2011 levels, before Mayor David Condon came into office. As we reported earlier this year, crime spiked up for several years after an announcement that the department was eliminating its property crimes unit.  

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WA Supreme Court overrules judge's order for homeless woman to pay $15 monthly fines

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 3:07 PM


Briana Wakefield came from an abusive family. Both of her parents were addicts, and by 14 she began winding her way through the foster system. Plagued by bipolar disorder, ADHD and PTSD, by age 18 Wakefield was unable to work due to her disabilities and lived off Social Security benefits. She got $170 a month in food stamps, as well, according to court documents. 

Wakefield has four kids, all of whom are in foster care. She is trying to get her kids back — attending mental health counseling once every other week, drug counseling once a week, Narcotics Anonymous meetings two or three times a week, parenting classes and visiting her kids for hours at a time, court documents say. Wakefield, 27, is also homeless, but she's trying to find housing.

In the midst of her hardships, Wakefield was also dealing with low-level misdemeanor convictions: theft in 2009, disorderly conduct in 2010 and harassment in 2012, according to court records. The latter two charges landed her with legal financial obligations (LFOs) imposed at the discretion of a Benton County District Court judge in a case that landed in the State Supreme Court.

Last year, the Inlander wrote about a local woman's struggle to get out from under decades-old court fines. You can read that story here.

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Inlander debate party tonight, Spokane police chief named today and more headlines

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 9:42 AM

Things may be bad now, but at least there's no JibJab cartoon. - DERRICK KING ILLUSTRATION
  • Derrick King illustration
  • Things may be bad now, but at least there's no JibJab cartoon.


I'm pitching a gritty modern reboot called "Vape Signals"
This Friday, Sherman Alexie will joined the cast members of the movie he penned, Smoke Signals.
Every time the future of the Republic looks doomed, take a drink 
Tonight, starting at 5 pm, join Inlander reporters and the hoi polloi of Spokane at nYne to watch Hillary Clinton fight for the presidency up against... wait a minute... this can't be right... Donald J. Trump?! 

When Ginger closes a door she opens a Window Dressing
Letting artsy-fartsy businesses have vacant properties until they're ready to rent? Why, that's a great idea.  

Parton: The Interruption
Our award-winning music critic Laura Johnson reviews the Dolly Parton show.

AP for you, AP for me

To what extent has the influence of cultural policy, academic innovations and expanded access contributed to the rise of diversity of those who take Advanced Placement tests at Spokane Public Schools? Show your work, and feel free to use charts and diagrams. 


This is what it sounds like when govs lie

Are you ready for the big debate tonight? I speak, of course, of Jay "Dr. J" Inslee vs. Bill "Bry-Bry" Bryant. It's about to get downright gubernatorial up in here. (Spokesman-Review)

Let's deja vu like we used to
Another Monday, another police chief announcement from David Condon. Is it going to be the same guy he picked a few weeks ago? (KXLY)

Another Washington State mass shooting
Five people were shot dead in a mall north of Seattle this weekend. Here's how Spokane law enforcement is preparing for such an event. (Spokesman-Review)


Don't want to alarm you, but the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy  cover now clearly reads "Panic!"
If you're anti-Trump, right about now is the time to be really, really worried. (NY Mag)

Artful Dodgers
You've got questions, they've got answers that in no way attempts to answer the question. Take this quiz to see if you can guess how Trump and Clinton prefer to dodge questions
(New York Times)

Beck's Call  
Glenn Beck realizes that maybe this Ted Cruz guy isn't making decisions entirely based on his own unwavering moral principles
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Friday, September 23, 2016

Spokane Public Schools recognized for improving equality in AP courses

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 2:23 PM

Steven Gering, Spokane Public Schools chief academic officer - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Steven Gering, Spokane Public Schools chief academic officer

For years, minority groups have been underrepresented in Advanced Placement classrooms across the country. Even though black and Latino students make up 37 percent of students in high schools in the U.S., only 27 percent enrolled in AP courses that offer college-level curricula, and only 18 percent passed an AP exam, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Over the last five to six years, Spokane Public Schools has made an effort to get more students to take more rigorous coursework. In the process, says Chief Academic Officer Steven Gering, the district has discovered that sometimes the reason students don't take higher-level coursework is simple: they don't think they can. Or they don't know what they'd be getting into. 

"Some of it was kids saying, 'If somebody encouraged me, I would do it,'" Gering says. 

So Spokane Public Schools has made an effort to do just that, and they're seeing it make a difference. The U.S. Department of Education recognized Spokane Public Schools this week as one of the first districts in the nation to commit to including students of all backgrounds in AP courses, which many colleges see as evidence that applicants can challenge themselves academically. That puts them on a list of 117 districts who are now part of the Lead Higher Initiative through Equal Opportunity Schools, an effort to identify 100,000 "low-income students and students of color" ready for AP courses by fall 2017.

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