Monday, February 27, 2017

A private investigator didn't reveal Rachel Dolezal's lies—the Coeur d'Alene Press did

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 4:56 PM

Rachel Dolezal has continued to make international news, with the upcoming release of her new memoir. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Rachel Dolezal has continued to make international news, with the upcoming release of her new memoir.

This weekend, the Spokesman-Review had a quick takedown of another outlandish claim in the latest international profile of former NAACP President Rachel Dolezal: that Dolezal's lies about her race were revealed because former Police Chief Frank Straub, wanting to sabotage her work on the police ombudsman commission, hired a private investigator who uncovered Dolezal's subterfuge.

But while it busts one myth, the Spokesman-Review article perpetuates another: That it was private investigator Ted Pulver that played the crucial role in revealing that Dolezal was pretending to be black this entire time: "The private investigator who discovered information that led to former NAACP Spokane chapter leader Rachel Dolezal’s family identifying her as white has denied he was hired by then-police Chief Frank Straub."

In fact, the credit goes to the Couer D'Alene Press, the paper that actually broke the story.

"Rachel Dolezal was a case that, when I started working on it, there were other people working on it as well," says Pulver. Pulver says he did tip off the Spokesman-Review and KXLY that he was working on the case. But when he contacted reporter Jeff Selle at the Coeur d'Alene Press, Selle was already working on the story.

"He was on the case before I met him," Pulver says.

Selle and his fellow Press reporter Maureen Dolan say that it was her spate of hate-crime allegations that inspired them to start investigating.

(The Inlander started investigating for the same reason, but the Coeur d'Alene Press got to the truth first.)

Pulver says he and Selle compared notes on their separate investigations.

"We had the back and forth. We both had a little bit of something," Pulver says. "We both were very interested in pursuing it. He did his thing, and I did my thing."

Selle, in a comment on Facebook, confirms that he spoke with Pulver, but says that the only thing that Pulver had that he didn't was an interview with her ex-husband — an interview the Press ultimately didn't end up using.

"I didn't have to convince Rachel's parents to talk to Jeff Selle," Pulver says.

After the Press story broke, KXLY's famous interview with Dolezal helped the story go viral, but even there, the Press provided an assist.

"I am the one who provided KXLY with the photo of her so-called African-American father and her birth certificate that her mother sent me," Selle writes. KXLY was more than generous enough to credit the Press with the scoop.

(Pulver wouldn't say exactly who his clients were — only that there were more than one of them, some of them were "very, very affluent," from out of state, and that absolutely none of them were associated with law enforcement.)

So why does all this matter? Because the Dolezal revelation isn't a story about mysterious forces successfully using a P.I. to take down a troublesome racial justice activist. Nor is it the story of an embittered family spontaneously deciding to call up a local newspaper to out their actually-white daughter.

Instead, it's the story about two reporters at a small-town publication picking up the phone and doing the legwork to find the truth.

"This 'private-investigator conspiracy' is just ridiculous," Selle writes. "I was the one who contacted Rachel's parents."
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Spokane police takes a 'big step backward' with transparency

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 3:37 PM

When a cop is accused of doing something wrong — whether it be an actual crime or a violation of internal policies — the department's internal affairs office investigates.

Those investigations have historically included the officers' names and details of their behavior, and investigative records were posted on the Spokane police website.

That is no longer the case.

In the spring of 2016, SPD scrubbed its site of the investigations and only recently replaced them with watered-down summaries of 2016 cases, modeled after the Seattle Police Department. No summaries from subsequent years, or from 2017 so far, are posted. Currently, SPD does not intend to write summaries for cases before 2016, Meidl says, due to lack of sufficient staff.

"Right now our level of transparency is limited by staffing," Chief Craig Meidl says, adding that the department has lost at least two clerical employees since former Chief Frank Straub left the department.

"We essentially wanted to move away from having names on the website," SPD Assistant Chief Justin Lundgren told city council members during the Public Safety Committee meeting last week. "We've been hearing complaints from witnesses, witness officers and accused officers."

Lundgren also explained that posting information on the internet ensures that it will live forever. Although not illegal, Lundgren acknowledged, publishing investigations online means the public can access the information beyond the time limit past which SPD is required to retain the records.

"Sometimes the names, under the law, aren't allowed to be redacted," he said. "So unless there's some sort of specific concern by the complainant or by the officers involved, there's very narrow legal justification that we have to redact names."

In other words, part of SPD's gripe is that they're not allowed to redact information that used to be easy to access on their website.

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Oscars blunder, Zags fall, new homeless shelter and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 9:15 AM


click image Rose Hemingway and Curt Hansen perform in the traveling production of Kinky Boots. - MATTHEW MURPHY
  • Rose Hemingway and Curt Hansen perform in the traveling production of Kinky Boots.

WHAT'S UP: We could all use a few good laughs, so here's a few ways you can tickle your funny bone and have some fun this March: catch comedian Brian Posehn at the Spokane Comedy Club, see Workaholics' Adam Devine at The Bing, and don't miss the touring version of Broadway hit Kinky Boots (read our story about it here).

FOOD: Need some help deciding which Inlander Restaurant Week eatery to check out this week? Check out some opening night reports (raviolo al uovo reviews and prime rib analysis) from Inlander team members — you have until this Saturday to get a piece of the goodness.

NEWS: Spokane opens its doors to homeless families at a new daytime shelter, Open Doors, which offers hot showers, case management and emergency shelter.


It appears so
click image "La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz holds up the winner card reading actual Best Picture winner "Moonlight" with actor Warren Beatty onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards. - KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES
  • "La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz holds up the winner card reading actual Best Picture winner "Moonlight" with actor Warren Beatty onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards.

The Zags' run for an unbeaten regular season came to an untimely end after Saturday's 79-71 upset by BYU over former-No. 1 Gonzaga. (Spokesman-Review)

And Best Gaffe goes to...
One wrong envelope and it all goes to chaos — Moonlight took home best picture after an Oscars blunder in which the mistaken La La Land cast was still up on stage giving speeches when they found out that they were actually not the winners. Check out the play-by-play. (New York Times, CNN)

Father of fallen Navy SEAL calls out Trump admin
After declining to meet with Trump, Bill Owens is calling for an investigation into the death of his son William "Ryan" Owens during a late-January raid in Yemen, questioning why there was a mission so early into the administration. (CNN)

Have a great week!
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Friday, February 24, 2017

Spokane opens doors to homeless families at daytime shelter

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 2:30 PM

It’s Thursday morning. You wake up before 7 a.m. after staying in a shelter overnight, step out into the bone-chilling 24-degree weather, and have to figure out where you can take your kids for the day until the warm space reopens in the evening.

Until December, your only option might have been to go to the library, a grocery store, anywhere public enough to let you hang out for a while sheltered from the cold.

Now, says Steve Allen, executive director of Family Promise of Spokane, for the first time in Spokane’s history, homeless families have another option during the day, designed just for them.

Open Doors

Allen was joined by Mayor David Condon and other city officials Thursday as they 

Spokane Mayor David Condon speaks at a ribbon cutting for the city's first daytime shelter for homeless families Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. - SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL
  • Samantha Wohlfeil
  • Spokane Mayor David Condon speaks at a ribbon cutting for the city's first daytime shelter for homeless families Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.

celebrated the recent opening of Open Doors family day shelter, which offers hot showers, case management and emergency shelter to families in need.

The shelter, located off Richard Allen Court in East Central, is open 7 days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Since opening in early December, the shelter has had about 30 to 40 people walk through the door every day, says Joe Ader, Open Doors director.

“We’re one of few shelters that doesn’t separate men and women, so families can stay together,” Ader says.

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Did the Spokesman-Review just jinx the undefeated Zags?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 9:58 AM

Want to see into the future? Subscribers to the Spokesman-Review are able to do just that today — reading about Gonzaga's perfect regular season record (30-0!) a day before the Zags play their final game on Saturday against BYU. (Thursday night, the Gonzaga crushed San Diego to take their record to 29-0 on the season.)

You can find the digital version of the four-page section, with tomorrow's date, on the SR's website this morning — with the paper declaring, "After completing a perfect regular season, Gonzaga sets its sights on making an unprecedented postseason run."

Obviously, it's a safe bet that the No.1 team in America will beat BYU on their home court — catch the action on ESPN at 7:15 Saturday — but then again ... talk to old President Dewey about hubris in newspapers.

UPDATED 11:40 AM TODAY: Fearing the wrath of the basketball gods — and Zag fans everywhere — the Spokesman-Review has now taken down the special, end-of-the-season section.

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Restaurant week kicks off, Spokane physicians at a loss, and morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 9:48 AM


click image Fudge from Saranac Public House, one of the 101 eateries participating in Inlander Restaurant Week.
  • Fudge from Saranac Public House, one of the 101 eateries participating in Inlander Restaurant Week.

FOOD: Inlander Restaurant Week (Feb. 23-Mar. 4) is in full swing — check out some of our menu picks, learn more about the charity and people this week benefits, some food trends  you can try out, and more in our IRW Guide out now.

MUSIC: Julia Keefe's path to this year's Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival headlining stage started as a Spokane middle-schooler.

FOOD: New all-ages venue Lucky Puppy joins its big brother Scotty's Doghouse as a Logan neighborhood hangout.


Docs can't tell us what's up
The two Spokane physicians who filed a $191 million bankruptcy struggled to explain their own personal finances at their hearing yesterday, much less the business decisions behind their failed medical companies. (Spokesman-Review)
click image Gavin Grimm, 17, a transgender student with a lawsuit before the Supreme Court next month, was embraced by Vanessa Ford, whose daughter is transgender, at a rally outside the White House on Wednesday. - AL DRAGO/THE NEW YORK TIMES
  • AL DRAGO/The New York Times
  • Gavin Grimm, 17, a transgender student with a lawsuit before the Supreme Court next month, was embraced by Vanessa Ford, whose daughter is transgender, at a rally outside the White House on Wednesday.

The face behind the case
Meet 17-year-old Gavin Grimm, the transgender student and lead plaintiff in the "bathroom debate" court case
 that's headed to the Supreme Court. (New York Times)

Conservative conference
Trump just finished speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC, the event Milo Yiannopoulos was disinvited from recently for his comments about sex between "younger boys and older men").

Trump, who skipped CPAC in 2016 and was booed when he went in 2015, said in nationalist, campaign-era overtones that he's "not representing the globe. I'm representing your country." (CNN)
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Washington schools chief says transgender students will be protected despite Trump

But Idaho is a different story

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 11:20 AM


Wednesday, President Donald Trump rolled back federal guidelines for transgender students that required schools to let those students use the bathrooms of their choice.

The move essentially leaves it up to the states to make decisions on protecting transgender students. And in Washington and Idaho, those protections look much different.

The federal decision won't impact how transgender students are treated in Washington schools, says Chris Reykdal, Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Washington state law will continue to protect transgender students, and losing the federal guidelines shouldn't affect any district policies.

"Our state laws are explicit," Reykdal says. "We must not discriminate against our students, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation."

The federal guidelines unveiled last year by President Obama made more of a difference in Idaho. When Obama directed school districts to let transgender students use the restrooms matching their gender identities in May, Idaho leaders, including Superintentent Sherri Ybarra, objected to the protections. Ybarra called the move "extreme top-down overreach," in a statement, and Gov. Butch Otter said the guidelines disregard states' rights and local control of schools.

The words "gender identity" or "sexual orientation" are not included in Idaho's human rights law.

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Kalispel Tribe announces family-friendly expansion for Northern Quest

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 9:39 AM

An artist's rendering of the future look of the Northern Quest Resort & Casino.
  • An artist's rendering of the future look of the Northern Quest Resort & Casino.

The Kalispel Tribe announced Wednesday its plans for a $20 million expansion of its resort and casino in Airway Heights, most it focused on additional options for people less interested in gambling and more interested in a family getaway.

A supersized arcade focused on non-violent games, a children's entertainment center and daycare, additional dining and shopping options and a new high-end RV park are all part of the expansion that will include 40,000 additional square feet connected to the current south side of the Northern Quest Resort & Casino building.

"We're excited to bring additional family-friendly entertainment options to the West Plains," said Phil Haugen, Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority COO via press release. "For many years, our vision has included the desire to develop the property south of Northern Quest and create an even larger entertainment destination with a true sense of place and community."

The resort plans to break ground on the expansion this spring, with a grand opening of the new features envisioned for spring of 2018. The addition will continue the ongoing evolution of the West Plains as an entertainment destination, which also includes the expected 2017 opening of the Spokane Tribe's Hard Rock Hotel and casino in Airway Heights.
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"New" planets discovered, city still mum on street director ouster and other news

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 9:25 AM


Former Spokane Street Director Mark Serbousek
  • Former Spokane Street Director Mark Serbousek
NEWS: Spokane city officials are still mum on reasons why longtime Street Director Mark Serbousek was booted from his position.

MUSIC: Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen will bring their acoustic blues to the Chateau Rive this Saturday. They're playing two sets 7:30 (sold out) and 10 pm.

GONZAGA: Women weren't allowed to attend Gonzaga University until 1948. A new on-campus exhibit shows how they shaped the campus then and for future students.


Gender Discrimination Suit Settled
The Department of Justice settled a gender discrimination lawsuit with a former Spokane prosecutor. Katherine "Jill" Bolton claimed she was paid less than a male colleague and her authority was undermined by men in the office. Bolton's attorney, Mary Schultz, said the $225,000 settlement was the largest paid by the DOJ for a gender discrimination suit. (Spokesman Review)

Bathroom Discrimination Bolstered
• President Donald Trump reversed Obama's order allowing students to use the bathroom in line with their gender identity. Trump's order reportedly divided members of his cabinet with Attorney General Jeff Sessions opposing the expansion of transgender rights and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos initially opposing Trump's decision. (New York Times)

Racial Discrimination Struck Down
• The U.S. Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a man sentenced to death in Texas can seek a new sentence after his own defense team called a witness who testified that the man was more likely to commit new crimes because he is black. (The Atlantic)

New Planets?
• Astronomers say they've discovered at least seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star 40 light years away. The planets might have water on their surfaces, and could therefore support life. (CNN)
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Spokane Mayor to help celebrate new daytime emergency shelter for families

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 1:22 PM

Spokane Mayor David Condon and organizers from Family Promise of Spokane will celebrate the recent opening of the city's first daytime emergency shelter for families on Thursday morning. 
Mayor Condon
  • Mayor Condon
The ribbon cutting is set for 11 am tomorrow at 631 S. Richard Allen Ct., outside the Emmanuel Family Life Center.

The shelter, called Open Doors, opened in early December, and is open to anyone who is homeless with children. It's open every day from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm.
It was made possible with help from a city grant, and is operated in partnership with the Salvation Army, which runs a night shelter.

Light snacks and a tour of Open Doors will be offered during the event.
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