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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Friday, April 21, 2017

Spokane Valley hostage crisis averted, extremists clash in Berkeley, and other morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 9:48 AM

A rainbow plunges toward downtown Spokane in the early evening of 4/20. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • A rainbow plunges toward downtown Spokane in the early evening of 4/20.


One man's trash, another man's treasure. Or woman's treasure.

Find junk that you can turn into craft supplies tomorrow. It's called recycling, and it's a thing now.

Can you spare 50 dimes?

We've previously reported that you can text "CHANGE" to 50555 to give money to Catholic Charities. You can still do that!


Hostage saved in the Valley
A hostage crisis in Spokane Valley was resolved safely. (Spokesman-Review)

Bridge builders
Blessings Under the Bridge is going to be on Lifetime's Live Life Forward TV show. (Spokesman-Review)

Punishing the sanctuaries

The Justice Department sent warnings to nine "sanctuary city" jurisdictions. But not Spokane, because Spokane isn't a sanctuary city. (New York Times)

Extreme reactions

The far left and far right have gone to war in Berkeley, California. (Washington Post)

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Downtown Spokane Partnership offers "text to donate" option to help House of Charity

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 10:53 AM

Last week, House of Charity announced it would have to stop offering daytime hours at its downtown shelter, and wouldn't be able to sleep about 200 extra people on its floor as it has all winter, after a boost of funding it received from the city runs out on May 1.

For its part, the Downtown Spokane Partnership helped
Downtown Spokane Partnership President Mark Richard speaks at an April 13 press conference about House of Charity funding. - SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL PHOTO
  • Samantha Wohlfeil photo
  • Downtown Spokane Partnership President Mark Richard speaks at an April 13 press conference about House of Charity funding.
 HOC last year with a $25,000 donation, and offered another $25,000 in matching funds, if other people stepped up to help out too.

Until April 14, about $10,000 had been donated for the match, and then Vickerman & Driscoll Financial Advisors pledged $10,000, DSP reports.

Kevin Driscoll told partnership staff that the firm had wanted to donate to HOC for a while and decided to take advantage of the match, DSP announced in a news release.

"(HOC) provides vital services to some of the most disadvantaged members of our community," Driscoll says in the announcement. "We are happy to support them and would hope others join us to enable the 24/7 services to continue."

The partnership is still looking for $5,000 to complete their match, and they have an easy way for people who want to donate small amounts to help.

To donate by phone, text "Change" to 50555 and a $5 donation will be added to your next phone bill.
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The legit origin of 4/20, Spokane Spanker fesses up, Bill O'Reilly forced out at Fox and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 9:32 AM


NEWS: Councilman Mike Fagan (and other elected Republicans in Spokane) respond to controversial comments, plus NAACP Spokane chapter President Phil Tyler is stepping down, possibly to run for elected office.

MUSIC: If you have the means, we highly recommend picking some up — our picks for Record Store Day releases.

4/20: It doesn't refer to a cop code for smoking marijuana in progress, and it's not Bob Marley's birthday. Here's the legit story behind the international signifier for all things marijuana.


Are your tushies safe?
A headband-wearing Aeropostale-clad bro says he's the Spokane Spanker. Police have not yet arrested Jonathan Smith, who admitted to assaulting 30 to 50 women on the Centennial Trail over the course of three days. (KHQ)

Bill O'Reilly: Out at Fox News.
  • Bill O'Reilly: Out at Fox News.
Bye-bye, Bill
Longtime Fox News host Bill O'Reilly resigned from his post under embarrassing, controversial circumstances. Allegations of sexual harassment continue to pour in after 21st Century Fox reportedly paid out $13 million in settlements to five women who accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment. (New York Times)

Tragic end for runaway teen
A 17-year-old from Orofino, Idaho, died in a car crash yesterday on Sunny Side Bench Road. The boy, identified by police as Kristian Branden Perez, ran away from his prom Friday and was missing for days before he was found. Perez died the next day. (Spokesman-Review)

"I don't mind if you boo or yell"
U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador held a three-hour town hall Wednesday in Meridian, Idaho, facing questions and criticism of President Donald Trump's administration. The forum was only scheduled to last 90 minutes, but Labrador continued to field questions about Trump's tax returns, the future of health care and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the president's frequent (and costly) visits to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. (Idaho Statesman)
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Phil Tyler announces resignation as NAACP president, hints at run for office

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 4:54 PM

In his final meeting as Spokane NAACP president, Phil Tyler emcees a heated discussion about controversial statements local leaders made at a March 4 Trump rally. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • In his final meeting as Spokane NAACP president, Phil Tyler emcees a heated discussion about controversial statements local leaders made at a March 4 Trump rally.

Last night's NAACP meeting had been contentious, to say the least.

Most of the meeting had been an interrogation of City Councilman Mike Fagan and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich regarding comments they'd made about transgender rights and President Obama's impact on cop killings. There had been moments of anger and outrage and emotional confession. Long monologues had been delivered about deeply personal experiences. Comments had been made that infuriated those on the left, and comments had been made that had infuriated those on the right.

But as Spokane NAACP President Phil Tyler closes out the night, standing in front of the crowd in a sharp tuxedo with shiny shoes, he doesn't look upset. In fact, it's closer to the opposite. He's beaming.

"Tonight," Tyler says, "will be my final night leading this wonderful organization."

At first, he suggests that he's stepping down to set the stage for other leaders.

"They say you lift as you climb," he says. "I say sometimes, in order to lift, you have to not only reach down but step down."

He celebrates how the organization has grown and thrived.

"I am happy. You've made me happy," he says. "Continue to spread love."

There's applause. But then, like the post-credits scene in a Marvel movie, he drops a hint about what's coming next — a reveal that his motivation for stepping down may not entirely be about clearing the way for new leadership.

"I will add this final caveat," Tyler says. "Our bylaws expressly prohibit an officer holding a publicly elected office."

"(Wink)," Tyler has written in his notes.

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The Stranger interviews Rachel Dolezal, Aaron Hernandez found dead, and morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 9:43 AM


The view from the westside
The Stranger sent a team of writers to Spokane to tell its Seattle readers something that many of us here already know: Spokane, contrary to some popular opinion, is OK. Our literary scene is "blooming," our record store scene is "booming," our food scene is growing, and a city councilwoman doubles as "The Weed Queen." There's also this hard-hitting interview in which Ijeoma Oluo, a black woman, interviews former Inlander columnist Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who identifies as black. Give it a read.

Rachel Dolezal
  • Rachel Dolezal
Standoff in north Spokane
A driver was weaving on U.S. Highway 395 last night. When state troopers tried to pull him over, it started a chase. The driver hit spike strips, then kept driving without tires, then there was a police standoff on Division that involved the bomb squad and a robot. Eventually, he was handcuffed and taken into custody, according to the Washington State Patrol. (KXLY)

Goodbye, Nigel
Gonzaga junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss will declare for the NBA Draft, making him the second Zag to leave (Zach Collins was the other) after the team's memorable Final Four run. (Spokesman-Review)


NFL star/convicted murderer found dead
Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star tight end convicted of murder, apparently hanged himself in prison with a bed sheet, according to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. (Washington Post)

Democrat nearly wins Georgia House seat

In what could have been a referendum on President Trump, a Democrat hoping to win a special congressional election in Georgia narrowly failed to win outright, gaining 48 percent of the vote — he needed 50 percent to avoid a runoff. He'll have another chance to win the seat in June. (New York Times)
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Missing teen found safe in Idaho, Trump faces tax-reform challenge, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 9:23 AM


NEWS: What would have happened if City Council President Ben Stuckart ran against David Condon for mayor in 2015? This previously unreported poll gives us some clues.

MUSIC: Elkfest announces this year's lineup, and it's as 
San Francisco R&B collective Afrolicious is a highlight of this year's Elkfest lineup.
  • San Francisco R&B collective Afrolicious is a highlight of this year's Elkfest lineup.
eclectic as ever. 


Making amends
After a road was illegally plowed through a natural area near High Drive, two city council members called for immediate restoration. Avista is now leading the efforts to restore it. (Spokesman-Review)

Punished for running
An Idaho teenager who went missing after prom on Friday was found safe, according to the Orofino Police Department. Now, he could be criminally charged for running away. (KXLY)

Mall shooter dies in jail
The man accused of killing five people during a mall shooting in western Washington in September was found dead in jail yesterday. The Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney says Arcan Cetin, 20, died of an apparent suicide by hanging himself. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Keeping kids safe
The Coeur d'Alene School District is looking at ways to more effectively check the backgrounds of new hires. This follows a controversy in which a teacher, who lost his chiropractic license for having sex with a patient, was fired. He has since been charged with a sex crime. (Coeur d'Alene Press)

What about your taxes?
As President Trump pushes for tax reform, demands that he release his own taxes may derail any tax overhaul. (New York Times)
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Unreported poll previewed a Condon vs. Stuckart mayoral battle that never was

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 4:02 PM

The face-off that might have been in November 2015.
  • The face-off that might have been in November 2015.

The political action committee had about as a generic a name as you could get: "Spokane Citizens for Political Education."

It only lasted for a few months in 2014 and 2015. Three union organizations — the Washington State Council of County and City Employees, the City of Spokane Managerial & Professional Association, and the Spokane Firefighters Union PAC — donated the entirety of the PAC's $12,600 campaign coffers.

And $12,400 of that was spent hiring a polling firm, EMC Research, to test a key question: How would City Council President Ben Stuckart fare if he ran against Mayor David Condon in the 2015 election?

While the favorable ratings of several other mayoral candidates, including City Councilwoman Candace Mumm and WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown, also were polled, the bulk of the questions were aimed at examining Stuckart and Condon. The phrase "Stuckart for Mayor" at the bottom of the PowerPoint presentation prepared by EMC leaves little doubt about the intentions behind the survey.

Now, the survey has re-emerged as the subject of an April 7 Public Disclosure Commission complaint by Glen Morgan, the same conservative activist who filed the massive PDC complaint that resulted in the resignation of Spokane County Democrats executive director Jim CastroLang.

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Congress gets Obamacare, Spokane judge finds 3 men innocent, and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 9:39 AM


NEWS: The Spokane County Democratic Party not only filed campaign donations late or improperly, but also used money it had set aside only for scholarships to keep things running.

NEWS: A Spokane prosecuting attorney was appointed to fill the
When it comes to North Korea, the U.S. is running out of patience, says Tillerson.
  • When it comes to North Korea, the U.S. is running out of patience, says Tillerson.
late Judge Sam Cozza's spot on the Spokane County Superior Court bench.

NEWS: Three men who were wrongly convicted in a robbery and later found innocent due to lack of evidence have now had their names cleared after a Spokane judge found they were actually innocent, meaning that a lot of state money will likely be coming their way.

MUSIC: Miss the Outercourse and Dancing Plague of 1518 show last Thursday night? Tuck's got you covered.


Congress gets Obamacare, too
The Washington Post takes a look at claims about the health coverage that members of Congress get; it's a little complicated, but many of them are on the exchanges. (Washington Post)

What to do about North Korea
Recent displays to show North Korea's nuclear strength and U.S. efforts to deal with the underlying issues have been compared to the "Cuban missile crisis in slow motion," with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently saying a strategy of patience is ending, the New York Times reports. (New York Times)
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