Thursday, February 12, 2015

Snag hit in mystery retailer deal

Posted By on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 9:45 AM

A large national retailer that’s considering moving into downtown Spokane is objecting to two conditions the city council has placed on it getting legal rights to a stretch of street.

The mystery retailer (sources are worried that if they say who it is, it’ll jeopardize the deal) is eyeing the corner of Main and Wall streets for a new location. But to make the new location work, it would need 17 feet of public right-of-way on Wall Street, meaning that the company would have legal right to it after they pay a fee and the city council signs off on it.

City council is supportive of the project, but in a study session last month several members wanted to impose two conditions on giving the company the right-of-way. Under the conditions, the right-of-way would revert back to the city if the building remained vacant for five years or if the building came down.

But according to Council President Ben Stuckart, these conditions were too much for the bankers financing the retailer and he’s not sure when the project will move forward.

“Apparently it makes it very hard to secure financing for the building,” adds Councilman Mike Allen.

Allen says he doesn’t know what the status of the project is, but he suggests that the city could still grant the right-of-way to the mystery retailer. If things fell through, he says, the city could use its condemnation powers to wrest back the right-of-way.

Bryn West, general manager at River Park Square, a company owned by the Cowles family that has an interest in the project, didn’t return a phone call seeking comment. Neither did Mark Richard, president of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, which is courting the retailer. 
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MB: Fagan refuses to leave health board, suspicious fire on N. Monroe, Ukraine ceasefire

Posted By on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 8:17 AM


Spokane fire officials are investigating a suspicious fire at a vacant building on North Monroe reported around 3 am this morning. (KXLY)

City councilman Mike Fagan staunchly refuses to resign from his position on Spokane Health Board after being asked by council president Ben Stuckart and other members due to his comments about vaccines. (Spokesman-Review)

After 28 years, remains of a missing Spokane teen found in Arizona have been positively identified as Deanna Lee Crisswell. (KXLY)


A fight in the Idaho capital building almost broke out after a Senate committee hearing during which lawmakers voted to repeal a law legalizing the controversial instant-racing machines. (Spokesman-Review)

Demand from consumers for raw milk in Western Washington is increasing. (KREM via King 5)

A ceasefire has been agreed upon over ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and is expected to go into effect on Sunday. (CNN)

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

MB: Three UNC students killed, Mt. Spokane temporarily closes, local school bonds/levies passing

Posted By on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 9:08 AM


Prosecutors won't seek the death penalty against the six defendants in the 2013 murder of Spokane businessman Douglas Carlile. (KREM)

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park has been forced to temporarily close due to unseasonably warm temperatures. (Inlander)

City Council President Ben Stuckart is asking councilman Mike Fagan to leave his position with the county health board after Fagan's recent comments questioning the use of vaccines. (Spokesman-Review)

Bonds and levies for most of the area's school districts appeared to be approved by voters as of last night, yet bond measures for Nine Mile Falls, Orchard Prairie and Cheney were failing. (Spokesman-Review)


A man in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has been accused of shooting and killing three Muslim students last night at the University of North Carolina in what is believed to be a dispute over parking. (CNN)

President Obama is asking Congress to authorize a three-year, limited-scale military campaign against the ISIS terrorist group in the Middle East. (New York Times)

NBC has suspended Nightly News anchor Brian Williams for six months without pay after the fallout over Williams' apparent exaggerations of his coverage of the Iraq War. (Washington Post)
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

MB: Monarch butterflies dying, Hillyard gets BID status, U.S. aid worker killed

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 9:45 AM


City Councilman Mike Fagan questions vaccines' importance; thinks contagious diseases like measles are linked to illegal immigration. (Spokesman-Review)

Greyhound Park Event Center's manager says its instant racing machines are vital to the venue's future, and that it might shut down if they're removed. (Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane City Council voted last night to approve a Business Improvement District in the Hillyard neighborhood. (KXLY)


It's been confirmed that U.S. aid worker and ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller has been killed. (ABC)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife announces plans to help save the monarch butterfly, whose numbers have dropped by 970 million in the past 25 years. (Washington Post)

The public's perceived trust in NBC News anchor Brian Williams has dropped drastically — once considered the 23rd most trusted person in the U.S., he's now at No. 835. (New York Times)
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Monday, February 9, 2015

MB: Alabama allows gay marriage, two dead in Spokane house fire, blizzard hits Boston

Posted By on Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 9:42 AM


A SWAT standoff in Spokane Valley yesterday ended without incident after a man barricaded himself in a shop and threatened to burn it down. (KXLY) 

A local activist is calling for the Spokane County Commissioners to be increased from three to five members. (Spokesman-Review)

Two people died in an early morning house fire in East Spokane on Saturday morning. (KXLY)


BNSF is planning to spend $189 million to improve tracks across Washington state this year. (Tri-City Herald)

We may be enjoying unseasonably warm weather here, but Boston and the rest of the Northeast is bracing for another massive snowstorm. (CNN)

Today, Alabama becomes the latest state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. (NYT)

Some guy named Sam Smith won four Grammys last night, and pop music stars like Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett and Enimem rounded out the rest of the list. (Entertainment Weekly)
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Friday, February 6, 2015

Mysterious white rain strikes Spokane; NWS sends sample to lab

Posted By on Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 2:12 PM


No, not the affordable brand of hairspray.

This morning, commuters on their way to work were stricken with slushy, unidentifiable milk-like rain. Many reported obscured driving conditions and an odd coating of the mystery rain on their vehicles and clothing. Though the National Weather Service here in Spokane has yet to offer an official conclusion on the initial cause or potential hazards of these showers, they are actively exploring all possible explanations and "looking into the source of this phenomena," including speculative reports that volcanic activity in Mexico could be to blame.

"It's still a mystery," says Mark Turner, the observation program leader at NWS. "We sent a sample taken from our rain gauge to the state lab."

Though quick to agree with the general mystique surrounding the rain, Turner is hesitant to sound any sort of alarms.

"I'm not worried," he says.  "[But] it's ash or dust, of some kind."

With more rain and strong winds to come in the days ahead, this unintentional hairspray advertisement could potentially continue for a bit longer than anyone is willing to endure.

Stay tuned.
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MB: CdA trees down, U.S. economy up and green slime memorialized

Posted By on Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 7:56 AM


Many Coeur d'Alene residents are none too happy about the city cutting down hundreds of trees along the lakefront. (Spokesman-Review)

One of Delbert "Shorty" Belton's two killers was sentenced to 20 years in prison. (KXLY)

Police report details new, disturbing aspects of an attack on a transgender woman in downtown Spokane. (Inlander)


Governor Butch Otter's Medicaid work group is recommending Idaho expand the program, but GOP resistance in the legislature makes likelihood of that happening questionable at best. (Idaho Statesman)

The U.S. economy continues to add jobs and raise wages at a steady clip to start 2015. (New York Times)

The massive hack on Anthem, the country's second-largest health insurer, might be a sign of things to come in cyber-security issues in the health care system. (Washington Post)


A nice "Ode to Green Slime." (The Atlantic)
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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Court documents reveal new details in attack on transgender woman

Posted By on Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 3:31 PM

New court documents paint a more detailed picture of an incident involving the assault of a transgender woman in downtown Spokane last week. News of the assault drew over 100 people to city council chambers on Monday to express indignation over the beating of Jacina Carla Scamahorn, a homeless transgender woman. 

An affidavit of facts, released Feb. 4, is based on a police detective’s interviews with Scamahorn, the two suspects, the bartender at Boot’s and a customer. Here are a few big takeaways: 

  • The man who hit her denies being homophobic and says he only struck her once, and suggests that her injuries were self-inflicted.

  • Both men say they did not know that Scamahorn was transgender and deny making disparaging remarks about her not being "normal." 

  • Both men say she instigated the confrontation. Scamahorn spit in the face of one of the men who attacked her.

  • The officer who responded to the incident said he suspected Scamahorn had been drinking.
According to Scamahorn’s account, described in the affidavit, she stepped outside of Boots to the shared patio between the bakery and Zola, an adjacent bar, to get some fresh air and look for her ride. Two men, according to the account, started to make disparaging comments about her clothing and “told her that they were normal people and she wasn’t.” They also used a slur and made comment about her upbringing.

Scamahorn said, according to the affidavit, that Adam Flippen did most of the talking and she spit in his face before retreating to the bakery and sitting in a booth. About three to five minutes later, she told police, Flippen came inside the bakery screaming slurs and that “he was going to make her a bloody mess for spitting in his face.”

Johnny Dandurand, the bartender at Boots, unsuccessfully tried to intervene and left to get the bouncer from Zola, according to Scamahorn. Flippen, Scamahorn said, hit her in the face and then grabbed her by her shirt and knocked her down on her side, kicking her in the face. She started swallowing blood and rolled to her stomach while convulsing and lost consciousness.

Dandurand said he tried to get Flippen to leave and threatened to call the police. Flippen, according to Dandurand, said he was going to “beat her ass for spitting in his face.”

A picture of Marc Fessler captured in a security camera
  • A picture of Marc Fessler captured in a security camera
The affidavit also states that the officer responding to the victim smelled an “odor or intoxicants coming from her person,” although Scamahorn denies drinking.

According to Fessler’s account in the affidavit, he was was minding his own business on the patio with Flippen, another man and a woman they had met when Scamahorn “started giving Flippen crap.” Flippen told her to leave him alone. Scamahorn told Flippen he was a “prejudice asshole" and spit in his face.

Flippen’s account in the affidavit largely matches up with Fessler’s. According to Flippen, he’s not prejudiced and has gay friends. He admitted to hitting the victim in the right temple. He also denied that the conversation about Scamahorn not being normal ever occurred.

The detective showed Flippen a picture of the victim with a bruise under her left eye and a broken nose and facial fractures, which were consistent with multiple blows and a kick to the face.

Adam Flippen captured in a security camera.
  • Adam Flippen captured in a security camera.
His response: “Maybe she did it to herself after they left.”

Flippen, 45, has been charged with second-degree assault and malicious harassment, essentially Washington state’s hate crime statute.

Marc Fessler, 43, has been charged with malicious harassment.

They have retained attorney Rob Cossey and made their first court appearance on Feb. 4.

The police are looking for more witnesses, who are urged to contact Crime Check at 509-456-2233
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MB: Net neutrality, Kevin Pangos' hair and pot vending machines hit Washington

Posted By on Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 8:07 AM


The two men accused of assaulting Jacina Scamahorn at Boots Bakery had their first court appearance, where they denied much of the story in the police report. (KXLY)

Marijuana vending machines have arrived in Washington. (KHQ)

Northern Idaho civic and community leaders are coming out of the woodwork to oppose the horse-racing machines at Greyhound Park. (Inlander)

Want to know if parents where your kid goes to school aren't vaccinating their children? Here's a handy tool to find out. (Seattle Times)


NBC's Brian Williams apparently forgot that he actually wasn't in a helicopter shot down in Iraq. (New York Times)

Scientists in England may have just cracked the "Enigma code" of viruses. (Washington Post)

A big win for net neutrality under FCC chairman's latest proposal. (Al-Jazeera America)


Notice any changes in the way Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos wears his salad? It's now a national story. (Grantland)

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WW: Feds won't drop Kettle Falls Five case; Nancy Grace talks Dr. Drew's 'big fat doobie'

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 2:40 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at: [email protected]

Late last year, Congress passed a massive spending bill that contained just a few lines of text that was intended to send a clear message: Federal law enforcement agencies need to quit interfering with state medical marijuana programs. To that end, a paragraph included in the bill stated that no funding was to be used by federal law enforcement agencies to interfere with medical pot in states where it’s legal.

The legislation, signed into law by the president, had particular significance for the Kettle Falls Five, an Eastern Washington family that is facing serious federal drug charges (under which pot is completely illegal) for growing marijuana that they assumed was legal under their state program.

With Congress sending a message that they don’t want federal law enforcement going after medical marijuana, the family’s lawyer filed a motion last month to dismiss the case. The motion argued that the prosecution was in conflict with congressional intent, and it cited floor speeches by members of Congress stating that people using medical marijuana under their state law should be left alone by the feds.

But the prosecutors haven’t given up yet.

A response filed by U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby on January 29 argues that the family shouldn’t be off the hook because there is evidence to show that the family was actually running a criminal for-profit operation under the guise of medical marijuana.

“It is clear that the defendants are hiding behind the medical marijuana laws in Washington in order to profit from their manufacture of marijuana. It is clear that they have violated both state and federal law,” reads the response.

Citing floor speeches from members of Congress who supported the amendment to the budget bill, Ormsby argues that the legislative intent was to protect physicians and patients prescribed the drug from prosecution.

“It is clear that there is still a political debate regarding marijuana,” reads the response. “This amendment has said nothing about the Controlled Substances Act so it is clear that it is still a violation of federal law to manufacture or distribute marijuana. The new law is intended to help patients and doctors and promote research into the uses of marijuana. It is not intended to protect or shield criminals from federal prosecution.”

Continue reading »

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